Norse social class

There are three social classes in Norse society; they are divided into several sub-classes, but one is always a member of one of the three groups.

The first group are the Jarls, or nobles, they include the Konungs, the actual Jarls, and lesser ranks of Lord. Their patron god is Odin.

The second group are the Karls, all free men that are not nobles fall in this group. Their patron god is Thor.

The third group are the Thralls or unfree. They may be bound to a Lord or a parcel of land, or they may be outright slaves, mainly captives taken in raids or prisoners of war. This social class also includes Outlaws and Foreigners. They have no patron god.

Noteworthy among human societies, there can be a great deal of social mobility between classes. Slaves can be freed, foreigners can be accepted into society at a free man’s level (or higher) and sentences of outlawry may be completed or revoked (and may only exist in certain areas ie. a man may be outlawed in the Vestfold, but still be free everywhere else (and have all the rights of a free man), and elected a Gothi in another place in Utangardsey.

Norse social class

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