Frands Herschend: The Idea of the Good
This study is a discussion of the Pagan concept of the good with reference to the upper classes of the Late Iron Age societies in Scandinavia, north west Europe and Anglo-Saxon England. It is based on a sample of halls belonging to the first millennium AD and on the analysis of a number of texts. Some of these samples are poems (the poem about the Battle of Maldon, the Beowulf, two poems by Venantius Fortunatus to Sigibert and Brunhild and four by the same author to Duke Lupus), others are texts in prose (The Martyrdom of Saint Sabas, Danish and Swedish rune-stone texts mentioning the word 'good', and the account in Landnámabók mentioning Queen Aud. The discussion is summed up in a chapter concerning the characteristics of the good and in a chapter discussing the forms of talk which takes place in the Late Iron Age hall in its most elaborate, i.e. royal form.