Reign of King Alfred the Great

(1593 words)
  • David Robert Pratt (University of Cambridge)

Historical Context Essay

The reign of the West Saxon king, Alfred (871-99) was decisive in sealing the long-term survival, in the face of Viking attacks, of a kingdom under West Saxon rule; it also witnessed a wide range of political, economic and cultural changes, many of which left a lasting legacy. Alfred's reign is unusually well documented among Anglo-Saxon kings, owing to a flowering of literary culture centred on his household and patronage; central products include the Life of King Alfred by the king's Welsh assistant Asser and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, ensuring that Alfred's rule must be reconstructed from narrative sources largely admiring of his achievements.

Alfred was born at Wantage in 849; as the fifth and youngest son …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Pratt, David Robert. "Reign of King Alfred the Great". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 April 2009
[, accessed 28 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Reigns and Monarchy in the British Isles