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Conceiving a NationScotland to 900 AD$
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Gilbert Márkus

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748678983

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678983.001.0001

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‘Justice and Peace have embraced’ (Psalm 84: 11)

‘Justice and Peace have embraced’ (Psalm 84: 11)

Laws and Societies

(p.188) 5 ‘Justice and Peace have embraced’ (Psalm 84: 11)
Conceiving a Nation

Gilbert Márkus

Edinburgh University Press

It is possible to identify and compare elements of laws from Gaelic, British and Anglo-Saxon traditions - though the laws themselves are not all from Scotland itself, the legal traditions were all represented here to varying degrees. (Nothing survives of Pictish law.) The nature of these early medieval laws is discussed – laws created in the absence of a legislature, and where enforcement is worked out through the negotiations of a community. Legal processes and their rationales are described, including compensation and its variation according to gravity of offence and the status of the victim of crime. Hierarchy and status are key to understanding the lives of communities, and are discussed in the different legal traditions, examining the range of status from lordship to slavery. Laws rooted in kinship and inheritance are also important, and kinship (both natural and artificial) is discussed. Finally, while women are very poorly represented in most historical sources of our period, the laws enable us to form some picture of their lives and their place in society.

Keywords:   laws, hierarchy and status, compensation, lordship, slavery, kinship, women in society

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