All Listings filter applied The result testifies to the confidence inspired by Alfred's character and generalship, and to the efficacy of the military reforms initiated by him.
He founded schools; he patiently heard causes himself in his Court of Justice; the great desires of his heart were to do right to all his subjects, and to leave England, better, wiser, happier in all ways, than he found it.
I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and to leave after my life, to the men who should come after me, the memory of me in good works. Those who could not have a Saxon memorial in their grounds or in the nearby countryside could at least own a print of the new genre of History painting. Alfred is often thought to have provided his own epitaph in this passage from his translation of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius:.
This new interest in the Germanic past began to trickle down to other sectors of society.
Alfred was no longer a mirror for princes, but an exemplar for people at all levels of society and, above all, for children. Spelman was to die the following year of camp fever, and publication of the biography was delayed until more propitious times. In fact, any attempts to interest Stuart monarchs in their Saxon forebears had only a limited success. The Most Perfect Man in History?
Alfred and Asser did such a good job that when later generations looked back at his reign through their works they saw only a ruler apparently more perfect than any before or after.
Alfred, though no doubt gratified by his posthumous fame, would have trouble recognising himself in some of his later manifestations, and would find it difficult to comprehend, let alone approve, some of the constitutional developments he was supposed to have championed. The works he had commissioned or translated were interpreted as evidence for the pure Anglo-Saxon church, before it had become tainted by the false Romanism introduced by the Normans.
How and why did he acquire his glowing reputation, and how does it stand up today? The First Global Empire. These characteristics were felt to have made those of Anglo-Saxon descent uniquely programmed for success, and to rule other less fortunately endowed peoples, and the best of them were represented by King Alfred himself. The common Saxon heritage of the Hanoverians and the Anglo-Saxons provided more fertile for the promotion of a cult of King Alfred.
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One could say that Asser accentuated the positive, and ignored those elements of ruthless, dictatorial behaviour which any king needed to survive in ninth-century realpolitik. Now that Britain is relapsing into its regional components, who better than Alfred, the champion of the English language and Anglo-Saxon hegemony, to be a figurehead of the new England?
The extent to which Britons were involved in slave-ownership is laid bare. As a pious "alfred the great of england biography" with an interest in promoting the use of English, Alfred was an ideal figurehead for the emerging English Protestant church.
Who are the Vikings? Problems with the calculation of Anglo-Saxon dates meant it was widely believed then that Alfred had died inrather thanwhich is now recognised as the true date of his death, but at the time it seemed particularly apposite to many that the great Queen and her illustrious forebear had died a england biography years apart.
But there was also a more positive side to the celebrations when Alfred was used, as he had been in the past, as a cloak for the introduction of change in society. Alfred also had the foresight to commission his biography from Bishop Asser of Wales. One of the chief supporters of The Anglo-Saxonwho wrote large segments of it if no other copy was available, was Martin Tupper, the author of england biography volumes of popular, highly sentimental and moralistic verses.
Whom misfortune could not subdue, whom prosperity could not spoil, whose perseverance, nothing could shake. All the World's a Prison. The French Revolution's Angel of Death. So much had Alfred become the epitome of the ideal Victorian that Walter Besant, in a lecture on Alfred inthought it entirely appropriate to apply to him verse that Alfred, Lord Tennyson had written to commemorate Prince Albert.
Anglo-Saxonism, and the accompanying Alfredism, could be found on sides of the Atlantic. A number of literary works centred upon Alfred were dedicated to the prince. Alfred was further commemorated in the same year by the launching of a new Dreadnought, the HMS King Alfred.
Asser presented Alfred as the embodiment of the ideal, but practical, Christian ruler. His first aristocratic and royal backers came from the alfred the great of england biography which gathered around Frederick, Prince of Walesthe eldest son of George II, and was united by the opposition of its members to the prime minister Robert Walpole. The event was not the success for which Tupper had hoped, largely because he left arrangements rather late in the day and had no influential backers.
Original International Movie Posters 4. The National Committee did not raise nearly as much money as it had expected and had to abandon many of its ambitious plans, including one for a Museum of Early English History.
King Alfred Biography
Alfred tried to put these principles into practice, for instance, in the production of his law-code. Subscribe Today Give a Gift. Thomas Jefferson had ingeniously argued that, as the Anglo-Saxons who had settled in Britain had ruled themselves independently from their Continental homelands, so the English settlers of America should also be allowed their independence.
