wergild


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Related to wergild: compurgation

wer·geld

 (wûr′gĕld′) also wer·gild or were·gild (-gĭld′)
n.
In Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law, a price set upon a person's life on the basis of rank and paid as compensation by the family of a slayer to the kindred or lord of a slain person to free the culprit of further punishment or obligation and to prevent a blood feud.

[Middle English wargeld, from Old English wergeld : wer, man; see wī-ro- in Indo-European roots + geld, payment.]

wergild

(ˈwɜːˌɡɪld; ˈwɛə-) or

weregild

;

wergeld

(ˈwɜːˌɡɛld; ˈwɛə-)
n
1. (Law) the price set on a man's life in successive Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law codes, to be paid as compensation by his slayer
2. (Historical Terms) the price set on a man's life in successive Anglo-Saxon and Germanic law codes, to be paid as compensation by his slayer
[Old English wergeld, from wer man (related to Old Norse ver, Latin vir) + gield tribute (related to Gothic gild, Old High German gelt payment); see yield]

wer•gild

or were•gild

(ˈwɜr gɪld, ˈwɛr-)

also wer•geld

(-gɛld)

n.
(in Anglo-Saxon England and medieval Germanic countries) a compensatory fine paid to the relatives of a murdered person to free the offender from further obligations or punishment.
[1175–1225; Middle English (Scots) weregylt, Old English wer(e)gild=wer man (c. Gothic wair, Latin vir) + gild geld2; see yield]

weregild, wergild

(in Anglo-Saxon society) a payment made to the family of a slain man by his killer or the killer’s family as compensation, atonement, and to avoid reprisals.
See also: Dues and Payment
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, the practice of wergild, first codified by King AEthelbert (560-1), specified the amount of money paid in compensation for raped widows.
There is evidence that money also originated in ancient penal systems that instituted compensation schedules of fines, similar to wergild, as a means of settling one's debt for inflicted wrongdoing to an injured party (Grierson, 1997; Goodhart, 1998; Wray, 1998).
5) The Anglo-Saxon wergild was an early English attempt to break the cyclical pattern of blood-vengeance.
And so, Ethelbert, King of Kent, in the 6th century, specified, in his laws, the customary wergild, and the nature of the wrong for which its payment was to be made.
aeblaece 'lustreless', aegilde 'receiving no wergild as compensation', aelaete 2 'desert'
Homicide was compensated by paying the appropriate wergild regardless of intent.