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Stefan Brink

The earliest laws in Scandinavia are the so-called Provincial laws. They were written down between 1100 and 1350. We know that earlier laws existed and that Scandinavia was a kind of “legal society” before 1100. Whether the legal customs mentioned much earlier by Tacitus in his Germania also were valid in Scandinavia is uncertain. The earliest law in Scandinavia we know of is to be found on an iron ring embossed with runes, probably from the 10th century. The provincial laws, of which there are about 15, are to be seen as among the youngest of the laws of the Germanic speaking people, normally known as the Barbaric Law Codes. We are also aware of some early (Viking Age) assembly sites, some of which seem to have also functioned as a kind of religious focus.