Malmros Rikke, Vikingernes syn på militær og samfund belyst gennem skjoldenes fyrstedigtning, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université d’Aarhus)
Johanna Katrin Friðriksdóttir, Women, bodies, words and power : Women in old Norse literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. C. Larrington, Université d’Oxford)
My doctoral thesis (2010) analysed women and power in Old Norse literature. In medieval Icelandic secular prose, female characters function as literary vehicles to engage with some of the most contested values of the period, revealing the preoccupations, desires and anxieties of its authors and audiences; chief amongst these concerns women’s access to and employment of power, and men’s vulnerability. Old Norse sources offer their audiences many discrete and varied female images: women of various social and economic positions and racial origins. Many of them conflict with the stereotypes prevalent in past scholarly discourse which, mainly because of its often selective approach to the extant evidence, has largely failed to perceive the richness and heterogeneity of female images and the multiplicity of their meanings. In this thesis an extensive and diverse gallery of female images from a wide range of secular prose texts will be analysed, demonstrating how varied and complex these female literary characters can be, how they develop over time, and how different genres which existed side by side, as well as individual texts within genres, offer different perspectives on the same problems. Many of the female characters in Old Norse literature can be seen as surprisingly powerful, and the ways in which they gain agency, whether by speech or actions, will be mapped out. These strategies may or may not be socially sanctioned. The thesis explores the roles available to women, how they negotiate these roles within the restraints of patriarchy and when they are seen to transgress normative boundaries, often being depicted as monstrous in these circumstances. The picture which emerges is not a simple dichotomy; it allows for ambiguity and subversion in itself by arguing for the monstrous ‘Other’ as a category which represents human qualities that are rejected and abjected but can never be made to disappear. In short, the thesis deals with questions of female power and uncovers how the texts represent women as agents.
Yeast for Change. Vikings and their impact on Medieval Europe
Conference 21-22 May 2015, Wrocław, Poland
In European historiography it is customary to see beginning of the Viking Age in the year 793, when a group of Norwegians came on their drakkar and plundered holy monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. Two years later similar event happened once more, this time on more grandious scale: Norwegian ships attacked several insular monasteries repeating previous success and opening the gate for the future similar activities in whole Europe.
Year 2015 will be 1219 years since these events happened, so even if it is not round number it is a good occasion for gathering on the conference about Scandinavians which were moving around making not only usual Viking stuff – plundering and killing – but, as we can see it now more clearly, introducing changes into societies they were encountering. In the conference we would like to summarise decades of research and try to give an answer to the question:
Lestremau Arnaud, Pratiques anthroponymiques et identités sociales en Angleterre (mi Xe-mi XIe siècles), Thèse de doctorat soutenue le 9 décembre 2013 (dir. R. Le Jan, Université de Paris I ; co-directeur P. Bauduin, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie)
Au nombre des éléments de la vie sociale, le nom est un des plus universels. En effet, il est à la base de toute communication, dans la mesure où il permet de désigner un tiers. Cependant, le nom n’est pas neutre: il porte du sens et il permet souvent d’identifier les groupes auxquels un individu se rattache. L’étude des noms permet de comprendre une des multiples manières qu’ont les acteurs de s’inscrire dans le champ social. Le nom est une marque d’appartenance, consciente ou non, assumée ou non par son porteur. Sa dation, sa circulation, sa mémoire sont autant d’éléments qui peuvent nous renseigner sur le fonctionnement de la société. Comme outil linguistique et objet de la parole collective, mais aussi grâce à son contenu sémantique et à des phénomènes d’écho entre homonymes, le nom contribue à définir l’individu, mais aussi à l’ancrer dans le champ social. Grâce à la plupart des sources anglo-saxonnes des Xe-XIe siècles, nous menons à bien une étude complète de l’usage et des représentations du nom. Le nom peut en effet avoir des significations variables; il peut même recouvrir des identités contradictoires. Notre but, à ce titre, est de saisir tous ces niveaux de signification et d’articuler ces différentes identités. En constituant des corpus de noms et en les replaçant dans des groupes de parenté, dans des familles culturelles et dans d’autres types de communautés, nous montrons l’importance du nom pour signifier l’identité des hommes, tantôt en les distinguant les uns des autres (identité individuelle), tantôt en les inscrivant dans un ensemble d’identités collectives (notamment la parenté).
