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The Thain of the Shire (not to be confused with the term thane) was the title give to the traditional military leader of the Hobbits in the Shire after the fall of Fornost and the Dúnedain kingdom of Arthedain in the mid-Third Age. The Thain was Master of the Shire-moot and Captain of the Shire-muster.

History

The Hobbits first chose a Thain to rule them in TA 1979 (Shire Reckoning 379), four years after Arvedui, last King of Arthedain, perished. Over time, the Thain became a hereditary position, originally held by the Oldbuck Clan. Since TA 2340 (SR 740), the Thainship remained within the powerful Took clan.

Other office-holders of the Shire included the Master of Buckland and the Mayor of Michel Delving, as well as in the Fourth Age the Warden of Westmarch, a position created by King Aragorn II Elessar. The Thain's traditional duties involved the defence of the Shire from external attacks and presiding over meetings of the Shire-moot and Shire-muster. By the time of the War of the Ring most of the Thain's duties were ceremonial and the practical duties such as maintaining the Shire post were handled by the Mayor of Michel Delving.

Etymology

"Thain" is a variant spelling of the Old English "thegn", an Anglo-Saxon designation for a minor noble, probably best known for its use in Shakespeare's Macbeth. While more commonly spelled "thane" in modern English), Tolkien used the older variant to represent the ancestral speech of the Hobbits.

In the Fourth Age, the title in Sindarin was Ernil i Pheriannath ('Prince of the Halflings'), after Peregrin Took became Thain.


List of Thains

The following table is a list of all known thirty-three Thains of the Shire. All dates are given in Shire Reckoning (SR) that lags behind the Third Age by 1600 years and passes ahead the Fourth Age by 1421 years. Thus, to convert SR to TA 1600 must be added, while to convert SR to FO 1421 must be substracted (SR 1422 is the first year of the Fourth Age).

Thains of the Shire
# Name Rule Lifespan Note
I Bucca 379 — ? Unknown The first Oldbuck Thain, who was elected by the Hobbits after the dissolution of Arthedain
II—XI 10 unnamed Oldbuck Thains
XII Gorhendad ? — 740 Unknown The last Oldbuck Thain, who abdicated Thainship after the removal to Buckland and became its first Master
XIII Isumbras I 740 — ? Unknown The first Took Thain, who was elected by the Hobbits after his predecessor's abdication
XIV—XXI 8 unnamed Took Thains (including Isumbras II, Isengrim I, Ferumbras I, and Paladin I)
XXII Isengrim II 10831122 1020 — 1122 The direct descendant of Isumbras I
XXIII Isumbras III 1122 — 1159 1066 — 1159 The eldest son of Isengrim II
XXIV Ferumbras II 1159 — 1201 1101 — 1201 The eldest son of Isumbras III
XXV Fortinbras I 1201 — 1248 1145 — 1248 The eldest son of Ferumbras II
XXVI Gerontius 1248 — 1320 1190 — 1320 The eldest son of Fortinbras I
XXVII Isengrim III 1320 — 1330 1232 — 1330 The eldest son of Gerontius and Adamanta Chubb, who died childless
XXVIII Isumbras IV 1330 — 1339 1238 — 1339 The younger brother of Isengrim III, second son of Gerontius and Adamanta Chubb
XXIX Fortinbras II 1339 — 2980 1278 — 1380 The eldest son of Isumbras IV
XXX Ferumbras III 1380 — 1415 1316 — 1415 The eldest son of Fortinbras II and Lalia Clayhanger, who died childless
XXXI Paladin II 1415 — 1434 1333 — 1434 The eldest son of Adalgrim, first cousin of Ferumbras III, great-grandson of Gerontius
XXXII Peregrin 1434 — 1484 1390 — after 1484 The eldest son of Paladin II and Eglantine Banks, who abdicated Thainship to his son
XXXIII Faramir 1484 — ? 1430 — ? Son of Peregrin and Diamond of Long Cleeve, who became Thain after his father's abdication
XXXIV—? Unknown number of unnamed Took Thains, who continued their line in the Fourth Age

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Danish Thain (herredsfoged)
Dutch Dinghoofd
Hebrew תאין
Italian Conte della Contea
Polish Than
Russian Тан
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