Skip to main content

IMC 2020: Sessions

Session 1322: Kings and High-Kings in North-Western Europe

Wednesday 8 July 2020, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Piotr Górecki, Department of History, University of California, Riverside
Paper 1322-aItinerant Kingship in Medieval Sweden
(Language: English)
Dag Retsö, Institutionen för ekonomisk historia och internationella relationer Stockholms Universitet
Index terms: Economics - General, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 1322-bThe Boundaries of High-Kingship in Lebor Gabála Érenn
(Language: English)
Feliks Levin, Department of History National Research University Higher School of Economics St Petersburg
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - Celtic, Mentalities, Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 1322-cDifferent Borders, Different Stories, Same King
(Language: English)
Deniz Cem Gulen, Centre for Scandinavian Studies University of Aberdeen
Index terms: Language and Literature - Comparative, Language and Literature - Scandinavian

Paper -a:
The itineraries of four medieval Swedish regents are analyzed. The analysis shows a tendency for regents to prefer fiscal areas under direct crown control for their physical residence, and wielded authority in other areas through methods associated with the modern state. The central parts of the Swedish realm display a pattern which traditionally has been seen as typical medieval, while an incipient 'modernization' process has dominated the development in more peripheral areas. The unifying, 'modernizing' component in the later policies of Gustav Vasa may therefore have to be downplayed as it is preluded already in the Middle Ages.

Paper -b:
The paper attempts to discuss the discursive boundaries of high-kingship in medieval Ireland through the prism of the relationships between centre and periphery in the renowned Irish medieval source, Lebor Gabála Érenn. Two different perspectives on relationships between centre and periphery could be identified in Lebor Gabála Érenn. According to the first perspective, the political centre of Ireland was located in Tara, and the periphery was subject to the centre. The second perspective reveals agonistic elements of the Irish political culture: the kingship could be challenged by the opponents, and the centre (Tara) could be invaded. The existence of the high-kings depended on their recognition from peripheral rulers, which could be achieved mostly by dint of military force.

Paper -c:
The reign of Eiríkr I of Denmark (1095-1103) lasted only for eight years. Subsequently, his role in the primary and secondary sources are very limited and he is usually described as a supporting character to his brother, Knútr inn helgi. Knýtlinga saga, however, provides a unique perspective about King Eiríkr. Unlike other sources, Eiríkr plays an important role in the saga and the chapters relating him are significantly longer than other kings in the saga. This paper offers a comparison of Eiríkr's description in Knýtlinga saga with other primary sources and argues that he was a point of interest due to his religious activities and re-establishment of law and order in the Kingdom of Denmark.