ALFRED THE GREAT

statue_d'alfred_le_grand_à_winchester

One of the most famous English leaders is the Anglo-Saxon king known as Alfred the Great. In the 9th century, the Viking host known as the Great Heathen Army invaded the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England. One by one, the kingdoms of England fell to the Viking horde until only Wessex remained. The king of Wessex, Alfred, resisted the Vikings for years and was nearly killed in an ambush on Christmas Eve. With most of his army dead, Alfred and his remaining warriors turned into a guerrilla force that hunted the Vikings down. The Viking corpses that littered the countryside proved to the Anglo-Saxon that even though he was weakened Alfred was still a strong leader. This convinced many Anglo-Saxons to provide a new army for Alfred. Eventually, Alfred defeated the Vikings in the Battle of Edington, forcing them to flee to Alfred’s captured palace. Instead of laying siege to the palace, Alfred and his army sat outside and feasted in front of the Vikings, which proved to be an effective form of psychological warfare. With no food or ale left in the palace, the Vikings were demoralized and starved out. Instead of executing the defeated Vikings, Alfred released the Vikings on the condition that they converted into Christianity. With the Vikings crushed and all the other Anglo-Saxon monarchies annihilated, Alfred became the first king of ALL of England. I am thinking of basing the main character of a new fantasy series on Alfred the Great.

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