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WESSEX, King Alfred of the Great

Male 0849 - 0899  (~ 50 years)  Submit Photo / DocumentSubmit Photo / Document


Personal Information

  • Name WESSEX, Alfred of 
    Prefix King 
    Suffix the Great 
    Born 0849  Wantage, Berkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Alfred "The Great" 
    Died 26 Oct 0899 
    Buried Old Minster (later moved), Winchester, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Headstones Submit Headstone Photo Submit Headstone Photo 
    Notes 
    • Alfred was approximately twenty three years of age when crowned in 871. Alfred fought against the Danes and won several important battles before designing a truce called teh Danelaw that sectioned off the Danes into Mercia, Northumbria, and
      East Anglia. With the Danses quelled, he set about uniting and eduation England, whcih became a reality during his Athelstan's reign. he died of an unknown illness October 26, 899. (Everyday Life in the Middle Ages, Kenyon, p84)King Alfred
      the Great (849, ruled 871-899) was one of the best kings ever to rule mankind. He defended Anglo-Saxon England from Viking raids, formulated a code of laws, and fostered a rebirth of religious and scholarly activity. His reign exhibits military
      skill and innovation, sound governance and the ability to inspire men and plan for the future, piety and a practical commitment to the support of religion, personal scholarship and the promotion of education.

      "Desire for and possession of earthly power never pleased me overmuch, and I did not unduly desire this earthly rule, but that nevertheless I wished for tools and resources for the task that I was commanded to accomplish, which was that I
      should virtuously and worthily guide and direct the authority which was entrusted to me. You know of course that no one can make known any skill, nor direct and guide any authority, without tools and resources; a man cannot work on any
      enterprise without resources. In the case of the king, the resources and tools with which to rule are that he have his land fully manned: he must have praying men, fighting men and working men. You also know that without these tools no king may
      make his ability known. Another aspect of his resources is that he must have the means of support for his tools, the three classes of men. These, then are their means of support: land to live on, gifts, weapons, food, ale, clothing, and
      whatever else is necessary for each of the three classes of men. Without these things he cannot maintain the tools, nor without the tools can he accomplish any of the things he was commanded to do. Accordingly, I sought the resources with which
      to exercise the authority, in order that my skills and power would not be forgotten and concealed: because every skill and every authority is soon obsolete and passed over, if it is without wisdom; because no man may bring to bear any skill
      without wisdom. For whatever is done unthinkingly, cannot be reckoned a skill. To speak briefly: I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and to leave after my life, to the men who should come after me, the memory of me in good works."

      -- from Alfred's translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, chapter XVII. [Keynes & Lapidge, pp 132-33.] This is an interpolation by Alfred, not in Boethius. As Alfred says in his preface, he has sometimes translated word for word,
      and sometimes sense for sense. In a footnote (p. 298), Keynes & Lapidge caution that this paragraph should not be taken as King Alfred's personal credo. However, it rings true for me, and I acknowledge the man behind the words.

      "The just man builds on a modest foundation and gradually proceeds to greater things."

      -- Asser cites this saying when he is describing King Alfred's method of learning (chapter 88). Keynes and Lapidge say that the source of this quotation is unknown. I can imagine that this saying originated with Alfred himself. It perfectly
      expresses his practical approach to development of his kingdom. In this saying "the just man" is to be understood, in more modern language, as meaning "the man of sound judgement".

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Person ID I485  We 4 Kings
    Last Modified 20 Sep 2013 

    Father WESSEX, Aethelwulf of,   d. 0858 
    Mother Osburh,   d. Bef 0856 
    Married 0830 
    Family ID F255  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family GAINES AND MERC, Ealhswith Aetheseitha of Alswitha,   b. Abt 0852, Mercia, England, Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Dec 0905, Winchester, Hants., England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 53 years) 
    Married 0868 
    Children 
     1. Aelfthryth Elfrida,   b. Abt 0868, Wessex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jun 0929  (Age ~ 61 years)
    +2. WESSEX, King Eadweard of the Elder,   b. 0874/0877, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jul 0924, Farndon-on-Dee, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years)
     3. AEthelweard,   b. Est 0879,   d. Aft 0955  (Age ~ 77 years)
     4. Ethelgeda Ethelgifu,   b. Est 0880
    Family ID F208  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map Click to display
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 0849 - Wantage, Berkshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Old Minster (later moved), Winchester, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set


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