Țingvellir - Home of The Alțing

A National Park, Țingvellir is the site where the old Alțing (Icelandic Parliament) was held from 930 AD onwards.
The great natural beauty of the lava formations make this one of the most beautiful sites in Iceland.


The flagpole marks the location where the Alțing met yearly. The Law Speaker stood, facing the lava cliff, reciting all Icelandic laws. [dwb] Near the flagpole is this ruin. It is what remains of a sod house where attendees to the Alțing could find shelter. [dwb]
A church has been on the site of this church since about 930 AD. [dwb] A view from the end of the path to the Alțing. (See below.) [jwz]
This lava outcrop is the joined geologic plates of Europe and North American. Here ones left foot is on the North American plate and the right foot is on the European plate. Where else can one stand in North America and Europe at the same time? [dwb] Path to the Alțing. [jwz]
[jwz] [jwz]
Very clear water. Note the deep hole. [dwb] Coins in the water. Children were diving for them.[dwb]

An excerpt from 'Government in Medieval in Iceland
by James C Wilhelm'

"The law system in place at this period in Iceland seems to have been based on the tradition and precedents set by the ancestors of the Icelanders. While there was some room for innovation (Gunnar creates a new precedent when he uses the interdict at the Alțing in a new way), the laws seem to be pretty fixed (138). The support for this observation comes in the fact that there were men called Law-Speakers who had the job of reciting the law at the Alțing (a kind of yearly fair and General Assembly where, among other things, court cases were heard) every year. The position of the Law-Speaker was an elected position (even if they were elected by the priest-chieftains, individuals of high stature) and therefore if one wanted to become the next Law-Speaker, he would logically have to learn how to recite the code of laws just as well as the last Law-Speaker. This implies that aspiring Law-Speakers would have to be able to recite the same code of laws as the last Law-Speaker. Therefore the law system in Iceland at this time would be very resistant to changes."

This is reproduced here because the web page is "visually unreadable". http://members.aol.com/jdowl33910/jwilhelm1.html



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