The Thing is…Here’s the Thing…The key Thing…Things are not objects! No; Things are debates.  Even when Thing is used to substitute for a concrete object, it is for reasons of uncertainty – Things, the name of which has been forgotten or was never known. What Things? Let’s debate them, identify them, categorise them, find a consensus understanding of them.


In many northern European countries the Medieval juridical system still had many influences from the old Germanic one, I shall now give some more information about the Medieval juridical system that existed in the area that is now the Netherlands, though most other northern European countries had a similar system so it is acceptable to generalize a little in this case.
Originally a þing was held at a special place like a holy tree, a good example is the Frisian upstalbeam, which was an oak under which lawsuits were held, the most famous upstalbeam was the one at the city of Aurich in Ostfriesland (“Eastern Frisia”) in Germany.

Germanic society was build on a system which was similar to that of the Celtic clans, though the Germanic equivalent of the clan was called “Sibbe” (plural:”Sibben”), in Old Norse the sibbe was called “Sifja”, in Old Saxon:”Sibbia”, in Anglo-Saxon:”Sib”, and in Proto-Germanic:”sebjo”. Traces of Germanic sibben can also be found in Scotland; Scottisch clans which are missing the “Mac-” or “Mc-” element in front of their name are not Celtic but of Viking or Anglo-Saxon origin.

Discover the Viking Cradle of Democracy 

When the Vikings and early Norse settlers arrived in a new place they brought with them their customs and legal systems. Things were where political decisions were made, laws upheld and disputes settled. They acted as meeting places and were often the focus for trade and religious activity.

The Thing was a common-meeting. Vikings had no penal institutions. The Thing-system was continually under revision. Therefore, we need to look at the Thing-system as a dynamic apparatus, as it continually adjusted itself to the dissimilar leaders which reigned over the ages.

Archaeologists given grant to research a Viking “Thing”


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