friþer (OSw) frith (ODan) friþr (OGu) friðr (ON) noun

Legal protection of people and property; also occasionally protection of wild plants (OSw SdmL) and animals (OSw HL). Referring both to the state and to the time of protection. Breach of friþer was considered more serious the closer to home and the private sphere that it was done (OSw UL), and this concept also appears under other terms, such as hemsokn (OSw HL). Including, but not restricted to, the protection by the king, in OSw known as eþsöre, and, like this, occasionally translated as ‘king’s peace’. Losing this protection was a punishment mainly for killings (OSw friþlös), and when referring to the return of friþer, occasionally translated as ‘pardon’ or ‘rule of law’. Numerous types of friþer appear in the laws specifying the times, places, events or persons enjoying it. During such friþer, restrictions concerning for example the right to prosecute could apply (OSw HL, SdmL, UL). Breach of such a specific friþer was sometimes considered an unatonable crime (OSw urbotamal) but could at other times result in high fines to the king, bishop or the community depending on the violation. When referring to matters of the church, occasionally translated as ‘sanctity’ or ‘sanctuary’. Also of exemption from certain obligations, such as taxes, and occasionally translated as ‘freedom’. There is considerable overlap between usages and translations.

asylum OSw HL Kkb
freedom OGu GS Ch. 2
OIce Mah 14
OSw UL Kgb, Äb
OSw VmL Kgb, Äb

immunity OSw UL Äb, Rb
OSw VmL Äb, Rb

inviolability OSw HL Kgb
King’s Peace OSw DL Eb
OSw UL Kgb, Mb
OSw VmL Kgb

pardon OSw HL Äb
peace ODan ESjL 2, 3
ODan JyL Fort, 2, 3
ODan SkKL 3
ODan SkL 90, 118, 121
ODan VSjL 50, 53, 54, 87
OGu GL A 1, 13
OGu GS Ch. 2
OIce Mah 1 Þjb 24
OIce Js Þfb 4 Mah 4
OIce KRA 8, 17
ONorw BorgL 3.2 passim
ONorw FrL Intr 1, 5 KrbA 5, 10 KrbB 24 Mhb 4 passim
ONorw GuL Krb, Reb, Leb
OSw ÄVgL Kkb, Md, Smb, Slb, Urb, Äb, Gb, Rlb
OSw HL Kgb, Äb, Mb, Blb
OSw KrL Kgb Gb Äb Hb DbI Tb
OSw MEL Kgb Gb Äb Eb Hb DbI Tb
OSw MESt Kgb Skb DbI SmbI Tb
OSw ÖgL Kkb, Eb, Db, Vm, Rb, Bb
OSw SdmL Kkb, Kgb, Gb, Äb, Bb, Mb, Tjdb, Rb, Till
OSw UL För, Kkb, Kgb, Rb
OSw VmL För, Kgb, Rb
OSw YVgL Kkb, Frb, Urb, Drb, Äb, Gb, Rlb, Utgb, Add

peace (or rule of law) OSw DL Eb
peace and protection OSw KrL Eb

peace for the outlawed OSw HL Kgb
period of peace and protection OSw DL Mb
OSw UL Kkb, Mb
OSw VmL Mb

period of peace and security OGu GL A 8–10, 13
period of sanctity OSw HL Rb
protection OSw ÖgL Bb
OSw SdmL Bb, Till
OSw VmL Mb

right to inviolability OSw HL Äb
rights OSw UL Kgb (ch. 6 title)
OSw VmL Kgb (ch. 3 rubric)

rule of law OSw UL Kgb, Äb
OSw VmL Äb, Mb

sanctity OGu GL A 9–12
OSw HL Kkb, Rb
OSw UL Kkb

sanctuary OSw HL Mb
OSw UL Kkb, Mb

time of peace OSw HL Mb
truce OIce MagBref

flya friþ, flyæ friþ, friþ flya (OSw)

be outlawed OSw HL Kgb

be forced to flee from the King’s Peace OSw UL Kgb VmL Kgb

flee and lose one's peace OSw MEL Eb

flee as an outlaw OSw ÖgL Rb

guþs ok the hælgha kirkiu friþer (OSw)

God’s and the Holy Church’s sanctity OSw HL Kkb

söka friþ af (OSw)

have someone outlawed OSw ÖgL Gb


Cleasby and Vigfusson s.v. friðr; Fritzner s.v. friðr; Hertzberg s.v. friðr; ONP s.v. friðr; Schlyter s.v. friþer

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