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Legal custom & Lex Castrensis?: using law and literature to navigate the North-Sea neighbourhood in the late Viking Age

Ruiter, Keith

Authors

Keith Ruiter



Contributors

Dirk H. Steinforth
Editor

Charles C. Rozier
Editor

Abstract

In his Lex Castrensis, the thirteenth-century Danish writer Sven Aggesen tells the story of the creation of a law that he attributes to Knútr inn ríki (Cnut the Great) as a means of governing his substantial military following of retainers, known as the hirð. As unlikely as it is for Sven to claim that he preserves the law exactly as it was in Knútr’s own time, the text’s focus on process and punishment raises an intriguing question: can evidence be seen for shifting punitive attitudes and legal exchange in the late Viking-Age period of intense contact, interaction, and accommodation between Scandinavia and the British Isles? This chapter will offer a first step in considering the possibility for the exchange of legal ideas practices and concepts in this context, and present a newly refined picture of England and its Scandinavian neighbours – one which points to sophisticated legal interchange happening much earlier than usually thought.

Citation

Ruiter, K. (2021). Legal custom & Lex Castrensis?: using law and literature to navigate the North-Sea neighbourhood in the late Viking Age. In D. H. Steinforth, & C. C. Rozier (Eds.), Britain and its neighbours: cultural contacts and exchanges in Medieval and early modern Europe. London: Routledge

Acceptance Date Apr 14, 2020
Online Publication Date May 18, 2021
Publication Date May 18, 2021
Deposit Date May 18, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 19, 2022
Publisher Routledge
Series Title Themes in Medieval and modern history
Book Title Britain and its neighbours: cultural contacts and exchanges in Medieval and early modern Europe
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 9780367342661
Keywords Medieval, Law, Viking, Custom, Cnut the Great, Denmark, England
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/4462046
Publisher URL https://www.routledge.com/Britain-and-its-Neighbours-Cultural-Contacts-and-Exchanges-in-Medieval/Steinforth-Rozier/p/book/9780367342654