Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, law, and Society in Saga Iceland

Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, law, and Society in Saga Iceland

by William Ian Miller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226526801

ISBN-13: 9780226526805

Pub. Date: 12/01/1996

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Dubbed by the New York Times as "one of the most sought-after legal academics in the county," William Ian Miller presents the arcane worlds of the Old Norse studies in a way sure to attract the interest of a wide range of readers. Bloodtaking and Peacemaking delves beneath the chaos and brutality of the Norse world to discover a complex interplay of

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Overview

Dubbed by the New York Times as "one of the most sought-after legal academics in the county," William Ian Miller presents the arcane worlds of the Old Norse studies in a way sure to attract the interest of a wide range of readers. Bloodtaking and Peacemaking delves beneath the chaos and brutality of the Norse world to discover a complex interplay of ordering and disordering impulses. Miller's unique and engaging readings of ancient Iceland's sagas and extensive legal code reconstruct and illuminate the society that produced them.

People in the saga world negotiated a maze of violent possibility, with strategies that frequently put life and limb in the balance. But there was a paradox in striking the balance—one could not get even without going one better. Miller shows how blood vengeance, law, and peacemaking were inextricably bound together in the feuding process.

This book offers fascinating insights into the politics of a stateless society, its methods of social control, and the role that a uniquely sophisticated and self-conscious law played in the construction of Icelandic society.

"Illuminating."—Rory McTurk, Times Literary Supplement

"An impressive achievement in ethnohistory; it is an amalgam of historical research with legal and anthropological interpretation. What is more, and rarer, is that it is a pleasure to read due to the inclusion of narrative case material from the sagas themselves."—Dan Bauer, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226526805
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
12/01/1996
Edition description:
1
Pages:
415
Sales rank:
714,046
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Spelling
Prologue

1 Introduction: The Institutional Setting and the Ranks of Persons
2 Making Sense of the Sources
3 Some Aspects of the Economy: The Problem of Negotiating and Classifying Exchanges
4 Householding Patterns
5 The Bonds of Kinship
6 Feud, Vengeance, and the Disputing Process
7 Law and Legal Process
8 Peacemaking and Arbitration

Concluding Observations
Abbreviations
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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