Æthelstan: The First King of England by Sarah Foot

By Sarah Foot

The strong and leading edge King ?thelstan reigned in simple terms in brief (924-939), but his achievements in the course of these eventful fifteen years replaced the process English background. He received miraculous army victories (most significantly at Brunanburh), cast exceptional political connections throughout Europe, and succeeded in growing the 1st unified country of the English. to say for him the identify of "first English monarch" is not any exaggeration.In this nuanced portrait of ?thelstan, Sarah Foot deals the 1st complete account of the king ever written. She lines his existence in the course of the a variety of spheres during which he lived and labored, starting with the intimate context of his family members, then extending outward to his strange multiethnic royal courtroom, the Church and his country, the wars he carried out, and eventually his demise and legacy. Foot describes a worldly guy who was once not just a very good army chief but additionally a valuable king. He ruled brilliantly, built artistic how one can undertaking his picture as a ruler, and devised strategic marriage treaties and present exchanges to cement alliances with the best royal and ducal homes of Europe. ?thelstan's legacy, obvious within the new mild of this masterful biography, is inextricably hooked up to the very forging of britain and early English id.

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53 Later Scandinavian sources allege further that Æthelstan offered military assistance to another of his supposed foster-sons, Hákon, son of the Norwegian king Harald Fairhair, when he reclaimed his throne at around this time. His reputation as a successful warrior thus proved an important element in the forging of these international treaties. The peace he achieved at home in England after the Scottish expedition would prove transitory, however, for Æthelstan’s enemies regrouped and in 937 he faced the most serious threat to the long-term stability of his expanded realm: a joint attack on English shores by Norse forces from Dublin led by Olaf Guthfrithsson and the combined armies of King Constantín of the Scots and Owain’s Strathclyde Welsh.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 1 2 3 4 45x 46x 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 1 2 3 4 45 46x Æ T H E L S TA N John of Worcester, the twelfth-century chronicler, apportioned epithets to those tenth-century kings he thought had been most effective in uniting and bringing glory to the kingdom of the English. 71 Æthelstan’s claim to the title of first English monarch rests on his creation – out of the kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons first built by his grandfather and expanded by his father – of a kingdom of the English, over which he ruled as rex Anglorum.

Once his aunt Æthelflæd had died in 918, and Edward claimed hegemony over all of Mercia and East Anglia, Æthelstan continued in the defence and consolidation of the northern part of this extended realm, while Ælfweard seems to have built a power base for himself south of the Thames in Wessex, above all in the cathedral town of Winchester. Both thus laid claim by birth and by proven military capacity to succeed their father on his death. ÆTHELSTAN’S ACCESSION AND HIS CONQUEST OF THE NORTH Only one thing is certain about Æthelstan’s succession to Edward the Elder’s throne: it did not occur smoothly.

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