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

Overview

"This book demonstrates the mastery Sverre Bagge has acquired through his immense and innovative work on state formation in Scandinavia. It will have enduring effects on future discussions because it is as peerless at describing and analyzing micro-processes as at integrating and comparing macro-processes from other parts of Europe."—Gerhard Althoff, University of Münster

"A tour de force. Cross and Scepter is a short, readable, and deeply learned introduction to the political ...

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

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Overview

"This book demonstrates the mastery Sverre Bagge has acquired through his immense and innovative work on state formation in Scandinavia. It will have enduring effects on future discussions because it is as peerless at describing and analyzing micro-processes as at integrating and comparing macro-processes from other parts of Europe."—Gerhard Althoff, University of Münster

"A tour de force. Cross and Scepter is a short, readable, and deeply learned introduction to the political and constitutional history of Scandinavia, written by Scandinavia's foremost medieval historian. No one else but Bagge could have achieved this with such apparent ease."—Patrick Geary, author of The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe

"A masterful survey of Scandinavian history in the Middle Ages. Bagge's writing has focus and drive without unduly skating over important details. The scholarship is superb, as one would expect from the leading Scandinavian medieval historian of his generation."—Anders Winroth, author of The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/10/2014
Bagge (Kings, Politics, and the Right Order of the World in German Historiography), one of the world’s pre-eminent medieval historians, offers an introductory survey of early Scandinavian history that will be a welcome addition in the classroom. He traces this often misunderstood culture from the Vikings up to the Reformation. While those horn-helmeted ur-pirates make a few appearances, Bagge doesn’t spend too much time on overblown Viking tales: this is a book about the transition from tribe, war band, and clan, to kingdom, military, and state—about the slow but steady reawakening of Western civilization from the Dark Ages, only this time considered from a rare and somewhat misty perspective. As Bagge states in the introduction, it’s primarily a “kind of European history in miniature,” focusing on how the Scandinavian states gradually, if occasionally sluggishly, evolved along with the rest of the continent in culture, politics, and religion. Insightful, in-depth, and authoritative—though a bit of a slog at times—Bagge’s scholarly work will be of great use to those with interest in this oft-forgotten civilization. (May)
From the Publisher
"Bagge, one of the world's pre-eminent medieval historians, offers an introductory survey of early Scandinavian history that will be a welcome addition in the classroom. . . . Insightful, in-depth, and authoritative . . . Bagge's scholarly work will be of great use to those with interest in this oft-forgotten civilization."—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691161501
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/6/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 381,384
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Sverre Bagge is professor emeritus of medieval history at the University of Bergen in Norway. His books include "Kings, Politics, and the Right Order of the World in German Historiography".

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
CHAPTER ONE 9
The Origins of the Scandinavian Kingdoms
Early Scandinavian Society 9
Scandinavian Expansion: The Viking Expeditions 21
The Division of Scandinavia into Three Kingdoms 27
The Continued Division of Scandinavia: Foreign Policy until around 1300 38
CHAPTER TWO 50
The Consolidation of the Scandinavian Kingdoms, c. 1050-1350
The Dynasty and the Royal Office 50
Religion: The Introduction of Christianity 60
The Development of the Ecclesiastical Organization 70
Justice: Royal and Ecclesiastical Legislation and Courts of Law 86
War and the Preparation for War: From
Leding to Professional Forces 107
CHAPTER THREE 119
State Formation, Social Change, and the Division of Power
Social Structure in the High Middle Ages 120
Royal and Ecclesiastical Revenues 124
Towns and Trade 131
Bureaucracy or Feudalism? 139
The Court 152
The Division of Power: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and the Church 157
The State and the People: Nationalism and Loyalty 169
CHAPTER FOUR 174
Royal, Aristocratic, and Ecclesiastical Culture
Scandinavians and European Learning 176
The Rules and the Hearts: Scandinavian Christianity 187
A Scandinavian Saint 196
The Writing of History 203
Political Thought 218
The Courtly Culture 222
CHAPTER FIVE 232
The Later Middle Ages: Agrarian Crisis, Constitutional Conflicts, and Scandinavian Unions
Towards Renewed Scandinavian Integration, 1261-1397 236
The Kalmar Union 248
The Struggle over the Kalmar Union, 1434-1523 250
Why Was the Union Dissolved? 260
State Formation in the Later Middle Ages 268
The Reformation and Its Consequences, 1523-1537 283
CONCLUSION 290
Scandinavian State Formation, 900-1537: Break and Continuity
Literature 293
The Historiography of the Scandinavian Countries 293
The Sources for Scandinavian History 297
References and Guide to Further Reading 301
Index 315

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