hor (OSw) hor (ODan) hor (OGu) hór (ON) noun

Appears in ecclesiastical, marriage, inheritance and criminal law sections. Mainly seen as a violation of the honour of the husband — and in ONorw other male guardians — whose wife, or in ONorw other dependent women, engaged in extramarital activities. In OSw, one of a few legitimate reasons for calling an extraordinary þing ‘assembly’, connected to the right to take the law into one’s own hands. Generally, an offended man could kill the male adulterer if caught in the act, and in some laws his right extended to killing his wife too. In OSw UL and VmL the offended woman had the right to kill the adulteress but not her own cheating husband; although the latter may have been possible in OSw HL. Both the man and the woman could be fined, and in addition the woman could be rejected by her husband and lose all of her property, her wedding gifts as well as her legal part of the mutual property of the married couple. In ODan SkL, both the rejected wife and the offended husband were prohibited from remarrying while their spouse was still alive. In GL, a married woman committing adultery with an unmarried man received no consolation, while any man caught in the act with a married woman was heavily penalized (wergild equivalent or death), and with an unmarried woman, he was placed in the stocks and risked losing a hand or foot unless he or his kin redeemed it with six marker.

adultery ODan ESjL 2
ODan JyL 1
OGu GL A 21
ONorw GuL Krb, Løb, Mhb
OSw DL Kkb
OSw HL Kkb, Äb
OSw KrL Gb Add
OSw ÖgL Kkb, Vm
OSw SdmL Kkb, Gb
OSw UL Kkb, Äb, Rb
OSw VmL Kkb, Äb
OSw YVgL Kkb, Gb

case concerning adultery OSw DL Kkb

enfalt hor (OSw)

Adultery where only one of the adulterers was married.

single adultery OSw HL Kkb YVgL Kkb

tvefalt hor (OSw)

Adultery where both adulterers were married.

double adultery OSw YVgL Kkb

twofold adultery OSw HL Kkb


Agnes Arnórsdóttir and Thyra Nors 1999; Ekholst 2009, 228–35; KLNM s.v. ægteskabsbrud

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

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/2225