handsal (ON) handssal (ON) noun

Joining hands (ON handarband or handsal) was a common way of confirming an agreement, a contract or the conclusion of a transaction. The corresponding verbs were (ON) handsala, handselja, or leggja/taka hendr saman. When both parties of an agreement joined hands they or a designated third person had to pronounce the content of the agreement, framed within a set of fixed formulae. (In Icelandic law (Grg) this last requirement was waived in cases regarding debts.) These words and the corresponding action had to be seen and heard by at least two witnesses in order to be accepted as legally binding. Some agreements even had to be made public in front of a gathering of men, either at a thing assembly, in a church or alehouse, or on board a fully manned ship. A breach of agreement was called (ON) handsalsslit or handsalsrof and implied compensation to the aggrieved party.

formal guarantee OIce Grg Klþ 2 Þsþ 49 Arþ 122 Feþ 152, 158 Tíg 255
OIce Js Lbb 16
OIce KRA 14

handshake OIce Kab 11, 25 Refs:

Hertzberg s.v.v. handsal, handsala, handsalsband, handsalsrof, handsalsslit, handselja; KLNM s.v.v. bröllop, handarband; handsal; Schlyter s.v.v. handsalder, handsalu fæ

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

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/1997