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1 Compensating Body and Honor: The Old Frisian Compensation Tariffs

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Chapter Summary

The Old Frisian compensation tariffs are a unique group of law texts. Going back to the injury tariffs found in the early medieval Leges Barbarorum, they meticulously inventory, measure and assess all kinds of bodily injuries and other damages resulting from conflicts. This chapter discusses these texts by looking at their cultural and anthropological roots as well as their synchronic context. What types of injuries did these tariffs list? What can we learn about their composers' medical knowledge? Finally, what did the tariffs aim to compensate and by what mechanisms? The first compensation tariffs can be found in the law code of the Mesopotamian king Hammurabi, dating to the eighteenth century BCE. Standard medical knowledge was available in medieval Frisia, but it only meagerly found its way into the compensation tariffs.

Keywords: anthropological roots; compensation tariffs; law code; medieval Frisia; Old Frisian

10.1163/9789004269118_003
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