Norrön Fundamentalism


Hur kommer det sig att folk av sk “Norrön tro” är så förbannat nedlåtande? Tror dom att dom vet nåt som Forn Sed folk inte vet? Och varför ständigt spy galla över “nyandlighet” (något jag bara upplevt från Kristna annars)? Sköt er själva, läs en bokjävel…under tystnad.

Jag tar gärna en diskussion med ett av dom här puckona i religions historia, religions filosofi, etik, ontologi eller epistemologi när som helst.

The Tomte


A tomte (Swedish) (Swedish pronunciation:  or nisse (Norway and Denmark) (pronounced [ˈnìsːɛ]) is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore. Tomte or Nisse were believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep. The Swedish name tomte is derived from a place of residence and area of influence: the house lot or tomt. The Finnish name is tonttu. Nisse is the common name in Norwegian, Danish and the Scanian dialect in southernmost Sweden; it is a nickname for Nils, and its usage in folklore comes from expressions such as Nisse god dräng (Nisse good lad, cf. Robin Goodfellow). Other names areTuftekall, Tomtegubbe or Haugebonde (“mound farmer”), all names connecting the being to the origins of the farm (the building ground), or a Burial mound. Those names are remembrances of the being’s origins in an ancestral cult.

tomte (Swedish) (Swedish pronunciation:  or nisse (Norway and Denmark) (pronounced [ˈnìsːɛ]) is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore. Tomte or Nisse were believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep. The Swedish name tomte is derived from a place of residence and area of influence: the house lot or tomt. The Finnish name is tonttuNisse is the common name in NorwegianDanish and the Scanian dialect in southernmost Sweden; it is a nickname for Nils, and its usage in folklore comes from expressions such as Nisse god dräng (Nisse good ladcfRobin Goodfellow). Other names areTuftekallTomtegubbe or Haugebonde (“mound farmer”), all names connecting the being to the origins of the farm (the building ground), or a Burial mound. Those names are remembrances of the being’s origins in an ancestral cult.

I hate how the word “viking” i still used as a name for an ethnicity. A bit like calling all 19th century Americans “Cowboys” regardless of proffesion, station socially or geographical situation.


(Some) Asatru U.S style


I cant help it, sometimes when i see Amercan Heathens i feel like i´m watching some bad Viking LARP.

That goes for all the talk of “Folk” and all the “hails” too.

I dont know any Swedish people that greet eachother with “Hail” or “Hielsa” (witch just sounds like misunderstood Swedish).

As a general rule you can hardly distinguish between Swedish Christians,Heathens and the secular majority (not to mention those that are kind of a mix of these…..witch in a sense is our entire culture).

I should make clear that:

1: I do NOT intend to insult anyone here, Heathen,Christian or other.

2: Neither will i deliberatly call all “Folkish” Heathens racists or all “Universalist” Heathens airhead neo pagans (Besides, we actually ARE neo pagans per defenition, EVEN if we are reconstructionists or grew up in a culture saturated with the folklore and extentions of cult and myth as i am).

3: And i do not think the fact that American Heathenry differs from Swedish (generalizing my ass off here) is in anyway “bad” or “wrong”. On the contrary i think its good. The custom SHOULD be adaptable to individuals, circumstances, places and communities. It always was. Even within what is today the nation of Sweden, Heathen cult and customs differed depending on when and where.

You organize in kindreds, we dont,Some of you use terms like “Thorsman”, i have never heard a Swede, even one focusing on Thor calling himself that or having an “patron God” attitude towards it (individuals and even whole areas in Scandinavia sometimes focus on certain mights as etymology shows, but it seems very de emphasized in actual cult, even today in most cases).

Eplagarðr Kindred. Some Heathens dress in Norse garb at special occations, others dont (and sometimes its a matter of practicality rather than choice)

Non of this is what i´m talking about.

Its simply that when i watch an Asatru Kindred video where “the dangers of a monoculture” is discussed where one guy leads the meeting while another guy sits on a chair, doing his best “viking chieftain” with a girl with a logo T – shirt on each side of him, a model longship on a shelf above him and two drinking horns on a table……

…..it feels weird and a bit cult (in the modern use of the word, incorrect as it is) ,LARP ,survivalist…..”i wish i was part of something cool and had a special heritage”….alien, silly.

It also gives me a feeling of self indoctrination by pastor, evangelical style.

