[info]ex_norseman766 @ 08:22 pm: To some degree the same was true of the Old Norse legal system.

The interesting thing about the Norse system is that almost all offences were private matters. Except perhaps taking care of a tyrant, or hunting down outlaws. If someone killed a member of your family, that was a private matter between your family and the family of the murderer.

Since it's all a private matter a bloodfeud could be solved when both parties came together, and recounted what wrongs they'd suffered. Then they'd weigh them up against each other, the side that had suffered the most wrongs would get some reparations, and then the matter was settled. In other words it was much like striking a bargain.

Often friends or neighbours would come together and force two quarrelling sides to work things out. After all no one is served if two families are having a big feud, especially if you got friends on both sides.

You could also take things to the Ting, or the courts, but that was seen as a very hostile act. Generally you'd try to settle things by yourself. However taking someone to court could be used to force the other side to work things out in private.

At the Ting you'd be judged by a jury of 12 men, or two or three times that number in some cases. Generally the most powerful family would win. Bribery, calling in old favours, and so forth were all perfectly acceptable methods.

The really interesting thing is that even if there's a judgement against you, it's still a private matter. Even if you're outlawed you can still make a deal with the people you wronged, and then everything is fine again.

P.S. I got much that here but that webpage is in Norwegian. Indeed a lot of stuff on the Vikings is written in one of the Scandinavian languages.


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