'Kongen, Lova og Landet'

New book from former CAS project leader Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde!


The historical tapestry of Norway is rich and complex, and it takes a masterful communicator to bring its intricacies to life. Professor Jørn Øyrehagen Sunde, a former group leader at the Centre for Advanced Study (CAS), has done just that with the release of his new book, Kongen, Lova og Landet, published by Kagge Forlag. As a professor of legal history at the University of Oslo, Sunde led the CAS project Social Governance Through Legislation in 2021/2022.

The book delves into the life and times of one of Norway's most intriguing monarchs, King Magnus 6th, widely known as Magnus Lagabøte or Magnus the Lawmender. His reign, during a rapidly developing century in Norway, was marked by the adoption of a unified code of laws — a rarity in Europe at that time. Originally not destined for the throne, Magnus was educated by Franciscan monks in poverty and humility. His ascension to the throne in 1261 marked a reign of peace, as he became the only medieval Norwegian king who did not wage war. Instead, he crafted the Landslova, a law code that became a cornerstone in Norwegian politics, justice, and society. Breaking tradition, he was buried among the monks at the Franciscan monastery where he was educated, rather than with other Norwegian monarchs.

Magnus Lagabøte's life, impactful yet lesser-known among the Norwegian medieval kings, is vividly brought to life in Kongen, Lova og Landet. Sunde paints a portrait of a ruler whose life and deeds feel surprisingly familiar and modern, characterized by international orientation and down-to-earth pragmatism. The story resonates with the current era, bridging the gap between past and present with scholarly insight and narrative flair. This book is an essential read for anyone interested in the forces that have shaped Norway's legal and political landscape.


Read the book review in Bergens Tidende here >

Purchase the book here >

Read more about Jørn's CAS project here >

Published 30 November 2023, 10:31 | Last edited 01 February 2024, 9:28