In the absence of a police force, the clan was the primary force of security in Norse society as the clansmen were obliged by honour to avenge one another. The Norse clan was not tied to a certain territory in the same way as a Scottish clan, where the chief owned the territory. The land of the Scandinavian clan was owned by the individuals who had close neighbours from other clans. The name of the clan was derived from that of its ancestor, often with the addition of an -ung or -ing ending.
Examples of clans:
- Wægmunding, in Beowulf.
- Ylfing or Wulfing in Beowulf and Norse Sagas.
- Scylfing (Yngling)
- Skjöldung (Scylding)
In runology, an ætt is one of the three groups of eight runes of the Elder Futhark, viz., "Freyr's ætt" is fuþarkgw, "Heimdall's ætt" is hnijïpzs, and "Tyr's ætt" is tbemlŋdo. Additionally, it applies to one of the three groups of six runes of the Armanen Futharkh.
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