The Canon Si quis suadente and Excommunication in Medieval Iceland

  • Elizabeth Walgenbach Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum
Keywords: Corpus iuris canonici, Si quis suadente, excommunication, Bishop Árni Þorláksson


This article explains the adaptation of the canon Si quis suadente into Icelandic church law. This canon, which asserts that anyone who lays violent hands on a cleric is automatically excommunicated latae sententiae, without the need for a prior warning or spoken sentence, was incorporated into lawcodes and law manuscripts in Iceland in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. These diverse sources, including lawcodes, statutes, and oath formulas, show that the canon was understood and translated into Old Norse-Icelandic on multiple occasions. These sources also show that the canon was interpreted in a way that privileged the power and legal interpretations of local bishops although the association with so-called páfans bann “papal excommunication” remained.