1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wergild

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Wergild, Wergeld or Wer, the Anglo-Saxon terms for the fine paid by, e.g. a murderer to the relatives of the deceased in proportion to the rank of the latter. The wer was part of the early Teutonic and Celtic customary law, and represented the substitution of compensation for personal retaliation, resulting from the rise in authority of the power of the community as such. (See Criminal Law, Homicide, and Teutonic Peoples.)