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King Alfred

King Alfred enjoyed a good reputation as seen in various accounts of hisreign written by contemporaries and near-contemporaries. Alfred the Great, son of Aethelwulf, came to the throne in a time of warfare with the Danes, also known as the Vikings. The Danes at the time were making inroads and controlling sections of Northumbria. Alfred forced the Danes to leave Wessex but was still subject to Danish attacks before he was able to rout the enemy at the Battle of Edington. The importance of this victory was considerable and would be Alfred's greatest achievement. It would contribute greatly as well to Alfred's reputation and would feature prominently in histories written about his reign. He would be challenged by the Danes again and would capture London in 886, achieving acceptance then by all the English.

Asser's Life of King Alfred offers considerable praise for the ruler. Keynes and Lapidge note that this author offered great praise to Alfred but that the book was not well-known in the Anglo-Saxon period. They speculate that this might be because of the work itself rather than because of the subject, but they also find that Alfred was no more popular as king than his fellow kings, though one might think otherwise from Asser's account. A reading of the account by Asser suggests that Alfred may have had a direct influence in the writing of the work, given that he had such a close association with Asser. One might also consider that Asser knew the King better than did others and so that his praise derives from this personal knowledge and a recognition of the finer qualities of the leader. Keynes and Lapidge state that asser's views were no doubt shared by other contemporaries, however, and so that there may be a basis in fact for the high praise accorded to Alfred.

There is no doubt that Asser considered Alfred to be a great ruler. He describes Alfred as a leader capable of doing many things at the same time. He no...

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King Alfred. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:05, June 19, 2019, from