karl (OSw) karl (ODan) karl (OGu) karl (ON) kall (OSw) noun

The normal meaning of this word is ‘(old) man’, or as an alternative to bonde (q.v.), meaning man in general, householder, husband, or as ‘common man’, as opposed to the king, but in GL it is used in two specific instances, firstly to mean ‘grandfather’ in particular and secondly to mean ‘the head of the family’ in general. If a man’s son dies leaving daughters, they were to be adopted by their grandfather in a more or less formal manner. In UL and VmL, it is used as a title, signifying the ‘representative of the hundari’ and this title has been retained in the respective translations. It has not been excerpted in the OIce laws, being in general rather than particular usage.

grandfather OGu GL A 20
head of the family OGu GL A 20
householder ONorw FrL Intr 19
OSw DL Tjdb
OSw UL Blb
OSw VmL Jb, Bb

husband ONorw FrL Intr 24
man ODan SkL 34, 36
OGu GL A 20
ONorw GuL Løb, Arb, Mhb, Olb
OSw HL Kkb, Äb
OSw ÖgL Äb, Jb, Bb
OSw SdmL Kgb, Gb
OSw UL Kkb, Äb
OSw VmL Kkb, Äb, Jb
OSw YVgL Drb, Tb

representative of the hundari OSw UL Äb, Mb, Blb, Rb
OSw VmL Bb, Mb, Rb

Peel 2015, 132 note 20/16; Schlyter 1877, s.v. karl; SL GL, 266 note 5 to chapter 20

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

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/2637