1st Edition

Nordic Elites in Transformation, c. 1050–1250, Volume II Social Networks

Edited By Kim Esmark, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning Copyright 2020
    370 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    370 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Nordic Elites in Transformation, c. 1050-1250, Volume II explores the structures and workings of social networks within the elites of medieval Scandinavia to reveal the intricate relationship between power and status.

    Section one of this volume categorizes basic types of personal bonds, both vertical and horizontal, while section two charts patterns of local, regional and transnational elite networks from wide-scope, longitudinal perspectives. Finally, the third section turns to case-studies of networks in action, analyzing strategies and transactions implied by uses of social resources in specific micro-political settings. A concluding chapter discusses how social power in the North compared to wider European experiences. A wide range of sources and methodologies is applied to reveal how networks were established, maintained, and put to use – and how they transformed in processes of centralizing power and formalizing hierarchies.

    The engagement with and analysis of intriguing primary source material has produced a key teaching tool for instructors and essential reading for students interested in the workings of medieval Scandinavia, elite class structures, and Social and Political History more generally.

    List of Figures; List of Abbreviations; Preface; 1. Kim Esmark, Lars Hermanson, and Hans Jacob Orning: Introduction; Section I: Social Bonds, Social Resources; 2. Kim Esmark, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, and Helle Vogt: Kith and Kin: Ties of Blood and Marriage; 3. Lars Hermanson and Hans Jacob Orning: Lords and Followers: Patron-client Relationships; 4. Lars Hermanson and Hans Jacob Orning: Friends and Allies: Networks of Horizontal Bonds; Section II: Patterns of Networks; 5. Magnus Källström: Aristocratic Networks During the Late Viking Age in the Light of Runic Inscriptions; 6. John Lind: Nordic and Eastern Elites. Contacts Across the Baltic Sea: An Exiled Clan; 7. Marie Bønløkke Missuno: Contact and Continuity: England and the Scandinavian Elites in the Early Middle Ages; 8. Pádraig Mac Carron & Ralph Kenna: Character Networks of the Íslendinga Sögur and þættir; 9. Wojtek Jezierski: Angels in Scandinavia: Papal Legates and Networks of Nordic Elites, Twelfth–Thirteenth Centuries; 10. Johnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen: Social Friendships between the Dominican Order and Elite Groups in Thirteenth-century Scandinavia; Section III: Networks in Action; 11. Auður Magnúsdóttir: Friends, Foes and Followers: Power, Networks, and Intimacy in Medieval Iceland; 12. Viðar Pálsson: Forming Bonds with Followers in Medieval Iceland: The Cases of Thordr kakali and Thorgils skarði; 13. Ian Peter Grohse: Strength through Weakness: Regent Elites under Kings Inge, Sigurd and Magnus Haraldsson; 14. Ole-Albert Rønning: The Politics of Exile in Northern Europe: The Case of Knud V of Denmark; 15. Kim Esmark: Social Power and Conversion of Capital: Sune Ebbesen of Zealand; 16. Sveinung Kasin Boye: Constructing the Friendships and Hierarchies of the Clerical Elite: A Case Study of the Relationship Between Øm Abbey and Bishop Tyge; 17. Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld, Kim Esmark, and Hans Jacob Orning: Elites and Social Bonds – How Nordic were the Nordic Medieval Elites?; Contributors; Index


    Kim Esmark is Associate Professor of Medieval History at the Department of Communication and Arts at Roskilde University. His main research interests lie within the historical anthropology of the Middle Ages, where he has published articles and co-edited books on dispute processing, rituals, kinship, gift-giving, and religious patronage.

    Lars Hermanson is Professor of History at the University of Gothenburg. He has published many works on medieval political culture and has co-edited several anthologies on the subject. His latest book is Friendship, Love, and Brotherhood in Medieval Northern Europe, c. 1000–1200 (Leiden, 2019).

    Hans Jacob Orning is Professor of Medieval History at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo. He has written extensively on the political culture in medieval Scandinavia. His latest book is The Reality of the Fantastic: The Magical, Geopolitical and Social Universe of Late Medieval Saga Manuscripts (Odense, 2017).