witan


witan
/wit"n, -ahn/, n. Early Eng. Hist.
1. the members of the national council or witenagemot.
2. (used with a sing. v.) the witenagemot.
[1800-10; mod. E < OE, pl. of wita one who knows, councilor; akin to WIT2]

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Council of the Anglo-Saxon kings in medieval England.

Usually attended by high-ranking nobles and bishops, the witan was expected to advise the king on all matters on which he chose to ask its opinion. It attested his grants of land to churches or laymen, consented to his issue of new laws, and helped him deal with rebels and disaffected subjects. Its composition and time of meeting were determined at the king's pleasure.

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▪ British history
also called  Witenagemot,  

      the council of the Anglo-Saxon kings in and of England; its essential duty was to advise the king on all matters on which he chose to ask its opinion. It attested his grants of land to churches or laymen, consented to his issue of new laws or new statements of ancient custom, and helped him deal with rebels and persons suspected of disaffection. Its composition and time of meeting were determined by the king's pleasure.

      Usually attended by the greater nobles and bishops, the witan was in no sense a popular assembly. In its composition and duties it closely resembled its successor, the commune concilium of the Anglo-Norman kings, the fundamental difference being that, in the latter body, baronial councillors were bound to the king by feudal ties.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • witan — An Anglo Saxon term that meant wise men, persons learned in the law; in particular, the king s advisers or members of his council. Dictionary from West s Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005. witan An Anglo Saxon …   Law dictionary

  • witan — [wit′ n] pl.n. [OE, pl. of wita, one who knows, wise man, councilor < witan, to know: see WISE1] the council of an Anglo Saxon king …   English World dictionary

  • Witan — Wit an, n. pl. [AS., pl. of wita sage, councilor.] Lit., wise men; specif. (A. S. Hist.), the members of the national, or king s, council which sat to assist the king in administrative and judicial matters; also, the council. [Webster 1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • þwītan — *þwītan germ.?, stark. Verb: Verweis: s. *þweitan s. þweitan; …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • wītan (1) — *wītan (1) germ., stark. Verb: Verweis: s. *weitan (1) …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • wītan (2) — *wītan (2) germ., stark. Verb: Verweis: s. *weitan (3) …   Germanisches Wörterbuch

  • witan — /witan/ In Saxon law, wise men; persons of information, especially in the laws; the king s advisers; members of the king s council; the optimates, or principal men of the kingdom …   Black's law dictionary

  • Witan — Witenagemot Un roi anglo saxon avec son Witan. Le Witenagemot (également appelé Witan) était une institution politique dans l Angleterre des Saxons entre approximativement les VIIe et XI …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Witan — Darstellung eines biblischen Pharaos als angelsächsischer König in einem Witan. Englischer Hexateuch, 11. Jahrhundert Der Witenagemot oder Witan war ungefähr zwischen dem 7. und dem 11. Jahrhundert eine politische Institution im angelsächsischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • witan — irreg v/t to be aware of or conscious of, know, understand; observe, perceive; gewitan ascertain, learn; andan witan dislike; incan witan (tó) to have a grudge (against); ege witan to fear; dón tó witanne to cause to know, inform; myne witan to… …   Old to modern English dictionary


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