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Compensation for fingers and teeth in early Irish law

McLeod, N. (2002) Compensation for fingers and teeth in early Irish law. Peritia, 16 . pp. 344-359.

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The Brehon laws go into fascinating detail about the fines for mutilating people's fingers and knocking out their teeth. These fines are surprisingly small. In particular, they are significantly smaller than the general fines for much less serious injuries to the body. For example, the body-fine for severing the top joint of a forefinger appears to be half a sét. Yet the body-fine for striking someone without causing any injury at all was two séts, and the body-fine for inflicting a small cut that bled five drops of blood was five séts. There is an intriguing conundrum here. This paper offers a solution.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Publisher: Medieval Academy of Ireland
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