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Full-Text Articles in Law

Gift, Sale, Payment, Raid: Case Studies In The Negotiation And Classification Of Exchange In Medieval Iceland, William I. Miller Jan 1986

Gift, Sale, Payment, Raid: Case Studies In The Negotiation And Classification Of Exchange In Medieval Iceland, William I. Miller

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Near the end of Eyrbyggja saga Porir asks Ospak and his men where they had gotten the goods they were carrying. Ospak said that they had gotten them at Pambardal. "How did you come by them?" said Porir. Ospak answered, "They were not given, they were not paid to me, nor were they sold either." Ospak had earlier that evening raided the house of a farmer called Alf and made away with enough to burden four horses. And this was exactly what he told Porir when he wittily eliminated the other modes of transfer by which he could have acquired ...


Dreams, Prophecy And Sorcery: Blaming The Secret Offender In Medieval Iceland, William I. Miller Jan 1986

Dreams, Prophecy And Sorcery: Blaming The Secret Offender In Medieval Iceland, William I. Miller

Articles

An eminent legal historian once noted that the fundamental problem of law enforcement in primitive societies is that of the secret offender. The Icelandic legal and dispute processing systems depended on a wrongdoer publishing his deed, or at least committing it in an open and notorious manner. No state agencies existed to investigate and discover the non-publishing wrongdoer. But there were strong normative inducements to wrong openly; one's name was at stake. There was absolutely no honor in thievery, only the darkest shame; the ransmadr, on the other hand, suffered no shame for his successful raids, even if he ...