THRALL, a slave, a captive or bondman, a term especially applied to the serfs (Lat.
It indicates the endeavour of man to reconstitute himself as a free being, not as the thrall of theological despotism, and the peculiar assistance he derived in this effort from Greek and Roman literature, the litterae humaniores, letters leaning rather to the side of man than of divinity.
When we turn to the social divisions we find in Domesday and other documents classes of society in these districts bearing purely Norse names, dreng, karl, karlman, bonde, thrall, lysing, hold; in the system of taxation we have an assessment by carucates and not by hides and virgates, and the duodecimal rather than the decimal system of reckoning.
There were but two degrees of men, free and unfree, though only the franklins had any political power; and, from the nature of the life, social intercourse was unrestrained and unfettered; gon and thrall lived the same lives, ate the same food, spoke the same tongue, and differed little in clothing or habits.
The thrall had a house of his own and was rather villein or serf than slave, having rights and a legal price by law.