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Um grið og griðastaði á Sturlungaöld.

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Asyl eða asylum er orð sem nú á tímum er í nágrannatungunum (t.d. ensku og þýsku) haft um hæli, griðastað eða grið. Það er grískt að uppruna og hefur oft sést í fréttum að undanförnu í tengslum við flóttamenn í Evrópu sem leitað hafa hælis eða griðastaða, oft undan hernaðarátökum. orðið grið er hins vegar fornt á Norðurlöndum. Þegar kristni kom til Íslands runnu saman í lögum suðrænar venjur um asyl og norrænar um grið. Þetta má rekja að nokkru í fornum heimildum þar sem hið sérkennilega íslenska lagafyrirbæri fjörbaugsgarður virðist komið úr Móselögum snemma með kristni. Undir lok 12. aldar fyrirskipar Niðaróserkibiskup kirkjugrið og kvennagrið í Noregi og á Íslandi en þau eiga erfitt uppdráttar framan af 13. öld samkvæmt frásagnarheimildum. Þegar líður á 13. öld virðast þó hugmyndir kirkju og kristni um grið ná fram að ganga; það verður glöggt með tilkomu lögbókanna Járnsíðu og Jónsbókar og með nýjum kristinrétti. Þær koma þessum málum í fastmótaðan farveg á Íslandi líkt og tíðkast í nágrannalöndunum á miðöldum.
Asylum and Sanctuaries in the Age of the Sturlungs Iceland’s oldest sources on the right of asylum, or grið, are reviewed in this article. Even though more ancient asylum laws and customs existed, the word grið has not been found earlier than in some written Anglo-Saxon references of the Viking era. Historical laws on asylum and requests for asylum appeared later in Grágás, a code of laws dating from the Icelandic Commonwealth Period. Grágás also contains legal provisions on the strange phenomenon of fjörbaugsgarður, which was a sentence of exile from Iceland for three years. Provided that the person sentenced was able to pay any outstanding debts, in addition to a monetary penalty, this person was allowed three summers to find a means of transport overseas and during this time could enjoy asylum at three households as well as en route between them. Anyone who did not manage to get transported overseas during these three summers was seen as a fully guilty outlaw, whom others had the right to kill without paying compensation. On the other hand, if the person managed to arrive overseas and stay there for three years, s/he was entirely relieved of any guilt in Iceland. Such provisions indicate that the laws showed consideration for those who were prosperous or belonged to the upper echelons of society. Closer examination supports a suggestion by the German scholar August Klostermann, who by 1900 had already observed that these statutes were influenced by Mosaic law. This insight means that the fjörbaugsgarður law can hardly have originated prior to the 11th century. Christianity was being introduced into Iceland at that time and may have met opposition in some locations, with churches being too few and small to fulfil the role of sanctuaries. The most recent reports of fjörbaugsgarður sentences, those in the Saga of Sturla, date back to 1160. Since those cases were concluded through conciliation, the fjörbaugsgarður law appears to have already become inadequate or outdated by then. On the other hand, the Icelandic sagas which were written down in the 13th century appear to rely on the Grágás text and occasionally to misunderstand it. It was only in 1190 that the archbishop at Trondheim decreed for Norway and Iceland a canonical version of church sanctuary as well as asylum for women, though this decree has only been preserved in one Icelandic manuscript. Judging by narrative sources, particularly in the Saga of the Sturlungs, this episcopal directive on asylum remained largely ineffective in Norway and Iceland until past 1240. After that time, canonical asylum seems to have been respected, probably relating to a compromise between the Pope and the Norwegian monarch, as well as to the coronation of king Hákon in 1247. Several laws from the late 13th century show clearly that canonical acts on church sanctuary (kirkjugrið) and protection for women (kvennagrið) had come into force in Iceland by that time.