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Musings on Frith

I think we tend to limit what "Frith" wholly entails. I'd say most of the heathens out there think Frith only means peace... but it's a far richer concept than many realize. John Clark Hall's A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary states that the Old English word friþ meant: 1. peace, tranqility; 2. security, refuge; 3. privilege of special protection and the penalty for the breach of it; 4. the restoration of rights to an outlaw.

I like to think of it as 'right action' in a given cirumstance as it pertains to the interrelationships of people and the community. If someone has committed murder, then it behooves the community to see justice done for it. Just as much as it can be about providing hospitality at a gathering.

Not only do we think of Frigg as lady of the hall, but then in the Goddesses of Hlin and Syn, we see one who is appointed to guard the hall and keep out those who could not enter, and another appointed by Frigg to protect a designated person if need be from harm. So frith wasn't just making nice, it has a martial component to it as it applies to 'protection' and meting out a penalty to those that violate it as well.


Nice. Thank you for sharing that. It gives me something to think about.
You're welcome. If you can't already tell, I'm always thinking about something.

Did you know that the ancient equivalent of the modern day police force, was called a frithguild in Anglo-Saxon England?


Edited at 2009-10-13 08:58 pm (UTC)
No, I had no idea, but I think that's cool.
I always get a "kick" out of the more "smurfy" definitions of Frith, esp. since it's basic original meaning was the period between wars:
More for the survivors
the survivors were usually the winners
the crops had been fed quite a bit of blood & bonemeal;>
More like Rest & Resource;>. Later it developed more "civilized" definitions but done come close to anything "fluffy-bunny"...