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Cross and ScepterThe Rise of the Scandinavian Kingdoms from the Vikings to the Reformation$
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Sverre Bagge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169088

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169088.001.0001

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Royal, Aristocratic, and Ecclesiastical Culture

Royal, Aristocratic, and Ecclesiastical Culture

Chapter:
(p.174) Chapter Four Royal, Aristocratic, and Ecclesiastical Culture
Source:
Cross and Scepter
Author(s):

Sverre Bagge

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691169088.003.0005

This chapter examines four themes that raise the question of the connection between cultural development and social change in the Scandinavian kingdoms: religious versus secular literature, the social importance of Christianity, the writing of history, and the formation of a courtly culture from the mid-thirteenth century onwards. In particular, it considers the extent to which cultural and literary expressions of these social changes were actively used to promote the interests of the monarchy, the Church, and the aristocracy. The chapter first discusses the role of the Church as the main institution of learning in Scandinavia and in the rest of Europe before assessing the extent to which Christianity penetrated Scandinavian society at levels below the clerical elite. It then turns to a charismatic figure, St. Birgitta of Vadstena in Sweden, and historical writing as a literary genre in medieval Scandinavia. Finally, it provides an overview of courtly culture in Scandinavia.

Keywords:   cultural development, religious literature, secular literature, Christianity, social change, monarchy, Church, aristocracy, St. Birgitta of Vadstena, historical writing

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