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Viking FriendshipThe Social Bond in Iceland and Norway, c. 900D1300$
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Jón Vidar Sigurdsson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705779

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705779.001.0001

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Kings and Their Friends

Kings and Their Friends

(p.47) Chapter 3 Kings and Their Friends
Viking Friendship

Jón Viðar Sigurðsson

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the kings and chieftains made use of friendship to secure their positions of power in Norway. The Norwegian kings used friendship to the highest degree to secure support for themselves from local chieftains and householders. However, in the long run friendship was unsuitable as a political foundation for the kings' power. In accordance with a new ideology that developed at the end of the twelfth century and in the first half of the thirteenth, friendship was replaced with obedience and service. To put it simply, a transition occurred from bilateral to unilateral relationships. After these changes, the king no longer needed to establish friendships with the householders; they had become his subjects to rule. However, the king continued to use friendship to secure the loyalty of the most central persons in the royal administration.

Keywords:   Norwegian kings, friendship, local chieftains, householders, unilateral relationships, royal administration

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