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

animals OIce Grg Fjl 225
OIce Lbb 4

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

belongings OSw DL Tjdb
ONorw FrL Intr 9
ODan SkL 241

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

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

creature OSw ÄVgL Föb
OSw DL Bb
OSw SmL

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

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

funds ONorw BorgL 8.13
OIce Llb 45

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

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

means OIce Grg Feþ 149 Tíg 260
ONorw GuL Løb

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

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

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

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

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
    (10/05/2022)