Skip to main content

Full text of "The life of Alfred the Great"

See other formats










literal Engltsij ^Translate, an* an 
anti lossarg. 








As a fitting and, it is hoped, welcome accompaniment to the 
translation of my friend Dr. Pauli's excellent Life of King 
Alfred, the Publisher has judiciously selected Orosius, the 
work of our great West-Saxon Monarch, which most 
loudly called for republication, not only on account of its 
scarcity and cost, but also because of the glaring inaccu- 
racies, both in the text and translation, of the only existing 

Prom the necessity of writing an introductory essay I 
am relieved by the ample and satisfactory account given of 
the work by Dr. Pauli ; yet a few words may not be deemed 

The reasons for ascribing the Anglo-Saxon version ol 
Orosius to Alfred, are, if not incontrovertible, at least of 
sufficient weight to justify us in concurring in the general 
belief. That such labours were not foreign to his studies, 
may be seen in the Preface to his Tersion of Boethius: 
^Eljrjieb kunmg paer pealhrtob J>irre bee. 3 hie op bec-lebene on 
englirc penbe : King Alfred was the interpreter of this book 
(^Boethius), and turned it from book- Latin into English. 
Though referring to another work, this passage, in combina- 
tion with the Introduction of the Voyages of Ohthere and 
"Wulfstan,t seems strongly to favour Alfred's claim. "We 
have, besides, the positive, though later, testimony of William 
of Malmesbury, who, speaking of Alfred's literary labours, 
says : plurimam partem Eomanse bibliothecse Anglorum auri- 
bus dedit, opimam prsedam peregrinarum mercium civium 
usibus convectans, cujus praecipui sunt Orosius, etc. ; a very 
great part of Roman literature ne gave to English ears, con- 
veying a rich booty of foreign wares for the use of his country- 
men, the chief of which are Orosius, etc. 

* The Anglo-Saxon Version from the Historian Orosius. By Alfred the 
Great. Together with an English translation from the Anglo-Saxon. By the Hon, 
Daines Barrington. London. MDCCLXXIII. 

f See p. 248. Ohthepe rbe hir hlajropbe JElfjiebe kyumcse, etc. 


"With respect to the version itself, it is in general para- 
phrastic, and in many instances inaccurate, evincing, on the 
part of its author, but slender acquaintance with the language 
of the original. Indeed, from the date of tte subversion 
of the Roman republic, Alfred's work is only a meagre 
epitome, exhibiting little more than the heads of the several 

The only ancient manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon version 
of Orosius known to exist, is in the Cottonian Library, 
marked Tiberius, B. 1. As far as penmanship is concerned, 
it is unquestionably a precious and beautiful volume, though 
manifestly the handiwork of an illiterate scribe. On account 
of its antiquity (not later than the tenth century), it has, 
however, been held in a degree of estimation hardly justified 
by its intrinsic worth. This being the only source of the 
Anglo-Saxon text, it is difficult to account for the variations 
existing among the several transcripts.* 

The attention of the student is directed to certain ano- 
malies in the Anglo-Saxon text, occurring occasionally in the 
endings of nouns substantive, and the imperfect plurals of 
verbs and infinitives. These consist chiefly in the substitu- 
tion of a for o, and vice-versa, as namon for naman, befcupon 
infin. for befcupan, byban, paepan, eoban, for bybon, paepon, 
eubon. Similar anomalies occur also in Alfred's Boethius. 
Are they "West-Saxon ? 

The present text is founded on a careful collection of that 
of Barrington with the Cottonian manuscript. The transla- 
tion is close and almost literal, though, at the same time, read- 
able as an independent work. "With the aid of the Outline 
of Anglo-Saxon Grammar (after Bask) and the Glossary 
appended to the Orosius, the volume will, it is hoped, render 
the acquisition of our noble mother-tongue a study as agree- 
able as it is valuable ; for without a competent knowledge of 
the Anglo-Saxon, no one can be a critical English scholar. 

Though here, perhaps, somewhat out of place, I must be 
allowed, in illustration of a long-disputed point in the geo- 
graphy of the North, to add a few words relative to what 
may justly be pronounced the most valuable portion of 
Alfred's work : the Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan. 

* Of such transcripts Daines Barrington notes the following : 1. The Lauder- 
dale, formerly at Ham House, but no loneer to be be found there, marked M.L. 
2. The Ballard, marked B.T. 3. The Hatton, narked M.H. 4. The Elstob, 
marked E.T. 


Having doubled the North Cape and visited the countries 
about the White Sea, Ohthere (whose home was in Helgo- 
land, the most northern part of Norway) proceeded south- 
ward to the port of Sciringesheal ;* sailing whence, after 
crossing the Cattegat, he had Gotland (Jutland) on his 
right, and then Seeland. From the mention of islands on 
his left, it would seem that he sailed between Moen and See- 
land ; for I cannot agree with Dahlmann (Forschungen, Th. 
I. and Gesch. v. Dannem. I. p. 65,) and Pauli, in supposing 
that Ohthere passed through the Great Belt. The Gotland 
of "Wulfstan is evidently the Swedish island of that name. 



THIS translation is offered to the public with the diffidence 
which must ever accompany the attempt to render into one 
language, thoughts expressed in another. In this particular 
case, the difficulty of the translator's task has been increased 
by the peculiar nature of the author's style. In his love for 
his subject, and his eagerness to do it justice, and to establish 
facts hitherto considered doubtful, he crowds so much matter 
into his sentences as often to render them involved, and, in 
many cases, rugged and abrupt. But when the difficulties 
are once fairly mastered, our sense of perplexity is lost in 
admiration at the enthusiasm, patience, learning, and skill,, 
with which Dr. Pauli, from such defective materials, has con- 
structed a work so rich in interest. 

The study of the biography of men, who, by their talents 
and virtues, have made for themselves a place in the world's 
history, has a value apart from the intellectual pleasure it 
affords. Longfellow says, 

Lives of great men all remind us 
We may make our lives sublime. 

* Of this port Mr. Aall, the latest and best translator of the Heimskringla, 
thus speaks: " Skiriugssalr, respecting the position of which so many of the 
most learned inquirers have been at variance and in doubt, and which lias been 
sought for in Bahuuslehn, in Skane, in the neighbourhood of Stockholm, and even 
in Prussia ; although both Snorri and the authors of ' Sogurbrot ' and ' Fagur- 
skiniia ' expressly refer it to Vestfold," etc. 


And surely the careful investigation of the records of the 
life of this great King cannot but be of peculiar interest in 
these days ; for it will show us that true power and great- 
ness arise from the practice of justice and morality ; and 
that without these, skill, ambition, and courage, however 
specious and however brilliant, serve but as lights to dazzle 
and mislead. Above all, the History of Alfred's life shows 
that a firm religious faith beautifies the character in all its 
relations, and enables the mind to rise superior to all trials, 
however severe. 

A. P. 



THE plan of the following work was conceived at Oxford, 
in the November of the eventful year 1848, at a time when 
German hearts trembled, as they had seldom done before, for 
the preservation of their Fatherland, and especially for the 
continuance of those States which were destined by Heaven 
for the protection and support of Germany. That was a 
fearful winter! Various misgivings as to my abode in a 
foreign land arose on the receipt of such serious accounts 
from home. A daily visit to the venerable old Bodleian 
Library, with its wealth of literature, and especially its valu- 
able manuscripts, could alone, for a few hours, dissipate my 
gloomy thoughts. In spite of these, and almost impercep- 
tibly to myself, I took a growing interest in the history of the 
struggles and victories of Alfred of the "West Saxons. 

I resolved to select the Life of this most excellent King as 
a starting-point for my future studies in English History to 
which I had lately received a fresh impulse on account of my 
project of continuing Lappenberg's " History of England," 
which the worthy Author was obliged to leave incomplete, 
owing to the serious disease in his eyes. 

I was most eagerly pursuing my preparations for the Life 
of Alfred, when other engagements intervened, and prevented 
me from taking any steps towards its accomplishment until 
the commencement of the following autumn ; and now, after 
Tarious and frequently longer interruptions, the work is first 
completed. Nearly two whole years have passed, and the 


eyes of the world are still, as then, fixed, but more earnestly, 
on the solution of things in Germany. 

It has been my aim. to describe the high moral position 
which Alfred occupies in the organic development of the 
history of the liberties of England, according to my best 
ability, and from that point of view which German historical 
research into the most authentic sources of information has 
established. After a thorough investigation, I am by no 
means certain that the paucity of material is one of the most 
serious impediments to the work. These consist partly in 
the difficulty which exists in combining original historical 
inquiry with the narration of past facts, and partly in my 
own inability to compensate for poverty of resource by a 
fluent style of composition. Neither do I feel myself free 
from fault in the critical part of the work ; but here the 
errors arise from my love for the subject, and not from the 
idle vanity of authorship. 

I look, then, with confidence, to the sentence which strict 
and impartial judges may pass upon my work. It is written 
by a German, and for Germans ; and, as it is hoped, in the 
spirit of German inquiry. What the author owes to the 
literature of his own country, is faithfully acknowledged in 
its proper place. The country of the Anglo-Saxons not only 
opened to him all its wealth of materials for his work, but he 
owes much gratitude for the personal friendship of the most 
able literary men of England such as Kemble and Thorpe ; 
and for the kind assistance rendered him by the officers of 
the Bodleian Library, the British Museum, and of other large 
collections of books in that country. 

I have employed those authorities that have been published 
in England, or else gathered my information from manu- 
scripts, whose confused orthography I did not attempt to 
arrange in consecutive order, as Jacob Grimm has done with 
respect to the German dialects. May the great master of 
this excellent system pardon me, when he learns that this 
disregard of his example was prompted by my desire of 
thoroughly understanding the originals, and that my frequent 
difficulty has rather been to rise above the idiomatic structure 
of the languages of the ninth century. And now let the book 
apeak for itself. 



INTROI CJOTION General Summary Review of the Authorities from 

whici Alfred's History is derived 1 

]. Rise of the West Saxon Kingdom Descent of the Rulers from 

Woden The Earlier Centuries Egbert Ethelwulf . . .16 

II. Alfred's Youth, from 849 to 866 -The Commencement of King 

Ethelred's Reign . 45 

III. The Time of Alfred's Education, horn 866 to 871 . . .67 

IV. The Time of Trial: 87 1 to 881 84 

V. Alfred's Efficiency in Church and State Supplement to Section V. 116 

VI. Alfred as an Author, and the Instructor of his People in all kinds of 

useful Knowledge 164 

VII. Renewed Contest and successful Results The Kingdom descends 

strengthened to Edward I ,198 

VIII. Alfred in his Private and Domestic Life . . 220 

Chronicle of the West Saxon History, from 838 to 901 . . . 236 



Contents of Orosius 514 

Notes , .... 529 

Anglo-Saxon Alphabet . . , , 4 . . . . 533 

Outline of Anglo Saxon Grammar . .... 534 

Glossary to Orosius . 551 


Page 254, 1. 6, for huign read hums 

264, 1. 10, pi-S 


III. 1.3, rjio 


266, IV., 1. 2, Liaprachi 


268, VI., 1. 1, 



270, VII., 1. 8, 



286, 1. 13, 



302, 1. 16, 


F. I 

304, 1. 12, 

reo maerca 

re mse 

315, 1. 10, 



428, 1. 9, ratten 


M 458, 1. 3, fpcm bot., rop 

piiS. L. 30, for polbe r. polb 
re meerca or reo mserce? 




X Theodoric the Great established his Gothic King- 
dom upon the ruins of the Roman Empire, his people had not 
attained those settled habits which are requisite for the firm 
establishment of a state ; nor did they possess sufficient in- 
ternal strength to make any lasting 'resistance against the 
preponderating influence of the still classic land of the South. 
The great migration of population from East to West had 
by no means ceased ; and scarcely more than a quarter of a 
century elapsed after the death of Odoacer's conqueror, 
when with the independence of the Goths almost every trace 
of his operations disappeared. Charlemagne, at the head of 
his Prankish army, conquered the mighty Teutonic power, 
nd won the imperial crown of the Western Kingdom. 
Ifter him there never existed a leader amongst the Ger- 
nans whose personal influence was sufficiently powerful to 
teep united under one sceptre a great nation composed 
f so many different races. Although the boundaries esta- 
)lished by him between his kingdom and the Sclavonians, 
Moors, and Scandinavians, became in later times rather en- 
arged than confirmed, and although his great and power- 
\il laws and institutions still continued for many centuries 
o be reverenced, especially amongst the Pranks, still his 
cingdom always continued to descend in a divided form to 
iis posterity. It was not so much the freshly-awakened 
unuence of Borne, as an impulse originating from the Ger- 
man people themselves, which led them to endeavour to ob- 
:ain a division of races, and a geographical distribution of the 
lands which had now become their own, and with the political 
knowledge communicated to them by Charlemagne, to fonrv 
single independent states. 


Alfred of Wessex, the only ruler of England ever sur 
named the Great 1 , had to endure infinitely greater trials, 
and during the principal part of his life, to wage a far more 
difficult war, than any of the other celebrated kings of the 
German race ; notwithstanding this, with the most unwearied 
perseverance, he founded institutions which remain to this 
day, and constitute one of the most important links in the 
progressive political development of the powerful Saxon 
people on the British island. Without doubt, this was also 
essentially advanced by the peculiar character of his sub- 
jects, and the isolated position of the country where they had 
become settled. It seems almost as if the branch of Angles 
and Saxons which had separated itself from the parent-stem 
so firmly rooted on the continent, had in a short time put 
forth more vigorous shoots in the fertile soil of the island, 
than the Franks had done in conquered Graul, or even the 
ancient Saxons in their own home. The priests and nobles 
of Charlemagne already attended the schools of the Anglo- 
Saxons, and the learned Alcuin was anxious to return from 
the Frankish court to the convent library at York. When 
Alfred died, his relation Henry, the father of Otho the Great, 
who brought the Roman Empire into Grermany, was a young 
man, ami Christian education was only in its first infancy 
amongst his Saxon people. 

On turning our attention to the records of those three 
German princes who were called the Great, it seems as 
though their history was destined to the same fate that oi 
being early blended with popular tradition. And yet hox* 
much difference there is between them ! Among the Teutonic 
people, the image of Theodoric was almost entirely merged in 
the indistinct form of a dark, gigantic hero, so long the theme 
of many a German song. Charlemagne became the hero of 
Europe, in Germanic and Celtic poetry and romances ; not- 
withstanding this, the traces of his historical existence are 
clear enough, and Eginhard has left to all ages a faithful pic- 
ture of his personal appearance. Alfred's name, on the con- 
trary, lapsed into that myth which to this day obscures it, 
and which, to careless eyes, effaces the lives and deeds of 
celebrated men from the pages of history. Of him also his 

1 He was first designated thus in the sixteenth century. 


people sung 1 , but the old Pagan charm of those songs has long 
ago been broken ; for the zealous Church, in her fervent gra- 
titude to him, embodied him in her legends ; and the greater 
part of the later stories of the monks may have frequently 
originated in their cells, and have been the result of pious 
fraud. Who can decide what traditionary husk is the 
easier to remove in order to reach the solid kernel of true 
history ? 

Although Alfred lived at a time when our perception of 
his individuality is not obscured by the shadowy clouds 
of tradition, and in a country where the sober prose of 
reality had early taken the place of all the poetry of more 
southern lands, yet he was never fortunate enough to find a 
Cassiodorus or an Eginhard amongst those by whom he was 
surrounded. At the first glance, indeed, Asser might be 
compared with the latter; but, if the Gresta Alfredi is some- 
what more closely observed, one doubt after another will 
arise, whether, in the form which is preserved to us, this can 
really be the work of that bishop who was so trusted by his 

1 In the so-called " Proverbs of King Alfred," quoted by Kemble in his " Solo- 
mon and Saturn," 1848, p. 226, ff. 

" Alfred 

Englene herd 

Englene darling 

in Enkelonde he was King. 

Alfred he was in Enkelonde a king 

Wei swipe strong and lussum ping ; 

he was king and cleric 

full wel he louede Godes were ; 

he was wis on his word 

And war on his work 

he was pe wisiste mon 

pad was in Engelonde on." 
And Layamon's Brut. ed. Sir F. Madden, 1848, i. 269. 

Seo'Sften per sefter 

monie hundred wintre 

cone Alfred pe King 

Eugelondes deorling 

And wrat pe lagan on Englis, &c. 

Both poems originated in the beginning of the thirteenth century, when the Saxon 
feelings of the English people being revived in their first attempts at literature, 
heyt doubtlessly remembered gratitude him who had achieved their forrnej 



king. Criticism has been frequently employed on this little 
book, but it has never decided the important question. For 
my own part, 1 shall not undertake to solve such a problem 
in its full extent ; and I doubt much whether it is possible 
to determine the point with absolute certainty. I find, so 
far, that, with the single exception of Thomas Wright, in the 
" Biographia Literaria Britannica, I., 405-413," no one has 
thought of denying the authenticity of the book ; the best 
English and German authors rather maintain that it was 
really written by Asser, and is our best authority for the life 
of this great king 1 . 

I cannot altogether avoid considering it in this light ; but 
I will bring forward those parts of the work which, after 
much attentive examination, I believe to be correct, as well as 
those which appear to be spurious or inaccurate. 

Unfortunately, we possess no good manuscript of this bio- 
graphy. The most ancient, a Cottonian MS., Otho, A. XII., 
a relic of the tenth century, was lost in the destructive fire 
which so seriously injured Sir Richard Cotton's library, in 
the year 1781. Happily for us, however, Wise 2 , in his edition 
of Asser, has preserved a copy of this manuscript, from which 
we learn that it did not contain many records which we find 
in other manuscripts, and especially in the latest and most 
doubtful ones. These are collected under the name of the 
Chronicon Fani S. Neoti sive Annales Johannis Asserii, 
which is nothing more than a bad compilation from the 
Saxon Chronicle, and from various unauthentic legends, and 
which has been received into the most modern MSS., exe- 
cuted so late as the sixteenth century, and also into the 
careful Editio Princeps of Archbishop Parker, in 1574, 
whether purposely or from oversight, it is impossible to say 3 . 
Wise's correct criticism has, however, preserved the text of 
the tenth century. 

We also find that Florence of Worcester copied a large 
portion of the biography into his Chronicle. It is, therefore, 

1 Pertz Monum. Hist. Germ. i. p. 449, n. 34, where Asser is quoted as " vitae 
.O'redi auctor coaevus." Vide Lappenberg's History of England, i. S. xlviii., 
\J1 1 ; and latterly Kemble, " Tlie Saxons in England," ii. 42, n. 

'* Annales rerum gestarum ^Elfredi auctore Asserio Menevensi rec. F. 
Jxon. 1722, 8. 

- Monumenta HLstorica Britannia, preface, p. 79, 80. 


necessary at this stage of our inquiry to notice the latter 
historical work. "When we consider its almost literal agree- 
ment with our biography, it is not a little remarkable that 
Asser is not once recognised as an authority. Florence 
casually mentions him only twice ; once in the year 872, 
when, on occasion of "Werfrith's elevation to the bishopric of 
Worcester, he includes him in a very incorrect list of learned 
men, although he nourished at a later period at the court of 
Alfred ; and again, in the utterly inexplicable record of the 
year 883: 

Assero Scireburnensi episcopo defuncto succedit Suithelmus, &c. : 

whereas we learn from Asser himself, that he was not known 
or confided in by the king until 885. 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle likewise informs us, that 
Asser, Bishop of Sherborne, died in 910 ; and w r e find his 
signature, " Asser episcopus," affixed to authentic documents 
so late as the year 909 1 . We have, then, nothing to do with 
the above-named record, except simply to reject it 2 . 

We look in vain for the reasons which induced Florence to 
conceal the name of the author from whose work he literally 
copied large portions ; perhaps he thought it superfluous to 
mention a book which must have been generally known in 
the beginning of the twelfth century 3 , when he took the 
liberty of plagiarising from it at his own discretion. 

But did he really take all his Chronicle from Asser? 
Might he not have had before him either Asser's Latin 
translation of the Annals from 850 to 887, or even the original 
Saxon Chronicle ? This opinion has strong probability in its 
favour ; but then the question arises, whether the strictly 
annalistic sections of Asser's work were not added at a later 
period to the biographical parts of the original Vita, in that 
episodical form which has descended to us. But, according 
to the lost Cottonian MS., we find them already in existence 
in the tenth century, long before Florence transcribed them ; 
and this peculiar and strange mingling of annals and biogra- 
phy would seem actually to have proceeded from our Asser, 
jind to have been the original form of his work. 

Kemble, Cod. Diplom.n. 335, 337, 1077, 1082, 1087. 

2 Vide Thorpe's New Edition of'Florent. Wigorn. Chron. i. 98. 

Florence died July 7th, 1118. ii. 72, Ed. Thorpe. 


Lappenberg 1 , on various well-established grounds, inclines 
to the opinion that the Annals themselves at least, those of 
the years 879, 884, 885, 886, and 887 are the work of 
Asser ; but that the literal agreement of the rest with the 
words of the Chronicles, preclude the idea of their being his 

There are good reasons for believing that the Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicles were first commenced under Alfred, and that, ac- 
cording to the oldest edition we possess, their reckoning 
began soon after 890. Composed on the Latin model, they 
consisted of materials of all kinds, and were originated at a 
time when Alfred and his contemporaries were actively en- 
gaged in improving their native language. Asser, the Welsh- 
man, must have understood Saxon : he had, undoubtedly, the 
Chronicle of 890 before him, when, in 893 2 , he wrote the life 
of his king ; but the continuation, which treats of the last 
years of Alfred's reign, and which was written in the follow- 
ing century, he could not have possessed. He might, indeed, 
have also had a Latin copy of the Chronicle, from whence 
he, and Florence after him, derived the dates of their general 
history. I perceive, with pleasure, that the annalistic dates of 
both these authors, with only few exceptions, agree literally 
with the most ancient MSS. of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 
which are also of West Saxon origin, and especially with the 
oldest Cambridge copies. The following are selected exam- 
ples of this agreement : 


A. 860. Loco funeris dominati sunt. Wealstowe geweald ahton. 

A. 874. Cuidam insipienti ministro regis. Anum unwisum cyninges pegne. 
A. 881. Finite proelio pagani equis inventis UUser weai"5 se here gehorsod sefter 
equites facti sunt. pam gefeohte. 

Again Asser omits these records, which are also wanting 
in the oldest copies of the Chronicle : 

A. 870. The Section : and fordidon ealle pa mynstre, &c., to pa hit wearS to nan 


A 871. And heora peer weartS ofter ofslegen. U)ses nama wses Sidroc. 
A. 877. And se sciphere segelode west ymbutan. 

But we must confess that sometimes other elements in- 

1 Gottinger Gel. Am. April 1st, 1844. 

2 Asser in Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 492, a vigesimo aetatis anno usque ad quadra 
gesimum quintum annum quern nunc agit. 


trude into the Chronicle of Florence which are not to be found 
either in the earliest Chronicles or in the " Gesta Alfredi " 
for example, the Obitus Sti Swithuni, A. 862, which is only 
mentioned in the two latest Chronicles, and which, like the 
account of Asser's death in the year 883, is of no value. It 
is therefore difficult to decide whether Florence borrowed 
from Asser's work the Annals of the years from 850 to 887, 
and then augmented them from his own materials ; or whe- 
ther, which is quite as likely, he adopted Asser's authorities 
and manner, and compiled them himself. 

"We will now proceed to the strictly biographical parts of 
the work, which, as has been already remarked, consist of 
episodes of more or less length, but which seem, in many 
places, to have been much mutilated. The following are the 
principal : 

A. 849. The genealogy and birth of Alfred, taken from the " Genealogical Eegister 

of the West Saxons." Florent. A. 849. 
A. 855. The strife between Ethelwulf and his son Ethelbald ; the fearful history 

of Queen Eadlmrga. Florent. A. 855. 
A. 866. Alfred's youth and love of study. Florent. A. 87 1. 
A, 867. The excursion into Northumbria, more precise than in the Chronicle. 

Florent. A. 867. 

A. 868. Alfred's marriage. Florent. A. 868. 

A. 871. Continuation of the description of the Battle of Ashdune. Florent. A. 871. 
A. 878. Continuation of the description of the Battle of Ethandune. Florent. 

A. 878. 

A. 884. The long account of the bodily sufferings, the family, and learned com- 
panions of the King. Florent. A. 871-872. 

Asser's own connexion with his Prince. Excursion into Wales. 
A. 887. A long episode concerning Alfred's studies, sickness, mode of government, 

endowments, and administration, with which the book concludes. 

It must be remarked, that the last section in the Cot- 
toman MS., at least from the words " Ingeniosam benevo- 
lentiam" to " locupletatim ditavit" (p. 491-495), is written by 
a later hand. 

All these sections Florence copies almost literally, but 
where, towards the end, they become more lengthy, he 
abridges them; sometimes, as we can see by comparing 
them, he substitutes one year for another ; but he always 
omits the titles of the chapters, which are invariably written 
in a peculiar style ; I hope, the genuine one of Asser. 

P. 473 A. 866. " Sed ut more navigantium loquar ne diutis 
navim undis et velamentis concedentes, et a terra longius 


enavigantes longum circumferamur inter tantas bellcrum 
clades et annorum enumerationes, ad id quod nos maxime ad 
hoc opus incitavit nobis redeundum esse censeo ; silicet ali- 
quantulum autem meae cognitioni innotuit 1 ," &c. 

P. 484 A. 834. " Igitur ut ad id, unde digressus sum re- 
deam, ne diuturna navigatione portum optatae quietis 
omittere cogar, aliquantulum, quantum notitise mese in- 
notuerit," &c. 

There is also completely wanting the account, in the 
year 877, of the king's shipbuilding, which is neither to be 
found in the Cottonian MS. And this circumstance casts 
considerable suspicion on the fact that Alfred, in the despe- 
rate state of his affairs at that time, seriously thought of 
undertaking a naval expedition against the national enemy. 
This may have originated in the record of a sea-fight which 
took place in the year 875, which is contained in the Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle. In the year 878, Florence omits the nar- 
ration of Alfred's residence with the cowherd, which is given 
in the " Vita Sti Neoti," written towards the end of the 
tenth century, and of which only the introductory part seems 
to have been preserved in the Cottonian MS. Finally, 
Florence says nothing of the notorious clause respecting the 
establishment of the University of Oxford, in the year 886, 
taken by Camden from the MS. Savile only, in which either 
he or some other person, out of zeal for Alma Mater, has 
attempted a deception, and whose correctness, especially after 
the notice in Lappenberg's History of England, I., 339, no 
reasonable man will continue to believe. 

With the exception of these three instances, I consider the 
remaining episodes, even in the larger portion of their details, 
to be the genuine productions of Asser. The History of 
Queen Edburga, doubted by Wright (p. 409), exists in the 
Cotton. MS.; the "multis habetur incognitum" may have 
been Asser's, who had then lived only a short time amongst 
the West Saxons, and could scarcely have known much of 
what had taken place amongst them more than eighty years 
before, and who undoubtedly took a greater pleasure in trau- 

1 There can be compared with this the similar passage introduced by Ethel- 
werd, iv. p. 514, Monum. Hist. Brit: "Veluti advecta navis per gurgitei 
undarum longinqua spatia tenet," &c. Both, as true sons of Britain, derive theil 
comparison from navigation. 


nng the narrative, because, as he expressly sijs, he had 
heard it so often from his truth-loving king 1 . 

