The magnate dynasty at Tissø
In the Late Iron Age and the Viking Age there was a wide gap between rich and poor. The magnate families displayed their power and position with showy residences and large properties. Several magnates’ farms were built in the sixth century AD and remained in use into the Viking Age. The owners held banquets there for the leading figures of the country in mighty halls. The magnate had many functions in the society of the period. He was the protector of the population and often also a war leader. Sometimes he was a member of the king’s bodyguard, the hird. In addition, he presided over important religious ceremonies and organized markets for trades and crafts. Many of these activities took place at the magnate’s residence.