Thraldom: A History of Slavery in the Viking Age (Hardcover)

Thraldom: A History of Slavery in the Viking Age By Stefan Brink Cover Image

Thraldom: A History of Slavery in the Viking Age (Hardcover)

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Nordic slavery is an elusive phenomenon, with few similarities to the systematic exploitation of slaves in households, mines, and amphitheaters in the ancient Mediterranean or the widespread slavery at American plantations during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Scandinavians in the
early Middle Ages lived in a society foreign to us, characterized by different and shifting social statuses. A person could be at once socially respected and unfree. It was possible to hand oneself over as a slave to someone else in exchange for protection and food. One could be sentenced
temporarily to enslavement for some offense but later purchase his manumission. Young men could enter into a kind of contract with a king or chieftain to join his retinue, accepting his authority, patronage, and jurisdiction, while at the same time making a quick social elevation.

Slavery was widespread all over Europe during the early Middle Ages and Scandinavians, as Stefan Brink illustrates in this book, became a major player in the northern slave trade. However, the Vikings were not particularly interested in taking slaves to Scandinavia; instead, their business model
seems to have been to raid, abduct, and then sell captured people at major slave markets. Their goal was not people but silver. Using a wide variety of source materials, including archaeology, runes, Icelandic sagas, early law, place names, personal names, and not least etymological and semantic
analyses of the terminology of slaves, Thraldom provides the most thorough survey of slavery in the Viking Age.
Stefan Brink is Professor of Scandinavian Studies at the Institute of Nordic Studies at the University of Highlands and Islands, and Professor and Researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is an Honorary Research Associate at the Department ofAnglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge, and formerly the Sixth Century Chair of Scandinavian Studies at University of Aberdeen. He is also a Member of the Royal Swedish and the Royal Scottish Science Academies. His previous books include Namenwelten (2004), The Viking World (2008), Sacred Sites and Holy Places. Exploring the Sacralization of Landscape Through Time and Space (2013) New Approaches to Early Law in Scandinavia (2014), and Theorizing Old Norse Myth (2017).
Product Details ISBN: 9780197532355
ISBN-10: 0197532357
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: September 24th, 2021
Pages: 408
Language: English