How do we Know? Asser (d. 908/909) was a Welsh monk from St David's, Dyfed “Life of King Alfred” –Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Documentary Evidence Cotton Library –Sir Robert Bruce Cotton M.P. (1571–1631) –Shut down by Charles 1 in 1629 –Reopened in 1633 –Given to the nation – formed the first national library Asburnham House –Fire 1731 –Many manuscripts damaged Magna Carta Roman manuscripts
Brief Biography b.848 – d.26 October 899 Father : Æthelwulf of Wessex Mother: Queen Osburga Born in Wantage, Oxfordshire Older Brothers: –Æthelbald (r. 858 to 860) –Æthelberht (r. 860 to 865) –Æthelred 1 (r. 865 to 871) 868 married Ealhswith –6(?) children –Ancestor of Elizabeth 2
Crohn’s Disease Inflammatory disease of the intestines It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting (can be continuous), or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, inflammation of the eye, tiredness, and lack of concentration
Pre-Reformation England 1 st Century AD traders from Roman empire The Celtic Church – St Patrick (370-460 ish) Augustine (597 AD) –(–(Not St Augustine of Hippo) –S–Sent from Pope to King Aethelbert of Kent The Synod of Whitby (664) –R–Roman Catholicism became predominant The Venerable Bede (673-735)
Raiders Pirates Pagans –N–No fear of the Christian God Settlers Backstabbers Oath Breakers
Rewriting History Academics claim that the old stereotype is damaging, and want teenagers to be more appreciative of the Vikings' social and cultural impact on Britain. (Telegraph 25 th Oct 2008) "A medieval chronicler, John of Wallingford, talking about the eleventh century, complained that the Danes were too clean - they combed their hair every day, washed every Saturday, and changed their clothes regularly."
Jeremiah 50 v 41 “Look! An army is coming from the north; a great nation and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth. They are armed with bows and spears; they are cruel and without mercy.
Vikings Vikings (from the north) seen as part of the last days by Christendom Early 800’s began raids –M–Monasteries and easy pickings Viking invasion of Lindisfarne in 871 AD Wintered in Appledore, Kent - 892-893
1 st Pilgrimage Important in Saxon thinking Age 4-5yrs Rome Alone Pope Saint Leo IV –G–Godson –S–Saracen (Muslin invasion) –S–St Peter and St Pauls
2 nd Pilgrimage With father –A–Away for a year Alfred’s brother – Æthelbald (r858 to 860) – deposed his father as king of Wessex Æthelwulf continued as King of Kent to avoid civil war –K–Kingdoms rejoined after Æthelwulf died
Alfred the King Reigned from 23 April 871 – 26 October 899 –B–Became king at age 23 Regular Viking invasions and settlements –5–5 years of fighting – mixed success –A–Alfred came to peace terms and paid large sums of money to the Vikings.
Guthram Viking Leader from 876 Wareham in Dorset –S–Stalemate –T–Treaty – oaths and hostages Sworn on the holy ring of Thor Vikings broke their oaths –V–Various fighting until 878 –A–Attack on Alfred at Christmas/New Year in Chippenham Inside job Alfred on the run
Alfred’s Return Easter 878 – Alfred rallies support Attack on Guthrum at Chippenham –G–Guthrum surrenders and converts to Christianity Later treaty 879/880 –d–divides Mercia –e–establishes the Dane Law
The 880’s (No more burnt cakes) Early 880’s various invasions and battles with new Vikings By mid 880’s things settled down London rebuilt and fortified Standing army –d–divided -50% on and 50% off Small navy constructed Burhs (30 fortified cities/towns)
So What! Alfred the Great is known as a Christian King How did Christianity make a difference to him?
Scripture He read scripture daily He had a special love for the Psalms and saw similarities between his own life and King David’s He understood that his people needed scripture in their own language
Translation work Alfred translated himself English –Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, –Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, –St. Augustine's Soliloquies, –First fifty psalms of the Psalter Sponsored other translations –Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum –Etc.
The Law Created a Domboc (Doom Book) Legal Code –T–Took 3 existing versions and revised them –A–Added the ten commandments –A–Added other parts of the law of Moses –A–Added Christian code of ethics –I–Including Personal Injury Law “Where there’s blame, there’s a claim!”
His Money Peace dividend Split his income into 2 parts –Secular –Religious
Secular Spending Split into thirds: To pay his fighting men and his nobles at court (governors) –5–50% time at home for his soldiers –I–Introduced a shift pattern for his nobles at court – 1/3 rd on 2/3rds off Sponsoring the arts –“–“Ring Giver” For foreigners and travellers
Religious Spending Split into quarters: Alms to the poor Funding of two monasteries Funding of a school –(–(to include children not of noble birth) Grants for other religious establishments across his kingdom
Education Learnt to read himself as an adult. Scholars bought into the kingdom from Wales and Europe. Decreed that all the noblemen in his court should be able to read. Set up a school which he funded
Just War Alfred understood the need to defend his people –H–He understood that he had the duty under God to do so He also looked for opportunities to reach a peaceful solution Was able to live side by side with his old enemy –D–Dane Law
Mercy Alfred was merciful in victory He sought the conversion of Guthram and became his children’s Godfather Showed his soldiers and noblemen mercy in allowing them time at home to deal with the harvest