Bloodtaking and Peacemaking

Author: William Ian Miller
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226526828
Release Date: 2009-05-15
Genre: Literary Criticism

Dubbed by the New York Times as "one of the most sought-after legal academics in the county," William Ian Miller presents the arcane worlds of the Old Norse studies in a way sure to attract the interest of a wide range of readers. Bloodtaking and Peacemaking delves beneath the chaos and brutality of the Norse world to discover a complex interplay of ordering and disordering impulses. Miller's unique and engaging readings of ancient Iceland's sagas and extensive legal code reconstruct and illuminate the society that produced them. People in the saga world negotiated a maze of violent possibility, with strategies that frequently put life and limb in the balance. But there was a paradox in striking the balance—one could not get even without going one better. Miller shows how blood vengeance, law, and peacemaking were inextricably bound together in the feuding process. This book offers fascinating insights into the politics of a stateless society, its methods of social control, and the role that a uniquely sophisticated and self-conscious law played in the construction of Icelandic society. "Illuminating."—Rory McTurk, Times Literary Supplement "An impressive achievement in ethnohistory; it is an amalgam of historical research with legal and anthropological interpretation. What is more, and rarer, is that it is a pleasure to read due to the inclusion of narrative case material from the sagas themselves."—Dan Bauer, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

The Conflict of Law and Justice in the Icelandic Sagas

Author: William Pencak
Publisher: Rodopi
ISBN: 9051838352
Release Date: 1995
Genre: Law

The world's longest lasting republic between ancient Rome and modern Switzerland, medieval Iceland (c. 870-1262) centered its national literature, the great family sagas, around the problem of can a republic survive and do justice to its inhabitants. The Conflict of Law and Justice in the Icelandic Sagas takes a semiotic approach to six of the major sagas which depict a nation of free men, abetted by formidable women, testing conflicting legal codes and principles - pagan v. Christian, vengeance v. compromise, monarchy v. republicanism, courts v. arbitration. The sagas emerge as a body of great literature embodying profound reflections on political and legal philosophy because they do not offer simple solutions, but demonstrate the tragic choices facing legal thinkers (Njal), warriors (Gunnar), outlaws (Grettir), women (Gudrun of Laxdaela Saga), priests (Snorri of Eyrbyggja Saga), and the Icelandic community in its quest for stability and a good society. Guest forewords by Robert Ginsberg and Roberta Kevelson, set the book in the contexts of philosophy, semiotics, and Icelandic studies to which it contributes.

Emotion Violence Vengeance and Law in the Middle Ages

Author:
Publisher: BRILL
ISBN: 9789004366374
Release Date: 2018-05-09
Genre: History

The essays in this Festschrift for William Ian Miller reflect the honorand's wide-ranging interest in legal history, Icelandic sagas, anger and violence, and contemporary popular culture.

Why is Your Axe Bloody

Author: William Ian Miller
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780198704843
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Fiction

Njals saga, the greatest of the sagas of the Icelanders, was written around 1280. It tells the story of a complex feud that starts innocently enough--in a tiff over seating arrangement at a local feast--and expands over the course of 20 years to engulf half the country, in which both sides are effectively exterminated, Njal and his family burned to death in their farmhouse, the other faction picked off over the entire course of the feud. Law and feud feature centrally in the saga, Njal, its hero, being the greatest lawyer of his generation. No reading of the saga can do it justice unless it takes its law, its feuding strategies, as well as the author's stunning manipulation and saga conventions. In 'Why is Your Axe Bloody?' W.I. Miller offers a lively, entertaining, and completely orignal personal reading of this lengthy saga.

The Growth of the Medieval Icelandic Sagas 1180 1280

Author: Theodore Murdock Andersson
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 080144408X
Release Date: 2006
Genre: Fiction

Andersson introduces readers to the development of the Icelandic sagas between 1180 and 1280, a crucial period that witnessed a gradual shift of emphasis from tales of adventure and personal distinction to the analysis of politics and history.

The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas

Author: Ármann Jakobsson
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317041467
Release Date: 2017-02-17
Genre: Literary Criticism

The last fifty years have seen a significant change in the focus of saga studies, from a preoccupation with origins and development to a renewed interest in other topics, such as the nature of the sagas and their value as sources to medieval ideologies and mentalities. The Routledge Research Companion to the Medieval Icelandic Sagas presents a detailed interdisciplinary examination of saga scholarship over the last fifty years, sometimes juxtaposing it with earlier views and examining the sagas both as works of art and as source materials. This volume will be of interest to Old Norse and medieval Scandinavian scholars and accessible to medievalists in general.

