Blood revenge - the history of the custom

    The brutal violence in response to damage - it is the custom of blood revenge in many countries, which has been preserved in some of them till this day. Custom vendetta - a tradition that for a long time is already in the past, but for example, in the mountain villages of Sicily, or for example, in the Caucasus, this custom observes today. In this article, referring to the ancient history we want to tell where this custom came from and how it was in ancient times.



    “No one should be despised, because no one is powerless enough not to avenge the insult.” These words show us how big the problem of the revenge is, but no one truly knows how big the problem of blood revenge was in the ancient times.

    The concept of vendetta has appeared in those ancient times, when among the people the concept of law was completely absent, as there was no concept of what a state and management are. The man was guided by some purely instinctive notions of justice. The old expression "an eye for an eye" can be also found in the Old Testament, as well as in many other ancient religious and philosophical writings. Some writings even more controversial and eloquent with the phrase "... the one who killed a man shall be put to death."



    Principle of vendetta at its core is an equal retribution to a man for his deeds and actions. This means that a person receives exactly as much as he deserves. Today, the laws of justice and equal retribution for crimes are regulated by the state. However, whether this is fair?

Blood revenge in the ancient Scandinavian and Slavic countries



    The existence of the custom of the revenge was mentioned in ancient times, not only on the territory of Sicily and the Caucasus, but also in the Eastern Slavic tribes as well. The presence of a vendetta tradition was observed and in Scandinavian nations too.



    In many stories of Scandinavian tribes say that the Scandinavian tradition of vendetta taken seriously and it is even a legacy handed down from father to son. The man had the right to buy the right of revenge or to pay to the person who has to take revenge. However, in spite of the material benefits in this case, the blood feud are obtained with a blood was considered more significant and meaningful to the gods.



    At the beginning of the creation of the statehood "barbaric truths" - a set of laws that regulate the possibility of vendetta or of blood revenge for murder. However institution of revenge gradually was replaced by the institution of receiving the material, often a monetary reward for the committed crime. A similar situation was on the territory of the ancient Russ - ancient Slavic state. Many ancient tribes, which gradually began to replace the tradition of blood revenge on tradition of payment of monetary compensation for the crimes referred to such penalty as - blood money.

Vendetta in the ancient Muslim countries



    Revenge in the eastern Muslim countries determined the punishment for such a crime with more complex effects. Man commits manslaughter, or in consequence of an accident and had to pay financial compensation for the family of the deceased, as well as the release of a slave. If such an act was impossible to carry out, the man had to fast for 60 days in order to prove their repentance to Allah. But it is worth noting that such a situation was possible only if it was proved that the murder was carried out by negligence. If the killing was intentional, the murderer immediately outlawed and sentenced to immediate execution.

Vendetta – Italy and Balkans



    In southern Italy, as well as on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, the institution of blood revenge was very widespread until the early 20th century, and in some cases there are still people that stick to this tradition. However, is not very surprising because well-known all over the world word "vendetta" penetrated into the popular culture from the Italian region.

    It is also a very common phenomenon on the Balkans, particularly in Montenegro, where blood vengeance relapses happen so far. Montenegrin tradition prescribes revenge not only for a murder but also crimes against the honor and the duty of vengeance was applied to the entire family and the offenders declared as not a specific person who has committed a crime, but any man of the killer clan, which could start the mechanism of blood feuds for years.



    This woman could not only raise their children in a spirit of vengeance, but also to commit an act of revenge with impunity - killing a woman or a child based on the blood feud would mean avenging the shame that would have been impossible to wash off before the end of life. Along with this, there was also the custom of reconciliation, which, if successful, is often fastened by family ties between the previously warring clans.



    Of course, over time, this cruel custom met sharp condemnation from representatives of both secular and ecclesiastical authority of the country. A significant positive development in the tradition could be called that at some point it was considered fair reward only the killer, but not all of his family. At this point, despite the fact that the killing for the purpose of retaliation is in Montenegro felony, avengers often induce sympathy from the locals - revenge, though not in the law, but public opinion still has the character of not aggravating, and vice versa mitigating circumstances guilt.


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