From Iceland — Just Sayings: The Complicated Honour System

Just Sayings: The Complicated Honour System

Published December 18, 2020

Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Adobe Stock Photo

The Icelandic honour system is complicated. If you have a shitty reputation, it will literally be more difficult for you to get a job than for those that have a good reputation.

This can be especially true in smaller towns. But if you have been an idiot, pissing everybody off—or worse—there is still hope.

The phrase “Að fá uppreisn æru” literally means, restoring your honour. We even have this term integrated into our laws, in English that would be a pardon, but we use the legal term ‘uppreist æra’ when pardoning. Honour has always been a big thing in Iceland and many even quote a verse from our old Edda Poems, Hávamál, that says: “Orðstír: deyr aldregi: hveim er sér góðan getur.” Meaning, your reputation will outlive you. In short; don’t be an asshole.

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