Among the elements of social life, the name is one of the most universal. Indeed, it is at the root of all communication, insofar as it allows you to designate a third party. However, the name is not neutral : it carries meanings and it often makes possible to identify the groups to which an individual belongs. The study of names thus allows you to understand how the actors are part of the social field. The name is a sign of affiliation, conscious or not, assumed or not, by the holder. Its giving, its circulation and its memory are all elements that can inform us about how societies do work. As a linguistic tool and as an object of the collective speech, but also through its semantic content and through the echoes it creates between homonyms, the name contributes to defining the individual, but also rooted him in the social field. Thanks to most of the late Anglo-Saxon sources, we carry out a comprehensive study about the naming practices and the representations of naming. The name may indeed have varying meanings and may even cover conflicting identities. Our aim, as such, is to capture ail of these levels of meanings and articulate these different identities. By setting up corpora of names and by replacing them in kinship groups, in cultural families and in other types of communities, we show the importance of the name to signify the identity of men, sometimes by distinguishing them from one another (individual identity), sometimes by placing them in a set of collective identities (mostly relatives).
Rety-Letouzey Catherine, Écrits et gestion du temporel dans une grande abbaye de femmes anglo-normande : la Sainte-Trinité de Caen (XIe-XIIIe siècle), Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2011 (dir. Laurent Feller, Université de Paris I ; David Bates, University of East Anglia)
Cette thèse étudie les pratiques de gestion adoptées par les religieuses de La Trinité de Caen pour administrer leur vaste temporel anglo-normand durant les deux premiers siècles de l’histoire du monastère. Fondée vers 1059 par Guillaume le Conquérant et Mathilde de Flandres, l’Abbaye-aux-Dames a élaboré un cartulaire-censier (fin du XIIe siècle) et une série d’enquêtes (XIIe-XIIIe siècles) sans équivalent parmi les archives normandes, mais , qui s’insèrent Outre-Manche dans un corpus documentaire plus développé, bien connu et étudié. L’interrogation soulevée par la réalisation de ces documents dans cette abbaye normande constitue le point de départ de l’étude, qui explore la question des rapports entretenus entre compétences scripturaires et administratives, et qui tente de restituer les stratégies de gestion mises en place par les religieuses, et plus particulièrement leurs abbesses, durant les XIe-XIIIe siècles. Replacer cette documentation dans son contexte de production, celui d’une grande abbaye de femmes, dirigée par des abbesses puissantes et pleinement insérées dans l’univers des pratiques culturelles et administratives anglo-normandes, permet de mieux appréhender les enjeux de la réalisation des enquêtes et du cartulaire de l’Abbaye-aux-Dames. Comme tout grand seigneur ecclésiastique de cette époque, les abbesses de Caen témoignent d’une attention pointilleuse pour le respect de leurs prérogatives, mais aussi d’une conscience aiguë des réalités économiques, et d’une grande détermination dans leur démarche de préservation du temporel établi et organisé par la reine Mathilde, qui a souhaité être enterrée dans le chœur de l’église abbatiale.
