Beñat Elortza, A comparative analysis of the transformation of the Scandinavian military apparatus from a European perspective, c. 1035-1202
Beñat Elortza, A comparative analysis of the transformation of the Scandinavian military apparatus from a European perspective, c. 1035-1202, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2017 (Université d’Aberdeen)
Scandinavia was a relatively homogeneous region during the Viking Age. Much of the political power was decentralised, with the socio-political organisation being centred on magnate halls. The most well-known activities of the Scandinavians of this time are, without a doubt, the raiding and colonising activities carried out by Vikings, which give the name to the period. From the late tenth century onwards, however, two strongly interlinked transformation processes can be discerned: the Christianisation of Scandinavia and the formation of the realms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The creation and consolidation of these large Christian polities led to further changes; new budding state structures were created, episcopal seats were founded and new methods of exploiting the peasantry found their way into the region. Warfare and the military apparatus were not impervious to these changes. As the socio-political scene changed, the way armies were organised and how warfare was waged transformed with it. The aim of this thesis is to provide a comparative overview of the transformation of warfare and military organisation in Scandinavia between 1035 and 1202. The effects of Europeanstyle reforms in the political, ideological and social spheres will be taken into account in order to explain how Danes, Norwegians and Swedes adopted new ways of campaigning, organising their forces and waging war in general. A particular emphasis will be put in the transformation of the leiðangr, the Scandinavian peasant naval levies, and the importance of naval warfare during the period.