If the unification of England seemed to make particular progress during thereigns of Athelstan and Edgar, this may be in part attributable to the fact that bothkings, though members of the West Saxon dynasty, had begun their reigns as kingsof the Mercians; jEthelred did not enjoy such an advantage.
that is truly original;his originality lay rather in the extent to which he, more than anyother king, took the responsibilities of his office to heart, and in hisability to look beyond the end of his own nose. Even so, we shouldnot claim too much familiarity with Alfred: for it is always salutaryto reflect that had his 'Handbook' survived to this day, with itscollection of Alfred's favourite prayers, psalms and other texts, ourunderstanding of what made him tick would have been transformed
Trelleborg is a collective name for six Viking Age circular forts, located in Denmark and the southern part of modern Sweden. Five of them have been dated to the reign of the Harold Bluetooth of Denmark (died 986). The fort in Borgeby has been dated to the vicinity of 1000 AD, so it is possible that it too, was built by the same king.
11th c battle axe found near London Bridge 208 mm bladeÓláfr was one of Æthelred’s armycommanders, who volunteered to lead his ships ina daring attack on London Bridge. Snorri statesthat this attack was only undertaken to helpÆthelred regain his throne, which places it after Swein’s death and before Æthelred’s own deathin 1016.20The attack on the bridge in 1014involved sailing westwards upstream to thedefended timber bridge, fixing ropes andgrappling irons to it, then sailing downstreamagain and pulling down or badly damaging thesuperstructure of the bridge and compelling itsdefenders to surrender London to Æthelred’sforces (Fig. 1).21 Next, Æthelred’s forces defeatedthe Scandinavians.
12. F2012 England before the Conquest
England Before the Conquest Æthelred
Æthelred – Alfred Compared Alfred ÆthelredPaying Payment to buy time to Payments at increasingVikings build up defenses rate (gafol, Danegeld)Efficacy Peace over 15 years Temporary respitesDefenses Burhs as garrisoned Existing burhs now forts commercial centers Stone walls added New burhs at South Cadbury, Old Sarum, and CissburyFyrds Rotating standing army Ad hoc army
Æthelred – Alfred Compared Alfred ÆthelredArmy Shortage of armor Large stock of coats of mailNavy Start navy but it is Start navy but betrayed ineffective by WulfnothDealing Forced to contribute Forced to contributewith the hostages as well as geld supplies as well as geldenemySupport Support of nobles Lack of support by many nobles
Æthelred – Alfred Compared Alfred ÆthelredEnemy force 2,000-3,000 5,000-10,000 organized troopsArea defended Wessex EnglandGovernmental Not yet organized OrganizedstructureChroniclers Contemporary texts Retrospective texts after in A-S Chronicle defeat in A-S ChronicleContext Millenialism
Æthelred – Alfred Compared Alfred ÆthelredPersonality Intellectual approach Subject to rage to kingshipcounselors English and Untrustworthy military Continental clergy leadersLaw New law code based Several law codes on precedents dealing with regional variationsCulture Fostered education Period of continuing and church building excellence in fine arts, education and scholarship
ReferencesSimon Keynes (1986). ―A Tale of Two Kings: Alfred the Greatand Æthelred the Unready‖. Transactions of the RoyalHistorical Society, 36, pp 195-217 [Not as bad as later writerspainted him]Leonard Neidorf ―II Æthelred and the Politics of The Battle ofMaldon” Journal of English and Germanic Philology—October 2012, pp 451-473Richard Abels English Logistics and military administration,871-1066: The Impact of the Viking Warshttp://asnoc.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/english-logistics-and-military-administration-871-1066-the-impact-of-the-viking-wars/
England-Danish, Anglo-Saxon, Norman? Canute Edward the Confessor Harold II
1014 Attack on London? ‖Fact or Folklore: The Viking Attack on London Bridge,‖ London Archaeologist, Spring 2004, 328-333
King Cnut (England and Denmark)• 1019 His brother, Harold, dies: Cnut now King of Denmark• Commissions Wulfstan to produce new law code• c. 1025 Thorkell dies, Ulf, Cnut’s brother-in-law made regent for Harthacnut in Denmark• 1035 Harthacnut, King of Denmark
Succession Crisis• Cnut dies 12 November 1035• Harold Harefoot – Earl Leofric Mercia – Earl Siward Northumbria – northern thanes – London fleet• Harthacanute – Earl Godwine of Mercia
Godwine• His father may have been Wulfnoth, an Anglo-Saxon turned viking and nephew of Streona• 1018 Appears as ealdorman on charters• 1022? travels with Cnut to Denmark• Married to sister-in-law of Cnut
Reign of Harold I• Emma given Winchester• Later driven to Bruges in 1037 1037 Harold tortures Alfred Godwine embraces Alfred
Reign of Harthacanute• 1040 Harold dies, buried at Westminster• 1041 Edward returns to England• 1042 Harthacanute dies at a wedding feast
Succession• Danish Claimants – Harold of Denmark, died 1043 – Swein of Denmark –preoccupied with own kingdom• Norwegian Claimant – Magnus –purportedly in pact with Harthacnute• Edward – Welcomed by Harthacanute – Championed by Godwine, Leofric and Siward
Godwine• Appointment of Stigand to Winchester in 1047; Canterbury in 1052• 1051 The Dover fracas• 1051 ‘Get thee to a nunnery’• Dies 1053
Godwinesons• Harold, Earl of Wessex• 1055 Tostig, Earl of North• 1057 Gyrth, Earl of East Anglia• 1057 Leofwine, Earl of E. Midlands• 1058 Leofric dies• Aelfgar banished; returns• 1062 Aelfgar dies
Earl Harold• 1058 Leofric dies• m. Ealdgyth, daughter of Aelfgar Harold, son of Godwine kneels before King Edward