I have nothing against boat models or drinking horns and definetely not girls…..especially several of them and in combination with drinking horns (horny?), i guess i just wish fate (not faith), and a trust that our culture(s) are biological enteties that takes care of themself  quite well with much less attitude, roleplay, pretend uniqueness and heritage would more of a base.

Mock history,science or hertage is a much bigger threat to culture than another culture ever was.

Swedish Heathens performing Disa Blot at a boulder.

Dont believe me? Ask a viking. They loved to mix their culture with others.

Viking Age Temple of Uppåkra


Archaeological finds - Uppåkra The excavations in Uppåkra just south of Lund has been found the remains of the heathen temple that stood here for hundreds of years before its demise in the late 900s. Then the entire area of the building could be dug up and then the place is intact from the recent burial was in this way for the first time a heathen temple could be studied in its entirety by purely archaeological methods. Remnants of the building itself consists of burying the poles and wooden walls that once existed on the site. Different floor layers have also been identified and it has also been able to establish that the temple over the centuries been subject to the necessary alterations. Materials have been around wood also been buried in the ground. - Exterior The building is not large, only 13 meters long and 6.5 meters wide. It has been slightly curved long walls of coarse, vertical oak planks, or “sticks”, which are buried in a trench in the earth at more than one meter deep. In every corner of the house has been a pole which was buried to considerable depth. The building’s middle section, which remained independent of outside walls, consisted of four huge timber posts. The holes for these are unusually wide and depth is very remarkable, more than two meters. The building had three entrances, two in the south and one in the north. Each opening has been framed by heavy side poles and the South West has also had a prime lot. This input should have been the temple’s main entrance. The wall trench and post holes found excavators a hundred so-called golden guys. These are thin, small gold plates engraved with human figures. Its size means that these gold plates can not have earned such as trading gold, but should have had with the then cult to do. That they found in a large amount of burial for Uppåkra temple pillars and wall planks suggest that you sacrificed those golden old men in connection with the construction of the temple. - Construction The building’s exterior walls have been in the so-called rod construction between sharp corner poles. The technique is familiar from found remains of stave churches in Lund from about 1050thThe following planks must have been the top fitted in a horizontal block of wood, so-called safe-conduct, which has been on corner poles. The deep trench that rod walls were set in and the deep holes for corner poles show that the building’s exterior walls must have been high. The holes are of course the task to resist lateral loads to walls not crashed down. In Hemse church on Gotland have been found preserved wall pieces in full length of three meters from the early wooden church. A height of the temple’s outer walls of up to four meters above the ground is therefore not impossible. The roof between the outer walls and the four corner posts that served as the supporting structure in mittornet should have been covered with wood shavings, which required a fairly steep roof. From a long wall to the tower wall, this should have risen about two feet. How high was the tower itself ? Two feet deep postholes indicate a very large structure, not least because the four pillars formed a square which enabled efficient bracing by check works. With a length of the posts on the suggestion of ten meters, the tower’s walls gone up more than three feet above the nave ridge. The above interpretation, here called Foteviksmodellen, the temple published in 2004. Another interpretation was published in 2006, here called the Lund model. The latter has the choice not to see the four middle pole FREQUENCY different dimensions and huge foundation depth as a design for a tower. The outer walls have instead entered into a mighty height, nearly six feet.  - Interior Inside the Uppåkra temple has been found a bronze beaker and a glass bowl. The approximately 20 cm high cup is decorated with bands of thin gold plate with stamped images. Glass dish comes from the area north of the Black Sea. The bowl, which is made with two layers of glass mass, can be dated to around 500 AD. 

Archaeological finds

– Uppåkra
The excavations in Uppåkra just south of Lund has been found the remains of the heathen temple that stood here for hundreds of years before its demise in the late 900s. Then the entire area of the building could be dug up and then the place is intact from the recent burial was in this way for the first time a heathen temple could be studied in its entirety by purely archaeological methods.

Remnants of the building itself consists of burying the poles and wooden walls that once existed on the site. Different floor layers have also been identified and it has also been able to establish that the temple over the centuries been subject to the necessary alterations. Materials have been around wood also been buried in the ground.

– Exterior
The building is not large, only 13 meters long and 6.5 meters wide. It has been slightly curved long walls of coarse, vertical oak planks, or “sticks”, which are buried in a trench in the earth at more than one meter deep. In every corner of the house has been a pole which was buried to considerable depth. The building’s middle section, which remained independent of outside walls, consisted of four huge timber posts. The holes for these are unusually wide and depth is very remarkable, more than two meters.

