To rede and to rown : Expressions of early Scandinavian kingship in written sources

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The subject of this thesis is early Scandinavian kingship, and the analysis is based on a number of written sources and runic inscriptions. A study of early Germanic kingship focuses primarily on the development of Gothic kingship from the fourth to the sixth century. The royal attributes expressed in kennings and heiti in Ynglingatal are analysed, showing that the poem presents the development of kingship as a process in four stages. The dating of this work and its style of composition is also discussed. A study of the chapters in Ynglinga saga which deal with King Ingiald illráði examines the role of counsel, the political structure of the Svear and high kingship as a structural problem. Vita Anskarii is analysed with particular emphasis on the interaction between kings, noblemen and the 'people' in political decision-making. Finally, the associations between kings and runes are discussed, and the inscription of the Sparlösa stone is reinterpreted as a monument over a royal succession.

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