Weregild

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Weregild, literally meaning "man-gold", was money paid as a penalty for killing a man among the Norse, Anglo-Saxons and others. Literally, it was blood-money paid to the kin of the dead man to compensate them for the loss of a loved one.

Weregild often provided an honorable excuse to lay down any feud resulting from a killing (either accidental or deliberate); without weregild, the kin of a dead Norseman were required by honor and custom to take revenge against his slayer if at all possible.

Weregild was not necessary in an open, "legal" killing, such as on the battlefield or in a duel.

In Anglo-Saxon England, there was an elaborate hierarchy of weregild payments, dependent on the victim's social standing, ranging from 1500 shillings for a prince to far compensation to a thrall's owner (as his property had been destroyed).

Similar to weregild was a Celtic practice; the Celts calling it ericfine or galanas.