Viking Laws


The Vikings had laws to keep the society running. A criminal was brought before a panel that decided who they thought was telling the truth. A jury of 12, 24, or 36, depending on the importance of the trial, decided the question of guilt. The `Law-sayer` told the jury what the law said about the crime committed and the accused was either convicted or declared innocent. If convicted the criminal was either fined or posted an outlaw. To be an outlaw meant that the criminal had to live out in the wilderness with no help of any kind. This meant he was free game for his enemies to do their best to hunt him down and kill him. A duel was a common way to settle a dispute. There were detailed rules for duels. If a duel took place near the coast a small islet, hulme or skerry was chosen. An inland duel took place in some secluded area. Swords and shields were favorite weapons for duels. The loser was the man whose blood touched the ground first. To win a duel was regarded as proof that you're right because the gods supposedly helped the "right" man to win. The introduction of Christianity put an end to the this kind of duel. It would be a boring life to only tend with the bare necessities of life so the Vikings also played games and enjoyed music, poetry, sports and other crafts such as wood sculpting and metal work.


Home>Viking Life>Laws