vébönd (pl.) (ON) noun

A rope or cord attached to stakes, which surrounded certain courts, such as the lögrétta ‘Law Council’ at an assembly. A description of the vébönd using ropes and hazel poles is given in Egils saga. Most likely considered a hallowed area, as the first element (ON , see vi) was used throughout the North to indicate pre-Christian holy grounds. The tradition is thought to be very old, as a similar practice is known from the eighth-century Lex Ribuaria.

It was the duty of the ármaðr (q.v.) (FrL Tfb 2) or the lögmaðr (see laghmaþer) (Js Þfb 3) to set up the vébönd at assemblies. The term also appears in Magnus Lagabætr’s Bylov, where it is used in Norwegian guild houses, and in the Faroese Hundabrævið. In Hirðskrá 38 it is stated that the king’s banner was to be placed within a vébönd at musters.

boundary ropes OIce Þfb 3
OIce Js Þfb 3

enclosure ONorw FrL Tfb 2
holiness of the assembly ONorw FrL Tfb 2

Brink 2004b; CV s.v. vébönd; Fritzner s.v. vébönd; KLNM s.v.v. dómhringr, krigsbytte, tingsted, vi; LexMA s.v. Ding > II. Skandinavien; Riisøy 2013; von See 1964, 129−30

  • ‘vébönd (pl.)’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.