þegen, m.n: thane, servant, retainer, follower. (“theh-yen”)

Today is the Feast of St Matthew, the “Saviour’s thane”.

Further information from Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (Cambridge, 2015):

“…se wigend…swylt þrowade…nergendes þegen, Mathias mære…” – The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 24b-27a

“…the warrior, the Saviour’s thegn, the famous Mathias, suffered death.” (trans. by K. Karasawa)

The Feast of St Mathias (or Matthew) the Apostle is on 24 February, as he was martyred on that date c. 80. Karasawa says, “The phrase nergendes þegen (26b) ‘the Saviour’s thegn’ reflects his identity as an apostle, although he was chosen as an apostle after the Crucifixion and accordingly not by Christ himself but by the other eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot (see Acts 1.12-26)” (p. 90).


From The Getty Iris: St Matthew, about 1120-1140, Helmarshausen, Germany, from Gospel Book. The J. Paul Getty Museum, MS Ludwig II 3, fols 9v-10.

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