(OSw) (ODan) fe (OGu) (ON) fe (OSw) noun

This word has two groups of meanings, both amply attested in Medieval Nordic laws: 1) cattle, livestock, 2) goods, money, payment; property. The original meaning, as indicated by the Latin cognate pecus, was ‘cattle’. The extension of meaning is easily understandable in view of the fact that cattle constituted a large part of a man’s or institution’s property. Cattle might also be used as a means of payment.

Some words with fæ-/fé- occur in both senses: OSw leghofæ, ON leigufé (1) ‘leased cattle’, 2) ‘leased thing, money or property’); ON féhirðir (1) ‘herdsman, shepherd’, 2) ‘treasurer’).

The ODan danæt fæ referred to valuables found in the ground without a legal owner or heir to claim them; they went to the Crown. Such treasure troves, perhaps specifically connected to pagan burials, have been found in Denmark. The idea is contrasted to contemporary Icelandic ideas of property ownership/buried property in Miller & Vogt 2015, 45.


amount ONorw EidsL 8.3
animal ODan JyL 2, 3
ODan SkL 170, 171, 175−77, 180, 181, 189, 190
OSw DL Kkb, Mb, Bb
OSw HL Mb, Blb, Rb
OSw SdmL Bb, Mb
OSw UL Kkb, Mb, Blb
OSw VmL Kkb, Mb, Bb
OSw YVgL Rlb, Tb, Föb, Utgb
OSw ÄVgL Rlb

animals OIce Grg Fjl 225
OIce Lbb 4

beast OSw DL Kkb
OSw UL Kkb, Mb, Blb
OSw VmL Kkb, Kgb, Mb, Bb
OSw ÄVgL Fös

belongings ODan SkL 241
ONorw FrL Intr 9
OSw DL Tjdb

cash OIce Grg Vís 96 Bat 115
cattle ODan ESjL 3
ODan JyL 2
ODan SkL 83, 136, 160, 169, 172, 173, 188, 195, 203
ONorw EidsL 11.6
ONorw GuL Llb
OSw DL Bb
OSw HL Blb
OSw ÄVgL Rlb

chattels ODan ESjL 2
ODan VSjL 1, 87
OIce Mah 1

creature OSw DL Bb
OSw SmL
OSw ÄVgL Föb

domestic animal ODan JyL 2, 3
ODan SkL 105
OSw HL Mb
OSw UL Mb, Kmb, Blb
OSw VmL Mb, Kmb, Bb

fine OIce Grg Feþ 147
ONorw BorgL 3.3
ONorw FrL KrbA 10

funds OIce Llb 45
ONorw BorgL 8.13

gain ODan SkL 72, 121
goods ODan ESjL 3
ODan JyL 2
ODan SkL 85, 112, 122, 135, 230, 231, 233, 240
ODan VSjL 2, 13, 18
OIce Grg Bat 114
OIce Þfb 7 Þjb 1
ONorw FrL Intr 22
OSw DL Bb, Gb
OSw HL Mb, Kmb
OSw YVgL Urb, Drb, Äb, Gb, Rlb, Tb, Add
OSw ÄVgL Md, Äb, Gb, Rlb, Tb

home OSw ÄVgL Gb
livestock ODan ESjL 2, 3
ODan SkL 115
OIce Grg Vís 112
OIce Llb 2
ONorw FrL Intr 23
OSw HL Mb, Kmb, Blb
OSw SdmL Bb
OSw UL Kkb, Kgb, Blb
OSw VmL Bb
OSw YVgL Tb

means OIce Grg Feþ 149 Tíg 260
ONorw GuL Løb

money OFar Seyð 2
OGu GL A 2, 13, 14, 21, 28, Add. 8 (B 55)
OIce Grg Þsþ 51 Vís 110
OIce Þfb 2
OIce Js Þfb 2 Mah 2
OIce KRA 6, 31
ONorw BorgL 3.5 12.14
ONorw EidsL 31.2
ONorw FrL KrbB 23
ONorw GuL Mhb, Olb, Leb, Krb, Kpb, Løb, Trm
OSw UL Kkb, Mb, Blb, Rb
OSw VmL Kkb, Äb, Bb

movable goods ODan ESjL 3
movables ODan ESjL 1−3
ODan JyL 1
ODan SkL 6, 23, 29, 40
ODan VSjL 1, 87
ONorw FrL Intr 2 KrbB 21

payment OGu GL Add. 1 (B 4)
OIce Grg Tíg 258

possessions ONorw FrL KrbA 5
price ODan ESjL 3
property ODan ESjL 3
OGu GL A 19, 28
OIce Grg passim
OIce passim
OIce Js passim
OIce KRA 1, 7 passim
ONorw BorgL 3.2 4.2 passim
ONorw FrL Intr 1, 3 KrbA 10, 18 KrbB 3 passim
ONorw GuL Arb, Kpb, Leb, Trm, Krb, Llb, Mhb
OSw HL Kkb
OSw UL Mb, Rb
OSw VmL Mb, Rb
OSw YVgL Äb, Jb
OSw ÄVgL Jb
OSw ÖgL Db

ransom OSw YVgL Äb
reward ODan VSjL 87
stock (2) OIce Grg Lbþ 178
sum OIce Grg Klþ 4
wealth ONorw EidsL 24.6 passim
ONorw FrL KrbB 17

Expressions:

danæt fæ (ODan)

treasure trove (lit. ‘dead man’s property’) ODan ESjL 3

ihald fear (OSw)

animals in another man’s enclosure OSw YVgL Kkb

animals within another man’s fences OSw YVgL Till

inlaght fæ (OSw)

deposited goods OSw DL Bb, Rb

goods left in custody OSw YVgL Äb ÄVgL Äb

Refs:

Hertzberg s.v.v. fé, fé-, fjár-; KLNM s.v. danefæ; Lund [1877] 1967 s.v.v. , -, -; Miller & Vogt 2015, 45; ONP s.v. ; Schlyter s.v.v. fæ, fæ-, fear-, fæar-

Citation
  • ‘fæ’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.
    http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/1590
    (01/19/2022)