Alfred the Great

Topics: Alfred the Great, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Anglo-Saxons Pages: 8 (2830 words) Published: May 8, 2006
Alfred the Great
A legend and a hero to his people, King Alfred the Great was known to be one of the best rulers of all time. During the duration of about 50 years, Kind Alfred managed to reopen a new era in Anglo-Saxon literature. Alfred attained the "Great" in his name because of the leadership he possessed. He was the man who led his men to victory during harsh times against the Danes. Alfred was a man of great potential, knowledge, and skill who worked his way up to the top. He was a king who set out to change his present kingdom and bring back the old values that his forefathers had. From the four elder sons, Alfred would prove to be the educated one. He made peace in a time of war injustice, and he made education in a time of impoverishment. Alfred the Greate's childhood and boyhood, his battles and victories, and his literary work had impacted Anglo-Saxon life and literature for many decades to come.

Life in England was not the same before Alfred came into power. During the first four centuries, there was a line drawn in between the Roman province of Britain and barbarous, which was located in the north walls of Hadrian and Antoninus. Many groups were forming into Kingdoms and war bands forming tribal kingdoms. Many larger kingdoms were separating into smaller groups of tribes and communities. On the other hand, many tribal kingdoms in Britain were suffering greatly in trying to keep from

Nadzharyan, 2
corruption. The invading of the Germans also had an effect in specific parts of Britain. The result of all this chaos led to insecurely organized federations, under the power of kings, which used their authority to their benefit and not the benefit of the people. In past chronicles of Asser, there is description of Alfred's birth in which Asser illustrates successfully. This passage has created a reputation in the English literature world because of its importance and value. "In the year of our Lord's Incarnation 849, Alfred,

Kind of the Anglo-Saxons, was born in the royal "vill"
[villa regia] called Wanating, in the district named
Berrocsire [Berkshire], which district is so called from
The Berroc wood, where the box-tree grows most
-Lees (59).

Born as the fourth son in the family, Alfred was born into the family in the year of 849 in the town of Wantage, Berkshire. The names of Alfred's siblings were Ethelbald, Ethelbert, Ethelred, and an only daughter whose name was Ethelswith. At the time, Alfred's father Ethelwulf was the ruler of the West Saxons and married to his wife Osburh. Alfred grew up in a town of huge value and large estates. With the exception of Alfred, all of the other children received their names from the prefix Ethel, which originated from the father. This prefix was found all throughout England and meant one who is noble. The two songs Ethelbald and Ethelred obtained their names from the Nadzharyan, 3

Mercian Kings. Ethelbert got his name from the first Christian king of Kent. Although the Alf root in Alfred was not similar to that of the rest of the family, it had other significance to it. The root Alf stood for the "forces of nature and the spirits of the earth and air" (Lees, 96). According to a biographer named Asser, Alfred was known to be his parents' most favorite child. He not only outshined his brothers in his good looks and form, but he also demonstrated an exuberant amount of speech and behavior. Alfred had a heart of so much spirit and joy that no other human being can be compared to. Unlike the rest of the children of his age, Alfred was a very considerate and sensitive young man. He was curious about anything and had an exceptionally strong interest in learning more. As a child, Alfred illustrated interest in reading poems. His mother gave a book of Saxon poems to Alfred in which Alfred memorized all the lines and repeated the poems back to his mother. From then on, Alfred had a love and devotion to poems...
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