buþkafli (OSw) buþkafli (OGu) boþkafli (OSw) noun

The buþkafli, derived from OSw kafli ‘long piece of wood’, is variously translated as ‘message baton’, ‘message scroll’, ‘summoning baton’, and ‘summons baton’. It was the usual instrument for sending out official information, calls, or orders in civil, ecclesiastical, or military matters. It was cut in such a way that it indicated the content and nature of the message. Shaped as a cross (see GuL ch. 19) it announced church services, shaped as an arrow it ordered the apprehension of a criminal, summons to an assembly, or warning against enemies and mobilization for the defence of the country. In this last case, the message baton had to be made of iron (see arf). The FrL shows that people could be summoned to road work by a message baton sent out by the bishop’s representative. According to the GuL (chs 308, 309, 311) the king’s representative or a landed man (ON lendr maðr, see lænder) had to send out a message baton to prepare people for service in the military defence. The duty to send out a message baton depended on the purpose of the message. In Sweden, matters concerning the assemblies required the district principal (OSw hæraþshöfþingi or fiarþungshöfþingi) or the lawman to be responsible. In cases of murder or serious mistreatment, the aggrieved party was entitled to send out the message baton. It was usually carried from one farm to the next and seems to have followed regular routes; it was not to be stopped except in case of emergency (see arf). There was also a fixed procedure to be followed when a person was not at home to receive the message baton (ibid.)


king’s summons to court
message scroll OSw ÖgL Db
summoning baton OSw DL Rb
OGu GS Ch. 4
OSw ÖgL Bb
OSw SdmL Mb, Rb
OSw UL Kgb, Rb
OSw VmL Mb, Rb
OSw YVgL Rlb

summons OSw MELL DbI Tb
summons baton OSw HL Rb Refs:

KLNM s.v.v. budstikke, bystævne, landvärn, lendmann, naboforhold, vägvisare, ǫrvarþing; Schlyter s.v. buþkafli

Citation
  • ‘buþkafli’. A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law.

  • http://www.dhi.ac.uk/lmnl/nordicheadword/displayPage/806
    (05/26/2022)