Norse clans

Norse clans

The Scandinavian clan or ætt (pronounced [ˈæːtː] in Old Norse) was a social group based on common descent or on the formal acceptance into the group at a þing.



In the absence of a police force, the clan was the primary force of security in Norse society, as the clansmen were obliged by honour to avenge one another. The Norse clan was not tied to a certain territory in the same way as a Scottish clan, where the chief owned the territory. The land of the Scandinavian clan was owned by the individuals who had close neighbours from other clans. The name of the clan was derived from that of its ancestor, often with the addition of an -ung or -ing ending.

As central government gradually was established in Scandinavia, the ætt lost its relevance for commoners. For royalty and nobility, however, it remained in use as the name for line and dynasty.

Examples of clans:


In runology, an ætt is one of the three groups of eight runes of the Elder Futhark, viz., "Freyr's ætt" is fuþarkgw, "Heimdall's ætt" is hnijïpzs, and "Tyr's ætt" is tbemlŋdo. Additionally, it applies to one of the three groups of six runes of the Armanen Futharkh.[1]

See also

Mjollnir icon.png Ancient Germanic culture portal


  1. ^ Gorsleben, Rudolf John, Hoch-Zeit der Menschheit, 1930].

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Norse mythology — Norse paganism Part of Norse paganism …   Wikipedia

  • Norse paganism — Part of Norse paganism …   Wikipedia

  • Norse funeral — Ship burial of a Varangian Chieftain Heinrich Semiradzki (1883) Burial customs of Viking Age Norsemen (early medieval Scandinavians) are known both from archaeology and from historical accounts such as the Icelandic sagas, Old… …   Wikipedia

  • Norse–Gaels — The Norse–Gaels were a people who dominated much of the Irish Sea region, including the Isle of Man, and western Scotland for a part of the Middle Ages; they were of Gaelic and Scandinavian origin and as a whole exhibited a great deal of Gaelic… …   Wikipedia

  • Death in Norse paganism — This image is usually interpreted as a Valkyrie who welcomes a dead man, or Odin himself, on the Tjängvide image stone from Gotland, in the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm. Death in ancient Norse times was associated with… …   Wikipedia

  • Runestone — A runestone is typically a raised stone with a runic inscription, but the term can also be applied to inscriptions on boulders and on bedrock. The tradition began in the 4th century but most of them date from the late Viking Age, and it lasted… …   Wikipedia

  • Clan — For other uses, see Clan (disambiguation). A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship… …   Wikipedia

  • List of characters in the Age of Mythology series — The following is a list of characters found in the campaigns of Age of Mythology (Fall of the Trident) and Age of Mythology: The Titans (The New Atlantis): Contents 1 Characters from both campaigns 1.1 Arkantos 1.2 Ajax …   Wikipedia

  • Dís — For a Dwarf of J. R. R. Tolkien s legendarium, see Dís (Middle earth). For the Roman epithet of Pluto and the Gallic deity, see Dis Pater. The Dises (1909) by Dorothy Hardy …   Wikipedia

  • List of Germanic peoples — This is a list of Germanic peoples. Classical philosophyThe Greeks assigned names to populations they considered distinct based on the city state ( polis ) to which they belonged. Intermingled with this system was an earlier one derived from the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.