Nordic Elites in Transformation, c. 1050-1250, Volume II explores the structures and workings of social networks within the elites of medieval Scandinavia to reveal the intricate relationship between power and status.

Section one of this volume categorizes basic types of personal bonds, both vertical and horizontal, while section two charts patterns of local, regional and transnational elite networks from wide-scope, longitudinal perspectives. Finally, the third section turns to case-studies of networks in action, analyzing strategies and transactions implied by uses of social resources in specific micro-political settings. A concluding chapter discusses how social power in the North compared to wider European experiences. A wide range of sources and methodologies is applied to reveal how networks were established, maintained, and put to use – and how they transformed in processes of centralizing power and formalizing hierarchies.

The engagement with and analysis of intriguing primary source material has produced a key teaching tool for instructors and essential reading for students interested in the workings of medieval Scandinavia, elite class structures, and Social and Political History more generally.

chapter 1|7 pages


ByKim Esmark, Lars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning

section Section I|67 pages

Social Bonds, Social Resources

chapter 2|22 pages

Kith and Kin

Ties of Blood and Marriage
ByKim Esmark, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson, Helle Vogt

chapter 3|21 pages

Lords and Followers

Patron-Client Relationships
ByLars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning

chapter 4|22 pages

Friends and Allies

Networks of Horizontal Bonds
ByLars Hermanson, Hans Jacob Orning

section Section II|135 pages

Patterns of Networks

chapter 6|21 pages

Nordic and Eastern Elites. Contacts Across the Baltic Sea

An Exiled Clan
ByJohn H. Lind

chapter 7|19 pages

Contact and Continuity

England and the Scandinavian Elites in the Early Middle Ages
ByMarie Bønløkke Missuno

chapter 8|25 pages

Character Networks of the Íslendinga Sögur and Þættir

ByRalph Kenna, Pádraig MacCarron

chapter 9|23 pages

Angels in Scandinavia

Papal Legates and Networks of Nordic Elites, Twelfth–Thirteenth Centuries
ByWojtek Jezierski

chapter 10|20 pages

Social Friendships Between the Dominican Order and Elite Groups in Thirteenth-Century Scandinavia

ByJohnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen

section Section III|133 pages

Networks in Action

chapter 11|22 pages

Friends, Foes, and Followers

Power, Networks, and Intimacy in Medieval Iceland
ByAuður Magnúsdóttir

chapter 12|15 pages

Forming Bonds With Followers in Medieval Iceland

The Cases of Thordr kakali and Thorgils skarði
ByViðar Pálsson

chapter 13|19 pages

Strength Through Weakness

Regent Elites Under Kings Inge, Sigurd, and Magnus Haraldsson
ByIan Peter Grohse

chapter 14|14 pages

The Politics of Exile in Northern Europe

The Case of Knud V of Denmark
ByOle-Albert Rønning

chapter 15|19 pages

Social Power and Conversion of Capital

Sune Ebbesen of Zealand
ByKim Esmark

chapter 16|21 pages

Constructing the Friendships and Hierarchies of the Clerical Elite

A Case Study of the Relationship Between Øm Abbey and Bishop Tyge
BySveinung K. Boye

chapter 17|21 pages

Elites and Social Bonds – How Nordic Were the Nordic Medieval Elites?

ByArnoud-Jan Bijsterveld, Kim Esmark, Hans Jacob Orning