Laws of Early Iceland, Grágás



All the laws are to be recited over three summers. Then the Lawspeaker is to relinquish the law-speaking. No new law is to have effect for more than three summers and it is to be announced at Lđgberg the first summer and at formally inaugurated spring assemblies or autumn meetings. All new laws become void if they are not included in the recital every third summer.



All chieftains are to come to the Assembly before the sun leaves Ţingvöllr on the Thursday when ten weeks of summer have passed, [summer began c. April 15 and ended c. October 16] and if they do not come in this way they pay fines and forfeit their chieftaincy unless some necessity occurs to prevent their coming. The chieftains of the same assembly group have to decide which of the men belonging to the assembly-third of the chieftain who stays at home should act in that chieftaincy and take it up.




Outlawry may not be imposed unless its terms are stated when the man to be outlawed formally agrees to a settlement; and in other circumstances the other man may not impose outlawry unless he does so with eleven companions. Testimony of his formal guarantee is to be given before another man accepts outlawry on his behalf. They are to swear oaths and bear witness [in such a way] that the arbitrators hear it.



St I 369

[…] If a countryman of ours is killed abroad, the killer is under the same penalty for that killing as if the killing were done in our country. Prosecution may be undertaken here for a foreign killing even though it has been prosecuted or settled abroad, unless the man who settled in accordance with law there is the principal in the case, and then the settlement is to be kept here if they make that a point in their agreement there.



St II 396

[…] If the man who kills his own slave has a chieftaincy, the case lies with the other chieftains of the same assembly.



St II 380

[…] It is prescribed that if outlaws are killed the procedure is to be as will now be told. Where men capture an outlaw they are not to take him more than a bowshot from that place if they have to execute him. They are to cover his corpse in a place where there is neither arable land nor meadow land and from where no waters flow to houses, beyond bowshot from anyone's wall.[…]

Source: Andrew Dennis, Peter Foote and Richard Perkins, Trans., "Laws of Early Iceland, Grágás" (Winnipeg, MB: University of Manitoba Press, 1980), 51-380. Notes: The first laws of Iceland were written down c. 1117-1118. Before this the laws were preserved by memorization from one generation to another. They were recited at the ţingi [thing] by the Law Speaker. Grágás [Grey Goose] is a collection of c. 130 codices, fragments and other scraps. It was written around the middle of the 13[[superscript]]th[[/]] century and is preserved in two manuscripts, Kónungsbók or Codex Regius {here marked K] and Stađarhólsbók, [st}

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