English

ThirtySeven Years Reign of Aethelred Statute Over Wessex

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 it’s all about the reiterate defeats of Ethelred. This is the main reason as to why Ethelred has gained nothing but only a 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 unintermittent 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 decision 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.

Back To Top