On 4/12/06 17:16, "jansymello" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

We might also imagine that, by inverting the perspective, this "kinbote" becomes a statement concerning a small boy's right to extract a payment from his seducer

JM: Another list in which I dabble is devoted to that wonderful but neglected language Englisc (AngloSaxon spelling but pronounced [Old] English, as far as we can tell!). Wergild [aka blood-money, literally man- or life-money] is well documented with precise price lists according to the victim’s RANK:

“Cynges wergild is XXX [th]usend [th]rysma: XV [th]usend [th]rysma by[th] [th]aes weres 7* XV [th]usend [th]rysma [th]aes cynedomes ... “
“A King’s wergeld is 30,000 thrysmas: 15,000 for the man and 15,000 for the ROYAL DIGNITY [sic]!”
The menu then gives archbishops/aethelings [15,000], high-sherriffs [4,000] mass-priests [2,000] right down to “Ceorles wergild is CC 7* LXVI [th]risma**” “A CHURL’s*** wergild is 266 thrysmas.”

IN RE Gradus’s murder of John Shade, one wonders what wergeld might apply to the accidental killing of a mere LitCrit poetaster?!

* ‘7’ is m/s shorthand for ‘and.’ NB: I don’t have the fonts for the pretty hard/soft [th] characters.
** Carolyn: Spelling with ‘Y’ or ‘I’ didn’t bother anyone in the Xth century! The value of the gold (later silver) coin [th]rysma is unknown.
*** It was no fun being a lowly churlish churl!

Wergeld compensated the next-of-kin for killing a kin, helping to reduce on-going blood feuds. Of interest to JM’s note, wergeld could also help ‘settle’ sexual offences:

“Gif friman wi[th] fries mannes wif geliege[th] his wergelde abicge 7 o[th]er wif his agenum scaette begete 7 [th]aem o[th]rum aet ham gebrenge.”
“If a freeman lies with the wife of a freeman, he is to requite with his wergeld and to acquire another woman with his own money and bring [her] to the other at home.”

[“An Invitation to Old Enlish & Anglo-Saxon England,” Bruce Mitchell, Blackwell, 1995]

No mention of how this intriguing ‘compo’ would work in the case of daughter (or son!) seductions!

Stan Kelly-Bootle

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