In conclusion, we may be allowed to mention a few other 
points. It is inexplicable that Asser should omit the ac- 
count of the battle of Merton, in 871, and the entire year 
885, or rather that he does not relate the events which in 
the Chronicle follow the year 884. In the year 883, there 
is wanting, not only the record of the death of Asser, Bishop 
of Sherborne, which omission explains itself, but even the 
narration of the Embassy to Home, and to the East, which is 
confirmed by Florence and the most ancient Chronicles, 
These are defects which can only be accounted for by the 
damaged state in which the work is come down to us. The 
question will also present itself, why Asser, who himself tells 
us (p. 492) that he wrote in 893, in the forty-fifth year of the 
king's age, did not bring down the biography later than 887. 
I consider this circumstance rather as a further ground for 
believing in the authenticity of the work 2 ; for there is no 
mention made of the renewed contests with the Danes, who, 
after the death of King Guthorm-Athelstan, of East Anglia, 
A. 890, again threatened to commence hostilities, and who 
were only finally and entirely subdued after the year 893. 
It is more than rash to suppose with Wright (p. 411) that 
the whole biography could not have been composed before 
the end of the tenth century, because the Translatio Sti 
]N"eoti took place in the year 974, after which the life of this 
saint must have been written, and thence proceeded the 
work attributed to Asser, whose real author was, perhaps, 
a monk of St. Neot, who assumed the name of the already 
celebrated friend of the great king. Such an opinion as this 
can have only the most unsatisfactory grounds to rest upon. 
We must also be very careful how we agree with Wright, in 
contemning the style of this little work ; in some portions of 
which we recogni'se a rare beauty. I will only quote two 
instances of this, both treating of the industry of the king : 

P. 486. " Veluti apis prudentissima, quae primo mane 
charis e cellulis consurgens aestivo tempore, per incerta aeris 
itinera cursum veloci volatu dirigens, super multiplices ac 

1 P. 471. A domino meo Alfredo Angulsaxonum rege veridico 
* Lappeuberg in d. Gotting. Gelehrt. Anz. April 4th, 1844. 


diversos herbarum, olerum, fruticum flosculos descendit pro 
batque quid maxirae placuerit, atque domum reportat." 

P. 491. " Velut apis fertilissima longe .lateque gronnios 
interrogando discurrens, multimodos divinae scripturae flos- 
culos inhianter et incessabiliter coiigregavit, queis praecordi' 
sui cellulas densatim replevit." 

Such passages as these are rarely to be met with in the 
dry monastic works of the middle ages ; they contain words 
which could have sprung only from deep feeling ; and from 
them, Asser seems to have been a man in whom were blended 
the pure vigour of a child of nature, and a true poetical 

Finally, Thorpe, in his translation of Lappenberg's History, 
II., 326, N. 1, affirms that the sceptics as to the authenticity 
of the book may quote in their favour, the expression "vasalli" 
occurring in the year 878, but a striking contradiction of this 
opinion is furnished by a document in Kemble's Cod. Diplom. 
Anglos. JN". 216. This document was undoubtedly written 
in the year 821, and contains these words : " Expeditionem 
cum XII. vasallis et cum tantis scutis." In a similar manner 
as " vasallus" (in the Cotton. MS. " fassillis") the thrice-re- 
peated expression curtus regis (p. 473, 485, 488) must be con- 
sidered, as well as some other instances of a peculiar Latinity, 
e.g. gronnius, p. 491; gronnosus, p. 480; cambra, p. 491. These 
words are to be found in Du Gauge, and still older examples 
are extant of them. The expression " vasallus" occurs also in 
the Capitularies of Charlemagne. It is very remarkable to 
find a Welshman writing the name of our people, gentes 
Theotiscae, p. 471. 

That a Briton (and who could it be except the Welsh Asser ?) 
had a share in the work 1 , must necessarily be inferred from 
the constantly recurring addition of Celtic names of places 
to the Saxon and Latin ones. 

P. 470. The Isle of Thanet, called by the Britons Euim 2 . 

P. 475. Snotengaham is called Tigguocobauc, in Latin 
speluncarum domus, faithfully copied by Florence. 

P. 477. Wilton is situated* near G-uilou. 

P. 478. Thornsaetan is called Durngueis. 

1 Thorpe, in his late preface to his Florent. Wigorn. p. rii. n. 3, also argues 
from this in favour of Asser. 
8 This may be taken from Nennius, " Ruichim," Monum. Hist. Brit. p. 63. 


P. 479. Exanceastre is called Cair wise. 

P. 480. Flumen quod Britannice dicitur Abon. 

P. 481. Selwudu, silva magna Coitmaur. 

P. 482. Circencester, Cairceri. 

Asser wrote thus for his countrymen 1 . 

This may suffice for the present respecting this important 
little book, which unfortunately, owing to its deficiencies and 
peculiarities, is in many respects open to censure. "We shall 
frequently, however, recur to it in the course of this work, in 
reference to various and often questionable particulars ; such 
as Asser's own life, which must necessarily be connected with 
that of his king. 

We may venture to treat much more briefly the remaining 
authorities, which entirely concern the Anglo-Saxon period, 
and whose value and mutual agreement are very properly 
brought prominently forward by Lappenberg in the intro- 
duction to his excellent historical work. 

The oldest authority, and the most important for our pur- 
pose, is, of course, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. We have 
already seen that a part of the G-esta Alfredi was taken 
from it. The most ancient copy that we possess corresponds, 
in the form of its letters, with the other genuine books of 
Alfred's time ; and this circumstance, together with the in- 
terruptions which occur in the manuscript immediately after 
the year 891, leave no doubt of its having been written 
during the last ten years of King Alfred's reign. It may 
therefore be reasonably presumed that transactions first 
began to be generally recorded in the language of the people 
at that time. Amongst the reasons for this presumption, by 
no means the least important is, that about the year 853, 
soon after the birth of Alfred, the records of each year in- 
crease in length, and begin to lose their original calendar 
form. The whole of that section which treats of Alfred's life 
is very similar in five of our manuscripts, which in other 
respects often differ from each other ; and one of the most 
recent, Cotton. MS. Domitian, A. VIII., gives a very bad 
and inaccurate abridgment of events till about the year 
1000, in the Saxon and Latin languages ; and is especially 

1 Lingard, in his History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ii 
brings forward good reasons for differing with Wright. 


meagre in its details of Alfred's lifetime, which is the more 
remarkable as it is generally believed to Lave been written at 
Canterbury. The Cambridge manuscript, and the two MSS. 
Cott. Tib. A. VI. and Tib. B. I., which were all compiled 
within the bounds of the kingdom of Wessex, singularly co- 
incide in all essential points of their accounts relating to the 
ninth century. The MS. Cotton. Tib. IV. presents, during 
this epoch, only very few deviations, and is almost similar to 
those preceding. But this MS., which originated in Wor- 
cester, always remains a year behind the three older copies in 
the chronology of the eighth and ninth centuries, agreeing 
in this respect, as originally our oldest MSS. seem to have 
done, with the Northern historians as Simeon of Durham, 
whose chronology, as KemMe particularly remarks, differs 
from that of the South of England, which is generally correct. 

The editions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, even that pub- 
lished by the Eecord Commission, in the Monumenta Histo- 
rica Britannica, have by no means succeeded in indicating 
the minute details and relative value of each of the Year-books, 
written in various dialects, at different times, and in different 
places, so as to elucidate the text, and render it more intelli- 
gible to critics of the present day. We reserve, for a later 
opportunity, a more strict investigation into these remark- 
able productions of the early middle ages. 

Ethelwerd's dry Chronicle is, in general, little more than an 
elaboration of the early Saxon annals, in barbarous Latin ; 
here and there, however, it is evident that some other popular 
sources of information were employed by him. He rarely 
gives any particulars of Alfred's life ; and it is peculiarly sur- 
prising that he, a descendant of the royal family of Wessex, 
should not have given a more circumstantial account of his 
great ancestor ; considering, too, that only a hundred years 
had elapsed since he flourished. No part of his work is so 
grievously and hopelessly mutilated as the third chapter of 
the fourth book, which treats of Alfred. The latest edition 
is to be found in the Mon. Hist. Brit. 

Mention has already been made of Florence ; we possess 
an excellent edition, recently compiled with great care by 
Thorpe for the English Historical Society, in which also the 
most accurate text of Asser may be found. 

Simeon of Durham, who, in composing his Chronicle, must 


have referred frequently to Florence, occasionally mentions 
many details, particularly in 883, and when the subject 
relates to the North of England. 

Ingulph, Abbot of Croyland, once secretary to the Con- 
queror, in the work attributed to him, and which chiefly 
treats of the history of his convent, relates various events that 
rest upon arbitrary assumptions or supposititious documents, 
and seem to have arisen from ignorance of the authorities 
above named. How could an Englishman, so imbued with 
the Norman spirit, in the first fifty or sixty years after the 
Conquest, avoid making some confusion in the accounts which 
were given him of the condition of the conquered country 
during the previous two centuries ? It appears that he 
was acquainted with Asser's book, as he must have taken from 
it his description of Alfred's method of measuring time. We 
cite his work according to the edition, carefully prepared 
by Sir H. Savile, of the Eerum Anglicarum Scriptores post 
Bedam praecipui, Erancofurti, 1603. 

Henry of Huntingdon has, unfortunately, never found an 
intelligent editor even in the Mon. Hist. Brit., though he 
merits one more than any other historian of the middle ages 
of England. The spirited manner in which he describes 
battles was, most probably, caused by his intimate acquaint- 
ance with the old songs of the people ; and we shall often be 
indebted to it in the following work, especially for the account 
of the sea-fight in the year 897. 

. "William of Malmesbury enjoys the reputation of being a 
more learned historian, and of endeavouring to invest the dry 
form of the Old Chronicle with a more attractive style ; but 
his researches are often by no means correct, and his errors can- 
not be forgotten. The best edition of the Gesta Keg. Angl., 
is that of the English Historical Society, by Th. D. Hardy : 
London, 1840. 

The old Erench rhyming Chronicle of Geoflrei Gaimar 
takes that part which relates to our subject chiefly from 
the Anglo-Saxon Year-books ; the copies of these, which the 
poet had before him, differ in some points from those we 
possess. He used, also, other authorities. The first edition 
is to be found in the Mon. Hist. Brit. 

The remaining historians who have treated of the Anglo- 
Saxons, as Ailred of Eiveaux, Eoger of Wendovor, Matthew 


of "Westminster, &c., will be acknowledged in the places 
where they are quoted. 

Two vary important authorities for, and aids in, our under- 
taking, are the Laws of Alfred, in Thorpe's admirable edition, 
" Ancient Laws and Institutes of England :" London, 1840 ; 
and Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus, Aevi Saxonici, in which 
excellent collection the documents of the ninth century equal 
neither in number nor in authenticity those of the preceding 
and subsequent ones. 

Amongst later works, I am most particularly indebted to 
the " History of England," by Lappenberg, in which, with 
the translation made by Thorpe, and enriched by both these 
learned men, the best and clearest directions are given 
whereby to penetrate the labyrinthine mazes of early English 
history. The Life and Times of Alfred the Great are by no 
means exhausted in the plan of this book ; and the biographer 
is at liberty to glean any other information he can meet with 
for his purpose. "We are in a similar position with regard to 
Lappenberg' s predecessor, the diligent Sharon Turner, and 
to his successor, Kemble, who, in his latest work, "The 
Saxons in England," II. : London, 1848, considers, in a series 
of essays, written in a masterly style, the political and social 
condition of the Anglo-Saxons. 

Modern historical literature possesses special Biographies 
of Alfred. The title of the first work of this kind is sufficient 
to show in what spirit it was written, and what is to be 
learnt from it : " The Life of Alfred, or Alvred, the first 
Institutor of subordinate Government in this Kingdome, and 
Eefounder of the University of Oxford; together with a 
Parellell of our Soveraigne Lord King Charles, untill this 
yeare 1634. By Eobert Powell. London : 1634." 

The learned Spelman compiled aBiography of Alfred, during 
the Eestoration, which Hearne published, in 1709, with his 
own annotations in English 1 . Both of these works are very 
unprofitable, in spite of the highly-meritorious industry dis- 
played in them ; and this fact is mainly attributable to the 
accumulation of quotations from a modern and second-rate 

1 Sir John Spelman, JElfredi Magni Vita, fol. Oxon. 1678. Originally written in 
English, and first translated into Latin by Dr. Obadiah Walker, of unhappy 
memory. Spelman's Life of Alfred tha Great, jublished with additions and 
remarks by Thomas Hearne, Oxf, 1709. 


authority, who has never yet attained the honour of appearing 
in print, but who is placed in the same rank, and even some- 
times above our best sources of information. Judging by 
this account of the sufferings of Alfred and his country, th*e 
same monkish spirit seems to have existed in the Oxford of 
the seventeenth century as was in operation there in the 
twelfth and thirteenth. 

Albrecht von Haller was the first German who wrote on 
this subject, in his book entitled, " Alfred Konig der Angel- 
Sachsen, Gottingen und Bern, 1773." He faithfully took 
his materials from Spelman, and aimed at describing the 
limited monarchy ; but, according to his usual custom, he has 
obscured his otherwise lucid work by a fanciful and poetica* 

A. Bicknell (" Life of Alfred the Great, King of the Anglo- 
Saxons : London, 1777") endeavoured to bring the numerous 
works of his predecessors before the public in a more intelli- 
gible form. He treats the ecclesiastical part of the sub- 
ject in the very free and somewhat derisive manner which 
was characteristic of his time, whilst he evidently did not use 
any diligent research, and consequently his conclusions are 
capricious and incorrect. 

F. L. Graf zu Stolberg has narrated the Life of Alfred in 
his own admirable manner. His materials for this work he 
obtained from Turner's " History of the Anglo-Saxons," in 
which the subject was first treated with particular considera- 

A History of Alfred the Great, compiled from Turner's 
" History of the Anglo-Saxons," and the " Lodbroker-Quida," 
with a metrical translation by Dr. F. Lorentz : Hamburg, 

The .last work on the subject, "The Life of Alfred the 
Great, by the Eev. J. A. Giles : London, 1848," also deserves 
to be mentioned in the last place ; so defective is it in all its 
relations, so devoid of research into authorities, and so desti- 
tute of all interest in the style. Truly, it does not reflect 
much honour upon the English people, that a subject so im- 
portant as the Life of " The Darling of Old England" should 
not have been treated in a manner proportioned to its value, 
up to the date of the Jubilee which commemorated the 
thousandth anniversary of his birth ! 




THERE is matter for peculiar consideration in that section 
of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which bears the date of the 
year 855 ; and whose contents, recited from the earliest 
times by the Scalds, were probably first reduced to writing in 
the reign of Alfred. They relate the genealogy of the royal 
family of the "West Saxons, and trace it back to "Woden and 
the highest Gods 1 . 

Alfred, who, more than any other king of the middle 
/ages, was devoted with his whole soul to the belief in the 
{ eternal truths of Christianity, neither desired, nor was able, 
j to prevent his people from still continuing firm in their old 
] faith in the closest connexion between their own royal race 
^and the-ancient Pagan divinities. In the history of the origin 
of the Saxon, as well as of every other nation, the forms of Gods 
and heroes become blended in the same misty image, which at 
last assumes the character of an ancient traditionary king. 
It was only when the trust in the race of Cerdic, and with it 
the faith in the old traditions, were broken, that foreign con- 
querors could place themselves securely on the throne of 

Those traditions were, in all essential points, the same 
amongst the Anglo-Saxons and all the rest of the German 
races. They all traced their lineage back to the Deity, imd 

1 We find this interesting information given in its fullest extent, and in the 
least mutilated form, in the four oldest manuscripts of the Chronicle, where the 
taMe of descent is brought down to King Ethelwulf; and also in a fragment 
which is included in MS. Cotton. Tib. A, iii. and reaches as far as Edward II. 
(-J- 978). Judging from this date, and from the form of the letters, this frag- 
ment must have originated at the same time as our two oldest MSS. (Cott. 
Tib. A. vi.) There is no reason for supposing it to have been of an earlier date, 
as is suggested in the catalogue to the Cottonian collection ; more probably it is 
the remaining part of a lost copy of the Chronicle. From this, the register of 
descent is taken by Asser, Ethelwerd, and Florence. We possess also separate 
genealogies in the Chronicle of the latter. Later historians faithfully copy from 
these ancient authors, but continually increase the mutilation of the strange 
sounding names, and often entirely omit them. 


even called themselves by the names of the Gods. This 
firmly-rooted conviction concerning their origin we find 
amongst the Goths, as well as the Lombards a 
nayians ;_ andthe family-registers, which wel^~T3 
compiled and preserved, show the same names and descent 
amongst totally different races. The genealogy of the "West 
Saxon kings is the most perfect of all, and it affords a con- 
vincing proof of the early importance of this race, and of the 
ancient prophecies and fulfilments which have been linker] 
with it from the earliest ages. 

Some late researches have shown ns 1 , that in this table of 
descent, AVoden assumes the^jnghestjplace ajjbhe^chjeJLIjQ^ 
and that by far the principal number of those remaining are 
but epithets for one and the same person. Yet some of 
these are of remarkable signification, when we are seeking for 
the root of that family from which King Alfred proceeded ; 
and from which also, though in a very remote connexion, the 
present Queen of Great Britain is descended. Amongst 
them we find the mythical hero, Sceafa, who, on the burning 
of the dry land, was placed alone in a boat, exposed to the 
waves, and driven about by them, until he landed in the 
fabulous island, Scanzia. In Christian times, and probably 
first in those of Alfred, a place was found for him in a gene- 
alogical register of the Old Testament families, which trace 
back to Noah and Adam. "We read again of the God Beo- 
wulf, who is a prototype of the hero of the great Anglo- 
Saxon Epic, the Beowulf Wa3gmunding. Then we find Geat, 
a primary God of the general German mythology 2 . In the 
book of Tacitus, the three principal German races are said to 
descend from the three sons of the divine Mannus ; the Asen 
were the divine ancestors of the North. The people, as 
as their kings and heroes, also traced their origin to the 
and the Saxons remained firmly convinced of their divin 
descent, long after the light of Christianity, so rich in bless 
ings, had dawned upon them. Their Alfred, also, was divine. 1 ; 

!J. M. Kemble in his interesting work written in German, Ueber die 
Stammtafeln der Westsachen, Munchen. 1836, p. 9, 27. He has gone into all 
the details of the inquiry, in his preface to the second vol. of " Beowulf," f . 3- 
29. Vide also J. Grimm, German Mjthoiogy, p. 340-342, second edition. 

2 Kemble, a. a. 0. p. 15, 18, 22. 


The first individual of this race, which dates from the 
most remote antiquity, whose existence, though still ob- 
scured by the dim twilight of tradition, is still of historical 
importance, is Cerdic, the founder of the West Saxon kingdom. 
Scarcely fifteen years had elapsed since the arrival of the two 
traditionary hero-brothers, Hengist and Horsa, when Cerdic, 
with his son Cynric, landed on the south coast of England, at 
a place called in the Chronicle, Cerdicesore 1 . The influx of 
hordes of kindred pirates continued, without intermission, for 
the next ten years. The spot on which Port, after fighting 
victoriously, first set foot on British ground, and to which 
tradition probably gave his name, has preserved his memory 
to this day, and is a palpable geographical proof of the small 
beginning of that kingdom which was destined, by degrees, to 
unite in itself the whole southern extent of the island. Con- 
quering their way, step by step, and fighting many desperate 
battles, Cerdic, and his still braver son, took their country 
from the Britons, who in vain endeavoured strenuously to 
resist them ; and their resistance became more useless still, 
when, in the year 514, two nephews of the first Conqueror, 
Stuf and Wihtgar, landed with reinforcements from their 
native country. 

The founders of Wessex early distinguished themselves 
from the rulers of the rest of the Saxon and Anglian king- 
doms by their fierce, wild recklessness. They attacked not 
only the common enemy of the Germans who came conquer- 
ing to the west, the devoted Celts, now almost completely 
annihilated, but turned their weapons quite as unscrupu- 
lously against their own race and kindred. Amongst other 
tribes, the Jutes had landed in Kent, and also in Wessex 
and on the Isle of Wight, and had, as it were, laid the first 
foundation of a German settlement, on which the Saxon race 
now rested. Cerdic snatched from them the beautiful island 
which guards the largest maritime fortress of England, and 
gave it as a fief to his nephews, Stuf and Wihtgar, 
vho, on the father's side, were perhaps Jutes themselves 2 . 
When Cerdic died in the fortieth year after his arrival, he 
nad borne for sixteen years the royal crown of the West 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 494. 2 Lappenberg, History of England, i. j 12. 


Saxon kingdom 1 , which, at that time comprised the pvesent 
counties of Hampshire, Dorsetshire, and part of Somerset- 
shire ; the heroic King Arthur even, after making a vain 
resistance against the valiant sons of Woden, had been com- 
pelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Cerdic. 

Tiiese are facts whose reality cannot reasonably be disputed ; 
they are sufficiently confirmed by the rapid rise of Wessex. 
Yet the hero form of Cerdic, as well as those of his British 
adversaries, has been absorbed into a myth, as the numerous 
traditions relating to them testify ; and his forty years' resi- 
dence on English ground, and his sixteen years' rule, afford 
an example of that chronological confusion in an age whose 
only history is poetry, which was characteristic of the days of 
Hengist and his descendants 2 . 

This is not the place to give a detailed account of the 
struggles on either side, or to distinguish the public and 
private legal relations between the conquerors and the 
vanquished Britons ; all these points have been satisfactorily 
settled long since, by the distinguished historians who have 
treated the whole of this section of English history, as 
far as was possible with their limited sources of informa- 
tion. Our aim is, in conformity with them, to bring forward 
those eras in the history of Wessex, when that kingdom took 
a new direction in its development, significant of its future 

Ceawlin, who assumed the government after Cynric's 
death, followed unweariedly in the steps of his predecessors, 
and, by his unusual skill in the contests with the Germans 
and Britains, he raised Wessex to the highest position 
amongst the neighbouring kingdoms. In the year 568, he 
contested the dignity of Bretwalda with Ethelbert of Kent 3 ; 
he remained the victor on the field, and maintained his 

1 It was the battle of Cerdicesford (Charford) which established the kingdom. 
Chron. Sax. A. 519, " And siSiSan ricsadon Westscaxna cyncbearn of pam daege," 
and from that day the descendants of the royal race of the West Saxons held 

2 Lappenberg, p. 72, f. 

3 This does not mean u Supreme King, Lord of Britain," as has been maintained 
in modern times. According to Kemble, " The Saxons in England," ii. 20, 21, it 
signifies the "powerful Ruler;" and according to five manuscripts of the Chron, 
Sax. is derived from the adjective bryten, foetus, dissipatus. 

c 2 


supremacy over the Germanic kings of the island. J3y per- 
petual combats he drove back the Britons to the opposite 
bank of the Severn, and to the Welsh promontory that rises 
behind it ; and it would seem as though the bold conqueror 
of Wessex was already planning the union of the numerous 
small German principalities into one common monarchy. 
Among them the belief in the old Pagan Gods was in no way 
shaken, and if this most genuine descendant of Woden had 
fulfilled his scheme, if, supported by his personal influence, 
and the native strength of his firmly-united train of followers, 
he had stood forth in the same manner as the Frisian Kadbod 
or the Saxon Witikind did in later times, who shall say that 
the fair Angles, effectually strengthened by union, might not 
have successfully withstood even the Apostle Gregory the 
Great ? It was, therefore, of the greatest consequence for the 
History of the next century, that the Jutes of Kent, the 
Angles of Mercia, and the Christian Britons of Wales, should 
well understand from what side danger threatened them, 
and should form immediately a defensive alliance against 
their common enemy, who desired to bring them under 
_theypke of feudal service to him. In the year 501 fol- 
lowed the great battle of Wodnesbeorg, in Berkshire, which 
place was within the boundaries of Wessex. But the God 
under whose holy protection the battle was fought, turned 
his face away from his valiant descendant, who was com- 
pletely defeated, and went into exile, where he died at the 
expiration of two years. The dignity of Bretwalda devolved 
upon Kent, and the diminished kingdom descended to one of 
his brother's sons. 

This nephew was succeeded, in the year 597, by his brother 
Ceolwulf, a man who was thoroughly embued with the spirit 
of his uncle. The sceptre of the West Saxons devolved upon 
him at the time when Augustine landed on the Kentish coast, 
and when, after the baptism of King Ethelbert, the new 
doctrines of salvation commenced their victorious career, still 
taking a northern direction; until, in the course of a few 
years, the whole east coast of England, the east Anglian artf 
Northumbrian kingdoms prostrated themselves before tho 
cross. But not a single teacher of the new faith ventured 
into Wessex ; the name of its ruler rang with a wild and 
terrible sound in the other kingdoms cf the island, and Ceol- 


was willing and able to preserve to his race this cha, 
-acter of fierce and stubborn Paganism. It is recorded o\ 
him in the Saxon Chronicles 1 , that he continually fought 
against, and vanquished the kindred Angles, as well as the 
Welsh, the Picts, and Scots. In the year 607, we find him 
engaged in war with the neighbouring Sussex, which after a 
short time he reduced to subjection. But all his own bravery, 
and that of his immediate followers, was of no other avail than 
to protect the possessions they had hitherto acquired; for 
the supremacy of Wessex had long since departed, with the 
lost dignity of Bretwalda, and danger threatened it at home 
and abroad. 

Notwithstanding the scanty records we possess, the un- 
settled state of the royal succession is perfectly evident. 
Under similar circumstances, this wag the case amongst all 
the German-4-aces ^ the hereditary descent of the monarchy 
from father to son had not then become the rule, and it has 
been merely the result of time. Many centuries elapsed 
before a strict line of succession was observed in the different 
continental countries, and before the people ceased to choose 
for their ruler the strongest or the comeliest, without regard 
to the closer or more remote degree of relationship he might 
bear to his predecessor. This was especially the case with 
the "West Saxons, who clung so tenaciously to a royal lineage 
descending from Woden, and amongst whom, brother and 
cousin, son and nephew, followed each other indiscriminately ; 
different individuals frequently bearing the title of king at 
the same time. We have seen that, although Ceawlin had 
many sons, he was succeeded, after his complete overthrow, by 
his brother Ceolric, who, although he was not childless, was 
followed by his brother Ceolwulf. After the death of the 
latter, in 611, the kingdom passed again into his elder 
brother's line ; still it was split into a great many portions, 
for Cynegils by no means reigned alone. Cwichelm and others 
were quite independent of him ; each ruled a part of West 
Saxony, and only united in enterprises against the common 
foe, as they did 'in the battle of Beam dune 2 . This division ol 
wie same nation, under different leaders, must have seriously 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 597. 2 Chron. Sax. A. 6H. 


impaired the national strength, and its effects are SOOD 
perceptible. The same evil consequences that precisely at the 
same time attended the division of the kingdom of the 
Frankish Merovingians, also affected the West Saxons, but 
in a much less degree ; for their state, as we have seen, bore 
within it from the first the germs of union and centralisation. 
It was owing to this splitting asunder of their own strength, 
that the danger which now menaced from without assumed an 
aspect which became more and more serious. 

It seems as if the West Saxon kings, the true descendants 
of Woden, never, until their final conversion, abandoned the 
idea that they ought to stand forward as champions of the 
old Teutonic Paganism. Animated by his hatred of the 
Christian faith, Cwichelm despatched a murderer to the court 
of King Edwin of Deira (Northumbria), where already the 
G-ospel had found access. But the malicious scheme failed ; 
King Edwin's servant Lilla saved him with his own life. 
' Edwin, now justly enraged against the West Saxons, attacked 
\ them, and slew five of their kings 1 , and then became a con- 
i vert to Christianity in the year 626. Penda, a powerful 
' heathen prince, began to reign in Mercia in the same year. 
In an inconceivably short time he raised his kingdom, which 
included Christians and heathens, Germans and Welsh, to a 
high state of importance. In 628, he entered into an alliance 
with the West Saxons. Cynegils had resisted him most 
desperately at Cirencester, so that the battle remained un- 
decided, and the two commanders concluded a treaty. A 
faint glimmering of the old Paganism long remained among 
the Mercians, but the apostles of the true faith soon dispersed 
the light of the Gospel among the West Saxons. Their close 
family connexion with Oswald, King of the Northumbrian 
Bernicians, might have been the chief cause of this. It fur- 
ther appears, that Bishop Birinus, the delegate of Pope 
Honorius, and fully commissioned by him to preach the 
Gospel to the uttermost limits of the island, at this time also 
passed the boundaries ol Heathen West Saxony. And he was 
not mistaken in his judgment of the moment when the 
disputed supremacy of the sons of Woden seemed to be 
declining. In the meagre records of the Chronicle, we read 

1 Bede's Ecelesiastical History, ii. 9; Cliron. Sax. A. 626. 


that Cynegils was baptized in the year 635 1 , and Cwichelm in 
636. Cuthred, the son and successor of the latter, also em- 
braced Christianity, and established Birinus at Dorchester 
in the first "West Saxon bishopric. As it happened in all 
the newly-converted Anglo-Saxon countries, a reaction now 
ensued in favour of the old faith amongst the "West Saxons. 
Kenwalk, the son of Cynegils, had scarcely assumed the 
kingdom when he openly professed heathenism, and married 
a sister of Penda, the mighty Pagan monarch. But his own 
rashness proved his ruin ; he repudiated his wife, and Penda 
invaded and drove him from his kingdom in 645. It is 
probable that many of the "West Saxons were already zealous 
disciples of the preaching clergy, and therefore lent no aid to 
Kenwalk. During his three years' exile, which he passed with 
King Annas of East Anglia* he also embraced Christianity. 
It seems that he brought down that destroyer of all weak 
states, the wild Penda, on the head of his Christian host ; but 
Kenwalk himself returned to his home, and received a 
fraternal welcome from his relation Cuthred, whom he re- 
warded for this conduct by conferring on him lands and the 
title of viceroy. For the next twelve years, Kenwalk seems 
to have been chief ruler of West Saxony ; and the period 
during which he reigned is, on many accounts, not without 

In the first place, he may rightly be considered as the 
founder of the ecclesiastical constitution of "Wessex. It here 
manifested an endeavour to assume a national character before 
it did so in any other part of the island. After Birinus, a 
foreigner named Egilbert was appointed bishop ; he was a 
Frank, and it was soon asserted that the strange prelate could 
not speak to the people in their own language. At the same 
time, King Kenwalk proposed, on account of the great extent 
of "Wessex, to divide it into two dioceses he elevated "Win- 
chester to be a new episcopal see, and placed there as bishop, 
Wini, a Saxon who had been educated abroad. The Prankish 
bishop was bitterly aggrieved at this ; he resigned his office 
and went back to his own country, where he was shortly after- 
wards created Archbishop of Parish But the capricious king 

Bede's Ecclesiastical History, iii. 7. assert tiat King Oswald of Beinura 
was his godfather. 

