download Best Viking Friendship: The Social Bond in Iceland and Norway, c. 900-1300 By Jon Vidar Sigurdsson –

To a faithful friend, straight are the roads and short Odin, from the Havamal cFriendship was the most important social bond in Iceland and Norway during the Viking Age and the early Middle Ages Farsignificantly than kinship ties, it defined relations between chieftains, and between chieftains and householders In Viking Friendship, Jon Vidar Sigurdsson explores the various ways in which friendship tied Icelandic and Norwegian societies together, its role in power struggles and ending conflicts, and how it shaped religious beliefs and practices both before and after the introduction of ChristianityDrawing on a wide range of Icelandic sagas and other sources, Sigurdsson details how loyalties between friends were established and maintained The key elements of Viking friendship, he shows, were protection and generosity, which was most often expressed through gift giving and feasting In a society without institutions that could guarantee support and security, these were crucial means of structuring mutual assistance As a political force, friendship was essential in the decentralized Free State period in Iceland s history from its settlement aboutuntil it came under Norwegian control in the years as local chieftains vied for power and peace In Norway, where authority wascentralized, kings attempted to use friendship to secure the loyalty of their subjectsThe strong reciprocal demands of Viking friendship also informed the relationship that individuals had both with the Old Norse gods and, after , with Christianity s God and saints Addressing such other aspects as the possibility of friendship between women and the relationship between friendship and kinship, Sigurdsson concludes by tracing the decline of friendship as the fundamental social bond in Iceland as a consequence of Norwegian rule