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Thanes in Scotland[edit]

I removed the sentence "It comes from a confusion with an unrelated Gaelic term, tanaiste, "second-in-command"." from the article. This seems unlikely as thanes and thanages were two-a-penny in Scotland - as I recall, there are over 60 thanages listed in Grant's "Thanes and thanages in Scotland" - while tanists were not. Whether or not thane is related to toiseach is another story. Grant in "Thanes and thanages" and the later "Construction of the early Scottish state" clearly believes that they were one and the same thing. Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:30, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

The map[edit]

Pretty map, but where on earth is it? It's just blue and white with red dots. There's nothing to locate it. Suggest it's removed. Bazj (talk) 17:46, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is a pretty map. Can you elaborate on why you would like it to be removed rather than identified and explained in the caption?--Berig (talk) 17:52, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
  • None of the land masses are identified. Requires amendment of the image rather than description in the caption.
  • There's no identifying features to allow the viewer to place it (modern city or similar). Again, requires amendment of the image rather than description in the caption.
  • It's not oriented. Which way is North? Again, requires amendment of the image.
  • There's no scale. Is it a map of east Denmark and south Sweden with a historic coastline (a 100 miles square)? Or a waterside cemetery (a 100 metres square)?
  • The article is focussed almost exclusively on Thegns in an English/Scottish context. A map of what I presume is a part of Scandinavia seems unrelated to the text.
I can see now that it's the area around the Kattegat, but I had to get my atlas/encyclopedia off the shelf to identify it. Isn't that what Wikipedia's supposed to do?
Bazj (talk) 20:04, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
well, you could have looked at the Scandinavia article for a nice map of Scandinavia without needing to get your dead tree atlas off your shelf. Are you going to call for the removal of all maps which do not explicitly state they show north at the top? dab (𒁳) 20:53, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
If I'd KNOWN it was Scandinavia, yes. Since I didn't, and since the dead-tree still offers the best way of looking up a map by the shapes... :-)
And No, I'm not questioning the map for just that one reason. In this case it's one of four things missing that I'd expect to see on a useful map. Let's be honest, without a scale AND without any identifying locations AND without an identifying caption AND without any orientation, what distinguishes it from a Rorschach inkblot test?
You, and the two other people who've commented on my comment, all seem to have a deep knowledge the area, which I respect. All I ask is that you take a step back and look at it from the perspective of someone searching for enlightenment.
The whole point of the article is to inform people who don't have your expertise, just a curiosity. Of the article's 11 paragraphs, 10 touch on the Anglo-Saxon perspective, 2 a Norman perspective, and 2 a Latin translation. Just 1 paragraph mentions Scandinavia. As a newcomer to the topic you're presented with a map you've not come across before. Now, answer honestly, presented with an overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon context, are you REALLY going to expect to see a map of Scandinavia?
I'm NOT saying that a map of Scandinavia is inappropriate here. But the map needs to explain itself.
Having read the article closely in order to write this follow-up it strikes me that the article needs some expansion on the Norse/Scandinavian influence on Anglo-Saxon Britain.
...and all I really wanted at the start of all this was a background for a passing mention of Thegn in Abbots Langley  :-)
Bazj (talk) 22:20, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it certainly needs an expansion on the Norse part. I have considered doing so for quite a while, but it is a big undertaking since the exact meaning of thegn in Scandinavia is a matter of much debate. I have seen the meanings "freeman", "warrior", "vassal", "bailiff/sheriff", "retainer", etc. with discussions on their exact roles. In all likelihood, it was just as variable as in England.--Berig (talk) 08:21, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Speaking of the map, the Glavendrup stone seems to be missing. (talk) 20:51, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it's missing several runestones. It's also missing a runestone on Bornholm.--Berig (talk) 21:01, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

For someone with no knowledge of the subject matter the map and its caption are pretty confuseing. To make since of the map I had to visit both the runestone page and this talk page. Even after reading about runestones I don't really see the signifigance of the picture to the article in its current state. The article should be expanded and the caption improved, or the picture deleted. - (talk) 03:12, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus for move. Ucucha 14:51, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