Who was hopeful in defeat, and generous in success. A series of patriotic Alfred plays, opera and ballets were performed, particularly during the French Wars As in other European countries, a new national pride in nineteenth-century England had an important historical dimension, and an accompanying cult of the heroes who had made later success possible. During the reign of Victoria, who gave birth to the first Prince Alfred since the Anglo-Saxon period b.
It was not by chance that the statue was unveiled by the Liberal leader Lord Rosebery, for the former Whig support for British Worthies had never completely died away, and Liberals were prominent in the many commemorations of the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Death at St Paul's. Who loved justice, freedom, truth and knowledge. Alfred is often thought to have provided his own epitaph in this passage from his translation of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius: Lord Rosebery commented that the statue he was to unveil in Winchester can only be an effigy of the imagination, and so the Alfred we reverence may well be an idealised figure The History Today Newsletter Sign up for our free weekly email.
The year saw the th anniversary of his death on October 26th,at the age of about The occasion is being marked with conferences and exhibitions in Winchester, Southampton and London, but the scale of celebrations will be modest compared with those which commemorated his millenary, and culminated in the unveiling by Lord Rosebery of his statue in Winchester.
Comparable claims of the contribution of the Anglo-Saxons to English life were used to support radical political change in the seventeenth century, when it was argued, for instance, that the right of all freemen to vote for representatives in Parliament was a lost Anglo-Saxon liberty.
Magazine Subscribe The Archive History Matters App Long Reads Book Reviews Podcast Student Sign in Subscribe. Alfred himself was an unlikely champion for the more radical movements, and was more readily adopted by those who wanted to show Stuart, and eventually Hanoverian, rulers, how they could become successful constitutional monarchs by emulating their most famous Anglo-Saxon ancestor.
He believed "england biography" countries shared an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and proposed a local government for Virginia based on a division into hundreds, an Anglo-Saxon institution widely believed then to have been instituted by Alfred. A Society Built On Slavery.
Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. He also married his father's young widow, Judith. Robert Powell, in his Life of Alfred, published inattempted to draw parallels between the reigns of Alfred and Charles I, something which often called for considerable ingenuity, and his hope that Charles would share the same respect for English law as that apparently shown by Alfred proved misplaced.
After the kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia and Mercia had fallen to the Vikings, Wessex under Alfred was the only surviving Anglo-Saxon province. He thus paved the way for the future unity of England, which was brought to fruition under his son and grandsons, who conquered the remaining areas held by the Vikings in the east and north, so that by the mid-tenth century the England we are alfred the great with was ruled as one country for the first time.
Search Magazine Archive Reviews Location Period Theme Students. Alfred is someone who has had greatness thrust upon him.
With a bit of selective editing, Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical provision came to bear an uncanny resemblance to Elizabethan Anglicanism. However, Alfred was lauded by Anglo-Norman historians, like William of Malmesbury, Gaimar and Matthew Paris, and their presentations, and occasional embellishments, of his achievements would be picked up by later writers.
He is a native of every clime — a messenger of heaven to every corner of this Planet. None of the Anglo-Saxon rulers qualified for this role. Alfred, particularly as presented by Asser, may have had something of a saint in him, but he was never canonised and this put him at something of a disadvantage in the later medieval world. His preservation from the Vikings and unexpected succession as king after the death of england biography older brothers, seem to have given Alfred a sense that he had been specially destined for high office.
Barbara Yorke considers the reputation of King Alfred the Great, and the enduring cult around his life and legend.
Alfred The Great
Published in History Today Volume 49 Issue 10 November Print Email Anglo-Saxon England Alfred Political. St Edmund and St Edward can be seen supporting Richard II on the Wilton diptych, and members of the later medieval royal houses were named after them.
The Danes submitted and, according to Asser, Guthrum and 29 of his chief men received baptism when they signed the Treaty of Wedmore.
The Normans and their successors were certainly interested in presenting themselves as the legitimate heirs of their Anglo-Saxon predecessors, but favoured the recognised royal saints, especially Edmund of the East Angles, killed by the Danish army which Alfred defeated, and Edward the Confessor, the last ruler of the old West Saxon dynasty. King Alfred of Wessex r.Alfred the Great
But in Britain was embroiled in the Boer War, and the priority was the reality of the present rather than an imagined past. The work was dedicated to the future Charles II when Prince of Wales, and was completed during the Civil War inin the royalist camp at Oxford. At the same time Alfred promoted himself as the defender of all Christian Anglo-Saxons against the pagan Viking threat and began the liberation of neighbouring areas from Viking control.