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1 The Swedish Medieval Law Codes

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Chapter Summary

The Swedish medieval laws consist of provincial laws, two town laws, and the two Laws of the Realm. The provincial laws were used in different regions of Sweden and are usually divided into two groups: the Göta Laws and the Svea Laws. The law codes are a pillar of our knowledge of Swedish medieval society and have been used extensively in historical writings. The idea of individualisation of liability can help explain the process through which a person was separated from the collective to which he or she belonged and was seen as an autonomous person with responsibility for his/her own actions. The chapter argues that in the Law of the Realm, the legislators actually managed to reach a balance by maintaining the patriarchal household structure for lesser crimes while emphasising women's responsibility for more serious crimes.

Keywords: law codes; Law of the Realm; liability; medieval laws; provincial laws; Sweden; women



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