регистрация / вход

Alfred The Great Essay Research Paper Alfred

Alfred The Great Essay, Research Paper Alfred, the King of the West Saxons, was a truly influential man who was given the title “Great” by his people. He was,

Alfred The Great Essay, Research Paper

Alfred, the King of the West Saxons, was a truly influential

man who was given the title “Great” by his people. He was,

and still is today, the only English king to have been given

this title1 and for good reason. Alfred was an accomplished

military leader and leader in the development of education

among his people and for this he is credited with helping to

make modern English speaking society what it is today. This

essay will examine his military feats, his planned defence

of his kingdom, his part in the development of education in

his society, his compassion as a leader and how these

accomplishments made him a key historical figure.

In the 860’s, Saxon England was ruled by Alfred’s elder

brother Ethelred.2 It was around this time that the kingdom

was in grave danger of being overtaken by the Vikings who

had already conquered many of the surrounding villages.

Ethelred was seen as the only king left who could stop the

Vikings and save what was left of Saxon England from total

foreign domination. He was perhaps capable of this, but

ironically his downfall was that he was a very religious man

who placed great value in Mass. He was attending a mass

when the Vikings approached in their attempt to overtake the

kingdom. Ethelred insisted on finishing the mass before

confronting them.3 When Alfred heard this, he led the

Wessex men into battle without his brother and when Ethelred

joined much later on, they were well on their way to victory. This battle may have been lost and the kingdom

overtaken if it had not been for Alfred’s quick thinking and

leadership.

Later that year Ethelred passed away and although not

next in the monarchical system to be king, Alfred was chosen

by the people, because they believed he was the most

suitable person for the job during the crisis they were

facing. Their choice proved correct when the Danes began to

attack Wessex and Alfred, knowing his kingdom may not be

triumphant, paid the Vikings for five years of peace.4 In

876, when the five years were up, the attacks began again

and Alfred again paid for a few more months of peace.5 By

Christmas of 877 it was thought that Wessex was safe from

the Vikings. Alfred spent that Christmas at Chippenham

which was in Wiltshire.6 During his stay there, the Danes

attacked and only Alfred and a few followers were able to

escape. Afraid of being caught and killed, they took refuge

in a wooded swampland called the Isle of Athelney and

remained there until 878 when they were joined by enough

village men to organize an attack.7 This attack was an all

day battle which was fought at Ethandune on the Wiltshire

Downs.8 The Wessex men and Alfred were triumphant in

driving the Danes out. The kingdom was now secure and

strong enough to withstand any counter attacks from the

Vikings. In 8869, Alfred led his men in the seizure of

London and created a treaty to secure the south and west parts of England. Alfred?s strong leadership

qualities, determination and military tactics were the main

contributing factors to the rightful seizing of the English

land by the Wessex men and the safeguarding of what we now

know as the modern English speaking world.

After the Wessex land was won back under Alfred?s

command in 878, he had to deal with pillagers who attacked

by sea, raided livestock and property and quickly escaped

the area without punishment.10 The main reason for this was

because Wessex did not have a permanent army that patrolled

the kingdom. It was difficult to acquire soldiers because

most were also farmers who would only fight when great

rewards and money was promised to them. Alfred knew that a

permanent army would solve many of their problems so he

implemented a program within the kingdom to obtain this.

This program required all landowners who held estates to

supply troops for the king?s army. Alfred then split this

army in to two parts. The first was a militia which guarded

the farms and villages within the kingdom and the second was

required to fight the Vikings. Everyone in the king?s army

was made to take a turn in each of these groups. Alfred

also had thirty strongholds built surrounding the kingdom11

which were manned by those in the militia and provided a

safe area in which the villagers could live.

The last great improvement Alfred made in the defence of his

kingdom was to start England?s first navy. He designed the

ships which were to be used by the navy and with the help of

a few top offficials, began the training of the individuals

who were to be sailors. When these ideas and plans of

Alfred?s were implemented, the defence of the kingdom

greatly improved. The village people no longer had to worry

about unknown attacks because of the strongholds, the

Vikings were no longer able to secretly attack by water

because of the navy and the militia and army kept the people

safe in case of an attack.