Compte rendu par Isabelle Theiller sur le forum de Tabularia (08/12/2011)
Eriksen Stefka Gueorguieva, Writing and reading in medieval manuscript culture. The transmission of the story of Elye in Old French and Old Norse literary contexts, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. G. Jørgensen, Université d’Oslo)
Goodrich Russell, Scandanavians and Settlement in the Eastern Irish Sea Region during the Viking Age, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. L. Huneycutt, Université du Missouri)
The Viking Age in England has long been a source of intellectual curiosity that has often been shrouded in obscurity. Although it is a known fact that the Viking Age (ca. 800-1100) included much activity in England, there is a great deal of debate concerning the nature of the interactions of the Scandinavians with the “native” Anglo-Saxons of England. In the northwest of England and southwest of Scotland is an area that is rich in Scandinavian artifacts and place-names, suggesting a substantial presence in the region. This is termed the Eastern Irish Sea Region, and it includes the more recent territorial designations of Cumberland, Westmorland and northern Lancashire in England, and the regions of Galloway and Dumfriesshire in Scotland, and the Isle of Man. This region make up a more or less uniform cultural area of the time period in question and is the focus of this study. It is almost certain that the region was small in importance compared to the larger and better known Scandinavian regions of York and Dublin, but it is nonetheless important, both as a transit point between them and as an economic producer in its own right. In addition to a considerable analysis of artifacts, the study incorporates a new element, namely the smelting and production of iron in the region, and particularly at the site of the Low Birker, Cumbria, where the author did some field research. Although the Low Birker Project has not been completed, it suggests a possible new chapter of Scandinavian inhabitation of the region, as well as a potential means of economic production.
[Source : http://gradworks.umi.com/34/88/3488606.html]
Goeres Erin Michelle, The King is dead, long live the King : commemoration in skaldic verse of the Viking Age, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, Université d’Oxford)
This thesis examines the function of commemorative skaldic verse at the Viking-age court. The first chapter demonstrates that the commemoration of past kings could provide a prestigious genealogical record that was used to legitimize both pagan and early Christian rulers. In the ninth and early tenth centuries, poets crafted competing genealogies to assert the primacy of their patrons and of their patrons’ religions. The second chapter looks at the work of tenth-century poets who depict their rulers’ entrances into the afterlife. Such poets interrogate the role public speech and poetic discourse play in the commemoration of the king, especially during the political turmoil that follows his death. A discussion follows of the relationship between poets and their patrons in the tenth and eleventh centuries: although this relationship is often praised as one of mutual trust and reliance, the financial aspects of the relationship were often juxtaposed uneasily with expressions of emotional attachment. The death of the patron caused a crisis in these seemingly contradictory bonds between poet and patron. The final chapter demonstrates the dramatic development in the eleventh century of deeply emotional commemorative verse as poets become adopted into their patrons’ families through such Christian ceremonies as baptism and marriage. In these verses poets express their grief after the death of the king and record the performances of public mourning on the part of the kings’ followers. As the petty warlords of the Viking age adapted to medieval models of Christian kingship, the role of the skald changed too. Formerly serving as a propagandist and retainer in the king’s service, a skald documenting the lives of kings at the end of the Viking age could occupy an almost infinite number of roles, from kinsman and friend to advisor and hagiographer.
Harlitz Erika, Urbana system och riksbildning i Skandinavien. En studie av Lödöses uppgång och fall ca 1050 – 1646 [Urban Systems and State Formation in Scandinavia: A Study of the Rise and Fall of the Town of Lödöse, c. 1050– 1646], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Göteborg)
The investigation and analysis of Lödöse’s political functions over a period of six hundred years has made it possible to follow and contextualize a town’s life cycle and development. Lödöse has been used as a case study which illuminates how and why a town emerged, developed and disappeared in medieval and early modern Scandinavia, in relation to the processes of state formation and urbanization. The theory applied is the Dynamic Urban Systems Theory. The position of a town within this theory is determined by the functions of the town, as well as the exclusivity of these functions. The influences of the Scandinavian state formation process on the town and the subsequent emergence of the river Göta Älv as the border of the realm have been ubiquitous during the evolution of Lödöse’s functions. The results of the dissertation have been reached by abandoning the interpretational framework offered by the borders of the Scandinavian national states and instead using the Glomma-Risveden region as a focal point. This way, it has been demonstrated that Lödöse was founded in the 11th century during the urbanization of the medieval eastern Norwegian region of Viken, and not as a power manifestation by the Swedish kings, as has been previously assumed. Due to the evolution of the border between the Norwegian and Swedish kingdoms, Lödöse in time became a part of the developing Swedish urban system. This system evolved and was shaped in such a way by the Swedish state that, by the early 17th century, Lödöse was rendered obsolete; therefore, the town ultimately lost its system position and was subsequently abandoned.
