Why was king alfred so great

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why was king alfred so great

Alfred the Great by Justin Pollard

In an era darkened by the terror of Viking invasions, Englands first and greatest king was a beacon of light. This is the story of Englands birth. A great story, beautifully told. (Bernard Cornwell, author of The Pale Horseman)

Alfred was Englands first kin, and his rule spanned troubled times. As his shores sat under constant threat from Viking marauders, his life was similarly imperiled by conspiracies in his own court. He was an extraordinary character - a soldier, scholar, and statesman like no other in English history - and out of adversity he forged a new kind of nation. Justin Pollards enthralling account strips back centuries of myth to reveal the individual behind the legend. He offers a radical new interpretation of what inspired Alfred to create England and how it how it has colored the nations history to the present day.
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Alfred the Great & the Anglo Saxons

Alfred , also spelled Aelfred , byname Alfred the Great , born —died , king of Wessex — , a Saxon kingdom in southwestern England. He prevented England from falling to the Danes and promoted learning and literacy.
Justin Pollard

Why was Alfred the Great One of Only Two Kings Named ‘Great’ in English History?

Alfred the Great was the most famous of the Anglo-Saxon kings. Despite overwhelming odds he successfully defended his kingdom, Wessex, against the Vikings. He also introduced wide-ranging reforms including defence measures, reform of the law and of coinage. He was a keen champion of education and translated important texts from Latin into English. A weak and sickly child with four older brothers, Alfred was an unlikely king. He was inspired by his early trips to Rome and developed a view of kingship based on firm moral and religious grounds. Fierce Viking attacks threatened to destroy the Anglo-Saxon world into which Alfred had been born.

He may have earned this title in part by defending his kingdom against the Vikings and for his efforts in improving education. In fact, it was thanks to Alfred that England was not completely conquered by the Vikings. He was the fifth son of Aethelwulf the king of Wessex , one of the seven petty kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England. Alfred himself seemed to have been more interested in scholarly pursuits than taking the throne. For instance, as a young boy, Alfred visited Rome - which may have awakened his interest in Latin learning. Some say he even met the Pope.

Famous for successfully defending his kingdom against Viking invaders , King Alfred the Great ruled Wessex from to Most of the information we have on Alfred is gleaned from the writings of Asser, a 10th century scholar and bishop from Wales. There were no cakes as such to be found at this time. If Alfred burnt anything at all they were likely cobs of bread. However, the source of the tale originates at a much later date, so most historians deem this story of little historic value.

Related History documents

There were many famous Anglo-Saxon kings, but the most famous of all was Alfred , one of the only kings in British history to be called 'Great'. His father was king of Wessex, but by the end of Alfred's reign his coins referred to him as ' King of the English '. He fought the Vikings and then made peace so that English and Vikings settled down to live together. He encouraged people to learn and he tried to govern well and fairly. A lot of what we know about Alfred the Great comes from stories that have been written about him. One story says that Alfred went to Rome at the age of four to meet the Pope. When he came home, his mother promised a book of English poetry to the first of her sons who could read it to her.

The Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great is famous for his victories against the Vikings, and is the only English monarch known as 'the Great'. But how much do you know about him? When he was born at Wantage in , it might have seemed unlikely that Alfred would ever become king, but in a period of increasing Viking attacks, his four brothers all died as young adults. Alfred had to take over as king of Wessex in in the middle of a year of nine major battles between the West Saxons and Vikings, which the former were lucky to survive. Alfred was also tested in when he was forced to retreat to the marshes of Athelney Somerset , scene of some of the legendary stories about him, including the well-known burning of the cakes. However, Alfred came back to win a decisive victory in the same year over his Viking opponent Guthrum at Edington Wiltshire. There were further serious Viking attacks in the s, but by this time Alfred had made military improvements and was better able to resist them with the help of West Mercian [an Anglo-Saxon kingdom north of Wessex] and Welsh allies.


  1. Scoville D. says:

    When was Alfred the Great Born?

  2. Cardschoolfablo says:

    After acceding to the throne, Alfred spent several years fighting Viking invasions.

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