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Introduction to Part One

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Chapter Summary

This part of the book focuses on strategies pursued in political game at top level of society, as these are described in narrative sources. It uses the kings' saga Morkinskinna as a source for Norwegian society on brink of developing a more authoritarian form of kingship. It deals with how challengers to Danish kings are treated in Danish historical work Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus. This introduction chapter provides a summary of main phases of Scandinavian political development from c.900 to c.1250, in order to give an overview to readers who might be unfamiliar with Nordic history. It explores the internal dynamics of the Scandinavian region and its relation to central areas of Europe. The chapter presents an outline of literary context in Scandinavia, focusing on dual impulses that contributed to its formation and development: the vernacular sagas building on oral traditions, and Latin and predominantly clerical culture stemming from European contacts.

Keywords: Danish kings; Gesta Danorum; Morkinskinna; Nordic history; Norwegian society; oral traditions; Saxo Grammaticus; Scandinavian political development



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