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date: 06 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The region that later comprised the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden was Christianized between 900 and 1200. A change from oral to written laws apparently took place first in twelfth-century Norway and Iceland, although the surviving legal manuscripts are some centuries later. Danish provincial laws were compiled c.1200–50 and the Swedish provincial laws only later. In all three Scandinavian kingdoms, royal and ecclesiastical statutes preceded the compilation of provincial laws. Precocious legal unification of the realms of Norway and Sweden was reached by nationwide law in 1274 (Norway) and Sweden (c.1350), supplemented in both kingdoms by town laws. In Denmark, the provincial laws remained in force until the 1680s. Roman law influences came mostly through canon law. Continental legal influences were also transmitted from Germany (feudal and town law). The universities of Uppsala and Copenhagen (1470s) had relatively little impact, clerics mostly studying law at Continental universities.

Keywords: Scandinavia, canon law, vernacular law, provincial laws, statutes, town law, German law, universities, nationwide law

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