is a body of persons "retained" in the service of a noble
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...
A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial family appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigning...
personage, a suite
(literal French meaning: what follows) of "retainer
The word, recorded in English since circa 1375, stems from Old French retenue
, itself from retenir
, from Latin retenere
, hold back, retain.
Such retainers were not necessarily in the domestic service or otherwise normally close to the presence of their lord, but also include others who wore his livery
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...
(a kind of uniform, in distinctive colours) and claimed his protection, such as musicians and private teachers.
Some were a source of trouble and abuse in the 15th and early 16th century.
Often their real importance was very different from their rank: on one hand, sinecures and supernumerary appointments allowed enjoying benefits without performing full service. On the other hand, 'having the ear' of the master can allow one to act as a confidant in an informal capacity; or in some cases, even as a spy under the guise of an innocent musician.
- Sometimes used in the context meaning the supporters or followers of a medieval
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....
A retinue is sometimes confused with an entourage
, which is the far less stable body of people that followed whether or not they were - or claimed to be - retained or protected by the prominent person they served.
For example, a prince's entourage would not only include professional courtier
A courtier is a person who is often in attendance at the court of a king or other royal personage. Historically the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...
s, but also various bishops, clerics and other clerks, senior members of the aristocracy and other more occasional advisers, translators et cetera, who would often not be part of a sovereign's (more permanent) retinue, even though that could comprise a surprising variety of functions, from menial to lofty.
- The Roman Cohors amicorum
Cohors amicorum is a Latin term, literally meaning "cohort of friends". The notion cohort is to be taken not in the strict, military sense , but indicated a fairly large number; accordingly, friend is to be taken in a loose sense, rather as in amicus curiae, compare the Hellenistic Aulic title philos...
was rather similar, and this use of the word cohort (derived from a battalion-size military unit
A cohort was the basic tactical unit of a Roman legion following the reforms of Gaius Marius in 107 BC.-Legionary cohort:...
) for a dignitary's 'friends' was the root of the Italian word corte 'court', which via the French cortège gave rise to cortege, which can also mean a train of attendants.
Manrent refers to a Scottish mid 15th century to the early 17th century type of contract, usually military in nature and involving Scottish clans...
, a Scottish clan
Scottish clans , give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry and Coat of Arms...
Druzhina, Drużyna or Družyna in the medieval history of Slavic Europe was a retinue in service of a chieftain, also called knyaz. The name is derived from the Slavic word drug with the meaning of "companion, friend". -Early Rus:...
His Imperial Majesty's Retinue, His Imperial Majesty's Suite was a retinue unit of personal aides to the Russian Emperor, who usually were officers of the Army or the Guards units.The aides to the Tsar were routinely assigned honorary title of Adjutant; it was used in parallel with existing...