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Ankorítar og hermítar á Íslandi: um einsetulifnað á miðöldum.

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Rómakirkja hafði mikil og mótandi áhrif á daglegt líf fólks í Evrópu á víkingaöld og miðöldum. Þéttriðið tengslanet hennar, með páfann í Róm sem æðsta yfirmann, sá um að fylgja markmiðum hennar eftir í hverju landi fyrir sig í gegnum útstöðvarnar, sem voru erkibiskupsstólarnir, biskupsstólarnir og klaustrin. Tveir biskupsstólar og allt að fjórtán klaustur voru rekin í skemmri eða lengri tíma hér á landi þegar áhrif Rómakirkju voru mest. Samhliða klausturlifnaði dafnaði einseta víðast innan þeirra samfélaga sem Rómakirkja teygði anga sína til. Hér verður reynt að grafast fyrir um einsetulifnað á Íslandi en í það minnsta ellefu einsetukarlar og -konur eru nafngreind í íslenskum heimildum frá landnámi til loka 13. aldar og frásagnir af þeim þekktar. en hvaða fólk var þetta og hvaða réð vali þess á einsetu? Var hér fyrst og fremst um að ræða ríka trúarhneigð eða tóku menn upp einsetulifnað sem einu undankomuleiðina frá hjónabandi eða sambúð?
Hermits and Anchorites: Icelandic Rcluses of the Viking and Middle Ages During the viking and medieval periods, the Roman Catholic Church had tremendous influence on the daily lives of Europeans. Headed by the Pope in Rome, the Church ensured the fulfilment of its objectives through a dense organisational network that consisted of archbishops, bishops, cloisters and local churches in every country. Two bishoprics and at least fourteen cloisters were operated in Iceland for longer or shorter intervals during these times of strong Roman Catholic influence. Life in cloisters was complemented by the lives of religious solitaries, with such recluses becoming common in nearly every community impacted by Roman Catholicism. At this time in European history, there were two prominent forms of life as a recluse: eremitism and anchoritism. each of these forms was governed by strict rules, just like life in cloisters. This article tells about eleven men and women, some of them hermits and some anchorites, who lived in religious solitude from the country's settlement to the end of the 13th century and were named in Icelandic sources. It is assumed that these sources reflect the views and attitudes of a larger social context, regardless of whether the sources were built on actual facts and occurrences. Icelandic chroniclers were evidently acquainted with Catholic recluse conventions, both eremitism and anchoritism. Moreover, retreating to a solitary life seems for both sexes to have been a recognised escape from cohabitation and marriage during the viking and Middle Ages. In those times, cohabitation and marriage were mainly based on political and economic motives, so that it was not necessarily a deep religiosity which brought on the decision to become a recluse, but the privacy and protection afforded by this option.