The Cult of Thomas Becket

Author: Kay Brainerd Slocum
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781351593380
Release Date: 2018-10-26
Genre: Religion

On 29 December, 1170, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was brutally murdered in his own cathedral. News of the event was rapidly disseminated throughout Europe, generating a widespread cult which endured until the reign of Henry VIII in the sixteenth century, and engendering a fascination which has lasted until the present day. The Cult of Thomas Becket: History and Historiography through Eight Centuries contributes to the lengthy debate surrounding the saint by providing a historiographical analysis of the major themes in Becket scholarship, tracing the development of Becket studies from the writings of the twelfth-century biographers to those of scholars of the twenty-first century. The book offers a thorough commentary and analysis which demonstrates how the Canterbury martyr was viewed by writers of previous generations as well as our own, showing how they were influenced by the intellectual trends and political concerns of their eras, and indicating how perceptions of Thomas Becket have changed over time. In addition, several chapters are devoted a discussion of artworks in various media devoted to the saint, as well as liturgies and sermons composed in his honor. Combining a wide historical scope with detailed textual analysis, this book will be of great interest to scholars of medieval religious history, art history, liturgy, sanctity and hagiography.

The Rule of the Clan

Author: Mark S. Weiner
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781466836389
Release Date: 2013-03-12
Genre: Political Science

A revealing look at the role kin-based societies have played throughout history and around the world A lively, wide-ranging meditation on human development that offers surprising lessons for the future of modern individualism, The Rule of the Clan examines the constitutional principles and cultural institutions of kin-based societies, from medieval Iceland to modern Pakistan. Mark S. Weiner, an expert in constitutional law and legal history, shows us that true individual freedom depends on the existence of a robust state dedicated to the public interest. In the absence of a healthy state, he explains, humans naturally tend to create legal structures centered not on individuals but rather on extended family groups. The modern liberal state makes individualism possible by keeping this powerful drive in check—and we ignore the continuing threat to liberal values and institutions at our peril. At the same time, for modern individualism to survive, liberals must also acknowledge the profound social and psychological benefits the rule of the clan provides and recognize the loss humanity sustains in its transition to modernity. Masterfully argued and filled with rich historical detail, Weiner's investigation speaks both to modern liberal societies and to developing nations riven by "clannism," including Muslim societies in the wake of the Arab Spring.

A Matter of Dispute

Author: Christopher J. Peters
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199749959
Release Date: 2011-01-19
Genre: Law

Law often purports to require people, including government officials, to act in ways they think are morally wrong or harmful. What is it about law that can justify such a claim? In A Matter of Dispute: Morality, Democracy, and Law, Christopher J. Peters offers an answer to this question, one that illuminates the unique appeal of democratic government, the peculiar structure of adversary adjudication, and the contested legitimacy of constitutional judicial review. Peters contends that law should be viewed primarily as a device for avoiding or resolving disputes, a function that implies certain core properties of authoritative legal procedures. Those properties - competence and impartiality - give democracy its advantage over other forms of government. They also underwrite the adversary nature of common-law adjudication and the duties and constraints of democratic judges. And they ground a defense of constitutionalism and judicial review against persistent objections that those practices are "counter-majoritarian" and thus nondemocratic. This work canvasses fundamental problems within the diverse disciplines of legal philosophy, democratic theory, philosophy of adjudication, and public-law theory and suggests a unified approach to unraveling them. It also addresses practical questions of law and government in a way that should appeal to anyone interested in the complex and often troubled relationship among morality, democracy, and the rule of law. Written for specialists and non-specialists alike, A Matter of Dispute explains why each of us individually, and all of us collectively, have reason to obey the law - why democracy truly is a system of government under law.

Paris 1200

Author: John W. Baldwin
Publisher:
ISBN: 0804762716
Release Date: 2010
Genre: History

This book makes use of vivid primary documents to provide a fascinating portrait of Paris in the year 1200: a key moment in its history, when the modern French capital was being born.

