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The position of freed slaves in medieval Iceland

The position of freed slaves in medieval Iceland

The position of freed slaves in medieval Iceland

By Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson

Saga Book, Vol.22 (1986)

Introduction: Freed slaves are mentioned in various passages of Landnamabok, the Family Sagas and other works that deal with the history of Icelanders in the tenth century. These accounts will be set forth in this essay, and in the first place I shall try to estimate their value as sources with reference to the authority of the works in which they appear. The next step will be an attempt by comparative methods to throw light on the position held by freedmen in the early days of the republic. Material for comparison is chiefly drawn from the law-texts, but a few later sources are also taken into consideration.


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