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"Viking Conflicts"
Viking Conflicts
Author:
Asare Mabel
No matter what point in time, whether it be the first days of man's existence or the present day, conflict and dispute has always existed between fellow man. Throughout time, improvements have been made in the methods of settling their disputes. Medieval Icelandic society exemplifies some of the various methods that have been used to settle conflicts through its unique legal system. Depending on the situation and those involved, the settlements ranged from savage blood feuds to ordered sentences of compensation or outlawry by members of an ordered assembly called The Althing. There are many examples of these conflicts incorporated into the three Viking sagas: The Tale of Thorstein Staff-Struck, The Saga of Hrafnkel Frey's Godi, and The Saga of the People of Laxardal.

Surprisingly, medieval Iceland contained a well-organized legal system. This was comprised of a decentralized self-government including free farmers with positions of chieftains, thingmen, and their slaves. Early Iceland was divided into several districts, each containing three chieftains. The Althing, a general assembly that was held every year, contained people of every district and every position and discussed various cases, their settlements, laws, legal codes, etc.

Disputes that were settled legally followed certain guidelines and rules that were determined at The Althing. A previously and well prepared case was presented in front of the general assembly, composed of chieftains and thingmen, by an individual chosen to defend the accused and one to prosecute the accused. Basically, each side had to give reasons and provide witnesses to convince the jury to punish or request compensation from the accused, or to dismiss the entire case. The court then made a ruling and decided a sentence or amount of compensation. In Hrafnkel, Sam presents a case against Hrafnkel in front of The Althing to avenge his cousin Einar's killing. Sam presents his...

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essay on Viking Conflicts
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Added:
01/19/2012
Category:
History
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