Sturlungaöld

170316.001

17. mars 2016

Marion Poilvez

Skógarmaðr minn

Function and dynamics of outlawry in the Age of the Sturlungs

Marion Poilvez
Marion Poilvez

During the saga-age, Icelandic outlaws tend to be depicted as beasts, hunted down to death by farmers and chieftains trying to get rid of the problem which came to their district. The outlaw leads a rather lonely life, looking for food, shelter, at best obtaining temporary help from family members or setting up a small community in the wilderness. Only rarely, they may receive protection from a chieftain. By contrast, outlaws are often mentioned in Sturlunga saga as subject to the authority of powerful chieftains who act as patrons. They appear as less menacing figures, being instead an integral part of existing power structures. They are no more a lingering threat within a district, but a hired force meant to play a role in the territorial struggles of the 13th century.

In this paper I intend to analyze the changes in the depiction of outlawry from the Saga Age to the Sturlung Age. In theory, the structure of the penalty did not change in the second era, though its function within the dynamics of Icelandic society may have. I will question whether this depiction is connected to an actual historical change, or rather to differences of genre, interest and literary style between the Íslendingasögur and Sturlunga saga. Finally, I aim to discuss how outlaws could have participated in the construction of the territorial power and aristocratic aspirations of the Sturlung age chieftains, and to which extent this transformation turned the institution of full outlawry obsolete.

Marion Poilvez studied at the University of Western Brittany (France) and at the University of Iceland. She is currently writing her Ph.D dissertation at the University of Iceland where she investigates the role of outlawry in medieval Icelandic society, its evolution and the literary meaning of stories about fugitives.

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17. mars 2016

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson

Um grið og griðastaði á Sturlungaöld

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson
Sveinbjörn Rafnsson

Ein elsta löggjöf um griðastaði á Íslandi virðist vera um fjörbaugsgarð. Hún er, eins og hún er varðveitt, varla eldri en frá 11. öld enda ber hún glögg merki um áhrif frá Móselögum, eins og bent hefur verið á. Gamall siður virðist jafnframt hafa verið að mæla fyrir griðum og setja grið sem glöggt sést til í Sturlungu. Í átökum höfðingja á Sturlungaöld má sjá dæmi um fjörbaugssektir, en kirkjugrið virðast vera það form griða og griðastaða sem stöðugt sækir á þótt ekki sé kveðið á um þau í Kristinrétti forna. Fjörbaugsgarður hverfur úr íslenskum lögum með lögbókunum á síðari hluta 13. aldar.

Sveinbjörn Rafnsson er doktor í sagnfræði frá háskólanum í Lundi. Hann er prófessor emeritus frá Háskóla Íslands þar sem hann kenndi um árabil. Rannsóknir hans hafa að talsverðu leyti verið í íslenskri miðaldasögu, meðal annars um Landnámabók, íslenskar fornsögur og forn lög.