Blood Feud

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Blood Feud

Avenging the Wrongful Death of a person's kin by killing the murderer or by receiving compensation from the murderer's possessions.

During the Middle Ages all European nations had similar customs concerning the murder of their inhabitants. The closest next of kin to a person who had wrongfully died at the hands of another had the primary duty to retaliate against the killer. This obligation was subject to certain laws and customs concerning the type of permissible vengeance, the amount of compensation that could be exacted, the location at which the compensation was to be made, and the circumstances in which compensation was not required. For example, a blood feud was not sanctioned if the person killed was a convicted thief or if the person who did the killing did so to defend his lord or a close female family member. The idea of the imprisonment of a person who had committed a Homicide was unknown during this period of history.

There is dispute over whether the blood feud was legal under Teutonic or Anglo-Saxon law. During the ninth-century reign of Alfred, a feud could lawfully commence only after an attempt was made to exact the price of a life. The price, called weregild, also applied when other atrocious personal offenses were committed and was paid partly to the monarch for the loss of a subject, partly to the lord for the loss of a vassal, and partly to the next of kin of the injured person. In Anglo-Saxon law, the amount of compensation, called angylde, was fixed at law and varied with the status of the person killed.

The Catholic Church exerted much influence to have a death avenged through the payment of compensation, not further violence, but the blood feud continued throughout England until after the Norman Conquest (1066).

References in periodicals archive ?
Sometimes, a single murder may turn out to be linked to a sporadic blood feud with a long history.
At the emergence of an internal divisive force such as a blood feud and a probable cycle of revenge, or an external force such as a foreign power's occupation of Egyptian soil, the two groups come together strongly.
Nebahat Akkoc, the president of the Diyarbakyr-based Women's Consultation and Solidarity Center (KAMER), told Today's Zaman that it was not usual for women and children to be the victims of blood feuds in Turkey while the victims of honor killings have always been women.
Akkoc said there have been frequent incidents during summer when women or children were targeted in blood feuds while they only used to be killed by mistake in such cases in the past.
Examining the Southeast region where incidents of honor killings or killings motivated by blood feud or tradition frequently take place, she said women started to become victims of blood feuds due to their claims to a share of their family's inheritance.
Yet, some men have begun forcing their wives to claim their share from their family's inherited property, which leads to intra-family disputes and makes women the new targets of blood feuds," she said.
According to Associate Professor Mehmet Devrim Topses, who teaches at the department of sociology at Ecanakkale 18 Mart University and who has studied extensively on blood feuds and killings motivated by tradition in Turkey, it would be misleading to think that such murders are committed due to the lack of education or legal loopholes as he believes they are the products of traditions, which he describes as "a social reality.
One example of the degree to which the Palestinians accept and therefore legitimize the new system is a blood feud between two families in Halhoul.
The authorities said two other people were still being questioned on Wednesday about their suspected involvement in the attack, which is believed to be the result of a blood feud.
Television broadcasters said there had been a blood feud between two families in the small village in recent years.