Centre for Medieval Studies

From Viking Stronghold to Christian Kingdom

Sverre Bagge's new book examines the formation of the Norwegian state as a case that illuminates general questions on European state formation in the Middle Ages.

The medieval bases for the development of modern European nation states as well as the very idea of a common Europe represent one of the key ways in which an understanding of the medieval world helps us better understand our present circumstances.

In his most recent book, From Viking Stronghold to Christian Kingdom, CMS director Sverre Bagge examines the formation of the Norwegian state from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries as a detailed case that serves to elucidate many general questions and problems related to European state formation in this seminal period. The picture Bagge depicts reveals a European system of independent, yet interconnected kingdoms in which each displays its own particular internal developments, but every one participates within a common cultural framework.

The book provides an introductory account of the formation of the kingdom of Norway and subsequently offers sections on military organisation, religion and monarchy, justice and law, royal and ecclesiastical administration, as well as the social foundation for the division of power in the medieval kingdom. It concludes with a consideration of the extent and character of Norwegian state formation in the Middle Ages. Published by Museum Tusculanum Press, this book offers an important discussion of many themes developed and explored within the project devoted to state formation and political culture at CMS.