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Magnus VI

Magnus VI (Magnus the Law Mender), 1238–80, king of Norway (1263–80), son of Haakon IV. A man of peace, he brought an end to the Scottish war by ceding (1266) the Hebrides and the Isle of Man to Alexander III of Scotland for a large sum. He immediately undertook a general revision of the laws, introducing (1274) a new code for the kingdom and subsequently new municipal laws. His code introduced the concept that crime is an offense against the state rather than against the individual and thus narrowed the possibilities of personal vengeance. It greatly increased the power of the king, making the throne the source of justice. The municipal law gave the cities increased freedom from rural control. One of his enactments fixed the law of succession to the throne; another, by its creation of a new royal council and of new ranks of nobility, laid the foundation of a new governing class. In 1277, Magnus and the church reached an agreement on the limits of church and state power. He was succeeded by his sons, Eric II (reigned 1280–99), who was the father of Margaret Maid of Norway, and Haakon V (reigned 1299–1319).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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