The building had three entrances, two in the south and one in the north. Each opening has been framed by heavy side poles and the South West has also had a prime lot. This input should have been the temple’s main entrance.

The wall trench and post holes found excavators a hundred so-called golden guys. These are thin, small gold plates engraved with human figures. Its size means that these gold plates can not have earned such as trading gold, but should have had with the then cult to do. That they found in a large amount of burial for Uppåkra temple pillars and wall planks suggest that you sacrificed those golden old men in connection with the construction of the temple.

– Construction
The building’s exterior walls have been in the so-called rod construction between sharp corner poles. The technique is familiar from found remains of stave churches in Lund from about 1050thThe following planks must have been the top fitted in a horizontal block of wood, so-called safe-conduct, which has been on corner poles. The deep trench that rod walls were set in and the deep holes for corner poles show that the building’s exterior walls must have been high. The holes are of course the task to resist lateral loads to walls not crashed down. In Hemse church on Gotland have been found preserved wall pieces in full length of three meters from the early wooden church. A height of the temple’s outer walls of up to four meters above the ground is therefore not impossible.

The roof between the outer walls and the four corner posts that served as the supporting structure in mittornet should have been covered with wood shavings, which required a fairly steep roof. From a long wall to the tower wall, this should have risen about two feet. How high was the tower itself ? Two feet deep postholes indicate a very large structure, not least because the four pillars formed a square which enabled efficient bracing by check works. With a length of the posts on the suggestion of ten meters, the tower’s walls gone up more than three feet above the nave ridge.

The above interpretation, here called Foteviksmodellen, the temple published in 2004. Another interpretation was published in 2006, here called the Lund model. The latter has the choice not to see the four middle pole FREQUENCY different dimensions and huge foundation depth as a design for a tower. The outer walls have instead entered into a mighty height, nearly six feet.

– Interior
Inside the Uppåkra temple has been found a bronze beaker and a glass bowl. The approximately 20 cm high cup is decorated with bands of thin gold plate with stamped images. Glass dish comes from the area north of the Black Sea. The bowl, which is made with two layers of glass mass, can be dated to around 500 AD.

 

Birka


Birka on the island of Björkö, was the hub of the rich Mälardalenin the Viking Age. The shopping center was built in the 700’s and became aimportant international port for visitors from near and far. OnAdelsö, just across the bay, is Hovgården where the king lived.Birka World Heritage Site and Hovgården contains unusually high number of remnantsViking Age people.Since the late 1800s, archaeologists have examined the ancient remains of Birkaand Hovgården. The rich finds from the excavations tells of asociety with a strong hierarchy and large differences between both class andsex. They had extensive trade contacts with the outside world and it shows infindings.

Birka on the island of Björkö, was the hub of the rich Mälardalen
in the Viking Age. The shopping center was built in the 700’s and became a
important international port for visitors from near and far. On
Adelsö, just across the bay, is Hovgården where the king lived.
Birka World Heritage Site and Hovgården contains unusually high number of remnants
Viking Age people.

Since the late 1800s, archaeologists have examined the ancient remains of Birka
and Hovgården. The rich finds from the excavations tells of a
society with a strong hierarchy and large differences between both class and
sex. They had extensive trade contacts with the outside world and it shows in
findings.

 