Bede's EccL Hist. iii. 8; Chron. Sax. A. 660. 


did not long keep on friendly terms with Wini ; at the izo. of 
three years he deprived him of his situation, which was ouco 
more 'occupied by a foreigner, Leutherius, a nephew of 
Egilbert, who himself recommended him. 

Besides th'; first ecclesiastical perplexity, Kenwalkhad to 
contend M'ith difficulties in his secular affairs. Although the 
Mercian kingdom had at length become Christian, the hostile 
position it occupied with regard to "Wessex remained the same. 
Penda's Christian son, Wulfhere, repeatedly attacked the 
neighbouring country ; he even once took the Isle of "Wight 
from Kenwalk and gave it to the King of Sussex 1 . But on 
the whole, Kenwalk knew how to protect his kingdom ; in 
the contests with the Britons he was always victorious, and 
thus strengthened and established his northern and western 
boundaries. When he died in 672, his energetic wife Sex- 
burga held the reins of government for the space of a year, 
which proves to us that at that time the royal race could 
furnish no more worthy successor. This queen, whose name 
is recorded as the pride and support of her nation, takes 
her place, and by no means the lowest one, in that wonderf 
array of rare women, who, from Boadicea to Elizabeth, have, 
from time to time passed over the pages of British history ; 
and we cannot avoid joining in the praise and admiration which 
William of Malmesbury bestows on her 3 . Unfortunately, at 
the expiration of a year Sexburgha again, disappears from the 
scene. She left the kingdom in a great state of confusion 
as regarded the succession, in which it continued for fifteen 

According to the scarcely more than genealogical records 
of the Tear-books, Cenfus, a great-grandson of Ceolwulf, 
possessed the sovereignty for the next two years. We 
may venture to place the more reliance on this fact, as 
King Alfred himself mentions it, probably in his Manual, 
from which William of Malmesbury and others were some- 
times accustomed to copy 3 . From 674 to 676, Cenfus was 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 661. Christianity was first preached here V; the Jutish 

2 William of Malmesbury, Gesta Reg. Angl. i. 32 , Ed. Hardy, Chron. Sax. A. 672. 

3 Florent. Wigorn. is the authority for this ; Geneal. p. 693. Deinde Kenfua 
dnobus annis secundum dicta regis yElfredi, juxta chronicam anglicam vero filius 
ejus yEscvvinus i'ere tribus annis regnavit. 


succeeded by his son Escwin, who, like his predecessors> 
fought with Wult'here of Mercia. After his death, or perhaps 
whilst he was yet reigning, Kentwine, the brother of Ken- 
walk, assumed the title of king. His attention was especially 
directed towards the south-west boundaries of his kingdom, 
where the Britons of Cornwall, incited and supported by their 
brethren in Armorica beyond the sea, profiting by internal 
dissensions among the West Saxons, were endeavouring by 
force of arms to make good their old claims to the possessions 
which had been torn from them. They "were, however, subdued 
by the courage and skill of the German warrior ; and we do 
not hesitate in attributing to Kentwine the merit of laying 
the first foundation of the submission of the counties of 
Devon and Cornwall to the West Saxon crown 1 . 

The numerous connexions with the Celtic principalities of 
the West, and even the influence which their national character 
had at this time on that of the G-ermans, become particu- 
larly evident through the frequent mixing up of events and 
names in the history of both which appears in the Annales 
CambrisB ; this has long since been skilfully pointed out 2 . The 
similarity of names between C&dwalla, a relation of Kent- 
wine, who revolted against him, and Cadwallader, the Welsh 
prince, is no mere accident. Certainly the British annalists 
may have taken pains to transfer the deeds and history of 
the Saxon to their own similarly-named hero ; the Celtic 
<ound in the name of the former cannot be denied. He and brother Mul were sons of the inferior King Cenbert, 
most probably by a British mother 3 . Their own history must 
bear witness to this. The youth Ca3dwalla, the last Saxon who 
adhered to the old idol-worship, was outlawed after the failure 
of his ambitious designs on the throne, by King Kentwine. 
He secreted himself in the Andredswald, which marked the 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 682. Ccntwine geflymde bryt-we-alas op see. Florent. Chron. 
A. 681, i. 37. Occidentals Britones. 

2 Lappenberg, p. 250, f. 

3 I here adopt the opinion indicated by Kemble in a work " On the names, sur- 
names, and nicknames of the Anglo-Saxons: London, 1846, p. 4, 5;" according 
to which the name Mul signifies nothing more nor less than " mule,'' fjfjLiovos, 
the " half-bred." May not the similar sounding names in Lappenberg, p. 252, of 
the Eburonen Cativulcus (Ca3s. de Bello Gall. vi. 31), and of the Gothic Ca- 
tualda (Tac. Ann. ii. 62), have their origin in the same mixture of Celtish and 
German blood? In the same manner I might call attention to the similarity :f 
sound between the words W** ** WaJdi. and Wallach. 


boundary between Sussex and "Wessex. Concealed by tlie 
thickets, lie assembled a daring band, composed partly of reai 
Britons, and partly of a mixed race, who had fallen back into 
the old Paganism, and who, as renegades, troubled them- 
selves but little, if at all, about matters of faith. When we 
remember that, in the commencement of all Germanic states, 
the offspring of the marriages between the Germans and 
the people conquered by them enjoyed no perfect freedom, and 
if we assume that King Ina 1 was the first to make arrange- 
ments for this equality of rights among the West Saxons, we 
can no longer wonder that, in so short a time, Ca3dwalla took 
so threatening a position. His companions, who joyfully 
followed him as their leader, were in a similar condition with 
himself their origin, their unbelief, the ban which suc- 
ceeded their revolt, were all alike. With this band, who 
fought for life and honour, Ceedwalla kept the South Saxons, 
whose land was an established apple of discord between 
Wessex and Mercia, in a constant state of fear and terror, 
until, after the death of the reigning king, the Ealdermen 
Berthun, and Ethelhun, succeeded in driving him from his 
fastnesses. But his power was not yet subdued ; he still 
continued as before to strive for the royal crown of Wessex, 
Then, without our being able to assign any particular rea- 
son for the step, Kentwine abdicated, entered a monastery 2 , 
and Caedwalla took his place as King of the West Saxons. 
Still he was not baptized, although he had been already 
favourably disposed towards Christianity by the zealous 
Bishop Wilfrith of York (who, exiled from his own church 
:md office, then dwelt in Sussex), and by his own Christian 
mother 3 . But inspired by the old wild fury, he first took 
fearful revenge upon his enemies amongst the South Saxons ; 
and then, in conj unction with his brother Mul, a beautiful 
and athletic youth, he made a fierce attack on the Jutish in- 
habitants of the Isle of Wight, who were also still heathens. 
At last he yielded to the entreaties of Mul, who was animated 
by as obstinate a spirit as his own, and invaded Kent wit*: 

1 Lappenberg, p. 258. 

2 Lappenberg, p. 253, n. 2, most probably takes this information from an ancient 
poet in Alcuin's works ; wbo, according to May (Auctores Classic! e codd. Vatic 
v. 387), is no other than Aldhelm. 

According to Kemble's supposition ;a the last-quoted passage from that au 
thor, with whic!a may be compared Bede's Ecclesiastical History, iv. 16, 


fire and sword. Mul, who in his excessive rashness ventured 
too far into the enemy's country, was, with twelve of his 
companions, surrounded in a hut by the men of Kent, and 
burnt alive 1 . For this deed his brother took terrible revenge 
by blood and rapine. But suddenly he abandoned all, relin- 
quished the crown in favour of his kinsman Ina, and, im- 
pelled by an irresistible inward impulse, departed for Rome. 
There he was baptized by Pope Sergius in the Easter of the 
year 689 ; and eight days afterwards, April 20th, he died, still 
clothed in the white robes of baptism 2 . Is not this like reading 
a Welsh or British legend ? Thus, like a fiery meteor, which, 
presaging war and desolation, burns brightly for a moment, 
and then suddenly disappears, CaBdwalla, more Celt than 
Grerman, flashes across the History of Wessex. 

Ina's descent and degree of relationship to his kinsman 
C&dwalla 3 , are not easily traced, on account of the contradic- 
tions in the only genealogical table which we possess ; his 
rule, which lasted six-and-thirty years, presents a great con- 
trast to the otner governments of the little state, which were 
rendered so unsettled by perpetual feuds and changes of their 
supreme head. But contests with the neighbouring king- 
doms were by no means wanting during his period of power. 
The same warlike relations subsisted as before with the 
Britons ; the historical records of the "Welsh have connected 
Ina wdth their own Ivor ; but according to some Saxon 
genealogies, Ina was a brother of the Saxo-Britons, C&dwalla 
and Mul. Tor the murder of the latter, he, at any rate, 
required additional satisfaction from the King of Kent, whom 
he compelled to pay a heavy were-geld, which the Chronicle 
indicates as a very considerable sum according to the stan- 
dard of coinage at that time. There were continual con- 
tests with the hated Mercians ; in the year 715 another 
battle was fought at a place called Wodensbeorg (Wen- 
borough in Wilts). But it is gratifying to find this prince, 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 687 ; William of Malmesbury, i. 35 ; Henry of Huntingdon, 
lib. iv. 722. 

2 Bede's Ecclesiastical History, v. 7; Henry of Huntingdon, iv. 723; Paul. 
Diac. Hist. Longob. vi. 15. The pilgrim found a hospitable reception from F.I- 
melinde, the Kentish Queen of Lombardy. 

3 His father Cenred appears as sub-regulus, and according to the most credible 
testimony, was descended in a direct line from Ceawlin. Lappenber ? p. 266. 



the first of all the Saxon kings, active in the ci\.l affairs 
his state amidst the constant din of war. According to the 
example of the King of Kent, he caused the laws of his 
people to be recorded ; and these we still possess, as they 
were collected and revised by Alfred. "We shall consider the 
tenour and importance of these laws in a suitable place. 

We might naturally look, during his life, for a rapid rise 
in the development of the Church in Wessex, and of that 
civilisation which was so intimately connected with it ; and 
this rise assuredly could not have taken place without the 
sanction of the sovereign. The strife between native and 
foreign influence in the young Church had continued un- 
interruptedly since the days of Kenwalk. We have already 
spoken of C&dwalla's intercourse with Wilfrith. This rest- 
less man had been banished from his diocese at York on 
account of his enthusiastic zeal for the extension of the 
national Church, in opposition to the wish of the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, Theodore the Greek. Tor many years, inces- 
santly brooding on his wrongs, he wandered from one dio- 
cese to another, and came into Wessex, in company with, and 
under the protection of his yet unconverted patron. His 
mind was still busy and restless there, and after some time 
he was invested with one of the two bishoprics. There is no 
further mention of the foreigner Leutherius, and we find 
Hedde, a native, at the head of this diocese towards the close 
of the seventh century. After his death in 703, Ina was 
advised to separate another see from Winchester, and to 
establish it at Sherborne, in Dorsetshire. He placed there, 
as the first bishop, a highly distinguished man, whom w< 
may, with good reason, suppose to have been personal / 
intimate with him, the learned priest and poet, Aldhelm. It 
is well known 1 , that he, a youth of high rank, and probably 
even of the royal family of the West Saxons, was led by h/a 
desire of learning to Canterbury ; that there, where alone 
they were to be learns, at the feet of Theodore and the Abbot 

1 Besides Bede's Eccl. Hist. v. 18, the chief authorities on the subject of Ald- 
helm, are William of Malmesbrry, a pupil and monk of his monastery, in his Vi'j 
Aldhelmi; and that MS. generally known as Lib. v. of the Gesta Pontif. ; au< 
also Whnrton, in his Angli* Sacra, p. 2, 599. Some old MSS- of these differ 
ni-rhtly from the text, but all contain the accounts which William took \xn Kin* 
Alfred's Manual- 


Hadrian, he attained perfect mastery over the classic lar. 
puages of Greece and Borne, and then returned home tc 
tiie solitude of the forest by the Avon, and to his cloister 
at Malmesbury ; and from thence, by word and writing, by 
ballads in his native tongue, and by Latin poetry, he in- 
fluenced, instructed, and improved his countrymen and the 
Church, both at home and abroad. The same undertaking, 
namely the protection of learning and education, both 
threatened with destruction, which his great contemporary 
Bede by various means attempted to achieve in the North 
of England from his tranquil cell at Wearmouth an under- 
taking whose consequences soon became evident with the 
diffusion of his works throughout Europe Aldhelm per- 
severingly carried on in the South, only in a different and 
somewhat more practical manner. His Latin writings and 
poems were of much value to the Catholic Church, the lever 
and prop of all education in those times ; and we learn from 
our Alfred himself, that Aldhelm preached on the high- 
roads and on the bridges to the people, and sang Christian 
hymns, whose old poetical form and familiar tones must 
have produced a wonderful effect on the sturdy, half-barbaric 
audience. If Bede penetrated into a different and more 
speculative field of knowledge, Aldhelm possessed a pure 
lyrical nature, which by its energy and deep German earnest- 
ness could not fail in making an impression on the most 
rugged characters. Of the good he effected as Bishop of 
Sherborne, until his death in 709, we know scarcely any- 
thing ; but he must have sown many of those seeds which, in 
Alfred's days, bore such glorious fruits. 

That Ina, in his endeavours for the good of the Church, 
was also intimately connected with "Winfrid, the subsequent 
great Apostle of North-West Germany and that, indeed, he 
made him his deputy to the Archbishop of Canterbury we 
learn from the biography of this celebrated man 1 . 

The last years of the king's reign were disturbed by 
internal dissensions, and by the conspiracies of the two 
presumptive heirs to his throne. But he withstood these dif- 
ficulties also, chiefly strengthened by the courageous support 
of his consort Ethelburga, a woman of a masculine spirit 

Willibaldi, vita S- Bonifacii ap. Pertz MOD. Germ. SS. ii. 337 


Soon afterwards, in the year 725, weary of the burden of 

j sovereignty, and in compliance with the wishes of his queen, 

I he abdicated the throne, and made a pilgrimage with her to 

Borne, where they both closed their lives in prayer and 

V^penance 1 . 

Ina was succeeded by Ethelherd, the brother of his wife. 
It seems that the passing of the crown into the female line, 
although the present king belonged to the royal race of 
Cerdic 2 , entailed many internal strifes and sufferings of u 
serious nature on the kingdom ; which, at Ina's abdication, 
ought .to have passed to a male relation of his own, and all 
the succeeding kings had to contend against the insurrec- 
tions^of princes of the royal blood. During the first years of 
"Ins reign, Ethelherd had to struggle against the pretensions of 
the Atheling Oswald. It is no matter of wonder therefore, 
that encouraged by discords of such a nature, the so-ofteii 
vanquished Britons sought to free themselves from their 
bondage ; and they actually gained some victories over Ethel- 
herd 3 , who was only able by great efforts to protect himself 
and his boundaries against another enemy, whose power was 
continually on the increase King Ethelbald of Mercia. 
After the death of Ethelherd in 739, Cuthred, a prince of 
his family, assumed his difficult and responsible position. 
At first he could alone obtain the ascendancy over the neigh- 
bouring Britons by an alliance with his hereditary Mercian 
foe. But the Mercian soon proved a more dangerous ad- 
versary than before ; for the Angles, the South Saxons, and 
the Welsh, became willing followers of his conquering army. 
Almost at the same time, a still worse enemy arose in Cuthred' s 
immediate vicinity, the overbearing Ealderman Ethelhun 4 . 
According to a credible account, this most valiant warrior of 
his time was only subdued after a desperate conflict, and 
when a severe wound compelled him to lay down his arms ; 
soon afterwards he performed a service to his king, whoso 
consequences were of incalculable value to Wessex. It wa& 

1 Bede's Eccl. Hist.,v. 18; Cliron. Sax. and Florent. i. 51, give this date 728. 

2 Ethelburga is called " filia regii generio et unimi," by William of Malmesbury, 
lib. i. 35. 

3 Florent. Chron. 5. 52. 

4 He is thus named in the Chronicle, A. 750 ; Henry of Huntingdon, iv. 728, 
styles him " audacissimus consul." 


to Ethelhun that, in the year 752, was intrusted the supreme 
command of the Saxon troops against Ethelbald of Mercia. 
At the head of his warriors, with the banner of the kingdom 
on which the golden dragon shone, in his hand, he rushed into 
the midst of the enemy's army at Burford ; the Mercian stan- 
dard-bearer fell beneath his sword, and Ethelbald, who had 
never before met his equal in the field, trembled at the sight 
of such valour, and by his sudden flight decided the issue of 
the contest 1 . This day, on which the West Saxons fought for 
their independence, also bestowed on them the so-long con- 
tested supremacy of which the Mercians were deprived; and 
which from this time exalted Wessex, in spite even of an 
Offa, to be the first state in the island. 

Two years after this victory, which had decided so important 
a point, Cuthred died, leaving no direct heirs, to the great 
disadvantage of his country. His successor, who on account 
of the similarity of his name, seems to have belonged to the 
royal family of Essex, and not to the race of Cerdic, was so 
intoxicated with the pride of his power, that he was guilty 
of cruel tyranny towards the free-born West Saxons ; and 
soon afterwards, driven by them from house and home, he 
perished as an outlaw in the Andredswald. His short reign, 
as well as that of the Cerdician Cynewulf, who was raised to 
the throne in his stead by the assembled nobles, and whicH 
lasted three-and-thirty years, show us in a striking manner 
that the internal affairs of the state were riot well arrange* 
for a long period, and that the succession especially needed h 
fixed arrangement which might secure the kingdom from 
tyrants, and the princes from usurpers. Only very slight in- 
formation remains to us of the last ruler, with the exception 
of some casual mention of his campaigns against Wales and 
Mercia. His violent end is almost the only circumstance which 
the native Tear-books relate with unwonted circumstantiality. 
The narrative is as follows : Cynewulf was prosecuting a secret 

1 The best account of Ethelhun and his heroic bravery is given by Henry ot 
Huntingdon, iv. 728, who must have taken his materials for the description of the 
battle of Burford from some old war-songs, which here and there seem to flow in 
Latin rhythm, and which undoubtedly were much superior in language and 
foetic diction to the far mire modern, but to us invaluable poetical descriptions 
of the battles of Brunanberg and Maldon; Lappenberg, p. 220, 264, also relatm 
these circumstances in the very words used by the battle-delineating chronicler. 


amour at Mertor, in Devonshire, not sus; ecting that the 
Prince Cyneard, a brother of the Sigebert whom he had 
dethroned, was plotting against his life and his crown. The 
traitor, with his adherents, surrounded the castle where the 
king was staying ; and when the latter was about to place 
himself at the gates to defend them against the assailants, 
Cyneard perceived him, and he was immediately disarmed 
and slain. The shrieks of the women roused the few atten- 
dants from their sleep : bravely fighting, they also fell, disdain- 
ing Cyneard's offers of life and reward. One Briton was kept 
in Merton as a hostage. This man, though grievously wounded, 
summoned, probably on the following morning, a royal troop 
which had been left in the neighbourhood under the command 
of some nobles. As they rode up to the place, they saw the 
corpse of their king lying before the closed gates. The prince 
began to treat with them for the crown, and made them the 
most advantageous offers to gain their favour. But they were 
inflexible, and declared, that since their beloved king was slain, 
they would neither now nor at any time follow his murderer. 
A summons to their relations within the castle to return home 
and leave the cause of the rebel, was met with the answer 
that their own people the day before had refused a similar 
proposal. Then beneath the castle walls there once more 
ensued a desperate conflict. At length the adherents of the 
murdered king forced an entrance, and slew all whom they 
found within, eighty -four in number, with the exception of 
one man, who was the godson of the prince 1 . 

By election, the crown now devolved on Bertric, who 
oelonged to another branch of the royal race, passing over 
those who had better-founded claims to the sovereignty. 
i'or example, there was in existence a great grandson of 
j-iigild, King Ina's brother, whose name was Elmund, and 
who had obtained possession of the kingdom of Kent, we may 
suppose, by force of a similar enterprise to that by which 

1 I take this relation from the somewhat confused account given in the Chron. 
Sax., which is erroneously placed under the year 755 instead of 783, and which 
Thorpe. Flor. Wigorn. i. 61, n. 5, considers as a modern interpolation. It is 
without doubt a fragment of an old song, whose antique form may be occasionally 
recognised by the traces of alliteration, and in the conversation of the two bands of 
warriors which is c.-'iied on in the first person; Florent. i. GO; Wilh. Malmesb. i 
*& ; and Henric. lluntingd. iv. 731, must however be compared with Lappenbenj 


Csedwaila had formerly attained Wessex. Elmund's son Eg- 
bert, a daring and ambitious young man, remembered his old 
rights to the crown of his hereditary lands ; the new ruler could 
only maintain his power by forcing the pretender to leave the 
kingdom, and even the island ; and Egbert did not venture, 
during Bertric' s life, to make any attempt in favour of his 
claims. Meanwhile, the "West Saxons had not been deceived 
in their choice of a sovereign ; for the reign of Bertric, unlike 
that of either of his predecessors, was throughout peaceful 
and prosperous. It is true, however, that at this time, 
harbingers of evil days appeared on the coast of Dorsetshire 
the first three ships of the pirate Northmen, who, in tho 
course of a lew years, were destined to overwhelm the whole 
fertile island ; but they committed then no further outrage 
than some robberies, and the murder of the chief officer of 
the king and his people, who had gone to meet them from 
Dorchester, in order to oppose their lauding unless the 
customary toll was paid 1 . 

There now existed a lasting peace with Mercia ; for, im- 
mediately after his accession to the throne, Bertric had 
married Eadburga, the daughter of the great King Ofta. The 
sword and spear now had a long resting time, and the hands 
which had wielded them found more useful occupation in hold- 
ing the plough. But in his wife, the king nourished a viper in 
his bosom. She came from a mother w : ho had once plunged a 
dagger into the heart of her own son-in-law ; and imagining 
that her influence over her husband which she well knew 
how to turn to the advantage of her native land was de- 
creasing, she did not hesitate to mix poison in the drink of 
the Ealderman Warr, a young and talented favourite of the 
king. But Bertric also drank of the cup, and died a victim 
to the crime of his wife 2 . Eadburga fled, laden with treasures ; 
and after a long arid restless life, met a miserable and 
ignominious end in Italy 3 . 

'Chron. Sax. A. 787; Ethelwerd Chron. iii. prooem. p. 509; Florent. i. 62. 

Not before 801. According to the Cod. Dipl. No. 1.80, all this happened in the 
year 802. 

3 Asser, Gesta Alfredi, p. 471. As was remarked, p. 9, Asser relates the 
.listory and fate of this unfortunate queen from the information received from his 
royal friend. Florent. Wigorn. i. 76, and Simeon Dunelm. Chron. p. f 72, copy 
from Asser. 



Bertric en led his life exactly at the time when Charle- 
magne set off for Home to claim the imperial crown from 
the hands of the Pope. During his absence, Egbert, who 
had passed his thirteen 1 years of exile in the Prankish 
camp, complied with the summons of his adherents, and 
resolved to return home with all speed, to take possession of 
that throne which in future no one dared dispute with him. 
His long residence in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Charlemagne had not been without the most decided and 
lasting influence on the development of his own personal 
character, and on the history of his government. There had 
for a long time existed an extensive commerce between the 
Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, but the two nations not only 
exchanged their productions in a trading intercourse, they 
had also many political relations of a friendly nature, and 
were bound together by common spiritual interest. Both 
fought against the same enemy : for the continental Celts 
maintained unbroken their ancient connexion with those of 
the Island of Britain ; and it also seemed probable that 
the Christian Germanic tribes, on both sides of the Channel, 
would be threatened by the dangerous foe which now first 
began to appear on the seas. The requirements of the 
Church and her ministers also induced Charlemagne, as they 
had done his forefathers, to remain in a close alliance with 
the learned and zealous islanders, and not to allow the ties 
of friendship which bound him to the different courts of 
Mercia and Northumberland to be loosened. The Franks 
always bore in mind what they and their mighty state owed 
to a Bonifacius ; after him, they had seen what had been 
effected by Willehad ; and now they followed their teacher 
Alcuin, full of astonishment at the extent of his learning. 
When Charlemagne, animated by a feeling of gratitude, 
willingly afforded an asylum to the fugitive prince, the latter 
was also indebted to him for much instruction and many 
benefits. The rough, honest Saxon not only learnt from the 
more refined Frank a greater dexterity in the use of arms, 
and a more polished demeanour, but he marked attentively 

1 The No. III. instead of XIII. is a clerical error of the Chron. Sax. A. 836, 
which has been adopted also by Florent. Wigorn. i. 69; and Henric. Huntingdon, 
iv. 733. According to these authorities, it was Offa who persuaded his son-in- 
Uw, on his accession, to take this measure against Egbert. 


wliat was passing before his eyes ; he saw how, in a skilful 
hand, the reins of government might be made to unite and 
hold in a straight course the numerous Teutonic races, be- 
tween whom, originally, no political connexion subsisted ; he 
learnt the means by which the most obstinate enemy was in- 
spired with terror and dismay, even at the furthest extremi- 
ties of the kingdom ; and he could not but have admired the 
care and ability by which the greatest ruler of his nation 
endeavoured to maintain order and lasting peace. 

Egbert did not neglect to profit by these excellent and 
important lessons. From the moment when he set foot on 
his native land as its king, the idea was uppermost in his 
mind of forming one entire kingdom which might be able 
to keep its enemies in check, and effect much internal 
good, out of the numerous small states, which, in their 
present state of isolation, had the greatest difficulty in main- 
taining their existence. Directly on his arrival, however, 
his northern neighbours endeavoured to place difficulties in 
his path ; a band of Mercian Hwiccas passed over the boun- 
dary river, the Isis, but this attack was defeated by a brave 
troop of Wiltshire men, and a treaty was provisionally con- 
cluded with King Cenwulf of Mercia 1 . No opposition was 
raised to Egbert's accession, and thus, after many unquiet 
reigns, during which one descendant of Cerdic strove 
against another, the sceptre at last devolved on the true heir, 
who was able to ensure its succession to his own family. 
That he closely followed the example of the emperor, and was 
anxious to bring into operation those plans which he had 
already matured abroad, is clearly evident from the fact, 
which, however, rests on somewhat modern authority, that 
one of the first acts of his reign was to bestow the name 
of England upon his kingdom and those provinces over 
which his influence extended, at a Witenagemote held at 

Assuming that this account, in its present form, is merely 
a confused fabrication of the following century, we cannot 
doubt that it contains a germ of truth. The Chronicles agree 
unanimously in calling this king the last of the eight ac- 
knowledged Bretwaldas. When the connexion of different 

1 Lappenberg, p. 271. 


states under one inefficient power ceased, this title also be- 
came extinct, and Egbert substituted for it something far 
more definite. Without doubt, the new name of Anglia was 
bestowed on the kingdom, and that of King of England on 
the sovereign, during his reign, and by his express direc- 
tions. Although the Saxons constituted the chief strength 
of the kingdom, we cannot wonder that its name should have 
been founded on that of the Angles ; for the Anglian colo- 
nists had always been the most numerous, and among them 
the Church had first taken a decided form, and unfolded 
its blessings. Gregory the Great had already met with 
Angles in the slave-market at Borne ; but he sent his apostle 
equally to them and the Saxons. Abroad, the name had 
always borne the most honourable sound ; and at home 
there were sufficient reasons why the Saxon conquerors 
should readily adopt it 1 . 

