Västgötalagen

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A page of the late 13th century law Äldre Västgötalagen

Västgötalagen or the Westrogothic law is the oldest Swedish text written in Latin script and the oldest of all Swedish provincial laws. It was compiled in the early 13th century, probably at least partly at the instigation of Eskil Magnusson and is known to have been the code of law used in the province of Västergötland (West Gothland) during the latter half of that century. The earliest complete text is dated 1281. Small fragments of an older text have been dated 1250.[1]

This legal code exists in two versions, Äldre Västgötalagen and Yngre Västgötalagen (the Elder and Younger Westrogothic law, respectively). A first printing in modern times was published by Hans Samuel Collin and Carl Johan Schylter in 1827 (which made the text the subject of the earliest known stemma),[2] and a new edition by Gösta Holm in 1976.

A contemporarily current list of Christian Swedish kings, added as an appendix to the oldest manuscript of Äldre Västgötalagen, was written by a priest called Laurentius in Vedum (same province) around 1325, his source being unknown. It begins with Olof Skötkonung and ends with Johan Sverkersson.[3]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Cf. Inger Larsson, 'The Role of the Swedish Lawman in the Spread of Lay Literacy', in Along the Oral-Written Continuum: Types of Texts, Relations and the Implications, ed. by Slavica Ranković, Leidulf Melve, and Else Mundal, Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, 20 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2010), pp. 411-27 (pp. 412-11).
  2. ^ William Robins. 2007. Editing and evolution. Literature Compass 4: 89-120. (pp. 93-94). DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2006.00391.x.
  3. ^ Original text (under item <15>). Based of the edition of Collin and Schlyter. Hosted by the University of Lund. See Beckman, Natanael (S1886): Medeltidslatin bland skaradjäknar 1943:1 s. 3.

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