Cross and Scepter: The Rise of the Scandinavian Kingdoms by Sverre Bagge

By Sverre Bagge

Christianity and European-style monarchy—the pass and the scepter—were brought to Scandinavia within the 10th century, a improvement that was once to have profound implications for all of Europe. Cross and Scepter is a concise background of the Scandinavian kingdoms from the age of the Vikings to the Reformation, written via Scandinavia’s best medieval historian. Sverre Bagge indicates how the increase of the 3 kingdoms not just replaced the face of Scandinavia, but in addition helped make the territorial country the normal political unit in Western Europe. He describes Scandinavia’s momentous conversion to Christianity and the construction of church and monarchy there, and lines how those occasions reworked Scandinavian legislations and justice, army and administrative association, social constitution, political tradition, and the department of energy one of the king, aristocracy, and customary humans. Bagge sheds very important new mild at the reception of Christianity and ecu studying in Scandinavia, and on Scandinavian historical past writing, philosophy, political proposal, and courtly tradition. He seems on the reception of eu impulses and their variation to Scandinavian stipulations, and examines the connection of the 3 kingdoms to one another and the remainder of Europe, paying unique realization to the inter-Scandinavian unions and their effects for the idea that of presidency and the department of power.

Cross and Scepter offers an important creation to Scandinavian medieval background for students and common readers alike, supplying very important new insights into country formation and cultural switch in Europe.

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Additional resources for Cross and Scepter: The Rise of the Scandinavian Kingdoms from the Vikings to the Reformation

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There is evidence of settlements of Scandinavians, called “Rus,” around the Ladoga Sea from the late eighth century. The term Rus is Origins of the Kingdoms • 23 derived from the Finnish name for Svear (Swedes). Archaeological evidence suggests a marked increase in these settlements in the tenth century, which is clearly connected to an increase in trade along Russian rivers with Byzantium and the Arab world. The Scandinavians were well placed to act as intermediaries on the trade routes between Russia and Byzantium and Western Europe, a trade that apparently yielded a substantial surplus, as is evident from the large hoards of silvers found in the Scandinavian settlements.

Thus, from the mid-­eleventh century onwards, we can begin to distinguish between internal and foreign policy and discuss the relationship between the Scandinavian kingdoms and the surrounding area. During the eleventh century, England ceased to be a target for Scandinavian expansion. The Norwegian king Harald Hardrada attempted to gain the English throne when Edward the Confessor died without issue in 1066, but he was defeated by Harold Godwinson at Stanford Bridge. Three weeks later, William the Conqueror defeated Harold at Hastings and founded the Norman dynasty in England.

It gave the Swedes Southern Finland and most of the Karelian Peninsula, whereas exact borders were probably not drawn in the thinly inhabited areas in the north. The treaty did not lead to permanent peace—­ there were several wars in the following period—­but it was often cited in later negotiations. Geography is certainly an important factor in explaining the direction of the conquests. It would be difficult to imagine Swedish attempts to conquer the Orkneys or Southern Finland as a target for Norwegian expansion, but geography was not the only determining factor.

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