Brehon Law and Status
Based on A Guide to Early Irish Law by Fergus Kelly

Gaining Status

There are three ways in which status can be gained under Brehon Law

  1. Ownership (Control) of land
  2. Profession or office
  3. Hospitality



In order to understand the table it is necessary to know the following Values:


Equates to

1 Cumal

3 Milch Cows (With calf)

or 1 female slave

1 Sét

½ Milch Cow

1 Dairt

1 Yearling Heifer

 Status Levels


Landed Rank

Honour Price

Non-Landed Rank

Honour Price





Rí Ruaireach or Rí Cóicid

Provincial King

14 Cumal


14 Cumal

Rí Túath

Tribute from 3 or 4 Kings

8 Cumal



Rí Túaithe

Overlord of a Túath

7 Cumal

Suí litre (Ecclesiastical Expert)

Ollam Fili

7 Cumal

Nemed: Flaith (Lord)




Aire Forgill

40 Clients

30 Séts  (5 Cumal)



Aire Tuíseo

27 Clients

20 Séts  (3 Cumal)

Sáer Ollam

20 Séts  (3 Cumal)

Aire Aird

20 Clients

15 Séts  (2 Cumal)

Brithem Ollam

Sáer (All Crafts)

15 Séts

Aire Déso

5 Sóer Chéile (Free)

5 Dóer Chéile (Base)

10 Séts  (1 Cumal)

Brithem (Trad Law and Poetry)

10 Séts  (1 Cumal)


(After 3 Generations)­

Brithem Óes Dána (Craftsmen)


Sáer (Any)




7 Séts

Flaith Aithig

(Aire iter dá airig)


Can Support Clients





(Can be either Base/Free Doér chéile/Sóer chéile)

(Sóer with 3x Required Wealth) ­



Bó Aire

Granted 30 Séts (Owned after 7 years rent)

5 Sét

Max Rank for Druid or Cáinte


5 Séts


Granted 16 Séts (Owned after 7 years rent)

3 Sét

Chariot Builder


3 Sét

Dóer cheile



Ring Maker

Leather Worker

Comb Maker

1 Dairt

Fuidir (Departed from kin)

¼ Lord




(After 3 Generations)¯



Senchléithe (Bound to land)









Dependents and Status

  • Immediate family are normally half the honour price
  • 1st (Senior) Wife is ½ Honour Price.  Others have lesser value.
  • Senior Servants are ½ Honour Price
  • Fuidir are ¼ Honour Price


Hospitality (Briugu) and Status

  • Only applies to freemen
  • Can reach status equal to a Rí Túath by “100 fold wealth”.  Normally 2 x Landed status wealth is required and a willingness to spend it.

Losing Status

A King Loses honour when he:

  • Is defeated in battle
  • Expels a synod without cause
  • Fingal (Kin Slaying)
  • Commits Extortion

A King loses respect when he:

  • Works with Spade, Mallet or Axe
  • Travels without a retinue
  • Defaults on an Oath
  • Tolerates Satire
  • Does not have Hostages (No tribute)

The King must be free of Blemish