Throughout history we see that the sence of justice among the many cultures of the world varies a lot and it has been evolving fortunately. One of the first peoples to seek justice in a reasonable way without bloodshed, where the Greeks, but it took a lot of time and effort to change an entire culture in accepting a peaceful way to do justice. But justice has been among us in many forms, not all of them had blood involved and speaking of the Norse peoples, one way to do justice without bloodshed was to ban the convicted from the society, away from any social grounds, sent to the unknown and dangerous wild world. The convicted had to rely on him/her self and couldn’t come closer to any village, if the person did so, those who saw the convicted could hunt him/her, the law/rules stated that. This is actually one of the most ancient types of justice without spilling blood, ancient humans from the paleolithic and neolithic did this.
Anyway, justice is a common thing that we all seek and all cultures had at least one deity of justice. To the Norse, that deity is Forseti. We all need justice, the world it self and nature, seeks justice.
Justice is often a feeling you are eager to “feed” because it asks for it, but you want it to calm down and be at peace, and in order to do that, you have the need to seek out that peace, you need to finish all the business, so you can go forth with your life. Nothing will please you more, then having justice done when some wrong was given to you, deep inside we all know what justice means and when to seek it, and why, but we have to think deep on it, without casting yourself in madness and anger.
Forseti is the Norse god of justice and also judgment, reconciliation and mediation. He is the son of Baldr the god of light, beauty, naivity and innocense, and his mother is Nanna. His hall is called Glitnir, the hall of justice, which I have written about in another post about the places and halls of Asgard. Unlike Tyr who is also a god of justice but turned to warfare judgments, Forseti is the god who helps in all kinds of problems dealing with the law, mutual respect, mediation, fair agreements and so on. Being able to judge and resolve problems so that both parties leave his hall satisfied.
They chose the latter, and prayed for help as they drifted. According to the story, a thirteenth man suddenly appeared on their boat with a golden axe over his shoulder. He steered the boat using his axe as a rudder and brought them to land, then split the land with his axe and a spring came forth. He identified himself as Fosite, taught them all new laws, and then vanished. The shrine was later defiled by St. Willebrord.
Historically speaking, there are some evidence that the worship of this deity came from the Persians, sea people who spread this cult to others. It is thought that there was once a shrine to Forseti on an island between Denmark and Frisia. There is a legend involving the cult of this deity and the Frisians. The Frankish king Charles Martel wanted to change the laws of the Frisians so he turned to the law-speakers of that people and forced them to conform to his laws of they would be killed or turned into slaves, but there was another option, being set adrift in a boat on the ocean. Their fate was the latter, being adrift in the ocean. These were twelve men praying for help while their way in the vast ocean was uncertain. According to the legend a thirteenth man appeared to them, on their boat, wielding a golden axe. He helped the men and brought them to land where he split the land with his great axe and a spring came forth, which the men made it a shrine to this figure who later told them that his name was Forsite, a Frisian deity. He taught them new laws and then he disappeared.
Forseti is one of the youngest deities in the Norse pantheon, all the older Aesir gods are turned to war, vengeance and magic. Forseti marks the changing of the minds of the Norse people, when reason started to come before the deadly stroke of a sword.