Anonymous: Battle of Maldon

(1255 words)

The battle of Maldon was fought in August 991 between English forces commanded by Byrhtnoth, Ealdorman of Essex, and Vikings raiding around the east and south of England. The versions of Anglo-Saxon Chronicle record that Byrhtnoth was killed and the English were defeated. For more precise details of the battle, we are dependent on a 17th-century copy of a now-lost and incomplete manuscript of an Old English poem about the conflict. This poem, preserved in so precarious a fashion, is one of the finest Old English battle poems, and gives clearest expression to the heroic ideals of Anglo-Saxon England.

From the poem it appears that the Viking force has landed on the island of Northey in the tidal estuary of the River Blackwater (o…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Cavill, Paul. "Battle of Maldon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=10515, accessed 02 October 2014.]