We perceive, by Egbert's own actions, in what manner he 
conducted his state to the desired goal. In the first place he 
never for a moment lost sight of the task which had descended 
to him from his heathen and Christian ancestors, that of ex- 
tending the Grermanic rule in the West, and of taking more and 
more land and influence from the Britons, who now again began 
to stir themselves on both sides of the water. About the year 
809, we find him completely victorious in campaigns in Corn- 
wall, as well as in Wales. He chastised the Northern Britons 
with fire and sword ; from those in the South he levied tribute, 
as a mark of their dependence ; and the inhabitants of Devon- 
shire and the extreme south-west point of England became 
still more firmly bound to his dominion 2 . According to one 
account, the Saxons at this time also took possession of the 
kingdom of Powis 3 . 

~- His position, however, with regard to the other neighbour- 
ing G-erman states was of infinitely greater importance to 
the success of his plans. The power of Mercia was still not 
to be despised, although, soon after Offa's death, disputes had 
arisen respecting the succession, which in no small degree 
contributed to the impending downfal of this kingdom. Eg- 

1 Lappenberg, p. 272 ; Translation, ii. 3. 

2 Cliron. Sax. A. 813, 823; Florent. Wigorn. i. 64, 65; Ethelwerd Chroo. ii 
410; Caradoc, p. 25, 26. 
Brut y Tywysogion, Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 844; Annalei Cambr. ib. p. 835. 


bert had already reigned more than twenty years over the 
W n st Saxons, when, he became entangled in a war with 
Bernwulf, who at that time aspired to the throne of Mercia. 
A king of the East Angles appealed for protection to the 
mighty Saxon monarch, and thereupon, according to their old 
custom, the Mercians made a wild incursion deep into the 
heart of the West Saxon territory, and were defeated with 
fearful loss at Ellandune ("Wilton) in the year 832O The 
consequence of this battle was, that the iHftncntTe which 
Mercia had exercised over the small southern states of the 
island, for the last quarter of a century, was now entirely 
destroyed. "We may remember, that CaBdwalla once endea- 
voured to establish the supremacy of West over South 
Saxony, that Ina had done the same with regard to Kent, and 
that the successors of his brother had even enjoyed the title 
of king in that country ; and on the other side, the cruel King 
Sigebert, and his nearest relations, seem, by the similarity of 
their names, to have been connected with the East Anglian 
monarch s. Moreover, Baldred, who was under the influence 
of Mercia, assumed the royal title in Kent after the ancient 
kingly line of the JEscingen had become extinct, and whilst 
the successor of Ingild sat on the West Saxon throne. After 
the subjugation of Mercia, Egbert sent his son Ethelwulf, ac- 
companied by Bishop Ealstan of Sherborne, and the Ealder- 
man Wulfherd on an expedition against Kent. Baldred fled 
immediately across the Thames into the north, and never 
again beheld his country or his throne. Sussex, Kent, and 
Essex, as well as Suthrige (Surrey), now entirely lost their 
independence ; the several members of their royal families 
were either destroyed or degenerated, the small states felt 
their own powerless condition, and from this time we find 
them all united to the West Saxon crown, so that one or 
more of them might at any time be transferred to the reign- 
ing sovereign as a feudal possession. But within their several 

1 Cbron. Sax. A. 823. Henric. Huntingd. iv. 733, says: " Ellendune rivus 
cruore rubuit, ruina restitit, foetore tabuit." Robert de Brunne also says, in hi* 
Rhyming Chronicle : 

Ellendoune, Ellendoune. pi lond is fulle rede 
Of pe blode of Bernewolf per he toke his dede. 
King Bernwulf died two years later. 


limits, laws and customs continued for a long period widely 

In the year 825, Bernwulf lost the battle and his life in an 
engagement with the East Anglians. His successor, Wiglaf, 
after being defeated by Egbert, had much difficulty, first in 
concealing himself from his wrath and revenge, and then in 
becoming reinstated in his position as an independent sove- 
reign. Egbert compelled the East Angles to recognise his 
authority, and then penetrated with an army into the dis- 
tricts beyond the Humber ; whilst his troops in the west, after 
conquering the ancient Mona, bestowed on it the German 
name of Anglesey 1 . 

These submissions all took place in the course' of a few 
years, although the results of the conflicts of some centuries 
had contributed towards them ; and thus, at length, over the 
numerous petty states, a new sovereignty became established 
^ more efficient and powerful than the old fictitious dignity 
of Bretwalda. Egbert's supremacy prepared the way for a 
far more extended union and centralisation in future times. 
This prince is generally pointed out and extolled as the 
destroyer of the Heptarchy, but incorrectly, for he annexed 
to his crown more than seven small kingdoms, and some 
of these also included many principalities ; on the other 
hand, Mercia and Northumbria retained, for some time, a 
separate monarchy, although the latter was under the do- 
minion of the Northmen, and the former was dependent on 
Wessex. But Egbert effectually prevented any other prince 
from attempting to rival him in his exalted position. The 
kingdom of Wessex now commanded the respect of all the 
remaining provinces by its geographical situation and extent; 
it embraced a number of districts lying contiguous to each 
other, inclosed by an unbroken boundary which extended 
southward from the Thames to the sea, and besides the 
ancient provinces, the counties of Hants with the Isle of 
"Wight, Dorset, "Wilts, Somerset, Berks, and the southern half 
of Oxfordshire, now included Devonshire, which was in- 
habited by a mixed population, and the greatest part of 
Gloucestershire. The small isolated principalities of the 
North and South Britons in Wales and Cornwall next be- 

Lappenberg, p. 276. 


cams subject to Wessex, as well as the German states of 
Sussex, Kent, and Essex. The inland Mercia, which had 
always endeavoured to gain an outlet by conquests in a 
south-east direction, and whose boundaries had latterly ex- 
tended along the north bank of the Thames to its mouth, 
was, in consequence of its situation and hitherto important 
position, in a less subordinate condition; and the Anglian 
states on the east coast were still less subdued. 

Egbertv^evertheless, succeeded in uniting all these separate 
districts by the ties of a" common interest ; and by that closs. 
union, after indescribable difficulty, he first enabled the whole 
German population to make a stand against the hordes of 
northern invaders. 

And th'5sB~sc6urges of nations did not delay their ap- 
proach. The crews of those three pioneering vessels who 
had once landed near Dorchester, gave the first intelligence to 
their comrades at home respecting that glorious island where 
agriculture and commerce were in the first blush of pros- 
perity. Even during the life of Egbert the Northmen paid 
many visits to his coasts. AVe cannot here enter into the 
historical reasons which induced this wild piratical race, after- 
wards so richly endowed, to leave their poor and desolate 
home, and trust themselves in bands to the waves in search 
of plunder on more highly-favoured shores, and when their 
destiny willed, or good fortune was propitious, to establish 
settlements. It may also be remembered that, probably for a 
long time past, the Scandinavians had established themselves 
firmly in the small islands to the north of Scotland, in Scot- \ 
land itself, and in Ireland; but that in the beginning _of/ 
the ninth century, important events in the north drove 
large masses of people from their ancient fatherland ; and it 
is evident, that those who now began to disturb the whole of 
Europe, were Danes from the Scandinavian continent and 
islands. These events were undoubtedly similar to those 
which once compelled the Germans to become a wandering 
people. The voyages of the bold Vikings were in reality only 
a continuation of these expeditions, and in this case were 
not directed from the interior of the mainland towards the 
sea-shore, but were prosecuted by the heathen Northmen on 
their own element, and had for their object the attainmen 
of a line of coast. They succeeded the most easily where 


the Germans had settled before them, for instance, on the 
east coast of England and in Neustria ; they even extended 
their march to the south of Spain 1 , and far along the Medi- 
terranean shore. These latest national wanderings were, 
indeed, calculated to bind firmly together the most extreme 
points of the world, and must have been equally felt by the 
Sclavonians in the north-east, and by the Eastern Emperors. 

But to return to England. The Danes landed, in the 
year 831, on the Island of Sheppey. In the following year, 
they appeared with five-and-thirty ships oif Charmouth, in 
Dorsetshire, and took King Egbert by surprise and in spite 
of his commanding his people in person, they recoiled before 
the enemy. He immediately assembled his nobles in London, 
and deliberated with them on the means of defence ; thus, 
when the Danes again returned in 835, they found the king 
and his people better prepared, and at Hengeston 2 especially, 
they were completely defeated and put to Sight. This fleet, 
as well as most of those who attacked the south of England, 
probably came from Ireland, and was in league with the 
Britons in "Wales ; for it is recorded as Egbert's lasb act, 
that he inflicted severe punishment on, and threatened 
with utter extermination in his dominions, the Welsh wlio 
had formed similar alliances in the kingdom of the Cnrlo- 
vingians, and who had afforded assistance to the sea-robbers. 
This prince had, indeed, accomplished great deeds, when his 
career was arrested by death, in the year 838 3 ; yet he could 
not bequeath the kingdom to his son without deep anxiety, 
caused by the approach of the new enemy. 

This son Ethelwulf was, as our most authentic records 
assert, the only heir of Egbert, by his consort Eedburgha 4 . 
His character and disposition were but too well calculated to 

1 In the year 843, fifty-four of their ships appeared before Lisbon, and from 
thence coasted along the shore farther towards the south, and went up the 
Guadalquiver as far as the walls of Seville. Conde Historia de la dominacion 
de los Arabes en Espafja Madr. 1820, i. 283, from Arabian sources. 

2 Chron. Sax. Flor. Wig. i. 69 ; Lappenb. p. 279, 287. 

3 He did not die in 836, as Lappenberg asserts on the authority of Chron. Sax. 
A. 836, for a document of his, dated 838, indict, i. is preserved in Kemble's Cod. 
Diplom. n. 239 ; and n. 240, in which Ethelwulf ratifies a donation of his father, 
dated A. 839, indict, ii. runs thus : " Primo videlicet anno regni ^Efteluulfi regis 
post obitum patris sui." Vide also Hardy on William of Malmesburv, it 107, 

4 Caradoc ed. Wync, p. 27. 


strengthen his father's forebodings ; for unwarlike as he had 
been from his youth, he early showed an inclination to re- 
sign himself to the influence of the clergy. If Egbert pro- 
posed to himself the Emperor Charlemagne as a model, 
and, in reality, attained it in many instances, his son 
imitated Lewis the Pious, who, by his subjection to the 
Church, let the power escape out of his hands, and nourished 
evil discord in his own house. 'We shall have another oppor- 
tunity of pursuing this parallel. Devoted also to peace and 
its calm enjoyments, Ethelwulf found, in the protection of 
the Church, a refuge and a consolation under all the cares 
and struggles which were not wanting during a great part of 
his reign. To the gratitude of the clergy for so many marks 
of favour and rich donations, we may, with probability, attri- 
bute the singular account given us by some historians, that 
Ethelwulf had been originally destined for the Church, and, 
at the time of his father's death, had been already invested 
M'ith her highest dignities, from which he had received n 
dispensation from the Pope, on account of the succession. 

This sounds very strange and improbable. It seems, 
however, to agree with the contradictory notices, accord- 
ing to which Athelstan, the King of Kent, is sometimes 
called Ethelwulf's son, and sometimes his brother. If 
Athelstan were indeed a son of Egbert, of which we have 
not one certain proof, nothing would have prevented the 
eldest son from following the bent of his own inclination, and 
avoiding the burden of governing, by becoming a member of 
the Church. On the other hand, we see Ethelwulf sent by 
his father, in the year 844, into Kent to take possession 
there, and to rule and reign over it, invested with the royal 
title. In none of the documents that we possess do we find 
the slightest trace of his sacred office ; we rather learn from 
them that he was King of Kent from 828 to 830, and 
without doubt remained so until his father's death 1 . Neither 
do we find Athelstan mentioned during Egbert's lifetime, 
either in historical records or in state documents. But 
after Ethelwulf's accession to the throne, both point him out 
as ruler of Kent. According to the Saxon Tear-books, his 

1 Kemble Cod. Diplom. n. 223, pro remedio animae meae et filii nostri Aethel- 
uulfi qnem regem constituimus in Cantia, A. 828, ind. vi. n. 224, also signed 
* Aethelwulf Rex Cantuariorum," A. 830, ind. viii. 


father gave up to him that kingdom, and the possessions bo- 
longing to it, which, since their conquest, had always fallen 
to the oldest son of the king, or to the successor to the 
West Saxo" throne ; and the documents are always signed 
" Athelstan Kex 1 ." Ethelwulf, too, as crown-prince, had 
already been married, and could not, for this reason, have 
been either priest or bishop ; and if he commanded an army 
in the four-and-tweiitieth year of his father's reign, his eldest 
son might very well be grown up in 838. But it is very 
probable that this son, who was so much older than all the 
rest of his children when Egbert died, was by another 
mother 2 , and not by the Queen Osburgha. In this case, 
Ethelwulf must have been married three times, instead of 
twice, in the course of his life. After what has been now 
advanced, no one will hesitate in rejecting, as incorrect, both 
the assertion that Ethelwulf had entered the priesthood, and 
that Athelstan was his brother instead of being his son. 
And our view of the question is corroborated not a little by 
the fact, that both assertions are indifferently maintained by 
the same authorities 3 . 

Chron. Sax. A. 836 ; Kemble Cod. Diplom. n. 241, 252, 254, 259, 264. Nos. 
256 and 1047 occurs this : " Aetlieluulfo rege presents atque Aethelstano filio ojus " 

2 Roger de Wendover Flores Historian i. 279, ed. Coxe, and Matth. Westmonast. 
A. 837, say of Athelstan: "Non de matrimonio natum;"but these authorities 
stand alone, and are too modern. 

3 Henric. Huntingd. lib. iii. p. 734, v. p. 737, is by far the most ancient ; he 
makes Ethelwulf, Bishop of Winchester, and Athelstan, Egbert's son. Chron 
Mailros. ap. Fell, i. p. 142, Roger de Hoveden Vei Savile, p. 412, 413, follows hSi 
authority. The old Rhyming Chronicler of the twelfth century, Geoffrei Gaimar, 
in his " L'Estorie deb Engles,'' v. 2482 (in Mon. Hist. Brit.), also writes thus: 

" Adelstan estait al rei frere 

Li uns estait frere Edelwolf." 

Joh. Brompton, according to Twysden, X. Scriptt. p. 802, calls Ethelwulf " Epis- 
copus Wintoniensis," but also makes Athelstan his youngest son, who died in his 
earliest youth ! \Vilh. Malmesb. De Gestis Pontif. ii. 242, ed. Savile, asserts that 
Kthelwulf had taken priest's orders, and that the Pope, whose name truly is not 
given, absolved him from them; yet in the work De Gestis Reg. Angl. ii. 108, 
Athelstan is called his son. One of the most modern copies of the Saxon Chronicle 
MS. Cotton. Domit. A. viii. styles Athelstan " his (Egbert's) oder sunu ;" but it 
has been mentioned in our introduction of how little importance this copy must be 
considered. Lappenberg, p. 292, seems somewhat inclined to the opinion that 
Ethelwulf took priest's orders ; in the translation, ii. p. 23, both accounts have 
doubts th-Dwr. upon them It is very amusing, and characteristic of the manner 
of writing history in the middle ages, to find the various titles which the latei 


Let us now return from this digression to the history of 
Ethelwulf. From his youth, he always seems to have had 
two especial counsellors at his side, by whom the weak prince 
allowed himself to be alternately guided. One of these, 
Bishop Ealstan of Sherborne, was a man after Egbert's 
own heart ; he was distinguished by a peculiarity which was 
rare among the higher Anglo-Saxon clergy, and which, when 
it appeared, was censured, but for which the Norman eccle- 
siastics had been always noted ; and this peculiarity consisted 
in preferring the sword to the pastoral staff, and in finding 
his greatest pleasure in military employments. We have 
seen how he accompanied his prince to the field ; he was 
in fact a warrior and a statesman. The other counsellor of 
the king, the learned Swithin, had been his earliest instructor, 
and itwas he who chiefly strengthened Ethelwulf 's predilection 
for the Church, and sought to turn his weakness to advantage 1 . 
Whilst Ealstan' s activity shone forth conspicuously during 
the earlier years of the king's reign, in warding oft' his dan- 
gerous enemies, the influence of Swithiii was paramount in 
times of peace, when the Church raised her head higher than 
ever ; and whilst the memory of the former was never re- 
membered with sufficient gratitude, the name of the latter 
was ere long enrolled among the saints in the calendar. 

War-cries and preparations against the vile robber-hordes 
were resounding through the land at King Egbert's death. 
At Southampton, the Ealderman Wulfherd repulsed the 
crews of four-and- twenty ships in one day ; but on the 
Island of Portland, the Danes, after a desperate conflict, re- 
mained masters of the field. In the next year, they attacked 
the country of the East Angles and Kent ; and committed 
great slaughter in London, Canterbury, and Rochester. Not 
long afterwards, King Ethelwulf in person took the command 
of his army ; but at Charmouth he was obliged, as his father 
had been before him, to leave the field to the crews of five- 
and-thirty ships 2 . The evil with which the land was plagued 

Chronicles give to Ethelwulf, as collected by Spelman, Vita Aelfredi, p. 2, n. ; he is 
called: " monachus, diaconus, presbyter, episcopus Wintoniensis, electus, oder con- 
secratus." The Rhyming Chronicler, Harding, even makes him a cardinal ! 

1 Gotselim Vita Swithuni in Acta Sanct. Juli. 1, p. 327; Wilh. Malmesb. Da 
Gestis Pontif. ii. 242. 

2 Chron. Sax. under the years 837 to 841. 


took a more and more menacing aspect. On all the coasts 
of the island where the Germans were settled, terror became 
general : soon the wild navigators appeared to the north of 
the Humber, where their presence was especially favoured 
on account of the existing disputes respecting the royal suc- 

The first complete victory over the enemy occurred in 
Wessex, in the year 845, when the Ealdermen Eanwulf and 
Osric, with their vassals from Somerset and Dorset, in con- 
junction with the brave Ealstan, defeated the Danes at the 
mouth of the little river Parrot. In the year 851, Eakler- 
man Ceorl gained a second great victory at Wicgambeorg 
(Wembury), in Devonshire ; whilst King Athelstan of Kent, 
whose country was particularly exposed to devastation, and 
his Ealderman Elchere, made the first attempt to engage the 
bold invaders on their own element. The first fortunate sea- 
fight took place at Sandwich the Saxons captured eight 
ships, and repulsed the remainder with great loss of life 1 . 
Yet all these successes did not prevent other hordes, whose 
number seemed inexhaustible, from landing on the Isle of 
Thanet in the following winter, nor a formidable fleet of three 
hundred and fifty sail from appearing in the mouth of the 
Thames during the spring. The warriors from these ships 
immediately dispersed themselves over the adjacent shores, 
burning and plundering ; they followed the course of the river, 
and advanced towards the north, where King Berthwulf in 
vain endeavoured to make a stand against them. But when 
the multitude were returning, laden with plunder, through 
Surrey, to their ships, King Ethelwulf and his son, with their 
followers, attacked them at Aclea, and after a desperate con- 
Two years afterwards, the men 
under their Ealdermen Huda and Eal- 

njinj vv ci B, nijua,uiveu Liieiii ai/ .a 

flict gained a partial victory 2 , 
of Surrey and Kent, under t 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 845, 851 ; Asser Vita Alfred!, p. 469 ; Florent. Wigorn. i. 73. 

2 Chron. Sax. A. 851, says: " And paer paet maeste wael geslogen, pe we secgan 
hyrdon oppysne andwaerdan daeg." Can this notice he contemporary ? It sounds 
as if the writer knew nothing of Alfred's battles, in whose reign two great attacks 
were made by the Danes on the country, and many fearful conflicts occurred. 
Asser, p. 469, and Florent. Wigorn. i. 73, copy this. Lappenberg, p. 291, trans- 
lation, ii. 22, has shown us from the Annals of Prudent. Trecens. A. 850, ap. 
Pertz Mon. Germ. SS. i. 445, that this great fleet was a part c r the expedition Ot 
Borik, a nephew of the Danish Prince, Hamld Klak. 


here, fought on the Isle of Tnanet ; and though the victory 
at first seemed to incline towards them, yet, after their two 
generals were slain, and great numbers of people killed and 
wounded on both sides, they were obliged to yield to the 
stubborn foe. The latter remained all the winter on the 
Isle of Sheppey 1 , but made scarcely any inroads on the English 
coasts. It has been remarked that their attacks always took 
place by fits and starts, and in the pauses which ensued, they 
were either obliged to rest, in order to repair their losses, or 
else directed their attention to the shores of the continent. 
Ever since the year 832, in which Egbert had first come into 
collision with them, they had for twenty-three years filled all 
his kingdom with war and terror ; and daring the next eight 
years there was peace. 

Soon after the battle of Aclea, Ethelwulf acceded to the 
entreaties of Burhred, who had shortly before become King 
of Mercia, and lent him aid with his victorious troops, in an 
engagement with the Northern Welsh. The two kings pene- 
trated into the Isle of Mona, and forced King Koderic Mawr 
to acknowledge their supremacy 2 . This was the last warlike 
deed of Ethel wulf's reign ; the rest of his life is closely 
bound up with that of his illustrious son, and therefore be- 
longs to the following section. 



As our sources of information either relate to the warlike 
expeditions and bloody combats of each succeeding year, or 
confine themselves to dry documentary evidence, it is very 
difficult to get an insight into the internal state of the 
country, and the social condition of its inhabitants, during 
these early centuries. Still more difficult is it successfully to 
investigate the private life of any one individual, and to 
distinguish his birth and position from among the rest of the 
people. Only a name here and there, and a few happily- 
established facts, serve, in such researches as these, as beacons 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 853 ; Florent. Wigorn. i. 74; Asser, p. 470. 

2 Lappenberg, 293. 


and landmarks to light the weary wanderer through the 
desert and the darkness. These embarrassments in which the 
historian finds himself, and which border so closely on utter 
perplexity, must indeed fill him with sorrowful and despond- 
ing consciousness of his own weakness, when he attempts to 
write of England as she was in those days when her first 
hero and deliverer was born. And as the sailor uses each 
beacon to guide his vessel on a prosperous voyage over the 
pathless ocean but when driven by necessity, steers for the 
nearest haven on a dangerous, but what may possibly prove 
a fortunate course so hope guides the author in his under- 
taking ; and being compelled to throw himself on the indul- 
gence of his readers, he yet trusts to obtain their approval. 

We have already seen that Ethelwulf was little equal to 
the difficult task of protecting a flourishing country from the 
general ruin which so suddenly threatened it. In the mean 
while, the first attack of the barbarians was passed, without 
their having gained any firm footing among the German 
inhabitants of the island; indeed, a great part of the native 
population had scarcely learnt to know them. Besides, the 
Anglo-Saxons were skilled in the Germanic mode of warfare, 
on which their very existence as a people depended at 
least in a country where their enemies were descended from 
the same race as themselves. Neither were leaders wanting 
among them, who, after bravely fighting with the conquering 
barbarians, would either leave their corpses on the battle- 
field, or by their skill and courage gain a brilliant victory. 
We see how Ethelwulf even roused himself to do battle with 
all those oppressors who would have laid a fresh yoke upon 
Britain. So the people had again a short breathing-time ; 
the peasant once more could follow his plough unmolested ; 
in churches and cloisters holy men might sing and read as 
before, to the glory of God, and instruct the people in their 
faith and in all kinds of useful learning ; although, in that 
century, not one remained of all the great masters who had 
taught in the preceding one, and intelligence had begun to 
decline considerably even before the invasion of the Danes, 
Since the important reign of Egbert, the old partition- wall A 
between the many individual states and forest districts had 
been constantly decaying ; instead of a number of petty 
princes, there was now one who ruled all the rest ; and nobles, 


freemen, and serfs, in al the hitherto separate districts, 
formed part of one community. They had all contributed to 
the last struggle in defence of their country ; and between 
Angles and Saxons became apparent their common bond of 
union that of descent and of faith. 

The king, who in war was the commander-in-chief, in time 
of peace the richest and most powerful landowner in the 
country, lived like his subjects, according to the old customs ; 
he took counsel with his nobles and freemen on the general 
affairs of the kingdom, and assured himself of their aid in 
case danger threatened from without. He only administered 
his private affairs according to his own judgment, and for his 
own advantage. "We find that Ethelwulf, out of the number 
of his extensive possessions, was accustomed to make rich 
donations, sometimes to a faithful follower in his train or 
some valiant and victorious general, sometimes to churches 
and cloisters for the sake of his own salvation, and sometimes 
he commanded through the assembled AVitan that recently 
acquired territories should be absolved from the customary 
taxes. In time of peace he took great pleasure in the chase, and 
in the exercise of his functions as chief magistrate the only 
occupations of princes in those days as of the other owners 
of the soil. The arrangements for the defence of the country, 
for the well-being of Church and State, and of his own pos- 
sessions, requiring in unquiet times his presence in every part 
of his dominions, he led principally a wandering life among 
all the inhabitants of his kingdom. An ancestral castle, or a 
capital city, where he might feel himself surrounded by his 
family and court, was as little to be found among the Saxons 
as among the Franks ; and the travelling court was received 
in royal dwellings in the different parts of Wessex, and 
the states that were subject to it. Accordingly, we find 
Ethelwulf, in the first year of his reign, residing in a Kentish 
mansion on the river Stour ; in the next year he was at 
Southampton, occupied probably with the preparations for his 
first expedition against the Danes. In 845, he was again in 
Kent, at a place called "Weg ; two years afterwards, at the 
city of Canterbury ; and in 85-1, at Wilton 1 . Together with 

> These documents are to be found in Kcmble, n. 241, 24C, 259, 260, 272, 
where the above-mentioned donations are also to be met with. 


the seat of the archbishop, he may have honoured with hia 
presence both the cathedrals of his ancestral domain, whose 
bishops were his first ministers, in whose precincts were the 
tombs of his ancestors, and where his own body would some 
time or other find repose in death. 

Wherever he went, he was followed by his family, his offi- 
cial attendants, and his domestics. His eldest son Athelstan, 
the child of his youth, ever since his father's accession to the 
throne, had governed independently in Kent, and the districts 
belonging to it. Ealdermen ruled over the small isolated 
elates in the rest of the kingdom. 

We must next occupy ourselves with the family of the 
king. About the year 830, soon after he had become King 
of Kent, Ethelwulf had married Osburgha, the daughter of 
his cup-bearer Oslac. She and her father sprang from a 
highly-honoured race; their ancestors were Jutes, the de- 
scendants of the brothers Stuf and Wightgar, who had re- 
ceived the Isle of Wight as a fief from their uncle Cerdic. 
The names alone of father and daughter betokened their 
unbroken G-erman, and, according to the then general 
idea, divine descent. Oslac probably held possessions in 
Kent, on some of the old Juten lands and heritages. The 
young king appointed him to one of the first dignities of 
his court, that of cup-bearer. Thus he married Osburgha at 
a time when he had already assumed the royal dignity, and 
it is therefore certain that Athelstan, who so soon afterwards 
sprang to manhood, could not have been her son. History 
has preserved to us but little information concerning this 
remarkable woman, and her ultimate fate is unfortunately 
shrouded in a veil of poetical mystery. Of noble lineage, 
she was noble also in heart and spirit ; of extraordinary 
piety 1 , she always fulfilled her duty to her children in the 
best manner. She must, in fact, have been the ideal of 
a true German mother. All her energies were devoted to 
her household ; we find no trace of her having taken any part 
in public affairs ; she never even affixed her signature to any 
document, which queens and princesses so often did before, 
and have done since her time. According to Asser's ac- 

1 Asser, p. 469, has traced her descent, and calls her " religiosa nimiua 
farnnna, nobilis ingenio, nobilis et genere." 


count, in consequence of the fearful catastrophe of Eadburgha, 
she took DO other title among the West Saxons than that of 
the wife of their king. So history is almost silent respecting 
her, and does not penetrate into her quiet domestic life ; but 
that she lived and laboured in the usual circle of home duties, 
may be inferred from the little which a faithful friend learnt 
from her son. 

