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By Sarah Foot

The robust and leading edge King ?thelstan reigned basically in short (924-939), but his achievements in the course of these eventful fifteen years replaced the process English historical past. He gained impressive army victories (most significantly at Brunanburh), solid extraordinary political connections throughout Europe, and succeeded in developing the 1st unified nation of the English. to say for him the identify of "first English monarch" isn't any exaggeration.In this nuanced portrait of ?thelstan, Sarah Foot deals the 1st complete account of the king ever written. She strains his existence throughout the a number of spheres within which he lived and labored, starting with the intimate context of his kin, then extending outward to his strange multiethnic royal courtroom, the Church and his country, the wars he carried out, and at last his loss of life and legacy. Foot describes a cosmopolitan guy who used to be not just an exceptional army chief but in addition a helpful king. He ruled brilliantly, built inventive how you can undertaking his photo as a ruler, and devised strategic marriage treaties and present exchanges to cement alliances with the major royal and ducal homes of Europe. ?thelstan's legacy, visible within the new mild of this masterful biography, is inextricably hooked up to the very forging of britain and early English id.

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Moving away from the king’s immediate court circle and looking out beyond cloistered doors we consider the whole kingdom in Chapter 5. Asking how Æthelstan performed his kingly role in governing the realm entrusted to his charge will inevitably take us away from the man and towards the public figure. Although the texts often portray the results of the deliberations of his councils in stereotypical language, couching the king’s words or drawing his image conventionally, we can still use this material to answer some questions about Æthelstan’s conceptions of rulership, the areas of responsibility he felt most keenly, the sorts of problems he chose to solve.

In the same year, while his court met at Abingdon, Æthelstan received an embassy from his cousin Adelolf of Flanders on behalf of the Robertian Hugh, duke of the Franks. 33 These would prove fortuitous alliances. When Sihtric died the following year, in 927, the presence of a widowed sister in now hostile territory gave Æthelstan a valuable excuse to invade his brother-in-law’s realm that summer. In fact, he responded to the northern power vacuum not a 30 Wormald, MEL, 447, n. 114; Janet Nelson, ‘The First Use of the Second Anglo-Saxon Ordo’, in Myth, Rulership, Church and Charters, ed.

10 In defeat, the Northumbrian Danes stayed north of the Humber leaving Edward with his sister Æthelflæd and brother-in-law Æthelred, ealdorman of the Mercians, assisted by their nephews Æthelstan and Edward’s second son Ælfweard, to confront the Scandinavian forces of the southern Danelaw. Over the next few years, the English used fortified burhs as centres from which to advance against the settled Danes. a. 903; the battle probably took place at the end of the calendar year 902, but the Chronicle’s year began in September, so events occurring in the autumn are recorded under the next AD date.

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