Viking Age Social Organization


  Viking Social Organisation Viking social structure conformed to the Indo-European pattern by dividing people into classes; the rulers, the free and the unfree. This situation prevailed through the Vendel and Viking periods and was only significantly altered in the 11th century with the advent of unified kingdoms in the Scandinavian homelands.  Lowest in the social order were the thralls (male-thrall; female-ambatt) or slaves. Whilst the main sources for slaves were war, piracy and trade, their numbers also included those born into slavery and various criminals. A man who failed to discharge his debts could become the slave of his creditor until he redeemed his debt.Thralls had few rights and could hold no land, so instead of being fined for lawbreaking they were beaten, maimed or even put to death. However, a thrall did have some advantages over the freeman as the following laws show:  ‘Now a freeman and a slave who commit theft together, it is the freeman who is a thief and the slave shall not lose by it, for the man who steals with another man’s slave steals by himself.’ ‘A slave has greater rights than a freeman in one matter. A slave has the right to kill on account of his wife even though she is a bondmaid, but a freeman has not the right to kill on account of a bondmaid, even though she is his woman.’  Despite these advantages, the slave was still only considered chattel, as shown by other laws:  ‘If a man’s slave is killed , then no levelling oath need be sworn for him any more than for any other cattle belonging to a man, should that be killed.’ ‘If a master kills his own slave, he is not liable before the law unless he kills him during legally ordained festivals or in Lent, then the penalty is banishment.’  Although thralls legally commanded no wergild it was normal in England to pay the owner the price of eight cows if you killed his thrall; in Iceland the equivalent was eight ounces of silver; in Scandinavia the killer must make ‘restitution according to the value set on him [the slave] naked.’ Although unable to hold land a thrall could have possessions, money and time to do work for himself. Slaves were permitted to do business at public markets and to make private transactions if the value involved was less than oneortug (1/3 ounce of silver, 20 pence). In favourable circumstances he might hope to purchase, earn or be rewarded with his freedom. Marriage was permitted but the children would also be slaves. Ill treatment of thralls was regarded as an undesirable quality and most masters appear to have treated their slaves quite well. A slave was not allowed to bear arms except in the case of fighting off invaders; and the slave who killed such an enemy was to be rewarded with his freedom.  As the Viking Age wore on, and the influence of Christianity grew stronger, slavery became less common, especially with slaves of the same nationality or religion. Once released the freedman ( leysingi) was still not entirely free; he was still dependant on his former owner and family for a number of generations and could not institute legal proceedings against him. He needed a patron to protect his new found freedom and often looked to his former master to champion him. He could however gain full freedom by buying it with a larger payment than would otherwise be required. Alfred’s treaty with Guthrum at Wedmore in 886 AD set the wergild of a Danish freedman equal to that of a Saxon gebur (who sat roughly in the middle of society in the Ceorl class) at two hundred shillings. Above the freedman were the bondi and karls, the truly free land holding farmers. This class was a very broad one ranging from impoverished peasants to men of wealth and local authority. Whilst they could be sailors, hunters, traders or raiders they were still fundamentally farmers, even if absence and large holdings meant they required the labour of other men - both free and thrall. Their wergild at Wedmore was set as the same as English nobility, eight half-marks of pure gold. Although in theory a bondi had a farm of his own, in practice most young men had to live with their parents, or farm the lands of a large landholder. Such men still retained their status.  ‘These were the men who tilled land and raised stock, bore witness and produced verdicts, said aye or no on matters of public concern at the Thing (including matters as important as the election of a king or a change of religion), attended religious and lay ceremonies, made and bore weapons, manned ships, served in levies, were conscious of their dues and worth, and so impressed these upon others that as a free peasantry they stood in a class of their own in Europe.’  One stage above the bondi were those landowners with hereditary rights to their land. In Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles these were known as odalsbondi, in Norway as hauldr, and in England as holdas. Odal rights were fiercely maintained as they distinguished a family claim, and could not be usurped by jarls or even the crown (in Scotland odal rights survived into the eighteenth century!). The weregild for a Holdas was established in English courts as half that for an eolderman. The upper levels of Viking society were comprised of the various forms of aristocracy and the kings. The lowest rank of rulers were the landsmenn (roughly equivalent to the later medieval ‘baron’), known as styraesmen in Denmark. Originally the individual ship commanders, the later qualification for this rank was the ability to field and maintain forty armed men in the levy. The position was not hereditary and was gained through an oath of loyalty to the king, on whose behalf they held their authority. In Norway their ‘manbote’ (weregild) was fixed at six full marks of silver.  More frequently encountered is the title of jarl, a semi or fully independent lordship. As with the bondi some held lands by odal right of inheritance, others ruthlessly fought their way to power. In the early period there is little clear difference between powerful jarls and the many petty kings who flourished in Denmark and Norway. Later, in the eleventh century, under kings such as Harald Hardrada, the power-broking jarls were crushed. The Viking captain with his fleet and hirð was a thing of the past. The new chieftains were landed men who wished for stability and peace, members of a bondi aristocracy who supported centralised kingship. In the century after Harald Fairhair, no Norwegian king died peacefully in his bed or was succeeded by his son. Magnus became king in 1035 at the invitation of the people and came to peace with his uncle Hardrada. Hardrada’s death in 1066 was not the fault of his subjects, and his sons, grandson and great-grandsons all succeeded him in due order. The power and organisational abilities of the Christian Church also aided the king, to their mutual benefit. This influence increased throughout the eleventh century. As power centralised the royal estates were left in the charge of stewards, bryti, who formed a layer of local authority balancing that of the local landsmenn. The Danelaw Although under Scandinavian influence the Danelaw was an integral part of the English kingdom. Like the rest of England it was divided into shires, some massive like Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, others far smaller. The larger shires were divided into ‘trithings’ (a Scandinavian word for thirds) which gives us our modern ‘ridings’ in Yorkshire. The Midland shires and the shires of the south-east Danelaw conformed to the usual English patterns, as did the East-Anglian divisions of Norfolk and Suffolk. Much of the Danelaw, like the rest of England, was further subdivided into hundreds, and the basic fiscal and disciplinary business of the community passed through the hundred courts. However, where Scandinavian influence was strongest, such as Yorkshire and the Five Boroughs, the equivalent sub-division was the wapentake. Despite the differences in nomenclature of the sub-divisions, the legal system was much the same. Even in Scandinavia the legal system was not vastly different to that in England. The only major differences were in religion and, as the Danes were converted, even this difference grew less. This does not mean that the laws were identical, however, as one of Edgar’s codes permitted the Danes to exercise their rights ‘according to the good laws they can best decide on.’ The wapentakes were further subdivided into the Danish carucates, the land that could be ploughed by one plough team in a year, and bovates, the amount of land apportioned to a farmer contributing one ox to the eight-ox plough team. In Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, traces of a further Scandinavian sub-division are to be found - the manslot (allotment to one free settler). Hundreds were still divided into hides. It is not clear exactly how warriors were recruited for the Here (army). It is likely that they may have been drawn on the ‘one man from several basic land units’ as was done in Saxon areas.

