THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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AVENGER OF BLOOD, the person, usually the nearest kinsman of the murdered man, whose duty it was to avenge his death by killing the murderer. In primitive societies, before the evolution of settled government, or the uprise of a systematized criminal law, crimes of violence were regarded as injuries of a personal character to be punished by the sufferer or his kinsfolk. This right of vengeance was common to most countries, and in many was the subject of strict regulations and limitations. It was prevented from running into excesses by the law of sanctuary (q.v.) and in many lands the institution of blood-money, and the wergild offered the wrong-doer a mode of escaping from his enemies' revenge. The Mosaic law recognized the right of vengeance, but not the money-compensation. The Koran, on the contrary, while sanctioning the vengeance, also permits pecuniary commutation for murder.
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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