Petty kingdoms of Norway

Petty Kingdoms Of Norway

Petty kingdoms of Norway

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The Petty kingdoms of Norway were the entities from which the later Kingdom of Norway was founded. Before the unification of Norway in 872 and during the period of fragmentation after King Harald Fairhair's death Norway was divided in several small kingdoms. Some could have been as small as a cluster of villages and others comprised several of today's counties.



By the time of the first historical records of Scandinavia, about the 700s AD, a number of small political entities existed in Norway. The exact number is unknown, and would probably also fluctuate with time. It has been estimated that there were 9 petty realms in Western Norway during the early Viking age. Bjørn Ringstad, Vestlandets største gravminner. Et forsøk på lokalisering av forhistoriske maktsentra, (Bergen, 1986)Bergljot Solberg, Jernalderen i Norge, (Oslo, 2000)

There are no written source from this time to tell us the title used by these rulers, or the exact borders between their realms. The main written sources we have on this period, the kings' sagas, were not written until the 12th and 13th centuries. While they were in part based on skaldic poems, and possibly on oral tradition, their reliability as sources for detailed events of the Viking age continues to be debated among historians. The sagas, most notable of which is Heimskringla, often...
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