/hows"kahrl'/, n.
a member of the household troops or bodyguard of a Danish or early English king or noble.
[bef. 1050; ME; late OE huscarl < Dan huskarl. See HOUSE, CARL]

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▪ Scandinavian royal troops
also spelled  huscarl , Old Norse  húskarl (“house man”) , Danish and Norwegian  hird (“household,” or “household member”) 

      member of the personal or household troops or bodyguard of Scandinavian kings and chieftains in the Viking and medieval periods. The housecarls achieved a celebrated place in European history as the Danish occupation force in England under Canute the Great (Canute (I)) in 1015–35.

      Canute's 3,000-man force, which remained in England after the invasion army had been sent home, does not represent the typical size of a royal retinue; forces of approximately 90 men were more common. Housecarls were distinguished by great personal loyalty to their employers; in exchange they received booty and maintenance in the employer's household or court. Their lives were regulated by laws that governed their personal behaviour, military chain of command, and civil functions (police work and tax collection, for example). Housecarls disappeared after the rise of military aristocracies and bureaucratized royal courts in the late Middle Ages.

      During World War II, the Norwegian Nazi Vidkun Quisling revived the term Hird (plural Hirden) for his political stormtroopers.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Housecarl — House carl , n. [OE. huscarle. See {House}, and {Carl}.] (Eng. Arch[ae]ol.) A household servant; also, one of the bodyguard of King Canute. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • housecarl — [hous′kärl΄] n. [Late OE huscarl < ON hūskarl, lit., houseman: see HOUSE & CHURL] a member of the bodyguard or household troops of a Danish or English king or nobleman in late Anglo Saxon times …   English World dictionary

  • Housecarl — Cette partie de la Tapisserie de Bayeux montre probablement un chevalier normand (à droite) affrontant un housecarl (à gauche) [1]. Les Housecarls (du vieux norrois hous, maison, et carl, homme) sont une garde personnelle d …   Wikipédia en Français

  • housecarl — noun Etymology: Old English hūscarl, from Old Norse hūskarl, from hūs house + karl man; akin to Old English ceorl churl Date: before 12th century a member of the bodyguard of a Danish or early English king or noble …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Housecarl — Housecarls were household troops, personal warriors and equivalent to a bodyguard to Scandinavian lords and kings. The anglicized term comes from the Old Norse term huskarl or huscarl (literally, house man , i.e., armed man (churl) in the service …   Wikipedia

  • Housecarl — Huscarls (auch Huskarl), englisch Housecarls, waren Krieger der persönlichen Leibgarde von skandinavischen Adligen und Königen. Der Name leitet sich aus dem Altnorwegischen her und bedeutet soviel wie „Bewaffneter im Dienste eines bestimmten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • housecarl — noun once, a member of the Scandinavian royal household troops …   Wiktionary

  • Housecarl — Household retainer, esp. a military retainer; used particularly of the retinues of the Danish kings of England and their successors. Cf. Thegn …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • housecarl — [ haʊskα:l] (also housecarle) noun (before the Norman Conquest) a member of the bodyguard of a Danish or English king or noble. Origin OE hūscarl, from ON húskarl manservant …   English new terms dictionary

  • housecarl — house•carl [[t]ˈhaʊsˌkɑrl[/t]] n. why a member of the household troops or bodyguard of a Danish or early English king or noble • Etymology: bef. 1050; ME; late OE hūscarl < early Dan hūskarl. See house, carl …   From formal English to slang

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