King Athelstan

(1057 words)
  • Timothy Bolton (University of Oslo)

Athelstan was the grandson of King Alfred the Great of Wessex, and reigned from 925 until his death in 941. He was the first ruler of this line to have a realistic claim on the title ‘king of all the English' (or more correctly the ‘Anglo-Saxons'), and for the last twelve years of his life he also held overlordship over a region approaching the geography of modern Britain. Later medieval traditions took a great deal of interest in Athelstan as a heroic figure, and thus the majority of historical traditions concerning his reign have many fabulous (and often spurious) accretions from oral and written literary cycles about him (see in particular William of Malmesbury's account of Athelstan in his Gesta Regum Anglorum).

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Bolton, Timothy. "King Athelstan". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 August 2006
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Reigns and Monarchy in the British Isles