Penalties

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As is the case for other early Irish laws, detailed penalties are laid down for various severities of injury:

‘If it be a life-wound any one inflicts on a woman or a cleric or an innocent, seven half-cumals are due from him . . . Three séts for every white blow, five séts for every drawing of blood . . . For seizing women by the hair, five wethers.’

Cumals, séts and wethers were mon-etary values in early Ireland: a cumal was the value of a female slave, often considered equal to the value of three milch cows, a sét sometimes set at the value of a young cow before her first calf, and a wether the value of a male sheep. A fine of fourteen cumals approximated to the value of 42 milch cows, a significant amount by any standard.

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