Peace Agreements Through Rituals in Areas of Confrontation in the Viking Age
The aim of this paper is to discuss peace agreements and rituals from the perspective of the history of religions. Hostages, fosterages, intermarriages, and other ritual activities were associated with peacemaking during the Viking Age. These ritual activities will be discussed in relation to a proposed conflict and consensus model on the macro and micro levels, with examples from England and Iceland. The examples include the treaties between the Viking ruler Guthrum and Alfred the Great in the 880s as well as conflicts and agreements in the Landnámabók and the Íslendingabók, in addition to iconography (some archaeological objects) and place names. Through these examples I will present an analysis of peace agreements, or peacemakings, as mutual understandings, as well as power relations within a ritual framework. The agreements in the examples are also seen in relation to other societal activities and forces such as economy, politics, and law. The paper brings together a synthesis of previous research and new readings and interpretations of primary sources.
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