The Icelandic Free State

The Icelandic Free State

In this episode we explore the offices and institutions which made up the Icelandic Free State. Through comprehensive legal codes, accepted traditions and customs and regular, predictable assembly the Icelanders were able to govern themselves for over three centuries without a king, head chieftain or any other executive authority to speak of.

How did they do it? Well, that’s what we are going to talk about today.

This week’s recommended reading is near and dear to my heart. Viking Age Iceland by Jesse Byock is the definitive single volume history of the Icelandic Free State in English. Moving topically, Professor Byock explores all aspects of life in Iceland during the Viking Age. For anyone interested in learning more about Iceland during this period this book is a must read. Plus, you can see first hand just how often I have turned to Viking Age Iceland while researching these episodes.


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