Alfred the great

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2. Alfred the Great(849 AD - 899 AD) King of Wessex from 871 to 899 No other ruler in England's long and varied history has been honoured with the title the Great. Alfred once declared it his intention "To live worthily as long as I live and after my life to leave to them that should come after, my memory in good works." Few monarchs have succeeded as spectacularly in their aims as he did. 3. 4. Origins And Early Life

  • Alfred (Old English-Aelfred; 849/847899) was the fifth and youngest son of Ethelwulf of Wessex and his Jutish first wife, Osburh.
  • He was born at Wantage between 847 and 849, his birthplace was a palace or vill which lay at the foot of the Berkshire Downs, which has now vanished.Following the death of his brotherKing thelred, Alfred became the new King.
  • Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English king to be accorded the epithet "the Great".

5. A warrior and a King

  • After a series of defeats, King Alfred achieved a victory in the Battle of Ethandun.Pushing the Danes from the lands.
  • In 886 he retook London and restored it. For his actions he took the title ofKing of the Anglo-Saxons
  • By 897 he had successfully halted the advance of the Vikings

6. The Ruler

  • As the King of Wessex , he is generally credited with establishing trial by jury, the law of "frank-pledge"
  • Alfred divided his code into precisely 120 chapters: 120 was the age at which Moses died and, in the number-symbolism of early medieval biblical exegetes, 120 stood for law.
  • He transformed the Christs commandment from "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Matt. 22:39-40) to love your secular lord as you would love the Lord Christ himself.
  • While he was ruling the country he kept relations with foreign powers.


  • Alfredestablishment of a system of fortified centres called: BURHS, covering the whole of Wessex.
  • Burhs were turf covered earth ramparts, revetted with timber , built in highly strategic positions on hilltops, at river crossings or overlooking harbours

8. Alfreds CulturalandReligiousLegacy

  • From 871 to 886 Alfred wasthreatened
  • by the Danes
  • Revived learning:
  • -Clerical Scholars
  • -School at court
  • Programme of translating

9. Pastoral Care , by Pope Gregory the Great was a treatise on the responsibilities of the clergy A page of Alfreds preface to this translation 10.

  • () and also how eager were the religious orders both in teaching and in learning as well as in all the holy services which it was their duty to perform for God; and how people from abroad sought wisdom and instruction in this country; and how nowadays, if we wished to acquire these things, we would have to seek them outside.

11. Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (who was a Christian philosopher of the early 6th century born in Rome)

  • Alfreds famous quotation:
  • "My will was to live worthily as long as I lived,
  • and after my life to leave to them that should come after, my memory in good works

12. His poem Metres of Boethius , his crowning literary achievement.

  • TheAnglo-Saxon Chronicle,
  • a collection of annals in Old English, was orchestrated by Alfred

13. Othercharacteristics Alfred believed that God had entrusted him with the well fare of his subjects, Secular and spiritual authority were not distinct categories for Alfred.Alfred is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church 14.