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The lawspeaker of the Althing in Iceland had the duty of reciting a third of the laws of Iceland every year, in the two weeks in June that the government met at Thingvellir.

He was elected by the godar for a three year term, and in that three years, anyone could come to the Althing, listen to the law recited, and learn it. The lawspeaker received a regular salary and was greatly honored.

The law was first created and recited by Ulfljót in 930, but the first lawspeaker elected was Hrafn Haingsson. Some other famous lawspeakers were Thorkell Máni, Thorgeir of Ljósavatn, and Snorri Sturluson.

The more powerful a landholder you were, the more important it was for you to memorize the laws. The laws about killing and blood feuds were very complicated. If you killed someone, knowing the law well could mean that when you argued your case, you could get off on a technicality. If you had a good reputation for knowing law, your neighbors and kinsman might come to you for legal advice in their own feuds, as well.

The Icelandic legal code wasn't written down until early in the 12th century.

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