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AngloSaxon Chronicle - OK

AngloSaxon Chronicle - OK

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Published by: mpasso on Feb 07, 2009
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06/16/2009

 
 THE ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE (Selected annuals)
The most important narrative source concerning the Vikings in England is the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE. The first version of this was compiled in Wessex in the late ninth century, and in the following three centuriesit was continued in various places by several authors. The followingexcerpts illustrate characteristic features of Viking activity as well assome of the most important events of the period: the conquests and settlements made by the so-called ”Great Army” in the ninth century,and the conquest of England by Svein Forkbcard in the early eleventh. -Niels Lund.Though the Anglo-Saxod Chronicle was never illustrated, those designsshown here are taken from contemporary manuscripts.
789 - In this year King Beorhtric married Offa’s daughter Eadburh. Andin his days [786-802] there came for the first time three ships of Northmen and then the reeve rode to them and wished to force them tothe king’s residence, for he did not know what they were; and they slewhim. Those were the first ships of Danish men which came to the land of the English.850 - In this year Ealdorman Ceorl with the contingent of the men of Devon fought against the heathen army at
Wttganbeorg,
and theEnglish made a great slaughter there and had the victory. And for thefirst time, heathen men stayed through the winter on Thanet. And thesame year [851] 350 ships came into the mouth of the Thames andstormed Canterbury and London and put to flight Brihtwulf, king of theMercians, with his army, and went south across the Thames into Surrey.And King AEthelwulf and his son AEthelbald fought against them at
 Acka
with the army of the West Saxons, and there inflicted the greatestslaughter [on a heathen army] that we ever heard of until this presentday, and had the victory there...866 - In this year AEthelbert’s brother AEthelred succeeded to thekingdom of the West Saxons. And the same year a great heathen armycame into England and took up winter quarters in East Anglia; and therethey were supplied with horses, and the East Angles made peace withthem.870 - In this year the army came into Wessex to Reading, and threedays later two Danish earls rode farther inland. Then EaldormanAEthelwulf encountered them at Englefield, and fought against themthere and had the victory, and one of them, whose name was Sidroc,was killed there. Then four days later [871] King AEthelred and his
 
brother Alfred led a great army to Reading and fought against the army;and a great slaughter was made on both sides and EaldormanAEthelwulf was killed ... And four days later King AEthelred and hisbrother Alfred fought against the whole army at Ashdown; and theDanes were in two divisions: in the one were the heathen kings Bagsecgand Halfdan, and in the other were the earls. And then King AEthelredfought against the kings’ troop, and King Bagsecg was slain there; andAEthelred’s brother Alfred fought against the earls’ troop, and therewere slain Earl Sidroc the Old. and Earl Sidroc the Younger and EarlOsbearn, Earl Frasria, and Earl Harold; and both enemy armies were putto flight and many thousands were killed, and they continued fightinguntil night... Then [AEthelred’s] brother Alfred, the son of AEthelwulf,succeeded to the kingdom of the West Saxons. And a month later KingAlfred fought with a small force against the whole army at Wilton andput it to flight far on into the day; and the Danes had possession of thebattle-field. And during that year nine general engagements werefought against the Danish army in the kingdom south of the Thames ...And that year nine [Danish] earls were killed and one king...878 - In this year in midwinter after twelfth night the enemy army camestealthily to Chippenham and occupied the land of the West Saxons andsettled there, and drove a great part of the people across the sea, andconquered most of the others; and the people submitted to them,except King Alfred. He journeyed in difficulties through the woods andfen-fastnesses with a small force.And the same winter the brother of Ivar and Halfdan was in thekingdom of the West Saxons [in Devon], with 23 ships. And he was killedthere and 840 men of his army with him. And there was captured thebanner which they called ”Raven”.And afterwards at Easter, King Alfred with a small force made astronghold at Athelney, and he and the section of the people of Somerset which was nearest to it proceeded to fight from thatstronghold against the enemy. Then in the seventh week after Easter herode to ”Egbert’s stone” east of Selwood, and there came to meet himall the people of Somerset and of Wiltshire and of that part of Hampshire which was on this side of the sea, and they rejoiced to seehim. And then after one night he went from the encampment to Iley,and after another night to Edington, and there fought against the wholearmy and put it to flight, and pursued it as far as the fortress, andstayed there a fortnight. And then the enemy gave him preliminaryhostages and great oaths that they would leave his kingdom, andpromised also that their king should receive baptism, and they kepttheir promise. Three weeks later King Guthrum with 30 of the men whowere the most important in the army came [to him] at Aller, which isnear Athelney and the king stood sponsor to him at his baptism there;
 
and the unbinding of the chrism took place at Wedmore. And he wastwelve days with the king, and he honoured him and his companions...994 - In this year Olaf and Svein came to London on the Nativity of StMary with 94 ships, and they proceeded to attack the city stoutly andwished also to set it on fire: but there they suffered more harm andinjury than they ever thought any citizens would do to them. But theholy Mother of God showed her mercy to the citizens on that day andsaved them from their enemies. And these went away from there, anddid the greatest damage that ever any army could do, by burning,ravaging, and slaying, everywhere along the coast, and in Essex, Kent,Sussex, and Hampshire; and finally they seized horses and rode aswidely as they wished, and continued to do indescribable damage. Thenthe king and his councillors determined to send to them and promisethem tribute and provisions, on condition that they should cease thatharrying. And they then accepted that, and the whole army came thento Southampton and took winter quarters there; and they wereprovisioned throughout all the West Saxon kingdom, and they were paid16,000 pounds in money...1011 - In this year the king and his councillors sent to the army andasked for peace, and promised them tribute and provisions onconditions that they should cease their ravaging. They had thenoverrun: (i) East Anglia, (ii) Essex, (in) Middlesex, (iv) Oxfordshire, (v)Cambridgeshire, (vi) Hertfordshire, (vii) Buckinghamshire, (viii)Bedfordshire, (ix) half Huntingdonshire, (x) much of Northamptonshire;and south of the Thames all Kent, Sussex. Hastings, Surrey, Berkshire,Hampshire, and much of Wiltshire...And then in this year, between the Nativity of St Mary andMichaelmas, they besieged Canterbury, and they got inside bytreachery, for AElfmasr, whose life Archbishop AElfheah had saved,betrayed it. Then they captured there Archbishop AElfheah ... He wasthen a captive who had been head of the English people and of Christendom. There could misery be seen where happiness was oftenseen before, in that wretched city from which first came [to us]Christianity and happiness in divine and secular things. And they keptthe archbishop with them till the time when they martyred him.1012 - …Then on the Saturday the army became greatly incensedagainst the bishop because he would not promise them any money, butforbade that anything should be paid for him. They were also verydrunk, for wine from the south had been brought there. They seized thebishop, and brought him to their assembly on the eve of the Sunday of the octave of Easter, which was 19 April, and shamefully put him todeath there: they pelted him with bones and with ox-heads, and one of them struck him on the head with the back of an axe. that hersankdown with the blow, and his holy blood fell on the ground.

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