friþlös (OSw) frithløs (ODan) friþlaus (OGu) friðlauss (ON) adj.

Someone being declared friþlös usually implied that the person concerned was outlawed because of the crime that he had committed (usually a killing) and that the injured party or his agents could kill him, without penalty. Exceptionally in KRA 20, it is used to describe a man who has committed incest, considered an ódáðaverk (q.v.), and his state of being ‘without peace’ persists until the parties undergo penance issued by the bishop. In GL the killer was only outlawed if he refused to offer appropriate compensation within three years. If the offer was made three times but refused, the killer escaped the penalty. If the person were outlawed, his family was forbidden from taking revenge for his death and hence the law seemed to be intended to put a halt to blood feuds. According to ÄVgL, both an outlaw and an excommunicate could be driven out of the church if the parishioners wished, but this provision was dropped in YVgL, presumably because it was not considered appropriate that lay people should extract church punishments. The outlaw was driven out of the community to the uncultivated woodland and this punishment could even be extracted for failure to pay compensation for wounding someone. In the laws of Götaland, it is clear that a woman may, under certain circumstances be declared outlawed, but in SdmL it is specifically stated that women and minors might not be outlawed. The concept of being ‘outside the King’s Peace’ was one that in most of the laws of Svealand was covered chiefly by the adjective biltugher (q.v.) and the concept of having to flya friþ, that is ‘be forced to flee the King’s Peace’; the word friþlös does not figure in UL, HL, DL or VmL.

having lost one’s peace ODan ESjL 2, 3
ODan SkL 90

outlawed OSw ÄVgL Kkb
OGu GL A 13
ONorw GuL Krb
OSw ÖgL Db
OSw YVgL Föb, Add

without peace OSw ÄVgL Md, Slb
ODan JyL 2, 3
OIce KRA 20
OSw ÖgL Eb
OSw SdmL Kgb, Mb
ODan VSjL 87
OSw YVgL Drb, Gb, Rlb, Add

Ekholst 2009; KLNM, s.v. fredløshed; Lexikon des Mittelalters, s.v.v. acht, friedlosigkeit; Peel 2015, 115 note 13/58−65; Riisøy 2014; Schlyter 1877, s.v. friþlös; SL GL 257−58 note 19 to chapter 13; SL SdmL, 59 note 33; SL YVgL, 290 note 29, 301 note 22; SL ÄVgL, 22 note 72, 36−37 notes 28, 31, 66 note 16; SL ÖgL, 46−47

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