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7 Conclusions

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Chapter Summary

Swedish medieval law is characterised by a male norm; all the laws are based on a male legal subject, and only men had full legal rights. The status of women in the laws vacillates, and, as with men, their legal status depended on their social status as well. The freeborn woman is sometimes portrayed as part of a household or a family, and her status and agency are so limited that she appears to be regarded as a man's property. Capital punishment was used far more often and more consistently for serious crimes in the Laws of the Realm. The male norm of the provincial laws provides us with an image of an egalitarian society in which all peasants had equal status and equal possibilities. The societal definition that the medieval Laws of the Realm established turned out to be very functional in a longer perspective.

Keywords: capital punishment; Laws of the Realm; peasants; provincial laws; Swedish medieval law; women



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