Room for all? Spaces and places for thing assemblies: the case of the All-thing on Gotland, Sweden
2008 (English)In: Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, ISSN 1782-7183, E-ISSN 2030-9902, Vol. 4, 133-157 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Roma on Gotland in the Baltic Sea was an important place at the physical and symbolic centre of Iron-Age and Medieval Gotland. Roma has two particularly well-known historical features: the Cistercian monastery and the gathering-place of the Gotlandic all-thing. This article will consider the nature of the place, the foundation of the monastery, and the character of the thing, and will point to an alternative site for the all-thing. It will be suggested that an older Iron-Age cult site came under the control of a chieftain in the later Iron Age, and that in the Viking and early medieval phases a major landowner or chieftain/petty king may have introduced Christianity, established connections with the continental Church, founded a monastery and inaugurated a thing-place in Roma, just as his equals did in other areas of Scandinavia. The monastery and the all-thing have in the past been thought to indicate the existence of a particularly egalitarian and non-stratified society on Gotland in the Viking Age and Middle Ages. I propose that this was not the case. Through historical circumstance, Gotland never developed a noble class as on the mainland; this however does not mean there were not Viking-Age or early medieval lords with such aspirations.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Turnhout: Brepols , 2008. Vol. 4, 133-157 p.
Thing (legal), Assembly place, Norse law, Gotland, Scandinavian aristocracy, friðr, common space, Al, Vi, hringr
Ting (juridik), samlingsplats, lag, Gotland, Skandinavisk aristokrati, friðr, Al, Vi, hringr
Research subject Archaeology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-30811DOI: 10.1484/J.VMS.1.100308OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-30811DiVA: diva2:274162