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Konungur, Herkonungur, Godi: Power Dynamics in the Viking Age

Konungur, Herkonungur, Godi: Power Dynamics in the Viking Age

Stevens, Keith

The Endnote vol.2 (2005)

Abstract

The Viking Age was a time of great chane throughout Europe and in general and in specific Scandinavia. Not only were raiders bringing European technology and ideas with them, expanding European powers were coming into contact with Scandinavia on their own. New kings in the vein of Harald Fairhair of Norway and Harald Bluetooth of Denmark were trying to replicate the strong central kingship oftheir European neighbors. In response to this push towards unification from above, the lower elements of Scandinavian society pushed back towards an era of petty kings or even further to a big man society. Three primary roles of power appeared and, to a certain extent, competed among Scandinavian people during this time; the konungur (king), the herkonungur (warrior king), and the godi (regional chieftain).

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