Book Series The North Atlantic World, vol. 5

Networks in the Medieval North

Studies in Honour of Jón Viðar Sigurðsson

Benjamin Allport, Rosalind Bonté, Hans Jacob Orning (eds)

  • Pages: 372 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:5 b/w, 12 col., 2 tables b/w., 1 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60238-7
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60239-4
  • E-book
  • Available


Ben Allport is a postdoctoral research fellow at Universitetet i Oslo. He received his PhD from the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic in Cambridge.

Rosalind Bonté is a publishing manager at Brepols Publishers. She received her PhD from the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic in Cambridge, and she is an honorary assistant professor at the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age, University of Nottingham

Hans Jacob Orning is professor of medieval history at University of Oslo. He received his PhD in 2004. He has published extensively on Nordic medieval history.


By the late thirteenth century, Norgesveldet — the Norwegian realm — stretched far beyond its core in western Scandinavia. At its height in 1264, Norgesveldet connected Norse speakers in tributary territories ranging from the Irish Sea to Orkney and across the Atlantic to the Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland. But what held this disparate realm together? What were the dynamics of power between the men and women of the governing and elite classes of Norgesveldet? And what roles did different bodies play at different levels of society in creating and maintaining these networks — from kings and bishops to scribes and scholars, traders, and law-makers?

This volume aims to expand on and further recent important research into connections between Norway and the wider Norse North Atlantic from the eleventh century, during which the Norwegian kingdom began to emerge, through to the fourteenth-century decline of Norgesveldet with the creation of the Kalmar Union. Each chapter addresses a different facet of the Norgesveldet networks, building a complex picture of both their function and their evolving nature. Taking as its inspiration the research and career of its honorand, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, the volume explores medieval Norway and its wider connections using three key frameworks — sociopolitical networks, legal and material networks, and literary networks — with the aim of shedding new light on the people and processes of this North Atlantic polity.


1. Introduction - A Medieval and Modern Friend
Ben Allport, Rosalind Bonté, and Hans Jacob Orning

I. Sociopolitical Networks

2. A Game of Friends and Networks: Power Dynamics in Early Twelfth-Century Scandinavia
Kim Esmark and Lars Hermanson
3. Social Network Analysis and Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar
Ben Allport
4. Furness Abbey, the Archbishopric of Niðaróss, and the Diocese of Sodor
Fiona Edmonds and Sarah E. Thomas
5. Men, Women, and Friendship in Medieval Iceland: The Absent Female Friend Revisited
Auður Magnúsdóttir
6. In potentia? The Political Agency of Elite Women in High Medieval Norway
Randi B. Wærdahl

II. Legal and Material Networks

7. The Sigurðsson Hypothesis: Negotiating Silver and Money between the Rhine and Scandinavia, c. 975 to c. 1050
Svein H. Gullbekk
8. Iceland and the Kings of Norway in the Middle Ages
Helgi Þorláksson
9. Texture in Járnsíða
Már Jónsson
10. Inscriptions: The Staging and Making of Networks in Late Medieval Icelandic Manuscripts
Lena Rohrbach
11. Pigments and Merchants in the North Sea Network: From Source to Palette
Noëlle L.W. Streeton

III. Literary Networks

12. Until Death Do Us Apart — The Death of Snæfríðr and the Mouvance of Narratives of Kings
Karl G. Johansson
13. Royal Influence and Icelandic Independence: Conversion and Cultural Memory in Medieval Iceland
Rosalind Bonté
14. Agnates, Cognates, and the Community of the Realm in Medieval Norway and Iceland
Alex Woolf
15. The Network of Gottskálksannáll
Elizabeth Ashman Rowe
16. Networks of Knowledge: The Quest for Northern Greatness in Early Modern Historiography
Anne Eriksen

Jón Viðar Sigurðsson: A Bibliography