COA04 - The Icelandic Free State- 2 mins
The Icelandic Free State
In this episode we explore the offices and institutions which made up the Icelandic Free State. Through comprehensive legal codes, accepted traditions and customs and regular, predictable assembly the Icelanders were able to govern themselves for over three centuries without a king, head chieftain or any other executive authority to speak of.
How did they do it? Well, that’s what we are going to talk about today.
This week’s recommended reading is near and dear to my heart. Viking Age Iceland by Jesse Byock is the definitive single volume history of the Icelandic Free State in English. Moving topically, Professor Byock explores all aspects of life in Iceland during the Viking Age. For anyone interested in learning more about Iceland during this period this book is a must read. Plus, you can see first hand just how often I have turned to Viking Age Iceland while researching these episodes.
Grønlie, Siân (trans.). (2006) Íslendingabók. London, England: Viking Society for Northern Research. Available Free Online
Dennis, A., Foote, P., & Perkins, R. M. (Trans.). (2006). Grágás I the Codex Regius of Grágás with material from other manuscripts. Winnipeg, Canada: Univ. of Manitoba P. Available on Google Books
Dennis, A., Foote, P., & Perkins, R. (Trans.). (2000). Grágás II the Codex regius of Grágás, with material from other manuscripts. Winnipeg, Man.: University of Manitoba Press. Available on Google Books
Landnámabók in McDonald, R. A., & Somerville, A. A. (2014). The Viking Age: A Reader. North York, Ontario: University of Toronto Press. (Chapter 70.b) Available on Amazon
Byock, J. L. (2002). Viking Age Iceland. London: Penguin Books Ltd. Available on Amazon
Iversen, F. Concilium and Pagus — Revisiting the Early Germanic Thing System of Northern Europe in A. Sanmark, F. Iversen, N. Mehler, S. Semple (Eds.) (2013). Debating the Thing in the North. Available Free Online
Jesch, J. (2015). The Viking diaspora. London: Routledge. Available on Amazon
Lönnroth, Lars. The Icelandic Sagas in Brink, S., & Price, N. S. (n.d.). The Viking World. Available on Amazon
Sanmark, A. (2017). Viking law and order: places and rituals of assembly in the medieval North. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Available on Amazon
Sanmark, A. Women at the Thing in Coleman, N. & Løkka, N. L. (eds.). (2014). Nordic women in the Viking age. Available for Free Online
Sigurðsson, J. V. Iceland in Brink, S., & Price, N. S. (n.d.). The Viking World. Available on Amazon
Vésteinsson, Orri. Patterns of Settlement in Iceland. A Study in Pre-History. Available Free Online
Vésteinsson, O. What is in a Booth? Material Symbolism at Icelandic Assembly Sites _ in A. Sanmark, F. Iversen, N. Mehler, S. Semple (Eds.) (2013). _Debating the Thing in the North. Available Free Online
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