Norse law

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The Norse laws were originally memorized by the lawspeakers, but after the end of the Viking Age they were committed to writing. Initially they were geographically limited to minor jurisdictions (lögsögur), and the Bjarkey laws concerned various merchant towns, but later there were laws that applied to entire Scandinavian kingdoms.

The court assembly, the thing, used the law and heard witnesses to rule whether the accused was guilty or not. There were usually two types of punishment: outlawing and fine. In rare cases the accused could also be sentenced to death. The most common means of justice were however fines; the amount varied depending on the severity of the offense.


In 1117 the Althingi decided that all the laws should be written down and this was accomplished at Hafliði Másson's farm over that winter and published the following year. The resulting codex is known as the Gray Goose Laws (Icelandic: Grágás) and they were a collection of laws from the Icelandic Commonwealth period consisting of Icelandic civil laws and the laws governing the Christian church in Iceland.


Medieval Denmark was divided into three jurisdictions each ruled by its own provincial law; the Scanian Law used in the Scanian lands, the Zealandic Law used in Zealand and Lolland, and the Jutlandic Law used in Jutland (both North and South) and Funen. The Scanian lands were Danish until the middle of the 17th century, and the Scanian Law predates Sweden's similar provincial...
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