Faxeholm i maktens landskap : en historisk arkeologi

Sammanfattning: In which way did the power structures of central Sweden expand into the territories north of the forest Ödmården during the Middle Ages? This text reads like a general hypothesis for this process, which attempts to incorporate all relevant elements in the Medieval landscape of power. The study area chosen is the province of Hälsingland. The chronological take-off is the 6th century AD, when settlement at a macro scale was restructured to such an extent that it is justified to talk about a societal collapse. In the wake of this collapse power structures were gradually built up again. The 11th century elites were Christians, but the major conversion process took place in the 12th century, while parish formation is a 13th century phenomenon. All through the 13th century the Church had severe difficulties in collecting the tithes. Not until the second decade of the 14th century there are indications in the sources of relative control. Medieval Swedish kingship was weak and before the middle of the 13th century there were no means of controlling peripheral areas like Hälsingland effectively. There are no indications whatsoever of a real presence of royal power during the early Middle Ages. It is therefore postulated that the Crown domain in Norrland, the six manors known as part of Uppsala öd, can not have been founded as royal manors before the second half of the 13th century. Using a model for political expansion in peripheral areas developed by Guillermo Algaze for Mesopotamia, the royal manors are seen as outposts in uncontrolled territory during their earliest phase. Not until after ca. 1320 there are serious attempts to implement a tightened control over Hälsingland, through military presence, a codification of a provincial law, and, by changing the collection of tribute within a system of indirect rule into one with a permanent bailiff. Thus it is evident that also the Crown had severe difficulties in reaching beyond nominal overlordship during the course of the 13th century. The 14th century is seen as the period when Hälsingland got incorporated into the Swedish realm in the same sense as the central provinces. A survey of the scanty written documents includes a more in depth discussion of four societal sectors seen as crucial for relative control: implementation of a taxation system, attempts towards the establishment of fixed borders of the realm, codification of the legislation and the enforcement of trade monopolies. A survey of the physical remains in the landscape of structures with strong power connotations follows: fortifications, Crown manors, maritime barrages, certain manifest churches, and insular sites directed towards supporting the mainland power foci. Finally a discussion is initiated about what power presence actually implies. The relatively strong fort of Faxeholm could be seen as a representation of a very limited authority, in line with Giddens’ diversification of the power concept. The landscape of power has its negation in the landscape of resistance, and perhaps in a landscape of indifference to the structures of power.

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