Attungen - ett medeltida fastighetsmÃ¥tt
The oldest unit of land assessment in Sweden is the attung (lat. octonarius). It is first mentioned in written documents from the late 12th century. When, where and why it was introduced has been much discussed. In this study an investigation of documents mentioning the attung until 1376 is presented together with a statistical processing of data from an earlier work (Dovring 1947). The distribution of land assessed in this unit is restricted to the south-eastern part of the medieval Swedish kingdom. According to an evaluation of some records not discussed before in this context the taxation of real estates in attung units dates from the late 11th century. Most probably the original purpose of the taxation was to create an adequate base for the military levy system. Several indications show that the attung originally corresponded to one family's normal holding of land. The usefulness of the attung for other purposes was soon realised. Besides taxes it also became the base for tenant's land rent, tithes to a particular hospital, compensation for plowing of fallow fields but also for the subdivision of common fields on a pro rata basis. The right to an easement could also be connected to the attung. At the same time a subdivision of the attung unit in several fractions was created which facilitated the trading of landed property. A drastic fall in prices on real estates assessed in the attung unit is observable just after the Black Death. The overall conclusion is that the multi functionality of the attung was something that developed gradually in response to socio-legal ideas from the continent as well as progress in domestic agricultural technology, economy and society.
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