Linking Law: Viking and medieval Scandinavian law in literature and history

Historian article

By Keith Ruiter, published 2nd January 2020

Ongoing interdisciplinary developments have cast light on the surprisingly sophisticated world of Viking-age and medieval Scandinavian law and its wide-ranging influence in these societies.

In many ways, the Viking Age and its inhabitants are more familiar than ever before. From video games to television and films, new narrative frontiers and bigger budgets make the past – and the ever-popular Viking Age in particular – more accessible, and accessible in more ways than at any point in modern history. It is curious then that the popular image of all things ‘Viking’ remains, predominantly, male, pale, and if I might say so, rather stale. While the Viking Age had no shortage of warlike men, the common compression of ‘the Vikings’ to the stereotype of marauding barbarians robs the diverse populations of the Viking Age of their complexity and even some of their humanity, turning them into crude symbols prone to misappropriation...

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