Medieval Research Cluster

The Landslov of 1274 – Multiple Perspectives

This conference marks the 750th anniversary of the completion of King Magnus the Lawmender’s Landslov of 1274 in Bergen.

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The Landslov of 1274 – Multiple Perspectives brings together historians, legal historians, archaeologists, philologists, and other scholars to discuss the Landslov from different perspectives over four days.

Through seven sessions, the conference will therefore be concerned with fundamental themes relating to the Landslov from a range of disciplines. The law will be discussed in a comparative perspective across time and space, also focusing upon influential sources. The conference addresses questions concerning governance and medieval society as regulated by the law, focusing on both local communities and the king. Different social groups, such as women and the poor, and their roles and rights in society, will be discussed, highlighting the social dimensions of the law. The conference also addresses questions concerning law and order, focusing on both crimes and punishments. Different aspects of the text and illuminations of the Landslov will be examined, also with a focus on potential owners of manuscripts.

The Landslov was in use for more than 400 years and regulated important aspects of society, not least regarding property and inheritance, which also will be debated. The conference aims both to establish the state of the art of research on the Landslov across various disciplines and to discuss questions for future research.  

The conference concludes with a round table discussion in which participants will draw connections between and debate themes from the entire meeting.

The conference takes place in Bergen, the very place where the Landslov was compiled. Once the king’s seat in the 13th century, Bergen is now an internationally oriented city. Three buildings of great importance for King Magnus, Håkon’s hall, the Rosenkrantz tower, and the Franciscan Olav’s Church, still leave their mark on Bergen.

The first day of the conference will take place in Håkon’s Hall, Norway’s first castle, and the hall where King Magnus celebrated his wedding with the Danish princess Ingeborg in 1261. The rest of the conference will be in The University Aula at the University of Bergen.

Monday 16 September Håkon’s hall 

 Chair: Irene Baug
15:00-15:15Opening/Welcome by Rector of the University of Bergen, Margareth Hagen

Law and legislation in the 13th century, where does the Landslov fit in? Keynote by Helle Vogt, professor in legal history, University of Copenhagen


The Code of the Realm of 1274’s political-institutional significance Keynote by Erik Opsahl, professor in medieval history, NTNU, Trondheim


Guided tour in the Rosenkrantztower and to the Landslov exhibition at Bryggens Museum

Tuesday 17 September the University Aula 

Session 1   The Landslov in a comparative perspective

 Chair: Sören Koch

Why do kings make laws? The Landslov in a global comparative perspective by Fernanda Pirie, professor of the Anthropology of Law, University of Oxford


Enlightened Medieval Laws: Siete Partidas and the Landslov in the building of ‘national law’. A comparative perspective by Laura Beck, professor at the Universitas Autónoma Madrid  


A Fresh Perspective on the Treaty of Perth (1266): legal expertise and the negotiation of Norwegian foreign affairs at the court of Magnus VI by Andrew Simpson, professor in Scots Private Law, University of Aberdeen


Impact from, reminiscences of, or how can we understand common legal customs and language between Norwegian law and medieval law in northern Sweden? by Stefan Brink, professor of Scandinavian Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands


King Magnus Lawmender and the Canon Law by Anders Winroth, professor in history, University of Oslo


Session 2   Formative influences on the Landslov

 Chair: Alf Tore Hommedal

Influences from Denmark by Helen Leslie-Jacobsen, associate professor in Norse philology, University of Bergen


Islamic Law by Eirik Hovden, research professor in Arabic, University of Bergen


How did the Code of 1274, and older Norwegian laws, try to secure that people knew the law? by Else Mundal, professor emeritus, University of Bergen


Session 3   Governance

 Chair: Kirsi Salonen

Kristindómsbálkr. On ecclesiastical and royal power by Anna Elisa Tryti, researcher in medieval history, Vestland Fylkeskommune


The Landslov, Local Community, and Dispute Settlement by Jon Viðar Sigurdsson, professor in history, University of Oslo


The law and the land – spatial dimensions of governance by Halldis Hobæk, researcher in archaeology at Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU)


Military strategies and the leiðangr of the Landslov by Marie Ødegaard, associate professor in archaeology, University of Stavanger


Wednesday 18 September the University Aula 

Session 4   Social dimensions of the Landslov

 Chair: Anna Elisa Tryti

Women, aliens and the poor in King Magnús’ laws and later practise by Miriam Tveit, associate professor in history, Nord University


Law and pious donations to ecclesiastical institutions by Embla Aae, PhD candidate, University of Bergen


Women and Children in the Law? An archaeological Perspective by Sigrid Samset Mygland, senior curator in medieval archaeology, Bergen City Museum


Medieval hospitals and the poor by Alf Tore Hommedal, associate professor in archaeology, University of Bergen


Session 5   Law and order

 Chair: Eirik Hovden

Manslaughter in the National Law by Sverre Bagge, professor emeritus in medieval history, University of Bergen


Crime and punishment by Kirsi Salonen, professor in medieval history, University of Bergen


Session 6   Text and transmission

 Chair: Helen Leslie-Jacobsen

The history of the Landslov of 1274 by Magnus Rindal, professor emeritus in Norse philology


Tracing scribes and owners of Old Norse legal manuscripts by Anna Horn, researcher in medieval studies, University of Oslo


Illuminations in the law – what do they tell? by Stefan Drechsler, researcher in Norse philology, University of Bergen


Thursday 19 September the University Aula 

Session 7   Regulating property

 Chair: Halldis Hobæk

Property concept of the Landslov by Børge Aadland, assistant professor, University of Bergen 


Skipti in the Code of 1274 and its relevance to later land consolidation regulations in the Norwegian legal culture by Lars August Kvestad, associate professor, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences


Examining oðol in the Code of 1274 – The meeting point of inheritance and property law by Brage Hatløy, postdoctoral researcher in legal history, University in Bergen


Panel discussion

10:45–12:00Our concluding panel discussion will address and revisit key topics from the conference. Helen Leslie-Jacobsen, University of Bergen will steer the discussion.

Minor changes in the programme may occur.