The Most Important Social Bond in Iceland in the Free State Period
This chapter discusses the significance of friendship in the relationships between householders and chieftains in Iceland. There is little doubt that friendship was the most important social bond between chieftains and householders in Iceland during the period from about 870, when the first settlers disembarked on the newly discovered island, until the years 1262–64. These friendships included strong reciprocal demands. The chieftains were to protect the householders and their households, organize feasts for them, and give them gifts. In return, the chieftains received the householders' support in their conflicts. However, it was not simply the householders and chieftains who established friendships with each other. Chieftains established friendships among themselves, as did the householders.
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