Fragment of the Old Västergötland Law

Description

Äldre Västgötalagen (Old Västergötland law) is the oldest legal text written in Old Swedish in Latin script and the oldest of Sweden’s medieval provincial laws. The law was formulated around 1220 and was used in Västergötland in western Sweden. This manuscript fragment dates to about 1240. It contains the oldest record of the law and, along with another manuscript in the holdings of the National Library of Sweden dating from the early 1290s, is the only source for the law. The two leaves come from the same manuscript and could have been owned by the knight and lawman of Västergötland, Folke Algotsson (died 1310), who fled to Norway after having abducted a Swedish lady of noble birth and thus committed a breach of the ethsöri (oath laws). These solemn agreements between monarch and noblemen were intended to enforce uniform rules and keep the peace. The fragment was discovered in the binding of Norwegian bailiffs’ accounts from the 1600s and handed over to the National Library of Sweden in 1862 by the National Archives of Norway.

Date Created

Language

Title in Original Language

Äldre Västgötalagen: fragment

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

2 leaves, parchment ; 14.0 x 9.4 centimeters

Notes

  • Shelfmark: B 193

Last updated: June 28, 2013