Alfred the Great and Ethelred the Unready. Two Anglo-Saxon Kings and their Actions against the Viking Threat


By Anna Poppen

cover image of Alfred the Great and Ethelred the Unready. Two Anglo-Saxon Kings and their Actions against the Viking Threat

Sign up to save your library

With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts.

   Not today

Find this title in Libby, the library reading app by OverDrive.

app-store-button-en.svg play-store-badge-en.svg

Search for a digital library with this title

Title found at these libraries:

Bachelor Thesis from the year 2010 in the subject Didactics for the subject English - Pedagogy, Literature Studies, grade: 2,0, University of Göttingen, language: English, abstract: In the long list of English rulers there is only one king who achieved to be honored with the epithet the Great. Alfred the Great is known today as one of the most successful kings of England and has become a national hero. The role of the national failure, however, has been ascribed to King Ethelred II, who is known as Ethelred the Unready. Both kings ruled in Anglo-Saxon times, their reigns are only about one hundred years apart and both had to face the same enemy: the Vikings from Scandinavia. Although it seems as if the two kings ruled under the same prerequisites, their reigns had very different outcomes and they have opposing reputations today. King Alfred, who ruled the kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899, is today remembered and glorified as a great Christian king, who defeated the Vikings, who continuously invaded and plundered England in the second half of the ninth century. Apart from great military and political achievements, Alfred also stands for educational reform and is credited for having laid the foundations for what was to become the Anglo-Saxon kingdom. King Ethelred ruled this kingdom from 978 to 1016. Today, he is seen as a weak and powerless king, who did not manage to fight off the Vikings who were attacking the Anglo-Saxon kingdom during his reign, especially at the beginning of the eleventh century. He is accused of having lost control over his kingdom and having handed it over to the Vikings without developing a coherent strategy of defense. In order to find out how and why King Alfred and King Ethelred acquired such different reputations and whether they are justified, one has to have a close look at their reigns and especially at the actions they took to keep the Viking invaders from plundering and conquering their kingdom. Despite these problems, which will be a central theme in this work, the following text aims at presenting detailed accounts of King Alfred the Great and King Ethelred the Unready's struggles against the Viking invaders in order to allow for a direct comparison of their actions. Certainly, this work can make no claims of providing a comprehensive and complete picture of the kings' personalities and their reigns. It is rather meant to present an overview, which can be used as a basis for an evaluation and reassessment of Alfred and Ethelred's legacies.
Alfred the Great and Ethelred the Unready. Two Anglo-Saxon Kings and their Actions against the Viking Threat