ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Translations from Latin to Anglo-Saxon Laws of Alfred Reorganization of Fyrd (military) Charters for Burhs (fortified towns) Creation of navy Coinage King of Anglo-Saxons
PRIMARY SOURCES: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (DCCCXCII) Assers Life of Alfred (893) Laws of Alfred (c. 885 899) Excerpts from Life of Alfred
In the year of our Lords incarnation 849, was born Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, at the royal village of Wanating, in Berkshire, which country has its name from the wood of Berroc, where the box-tree grows most abundantly. His genealogy is traced in the following order. King Alfred was the son of king Ethelwulf, who was the son of Ebger, who was the son of Elmund who was the son of Geat, which Geat the pagans long worshipped as a godwho was the son of Noahwho was the son of Methusalemwho was the son of Seth, who
was the son of Adam. In the year of our Lords incarnation 853 king Ethelwulf sent his son Alfredto Rome, with an honourable escort both of nobles and commoners, Pope Leo (the fourth) at that time presided over the apostolic see, and he anointed for king the aforesaid Alfred, and adopted him as his spiritual son. He was loved by his father and mother, and even
by all the people, above all his brothers, and was educated altogether at the court of the king. As he advanced through the years of infancy and youth, his form appeared more comely than that of his brothers; in look, in speech, and in manners he was more graceful than they. His noble nature implanted in him from his cradle a love of wisdom above all things; but, with shame be it spoken, by the unworthy neglect of his parents and nurses, he remained illiterate even till he was twelve years old or more; but he listened with serious attention to the Saxon poems which he often
heard recited, and easily retained them in his docile memory. The Almighty not only granted to the same glorious king victories over his enemies, but also permitted him to be harassed by them, to be sunk down by
adversities, and depressed by the low estate of his followers, to the end that he might learn that there is one Lord of all things, to whom every knee doth bow, and in whose hand are the hearts of kings; who puts down the mighty from their seat and exalteth the humble. The good guys won version: 1) Alfred defeats the Danish King Guthrum at Battle of Edington in May 878;
2) Guthrum converts to Christianity; 3) Danes and Saxons sign peace treaty assuring Saxon dominance in Wessex; 4) Danes turn from warfare to farming. The Pragmatist Version: 1) 2) 3) 4)
Strategic marriages; Reorganization of army; Creation of burhs; Building of new ships. Alfred sent every Bishop in his kingdom a copy of Pope Gregory the Greats Pastoral Care along with an aestel or pointer to help them follow the text. The most well known of these aestels is the Alfred Jewel. The inscription reads: AELFRED MED
HEHT GEWYRCAN (Alfred ordered me to be made) Laws of Alfred, c. 885 899: I ... collected these together and ordered to be written many of them which our forefathers observed, those which I liked; and many of those which I did not like I rejected with the advice of my councillors ... For I dared not presume to set in writing at
all many of my own, because it was unknown to me what would please those who should come after us ... Then I ... showed those to all my councillors, and they then said that they were all pleased to observe them Alfred died on 26 October 899 and was buried in the minster (church) at Winchester.
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