Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(thegns), in Anglo-Saxon England, the military nobility; bodyguards of the king. The thanes obtained landholdings by performing knightly military service. If the land was held for three generations, the thanes gained the right of hereditary knighthood.

In Scotland the title “thane” was applied to hereditary nobility until the 15th century.


Sokolova, M. N. “Vozniknovenie feodal’nogo zemlevladeniia i klassa feodalov v Anglii VII-X vv.” In the collection Srednie veka, fasc. 12. Moscow, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Yet ere he fought, he bade farewell to all his thanes, for he knew well that this should be his last fight.
Then, when his thanes who watched saw that, fear fell upon them, and they fled.
So when night fell she hastened to the hall, and carried off Hrothgar's best loved thane.