During his reign (871-899), King Alfred revolutionized the governance of Wessex, greatly advancing the process that would culminate two generations later, in the creation of the kingdom of England. His succes in fighting the Vikings not only saved Wessex from conquest but kept Britain from becoming one more outlier of Scandinavia. His administrative and military innovations provided his son and grandsons with the tools to conquer the Danelaw, and established a precocious royal administration that shaped the governance of medieval England. The spiritual and literary renaissance he spearheaded helped create a tradition of vernacular learning that would blossom in later generations. This book offers an analysis of Alfred's achievement and thought. In doing so it illuminates the character and meaning of Anglo-Saxon kingship in general, as well as the particular career of this king.
Richard Abels (The United States Naval Academy USA)
Country of Publication:
Series: The Medieval World
30 September 1998
Professional and scholarly
Introduction.Sources. 1. Alfred's Wessex. 2. Memories of Childhood, 848-858.3. Scourges of God, 858-868. 4. A Very Great Warrior, 869-879. 5. King of the Anglo-Saxons, 880-891.6. Defence of the Realm. 7. The reign of Solomon. 8. The Practice of Kingship. 9. Triumph and Death, 892-899. Conclusion: `My Memory in Good Works'.Appendix on the Authenticity of Asser's Life of King Alfred. Table: Alfred's Genealogy. Maps. Bibliography.
RICHARD ABELS is Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.
Reviews for Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England
'...based on wide knowledge, and not infrequent reconsideration, of the sources...this is a most useful book'. English Historical Review 'Abels' Alfred is a remarkable man...made believable, intriguing, relevant... this is a book for anyone who enjoys history.' Times Literary Supplement