Something I've been thinking about....

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Daniel Ezra

Postby Daniel Ezra » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:55 pm

I've been thinking about the issue of weregild.

We have assumed that the weregild for a free peasant would be low.

Is this the case?

I think not. My guess is that the level was set above the amount that a rich man could well think "oh, I can afford to kill SoandSo, so I will".

The idea was that even a peasant was worth more alive than dead, and that a poor man would consider killing a rich man not worth the bother.

Weregild was designed to prevent blood fueds, but, my guess, is that it was also designed to prevent murder as well.



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Medicus Matt
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Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:30 am

Aelfric wrote:I’d hesitate to write it off as cobblers. :wink:


I wouldn't, it's out of date. Campbell's work is nearly 20 years old now; gold was only going for £200 an ounce when he wrote that, so it might have been true at the time.


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Postby Hobbitstomper » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:54 am

Assuming gold is worth 10 times as much as silver and there are 20 shillings to the pound then the belt buckle alone is worth about two coerls.

I'm not sure of the value of the shilling that Ethelbert was talking about but it is relevant.

Anyway, a king’s word counts more than a coerls so if he says that he was justified in doing something then he will probably get away with it.



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Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:16 pm

Hobbitstomper wrote:Assuming gold is worth 10 times as much as silver and there are 20 shillings to the pound then the belt buckle alone is worth about two coerls.

I'm not sure of the value of the shilling that Ethelbert was talking about but it is relevant.

Anyway, a king’s word counts more than a coerls so if he says that he was justified in doing something then he will probably get away with it.


Silver was worth more (in comparison to gold) than it is now, and the value of the shilling seems to vary as a fraction of the pound from region to region and throughout the early medieval period.

The whole business of comparative pricing is a nightmare. The value of garnets shoots up in the later 7th century as the supply from India dries up. Old garnets get recut to make them go further...means that the value of the Sutton Hoo collection would have gone up considerably within a short time of it's deposition.


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Postby dbob.culley » Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:49 pm

:mrgreen:


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