forbuþ (OSw) forbuth (ODan) forbuþ (OGu) forboð (ON) noun

Literally, ‘prohibition’. It is used generally to mean that something is prohibited (e.g. trade in certain commodities in the case of GS) or that a person is prevented from doing something (e.g. retaining use of land in UL). In particular it referred to a form of lesser excommunication (forbuþ, interdictum locale), where only the sacrament of Mass (together with other church services) was withheld for a short period. This was common to all medieval Nordic laws, in contrast to the banzmal (q.v.), where the person was subject to permanent excommunication, and which occurs only in GL and a number of the OSw laws. This lesser punishment could be escalated to full excommunication if the fine imposed were not paid within a year and a day. It appears from the texts of UL and VmL that, if the culprit did not redeem himself within a further year and a day, he was to pay for it with his life and that punishment was to be administered by the king. He was to be buried outside the churchyard, although his heirs could retain their share of his property.

ban OSw YVgL Kkb
eviction OSw UL Jb
interdict OIce Js Kdb 4
OIce KRA 7, 11
ONorw EidsL 50.13
OSw YVgL Kkb

interdiction OSw DL Kkb
OSw SdmL Kkb

lesser ban ONorw GuL Krb
minor excommunication OSw UL Kkb
OSw VmL Kkb

objection ODan JyL 1
prohibition ODan SkKL 3, 6
ODan SkL 74
ODan VSjL 66, 78
OGu GS Ch. 2
OIce Sg 3
OSw HL Kkb
OSw UL Blb
OSw YVgL Jb, Kvab
OSw ÖgL Kkb


KLNM, s.v.v. excommunicatio og interdict, kommunion, kyrkobalkar, kyrkostraff, sacrilegium; Lexikon des Mittelalters, s.v. bannum; Peel 2015, 104 note 8/17−19; Schlyter 1877, s.v. forbuþ; SL DL, 20 notes 76 and 77; SL UL, 39 note 54, 40 notes 67 and 68, 193 note 87; SL ÖgL, 30 note 65

  • ‘forbuþ’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.