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Bloodshed and compensation in ancient Ireland: A public lecture

Centre for Irish Studies


At all times in the history of medieval English law, homicides were divided into two classes. There were particularly heinous homicides, for which the penalty was death, and less serious homicides, for which the death penalty could be escaped. For these less serious homicides the penalty was usually financial. In earlier times, the killer and his kin paid financial compensation to the victim's kin as well as a fine to the king. In later times, the killer was exiled from the realm and his property was forfeited to his lord.

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