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Blood Vengeance and the Depiction of Women in La leyenda de los siete infantes de LaraThe Nibelungenlied and Njal’s Saga

Teresa Camacho

Journal of International Women’s Studies, Vol.7:4 (2006)

Following a review of the primary sources La leyenda de los siete infantes de LaraThe Nibelungenlied and Njal’s Saga the role of women and their role in exacting blood vengeance within a medieval context will be compared. The analysis is based upon the primary sources as well as some Spanish legal precedents and this is the basis for the comparative study and the roots in Germanic law of some aspects of medieval Spanish law.

Despite countless manifestations in literature of many traditions and cultures, the archetype of vengeance as a theme is a common and current one. It is present from very ancient traditions and up into the present age. Arising out of archaic or perhaps even primitive instincts law codes such as the Code of Hammurabi existed even within ancient societies such as in the Fertile Crescent. The theme of vengeance is a seemingly malecentered or male-motivated context particularly since in law codes and in history it has been linked to war which is not an area that women participated in when men left their homes to protect their lands. When laws were broken, they were to be dealt with, at times with extreme violence, depending upon the culture and its traditions and the violation of the law.

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