Book 2, Chapter 7, Alfred’s Children from 901 AD to 955 – Edmund
The civil wars, which formerly desolated Northumbria, have been mentioned repeatedly. After the extinction of its native kings, it still presented scenes of strife and anarchy. Its chiefs were partly of Saxon, partly of Danish origin, alike in disposition, tastes, habits, and religion, but enemies to each other, and equally ready for acts of treachery or of violence, as it might suit their purpose. Every seeking was sure of a welcome, and if he had the ambition to aspire to a throne, there did never want men willing to draw the sword in his cause. Sometimes a fortunate adventurer extended his authority over the entire district. At other times several shared the authority. But they were only flitting shadows of power, following each other in rapid succession. After a brief tenure, they perished by the treachery of friends, or by the swords of enemies, or they were compelled to fly the country, and revert to their old trade of piracy.
Scarcely any transmitted authority to their children. Occasionally, an acknowledgment of superiority was extorted from them by the kings of Wessex, but the moment that the constraint was removed, they violated their oaths, and reasserted their independence. It mattered little whether these princes were natives or foreigners, the pride of the Northumbrians was satisfied, provided they did not crouch beneath the southern Saxons, whose superior civilization they despised, while they coveted their wealth.
Accordingly, the death of Athelstan was seized as a fitting opportunity to shake off the yoke of subjection imposed by him, and the Anglo-Danes encouraged and abetted Anlaff in a new attempt which he was about to make. His design was not only to wrest back East Anglia and Northumbria, but to acquire the sovereignty of the entire country, south of the Tweed.
Chapter 7, Alfred’s Children
Chapter 7, Athelstan
Chapter 7, Renown of Athelstan
Chapter 7, Edmund
Chapter 7, Edred
Categories: Book 2