Reign of Edward the Elder

(1250 words)
  • Robert Gallagher (University of Cambridge)

Historical Context Essay

Edward the Elder reigned for a quarter of a century, during which time he achieved considerable military success, yet he remains a poorly understood figure. The relative obscurity of this king is undoubtedly due to the paucity of surviving evidence and, indeed, the absence of a rich contemporary narrative comparable with Asser’s Vita Ælfredi, a biography of Edward’s father. Instead, Edward’s reign must be assessed primarily through the laconic entries in the varying recensions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, through the analysis of contemporary charters and coinage, and through the insights of archaeological excavations. Later medieval writers offer additional information that needs to be …

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Gallagher, Robert. "Reign of Edward the Elder". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 July 2015
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]