Guta Lag and Guta Saga: The Law and History of the Gotlanders

1st Edition

Christine Peel

Routledge
Published January 29, 2015
Reference - 334 Pages
ISBN 9781138804210 - CAT# Y172840
Series: Routledge Medieval Translations

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Summary

Guta Lag, the law of the independent island of Gotland, is one of the earliest laws of Scandinavia. The historical appendix to the law, Guta Saga, was written in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Together, Guta Lag and its accompanying Saga provide an invaluable insight into the lives of the people living on Gotland, the largest of Sweden’s Baltic islands, in 1000-1400. Guta Lag and Guta Saga: The Law and History of the Gotlanders is the first time that these two important texts have been translated into English and combined in one edition, accompanied by an extensive commentary and historical contextualisation by Christine Peel.

In the Viking Age, the island of Gotland maintained its own law and administrative system. It was distinctive among Swedish provinces, retaining its own laws until 1645 while mainland provincial laws were all superseded by national law in the mid-fourteenth century. Preserved in eight manuscripts, it illustrates the everyday life and administrative system of the people of Gotland. Guta Saga tells the story of the island from its discovery by the legendary Þieluar, who removed the enchantment upon it which led to its inhabitation. Read together, the texts provide a complete picture of an island unique among Scandinavian provinces, offering a rare view of everyday people in medieval Scandinavia.

This innovative and timely translation will be fascinating and essential reading for scholars of Scandinavian studies and legal history.

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