Osburgha bore to her husband a number of children, soon 
after one another, all of whom undoubtedly passed their 
early years by their mother's side. Ethelbald^^the eldest, had 
already attained maturity in the year 850 ; forTrg" ujujfllp5- 
nied his father to the assembly of the great men of the king- 
dom 1 , and even to the field. He was present at the overthrow 
of the Danes at Aclea. The two next sons, Etlielbert and 
Ethelred, were only a few years younger, and appear, accord- 
ing to the most genuine records, to have taken no part in 
public affairs during their father's lifetime. The ivxt child 
was a daughter, Ethelswitha ; after the fortunate issue of the 
expeditions against the "Welsh, she married Burhred of Mercia, 
although, as so frequently occurred in those times, she could 
hardly have attained her fifteenth year. It w r as at Easter, 
853, when the two kings met at Chippenham, where Ethel- 
vvulf had a royal mansion, and celebrated the marriage with 
all due solemnities 2 . Ethelswitha accompanied her husband 
into his kingdom, and soon appeared as Queen of the Mer- 
cians, who never objected to the participation of women in 
affairs of state, as was the case, not without good reasons, 
with the West Saxons. 

Scarcely four years before this marriage, in 849, Osburgha 
gave birth to her youngest and last child, Alfred. The 
precise day on which the boy first saw the light is not re- 
corded ; it must, however, have been in the first half of the 
year probably, soon after Christmas or New Year's-day 8 . 
The place of his birth was Wantage 4 , a royal residence in 

1 In Kemble Cod. Diploin. n. 204, there is a grant of land in Kent to the 
valiant Ealstan, signed "^Ethelbald rilius regis." A 850, ind. xii. 

2 Chron. Sax. A. 853 ; Asser, p. 470. 

3 Asser, p. 4G7, begins, "Anno dominicae incarnationis 849, natus est Aelfivd 
Anguisaxonum rex." Florent. Wip,orn. i. 70 ; Simeon Dunelm. de GestLs Keg 
Angl. p. 674; Roger de Wendover, i. 264; and Mattb. Westmonast. follow him. 

* Asser, p. 467, in villa regia quae dicitur Wanating in ilia pagn, quae noun. 


Berkshire, where, at that time, a thick forest covered the 
gently undulating ground, but where now the traveller flies 
by on one of the great iron roads of England, through smil- 
ing meadows and clumps of trees rich in foliage, to the plea- 
sant little town which, since the days of the Saxons, has given 
its name to a hundred. 

What were the first impressions which must have influenced 
the spirit of this child ? Surely they were the invigorating 
pictures of surrounding nature, the verdant woods and fields, 
the blue sky with its clouds driven over the island by the 
fresh breezes ; and when his father broke up his household, 
and removed to another far-distant domain, the illimitable, 
ever- magnificent ocean, where " the whale reigns among the 
rolling waves, and the sea-mew bathes its wings 1 ." But on 
this ocean also floated at that time those ungovernable hordes 
at whose approach all flew to arms, and whose fury and cruelty 
must have formed the theme of the earliest-comprehended 
tales of his childhood. The boy throve visibly in the free air 
and amid the din of war, more beautiful than either of his 
brothers, more loveable in speech and demeanour. His gentle 
disposition lent a singular charm to his innate desire of doing 
honour to his noble descent by the culture of a noble spirit 2 . 
That there could then be no education in the modern sense, 
is self-evident. The Church, the sole instructress in that 
day, cared only for the enlightenment of those who were 
especially dedicated to her service. It was seldom, and only 
an exception, when a distinguished layman, a king or noble- 
man, impressed with the importance of knowledge and the 
consciousness of its necessity, learnt to read and write. The 
culture of youth consisted o*nly in the strengthening of the 
body by warlike exercises and the chase, and in all Teutonic 
nations the mind was early quickened by the songs and poems 
of the fatherland. It was the mother or the nurse who first 
spoke to the little one of the heroes of past days, and of their 

natur Berrocscire ; quae paga taliter vocatur a berroc silva, ubi buxus abundan- 
tissime nascitur. We shall see how affectionately Alfred remembered this place 
in his later years. In Doomsday Book, i. 57 a. it was called a domain, until 
Richard I. made it a fief for his vassals ; Lyson, Magna Britannia, i. 405. 

1 The Anglo-Saxon poets term the sea, " hwseles eSel," Andreas, v. 274, ed. 
I. Grimm, and ganotes bsed, Beowulf, v. 3719. 

* " Ab incunabulis." says Asser, p. 473, who is the only authority on this point 


battles with men and monsters. If any mother could do 
this, Osburgha was eminently qualified for the task, for she 
was well acquainted with the whole poetical treasure of her 
people, which still lived entire on all lips and in all hearts. 
And of this her Alfred could never hear enough, and his young 
heart rejoiced, day and night, in those powerful ballads which 
sang of his ancestors and of his people. 

It was from Osburgha that the boy, in his earliest childhood 
(he could scarcely have been four years old), learnt the first 
^f these ballads, in the manner so touchingly related by Asser 1 . 
One day, his mother showed him and his brothers a beautiful 
volume, filled with Saxon poetry, and said, " The one among 
you children who can first say this book by heart, shall have 
it." Inspired by an almost divine instinct, and allured by 
the richly-decorated initial letters, and the binding painted 
in various colours with all the skill of the period, the little 
Alfred came forward before his brothers, who were only his 
superiors in age, not in mind, and eagerly asked his mother, 
" Wilt thou really give it to the one who learns it the quickest, 
and repeats it to thee ?" Osburgha smiled for joy, and said, 
" Yes, to him will I give it." So he directly took the book 
out of her hands, went with it to his teacher and read ; after 
he had read it, he brought it again to his mother, and repeated 
it to her. \ 

Who would dare to doubt the authenticity of this nar- 
rative, in spite of all the objections that have been raised 
against it ? But we may undoubtedly wish, with reason, 
that the proof of its being a genuine one, as well as of its 
occurrence so early in Alfred's life, could be placed on a 
more solid footing. The first difficulty arises, manifestly, in 
the damaged text of our biography. In the pages which im- 

1 Asser, p. 474. " Cum ergo quodam die mater sua sibi et fratribus suis 
quondam Saxonicum poematicae artis librum ; quern in manu habebat, ostenderet, 
ait, ' Quisquis vestrum discere citius istum codicem possit, dabo illi ilium.' Qua 
voce, immo divina inspiration instinctus, et pulchritudine principals litterae illius 
libri illectus, ita matri respondens, et fratis suos aetate quamvis non gratia seniores 
anticipans, inquit : ' Verene, dabis istum librum uni ex nobis, scilicet illi, qui 
citissime intelligere et recitare cum ante te possit ?' Ad haec ilia arridens et 
gaudens atque affirmans : ' Dabo, infit, illi ;' time ille statim tollens librum de manu 
sua magistrum adiit, et legit, quo lecto matri retulit et recitavit." Flor. Wig 
i. 86, and Sim. Dunef 31, p, 676, give the same account, 


mediately precede the anecdote, it is said that the boy, in his 
twelfth year, first satisfied his thirst after knowledge by 
learning to read ; and that his parents, and the persons who 
had charge of him, had taken no pains with his instruction 
or mental culture 1 . And yet it was certainly his mother who 
promised him the book, and thus awakened in him the desire 
of learning. We also find that a tutor was in the house. 
Now it is undoubtedly an established fact, that only detached 
fragments of the true biography have come down to us, and 
the mutilation in this case is especially evident ; for past and 
present events are confusedly mingled together, and the 
whole episode is placed in the year 866, when Alfred was 
not twelve, but eighteen years old, and had begun to think 
of founding a house of his own. The carelessness of the 
parents does not relate to Osburgha ; it might be correctly 
related by Asser of King Ethelwulf, and his later wife, the 
Franivish Princess Judith. 

That this foreign step-mother (and this is the second point 
in favour of our theory) cannot, as some have maintained 2 , 
have taught Saxon poetry to the boy, is apparent on the 
most hasty investigation; for she herself was scarcely thirteen 
years old at the time of her marriage, and would hardly have 
taken much pains with the instruction of her grown-up step- 
children, some of whom must have been older than herself 8 . 
It may, therefore, be considered as certain, that Alfred was 
still living with his mother and his brothers, at least with 
Ethelbert and Ethelred ; perhaps too, his sister was not 
yet married. The children could not have lived with their 
mother Osburgha later than the year 853, in which year the 
youngest was sent away from home. We must conclude, 
that soon after this the faithful mother herself died. No 
historian of the period relates anything further of her ; only 
some modern authors 4 have asserted that Ethelwulf put away 

1 " Indigna suorum parentum et iratritorum incuria ;" and shortly before we 
find Asser saying: " Cum commuiii et ingenti patris sui amore." 

2 Turner, History of the Anglo-Saxons, book iv. ch. v. and Petrie, the editor 
of the Corpus Historictim, preserved by the Kecord Commission. She is un- 
doubtedly called "Mater sua" by Asser; and Sim. Dunelm. p. 676, evidently 
Copying from Asser and Florence, says : " Dignissima ejus genitrix." 

3 Thorpe, Florent. Wigorn. i. 86, n. 3. 

Kvon Lappenberg, p. 29G, 311; Th. Wright Biog. Brit, Liter, i. 38& 
Thorpe a translation, ii. 41, places this opinion in a more probable light. 


the mother of his children, and renounced all care of their 
education, when, as a grey-headed old man, he took a young 
princess for his wife. We cannot fancy this prince to have 
been so heartless, notwithstanding his known weak character 
it is also very questionable whether he would so far have 
put himself in opposition to the Church and her ministers, 
to whom in all other cases he paid so much deference or 
whether Swithin, in particular, would have connived at such a 
proceeding. It is inexplicable that Asser, Florence, Wilhelm, 
and others, should have known nothing of so flagrant an act. 
In all probability, Osburgha died before her husband set out 
for Rome. Her death was quiet, as her whole life had been : 
she had lived as the mother of her children, and not as a 
queen, and therefore our sources of information take no 
note of her. But that Alfred thanked her alone for his love 
of the national poetry, inspired in his earliest youth by the 
songs in that first book, he himself undoubtedly confessed to 
Asser, whose account of the matter has come down to us 
indeed, but in a mutilated state, and diverted from its proper 

Finally, one more observation must be made on the sub- 
ject. The mother did not desire the book to be read ; the 
songs were to be learnt by heart and so the little one 
understood the wish. He went to his teacher, probably his 
own and his brothers' attendant, and read, that is to say, 
had the book read to him, and repeating after the reading, 
learnt to recite the songs 1 . 

In the year 853, the young boy, who, more than all the 
rest of their children, had won his parents' hearts by his 
amiability and brilliant qualities, was sent over the sea to 
Rome. It is difficult to say what may have been his father's 
motives for this proceeding ; we can only suppose that his 
veneration for the capital city of Christendom, and for the 
representative of Christ upon earth, made him hope to re- 

1 Thorpe remarks, in Florent. Wigorn. i. 86, n. 3, that in those times this was 
the usual mode of teaching and learning. I may here call attention to the different 
uses of the following words, which are similar in their etymology: The old 
northern raeda; the Gothic rodjan, loqui; the Anglo-Saxon redan, legere; in 
which, according to J. Grimm, Gramm. i. 469, n. 2, ed. iii. " the meanings of 
' loqui' and ' legere' are confounded with the idea conveyed in ' recitare.' " Neither 
must the Greek Xeyeti/ nor the Latin legere be forgotten. 


ceive the same gifts from the Holy Father which the earlier 
{ opes had bestowed on the sons of Pepin and Charlemagne 
namely, their holy unction and benediction. He wished his 
favourite child, whom he secretly desired might succeed him 
on the throne, to receive, in the blessing of the Bishop of 
Home, a kind of prophetic authorisation of the succession. 
Alfred made the long and difficult journey, accompanied by a 
great number of his father's retainers, both noble and com- 
moners 1 . When he arrived in the Eternal City, the Pope, 
Leo IV., received him in a manner befitting his own rank 
and the consideration which his father enjoyed : he anointed 
him king, and adopted him to the place of a child, as his 
spiritual son 2 . It seems, however, that the young prince did 
not remain long in Borne, but that after the wish of his father 
had been fulfilled, returned with his followers to his own 
country. But he was destined soon again to take this toil- 
some journey, accompanied by his father himself. 

It will be well in this place to speak somewhat more at 
large of Ethelwulf's position with regard to the Romish 
Church. In the foregoing pages, we have twice incidentally 
had occasion to consider the development of ecclesiastical in- 
fluence in the "West Saxon kingdom. We have seen that 
the Church endeavoured to make itself an important element 
in the national constitution ; but in the time of Ina it had 
not attained much power, on account of the isolated position 
of the State, which numbered no primacy among its bishoprics, 
for from the time of the first conversion, Kent had been the 
seat of the archbishop, who copied the decrees of the Synod 
for the whole south of the island, appointed the bishops to 
their dioceses, and Ina sent to him the young Winfrid as his 
plenipotentiary. As long as the kingdom of Kent belonged 
to its own hereditary princes, the influence of even the more 

" Magno nobilium et etiam ignobilium numero constipatum." Asser, p. 470. 
1 hat Bishop Swithin accompanied the prince is not certain. 

2 So Asser, p. 470 ; and Cliron. Sax. A. 853 (in the three oldest MSS.), against 
wbict) no historical reason can be adduced. Hearne (Spelman's Life of King 
Alfred, p. 17, n. 2) shows us what absurdities have passed current on this point ; 
for he says, on the authority of some obscure manuscripts of the later middle 
ages, that Alfred was not alone the first and only King of England who received 
tue Papal unction, but that after his father's victorious return from battle aa 
King of South Wales, he was anointed the firat Prince <x Wales. 


powerful states in ecclesiastical matters was insignificant 
Mercia had early endeavoured to assume the supreme autho- 
rity : the powerful Offa and King Kenulf had even attempted 
to establish an archbishopric of their own at Litchfield ; but 
their plan did not succeed, owing to the steadfast opposition 
of the then archbishop 1 . When Egbert, some ten years 
later, finally subdued the Mercians, they were deprived, at 
the same time, of all participation in the political and eccle- 
siastical affairs of Kent. Their shadow-king, Baldred, fled 
precipitately before the advancing Ethelwulf, who lived pro- 
bably for fourteen years in the immediate vicinity of the 
archbishop. Kent remained attached to Wessex, and by this 
union of the whole southern states of the island, that most 
distinguished of all the primacies once founded by the great 
Gregory must also have been strengthened. During the 
next century we learn nothing more of a collision between 
the civil and ecclesiastical powers. The synods, which had 
been frequently held under the Mercian kings, were, in the 
reigns of Ethelwulf and Alfred, almost discontinued a cir- 
cumstancewhich indicates friendly co-operation between the 
two powers, although it may have been caused in part by 
the severe sufferings which then weighed down the whole 
country. Until towards the end of the next century, we 
never even hear that an Archbishop of Canterbury distin- 
guished himself, either in his private character or by his 
public actions. Only the name and the year of the death of 
each succeeding prelate are recorded. Of infinitely more 
importance than the archbishop, in Ethelwulf 's reign, were 
two men of whom we have already spoken : Church and State 
at that time depended on their management. As Ealstan 
strove in the battle-field for the protection of the united pro- 
vinces, so S within laboured at the king's side for the increase 
of the spiritual power. Although few authenticated incidents 
in the life of the latter are preserved, we must not fail to 
attach due importance to the great influence which he exer- 
cised over the weak administration of Ethelwulf. He con- 
stantly endeavoured to confirm the mind of this prince in the 
idea that his sovereignty was closely bound up with the glory 
of the Church. Perhaps S within held up before him, for 
this purpose, the example of Charlemagne, in whose kingdom 

Lappenberp !>. 228, 233. 


the strict bond of union with Rome rendered essential serviceto 
the temporal ruler in the preservation of his authority. A pre- 
cisely similar result might take place at that time in England. 

Since the arrival of Augustin, the dwellers in the island 
had held uninterrupted communion with Borne ; and this had 
not long existed before a house was established there for the 
reception of Anglo-Saxon pilgrims, and the instruction of the 
elergy. We have seen that two kings of the West Saxons 
went there to die, and the English archbishops received the 
pallium, and many English bishops their consecration, from 
the hands of the pontiff at Rome. OfFa's name was not less 
known at St. Peter's than at the court of Charles. In the 
year 799, the Primate Ethelheard went with Cynebert, a 
bishop of West Saxony, to Rome 1 . In the first year after 
his father's death, Ethel wulf was eagerly desirous of under- 
taking the pilgrimage ; and it is said that a vision which ap- 
peared to and much disquieted him, prompted him to demand 
of Lewis the Pious a free passage through his dominions 2 . 
For the son of Egbert was animated by the same longing 
which formerly had not allowed his ancestors to rest in pciu-r 
on the throne, and Swithin would certainly not be silent on 
the great advantages which would accrue from such an under- 
taking. But the doubtful position of his realm chained the 
king at home for a long while ; and it was only when it first 
appeared probable that the Saxons would master the Danes, 
that he sent his favourite son into Italy, and soon after made 
magnificent preparations for his own journey thither. 

Accordingly, in the beginning of the year 855, after he had, 
at an assembly of the states, made over more than the tenth 
part of his private income in favour of the Church, and for 
the salvation of his own soul and those of his ancestors 3 , 
he set out from home, accompanied by his darling son and a 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 799. 

2 Prudent. Tree. A. 839, ap. Pertz. Mon. Germ. SS. i. 433. 

3 I cannot make more than this from Asser's words, p- 470 ; but that Ethel- 
wulf endowed the Church with the tenth part of the whole revenue of the king- 
dom, is an early invention which has also been adopted in the following documents 
of Kemhle's Cod. Dipl. n. 270, 272, 275, 276, 1048, 1050, 1051, 1052, 1053, 
1054, 1057, in which the fraud is most obvious. Vide Thorpe, Florent. Wigorn. 
L 74, n. 1, and Kemble's profound researches into the subject from collected docu- 
ments and authorities. Saxons, ii. 480-490. 


magnificent retinue. His road lay through the country of 
the friendly King of the Franks. Charles the Bald received 
him on his passage with all honour, bestowed on him every- 
thing that he needed, and lent him his royal escort as far as 
the boundaries of the kingdom 1 . Over the Alps and through 
Lombardy the pilgrims went on their way to Home, where 
they sojourned for a whole year 2 . The boy, who had been 
there so short a time before, but who had grown older and 
improved in mind and intelligence, must have been struck 
with astonishment at the sight of the magnificent capital of 
the world. He saw and learnt to comprehend all the great 
results which had been effected by a nobly-gifted people and 
the emperors in former days, and in the present by a flou- 
rishing Church. The impressions which at this period his 
susceptible spirit received, proved indelible; we recognise 
them in later days influencing the Saxon king, who, next to 
the love for his own people and their language, which he 
inherited from his mother, cherished an affection for those 
we call classic, and who steadily endeavoured to cultivate his 
desire to become familiar with them, in spite of the greatest 

In the mean while, Alfred's father improved his time also 
but after his own fashion. Freed from the burden of 
sovereignty, he seems to have devoted himself exclusively to 
ardent exercises of devotion, and to have displayed his great 
affection for the Eomish Church by liberal offerings. By 
these means he succeeded in appearing as a very different 
and much more powerful prince than either of his ancestors, 
Ca3dwalla and Ina, who both made pilgrimages to Home, 
died there, and were buried in holy ground. 

He left so many brilliant tokens of his presence behind 
him, that they were judged worthy of being held up to the 
grateful memory of posterity in the annals of the popes. The 
king, whose strange-sounding name is never once correctly 
written, bestowed gifts, consisting of a gold crown of four 
pounds weight, two dishes of the purest gold, a sword richly 
set in gold, two gold images, silver-gilt Saxon urns, stolea 
bordered with gold and purple stripes, white silken garments 

1 Asser, p. 470, and especially Prudent. Tree. Annal. A. 855, ap. Pertz. Mon. 
germ. SS. i. 449. 

2 Asser, p. 570 : Ibique anno integro commoratus est. Ch ron. Sax. A. 855. 


for celebrating the mass, decorated with figures, and othei 
costly articles of clothing required for the service of the 
Church. He also, with the consent of Pope Benedict, be- 
stowed rich alms in gold and silver on the temple of St. 
Peter, on the bishops, the clergy, and on the dwellers in 
Rome of every rank 1 . We cannot avoid feeling astonishment 
at the magnificence displayed by a King of Britain in the 
ninth century. The Saxon schools, which had already been 
twice destroyed by fire since their establishment, he rebuilt 
at his own cost, and further enriched them by the most 
liberal endowments. He determined, for the welfare of his 
soul, to send yearly to Eome, out of his private income, the 
sum of three hundred marks, one hundred of which were des- 
tined to fill the lamps of St. Peter's with oil, on Easter-eve 
and the morning of Easter-day, one hundred for the same 
service at 8t. Paul's, and one hundred were a present to the 
Holy Father himself 2 . From the annual donation proceeded 
the so-called Peter's penny, or Eomescot, which in later 
times the island Saxons found so much difficulty in collect- 
ing, and which was never again paid willingly to Borne up 
to the time when she lost all power over England. 

In employments such as these the year passed away, and 
the royal guest of Benedict III. thought of returning home. 
Once more Charles the Bald enacted the part of a host 
towards him. At the Frankish court Ethel wulf tarried 
many months, and in July 856 he was betrothed to Judith, 
the eldest daughter of Charles. On the 1st October, the 
marriage was solemnly celebrated at the royal palace of 
Verberie, on the Oise. Hincmar, the Archbishop of Eheims, 
espoused the royal pair, and pbced the crown on the head of 
the bride a ceremony which was not customary among the 
West Saxons, but which the proud Charles would not allow 
to be withheld from his daughter. Accompained by his 
richly-dowered young queen, Ethewulf set out once more, 
and crossed over with his retinue to England 3 . 

1 Anastasius de Vitis Pontif. Roman, ap. Muratori Scriptt. rerr. Italic, iii. 251, 
252 : Hujus temporibus rex Saxonum nomine causa orationis veniens et post 
paucos dies vitam finivit et perrexit ad Dominum. 

2 Asser, p. 472. 

Prudent. Tree. Annal. A. 856, ap. Pertz. i. 450. Edilwulf rex occidentalium 
Anglorura, Roma rediens, Judith, n'liam Karli regis, ttense Julio desponsatun 


Whatever may have induced the king, who was already 
advanced in years, to marry so young a wife 1 whether it was 
the prospect of more heirs to his name, or the pride of being 
so closely connected with the King of the Franks we have 
no reason to suppose that Osburgha was still living to be a 
witness of her husband's folly. But this folly must detain 
our history for a while from the son of that noble woman, 
and it must now relate the results of this marriage. 

During the long absence of the king, a revolt took place 
in the kingdom. It originated in his own family, and was 
ostensibly caused by the intelligence of his second marriage 
and of Judith's coronation. Ethelbald had probably still 
deeper grounds than these, on which he endeavoured to 
justify not only a revolt against his father, but also a revolu- 
tion in the nature of the government itself : he was now the 
3ldest son ; and as it is recorded that he had been king five 
years when he died, he must have begun to rule in Kent 
about the time that his father set out for Rome. At that 
time Athelstan altogether disappears, no mention of any kind 
being made of his death. It is probable that, as soon as 
Ethel wulf departed on his pilgrimage, that Ethelbald, sup- 
ported by the bishops and other nobles, was appointed regent 
over the entire kingdom. 

As far as may be gathered from the scanty records we can 
collect, the designs and inclinations of this young man seem 
to have been completely opposed to those of his peace-loving 
father, who was such a devoted servant of the Church. This 
revolt was an audacious and foolhardy step on his part. 
All our accounts of it are known to proceed from clerical 
authors: all, without exception, treat the prince in the 
severest manner, not one of them makes any excuse for his 
conduct, scarcely one ventures to speak a good word for him 
at his death. In spite of this unanimity of opinion against 

Calendis Octobribus in Vermeria palatio in matrimonium accipit, ut earn, Ing- 
maro Durocortori Remorum episcopo benedicente, imposito capiti ejus diademate 
reginae nomine insignit, quod sibi suaeque gente eatenus fuerat insuetum: 
patratoque regiis aparatibus utrimque atque muneribus matrimonio, cum ea 
Britanniam regni sui ditionem, navigio repetit. Chron. Sax. A. 855. Asser, p. 
470. Vide Hardy, Wilh. Malmesb. lib. iii. 109, n. 1. 

1 Charles the Bald married Ermenherde, about the end of the year 842 ; Prudent, 
Tree. Annal. A. 842, ap. Pertz. i. 439. Vide Thorpe, Florent. Wigorn. i. 86, 
n. 3. 


liim, tlie very -weighty motives by which he may have been 
actuated must not be overlooked. He perhaps drew tne 
sword against his father, not only because he desired to obtaiir 
the sovereignty, the weakness of Etlelwulf was openlj 
manifested to the world by this second marriage, which re. 
peated the sad farce the world had once before seen when 
Lewis the Pious allied himself with the elder Judith. The 
son feared, in case of more offspring, a partition of the 
dominions in favour of the younger children ; he also especially 
dreaded that the ecclesiastical power, so full of avarice and 
pretension, would act now as it had formerly done when it 
stood by Lewis and his latest-born children. Ethelbald may 
for some time have been prepared for all contingencies, but 
first openly assumed an hostile position when the news of the 
betrothment of Judith reached him 1 . The names of his ad- 
herents speak loudly in favour of his cause, and lead us to 
infer against what party the movement was really directed. 
They were Ealstan, Bishop of Sherborne, always on the 
side of valour and temporal power, and the no less warlike 
Eanwulf, Ealderman of Somerset ; both ranked next to the 
king in their hereditary Saxon lands, and both highly 
reverenced and feared by the people 2 . 

According to the account given by Asser and his copyists, 
which was probably founded on information supplied by Alfred 
himself, Ethelbald and his companions took no more decided 
step than to bind themselves by a common and secret oath, 
in the thick forest of Selwood, on the borders of Somerset 
and Wilts. This proceeding is designated by the biographer 
as an unheard-of crime, repugnant to all just feelings, origi- 
nating in the bad, audacious mind of the prince alone ; al- 
though his counsellors confirmed him in the idea of depriving 
the king of his throne, contrary to all law, human and divine. 

Such was the tempest brooding over England when 
Ethelwulf, still glowing with the pleasure of his journey to 
Eome, and delighted with his new marriage, landed on his 
native shores. It is said that..on his arrival the whole pgorjte 
received him gladly, and expressed their willingness to bamsTT 

1 This seems to me to be indicated by Asser's twice-repeated introduction to 
the narrative of the revolt: " Interea tamen Aethelwulfo rege ultra mare tan-- 
tillo tempore immorante," p. 470; und " Nam redeunte eo a ROCA," &c. 

2 Asser, p. 470 ; Florent. Wigorn. i. 75. 


from_jjiajdngdom the false son and all his confederates, 
ancTthat all the Saxon nobles espoused the father's side 1 . It 
thus seemed inevitable that a struggle would ensue between 
father and son. In what German state has this never been 
the case ? The entire nation took one side or the other, and 
such was the violent party-spirit prevailing, that civil war 
seemed ready to burst forth 3 . But through the inimitable 
mildness of Ethelwulf and the wise counsels that were be- 
stowed on him, it was agreed that the leaders of each party, 
with the consent of the assembled nobles, should meet together 
in a convention, in which the quarrel might be accommodated 
before swords were drawn on either side. But the arrange- 
ment there entered into proved once more with what views 
the son had raised the revolt, and that certainly all the Saxon 
nobles and freemen had not gone to meet the father on his 
landing with greetings of welcome and intentions of folio w- 
ing his banner. A division of the country was decided on. 
Kthelbald. received .Wessex, l^he principal part of the king- 
dom, and to his father were allotted Kent and the hereditary 
crown-lands, over which he had already ruled in the time of 
Egbert. "Without doubt the mere name of the crowned queen 
was obnoxious to the West Saxons, and they therefore will- 
ingly sided with Ethelbald ; and both prince and people 
carried their point. That Ethelwulf, on the other hand, was 
welcome in Kent appears certain ; for according to Asser's 
account, he placed his consort on the throne by his side until 
his death, without any opposition from his nobles. From 
the nature of the circumstances, the agreement could have 
taken no other form, although by it the rebellious son ruled 
where the father, by law and justice, ought to have held 
sway 3 . Nevertheless, we must allow that Ethelbald, by his 
conduct, averted still greater mischief from the country ; he 

1 Asser, 471 ; Florent. Wigorn. i. 75. Even the Chron. Sax. A. 855, says: " And 
aefter pam to his leodum com and hie paes gefaegene waeron." MS. Cott. Tib. B. 
iv. only has " gesund ham cum." 