 

Viking Social Organisation

Viking social structure conformed to the Indo-European pattern by dividing people into classes; the rulers, the free and the unfree. This situation prevailed through the Vendel and Viking periods and was only significantly altered in the 11th century with the advent of unified kingdoms in the Scandinavian homelands.

* Two men resting in a boat pulled up onto land

Lowest in the social order were the thralls (male-thrall; female-ambatt) or slaves. Whilst the main sources for slaves were war, piracy and trade, their numbers also included those born into slavery and various criminals. A man who failed to discharge his debts could become the slave of his creditor until he redeemed his debt.Thralls had few rights and could hold no land, so instead of being fined for lawbreaking they were beaten, maimed or even put to death. However, a thrall did have some advantages over the freeman as the following laws show:

‘Now a freeman and a slave who commit theft together, it is the freeman who is a thief and the slave shall not lose by it, for the man who steals with another man’s slave steals by himself.’

‘A slave has greater rights than a freeman in one matter. A slave has the right to kill on account of his wife even though she is a bondmaid, but a freeman has not the right to kill on account of a bondmaid, even though she is his woman.’

Despite these advantages, the slave was still only considered chattel, as shown by other laws:

‘If a man’s slave is killed , then no levelling oath need be sworn for him any more than for any other cattle belonging to a man, should that be killed.’

‘If a master kills his own slave, he is not liable before the law unless he kills him during legally ordained festivals or in Lent, then the penalty is banishment.’

Although thralls legally commanded no wergild it was normal in England to pay the owner the price of eight cows if you killed his thrall; in Iceland the equivalent was eight ounces of silver; in Scandinavia the killer must make ‘restitution according to the value set on him [the slave] naked.’

Although unable to hold land a thrall could have possessions, money and time to do work for himself. Slaves were permitted to do business at public markets and to make private transactions if the value involved was less than oneortug (1/3 ounce of silver, 20 pence). In favourable circumstances he might hope to purchase, earn or be rewarded with his freedom. Marriage was permitted but the children would also be slaves. Ill treatment of thralls was regarded as an undesirable quality and most masters appear to have treated their slaves quite well. A slave was not allowed to bear arms except in the case of fighting off invaders; and the slave who killed such an enemy was to be rewarded with his freedom.

* Bondi and son

As the Viking Age wore on, and the influence of Christianity grew stronger, slavery became less common, especially with slaves of the same nationality or religion. Once released the freedman ( leysingi) was still not entirely free; he was still dependant on his former owner and family for a number of generations and could not institute legal proceedings against him. He needed a patron to protect his new found freedom and often looked to his former master to champion him. He could however gain full freedom by buying it with a larger payment than would otherwise be required. Alfred’s treaty with Guthrum at Wedmore in 886 AD set the wergild of a Danish freedman equal to that of a Saxon gebur (who sat roughly in the middle of society in the Ceorl class) at two hundred shillings.

