Weregild – A Slayer’s Debt to the Kindred of the Slain

Weregild was a monetary value placed on every being and every piece of property owned. If property was stolen or someone was injured or killed, the guilty person would have to pay a restitution to the victim’s family or to the owner of the property.  This was called, weregild. Weregild (also wergild, wergeld, weregeld)  means ‘man price’, ‘man-debt’, or ‘man-money’. The noun ‘were-gild’ is composed of ‘were‘, meaning ‘man’; and ‘gild or geld‘, meaning ‘payment or fee.’  Weregild is an amount of money fixed as compensation for the murder or disablement of a person, computed on…

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Norse Law – the Vikings had a ‘Thing’ for it

Law and order is a necessity among all civilized people in order to peacefully live amongst each other. The Norse, like all other people, made their own laws to uphold peace and justice between them. At a gathering, they made their laws and passed their judgments on the law breakers at an assembly called the Thing. The Thing (þing) was a public assembly of which all freemen would have a say in the governance of the land and people. The old Norse clans formed the Thing as a balancing structure…

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Viking Duels

The Vikings settled disputes by Holmgang, a Viking Duel. The Norse upheld a legal system much like courts, but not everything could be settled by talks and negotiation. This is when justice demanded the blood of another. A Holmgang was a duel and a commonly recognized way to settle disputes by the Norse. The word “holmgang” translates to “Island Walk” which refers to a hide or cloak which was about three meters long on each side that was staked to the ground of which was the boundaries that the participants…

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