En 04a Preventing War

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    4. From Minno’s Writings

    4a. Preventing War

    [026/21] From Minno’s writings:[1]

    If anyone is so wicked as to steal from our neighboring peoples, commit murderous deeds, burn houses, defile girls, or commit any other deed that is wicked, and our neighbors wish to have it avenged, then it is right to arrest the culprit and execute him in their presence to prevent it leading to a war in which the innocent would pay the price for the guilty.

    If they wish to spare his life and allow him to purchase clemency, that may [027] be tolerated, though if the culprit is a king, a reeve, an alderman, or any one else charged with upholding morality, we must make good the evil.[2] But the culprit must have his punishment.

    If he bears an honorable name from his ancestors on his shield, his kinsmen shall no longer have the right to bear the name, in order that families will feel responsible for one another’s conduct.


    1. ‘Minno’ (MINNO) — compare: Minos. A female version of this name, used elsewhere, is MINNA; this word is also used as a verb meaning: ‘to love’.
    2. The emphasis here is likely on "we", i.e., the community as a whole must bear responsibility for the conduct of the authority figure.

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.39 cont.] From Minno's Writings.

    If any one should be so wicked as to commit robbery, murder, arson, rape, or any other crime, upon a neighbouring state, and our people wish to inflict punishment, the culprit shall be put to death in the presence [p.41] of the offended, in order that no war may arise, and the innocent suffer for the guilty. If the offended will spare his life and forego their revenge, it may be permitted. If the culprit should be a king, Grevetman, or other person in authority, we must make good his fault, but he must be punished.

    If he bears on his shield the honourable name of his forefathers, his kinsmen shall no longer wear it, in order that every man may look after the conduct of his relatives.

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