Above the freedman were the bondi and karls, the truly free land holding farmers. This class was a very broad one ranging from impoverished peasants to men of wealth and local authority. Whilst they could be sailors, hunters, traders or raiders they were still fundamentally farmers, even if absence and large holdings meant they required the labour of other men – both free and thrall. Their wergild at Wedmore was set as the same as English nobility, eight half-marks of pure gold.

Although in theory a bondi had a farm of his own, in practice most young men had to live with their parents, or farm the lands of a large landholder. Such men still retained their status.

‘These were the men who tilled land and raised stock, bore witness and produced verdicts, said aye or no on matters of public concern at the Thing (including matters as important as the election of a king or a change of religion), attended religious and lay ceremonies, made and bore weapons, manned ships, served in levies, were conscious of their dues and worth, and so impressed these upon others that as a free peasantry they stood in a class of their own in Europe.’

One stage above the bondi were those landowners with hereditary rights to their land. In Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles these were known as odalsbondi, in Norway as hauldr, and in England as holdas. Odal rights were fiercely maintained as they distinguished a family claim, and could not be usurped by jarls or even the crown (in Scotland odal rights survived into the eighteenth century!). The weregild for a Holdas was established in English courts as half that for an eolderman.

The upper levels of Viking society were comprised of the various forms of aristocracy and the kings. The lowest rank of rulers were the landsmenn (roughly equivalent to the later medieval ‘baron’), known as styraesmen in Denmark. Originally the individual ship commanders, the later qualification for this rank was the ability to field and maintain forty armed men in the levy. The position was not hereditary and was gained through an oath of loyalty to the king, on whose behalf they held their authority. In Norway their ‘manbote’ (weregild) was fixed at six full marks of silver.

*A Karl equipped for battle

More frequently encountered is the title of jarl, a semi or fully independent lordship. As with the bondi some held lands by odal right of inheritance, others ruthlessly fought their way to power. In the early period there is little clear difference between powerful jarls and the many petty kings who flourished in Denmark and Norway. Later, in the eleventh century, under kings such as Harald Hardrada, the power-broking jarls were crushed. The Viking captain with his fleet and hirð was a thing of the past. The new chieftains were landed men who wished for stability and peace, members of a bondi aristocracy who supported centralised kingship. In the century after Harald Fairhair, no Norwegian king died peacefully in his bed or was succeeded by his son. Magnus became king in 1035 at the invitation of the people and came to peace with his uncle Hardrada. Hardrada’s death in 1066 was not the fault of his subjects, and his sons, grandson and great-grandsons all succeeded him in due order. The power and organisational abilities of the Christian Church also aided the king, to their mutual benefit.

This influence increased throughout the eleventh century. As power centralised the royal estates were left in the charge of stewards, bryti, who formed a layer of local authority balancing that of the local landsmenn.

The Danelaw

Although under Scandinavian influence the Danelaw was an integral part of the English kingdom. Like the rest of England it was divided into shires, some massive like Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, others far smaller. The larger shires were divided into ‘trithings’ (a Scandinavian word for thirds) which gives us our modern ‘ridings’ in Yorkshire. The Midland shires and the shires of the south-east Danelaw conformed to the usual English patterns, as did the East-Anglian divisions of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Much of the Danelaw, like the rest of England, was further subdivided into hundreds, and the basic fiscal and disciplinary business of the community passed through the hundred courts. However, where Scandinavian influence was strongest, such as Yorkshire and the Five Boroughs, the equivalent sub-division was the wapentake. Despite the differences in nomenclature of the sub-divisions, the legal system was much the same. Even in Scandinavia the legal system was not vastly different to that in England. The only major differences were in religion and, as the Danes were converted, even this difference grew less. This does not mean that the laws were identical, however, as one of Edgar’s codes permitted the Danes to exercise their rights ‘according to the good laws they can best decide on.’

The wapentakes were further subdivided into the Danish carucates, the land that could be ploughed by one plough team in a year, and bovates, the amount of land apportioned to a farmer contributing one ox to the eight-ox plough team. In Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, traces of a further Scandinavian sub-division are to be found – the manslot (allotment to one free settler). Hundreds were still divided into hides.

It is not clear exactly how warriors were recruited for the Here (army). It is likely that they may have been drawn on the ‘one man from several basic land units’ as was done in Saxon areas.