Brehon Law

This ancient system of law originated in the Gaelic cultures, but was adopted throughout the British Isles region. Essentially the entire legislative structure of the ancient peoples of Europe, these laws governed every aspect of daily life. Astonishingly, no overreaching method existed for enforcing these laws, and they were held in such high regard that the people largely respected them.

Laws were revised every three years by a convention of nine judges, or brehon; these judges were more like arbiters, and they would receive cases. A brehon would undergo tremendous amounts of study and training, and their word was highly respected. Punishments consisted almost entirely of monetary fines and loss of honour or social standing; those who held rank or landowning nobility could have their assets seized as restitution for a crime.

The laws as pertains to the MUSH are generally focused on the matter of hospitality, which was taken in deadly earnest in the ancient world. Given the scarcity of source material, these are largely fabricated for the purpose of the MUSH, and rely primarily on common sense:

  • Individuals could not honourably turn away guests requesting food or lodging, especially those in apparent need.
  • The grounds of a host's estate, no matter how meagre, was to be considered "neutral ground" regardless of what borders it lay within.
  • Guests could not make unreasonable demands of their hosts, such as asking for more material gain than could be provided by their host.
  • Hosts were expected to treat their guests well, offering them food and lodgings as befitting their station – hospitality was taken seriously in the ancient world. Some hospitallers would "compete" with one another to provide the finest for their guests. Providing for a stranger so was a means to increase their honour and social standing.
  • Hosts were expected to treat their guests fairly and offer them no threat. Even if they happened to be blood enemies with their guest, the verbal contract binding guest and host was considered absolute. Such hospitality was necessary, for it could allow the negotiation of peace in times of war, treated with much the same universal understanding as a "white flag."
  • Likewise, guests could not behave in a manner that endangered their host, no matter their reason. Though some could hypothetically "bend the rules" a bit if they felt threatened, one truly adhering to the spirit of the law would not raise hand or word against their host, so long as they remained a guest in their hall; even if they were attacked.
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