The Early Kings of Norway: Also An Essay on the Portraits of John Knox

By Thomas Carlyle | Go to book overview

EARLY KINGS OF NORWAY.

CHAPTER I. .
HARALD HAARFAGR

TILL about the Year of Grace 860 there were no kings in Norway, nothing but numerous jarls, -- essentially kinglets, -- each presiding over a kind of republican or parliamentary little territory; generally striving each to be on some terms of human neighbourhood with those about him, but, in spite of 'Fylke Things' (Folk Things) -- little parish parliaments -- and small combinations of these, which had gradually formed themselves, often reduced to the unhappy state of quarrel with them. Harald Haarfagr was the first to put an end to this state of things, and become memorable and profitable to his country by uniting it under one head and making a kingdom of it; which it has continued to be ever since. His father, Halfdan the Black, had already begun this rough but salutary process, -- inspired by the cupidities and instincts, by the faculties and opportunities, which

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