Konungr

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Konungr

 

(Old Norwegian), a military leader, highest representative of the tribal aristocracy among the Scandinavians in the early Middle Ages.

In the period preceding political unification in Norway, Den-mark, and Sweden, the konungr headed an individual tribe or the population of an area; some konungrs were the leaders of armed bands that lived off war booty and participated in the campaigns of the Vikings. In the Viking Era (ninth to mid-llth centuries) in each of the Scandinavian countries the konungr of one tribe was elevated, subordinating the entire population to himself and eliminating the other konungrs. In the incipient process of the feudalization of society, the konungr changed gradually from the head of a military alliance of tribes into a king, the head of state.