Session 13: Law and Gender

Bride price (or morning gift); money or property paid by the groom to the bride, apparently at her immediate disposal
Charter A legal record, originally in the sense of a diploma, but later also used to record grants and leases of other kinds and to laymen
Chirograph A document written up in multiple copies on a single sheet and cut up to be given into the keeping of several interested parties in such a way that they could be confirmed authentic by placing them back together
Diploma ( < Greek, “folded in two”) A legal record of a royal grant of land or privileges to a religious house
Dower Property of the groom’s formally recognized as becoming the bride’s on his passing
Feud A legal principle hinging on kinship and the compensation of injured parties, as opposed to fines payable to the authorities
Folk law Oral law, characterized by variation and flux
fosterlean Maintenance payment; sum paid by the groom, presumably to compensate the bride’s guardian for having kept her thus far
mund Lit. “hand; protection; guardianship”; in law, refers to the compensation for the violation of someone’s protection or guardianship, such as of a child, freedman, or (as some scholars believe) woman
peaceweaver Term used to refer to women married off into a rival group in hopes of securing peace
wergeld (or wergild); whenever anyone who was not a slave was murdered, the law required the killer to pay the victim’s relatives a “man-price” as compensation. The amount of wergeld depended on the victim’s social rank. Wergeld, or a proportion thereof, also came to be used as a unit for compensation of other offences.
Writ A short, sealed letter intended for reading out in legal gatherings, announcing e.g. changes in land ownership