ThegnThane (Middle Ages) — The spelling "thane" is given as the primary spelling by the American Heritage Dictionary, Merriam–Webster's Dictionary, Webster's New College Dictionary, the Oxford English Dictionary, and Encarta. Moreover, only Merriam-Webster, Webster's New College, and the OED even list the spelling "thegn" as a variant. A search for "thane" on Google Books returns 13,000 results. A search for "thegn" returns 1,940. — the Man in Question (in question) 07:10, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Oppose. Usage in reliable secondary sources is overwhelmingly in favour of "thegn", not "thane". WP:Name and WP:RS and all that, Cavila (talk) 07:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Which sources are these? — the Man in Question (in question) 07:32, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Frank Stenton, Dorothy Whitelock, Henry Loyn, Simon Keynes, Michael Lapidge, Frank Barlow, Pauline Stafford, D.A. Bullough, T.M. Charles-Edwards, Ann Williams, Peter Clemoes, David Rollason. In fact, pretty much every serious scholar these last 50 years (at the least). Cavila (talk) 07:38, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Here are some sources that use "thane" (in reference to an Anglo-Saxon thane, not the other meanings): 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973, 1972, 1971, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967, 1966, 1965, 1964, 1963, 1962, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1956, 1955, 1954, 1953, 1952, 1951, and 1950. It is also worthy of note that "thegn" is Old English, but this article discusses a term used in both Anglo-Saxon and Norse communities. — the Man in Question (in question) 08:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Just three links in and your results do not support what you claim they do. Notice that the first three links refer to the same secondary source, not from 2010, not from 2009 and not from 2008, but to an introductory work by Francis Andrew March, who died in 1911. The problem repeats itself in many of the other links you offer from Google Books. Are you proposing we should go back to good old-fashioned Victorian usage? I've just notified User:Angus Mclellan of this discussion. He might be able to help out here. Cavila (talk) 09:07, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
My use of those citations was not to demonstrate originality or modernity of thought, but to illustrate the widespread and recurrent use of the term. — the Man in Question (in question) 09:17, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
{?} Except that you haven't been able to demonstrate that "thane" is the conventional term today. Obviously you haven't read a lot of relevant material in the field, which is fine by me, but you don't seem to know what sources you're citing. Whatever relevant links you may have provided are still vastly outnumbered by attestations of "thegn" in RS, per the above. Cavila (talk) 09:38, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The thing is, it doesn't matter what's used by scholars in the field. What's important is the most widespread English usage, which is provided by all of the major English dictionaries. — the Man in Question (in question) 09:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
This simple fact is that those scholars use "thegn" because they are using the Old English word (and probably also to distinguish from the Scottish term). This is an English encyclopedia: "thane" is the preferred English term, as the dictionary references very plainly demonstrate. — the Man in Question (in question) 08:34, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
No, thegn is perfectly good English usage in reliable secondary sources. BTW, the Old English word would be þegn or ðegn and other variants occur. Cavila (talk) 09:38, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Except that Old English thorn and eth are frequently transcribed as th, as in the American Heritage Dictionary; and when O.E. was first transcribed from Futhorc, "th" was briefly used by the contemporary scribes. So either way, "thegn" is Old English. — the Man in Question (in question) 09:42, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
And you raise a valid point, þægn, þǣn, þegen, þēn, þegin, and þeng (presumably an error) are all used in Old English. — the Man in Question (in question) 09:45, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
It is not usually transcribed [in secondary sources] when the Old English term is meant, largely because scholars prefer to retain a distinction between the scholarly term "thegn" and the more polysemous Old English word from which it is derived (though there are of course other ways to retain this distinction). How the Old English word is spelled in manuscripts and presented in editions (yes, thegn is also found) is beside the point, so let's not go there. Cavila (talk) 09:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The argument that "the most widespread English usage" should be decisive seems to be mistaken. "Common usage in reliable sources is preferred..." says WP:NAME, so what we should be interested in here is the usage preferred by historians of Anglo-Saxon England - this is an article about an aspect of Anglo-Saxon history and reliable sources are therefore those which deal with this topic - and not that preferred in any other field.
The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England is a handy guide to modern usages in the field, but if we need to go further it will have to be Google. Google Books shows a preference for "thegn" when we attempt to exclude non-specific and obsolete uses (although its insistence of including reprints under the year of reprinting is unhelpful here, as we will see). A comparison between the first page of results found for supposedly post-1980 works with "thane anglo-saxon" as against "thegn anglo-saxon" is interesting. On that sort of evidence, I don't think a move would be justified. Angus McLellan (Talk) 13:23, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
And I'd like to add that moving poor old Morcar while this discussion wasn't perhaps the best thing to have done. Angus McLellan (Talk) 14:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, Morcar was moved before this discussion began. And the previous name violated WP:QUALIFIER, so I had to do something. — the Man in Question (in question) 16:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Oppose - thegn is overwhelmingly used in reliable sources dealing with the subject. Yes, in the past, "thane" was used, but no longer. Even the "Battleground Britain" guidebook to 1066 for Hastings and Stamford Bridge uses "thegn" and it's "designed for both the battlefield visitor and the reader at home". Ealdgyth - Talk 13:34, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

