Charpentier Ljungqvist Fredrik, Kungamakten och lagen : En jämförelse mellan Danmark, Norge och Sverige under högmedeltiden

Charpentier Ljungqvist Fredrik, Kungamakten och lagen : En jämförelse mellan Danmark, Norge och Sverige under högmedeltiden [Kingship and Law : A Comparison between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in the High Middle Ages], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (dir. O. Ferm, Université de Stockholm)

Résumé/abstract :

The dissertation is a comparative study of the expansion of law-regulated royal power in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden c. 1150–1350. The aim is to examine how the king’s judicial and military authority and functions, and their effect on the power position of the regional legal assembly and the church, is expressed and how it changed over time in the extant law material. The starting point is the pan-European consolidation of royal power in the High Middle Ages, and the dissertation considers international research on the medieval state formation process and its driving forces. The processual concepts of centralization, institutionalization, hierarchization, and territorialization occupy a central place in the analysis.

Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish laws all reflect a significant increase in royal power. A growing number of societal functions were vested in the increasingly institutionalized kingship, and there was a growth in its power resources. At the same time, it is possible to identify crucial inter-Scandinavian differences. A main finding is that the law-regulated royal power, in most respects, was strongest in Norway and weakest in Sweden. Another important conclusion is that executive royal power first emerged after the judicial and also legislative power had already to a large extent come under royal control.

It is demonstrated that Scandinavian kingship in the High Middle Ages was characterized by increasingly centralized and institutionalized territorially based power, with a greater monopoly on the use of legitimate force, and thereby strengthened the ongoing state formation process. The expansion of law-regulated royal power primarily concerned the judicial sphere and only secondarily the military and fiscal spheres. That state formation was driven by judicial development rather than militarization is also shown by the fact that Norway, despite having the least professionalized and resource-demanding armed forces, was the Scandinavian country with the most centralized and institutionalized royal power.

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