14. CUSTOMARY OATHS

(A) Oath of a man to his Lord

By the Lord before whom this holy thing is holy, I will to N.[1] be faithful and true, loving all that he loves and shunning all that he shuns, according to the law of God and the custom of the world; and never by will or by force, in word or in deed, will I do anything that is hateful to him; on condition that he will hold me as I deserve and will furnish all that was agreed between us when I bowed myself before him and submitted to his will.

(B) Oath of an accuser

By the Lord before whom this holy thing is holy, I thus bring my charge with full folkright, without deceit and without malice, and without any guile whatsoever, that stolen from me was this property, N., which I claim and which I seized in the possession of N.

(C) Oath of one thus accused

By the Lord ... neither by counsel nor by deed had I knowledge of or part in this, that the property, N., was carried off. On the contrary, I possess the property for this reason, that I lawfully inherited it.... that he,[2] having the lawful right to sell it, sold it to me.... that it is the offspring of my own animals, my private property raised under my care.

(D) Oath of one seizing property

By the Lord ... I seize N. neither through hate nor hostility, nor through unrighteous greed, and I know nothing truer than what my spokesman has said for me, and what I now myself state as truth, that he was the thief of my property.

(E) Oath in reply to such seizure

By the Lord ... I am guiltless, both in thought and in deed, of the accusation made against me by N.

(F) Oath of an oath-helper

By the Lord ... the oath which N. has sworn is clean and without falsehood.

(Anglo-Saxon) Ibid., I, 396 f.


[1] In these oaths N. represents either a person's name or the description of a particular article of property, usually an animal.

[2] Designating the person accused.


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