Lamb Sally Elsie, Francia and Scandinavia in the early Viking Age, c.700-900, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. R. D. McKitterick, Université de Cambridge)
Lanpher Ann, The Problem of Revenge in Medieval Literature: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Ljósvetninga Saga, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. A. Orchard, Université de Toronto)
This dissertation considers the literary treatment of revenge in medieval England and Iceland. Vengeance and feud were an essential part of these cultures; far from the reckless, impulsive action that the word conjures up in modern minds, revenge was considered both a right and a duty and was legislated and regulated by social norms. It was an important tool for obtaining justice and protecting property, family, and reputation. Accordingly, many medieval literary works seem to accept revenge without question. Many, however, evince a great sensitivity to the ambiguities and paradoxes inherent in an act of revenge. In my study, I consider three works that are emblematic of this responsiveness to and indeed, anxiety about revenge. Chapter one focuses on the Old English poem Beowulf; chapter two moves on to discuss Chaucer’s Reeve’s Tale and Tale of Melibee from the Canterbury Tales; and chapter three examines the Old Icelandic family saga, Ljósvetninga saga. I focus in particular on the treatment of the avenger in each work. The poet or author of each work acknowledges the perspective of the avenger by allowing him to express his motivations, desires, and justifications for revenge in direct speech. Alongside this acknowledgement, however, is the author’s own reflection on the risks, rewards, and repercussions of the avenger’s intentions and actions. The resulting parallel but divergent narratives highlight the multiplicity of viewpoints found in any act of revenge or feud and reveal a fundamental ambivalence about the value, morality, and necessity of revenge. Each of the works I consider resists easy conclusions about revenge in its own context and remains incredibly current in the way it poses challenging questions about what constitutes injury, punishment, justice, and revenge in our own time.
Löwenborg Daniel, Excavating the Digital Landscape, GIS analyses of social relations in central Sweden in the 1st millennium AD, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. P. Sinclair, Université d’Uppsala)
This thesis presents a number of GIS based landscape analyses that together aim to explore aspects of the social development in Iron Age Västmanland, central Sweden. From a perspective where nature and culture are seen as integrated in the landscape, differences in the relations to the physical landscape are interpreted as reflecting social organisation. Thus, hydrological modelling of watersheds is used for understanding the development of territories and regions that are recognisable in the outlay of the medieval hundare districts. Statistical modelling of burial grounds together with variables describing their situation in the landscape is used to calculate an estimated chronology for sites that have not yet been excavated. This information is used to analyse differences in how the setting in the landscape can tell of different trends in claims to land and property rights. An extensive renegotiation of property rights is suggested to have taken place after climatic catastrophe in AD 536 and the years after. This is interpreted as having caused a substantial population decline in parts of Scandinavia. The social development after this includes an increasingly stratified social hierarchy in the Late Iron Age, which is reflected in the construction of grave monuments. New GIS methods for analysing how to interpret the perception of different locations of the landscape, in terms of local topography and soil are discussed in relation to this. How to make the best use of large datasets of archaeological information in combination with other sources of geographical information is a central theme. Geographically Weighted Regression is used to predicting the representativity of the registry of graves for the whole landscape. It is suggested that the increasing availability of archaeological information in digital format, together with new analytical techniques has the potential to introduce fruitful new research perspectives. This will make it increasingly rewarding to work with the large amount of data produced from rescue archaeology, and it is important that this information is managed in a structured manner.
