Laura Maxwell (English 111, 1994)

Frithuwebbe Frithusibb

The metaphor of "peace-weaving" denotes the interlacing of tribal membership through marriage. (The word "sibb" is translated as both peace and kinship, while "webbe" denotes weaving.) The peace-weaver or peace-pledge is offered -- though there's not a clear distinction between being offered or being taken hostage -- as a pledge of good faith between tribes -- sometimes tribes which had been feuding. Intermarriages were human representations of intertribal treaties, with women, referred to always as "peace-weavers" playing diplomatic roles both between and within tribes. (Angels are also referred to as peace-weavers in Old English poems based on biblical stories, such as Judith, since they serve the same function as intermediaries -- for women between one tribe and another, for angels between God and Mankind.)