The Danish Medieval Laws

The Danish Medieval Laws : the laws of Scania, Zealand and Jutland

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The Danish medieval laws: the laws of Scania, Zealand and Jutland contains translations of the four most important medieval Danish laws written in the vernacular. The main texts are those of the Law of Scania, the two laws of Zealand - Valdemar's and Erik's - and the Law of Jutland, all of which date from the early thirteenth century. The Church Law of Scania and three short royal ordinances are also included. These provincial laws were first written down in the first half of the thirteenth century and were in force until 1683, when they were replaced by a national law. The laws, preserved in over 100 separate manuscripts, are the first extended texts in Danish and represent a first attempt to create a Danish legal language.

The book starts with a brief but thorough introduction to the history of Denmark in the thirteenth century, covering the country, the political setting and the legal context in which the laws were written. There follows the translated text from each province, preceded by a general introduction to each area and an introduction to the translation offering key contextual information and background on the process of translating the laws. An Old Danish-English glossary is also included, along with an annotated glossary to support the reading of the translations.

This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of medieval Scandinavian legal history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 358 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 20.57mm | 658g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 3 Line drawings, black and white
  • 1138951358
  • 9781138951358

Table of contents

Abbriviations. Foreword. General Introduction Part I 1 Denmark around 1200 2 The Church 3 The laws 4 The medieval laws in Danish legal history 5 The law texts 6 Translating medieval laws 7 The language of the laws 8 The law in the laws Part II. The provinces and the laws 9 Scania 10 The Scanian laws 11 The Church Law of Scania 12 The Law of Scania 13 The royal ordinances 14 Knud VI's Ordinance on Homicide 28 December 1200 15 The Ordinance on Compensation 16 The Ordinance on the ordeal of hot iron 17 The province and laws of Zealand 18 Valdemar's Law of Zealand 19 The Church Law of Zealand 20 The Law of Zealand known as the Law of Valdemar 21 Erik's Law of Zealand 22 The province of Jutland and Funen and the Law of Jutland 23 The Law of Jutland. Terminology. Glossary Old Danish - English
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Review quote

"This volume is more than a translation of the medieval Danish laws. The introduction to the law texts is a masterpiece of the form, comprehensive and efficiently informative. It will engage the scholar, and instruct the student. The translation is reliable and natural given the usual difficulties that arise rendering local legal concepts in another language. The brief introduction to medieval Denmark, setting the more general background for the laws, is remarkable for how much information it conveys with crisp clarity."
William Ian Miller, University of Michigan, USA
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About Helle Vogt

Ditlev Tamm is Professor of Legal History at the University of Copenhagen.

Helle Vogt, is Associate Professor of Legal History at the University of Copenhagen. Her previous publications include The Function of Kinship in Nordic Medieval Legislation (2010) and (as editor with Kim Esmark, Lars Hermanson and Hans Jacob Orning) Disputing Strategies in Medieval Scandinavia (2013).
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