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Viking Law and OrderPlaces and Rituals of Assembly in the Medieval North$
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Alexandra Sanmark

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474402293

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474402293.001.0001

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Elite Rituals at Scandinavian Assemblies

Elite Rituals at Scandinavian Assemblies

(p.82) 4 Elite Rituals at Scandinavian Assemblies
Viking Law and Order

Alexandra Sanmark

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter builds on the evidence of thing sites as elite foci in the landscape. Previous chapters have shown that the elite strived for the ‘right’ site architecture and competed with rivals through the design of their thing sites. The assembly features were not only symbolic, but also played important roles in the various assembly site rituals. The majority of these rituals seem to have been elite-driven and modifications to the sites can therefore be seen as reflections of societal change, for example in terms of ruler ship and religion. In this chapter, the identified assembly site features will be investigated in terms of their meaning and function in elite rituals carried out at these sites. The differing roles and experiences of the thing participants and the attendees add to the multi-layered nature of the assembly gatherings The assembly rituals can be defined as ‘commemorative’, which entail performances, that is evocation and declarations of key components of ritual narratives, but also bodily movements, such as gestures, postures and motion. In addition, dramatic spectacle tends to be employed to strengthen memory creation.

Keywords:   Ritual, Scandinavia, Elite, Assembly, Memory

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