McGuire Erin-Lee Halstad, Manifestations of identity in burial : evidence from Viking-Age graves in the North Atlantic diaspora,Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. C. Batey, Université de Glasgow)
In the early Middle Ages, when settlers began to leave Scandinavia to find new homes for themselves and their families, they began a process that impacted their lives dramatically. Research on modern population movements has demonstrated that migration-induced stresses change the lives of immigrants, and shape how they adapt to their new homes. Migration affects societies and people in a number of ways: it changes family and household organisation; gender relations and roles shift; and general social and cultural structures are altered through the integration of different practices and beliefs. While the identification of the societal changes caused by migration has been the focus of research in a number of fields, it has yet to be directly addressed in archaeology. This thesis seeks to examine the ways in which various social identities were displayed through funerary rituals and the associated material culture in the Norse North Atlantic, and to identify how these changed through the course of migration. The analysis is conducted by comparing burial data collected from two regions of Norway, representing the homeland of the migrants, and Scotland and Iceland, representing two critical destination points. Approximately 500 graves are catalogued and assessed using multivariate statistics. Six case studies, selected from the study areas, are used for comparative purposes. The analysis of the overall data-set and the case study sites indicates that there are key differences between the homeland and the communities of the Viking diaspora. Moreover, the results indicate that the circumstances of migration, such as location, resource availability, and the presence of a local population, results in society changing in different, yet significant, ways: gendered burial practices are altered; new manifestations of traditional rites appear; and migrant identities emerge.
[Source : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/1736/]
McLennan Alistair, Monstrosity in Old English and Old Icelandic literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. K. Lowe, Université de Glasgow)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine Old English and Old Icelandic literary examples of monstrosity from a modern theoretical perspective. I examine the processes of monstrous change by which humans can become identified as monsters, focusing on the role played by social and religious pressures. In the first chapter, I outline the aspects of monster theory and medieval thought relevant to the role of society in shaping identity, and the ways in which anti-societal behaviour is identified with monsters and with monstrous change. Chapter two deals more specifically with Old English and Old Icelandic social and religious beliefs as they relate to human and monstrous identity. I also consider the application of generic monster terms in Old English and Old Icelandic. Chapters three to six offer readings of humans and monsters in Old English and Old Icelandic literary texts in cases where a transformation from human to monster occurs or is blocked. Chapter three focuses on Grendel and Heremod in Beowulf and the ways in which extreme forms of anti-societal behaviour are associated with monsters. In chapter four I discuss the influence of religious beliefs and secular behaviour in the context of the transformation of humans into the undead in the Íslendingasögur. In chapter five I consider outlaws and the extent to which criminality can result in monstrous change. I demonstrate that only in the most extreme instances is any question of an outlaw’s humanity raised. Even then, the degree of sympathy or admiration evoked by such legendary outlaws as Grettir, Gísli and Hörðr means that though they are ambiguous in life, they may be redeemed in death. The final chapter explores the threats to human identity represented by the wilderness, with specific references to Guthlac A, Andreas and Bárðar saga and the impact of Christianity on the identity of humans and monsters. I demonstrate that analysis of the social and religious issues in Old English and Old Icelandic literary sources permits nuanced readings of monsters and monstrosity which in turn enriches understanding of the texts in their entirety.
[Source : http://theses.gla.ac.uk/2287/]
Monikander Anne, Våld och vatten, Våtmarkskult vid Skedemosse under järnåldern, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. I. Jansson, Université de Stockholm)
This thesis examines the wetland sacrifices that were performed in Northern Europe in the Iron Age. Skedemosse on central Öland is the largest wetland sacrifice in Sweden and was the site of a cult which sacrificed animals and humans. Between the late second century and well into the fifth century the place was also used for large sacrifices of military equipment. New radiocarbon dates has shown that the place functioned as a ritual place from the Pre Roman Iron Age and into the Late Viking Age.Both in the Iron Age and later wetlands seem to have been both venerated and feared and the thesis discusses why this came to be, and how it can be seen in the archaeological material.A smaller part of the sacrificial site of Skedemosse was selected for a closer study and it was possible to establish several depositions which appear to have been treated slightly different from each other.The investigations of the animal sacrifices have focused on the horses as they are the most common animal. The horse was an important mythological animal in the Iron Age and they were equally important in the cult. The horses in Skedemosse were eaten in ritual meals, and it is possible that some of them took part in ritual races along the ridge east of the former lake. Such races were called skeið and the name Skedemosse may be derived from this word.Skedemosse is also rare because the remains of ca 38 people have been found in it. Some of these people have suffered a violent death. They are compared to other bog bodies from northern Europe and the follow a similar pattern to those; In the Pre Roman Iron Age mainly women and children were sacrificed and after the first century AD mainly men ended up in the lake.