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New power elite emerged in medieval Iceland as the island became Norwegian
University of Gothenburg ^ | May 16, 2011 | Unknown

Posted on 05/16/2011 3:00:41 PM PDT by decimon

As Iceland became part of the Norwegian kingship 1262, a new power structure in the shape of an Icelandic aristocracy appointed by the king of Norway was established. This development is discussed in a doctoral thesis in History from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, that sheds light on a period in the Icelandic history that previously has not received its due attention.

'The 14th century has never received a great deal of attention in Icelandic history writing. This is surprising since this period is at least as important as the considerably more frequently discussed so-called Free State period (around 930�/64) when Iceland was autonomous, especially considering the country's state formation process,' says the author of the thesis Sigríður Beck.

Before becoming Norwegian, the country consisted of a number of territories ruled by chiefs who were constantly competing for power. Sigríður Beck has studied how the Icelandic power elite changed as the island became part of Norway and new offices and a new administration were introduced. Beck shows how an aristocracy was established as the king appointed officers who were to ensure that the country was administered according to Norwegian law.

'Prior to the involvement of the Norwegian king, the island was ruled by chiefs and authority was based on individuals and territories, but then the chiefs were replaced with a different type of elite ¬– an aristocracy.

Sigríður Beck's research shows that the aristocracy was made up of two different groups: wealthy farmers who became part of the new service-based aristocracy as a result of their financial strength, and parts of the former elite who managed to transfer to the new elite by adapting to the new situation. Thus, the Icelandic aristocracy comprised a mix of the old and the new.

Iceland's historical development has typically been viewed in a narrow Icelandic perspective. Yet Sigríður Beck concludes that the establishment of an Icelandic aristocracy is essentially identical to what happened in the rest of Europe. However, the Icelandic aristocracy remained a local aristocracy without any significant opportunities or willingness to make ties with its Norwegian counterpart.

Besides the establishment of a new political structure, a new economic structure was introduced as well. The new economic structure was more based on freehold properties and the possibility to lease out land and generate wealth through fishing.

'This development contributed to accelerated differentiation in society – the wealthy became even wealthier at the expense of the rest of the population,' says Beck.

###

The thesis has been successfully defended.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; iceland; middleages; norway; vikings

1 posted on 05/16/2011 3:00:46 PM PDT by decimon
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To: SunkenCiv

Gyre and ice ping.


2 posted on 05/16/2011 3:01:43 PM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

“...the wealthy became even wealthier at the expense of the rest of the population,’ says Beck, (yet another socialist from Sweden).


3 posted on 05/16/2011 3:05:41 PM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Obama makes me miss Jimmah Cahtah!)
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To: decimon

Hidden People’s fault.


4 posted on 05/16/2011 3:14:49 PM PDT by Controlling Legal Authority
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To: MIchaelTArchangel
“...the wealthy became even wealthier at the expense of the rest of the population,’ says Beck, (yet another socialist from Sweden).

Beck may well be socialist but the system described (like the rest of Europe, an aristocracy) was likely as described.

5 posted on 05/16/2011 3:18:41 PM PDT by decimon
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To: decimon

Medieval European history is probably among the most interesting.


6 posted on 05/16/2011 3:19:00 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: decimon

Read later. Thanks for posting


7 posted on 05/16/2011 3:28:58 PM PDT by ColoCdn (Neco eos omnes, Deus suos agnoset)
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To: decimon

I agree.


8 posted on 05/16/2011 3:37:12 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: decimon; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

· GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach ·
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Thanks decimon. Nice topics you're posting!

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


9 posted on 05/16/2011 4:45:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Jonty30

“Medieval European history is probably among the most interesting.”

There are some great online Western Civ videos at this link.

http://learner.org/resources/series58.html

You might enjoy:

18. The Age of Charlemagne
Charlemagne revived hopes for a new empire in Western Europe.

VOD19. The Middle Ages
Amid invasion and civil disorder, a military aristocracy dominated the kingdoms of Europe.