To point out some more spots where thegn is used in scholarly works, I found these by going to my bookshelf and looking for "thegn/thane" in the index. Probably a third of the books I checked had neither in the index.
  • Those using "thegn": Emma Mason The House of Godwine, Barbara Yorke Wessex in the Early Middle Ages; Frank Barlow The Feudal Kingdom of England and The Godwins; Judith Green The Aristocracy of Norman England; Eric John Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England; Richard Huscroft Ruling England; Marjorie Chibnall Anglo-Norman England; Pauline Stafford Unification and Conquest; Ann Williams The English and the Norman Conquest; D. P. Kirby The Making of Early England; David Douglas William the Conqueror; Richard Abels Alfred the Great; Bryce Lyon Constitutional and Legal History of Medieval England; Chrimes An Introduction to the Administrative History of Medieval England; H. R. Loyn The Governance of Anglo-Saxon England; John Hudson Land, Law and Lordship in Anglo-Norman England; James Campbell The Anglo-Saxon State; John Blair The Church in Anglo-Saxon England; Susan Reynolds Fiefs and Vassals; Geoffrey Hindley A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons; Frank Stenton Anglo-Saxon England; Stephen Morillo Warfare Under the Anglo-Norman Kings.
  • Those using "thane" A. D. M. Barrell Medieval Scotland; Hugh M. Thomas The Norman Conquest. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:27, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, this would be accurate but for the fact that there's an article - well, a stub still, but it could be expanded with Grant's papers and Barrow's stuff - specifically on Scottish thanes and thanages at Thane (Scotland). Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:16, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose It has not been demonstrated that modern usage by reliable sources is of thane, rather than thegn. As for Czar Brodie's comment that it was difficult to find this page, he couldn't have looked very far. Thane goes to a town in India. At the top is a hatnote to a disambiguation page, which links to thegn. Come on, you don't have to be a brain surgeon to work it out! Skinsmoke (talk) 20:01, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Support the move IMHO this demonstrates that "thane" is used by reliable sources. Flamarande (talk) 13:02, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

I suggest new litterature is taken into consideration.

Sawyer, Birgit: The Viking-Age Rune-Stones.

Runes and their secrets: studies in runology, 2000. edited by Marie Stoklund, Michael Lerche Nielsen, Bente Holmberg and Gillian Fellows-Jensen.

Jan Eskildsen87.57.198.29 (talk) 21:25, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

'Thane redirects here'[edit]

It says 'thane redirects here', but that's not true. Somebody may want to fix that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:42, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Unclear written article[edit]

This article is written in a very unfriendly english to the reader. It was very difficult to understand what the article is talking about and I got lost very quickley. Most of the article is based on cites, and these cites are pretty much of a very high/old english which is very hard to read, especially to readers which are not native english speakers - so it would be very easier if after each cite, there would be a translation of it to more simple english instead of continue the sentance like the cite was clearly obious.

This is the kind of articles which I consider as a burden, and while the text should be written normally and more simplified - every section on this article is more complicated then it's previous. horrible. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 3 December 2011 (UTC)


This article contains several references to 'gesith' for comparison with 'thane'. But there is neither an explanation nor a link for 'gesith'. Thus these references make no sense. As 'gesith' doesn't exist in first place, it's no use in explaning 'thane' with 'gesith'. It would make more sense the other way around. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Truchses (talkcontribs) 10:48, 5 November 2013 (UTC)