2 Quin immo tota cum gente ambobus rebellante atrocius et crudelius per dies 
singulos quasi clades intestina augeretur, &c. 

3 Asser, p. 471 : Ubi pater justo judicio regnare debuerat, ib iniquus et pertinax 
films regnabat et Judithum juxta se in regali solio suo sine aliqua suorum 
nobiiium controversia et odio, usque ad obitum vitae suae contra perversam 
illius gentis consuetudinem sedere imperavit. Asser joins to this the so-of'ten 
mentioned History of Queen Eftburgha. Vide also Thorpe, Florent. Wigorn. i. 75, 
7G, n. 1. 


preserved the supreme power to Wessex. A] though Swithin's 
name does not appear, he undoubtedly had a great share in 
inducing the other side to give way so wisely. 

Ethelwulf did not long survive his return from Borne and 
his quarrel with his own son. The last months of his life wore 
away in outward peace, but his heart must have been broken 
at what he had lived to see. Before his death he drew up a 
testamentary provision respecting the succession of his sons 
and the inheritance of his private fortune. Besides this, he 
provided richly for what, above all, lay nearest his heart 
namely, the poor, the church, and the salvation of his own 
soul. In order to prevent any strife after his death among 
his children, he willed that the kingdom should remain di- 
vided between his two eldest sons; that Ethelbert should 
receive Kent, but be excluded from the West Saxon kingdom ; 
and if Ethelbald should die childless, Ethelred and Alfred 
should follow him in succession. His estates were divided 
between his sons, daughter, and other kindred ; the ready 
money was devoted to the use of his children and the good 
of his soul. On all his extensive estates he ordered that one 
poor man in ten, whether native or foreigner, should be pro- 
vided with meat, drink, and clothing, by his successors, until 
the day of judgment. It was only stipulated as a condition, 
that the land should be inhabited by men and cattle, and not 
be allowed to lie fallow. The sum of money to be sent 
annually to Home is also mentioned. At a general assembly 
of the kingdom, this will was signed by the Witan 1 . Soon 
afterwards Ethelwulf died, January 13th, 858, and was buried 
at "Winchester 2 . 

1 We do not possess the testament itself. Asser, p. 472, has drawn from it to a 
great extent ; and Florent. Wigorn. i. 77, has copied from him. King Alfred gives 
the item respecting the division of the kingdom and the landed property, in the 
preamble to his own testament. Saxon, Kemble Cod. Diplom. n. 314. Latir., 
ibid. 11. 1067. In spite of Asser's high estimation of the good intentions of the 
old king, it is difficult to believe that he intended to found a succession in Kent 
for the second son. Ethelbert's decision, and other important causes, saved the 
south of England in after-days from a lasting division from the rest of the 

2 Florent. Wigorn. i. 78 : Defuncto autem luibus Januarii, Prudent. Tree. 
Annal. 858, ap. Pertz. i. 451 ; Ethelwerd's Chion. iii. 512, post annum; Henric. 
Huntingd. t 737, decimo nono anno regni su. Vide Hardy, Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 
117, n. 6, 


He left no children by his young queen, but she is still 
connected for a short time with the kingdom of Wessex ; for 
in the same year that her first husband died, she gave her con- 
sent to a deed unexampled in either Christian or Pagan annals, 
and became the wife of her eldest step-son Ethelbald. So 
little did she remember the solemn words of Hincmar, with 
which the primate of the kingdom of the Franks had blessed 
her former marriage 1 . The clergy, who were already displeased 
at the unnatural spite of the son against the father, were still 
more enraged at such a scandalous act as this ; the contem- 
porary accounts of it were in later times eagerly gathered 
together, and again handed down with still severer censures 2 . 
In every point of view this was a bold, bad deed of Ethelbald' s : 
he was already hated, and stood in a position which rendered 
it difficult for him to win good opinions, and then, without 
further scruple, without reverence for his father's memory, 
and in defiance of religion, he took to himself the daughter 
of the Prank, who willingly rushed into sin at the sight of 
a more youthful spouse. Yet Ethelbald had dared still more \ 
he had married a queen 3 . It is not precisely known whether / 
the Saxons raised their voice against this latter crime as they ( 
had done not long before, but we may assume with certainty V 
that Swithin 4 was courageous enough to oppose the criminal \ 
pair, and urge their separation ; and the disgust of the whole 
kingdom, in which at that time an active Christian spirit 

1 The forms of Betrothment and Coronation, vei Bouquet Scriptt. rerr. GalL 
vii. 621, 622, ut non videas alienum virum ad concupiscendum eum et non moecheris 
in corpore vel corde tuo, etc. 

2 Prudent. Tree. Annal. A. 858 : Relictam ejus, Judith reginam Edelboldus filius 
ejns uxorem ducit. Asser, p. 472 : Juthittam cum magna ab audientibus infamia 
in matrimomum duxit. Vide Florent. Wigorn. a. a. 0. Simeon Dunelm. p. 676 ; 
Ingulph, p. 863 (ed. Francof.) ; Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 117. 

3 Very worthy of note is the undoubtedly authentic document by Kemble, Cbd. 
Diplom. n. 1058 ; it is dated A. 858, and signed Aedelbald Rex, Judith Regina, 
SwrSun Episcopus. 

4 This opinion rests alone on the authority of Matth. Westmonast. A. 859. and 
of Thomae Rudborn Annales Eccles. Winton. ap. Wharton Anglia Sacra, i. 204. 
Vide also Hardy, Wilh. Malmesb. Roger de Wendover, i. 295, indeed, says also : 
" Athelbaldus ab errore resipiscens dimissa Judetha, noverca sua, CUJE.S torum 
foedaverat, peracta poenitentia tempore quo supervixit regnum cum pace et jus- 
titia, temperavit ;" but no earlier Chronicler says anything of the sort. Vide 
Remble, the Saxons in England, ii. 408. 


vrevaiied, must have been excessive. But Ethelbald's was a 
leadstrong character"; he ruled in an arbitrary manner and 
i governed by fear ; it is therefore probable that he never parted 
from Judith, and that she did not return home to her father 1 
until after her husband's death, aiid she had sold all her 
possessions in England, fin the year 860 an early deat\ 
>natehod ftwaytheTcrime^-laden and much-hated Ethelbald; 
with all his audacity he had only won the scorn of posterity. 
But in spite of all this, the people of Wessex had to mourn 
the loss of a brave and energetic king, for they were now 
again obliged to take up arms against their cruel foes 3 , who 
had remained quiet during Ethelbald's time. He had only 
reigned over his country for five years, and two and a half of 
these were after his father's death. He was buried in Ealstan's 
cathedral at Sherborne 3 . 

As there was no direct heir by Judith, the younger son 
Ethelred was appointed to succeed by his father's will, which 
had been universally recognised ; yet his brother, the King of 
Kent, succeeded in uniting the hereditary crown with his own 
realm, which consisted of Kent, Surrey, and Sussex 4 . Whether 
this union resulted from the desire of the West Saxons, we 
do not know, at any rate endeavours after centralization are 
once more evident. We perceive them more particularly 
when, soon after Ethelbert's establishment on the throne, all 

1 Probably not earlier than 861. Annales Bertiniani (Hincmari), A. 862, ap. 
Pertz. SS. i. 456. She married a third time, and by this marriage became the 
ancestress of Matilda, the wife of William the Conqueror; Warnkonig Hist. 
Fland. i. 144. 

- Asser and Florence call him " iniquus et pertinax." William of Malmesbury 
styles him " ignavus et perfidus patri." Only Henric. Huntingd. v. 637, writes 
to this effect: " Morte immatura praereptus estplanxit autem omnis Anglia Adel- 
baldi regis juventutem, et factus est luctus vehemens super eum et sepelierunt 
eum apud Scirebume. Sensitque posthac Anglia, quantum amiserit in eo." 

3 Asser, p. 473. The day of his death fell probably in July, 860 ; that of Ethel 
wulf on 13th January, 858. Vide Hardy, Will). Malmesb. ii. 117, n. 6. 

4 Asser, p. 473, omits Essex; it is possible that the Danes may have already 
obtained possession of that country. Geoffroi Gaimer, " L'Estorie des Engles,' 
v. 2534 (Ed. in Corp. Hist.), says of Ethelred, that he ruled over " Kent e Suth- 
sexe e Hestsexe e Sudreie." Animated by his dislike of Ethelbald and by his cle- 
rical prejudices, Asser says of the union of the kingdom, " Ut justum erat." 
Chron. Sax. A. 860: pa feng ^Epelbriht to eallum pam rice his broftor and he hjl 
hold mid godre gepwaernesse. (Consent.) 


the states were obliged, by the danger which threatened from 
abroad, to seek protection for their country in better means 
of defence. 

It is said that in Ethelbert's days the great heathen army 
first" came over to England from the land of the Pranks, which 
they had ravaged under their leader, the Viking Weland. 
They seized on Winchester, and destroyed the city 1 . As they 
were returning to their ships, laden with their immense booty, 
Osric Ealderman of Hampshire, and Ethelwulf of Berk- 
shire, advanced to meet them, and slew many of the Danes ; 
the rest " fled like so many women 2 ." In the fifth year of 
Ethelbert's reign, a Danish army wintered in the Isle of 
Thanet. The people of Kent knew no better means of pro- 
tecting themselves against it than to purchase the security of. 
their possessions with money, and accordingly an agreement 
was entered into. But these robbers knew nothing of trutli 
or good faith ; they were well aware that they should obtain a 
much larger sum by pillage than by treaties of peace. 
Scarcely was the league concluded before they again broke 
ifc, and "like cunning foxes," secretly and by night left their 
camp and ravaged all the eastern side of Kent 3 . 

Ethelbert does not seem to have met these attacks with any 
vigour ; during his short reign we never once find him taking 
the field in person, and nothing of the least importance is 
recorded of him. It appears from some documents placed 
before him for ratification, that Swithin must have been at 
his court until 862, when this bishop died ; the father's most 
faithful servant remained at the side of the more obedient 
son ; and probably, as he had once been dismissed by Ethe- 
bald, gave a willing consent to the assumption of the West 
Saxon crown by Ethelbert. But a far more important cir- 
cumstance for us is, that Alfred at this time was residing with 
this brother, some of whose documents are signed by him 4 . 

1 Prudent. Tree. Ann. A. 860 ; Hincmari Annales, A. 861, ap. Pertz. SS. i. 445, 
456; Asser, p. 473; Chron. Sax. A. 860; Lappenberg, p. 298. 

2 Muliebriter fugam arripiunt. Asser, p. 473. Two copies of the Chron. Sax. Li 
MSS. Cotton. Tib. A. iii. and Tib. B. i. give Wulf herd instead of Osrio. 

3 Asser, p. 473: Vulpino more. Chron. Sax. A. 865: Se here hine on nilit 
up bestael. Florent. Wigorn. ; Simeon Dunelm. 

Kemble, Cod. Dipl. n. 285, 287, 288, 293, 294, 1059. Ethelbert generally 
signs " Rex occidentalium Saxonum seu Cantuutiorum ;" Alfred signs simply 



Among the documents of Ethelbald, we never meet with 
the names of either of his brothers ; they remained together 
in Kent during the lifetime of their father, and until their 
eldest brother died. The young men maintained truly fra- 
ternal relations with Ethelbert ; they followed him into 
Wessex, and with the unanimous consent of the "West Saxons, 
divided with him their inheritance, and the land which they 
possessed in common, placing it all under his control 1 . 

Whatever sorrows may have befallen Alfred's youth, they 
were alleviated during Ethelbert' s reign; for after he had 
attained his twelfth year, his intense desire of learning to 
read and write was, with much difficulty, gratified 2 . Accord- 
ing to Alfred's own account, there was no qualified teacher 
in the whole Saxon kingdom at the time when Swithin, his 
father's instructor, died, and when the tumults had already 
begun. "We are scarcely able to form an idea of the difficulties 
that must then have beset all attempts to attain even the first 
elements of knowledge. Undauntedly, but with much toil, 
the boy overcame all obstacles ; he began to read in his mo- 
ther-tongue what he had already learnt by heart, and the old 
poetry became all the more dear to him as he understood it 
better. He soon began to turn his attention to the writings 
and songs of the Church. He collected into one book the 
services of the hours, and many psalms and prayers, and 
always carried it about with him in his bosom. In later 
times he never parted with this book by day or night, and 
as Asser himself saw, he derived strength and consolation 
from it in the most severe vicissitudes of his life. This in- 
formation properly relates to a later period of his life, but we 
find it also recorded that during his youth he assiduously 
exercised and strengthened his body by the chase. He fol- 
lowed the wild animals, boldly and untiringly, through field 

' filius regis ;" in the earliest documents, Ealstan's name stands next to 

1 And wyt Aeftered mit ealra Westseaxana witena gewitnesse, uncerne dael 
oftfaestan Ae'Selbyrhte cincge, uncrum maege on fta geraedene fte he hit eft gedyde 
unc swa gewylde swa hit Sa waes fta wit hit him oSfaestan, and he $a swa dyde, 
ge ftaet yrfe, ge ftaet he mid uncre gemanan begeat, a"nd fiaet he sylf gcstrynde. 
Alfred's testament by Kcmble, n. 314. 

2 Asser, p. 473. At this time occur the first documents that are also signed by 
Alfred. Instead of " lectores," Florent. i. 87 gives " grammatici ;" but his in- 
struction ic Latin canj \t be meant. 


and wood, until he had accomplished their destruction. He 
soon outstripped his companions in dexterity. Good for- 
tune accompanied him in all things, like a gift from God 1 . 
He did not yet go out to battle against the heathen foe; 
his time passed on in harmless preparations for the ap- 
proaching earnest work, until, in the beginning of the year 
866, King Ethelbert died it is said, after a peaceful, mild, 
and honourable reign, and when he was buried at Sherborne 
beside his brother 2 , there was great grief in the land. 



IN conformity with the ancient order of the succession, 
Ethelred, the third brother, now ascended the throne. Like 
his predecessor, he preserved the union between the royal 
dominions and the kingdoms of Kent and Sussex 3 , although, 
according to the earlier usage, Alfred ought to have ruled in 
the latter. But the circumstances of the time imperatively 
required that this old arrangement should no longer be ob- 
served. The south-eastern coast of the island was especially 
open to an unexpected attack from the enemy, and nothing l 
except a general union of all parts of the kingdom under one 
leader, could ensure a successful defence. It does not seem 
that Alfred put forward any pretensions ; on the contrary, 
he clearly saw what course of action would be injurious, 
and soon found that the best service he could render to the 
king his brother and the realm, was to set an example of 

1 Nam ineomparabilis omnibus peritia et felicitate in ilia arte, sicut et in cseteris 
omnibus Dei donis fuit. Asser, p. 474. 

2 Asser, p. 473, designates his reign as " pacifice et amabiliter et honorabiliter." 
Florent. Wigorn. i. 69; Simeon Dunelm. p. 676; Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 118, follow 
his authority " strenue dulciterque." Ingulph. p. 863, gives an invention of his 
own: " Iste validissimus adolescens et Danorum triumphator invictus." Henric. 
Huntingd. v. 739, assigns him a rule of ten years in Kent. According to Hardy's 
supposition after Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 118, n. 2, he died somewhere in February. 
Wilhelm gives him a quinquennium, as well as his predecessor and successor, and, 
perhaps by a chronological mistake, does not include the two years and a half of 
his rule in Kent. 

3 He always signs himself " Etheired Rex occidentalium Saxonum nee non ot 
Cantuariorum." Kemble, No. 294, 295, 298, 1061. 


submissive obedience. There is no record of any dissension 
between him and Ethelred. As second in power, Alfred 
occupied the highest position after the king, and was in- 
vested with a certain degree of authority over all the states. 
He was crown-prince, the acknowledged heir to the throne, 
and to all the royal property 1 . Soon after Ethelred's ac- 
cession a general assembly of the kingdom was held, and the 
manner in which this property should be treated was de- 
cided. Alfred wished that the inheritance left by his father 
and his two brothers might be divided, and that he might 
manage his share independently. Ethelred replied that he 
had entered into his inheritance so long before his younger 
brother, and had added so much, to it, that a just partition 
would be very difficult ; but that, after his own death, Alfred 
should be the sole heir. With this Alfred willingly complied ; 
but some years later, when the kingdom was threatened with 
destruction by the heathen enemy, both the brothers were 
obliged, for the sake of their descendants, to make a different 
arrangement 2 . 

The time is now arrived when the History of England 
takes a more general and connected form, for the country 
was threatened by a common danger. 

Before we proceed with our immediate subject, the Life of 
Alfred, we must cast a glance beyond the boundaries of the 
( Weifr -Saxon kingdom. Towards the end of the year 866, 
the Danes made a more furious and terrible attack than ever 
they had done before on the whole G-ermanic east coast of 
the island. As commanders of the fleets there now appear 
kings, the accounts of whose gigantic stature and ferocity 
still savour somewhat of tradition ; but with every record in 
the English annals these plundering and conquering people 
stand out more clearly from their northern obscurity. Some 
method now was visible in their hitherto apparently uncon- 
nected campaigns, for they established settlements on the 
coast, from whence they could, without opposition ravage 

1 He is called " frater regis" by Kemble, No. 298, " filius regis" (prince), No. 
1061. By Asser, p. 475, 476, 477, he is always styled " Secondarius" during hia 
brother's lifetime. 

2 Alfred's will : Kemble, No. 314 which, according to its historical preamble, can 
scarcely have been made earlier than the years 880 or 885. 


the interior of the country, so rich in cattle and agricultural 

But the lives and actions of individuals are yet by no 
means clearly distinguishable. It is a fruitless undertaking 
to attempt to unite in one continuous history, the poetical 
traditions of Scandinavia, founded on the exploits of the con- 
quering heroes, with the short sketches of their names and 
deeds given in the English Chronicles, which, at a later 
period, were in a great measure mingled with the northern 
myljis. Events and names are confusedly and incorrectly 
stated. It is recorded that the dark and fearful King 
Regnar Lodbrok fought in Northumbria during the pre- 
ceding century, and met his dreadful death in the Serpent 
tower of Ella ; and that the brothers Hingwar and Hubba 
appeared in Northumbria to avenge their father ; but ac- 
cording to history, they first came over with the great fleet, 
and landed in East Anglia. It is also said, that in order to 
be revenged on the adulterous King Osbert, the nobleman 
Biorn Butsecarl summoned Gruthorm the Dane into the 
country ; whereas, this warrior first appears on the scene ill 
the country south of the Humber 1 . The real cause of these 
attacks, and of the successful results which crowned them, is 
not to be found in narrations of this kind, which, in spite of 
their historical basis, belong to the region of poetry. The 
simple fact is, that the rapacious people soon learnt by expe- 
rience which was the weakest point of their opponents ; and 
at the period of which we write, they attacked with all their 
force the two kingdoms which were least able to make any 

At that time, as we have seen, the supremacy of Wessex 
was much less recognised in the north than in the south of 
the island. If the Scandinavian pirates had delayed their 
advent for a few years longer, it might have been easy for 
the successors of Ethelwulf to put an end to the perpetual 
struggles for the throne between the Northern Angles and 
the weaker ones of the east. The West Saxons might have 
asked then, to some purpose, which were the stronger, the 
Pagan or Christian Germans ; but profiting by the dissen- 

1 The narrative and the sources of both accounts may be found in Lappenberg 
U. 30-32. 


Bions amongst their adversaries, the Pagans succeeded with 
inconceivable rapidity in gaining the ascendancy. 

A brisk autumnal east wind now carried a fleet, which must 
have been a very considerable one, straight from its island- 
home to the Wash, whose broad shallow bay presented no 
obstacle to a landing. The East Angles did not attempt k 
enter into any contest with this great body of Pagans, as 
their most celebrated leader, Hubba, appeared at their head, 
but rather offered them shelter and support, provided them 
with a winter residence, and furnished them with horses for 
their march in the spring 1 . As soon as the weather became 
milder, the Danes set out northwards, and entered the district 
around York. Here, for five years, a powerful usurper, Ella, 
who did not belong to the royal Berriician family, had de- 
prived the rightful prince, Osbert, of the throne. The 
weaker party still kept up the feud, and the whole province 
was therefore in the most disastrous condition 2 . 

When the great Pagan army crossed the Humber, spreading 
desolation around its path, the two opposing kings, at the in- 
stigation of the nobles of the country, and inspired by terror, 
suspended their quarrel and united their forces for defence. 
By the first of November the Danes had made themselves 
masters of the city of York, and from thence had advanced as 
tar as the Tyne. Wherever they passed, churches and clois- 
ters were robbed of their treasures, and the buildings them- 
selves set on fire. Towards the end of the winter the North- 
umbrians, commanded by both their kings and eight earls, 
made a stand against the plundering hordes, who with some 
difficulty collected their scattered bands, and made a hasty 
flight to York. They intended to defend themselves behind 
the city walls, although these, as Asser remarks, were far 
from being strong in those days. The Christians followed 
close upon the fugitives : a great number entered the town 
with them, and the rest commenced razing the walls. When 
the Danes found themselves threatened with such danger in 
their only fortress, they determined on making an attempt to 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 866. 

2 The chief authority for this is Simeon of Durham, Ecclesia. ii. 6. A. 867, by 
Twysden. Asser gives a striking account of it also, although in wrong chronolo* 
gical order, p. 474. Also Chron. Sax. A. 867, and Florent, Wigorn. i. 80. 


fight a passage through the ranks of their valiant besiegers. 
This took place March 21st, 868 1 . The Northumbrians gave 
way before the impetuosity of the attack and the fearful 
havoc made by the Danish weapons. A great number of the 
Christians were slain, amongst others many nobles and both 
the kings, for whom the Durham Chronicler has no pity, for 
they had been the principal means of bringing this ruin on 
their country, and besides, had wickedly squandered the pro- 
perty of the Church. 

This kingdom, sunk into a complete state of lethargy in 
consequence of long years of anarchy, was not entirely in the 
power of the Northmen. Those amongst the inhabitants who 
had escaped destruction were compelled to submit to a dis- 
graceful peace. It pleased the Danes to appoint a creature 
of their own to be king of the lands north of the Tyne. 
They kept the southern part of the district as a point oi 
egress for their further enterprises. It soon became evident 
in what direction they intended to commence their ravages ; 
for at the approach of winter they invaded the neighbouring 
district of Mercia, and took possession of the strong city of 

They now rested during the cold season, as they had done 
at their first landing, and also at York ; with the spring they 
renewed their attacks. But King Burhred was once more on 
his guard ; he hastily summoned his Witan, and agreed to 
send messages to his brothers-in-law, the King and the 
Crown- Prince of the West Saxons, and to entreat them 
earnestly to levy troops without delay, and hasten to assist 
him in repelling the invaders 3 . 

It will be necessary to pause for a time in this narration 
of military affairs, in order to investigate the causes which 
first induced the West Saxons to co-operate with that army 
which they had so often met in battle ; and to consider also 
the close connexion now formed between them and the 
Mercians, with the events which resulted from it in the life 
of Alfred. Hitherto no hostile ship had arrived on the coast 
of Wessex, and during the first two years of King Ethelred's 
reign no man had been compelled to take up arms. In con- 

Palm-Sunday, Florent. ed. i. which day fell in 867 on March 21st. 
8 Cbron. Sax. A. 868 ; Asser, 475. 


sequence of this deficiency of martial subjects, our authorities 
have recorded but two 'events. The first is the death of 
Bishop Ealstan, which took place about the same time that 
the Danes, those ancient foes of this valiant prince of the 
Church, made themselves masters of York. This remarkable 
man had attained a great age, and had been bishop for fifty 
years. He resolutely maintained his position amidst all the 
storms of life, and now he died in peace, at Sherborne, and 
was buried in the royal vault 1 . The defence of the kingdom 
was now left to younger hands. Next in rank to the king, 
and destined soon to distinguish himself by skill and courage, 
stood his brother Alfred, already arrived at years of man- 
hood. He, who as a child had delighted his parents' hearts 
by his beauty and amiability, as a young man was now the 
pride and hope of the people. We have to thank A sser also 
for this second account of him. 

In 868, when he had reached his twentieth year, Alfred 
was betrothed to Elswitha, the daughter of Ethelred Mucel 
(the Great), Earl of the Gaini 2 . She was descended from the 
royal family of Mercia, through her mother Edburga, a woman 
worthy of all reverence, who, after the death of her husband, 
lived as a widow to the end of her pious life. This we learn 
from Asser, who had frequently seen her 3 . The father of 
Elswitha, who bore the honourable surname of the Great, was 
the chief of that district of the Angles, and appears to have 
taken an active part in the public affairs of the kingdom ol 
Mercia 4 . The choice of the prince was a wise one. By the 

1 Asser, p. 475: Postquam episcopatum per quinquaginta annos honorabilitei 
rexerat, in pace in Scireburnan sepultus est. Chron. Sax. A. 867, Wilh. Malmesb. 
Gesta Pontif. ii. 247, give a similar account: Magnae in seculo potentiae. Simeon 
Dunelm. de Gestis Reg. Angl. p. 677, Henric. Huntingd. v. 738, Florent. Wigorn. 
A. 867, ed. i. enter at much length into his services to the State, rendered in 
battles against Kent and East Anglia, as well as into his participation in Ethel- 
bald's revolt. 

2 Gainsborough in Lincolnshire still preserves the name of this district. 

3 Asser, p. 475, who does not here mention the name of Ethelswitha, says of her 
mother: "Quam nos ipsi propriis oculorum obtutibus non pauces ante obitum 
suum annis frequenter vidimus, venerabilis scilicit foemina," etc. Vide Florent. 
Wigorn. i. 81. 

* Tiiere is a Mucel who signs Burhred's documents from the years 864 and 866. 
Kemble, No. 290. 291, 292, Chron. Sax. A. 90S, records the death of the Ealderttan 
Athulf, the brother of Ethelswitha. 


marriage of his sister an alliance with the Mercians had 
already been formed, and by this fresh union the two states 
were still more closely connected together. 

The marriage was celebrated with all the ancient solem- 
nities in Mercia, probably at the home of the bride. The 
guests, both men and women, w r ere innumerable, and the 
banquet lasted day and night. It w r as in the midst of these 
festivities that Alfred was suddenly seized by a malady. The 
loud mirth of the guests was silenced at the sight of his suf- 
ferings, and neither they nor all the physicians of the day 
could assign any cause for it. Many suspected that some one 
amongst the people who surrounded the prince had bewitched 
him. by secret magic arts, or that the devil himself, malicious 
at his virtue, had come to tempt him. Others supposed that 
it was an unusual kind of fever, or the unexpected return of 
a painful disease from which he had suffered much in his 
earliest youth. 

