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Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England

Abels, Richard Author

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9780582040472: Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England

This biography of Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons (871-899), combines a sensitive reading of the primary sources with a careful evaluation of the most recent scholarly research on the history and archaeology of ninth-century England. Alfred emerges from the pages of this biography as a great warlord, an effective and inventive ruler, and a passionate scholar whose piety and intellectual curiosity led him to sponsor a cultural and spiritual renaissance. Alfred's victories on the battlefield and his sweeping administrative innovations not only preserved his native Wessex from viking conquest, but began the process of political consolidation that would culminate in the creation of the kingdom of England.

Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England strips away the varnish of later interpretations to recover the historical Alfredpragmatic, generous, brutal, pious, scholarly within the context of his own age.


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FRONT OF COVER: Final: 2.4.98



ALFRED THE GREAT

War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England



RICHARD ABELS



THE MEDIEVAL WORLD




SPINE:

ALFRED THE GREAT

ABELS

[colophon]



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BACK OF COVER:

THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
General Editor: David Bates
Professor of Medieval History, University of Glasgow

The influence of Alfred - king of Wessex from 871 to 899 - pervades English history. His victories on the battlefield and his administrative innovations not only preserved his native Wessex from viking conquest, but also began the process of political consolidation and unification that would culminate, within a couple of generations, in the creation of the kingdom of England.

Alfred was a great warrior king, and an effective and inventive ruler. But, even more remarkably, he was also a lover of wisdom, who sought to preserve and disseminate Latin learning by translating into English the books most necessary for all men to know . The spiritual and literary renaissance he spearheaded gave rise to a lasting tradition of English vernacular prose and learning.

He himself claimed that what he most desired was to live a worthy life, and to leave to posterity his memory in good works. This is precisely what he accomplished. Few bearers of the sobriquet the Great have so firm a hold on the title: eleven hundred years after his death, his name still resonates, and modern scholarship has not undermined his reputation. Yet that status carries its own dangers: he seems such a modern figure that each generation is tempted to recreate him in its own image. One of the great virtues of Richard Abels s splendid new study of the king, however, is to strip away the varnish of such later interpretations, in order to recover the historical figure - pragmatic, generous, brutal, pious, scholarly - within the context of Alfred s own age.

The book is timely, fresh and authoritative. It is based throughout on the primary sources, but it also presents a judicious assessment of recent scholarship in interpreting the man and his times. It has been written with a student and non-specialist readership in mind, but fellow specialists will find much in it to stimulate and challenge (and many will especially welcome the re-assertion of Asser s life of Alfred as a key contemporary source for the reign, against recent scholarly attack).

Richard Abels s Alfred convinces as a man who combined within himself the complexities and contradictions of his time. But, fascinating though that portrait is, this is more than just a study of an individual, however Great : the book investigates, and illuminates, the whole nature of warfare, culture and kingship in Anglo-Saxon England.

RICHARD ABELS is Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.







About the Author:

RICHARD ABELS is Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

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Book Description Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 210 x 136 mm. Language: English Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. This biography of Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons (871-899), combines a sensitive reading of the primary sources with a careful evaluation of the most recent scholarly research on the history and archaeology of ninth-century England. Alfred emerges from the pages of this biography as a great warlord, an effective and inventive ruler, and a passionate scholar whose piety and intellectual curiosity led him to sponsor a cultural and spiritual renaissance. Alfred s victories on the battlefield and his sweeping administrative innovations not only preserved his native Wessex from viking conquest, but began the process of political consolidation that would culminate in the creation of the kingdom of England. Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England strips away the varnish of later interpretations to recover the historical Alfredpragmatic, generous, brutal, pious, scholarly within the context of his own age. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780582040472

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Abels, Richard Author
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Book Description Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 210 x 136 mm. Language: English Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.This biography of Alfred the Great, king of the West Saxons (871-899), combines a sensitive reading of the primary sources with a careful evaluation of the most recent scholarly research on the history and archaeology of ninth-century England. Alfred emerges from the pages of this biography as a great warlord, an effective and inventive ruler, and a passionate scholar whose piety and intellectual curiosity led him to sponsor a cultural and spiritual renaissance. Alfred s victories on the battlefield and his sweeping administrative innovations not only preserved his native Wessex from viking conquest, but began the process of political consolidation that would culminate in the creation of the kingdom of England. Alfred the Great: War, Kingship and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England strips away the varnish of later interpretations to recover the historical Alfredpragmatic, generous, brutal, pious, scholarly within the context of his own age. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780582040472

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Book Description Routledge, 1998. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Introduction. Sources. 1. Alfred's Wessex. 2. Memories of Childhood, 848-858. 3. Scourges of God, 858-868. 4. A Very Great Warrior, 869-879. 5. King of the Anglo-Saxons, 880-891. 6. Defence of the Realm. 7. The reign of Solomon. 8. The Practice of Kingship. 9. Triumph and Death, 892-899. Conclusion: 'My Memory in Good Works'. Appendix on the Authenticity of Asser's Life of King Alfred. Table: Alfred's Genealogy. Maps. Bibliography. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0582040477

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