The power of the ruler, and ideology, are central elements in the political, social, religious and cultural development of the North during the transition from the Viking to the Middle Ages. The processes at work during this period of change can be discerned in the concepts and practices associated with chieftains, earls and kings. It has therefore been a premise for our research project that the ideology of rulership constitutes a focal point during this transformation of Nordic culture from the ninth to the thirteenth century. Consequently, we examine the ideology of rulership in a wide spectrum of analyses. The medieval European Christian ideology of rulership has been widely discussed both in European and Nordic scholarly circles. However, a wider approach which also considers the Nordic pre-Christian expressions of power, and their transformations and con-frontations with the ‘new’ ideals of the Christian Middle Ages, has sofar been lacking.
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