Alfred was not only a great military leader but he was

also a very intelligent man who was concerned with improving

the education of his people. In 877 the only form of

schooling available was in monasteries which trained boys to

become monks.12 During the Viking attacks many of the

monasteries were destroyed and Alfred saw that they were

rebuilt. He also believed that some form of education

should be offered to other children, so he started what were

called Noble Schools. These schools taught princes and sons

of noblemen to read, write, hunt and wrestle. These schools

were a great success in the kingdom. Alfred also had many

books translated from Latin into Anglo-Saxon, a fact which

was key to the education of his people. To accomplish this,

he invited many European scholars to move to Wessex and even

translated some of the books himself. Alfred also insisted that the history of his kingdom and Anglo-Saxon England be

recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.13 These are now

some of our most revealing and helpful documents in our

quest to find out more about that period in English history.

Alfred the Great was also a humanitarian. He believed in

reform and justice for all. During the first defeat of the

Vikings in the battle at Ethandune, he was offered hostages.

He did not kill these hostages as was expected, but instead

he made them convert to Christianity and took an active part

in this process. He went so far as to be the godfather of

the Danish leader Chieftain Guthrum.14 Impressed by

Alfred?s way of handling the situation, Guthrum and many of

his men settled peacefully in East Anglia.

Alfred also reformed the justice system in Wessex. At

the time a person?s innocence or guilt was determined

through trial by ordeal. King Alfred believed that this was

unfair and implemented a process where twelve people, who

didn?t know the accused or the accuser, decided the fate of

the accused.15 This system is know today as the jury

system. Alfred?s determination to provide fair judgement

for everyone and to save life in any way he could were truly

revolutionary at the time and have provided us with a

procedure used in courtrooms all over the world today.

Alfred the Great, the king of the West Saxons was a very

successful man who always strived to better himself and his

kingdom. He had a great impact on society by leading his

people to many military victories and safeguarded their land

with his defence plans and strategies. He also helped

develop his society in a great way through the translation

of many books and the establishment of schooling and jury

systems. Many of the things which he achieved and developed

over 1000 years ago have helped shape and develop the

society which we know today. Our world maybe vastly

different today if it was not for Alfred?s strong desire to

protect his land from the Vikings and better his society

with many innovative ideas. Alfred was a truly influential

man whose compassion was as important as his ideas and

accomplishments. It was this immense compassion for people

that made him not only a strong, creative and effective

leader but also a popular leader who gained the respect of

many and the well deserved title Great.

Bibliography

Jones, David. Your Book Of Anglo-Saxon England. London: Faber and Faber Limited.

1976.

May, Robin. Alfred The Great And The Saxons. East Sussex: Wayland Publishers Ltd.

1984.

Purves, Amanda. Growing Up In A Saxon Village. East Sussex: Wayland Publishers Ltd.

1978.

Triggs, Tony D. Peoples Of The Past; The Saxons. London; Macdonald Educational.

1979.

Endnotes

1. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 4

2. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 5

3. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 6

4. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 7

5. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 7

6. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 7

7. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 9

8. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 8

9. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 8

10. D. Jones, Your Book Of Anglo-Saxon England (London: Faber and Faber

Limited, 1976.) pg. 29

11. D. Jones, Your Book Of Anglo-Saxon England (London: Faber and Faber

Limited, 1976.) pg. 29

12 R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 10

13. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 10

14. R. May, Alfred The Great And The Saxons (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers

Ltd., 1984.) pg. 9

15. A. Purves, Growing Up In A Saxon Village (East Sussex: Wayland Publishers Ltd.,

1978) pg. 31

ОТКРЫТЬ САМ ДОКУМЕНТ В НОВОМ ОКНЕ

ДОБАВИТЬ КОММЕНТАРИЙ [можно без регистрации]

Ваше имя:

Комментарий