Anglo-Saxon Kings Essay, Research Paper
During the Anglo-Saxon period there were many kings. Three of the more notable
kings were Offa of Mercia, Alfred of Wessex, and AEthelbert of Kent.
Offa also known as “King of the English” reigned in Mercia from 757 to 796. Offa
had a more powerful kingdom than others such as Lindsey, the Hwicce, and Sussex. Offa
had control over all of the kingdoms mentiond even the kingdoms of Kent and East
Anglia. King Offa had gotten his position as king after a civil war. He was able to
succsesfuly exstend his kingdom by letting the kings of Northumbria and Wessex marry his
daughters. Because of all this it made Offa one of the most powerful kings in Southern
England. At the end of Offa’s reign he had become the most powerful and sucssful king in
all of England south of the Humber river.
During Offa’s time as king he had done somthing that was very noticable Offa had
built a dyke named after him, he called it Offa’s Dyke. This ditch was up to 176 miles long
and ran between the kingdoms of Mercian and Welsh. The reason this ditch was built is
because Offa had dealings with an emperor by the name of Charlemagne. No one really
knows what these dealings where about but they must have been very important for him to
build a 176 mile ditch.
Another king and probibly the most well knowen king was king Alfred of Wessex,
he was also knowen as King Alfred the Great. The fame that Alfred gained was not due
to fact but due to myth. The lengends made him almost as populer as “King Aurther”.
Alot of the most important things that he had done are not rememberd because of so many
legends. Alfred became king due to the fact that he was crowend by his father,
AEthelwulf of Wessex. Alfred had become a king in his early some say about as early as
21 years of age.
When Alfred had first become a king the Vikings where trying to take over his
kingdom. At this time the Vikings had allready taken over East Anglia, Northumbria, and
Mercia. Alfred had allready pland to deffeat the Vikings befor they had gotten there and
Alfred was succsseful on this part. To make shure that the Vikings would not try to take
over his kingdom again he had ships built to meat them at sea so that they would not have
a chance to take over Wessex.
During Alfreds reign of 30 years he was able to make some changes to his
kingdom to better the lives of the very people that he was king of. Alfred made it so that
no town was more than 20 miles away so that if one where to march to another town it
would only take one day. The towns which he had called burhs where protected by over
26,000 men there where thirty of these towns that exsisted. Alot of these towns still are
Alfred had promoted education such as reading, writing, religon, and many other
forms of education. The main reason that he had promoted education was because he
wanted people to be able to read orders and laws that he had come up with. Reading was
encuredged more than any thing else so that people would know what his legal code that
had been established was about.
Aethelbert was the third king to rule in the kingdom of Kent. He ruled after two
other kings, Aelle of Sussex and Ceawlin of Wessex. Aethelbert ruled after these kings
which gave him overlordship over most of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms south of the
Humber river. Aethelbert had reigned for a totle of Fifty-Six years which some people say
was a long time for him to stay king. It is said that Aethelbert did not become a king in
the Kent kingdom untill about the year 590. It is also said that Aethelbert was a king from
560 to 616.
Aethelbert was the first frankish king to rule the kingdom of Kent. He was also
the first christian king to rule Kent. He became a Frankish king by marring a Frankish
princess named Bertha. The marrage took place in the year of 580, sence Aethelbert was
a christian his soon to be wife was escorted by christian preasts and bishops. One of the
more well knowen bishops was Liudhard. King Aethelbert of Kent had already knowen
about christianity befor the christian religion was the offical religion of his kingdom. He
was thought to have given commitment to the christian religion even though he did not
have himself baptised untill a later date which is unknowen. Bertha had become a christian
because she had been married under the christian religion and Aethelbert, her husband,
was a christian. Some say that Aethelbert was not very succsesful in converting his entire
kingdom to the christian religion. It was thought that having a kingdom that had christian
religion would make one’s kingdom very powerful. In the year of 601 Aethelbert had
recevied a letter from Pope Gregory welcoming him to the christian community of
christian rulers. Aethelbert had ruled his kingdom from 590 to 616, He died the year of
In conclusion all three of these kings had made good contributions to their
kingdoms. These kings had been knowen for somthing in their time of ruling each and
every one of their kindoms.