Wergild- The Price Of A Life

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Wergild- The Price of a Life Wergild in Germanic language literally means “man price”, a reparation payment to the offended clan or family, crucially bases on the social status of the dead. It was considered a legal compensation for murder crime, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter among the Scandinavian, the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons. In that era, wergild was the best way to avoid hostile vengeance from the offended side. Nevertheless, in case the murderer couldn’t meet the ultimatum for the payment, or couldn’t afford to pay that sum of money, he would distinctly face revengeful vendettas. Blood feud would also occur if the offended clan didn’t accept the payment. The price of the dead completely based on his social status. The price of a noble or high-status lord was obviously greater than that of a farmer. Prices also vacillated upon the kind of crime and infirmity. It also depended on gender, in which men were considered more important than women. Religious lines also took part in the determination of price. In Anglo-Saxon Britain, elaborate tariff was applied. A prince was worth 1500 shillings, a farmer was worth 100 shillings. A laet or agriculture serf was worth between 40 and 80 shillings. Irrespective of being considered worthless, thralls and slaves’ death usually cost a nominal payment. (wikipedia) The payment varied from culture to culture. In the early medieval period, when the monetary system hadn’t highly developed, cattle were highly valued than coinage. Payment could also be made in the form of hostages, slaves, silver, or precious jewels. At that time, alliances through marriage were considered in conjunction with the payment. How the payment exchange depended upon the culture. Many clans and societies had their own legal structure that would be overseen by the clan chiefs, elders or religious figures. During the reign of
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