Reign of King Alfred the Great (1593 words)

Historical Context Essay

  • David Robert Pratt (University of Cambridge)


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 …

Pratt, David Robert. "Reign of King Alfred the Great". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 April 2009
[, accessed 25 October 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Reigns and Monarchy in the British Isles