Thane (retainer)

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As Thane ( Anglo-Saxon also thein, þeign, þegn, þegen , Germanic thegn ; via Middle High German degan, thegan, decan, thekana “Knabe, Diener, Krieger” related to German Degen “young hero, warrior” as well as via Indo-European with Ancient Greek τέκνον téknon "Child") was the name given to the Anglo-Saxon follower in the Middle Ages .


Rune stones , entitled thegn or dräng occur in Denmark and Sweden, the term has been used there in the late Viking Age. The cyninges þegn is known from the Anglo-Saxon follower system of the early Middle Ages , the “king’s follower” ( cyning ), whose social position was higher than that of the simple follower ( gesiþ ). Since the 9th century the term thane or King's thane was used to designate a member of the royal nobility who had to own at least five hooves of land. The higher thanes had 40 hooves of land. The status of birth was less a qualification than the services rendered to the respective ruler. The king's thanes had the highest privileges . In order to convict him as a murderer, one needed 12 oaths of his own class, while a lesser thane required eleven oaths of his own class and one oath of a royal thane on a comparable occasion. Due to the advance of the more modern feudal system , the Thane in the British Isles was largely absorbed by the lower nobility from the Battle of Hastings in the context of the takeover of the Norman feudal system in favor of the Knight into the 12th century . Only in Scotland did the Thanes form the fiefs of the king until the 15th century.

See also


  • Alexander Grant (Ed.): Medieval Scotland: Crown, Lordship and Community: Essays Presented to GWS Barrow , Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1993, ISBN 0-74861-110-X , p. 57 ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robert E. Lewis (ed.): Middle English Dictionary , Volume T.4, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1994, ISBN 0-472-01214-2 , p. 383.
  2. Oscar Schade : Old German Reader. Gothic, Old Saxon, Old and Middle High German. With literary references and a dictionary. Second part: dictionary. Halle 1866, p. 57.
  3. ^ A b Johann Martin Lappenberg: A History of England Under the Anglo-Saxon Kings. John Murray, London 1845, p. 315.
  4. Gabriele von Olberg-Haverkate: Followers . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 4, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-7608-8904-2 , Sp. 1171 f.
  5. Joseph Friedrich Wallach, Eugen Haberkern (ed.): Auxiliary dictionary for historians. Middle Ages and Modern Times. Francke, Munich 1964, p. 225; Erich Bayer (Hrsg.): Dictionary of history. Terms and technical terms (= Kröner's pocket edition , Volume 289). 3rd, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1974, ISBN 3-520-28903-2 , p. 508; Konrad Fuchs, Heribert Raab (Hrsg.): Dtv dictionary for history. Volume 2 (LZ), 6th edition, dtv, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-423-03284-7 , p. 795.