Why is Your Axe Bloody

Author: William Ian Miller
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780198704843
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Fiction

Njals saga, the greatest of the sagas of the Icelanders, was written around 1280. It tells the story of a complex feud that starts innocently enough--in a tiff over seating arrangement at a local feast--and expands over the course of 20 years to engulf half the country, in which both sides are effectively exterminated, Njal and his family burned to death in their farmhouse, the other faction picked off over the entire course of the feud. Law and feud feature centrally in the saga, Njal, its hero, being the greatest lawyer of his generation. No reading of the saga can do it justice unless it takes its law, its feuding strategies, as well as the author's stunning manipulation and saga conventions. In 'Why is Your Axe Bloody?' W.I. Miller offers a lively, entertaining, and completely orignal personal reading of this lengthy saga.

The King s Body

Author: Nicole Marafioti
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISBN: 9781442668706
Release Date: 2014-03-21
Genre: Literary Criticism

The King’s Body investigates the role of royal bodies, funerals, and graves in English succession debates from the death of Alfred the Great in 899 through the Norman Conquest in 1066. Using contemporary texts and archaeological evidence, Nicole Marafioti reconstructs the political activity that accompanied kings’ burials, to demonstrate that royal bodies were potent political objects which could be used to provide legitimacy to the next generation. In most cases, new rulers celebrated their predecessor’s memory and honored his corpse to emphasize continuity and strengthen their claims to the throne. Those who rose by conquest or regicide, in contrast, often desecrated the bodies of deposed royalty or relegated them to anonymous graves in attempts to brand their predecessors as tyrants unworthy of ruling a Christian nation. By delegitimizing the previous ruler, they justified their own accession. At a time when hereditary succession was not guaranteed and few accessions went unchallenged, the king’s body was a commodity that royal candidates fought to control.

Henry I

Author: Judith A. Green
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521591317
Release Date: 2006-03-02
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

This first comprehensive biography of Henry I, the youngest son of William the Conqueror and an elusive figure for historians, offers a rich and compelling account of his tumultuous life and reign. Judith Green argues that although Henry's primary concern was defence of his inheritance this did not preclude expansion where circumstances were propitious, notably into Welsh territory. His skilful dealings with the Scots permitted consolidation of Norman rule in the northern counties of England, while in Normandy every sinew was strained to defend frontiers through political alliances and stone castles. Green argues that although Henry's own outlook was essentially traditional, the legacy of this fascinating and ruthless personality included some fundamentally important developments in governance. She also sheds light on Henry's court, suggesting that it made an important contribution to the flowering of court culture throughout twelfth-century Europe.

Hrafnkel Or the Ambiguities

Author: William Ian Miller
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198793038
Release Date: 2017-01-05
Genre:

William Ian Miller presents a close reading of one of the best known of the Icelandic sagas, showing its moral, political, and psychological sophistication. Hrafnkel tells of a fairly simple feud in which a man rises, falls, and rises again with a vengeance, so to speak. The saga deals withcomplex issues with finely layered irony: who can one justifiably hit, when, and by what means? It does this with cool nuance, also taking on matters of torture and pain-infliction as a means of generating fellow-feeling. How does one measure pain and humiliation so as to get even, to get back toequal? People are forced to set prices on things we tell ourselves soporifically are priceless, such as esteem, dignity, life itself. Morality no less than legal remedy involves price-setting. This book flies in the face of all the previous critical literature which, with very few exceptions, imposes simplistic readings on the saga. A translation of the saga is provided as an appendix.

The Mystery of Courage

Author: William Ian MILLER
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674041059
Release Date: 2009-06-30
Genre: Psychology

Few of us spend much time thinking about courage, but we know it when we see it--or do we? Is it best displayed by marching into danger, making the charge, or by resisting, enduring without complaint? Is it physical or moral, or both? Is it fearless, or does it involve subduing fear? Abner Small, a Civil War soldier, was puzzled by what he called the "mystery of bravery"; to him, courage and cowardice seemed strangely divorced from character and will. It is this mystery, just as puzzling in our day, that William Ian Miller unravels in this engrossing meditation. Miller culls sources as varied as soldiers' memoirs, heroic and romantic literature, and philosophical discussions to get to the heart of courage--and to expose its role in generating the central anxieties of masculinity and manhood. He probes the link between courage and fear, and explores the connection between bravery and seemingly related states: rashness, stubbornness, madness, cruelty, fury; pride and fear of disgrace; and the authority and experience that minimize fear. By turns witty and moving, inquisitive and critical, his inquiry takes us from ancient Greece to medieval Europe, to the American Civil War, to the Great War and Vietnam, with sidetrips to the schoolyard, the bedroom, and the restaurant. Whether consulting Aristotle or private soldiers, Miller elicits consistently compelling insights into a condition as endlessly interesting as it is elusive.