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Title: Formation and resolution of ideological contrast in the early history of Scandinavia
Author: Anderson, C. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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Some recent studies concerning early medieval Europe have suggested that Scandinavia and Francia represented two ideological poles with which other populations within the Germanic world might have intended to align themselves. While such a view sometimes may be useful, it may also over-simplify a more complete situation. Scandinavians must have recognised cultural distinctions between themselves and Christian Europeans, but may not have viewed these distinctions necessarily as emblems of opposition unless faced by a direct political or military threat. Indeed, ideological contrasts concerning the way society was structured and power was wielded may have cut across apparent ethnic boundaries. Roman influences on early Germanic society may have assisted in the creation of a 'Germanic' identity. Roman pressure also may have affected the development of Germanic governmental structures, encouraging king-centred governmental ideologies that contrasted with possibly older, assembly-centred systems. Scandinavia, never threatened by Roman domination, may have retained assembly-centred structures longer than other Germanic societies. Southern Scandinavia's' 'central places' of the Early Germanic Iron Age, such as Gudme, may have functions comparable with those of the later Old Saxon Assembly and Icelandic Albingi. Such sites may have provided a focus for an emergent Scandinavian identity. This assembly-centred system may have been disrupted as chieftains struggled to attain the kind of power enjoyed by their counterparts in king-centred societies (much as happened in medieval Iceland), perhaps explaining the poverty of archaeological finds in the region from the Late Germanic Iron Age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available