Aspects of Royal Power in Medieval Scandinavia Cover Image
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Aspects of Royal Power in Medieval Scandinavia
Aspects of Royal Power in Medieval Scandinavia

Contributor(s): Rafał Borysławski (Editor), Jakub Morawiec (Editor)
Subject(s): Middle Ages
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: royal power;Middle Ages;Scandinavia;
Summary/Abstract: References to the deeds and lives of the past monarchs and their commemorations are ubiquitous in the earliest extant Scandinavian literary sources. Their authors found relating to the narratives of royal power and the identification with the bygone kings and queens essential for the legendary and historical stories of national and personal origins, and for the ways of formulating and expressing the political and cultural significance of their own work. In the wealth of the material offered by Old Norse and Icelandic literature, we may find numerous examples of the texts either abounding in such connotations or drawing directly upon royal histories. Although the originals of the lists of kings (konungatal) did not survive beyond the early medieval era, they provided later medieval authors with fundamental inspiration especially for the kings’ sagas (konungasǫgur). Similarly, the vividness with which the past rulers were remembered is attested by the poems like Ynglingatal and Haleygjatal originating in the tenth century. Both of them legitimize the power and aspirations of subsequent monarchs by referring to the heritage and legacy left by the previous generations of kings. Their charisma and achievements contributed to their mythical and historical status as rulers, which, in turn, determined the development of what may be called the ideology of royal power. Understood as a set of features considered decisive for prosperous and memorable kingship, such ideology was advocated and praised by the skaldic poets and saga authors who emphasised the importance of royal bravery and generosity, the mercilessness that kings should display towards their enemies and the graciousness they should show to their followers. Likewise, the unfailing luck in war and the ability to surpass others in various skills were deemed important not only to impress one’s royal retinue and subjects, but, predominantly, also to legitimize royal claims. (fragment of the introduction)

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-226-3400-4
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-83-226-3399-1
  • Page Count: 168
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: English
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