The Theft of Food in Thirteenth Century Norway and Iceland

Helen Frances Leslie Jacobsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses how law codes in thirteenth-century Norway and
Iceland developed to treat the theft of food. The chapter demonstrates
innovations were taking place in thirteenth-century law to take into
account the circumstances of the thief, ensuring the most vulnerable in
society did not starve, and that the law code Járnsíða (sent from Norway
to Iceland in 1271) was a stepping stone in the creation of the Norwegian
Landslǫg (1274). Over time, the law was made more specifijic, the section
on theft was expanded, and a structure was introduced that allowed for
‘grades’ of theft based on the amount stolen and the background of the
thief, resulting in a coherent framework of rules regarding both legal
process and punishment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFood Culture in Medieval Scandinavia
EditorsViktória Gyönki, Andrea Maraschi
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9789048540235
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameThe Early Medieval North Atlantic
PublisherAmsterdam University Press


  • Old Norse
  • Legal History
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Food


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