It is not quite clear to which of these latter suppositions 
we must give credence, and the accounts we have of the 
matter are extremely vague 1 . It seems that as he entered 

1 The accounts ot both maladies are to be found in Asser, p. 474, 484, 485, 
492, and also in the MS. Cotton. Florent. Wigorn. i. 87, 88, follows these au- 
thorities, but places the events in better order, as do Roger de Wendover, i. 321, 
and Matth. Westmonast. A. 871. But it is worthy of notice, that the older 
chroniclers, as Ethelwerd, Henric. Huntingd. and Wilh. Malmesb. make no men- 
tion whatever of these bodily sufferings. The minute relation given in Asser's 
work appears suspicious merely for the following reasons: Why is not the narra- 
tion given with the notice of Alfred's marriage in 868, where it chronologically 
belongs, or in the section, p. 474, which treats of his youth and education ? We 
find it under the year 884. sixteen years after the marriage, and introduced in a 
description of the nuptial festivities. The whole passage is apparently torn from 
the earlier portion of the work, and very clumsily and injudiciously inserted in a 
wrong place by a later hand. The train of thought, too, is very confused in this 
narration, which does not proceed according to the sequence of events, but 
reverses them relates them backwards: first mentions the marriage, then the 
sudden attacks of illness, then the ficus, and, lastly, the mysterious reason of the 
malady. The same words are likewise repeated twice, e.g., " in primaevo juven- 
tatis suae flore." In the erroneous position, the incorrect tautology, and, 
indeed, in the whole tenor of the account, I cannot do otherwise than recognise 
a much mutilated part of the genuine Vita, into which many additions may have 
crept at a later period, especially those which treat of miraculous events, and of 
St. Neot. I maintain the facts related by Asser, and have preferred using them 
in the text unabridged, only making a new and better arrangement of them, tf 
omitting the improbable portions of the narrative. 


into manhood, he had to fight a hard battle \vith his animal 
passions. On one side temptation assailed him powerfully, 
and on the other his ardent love for all that was good and 
noble held him back from the paths of vice. He was accus- 
tomed to rise from his bed at the earliest dawn, and kneeling 
before the altar, pray there to Q-od for help and strength. 
He implored that a check might be given to these desires, 
that some affliction might be sent him to keep him always 
armed against temptation, and that the spirit might be en- 
abled to master the weakness of the body. Heaven granted 
his prayer, and sent this sickness to him, which Asser de- 
scribes as a kind of fit. For many years he suffered ex- 
cruciating pain from it, so that he often despaired of his 
own life. One day whilst hunting in Cornwall, he alighted 
at the chapel of St. Gruerir, in the solitude of a rocky valley, 
where St. JN"eot afterwards took refuge and died. The prince, 
who from a child loved to visit all sacred places, prostrated 
himself before the altar in silent prayer to Grod for mercy. 
He had long been oppressed by a dread of being unfitted for 
bis royal office by his bodily infirmities, or of becoming an 
object of contempt in the eyes of men by leprosy and 
blindness. This fear now inspired him to implore deliverance 
from such misery ; he was ready to bear any less severe, nay 
any other trial, so that he might be enabled to fulfil his ap- 
pointed duties. Not long after his return from that hunting 
expedition, an answer was vouchsafed to his fervent prayer, 
and the malady departed from him. 

And now at the moment of his marriage, when the wedding- 
guests were feasting and rejoicing in the banquet-hall, that 
other trial came for which he had prayed. Anguish and 
trembling suddenly took hold upon him, and from that time 
to the date when Asser wrote, and indeed during his whole 
life, he was never secure from an attack of this disease. There 
were seasons when it seemed to incapacitate him for the dis- 
charge of any duty temporal or spiritual, but an interval of 
ease, though it lasted only a night, or a day, or even an hour, 
would always re-establish his powers. In spite of these 
bodily afflictions, which probably were of an epileptic naturje, 
the inflexible strength of his will enabled him to rise above 
the heaviest cares that were ever laid on a sovereign, to 
vrage a victorious warfare with the wildest enem:es, and undei 


the pressure of corporeal weakness and external difficulties to 
forward with untiring zeal his own and his people's advance- 
ment to a higher state of mental intelligence. Thus Alfred 
had scarcely entered into public life, scarcely laid the foun- 
dation of his own household, when this burden also was laid 
upon him ; how unweariedly and successfully he must then 
have striven to prepare himself for the coming days of mis- 
fortune, and to keep his courage and hop,e inviolate ! 

Only a short time could have elapsed after his marriage 
and the first appearance of his treacherous malady, when 
Alfred, with his young wife, returned to his brother's king- 
dom. Soon after, the messengers from Mercia arrived, en- { 
treating the speedy assistance of the "West Saxons. On i 
receipt of the serious news, the brothers did not delay for an 
instant ; after summoning a large army from all parts of the 
kingdom, they marched with it straight into Mercia and joined 
the troops already levied there. ^Bishops, abbots, and many 
clergy, readily relinquished on this occasion their claim of 
exemption from military service, and armed themselves with 
alacrity to increase the defensive strength of the kingdom 1 . 
It was necessary to snatch from the enemy the very place 
from which Alfred had first led his young bride home. 
When the united army appeared before Nottingham with the 
unanimous wish of engaging in a pitched battle, the Danes 
shut themselves up within the city, trusting to the strength 
of its wall. A few slight skirmishes only took place, the be- 
sieged not being willing to engage in a decisive battle. On 
the other hand, the Saxons were not prepared for a systematic 
attack on the fortress, whose thick walls resisted any attempts 
they could make against them. Besides, winter was approach- 
ing ; the short time of service for which the troops had been 
levied was nearly expired ; and therefore, an agreement was 
entered into between the Mercians and the Pagans, by which 
the latter were to withdraw, and the two princes resolved to 
return home with their soldiers. According to one account, 
it was Hingwar who effected this arrangement by his fox-like 
cunning, and his hypocritical speeches 2 . 

1 Documents of Ingulph. p. 863, Kemble, n. 297, whose genuineness, indeed, 
is not unquestioned. It is worthy of note, that Ethelwerd, iv. 513, says nothing 
of the aid afforded by the West Saxons. According to him, Burhred concluded 
an agreement with the Danes without, any further contest. 

2 Asser, p. 475 ; Chron. Sax. A. 868 : " and pone here paer gemetton on pam 


This commencement of the struggle argued but badly for 
its result. The Danes truly, soon departed for the north, 
and again settled in "York, remaining there longer than 
they had before done ; but it was found impossible to eject 
them by force from the country, or to take from them 
the spoil they had already amassed. Neither did their ab- 
sence in the north continue long. A part of the heathen 
army soon moved once more towards the south ; it marched 
unmolested through the Mercian territory into the country 
of the East Angles ; at its head appeared the terrible bro- 
thers Hingwar and Hubba, the bravest and most ferocious 
of all the sea-kings Hingwar of powerful mind, Hubba of 
astonishing prowess 1 . Besides these, there were many other 
leaders in this army whose terrible names have never been 
forgotten. They encamped at Thetford, in the heart of the 
country 2 . 

About the same time, or perhaps rather earlier, another 
division of the Danish host landed from the Humber, in 
Lindsay (Lincolnshire) ; the rich cloister of Bardeney was 
pillaged and burnt, and its inmates were slain. The ealderman 
of that district, Algar the younger, who had won the admira- 
tion of the West Saxon brothers in their late campaign by his 
great courage, instantly assembled the valiant inhabitants of 
the marsh lands. Algar with his followers hastened to arm 
themselves, and even the rich cloisters of the neighbourhood 
furnished a great number of men. Those from Croyland 
were commanded by the lay-brother Toly, whose warlike fame 
had long been known throughout Mercia. 

On the day of St. Maurice, 21st September, 869, they met 
the Danes at Kesteven, and a desperate battle took place 
three of the heathen kings fell in the first onslaught, and 
when the enemy took flight, Algar pursued them to the very 
entrance of their camp. But during the following night, 
there came to the Danes' assistance the Kings Gruthorm, 
Bagseg, Oskytal, Halfdene, and Amund, and the Jarls Frene, 
Hingwar, Hubba, and the two Sidrocs. As soon as the 

geweorce and hine inne besaeton, and paer nan hefiglic gefeoht ne weariS and 
myrce frrS namon wr5 pone here." Henric. Huntingd. v. 738 : " Vulpecular 
astutia verbisque delinitis inducias ab Ar.glis impetravit." 

1 .Henric. Huntingd. v. 738 : Hinguar erat ingentis ingenii, Ubba vero fortita 
dinis admirandae. 

Asser, p. 475. 


news of their arrival was spread among the Angles, the 
courage of the greater number began to fail, and scarcely a 
fourth part of the warriors remained with Algar. Yet he 
and his faithful companions, ready to risk all in defence of 
their country, received the Holy Sacrament, and then pre- 
pared for the last desperate struggle. Toly and Morcar of 
Brunn led the right wing ; Osgot of Lindsay, and Harding 
of Eehal, the left ; the brave Algar himself took the centre. 
The Danes, who had buried their fallen kings in the early 
morning, now stimulated by revenge, rushed upon the scanty 
remnant of the Christians, who withstood the first attack, 
and remained the whole day firm as a rock, amidst a shower 
of arrows. But when in the evening the cunning enemy 
feigned a retreat, the Angles, disregarding the orders of their 
generals, impetuously pursued, and then their fate was sealed. 
The heathens turning suddenly, easily cut down the scattered 
troops. Algar, Toly, and a few others, defended themselves 
on a hill for a short time longer, and fought with true 
lion courage ; then, covered with many wounds, they fell dead 
on the bodies of their slaughtered countrymen ; a few youths 
alone escaped to tell the fearful tale to the monks in Croy- 

There was no longer any hope of saving the numerous 
cloisters, their inmates, or their treasures ; the plundering 
hordes had already arrived, pillaging and burning all before 
them. Croyland shared this fate; four days later, Medes- 
hamstede (Peterborough) was destroyed, and soon afterwards 
Huntingdon and Ely were completely ruined. Almost every 
living creature fell beneath the sword; a few individuals 
only were fortunate enough to escape from the general de- 
struction ; the consecrated buildings were consumed by fire, 
and nothing was saved but the gold and silver, which the 
robbers divided among themselves 1 . 

The East Angles seem to have made a less valiant resistance 
than their northern neighbours. It is true that the Ealder- 
man Ulfketel made a fierce attack on the Danes whilst they 
were in Thetford, but after a short contest he was slain with 

1 See the detailed and very animated description of the battle, and the great de- 
vastation committed, by Ingulph p. 863-868, to whom we may give credence, as h 
was Abbot of Croyland. 


all his followers. In the winter of 870, the gentle King Ed- 
immd, the last of the old royal Saxon race, who had neglected 
to join his neighbours in their common bands of defence, 
attempted an engagement with the enemy, and fell into the 
power of the cruel Hingwar. The unfortunate king, during 
the painful martyrdom which he suffered, manifested the 
most unshaken courage and inflexible constancy. He died 
for his faith; though vanquished in life, he triumphed in death, 
and his royal name stands high in the roll of Catholic saints 1 . 
East Anglia now no longer belonged to the number of 
Christian states ; Gruthorm kept the kingdom for himself ; 
but Northumbria was divided into several portions. As 
soon as the districts along the coasts were thus disposed of, 
and the last scion of their royal family destroyed, the interior 
of the island lay open to the heathen. Mercia was unable 
by itself to make any resistance, and all depended on whether 
the West Saxons were powerful enough to save the Saxon 
race and defend Christendom against the fierce Pagans. 

The winter was not yet over when a large army of North- 
men, headed by some chiefs, finding the east coast no longer 
sufficient for their maintenance, embarked for "Wessex in 
search of land and plunder. The two kings, Bagseg and 
Halfdene, the Jarls Osbern, Frene, Harald, and both the 
Sidrocs, with Gruthorm and others, thus departed to conquer 
the Saxon principalities. They entered the Thames in their 
ships, and before long the southern shores of the "West 
Saxons were overrun by the Pagan hordes, who, like a mighty 
stream, carried all before them 3 . Their number was so great 
that they could only proceed in separate divisions. They soon 
arrived at the royal fortress of Reading, which is situated in 
Berkshire, at the spot where the little river Kennet joins 
the Thames from the south. "Without the least opposition 
they made themselves masters of the place, from which they 
could conveniently carry on their plundering expeditions, for 
a navigable river extended from it to the sea, as was the case 
at "Sork also at that period. On the third day after their 

1 Chron. Sax. A, 870 ; Asser, p. 475 ; Florent Wigorn. A. 870. The translation 
of Lappenberg, ii 38-39. 

* Henric. Huntingd. v. 738 : Exercitus novus et maximus quasi fluvius munuani 
et omnia secuir. rolvens. 


arrival, two of the jarls took horse, and, accompanied by a 
great number of warriors, left the fleet at Eeading, and rode 
furiously through field and wood in search of intelligence and 
booty 1 . In the mean while, those who remained behind con- 
structed a wall to the south of the town 2 , between tne 
Thames and the Kennet ; so that being protected on two 
sides by the rivers, and fortified on the third, they might 
safely bring their plunder to the place and be ready for 
defence. The "West Saxons were not prepared to receive a 
visitation of this kind at this early season of the year ; how- 
ever, Ethelwulf, the ealderman of that district, speedily 
assembled a small but valiant band, with which to make a 
stand against the outriding party. He met the Danes at 
Englafeld, attacked them courageously, and after a long and 
desperate conflict, in which one of the jarls and part of his 
company were slain, he put the whole band to flight 3 . Four 
days after this first engagement, Ethelred and Alfred ap- 
peared before Heading with the troops they had hastily col- 
lected ; and all the heathens who ventured outside the gates 
were slain without mercy. The King and Prince of the West 
Saxons desired to rescue this place, one of the most im- 
portant in the kingdom, from the hands of their cruel 
enemies. But these, ever ready for any cunning exploit, 
artfully took advantage of the moment when the Saxons 
were encamping on the plain, and rushed suddenly out of the 
gates upon them like wolves. A tremendous conflict now 
ensued. Victory inclined now to the Christian and now to 
the heathen arms ; but at length the latter triumphed, and the 
Saxons, not yefc accustomed to the furious attacks of the 
northern warriors, were obliged to retreat. The brave 
Ethelwulf was among the fallen ; his followers were obliged 
to leave his corpse on the field, and the Danes afterwards 

1 Ethelwerd " obliti classe aut certe explorations ritu tarn celeres aut aetenii 
imminis (?) per arva sylvasque ferunter." Chron. Sax. A. 871 ; Asser, p. 476; 
Ktheiwerd, iv. 513; Florent. Wigorn. i. 82, all relate the subsequent battles, and 
often elucidate each other. 

2 " A dextrali parte." Asser. 

3 Three MSS. of the Cliron. Sax. ( B. C. D. arranged according to their antiquity) 
erroneously call him Sidroc. Asser and the chroniclers give no name to this jarl, 
and by all accounts both the Sidrocs fell at Ashdune. Vide translation of Lap- 
penberg, ii, 41, n. 1. 


dragged it to Derby 1 . The two royal brothers were pur- 
sued as far as "Wistley or Wichelet Green, near Twyibrt, 
but they saved themselves by crossing the Thames not far 
from Windsor, at a ford which was unknown to' the Danes 2 . 
But the Saxons were not to be daunted by grief or shame 
from defending their country; the Pagans must have also 
perceived that they had now to contend with more resolute 
adversaries than the Angles had been. Four days again 
elapsed, and then both armies mustered their entire strength, 
and encountered each other at Ashdune (Aston, in Berk- 
shire) 3 ; here they measured their powers. The Danes di- 
vided themselves into two companies one commanded by 
both the kings, the other by the earls. When this was ob- 
served by the Christians, they acted in the same manner, and 
arranged themselves in two divisions. According to the old 
German custom in war, King Ethelred ought to have com- 
manded at that point where generals of equal rank to his 
own were opposed to him, and Alfred's duty was to engage 
with the second division of the enemy ; but on this day he 
was destined to perform a more important part, and to show, 
at his early age, that heroic deeds were natural to him. 
At the break of day the state of affairs boded little good. 
The Danes had taken possession of an eminence crowned 
with a short thick underwood, and from this leafy wall they 
directed well-aimed darts at the Saxons, who were endea- 
vouring with difficulty to gain the summit. Asser relates 
that he learnt from credible eye-witnesses, that Alfred arrived 
early in the morning at the foot of the hill, whilst Ethelred 
was still in his tent hearing mass, and declaring that until 
the priest had ended, no human work should tear him away 
from fulfilling his duty towards God 4 . The old historian 
may attribute the victorious issue of that battle to the piety 
of the king ; but it is clear that his delay would soon have 

1 Especially according to Asser and Ethelwerd. 

* Gaimar, v. 2964, ff. Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 801, is the only authority for this. 

3 It is not clear what place is meant by Aescesdune. There is an Ashdown in 
Sussex and in Devon ; but Berkshire was up to this period the scene of conflict, 
and we must look for this battle-field either in that county or in Surrey or Hants. 

4 " Sicut ab his qui viderunt veridicis referentibus audivimus." Asser, p. 476. 
His account of the matter is by far the fullest: he had seen the woody battle-rVd 
in later times, " quam nos ipsi propriis nostris oculis vidimus." 


brought upon him a similar disastrous fate to that which 
ui later times overtook a Saxon, who scrupulously awaited 
the conclusion of the sermon whilst, in spite of Sunday, the 
enemy overpowered his allies. 

Happily for England, Alfred was in his proper place at the 
right time. For a while he waited most anxiously for his\ 
brother, to whom belonged the chief command, and who ought 
to have given the first order for battle. Still Ethelred did 
not appear, and the enemy pressed with all its force on 
the prince, so that he could no longer maintain his position 
without giving way or advancing against orders. So at length, 
confiding in God's protection, he gave the signal for attack, 
and at the head of his troops, rusheu like a wild >'<\ir up the 
hill against the two hostile divisions^ The heathens ".vivlled 
him from their coverts with their darts, but they could not 
force him to yield, and then a bloody conflict hand to hand 
ensued. In the mean w r hile the king had arrived among 
the combatants, and placing himself at the head of his division, 
led it valiantly against the warriors commanded by Bagseg 
and Halfdene, who were opposite to him~. The battle raged 
along the whole line in the midst of the most frightful tumult, 
and the greatest courage was displayed on both sides. But 
the Saxons knew they were fighting for life and property, for 
all they loved, and for their fatherland. At last the heathens 
could no longer resist the repeated and close attacks made upon 
them, their ranks began to waver, a fearful slaughter took 
place, and the battle-field upon the wide large plain surround- 
ing A shdune was covered with many thousand corpses. King 
Bagseg was slain by Ethelred himself 5 amongst the dead were 
found Sidroc the elder, Sidroc the younger, Osbearn, Frene, 
Ilarald, and many noble youths 3 . From the time the Saxons 
first landed in Britain, says Ethelwerd, never was there such 
a battle known. The remainder of the army took flight in 
wild confusion. The Saxons pursued them during tliat night 
and the following day as far as Heading : a number of strag- 
glers were slain on the way 4 . For the first time since 'he 

1 " Viriliter aprino more." 

2 Chron. Sax. and Henric. Huntingd. agree in saying that EtL< ' <: arrie<; 
out the pre-arranged plan. 

3 Henric. Huntingd. v. 738. 

* All our authorities agree concerning the issue of this battle. 


battle of Aclea, the Northmen sustained an entire defeat 
t'fom the West Saxons. From this victory Alfred not only 
gained renown, but also a glorious and encouraging lesson for 
his future life ; he felt that he had saved his country by his 
undaunted conduct in a decisive moment. 

But the conquerors dared not resign themselves to careless 
repose, for the enemy still remained firmly ensconced in Head- 
ing. Fresh troops continually crossed the Thames to replace 
the losses they had sustained. Scarcely had a fortnight elapsed 
before the two brothers again placed their warriors in battle 
array near Basing, in Hampshire 1 . But this time the fortune 
of war was less favourable to them. As at Ashdune, the Danes 
occupied a more advantageous position, and they maintained 
the field after an obstinate conflict ; but as we learn from 
Ethelwerd, the victors carried off no spoils 2 . Soon after their 
strength was considerably reinforced by the arrival of a fresh 
body of their countrymen 3 ; so that, notwithstanding the 
victory which had lately been achieved, the danger which 
threatened Wessex took a more and more menacing aspect. 
An important part of the West Saxon kingdom lay open to 
devastation; and in the district where w T ar raged two 
months later, we find a battle-field at no great distance from 
Ashdune. At Merton, Ethelred and Alfred once mye 
engaged with two divisions of the northern army 4 . Both 
wings of the Saxons were victorious during the whole of the 
day ; but they were obliged before night to abandon the field 
to the enemy, having lost many of their brave warriors, 
amongst whom was Heahmund of Sherborne, the worthy 
successor of the valiant Ealstan 5 . 

Thus, far from consolatory were the future prospects of the 
only German state in England which had carried on the war 

1 " JEt Basingum," Chron. Sax. ; " Basengas adierunt," Asser ; " in loco Basin- 
gon," Ethelwerd ; " Apud Basingum," Henric. Huntingd. 

2 Especially Ethelwerd, 1. c. 

3 Asser, p. 477 : " De ultra marinis partibus alius paganorum exercitus societati 
se adjunxit." 

4 ' Meretune," Chron. Sax.; "Metantune," Ethelwerd; " Meredune," Henric. 
Huntingd. v. 738, and Florent. Wigorn. i. 85. It is not certain whether the 
place of this name in Oxfordshire, or that in Surrey, is meant. I am inclined to 
believe the latter. Asser does not mention this battle. Vide Introduction. 

5 Especially Chron. Sax. and Ethelwerd, 1. c. 


with indomitable courage against the barbarians, when, 
shortly after the defeat at Merton, King Ethelred died, 
April 23rd, 871 1 . Whether he sunk under the wounds he 
had received or died from natural causes, is not certain ; he 
merited the esteem of posterity for his firm and admirable 
conduct throughout his reign. Alfred, the heir to the 
throne, who at this critical period assumed the government 
of Wessex, caused his brother to be interred with royal 
honours at Wimborne Minster, in Dorsetshire. It seems 
more than, probable that Sherborne, which contained the 
vault appropriated to the West Saxon kings, after the heroic 
death of its last bishop, was either threatened or actually 
occupied by the Danes 2 . 

It is much to be regretted that, with the exception of Alfred's 
te^anTieTrtr, we have no accurate information respecting Ethel- 
red's last arrangements ; and the commencement of the reign 
of his brother Ethelred left direct heirs, two infant sons, of 
whom the eldest, Ethelwald, appeared as pretender against 
his cousin Edward, at a later period when Alfred's career 
was nearly ended. /The historian Ethelwerd was descended 
in a direct line from Ethelred, as, after mentioning the death 
of this king, he proceeds to relate in an apostrophe to the 
Princess Matilda, who traced her descent from Alfred 3 . But 
in those times of great and universal danger, none dared to 
venture on placing the crown of Wessex upon the head of a 
little child. In such a case as this the law of succession 
from father to son was by no means irrevocable, and we have 
seen that Alfred was destined by his father and his last bro- 
ther to the sole inheritance of the throne. Ethelred, during 
the latter days of his life, made no provision for his descendants, 
except so far as regarded their private affairs. As the two 
brothers were in constant dread of the Pagan foe, and appre- 

1 Asser, p. 477: " Regno quinque annis per multas tribulationes strenue atque 
honorabilitergubernato;" according to him and Kthelwerd, and Henric. Huntingd. 
he died, " post Pascha;" according to the Cliron. Sax. " ofer Eastron;" according 
to Florent. Wigorn. i. 85, IX. Kal. Maii, three weeks after Easter, which in the 
year 871 fell on the 31st March. 

2 MS. Cotton. Tib. b. i. says, m opposition to all other authorities, " JEt 

5 Ethelwerd, iv. 514, and the dedication which introduces his work. Vida 
translation of Lappenberg, p. Ivii. 



hensive of great danger to property and life, they settled at 
a Witenagemot at Swineburgh 1 , that in case of the death of 
either, the orphaned children should receive from the survivor 
a sufficient maintenance out of their father's estates. The 
entire inheritance, as well as the succession to the throne, 
was secured to Prince Alfred. There is no intimation that 
Alfred ascended the throne by usurpation, or by setting 
aside his nephews. He had been appointed King of the West 
Saxons, not only by the mystical anointing of Pope Leo IV., 
but he had long been acknowledged as crown-prince, and his 
people could make no other and no better choice. At the 
period of his accession, when it devolved upon Alfred to save 
Wessex and the Christian faith from destruction, he showed 
how he had profited by the education of his youth, and how 
capable he was, when supported by his faithful subjects who 
placed all their hopes upon him, of defending his beloved 
country by his heroic bravery and high-souled inspiration. 


THE TIME OP TEIAL : 871 to 881. 

A TRULY wearisome task lies before author and reader when 
they attempt to investigate Alfred's life, from the period of 
his accession throughout a great part of his reign, for its 
only interest consists in the narration of an unbroken series 
of battles with the Northern enemy. The tenor of this 
Anglo-Saxon history remains ever the same, its uniformity 
becomes at last confusing, and brings ennui with it ; the only 
relief is, that situations vary, and time marches steadily for- 
ward, while two Q-erman races are constantly struggling for 
the upper hand, and alternately subduing and being subdued 
by one another. But to abstain on this account from giving 
a faithful historical relation of events, would be as unjust as 
to be content with jotting down the bare facts of each suc- 
tvcding year. Our sympathy can only be kept alive by not 
losing sight of the goal to which all the struggles tend, by 
constantly keeping in mind at what price the conflict was 
Carried on, what advantages the Danes strove to acquire, 

1 On gemote a?t Swinbeorgum. Alfred's testament, Kcrabie, n 314. 


what treasures the Saxons had to protect, and finally, by en- 
deavouring to gain an insight during the whole period into the 
heart and soul of the hero, who recognised as the problem of 
his life the defence of his people from the fierce heathen, and 
the preservation of their material and spiritual possessions 1 . 

In other cases, especially in early times, the solemn march 
of history halts for a moment at a fresh accession, and the 
historian takes advantage of the pause to do homage to 
the new monarch, from whom his contemporaries hope great 
things, and whom he has undertaken to follow faithfully 
through joy and sorrow, victory and defeat ; but we look in 
vain for such a resting-point in Alfred's life. Not a single 
word is said of any solemnities attending his accession: it is 
evident that the condition of England in those days would 
leave no time for keeping holiday. The young prince had to 
fulfil immediately the most difficult duties of his station, and 
he hastened straight from his brother's grave in the cloisters 
of Wimborne, perchance to meet his own on the battle-field. 

Soon after the fight at Merton, a large fleet, which had 
made a summer voyage from its own shores, landed near 
Beading 2 ; with such a reinforcement the enemy penetrated 
deep into the heart of the "West Saxon provinces. Alfred, 
sorely grieved at the sufferings of his people, enjoyed none of 
the pleasures of his new dignity ; he only felt its heavy 
burdens, which now rested exclusively on his own shoulders. 
After his brother's death, his very confidence in God seems 
to have wavered ; he began to doubt whether he should be 
able alone to make stand against and destroy the Pagan i 
hordes. One whole month passed before he ventured to 
march against the enemy with a small army ; probably from 
Wimborne, for at that time he must have been residing in 
the western part of the kingdom. He attacked the enemy 

1 That such a treatment is not to be found in Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 121, who, 
on similar grounds, rejects this wearisome task, is evident on the perusal of his 
work ; he repudiates in boastful language the mode in which his predecessors and 
contemporaries handle the subject. It might be expected that the words " sum- 
matim igitur omnia exponam " would be followed by a pithy review of Alfred's 
eventful life ; but instead of this, he relates at much length how St. Cuthbert 
appeared in a vision to the king in the Wilderness of Athelney. 

2 Chron. Sax. A. 871 : " Micel sumor-lida corn-to Readingum." Ethelwerd, iv. 
614: " Advenit sine numero aestivus exereitus in loco Ik-adingon." 


in Wiltshire, near the fortress of Wilton, which stood on an 
eminence on the left bank of the little river Wily. Alfred and 
his few comrades fought valiantly with the overwhelming 
force opposed to them ; the courage of despair lent strength 
to the little band, and the day seemed already won, when the 
foe suddenly took to hasty flight ; but again the exulting 
conquerors were deceived by a northern war stratagem. In 
the heat of pursuit they were surprised by a new detachment 
of Danes, against whom they could not maintain the field, 
although the victory had been already their own 1 . 

