The word weregild is composed of were. a word meaning "man" (as in werewolf ) and geld. meaning "payment." Etymologically, were is related to the Latin vir. Geld is the root of English gilt and cognate with gold.Geld is still the Dutch. Yiddish. and German word for money. In Danish the word is gæld and means "debt".In literature
In the Story of Grettir the Strong. chapter 27, The Suit for the Slaying of Thorgils Makson. Thorgeir conveys to court Thorgils Arison's offer of weregild as atonement for killing Thorgils Makson. 
In The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring , it is revealed that after the Last Alliance of Elves and Men had defeated the forces of Sauron. that Isildur claimed the One Ring as weregild owed to him for the deaths of Elendil his father and Anárion his younger brother, in protest to the insistence of Elrond and Círdan to destroy the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom .
In the epic poem Beowulf. at lines 456-472, Hroðgar recalls the story of how Ecgþeow (Beowulf's father) once came to him for help, for he had slain Heaðolaf, a man from another tribe called the Wulfings. and either couldn't pay the wergild or they refused to accept it. Hroðgar married Wealhþeow who likely belonged to the Wulfing tribe, and was able to use his kinship ties to persuade the Wulfings to accept the wergild and end the feud. Hroðgar sees Beowulf's offer as a son's gratitude for what Hroðgar had done for Beowulf's father.See also References
Wergild is one of many forms of a legal tradition that allows a killer to pay money to the family of the person he murdered in order to stave off retribution. It is seen as early as the Mesopotamian law codes (e.g. Hammurapi's) in which payment was on a graduated scale, with the highest payments being exacted for death of a healthy male noble and the least for unskilled unhealthy slaves.
Wergild is an important ongoing theme in Beowulf. Before the start of the story, Beowulf’s father Ecgtheow had been forced to leave his own country because he could not pay wergild after he killed the Wulfing Heatholaf. Hrothgar welcomed him to Denmark and paid the wergild, creating an obligation that extended to Beowulf.
The monster Grendel not only ravaged the country of Denmark but refused to pay wergild, thereby adding insult to injury. Refusing to pay wergild was seen as dishponorable, and provoking blood feud. Beowulf’s taking Grendel’s head seems extraction almost of post-mortem wergild.
There is some ambivalence though about paying wergild if you consider that the killing was justified; in that case paying it rather than accepting blood feud is seen as craven.
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Beowulf Essay, Research Paper The Anglo-Saxon Hero as defined by the Battles of Beowulf Within the tale of ?Beowulf? four character traits can be found which define the Anglo Saxon Hero. The first is loyalty, as demonstrated by the relationship between Lord and thane. According to page 23 of the ?Beowulf? introduction. a relationship based less on subordination of one man?s will to another than on mutual trust and respect. The second and third characteristics are strength and courage. The importance of these specific traits to the Anglo-Saxon people is clearly presented during the reciting of Sigemund?s tale within Heorot. As the song states. He was adventurer most famous, far and wide through the nations, for deed of courage. he had prospered from that before, the
protector of warriors. after the war-making of Heremod had come to an end, his strength and his courage? (38). The final piece which comprises the Anglo-Saxon hero is the notion of fame. The only after life a warrior could ever aspire to have was immortality through fame. One again this is explained by the introduction to the story. Beowulf?s chief reward is pagan immortality the memory in the minds of later generations of a hero?s heroic actions? (24-25). By understanding what defines a hero it is a simple matter to comprehend why Beowulf is considered by some to be the greatest of all. He posses unfaltering loyalty to his king and allies, and save for his final battle his thanes show the same devotion to him. His strength is unparalleled, as he is able to defeat each of his
opponents and perform feats of unmatched endurance. Beowulf?s courage, though motivated primarily by his own notion of fate, is, none the less, unwavering. And as a hero he achieved his desire for immortality through the poem itself. Each of the four heroic traits can be identified within the three battles in which Beowulf participates: His battle with Grendel, his undersea struggle with the Grendel?s Mother, and his final fight with the dragon. Before going off to do battle with Grendel, Beowulf gives a speech that may appear conceited to the modern reader, but is in actuality a simple device used to insure his immortality through fame. Beowulf states. I claim myself no poorer in war strength, war works, than Grendel claims himself. Therefor I will not put him to sleep with a
sword? and then may wise God, Holy Lord, assign glory on whichever hand seems good to him? (35-36). Now whether he wins or looses the fight Beowulf will always be remembered as the courageous warrior who battled the beast without the aid of a weapon. This passage also shows Beowulf?s unconquerable courage. It is important to note, however, that this courage does not come from A strong mind, but rather from an unquestioning belief in fate, which in turn, is completely at God?s command. His courage, therefor, comes entirely from his belief that he has done good in the eyes of the lord. Armed only with his strong belief in the goodness of the Lord Beowulf attacks the evil Grendel (?enemy of god? according to page 37) and displays his awesome strength. When Beowulf first grasps the
arm of his opponent he is described as ?he who of men was strongest of might in the days of his life" (37). He then proceeds to rip Grendel?s arm from his body while ?more than enough of Beowulf?s earls drew swords, old heirlooms, wished to protect the life of their dear lord, famous prince however they might? (37) (a perfect example of the importance of loyalty in the lord-thane relationship). In his second battle Beowulf again epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon hero by again exhibiting the aforementioned traits. After Grendel?s Mother swarms the castle in retribution for the murder of her son (choosing to wage war instead of accepting wergild) Beowulf is determined to do away with the descendent of Cain. He was resolute, not slow of courage, mindful of fame? (47). He is
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