1st Edition

The Dala Law

Edited By Inger Larsson Copyright 2025
    106 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Dala Law is known through only one remaining medieval manuscript, written c.1335 – 1353, and shows strong influence from older Swedish provincial law. It is one of the oldest known texts revealing details of life and conditions in Dalar during the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries.

    Contradicting older assumptions that this might have been an older law of Västmanland, the Dala Law is well-adapted to prevailing conditions in Dalar. In contrast to most provincial laws where the lawman had a central position, in the Dala Law it is the written word, the law-book, that is addressed and appealed to. Although the text is comparatively short, this English translation is an important tool for facilitating the internationalisation of Swedish research and making Nordic material more accessible for international scholars. Aided by maps which show medieval Dalar, Västmanland, and the value of the mining industry in the area, this text provides crucial insight into the history, life, and culture of medieval Dalar which has never been seen before in the English language.

    With an Introduction that places Dalar in its geographical, judicial, and ecclesiastical contexts, The Dala Law is an essential resource for all students and scholars interested in medieval Swedish history.


    The judicial province of Dalar          

    Ecclesiastical and secular administration     

    The Legal system      



    The contents of the Dala Law


    The History of the Dala Law          

    Manuscripts, editions and translations          

    B 54   

    B 113 

    Printed editions         


    Translations into Modern Swedish    

    The language of B 54 and the present translation


    A Dala Law or an Older Law of Västmanland?   


    The Dala Law           

    [The book concerning Christian law – Kristnu balker]         

    The book concerning the king’s oath – Kunungs ezöre        

    The book concerning personal and property rights – Man-hælghis balkr    

    The book concerning building and community – Bygninga balkir  

    The book concerning matrimony – Giptninga balkr 

    The book concerning theft – Wm þiufnadh  

    The book concerning the legal process – Þing balkir 1


    Inger Larsson is Professor Emerita at Stockholm University, Department of Swedish and Multilingualism, Sweden, where she researches medieval law, literacy, history, and vernacular plant-names. She has published many books in these fields such as on pragmatic literacy and the medieval use of the vernacular including Pragmatic Literacy and the Medieval use of the Vernacular. The Swedish Example (2009) and Vernacular Plant-names and Plants in Medieval Sweden (2010).