VOD20. The Feudal Order
Bishop, knight, and peasant exemplified some of the social divisions of the year 1000 A.D.

VOD21. Common Life in the Middle Ages
Famine, disease, and short life expectancies were the conditions that shaped medieval beliefs.

VOD22. Cities and Cathedrals of the Middle Ages
The great churches embodied the material and spiritual ambitions of the age.

VOD23. The Late Middle Ages
Two hundred years of war and plague debilitated Europe.


10 posted on 05/16/2011 4:50:53 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: decimon

I didn’t know they had a king.
I thought they were an autonomous collective.


11 posted on 05/16/2011 4:58:12 PM PDT by AndrewB (FUBO)
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To: AndrewB

You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes—


12 posted on 05/16/2011 5:01:14 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Rebelbase

Thanks! Opening that in a new tab.


13 posted on 05/16/2011 5:01:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: SunkenCiv

Most welcome. My 82 year old dad turned me on to that last week.


14 posted on 05/16/2011 5:07:15 PM PDT by Rebelbase
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To: decimon

How did the local hereditary “chiefs” system differ from an aristocracy since most of them wound up as the aristocracy.

Sounds to me that the Norwegians simply coopted what was there and regularized it as a Norwegian governmental system.

Ya gotta watch those doctoral candidates, always looking for a slight divergence they can claim is a new discovery.


15 posted on 05/16/2011 5:08:27 PM PDT by wildbill (You're just jealous because the Voices talk only to me.)
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To: MIchaelTArchangel

In those days the king did take from the people.


16 posted on 05/16/2011 5:10:50 PM PDT by FrdmLvr (Death to tyrants)
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To: decimon
Here's the true Icelandic Power Elite:


17 posted on 05/16/2011 5:19:09 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: SunkenCiv

DENNIS! There’s some lovely filth down here!


18 posted on 05/16/2011 5:21:13 PM PDT by Lazamataz (The Democrat Party is Communist. The Republican Party is Socialist. The Tea Party is Capitalist.)
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To: decimon
Here's the true Icelandic Power Elite:


19 posted on 05/16/2011 5:23:37 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
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To: AndrewB
I didn’t know they had a king.
I thought they were an autonomous collective.

Maybe a little of this and a little of that. Some anarchocapitalists have said they were libertarian but that's always seemed wishful thinking to me.

20 posted on 05/16/2011 5:25:10 PM PDT by decimon
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To: wildbill
How did the local hereditary “chiefs” system differ from an aristocracy since most of them wound up as the aristocracy.

Maybe it's a matter of scale. When northern Europe had tribes, it had chiefs and subordinates. When it coalesced into nations, it had kings and aristocracies.

21 posted on 05/16/2011 5:28:47 PM PDT by decimon
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To: Rebelbase

I like some of the Teaching Company stuff, but some of it is piss-poor (I’ve checked some out of the local library in the past), and it’s pricey.


22 posted on 05/16/2011 8:13:39 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: Fractal Trader

Twins? Alright! I just hope that IMF guy’s never been in Iceland.


23 posted on 05/16/2011 8:14:30 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Thanks Cincinna for this link -- http://www.friendsofitamar.org)
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To: decimon; SunkenCiv

They were an anarcho-syndicalist commune. They took it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.But all the decisions of that officer had to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs—but by a two-thirds majority in the case of external matters.


24 posted on 05/16/2011 10:02:09 PM PDT by AndrewB (FUBO)
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To: wildbill

In the Icelandic Free State, the aristocrats had to compete for the allegiance of the farmers. If a farmer felt that the baron was not offering adequate protection, or was charging too much taxes, he was free to find another baron.


25 posted on 05/17/2011 7:41:15 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Tories in- mission accomplished)
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To: Fractal Trader

You win the best double post of the day contest. ;)


26 posted on 05/17/2011 4:47:27 PM PDT by Sawdring
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