In the absence of a police force, the clan was the primary force of security in Norse society, as the clansmen were obliged by honour to avenge one another. The Norse clan was not tied to a certain territory in the same way as a Scottish clan, where the chief owned the territory. The land of the Scandinavian clan was owned by the individuals who had close neighbours from other clans. The name of the clan was derived from that of its ancestor, often with the addition of an -ung or -ing ending.
Examples of clans:
- Wægmunding, in Beowulf.
- Ylfing or Wulfing in Beowulf and Norse Sagas.
- Scylfing (Yngling)
- Skjöldung (Scylding)