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Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - Essay Example

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Summary
Thirty-seven years reign of Aethelred statute over Wessex could not save his era to be considered in history as the "Black Time". Perhaps this is the reason why the history has not mentioned Ethelred in his 'Good books' as very little work is done in this respect…
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Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
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Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Download file to see previous pages... The title 'the Unready', or more accurately 'the Ill-Advised', given to Alfred's successor derives largely from the writer of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle who was an admirer of Alfred and disappointed in his successor. The author seems so much unknown of the real dilemma that he has kept the then public views in his mind while writing and the chronicle is not written keeping the real circumstances in consideration Ethelred had to face in that era, but its all about the reiterate defeats of Ethelred. This is the main reason as to why Ethelred has gained nothing but only the bad reputation in history. Another reason is while writing 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', he has been compared to Alfred.
In 1979 the year after the accession of King Aethelred, the Danish invasions, long unintermitted under Edgar the Peaceful, recommenced as their main objective was to plunder only, not conquest, and they repeatedly attacked in 981, 982 and 988. A period of peace in the middle of the tenth century, in which took place a great monastic reform and revival of learning, was followed by renewed Danish attacks, which continued throughout the reign of Aethelred the Unready and culminated in the conquest by Cnut. In 991 the Danes burned Ipswich, and defeated and slew the East Saxon ealdorman Brihtnoth at Maldon. After this incident, Aethelred realizing the eruption of law and order offered them a price of freedom of 10,000, just to bring peace and serenity in England. As the Danes had to give something in the form of desistion from their ravages, they were still allowed to stay in England. Next year Aethelred himself broke the peace by an attack on the Danish ships. Despite the treachery of Aelfric, the English were victorious and the Danes sailed off to devastate Lindsey and Northumbria. In 994 Olaf Tryggvason, King of Norway, and King of Denmark, Sweyn Forkbeard united in a great invasion and attacked London. Frustrated by the bravery of the citizens, they sailed away and harried the coast from Essex to Hampshire. Now Aethelred had no option left except for paying another price of England, and once again he bought peace for 16,000 with a promise of supplies. Olaf after receiving such great favors assured Aethelred that he would never again come to England with hostile intent, an engagement that he faithfully kept.
One of the reasons why he is acknowledged as 'The Unready' is he was not sure who to trust and who not to trust. For his defeat lies in the fact he trusted the wrong people. This led him towards the failure one after the next and finally the King of Denmark defeated him. The promise was made to Olaf Tryggvason, the King of Norway; Sweyn (the King of Denmark) was devoid of any kind of commitment made to Aethelred so he repeatedly attacked England in 997, 998, 999, and in 1000. These frequent attacks break down the national defense and made the Government weak. However Aethelred in these crucial state of affairs did what anyone could have done for the survival of his country, he offered the then Danes the sum of 24,000, but at the same time he ordered the slaughter of each and every Danish men who were in England, which was his greatest blunder. Such a violent behavior on part of the Aethelred made the situation worse and caused Sweyn to return for revenge and remained here for two years. In 1005 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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