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Kingship, Women and Politics in Morkinskinna

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Chapter Summary

It is generally believed that Morkinskinna was composed during the period 1217-1220. The author of Morkinskinna portrays Harald Gille as a weak and unwise king. This picture is reinforced when he, unaware of the plot leading to his assassination, reveals which of his two women he will be sleeping with during the night to come. Morkinskinna mentions proportionately few women, most of them only in passing. Given the focus of kings' sagas as political portraits of men, it is primarily the political aspects of the relationship between men and women that are in focus. This chapter examines the importance of marriage and cohabitation as reflected in Morkinskinna, or whether the saga's account of the use and misuse of women can be seen as a way of conveying information about the kings' capabilities as political leaders. It then focuses on one specific marriage and the turmoil it created.

Keywords: Harald Gille; kings' capabilities; kings' sagas; kingship; Morkinskinna; political leaders; women

10.1163/9789004221598_005
/content/books/b9789004221598_005
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