Book 2, Chapter 7, Alfred’s Children from 901 AD to 955 – Athelstan
This was only a prelude to the great battle, which took place the next day, and which lasted with great obstinacy, till sunset. Athelstan arranged all his forces for a decisive engagement. Anlaff did the same. Athelstan formed his array of battle. In the front he placed his bravest troops, with Egils at their head. He let Thorolf head his own band, with an addition of Anglo-Saxons, to oppose the irregular Irish, who always flew from point to point, nowhere steady, yet often injuring the unguarded.
The warriors of Mercia and London, who were conducted by the valiant Turketul, the chancellor of the kingdom, he directed to oppose themselves to the national force of Constantine. He chose his own West Saxons to endure the struggle with Anlaff, his competitor. Anlaff, observing his disposition, in part imitated it. He obeyed the impulse of his hopes and his courage, and placed himself against Athelstan. One of his wings stretched to the wood against the battalia of Thorolf, it was very numerous, and consisted of the disorderly Irish. It was the conflict of Alfred’s grandson with the great grandson of Ragnar Lodbrog, whose children had dethroned for a time our most celebrated Anglo Saxon king.
Thorolf began the battle he loved. He rushed forward to the wood, hoping to turn the enemy’s flank, his courage was too impetuous and indiscriminate, and his eagerness for the fray impelled him beyond his companions. Both were pressing fiercely and blindly onward, when Adils darted from his ambush in the wood, and destroyed Thorolf and his foremost friends. Egils beard the outcries of alarm, he looked to that quarter, and saw the banner of Thorolf retreating. Satisfied from this circumstance that Thorolf was not with it, he flew to the spot, encouraged his party, and renewed the battle. Adils fell in the struggle.
At this crisis, while the conflict was raging with all the obstinacy of determined patriotism and courageous ambition, when missile weapons had been mutually abandoned, when foot was planted against foot, shield against shield, and manual vigour was exerted with every energy of destruction, when chiefs and vassals were perishing in the all levelling confusion of war, and the numbers cut down were fiercely supplied with new crowds of warriors hastening to become victims, the chancellor Turketul made an attack which influenced the fortune of the day.
Chapter 7, Alfred’s Children
Chapter 7, Athelstan
Decisive Battle of Brunanburh
Chapter 7, Renown of Athelstan
Chapter 7, Edmund
Chapter 7, Edred
Categories: Book 2