Heroes of Midhgardhur
“Ethelland” is the island-realm of the Ethelling tribes, also called the Theodinga, who are cousins of the other folk of the North.
At the top of Ethelland society is the cyning (“king”), the ruler of a kingdom or tribe. Beneath the cyning are the aethlings, (princes, “noble ones,” from whom the name of “Ethelland” ultimately derives), nobles of royal lines who would be eligible to be elected king when the current one dies. This election is held by the council called the witan, made up of the aethlings themselves and the ealdormen (“aldermen,” lesser nobility, not of the royal lines). The upper ranks of the ealdormen are called eorls (“earls,” parallel to Northern “jarls”). The loyal warriors, backbones of the military, in service to the aethlings, eorls, and ealdormen, are called thegns (“thanes”). In exchange for good service, thegns are rewarded with treasures, land, and possibly promotion to the ranks of the ealdormen. In many kingdoms and tribes, thegns are part of the local witan, but this is a more recent development and not an ancient right of theirs. The average freeman of the Ethellings is known as a ceorl (pronounced like its modern equivalent, “churl,” parallel to the Northern “karl”). Free men can offer military service, mostly as infantry or archers, but are not assumed to be warriors. The lowest rung of Ethelland society is the theows or thralls, essentially serfs or slaves, with very few rights.