This was a bitter lesson for the young prince ; in spite of 
his most strenuous efforts, he was not destined to stay the 
wild career of the ravaging Danes, he rather found himself 
obliged to give way before them. The exhausted country was 
no longer in a condition to bear any heavy calls upon it, either 
for money or troops. In the space of one year no less than 
eight pitched battles 2 had been fought, without reckoning the 
numerous smaller conflicts thttt^ere continually occurring day 
;m:l night. It is true, that during that time whole hosts of 
.Northmen had been slain, besides one of their kings and nine 
iarls ; but the Saxons had also lost many valiant warriors, 
and the terror of the constantly advancing masses of the 
j enemy began to shake the courage of the industrial part of 
the population, as well as that of the warlike portion. So, 
before the expiration of a year, Alfred, with the concurrence 
of his nobles, found him self reduced to the humiliating neces- 
sity of concluding a pecuniary contract with the Danes, ac- 
cording to which they promised to quit all the land within the 
bounds of Wessex. As Alfred was not in a condition again 
to assist his brother-in-law, King Burhred, the Danes entered 
the territory of that monarch, and after crossing the Thames, 
took up their winter quarters in the neighbourhood of 
Lpndon. The feeble king could do nothing to oppose them ; 
v -and both he and his people believed themselves saved, when 
about the end of the year 872, the enemy agreed to enter into 

1 Asser, p. 477. 

2 Asser, p. 477; Ethelwerd, iv. 514: " Certamina tria. excepto supra memo- 
ratis bellis," i. e. at Englafield, Reading, Ashdown, Merton, and Wiiton ; of the 
three others we know nothing certain. Chron. Sax. A. 871, Henric. Huntingd. 
T. 739, Matth. West. A. 871, speak of nine battles. 


a treaty on payment of a tribute 1 , and left the country as 
they came to it, by water. 

But the Christian islanders were destined to learn by ex;- 
perience how little dependence was to be placed on the solemn 
promises and oaths of the heathen pirates. Their ships, in- 
deed, left the Thames, and sailed along the east coast towards 
the north ; but they landed in Northumbria, and reinstated 
Egbert, who had formerly begun his reign under their pro- 
tection, and who had been dislodged from his insecure throne 
by a revolt of the people. As soon as this was accomplished, 
and the winter passed, the Danes again appeared in the Mer- 
cian territory, in the district of Lindsay, where they made 
themselves masters of a place called Torksey. Once more the 
Mercians willingly bribed them with a sum of money, and 
trusted that now the contract would be respected. Yet 
scarcely had a year expired when the Pagan army broke loose 
from Torksey, and, without scruple or resistance, plunged 
deep into the heart of Mercia. Hryeopendune (Repton, in 
Derbyshire) fell into their hands, apparently without a single 
sword being drawn in its defence. The highly-renowned 
cloister in which the ancient kings of Mercia were interred 
was razed to the ground. The unfortunate King Bnrhred, 
who, six years before, had not dared to attempt a courageous 
defence with the assistance of his own subjects alone, and 
whose liege and kinsman, the young-King of Wessex, was 
now no less weakened and discouraged than himself made sT 
precipitate retreat. Owing to the wretched state" of 1i i s 
native island, he dared not entertain a hope of winning back 
his kingdom, over which he had reigned two-and-twenty 
years. One consolation alone remained to him. As a Ca- 
tholic Christian, he hastened over the sea, and wandered as a 
pilgrim to far-distant Eome^ A similar fate there awaited 
him to that of Csedwalla two centuries before. After having 
surmounted all the difficulties of the long and wearisome 
journey, he had scarcely attained the goal of his only wish 
when he was summoned by death, in the year 874, far from 
his country and his lost throne. His countrymen who were 
dwelling in Borne interred him, with all the honours due to 

1 Ethelwerd, iv. 514: " Myrcii confirmant cum eis foederis pactum stipendiaqus 
fctatunnt." To the same effect is Asser's " pacem pangere." 


his rank, in the church dedicated to the Virgin 1 adjoining the 
Saxon schools. His consort, Ethelswitha, a faithful compa- 
nion in sorrow and in joy, could not keep up with him in his 
nasty flight. In all probability she afterwards found a safe 
asylum with her brother, and in later times she travelled into 
Italy to visit her husband's tomb. 

This was the end of a kingdom which for a long time had 
stoutly contended for supremacy with that of Wessex. Its 
sudden ruin, as well as the death of its last ruler, must have 
made a deep and sad impression on Alfred. The ancient 
foundations of his own house were also most grievously 
shattered, and he saw his only sister leading a wretched life, 
deprived of her husband and her throne. The fate of Mercia, 
as was to be expected, was the same as that of the eastern 
neighbouring states. It pleased the Northmen to set up in 
Mercia also a native tributary king. The restless conquerors 
themselves showed little inclination to settle down for any 
length of time ; they preferred, as hitherto, to follow wind 
and weather, and any prospect of a rich booty, wherever 
these might promise fairly. The man who undertook this 
dishonourable charge was a weak-minded thane of the exiled 
king's 2 , Ceolwulf by name. Faithlessly he swore the required 
oath, and gave the desired hostages. He promised to be 
ready at any time indicated by his capricious masters to lay 
down his indefinite power, and to advance, by every means at 
his disposal, the interests of the army. As long as, in the 
promised manner, he employed himself to the advantage of 
the Danes, and especially as 'long as he extorted the revenues 
of their acres from the landowners, and robbed of their trea- 
sures those monasteries which had escaped destruction, so 
long he was allowed to remain in his position. But in the 
course of a few years, his masters, thinking they perceived 
that his zeal in their service was cooling, made no further 
scruple of dethroning him, of plundering him of all his wealth, 
and leaving him to die in the extremest poverty 3 . A great 

1 Chron. Sax. Ethelwerd, Asser, and Henric. Hundingd. agree in their accounts 
of the events from 872 to 874. The two first are perhaps rather the most 

' " Hie saeldon Ceolwulfe anum unwisum cinges pegae rice." Cbr a 
fcux. A. 874, is the most correct authority in this case. 
Ingulpli. p. 870. 


part of the country was thus completely in the power of the 
Danes, who now settled down in a civilised manner in the 
cities and in large districts. It is known that some of these 
places in the course of time laid down their ancient names, 
and took Scandinavian ones instead ; and that in these neigh- 
bourhoods, during a great part of the middle ages, many 
traits of language and customs betrayed a northern influ- 
ence 1 . 

In the year 875, the great army divided. As soon as the 
spring arrived, the Danes longed once more for the excite- 
ment of their robber expeditions ; besides, it was impossible 
that such an immense mass of people could any longer find 
support at Hryeopendune. One division, commanded by 
Halfdene, turned towards the north. He took up his quar- 
ters at the mouth of the Tyne, and his troop laid waste all 
the neighbouring districts. As there was little more treasure 
left to seek among the Angles, the foray answered better 
now among the Picts and the Celtish dwellers in Strath 
Clyde, a state which extended from the Clyde along the 
west coast to the south, and also included the present Cum- 
berland. The poverty of the country compelled Halfdene to 
divide portions of it amongst his warriors, and also to depend 
for his own subsistence on agriculture 2 . 

The other division of the army, commanded by Askytel, 
Amund, and Gruthorm, who had found neither peace nor 
quiet in his Anglian kingdom, turned southwards, and es- 
tablished itself at Cambridge for the winter. During their 
abode at this place, the crafty leader matured a plan for 
bringing ruin on his most determined foe, the King of the 
West Saxons, and seizing his far-extending possessions. In 
the spring of 876, the Danes suddenly forsook their quarters ; 
secretly and by night they went on board their ships, which 
were always in sailing order, and landed unexpectedly on 
the coast of Dorset. By a sudden surprise they made 
themselves masters of Wareham, which at that time coulc 
scarcely be called a town, and consisted chiefly of the ex 
tensive buildings and estates of a nunnery. Still the place 
was peculiarly favourable to their marauding excursions, for 

1 Vide Lappenberp, p. 314. 

* Chron. Sax. A. 815 ; Simeon Duneim. de Gest. Reg. Angl. p. 681. 


it lay between two small rivers, which fell into the sea at nu 
great distance, and the water always formed the most secure 
ramparts for the pirates ; it was only westward that the 
country lay open, where they might repulse the attacks of 
the Saxons, or commit their depredations. This last they 
did without delay ; and a considerable portion of the neigh- 
bouring district met with a fearful visitation. The Danes 
experienced no warlike resistance from the inhabitants of 
that part of the country. Alfred, during the previous year, 
had frequently been out in the Channel with a small fleet ; 
and had at one time engaged victoriously with seven ships, of 
which he had taken one and put the rest to flight 1 , but was 
now compelled, by the exhausted resources and sinking 
courage of his people, to venture only small undertakings 
of this kind. He was no longer able 'to cope with the su- 
perior force of the enemy under their three sea-kings, and 
so he resolved once more to procure their departure by 
money. As soon as the avaricious heathen caught sight of 
the gold, they promised to comply with all his demands. 
According to the ancient custom among all the Germanic 
races, the king himself selected from the army those men as 
hostages whom he judged the most worthy to answer with 
life and limb for the faithful observance of the contract 2 . 
"With the most solemn forms he personally received the 
promises of the assembled leaders. He first caused them to 
swear on the relics of the saints ; an oath, says Asser, which, 
next to one by the Deity, Alfred, as a Catholic Christian, 
held in the highest estimation. But if the only king ha 1 
attached importance to this oath, he might well be accuse I 
of a pious folly in thinking to secure the good faith of the 
heathen by such means. It is rather to be supposed that a 
holy and supernatural influence was ascribed to mortal re- 
mains by all the indo-European nations, and especially by 
the Scandinavians 3 ; and therefore no one has any right to 
ridicule Alfred's credulity. He then caused the Northmen 
to perform a still more impressive ceremony, by which until 

1 Chron. Sax. and Ethelwerd, A. 875 ; Henric. Hunt. v. 739, mention seven 
fillips; Asser, p. 478, and Florent. Wigorn. i. 92, speak of six only. 

2 Chron. Sax. Ethelwerd, Asser, Florent. Wigorn. A. 876, confirmed by a 
document of Kcmble's, No. 1069. 

* Vide J. Grimm, Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache, p 150. 


that time they had never pledged themselves: they swore 
once more, on a holy bracelet, which, smeared with the blood 
of the sacrificial animals, was laid on an altar ; the highest 
and most inviolable form of oath among the northern races 1 . 
Thus the rites were radically the same on both sides, only 
the Saxons observed them as Christians, and the heathens 
according to the superstitions of their forefathers. 

But Alfred must have already known how little binding 
were contracts with such enemies, who had so often broken 
their most solemn promises. Even in the night which fol- 
lowed this solemn ceremony the Danes left Wareham in large 
numbers, and a troop of Saxon horsemen whom they met with 
on their march was attacked and destroyed 2 . A considerable 
number of Danes being thus furnished with horses, they 
overran and pillaged the neighbourhood in their hasty flight, 
entered Devonshire, and made themselves masters of the city 
Df Exeter. As this place was again not far from the sea, and 
on a navigable river, it was as advantageously situated for 
them as Wareham, which, however, they had by no means 
abandoned. Exeter afforded many facilities for their expe- 
ditions, which were connected in the closest manner with 
the ravages of their countrymen on the continent. The 
narrow Channel was no obstacle to the Danes in England ; 
their ships occasionally plundered the Prankish seaports, 
and Eollo, in later days the conqueror of Normandy, appears 
to have rested from his wild ravages in England during one 
whole winter 3 . All along the coast, the sea swarmed with the 
fleets of the bold pirates, and wherever an attack was made 
on Christian states, fresh swarms thronged to the scene of 
conflict, allured by hope of participation in the booty. Tra- 
versing the wild ocean in their frail barks, these ungovernable 
hordes, by their valour in warfare, completely mastered their 

1 Examples of this form of oath may be found in the translation of Lappen- 
berg's History, ii. p. 49, taken from Arngrim Jonas Rer. Island, i. 7, and from 
the Edda Torpe, Florent. Wigorn. i. 93, and in J. Grimm, Deutsche Rechtsal- 
terth timer, p. 50, 896. 

2 Henric. Huntingd. v. 739, states alone, that they left on the following night. 
The account of the Saxon horsemen is only to be found in Asser, p. 478. 

3 This information, given by Asser, p. 479, was added by a later hand in MS. 
Cotton. It is probably taken from the false Annals, which bear Asser's name, 
printed by Gale, Script. Rer. Angl. iii. ] Go. Or it may have sprung from Chrou, 
Turon. by Du Chesne Scriptt. Norman, p. 26. 


opponents, who were indeed more disciplined, but somewhat 
enervated by their peaceful habits. But Alfred was not yet 
conquered ; as long as life remained to him, as long as one 
man stood by him, as long as he possessed one ship, he might 
venture to hope, and endeavour to defend his country. He 
had already directed his attention to the sea, and perceived 
that it was the principal stronghold of the enemy. As soon 
as he could engage successfully with them on their peculiar 
element, he felt that it would be possible for him to re- 
animate the drooping courage of his people on land, and to 
prepare some more effectual means of defence. When the 
oaths of the Danes were again violated, he did not for a 
moment delay the struggle, although the hordes of the enemy 
were inexhaustible ; and if in one day thousands of them 
were slain, on the next a double number would, as it were, 
spring from the earth. After the winter of 876-7 was passed, 
he collected together all his remaining forces to the conflict. 
He himself hastened with one division of his army into Devon- 
shire, and endeavoured to the best of his power to besiege 
and blockade the city of Exeter, then in possession of the 
Danes. He manned his ships with the boldest sailors, well 
accustomed to the coast 1 , and gave them orders to cruise in 
the Channel, and to watch that no transports laden with pro- 
visions or troops came to the Danes who were in his domi- 
nions. If any appeared, they were to be driven back ; and 
if the king's men felt themselves sufficiently strong, a sea- 
fight might be attempted. 

Faithfully did they follow their king's behest. In the 
spring of the above-mentioned year, the remainder of the 
Danish garrison of Wareham embarked in a hundred and 
twenty vessels ; the armed warriors trusted themselves to the 
waves, and took a westerly direction, to carry aid to their 
beleaguered countrymen in Exeter. But for once the ele- 
ment usually so favourable to them, proved adverse. A 

1 Or does the " piratis " of Asser, p. 479, really mean that Alfred set sea- 
robbers in his ships? For I doubt the credibility of " jussit longas naves fabri- 
cari per regnum," which, as I have already remarked in the Introduction, seems 
to have been diverted from its right place. Chron. Sax. and Florence, state that 
the shipbuilding took place in 897. It is impossible that Alfred could have had 
ships built in his king.lom ; lie must have had recourse to the most desperate 

THE DANISH FLEET DESTKOYED, 877. 93 fog 1 lay upon the water, and violent spring storms had 
lashed the angry waves into fury ; for a whole month the 
fleet was tossed about, and not able to land. In the midst 
uf these perplexities Alfred's armament advanced intrepidly; 
the Danish fleet, scattered by a storm, could not defend itself. 
The warriors in some of the ships were slain by the Saxons, 
but the greater portion of the vessels struck on the rocks otf 
Swnnage 2 , where they were beat to pieces, and with all they 
contained buried beneath the waves 3 . 

The Danes in Exeter were meanwhile reduced to the 
greatest extremity; and as no help appeared, they were 
obliged to request Alfred's permission to make a conditional 
retreat. They gave him as many hostages as he required, 
and swore many oaths besides. It was early in August, 877, 
that they left Exeter 4 , and turned northwards; whilst one 
division went into Mercia, the other entered Gloucester, and 
left unmolested only the country lying immediately south of 
the Thames. In Mercia, Ceolwulf had, up to this time, re- 
tained his despicable situation ; but the Danes now deprived 
him of a large portion of the kingdom, in order to settle in it 
themselves, and to divide it into small territories. In the 
meanwhile the Vikings, who had remained in Gloucester, 
entered into an alliance with another band of their country- 
men, which, a short time previously, had landed in a little 
state of Demetia (South Wales) . This fleet was commanded 

1 It is particularly said in Chron. Sax. A. 877: Ul 5a mette hiae micel myst 
on sae." 

2 ( )n the coast of Dorset. A dangerous reef runs out into the sea, from a 
place called Peverel Point. 

3 Asser is our only authority for the sea-fight, all our other sources of infor- 
mation speak of the destruction of the fleet by a storm. Ethelwerd's peculiar 
account seems as if it were taken word for word from an old Anglo-Saxon song: 
elevant vela (dant vento carines), procella ingruit tristls (mergitur pars nun 
minima) centum numero carinae (supremae juxta resperu), quae Suuanannic 

4 Cliron. Sax. A. 877: On haerfeste. All our authorities, with the exception of 
Henric. Hunt, are little to be depended on for the chronology of the events in the 
years 876 and 877; they go from one year to the other in the most unsystematic 
manner. This confusion arises from the incorrect conclusions which the later 
chroniclers drew from the short notices in the Cliron. Sax. ASMT twice relates 
the destruction of the 120 ships; and this repetition was inlioduced into the 
later MSS from the so-called Annalcs Asserii. This is a fresh proof of the 
ilrncst 'rcivdiWe mutilation of the text. 


by a brother of Hingwar and Halfdene ; liis name is not men- 
tioned, but we may guess it, without much doubt, to have 
been Hubba. The new comers, who expected booty in their 
plundering expeditions among the poor Celts in their moun- 
tains, and who soon found themselves disappointed in their 
expectations, incited the band so lately expelled from Exeter 
to join in a new attack on Wessex. The prospect of gain, 
easily stifled any scruples of conscience on the part of the 
faithless Northmen in Gloucester ; they troubled themselves 
as little about the fate of their hostages as about their 
solemn oaths. Accordingly, in the beginning of the winter, 
partly on the north-western borders of the kingdom, partly 
in Wessex itself, that fearful tempest began to gather, which, 
in the spring of the important year 878, was destined ti 
burst so fatally over Alfred and all his dominions. 

The attack was now carried on by land and water, as it 
had been a year before from Wareham, and was especially 
directed against the western districts of the kingdom, which, 
until this time, had been much less devastated than the rest. 
"Whilst the unknown sea-king, after he had slain many of the 
Christian Welsh, and robbed the poor people of the few goods 
and chattels they possessed, put to sea with three-and-twenty 
ships 1 ; the land army 2 , probably much strengthened by rein- 
forcements from Mercia, marched into Wiltshire, and took 
possession of the royal castle of Chippenham, lying on the 
left bank of the Avon. From this rallying-point their bands 
ranged the country, destroying everything with fire and sword. 
They overspread the land like locusts, and seemed, like them, 
to rise out of it 8 . The inhabitants, once so brave, but whom 
no hero-hearted ealderman now gathered under his banner, 
were seized with fear and terror ; those who were able, took 
their few remaining goods, and hastened to the sea-coast, tc 
find a passage to the opposite kingdom of the Pranks, and 
there seek refuge. In particular, bishops, priests, and 
monks, endeavoured to convey to a safe asylum beyond sea 
the relics, precious stones, and ornaments, belonging to their 

1 Ethelwerd says thirty, " cum triginta moneribus." 

2 According to later authorities, this was at Christmas. Asserii Annales, 
p. 166, "post theophanium ;" and Gaimar, v. 3125, " Puis ei Noel, li felou 
Daneis," &c. 

8 Henric. Huntingd. v. 739 : " Operientesque terrain quasi locustae." 


monasteries. The people who remained were reduced to / 
the condition of servants and beggars by their cruel op- \ 
pressors 1 , and both country and people were in the wildest [ 

Some ships had meanwhile landed their troops in Devon- 
shire. There many faithful followers of the king had thrown 
themselves into a fortress which bore the name of Kynwith. 
Under their count, Adda 2 , they fought bravely with the 
heathen, and when forced to give way in the open field, they 
retired behind their walls. The place was (as Asser relates 
from his own personal observation 3 ) well fortified by nature 
on three sides, the east being excepted ; and here the ram- 
part was but little fitted for defence, as, according to the 
custom of that time, it consisted merely of a wall of earth. 
The Danes, when they undertook the siege, thought they 
could force the inmates of the fortress to a surrender by 
starving them, but they were deceived ; for, notwithstanding 
the beleaguered Saxons had no spring within their walls, and 
suffered bitter]y for want of water, they held out courage- 
ously. At last they determined to make an attempt at 
victory, or else die the death of heroes ; in the first dawn of 
morning they sallied forth, surprised the unprepared heathen, 
and' destroyed the greatest part of the unknown sea-king's 
army. Only a few stragglers in a wild flight reached their 
ships, which were drawn up on the shore at no great distance. 
A thousand Danes lay slain, at Kynwith 4 . According to a 
romantic tradition, there was found, among the trophies borne 
away by the victors, the famous war-standard of the northern 
heroes, called the Raven, woven in one morning by the three 
daughters of Eegnar Lodbrok, for their brothers Hingwar 
and Hubba, and in whose centre the Sacred Bird fluttered 
its wings as if living when victory impended, but hung 
motionless and drooping when defeat was threatened 5 . 

1 Asser, p. 480; Ethelwerd, iv. 515; Roger de Wendover, i. 329. 

2 Only mentioned by Ethelwerd. 

3 " Sicut nos ipsi vidimus." Asser. 

4 Asser, p. 48 J, gives this narration at full length, and says that 1200 Danes 
were killed. The Chronicle and Henric. Hunt, say 850- Ethelwerd, "80 

5 In the worst copies of the Vita this is taken from the supposititious Annals ; 
but four MSS. of the Chronicle, B. C. D. E., also contain a short notice of it: 


But this brilliant success of a handful of brave men was 
the last courageous effort at resistance. As the country was 
overspread far and wide with the robbing and murdering 
hordes, all the valour of these Saxons was in vain ; their king 
was not with them, and in no part of the kingdom did the 
warriors gather themselves together for the defence of their 
homes and goods, their wives and children All the weak 
and timorous people bowed their necks to the joke of servi- 
tude, and those who still had something left to hope for or 
to save, fled over the sea, to lands where Christian people 
dwelt, and would gladly extend protection to the oppressed 
exiles. But besides the general panic and emigration, there 
was yet another evil which flourished in the very heart of the 
unfortunate state, and aided the enemy in bringing it to the 
brink of ruin. It appears, not only from the general aspect 
of the affairs of the country and the sudden surprise of all 
the West Saxon district, but also from the testimony of an old 
historian 1 , that in that time of great peril bitter strife reigned 
among the inhabitants themselves. The discords engendered 
rby difference of race and descent broke out once more ; the 
JGeltic inhabitants of the west remembered that their ancient 
dominion had been torn from them by force, and now, when 
they saw their former conquerors threatened with a similar 
fate to their own, they were little inclined to make common 
cause with them. On the contrary, they rather leant towards 
the Northmen, as we have before remarked, with a kind of 
revengeful feeling ; although they must have hated the rob- 
bers, and their treachery bore them bitter fruits. Whilst this 
insubordination among his British subjects clouded Alfred's 
prospects of resistance, he also saw among his German states 
disunion combining with fear to work their ruin. 

By far the greater part of the German inhabitants who 
could not resolve on abandoning their homes, and who had 
taken refuge in forests and waste places there, to witness the 
destruction by the flames of those possessions descended to 

" Mini paer was se gutS tana genumen pie hie raefn htn." Vide respecting a 
similar standard: Encomium Emmae, by Maseres, p. 16; and Langebek Scriptt, 
Rer. Dank-, v. 95. 

- 1 Etholwerd, iv. 517, writes at a later period, A 886: " Aelfredo, quern in 
genio, quern occursu non superaverat civUis discordia saeva, hunc et redemptorera 
8UH:oere cuncte." 


them from their ancestors, came forth from their hiding- 
places, to till the ground in the sweat of their brows for their 
greedy robbers. They saw their Anglian neighbours, after 
more years of oppression than they themselves had endured, 
still for the most part retaining their old property, and 
speaking their old language ; and they saw how resistance 
and courageous revolts had in their own case brought down 
more complete ruin. No command, no prayer, no entreaties 
of their once-beloved king, could move them to sacrifice their 
small possessions and their own personal safety for the pre-' 
servation of the whole state. In scarcely any of the districts 
was there an earl, a noble, or bishop, who would place himself 
resolutely at the head of his property or diocese, and set 
a bold example of venturing on one last and desperate 

It is not probable that this general want of consideration 
and courage broke out so suddenly as to have brought on the 
crisis of the sad year 878 ? For ten years there had been al- 
most continual fighting ; the numbers of the enemy had been 
constantly increasing, and those of the defenders as constantly 
diminishing. It has been before mentioned, that from the 
time of his accession, Alfred had not been able to undertake 
tiny great enterprise ; those means were no longer at his dis- 
posal by which the battle of Ashdune had been won, and of 
late years the strength of the country must have been greatly 
diminished by the above-mentioned causes. That is therefore 
an unlikely account given by a later chronicler, and eagerly 
caught up by a modern biographer 1 , which sets forth, that 
when the last attack of the Danes by land and water took 
place (which all our authorities show to have been at two 
different times, but which is considered here as one and the 
same), Alfred assembled his remaining troops, and was de- 
feated in a great pitched battle at Chippenham. Not one of 
the ancient histories gives any information of such an event ; 
the narrative of Bromptou rests, as is so frequently the case 
with him, on a confusion of events arising from a chronolo- 
gical error. The heroic renown of Alfred is by no means 

' Dr. Giles, " Life of Alfred the Great," vii. 184, lays great stress on his dis- 
covery, in Bromptnn. r>. 811. But would he really gain anything by the fact, 
even if toe were able to prove it ? 



augmented by this story. On the contrary, his royal great- 
ness was much more evinced by his conduct in the trying 
circumstances in which he was placed ; for when all around 
him was falling into decay by a slow ruin, he earnestly en- 
deavoured to restore it, and never lost the hope of success. 
That this is the concurrent testimony of all our oldest autho- 
rities, will be seen by the following pages. 

At the time when the Danes, leaving Gloucester for the 
south, took Chippenham ; when the northern standard was 
captured by the valiant defenders of Kinswith, of whose ulti- 
mate fate there is no further record ; when the heathen over- 
ran all the West Saxon_kingdom, and forced the inhabitants 
/Tnto "STtibjection, there was oidyone 1 who did not abandon the 
| cause and hide from the sight of his friends as well as of his 
1 enemies Alfred, the king without a crown, but no less the 
stronghold and shield of his kingdom. At the moment when 
all seemed sunk in ruin, if he had lost hold of that trust in 
his God which had sustained him daily and hourly through a 
long series of trials ; if he had sought and found a desperate 
P^ death, or again relied on the word of the perfidious heathen ; 
if he had gone quietly to die as a pious pilgrim in Rome, like 
the last King of Mercia-^-with him would have perished 
the hope that England would preserve the Christian faith, 
e British inhabitants would truly not have rescued 
Christianity ; the monks, who, after the destruction of their 
monasteries, had either fled singly into foreign countries or 
taken up thoir abede^inwaste places as hermits, had made no 
impression by their preaching on the minds of the rough bar- 
barians^ These, brought up amidst ice and storms, held fast 
to their awful deities of Asgard and the Walhalla, and on the 
ancient sites the abandoned Saxon worship was again replaced 
by bloody sacrifices to Thor and -Woden. The conquered 
Christians, who still retained many remnants of their ancient 
superstition, now, when their leaders and teachers were 
either departed or become powerless, forsook by degrees the 
blessings of their conversion, and turned anew to the idol- 
altars on which their conquerors sacrificed. 

1 Four words in Chron. Sax. A. 878, are very powerful in their plain simplicity 
" And paes aftres (folces) pone maes tandael hie geridon. And him te gecimon. 
buton pam cyninge Aelfrede." 


But Alfred lived, and in him the firm conviction that Pro- 
vidence had elected him as the protector and champion of the 
doctrines of the Cross, and the saviour and support of the 
Saxon race. It was only because he was inspired by this 
persuasion that he was able to suppress the desire he must 
have felt, of endeavouring to provide for his own safety 
and that of the few who were still bound to him by the 
ties of blood or fidelity. His just discrimination in the 
extremest need, when he saw his country devastated around 
him, and his people fallen and put under the yoke, en- 
abled him to select the place where he might conceal him- 
self with a few companions until the interrupted contest 
could be resumed. In the marshy lands, full of stagnant 
water, rushes, and willow-plantations, in the wild and barren 
districts of Somersetshire, where at that time agriculture had 
scarcely begun to redeem the soil from the wilderness, he 
sought an asylum, accompanied by some followers, among 
whom was Ethelnoth 1 , the ealderman of the place. There 
followed him his wife and his children, perhaps also his 
mother-in-law and his sister, and all who still belonged to the 
royal house of "Wessex, patiently to endure with him every 
privation and every grief. 

In the history of the world there is one often-recurring 
fact, viz., that the saviour of a whole kingdom, and the re- 
peller of its foreign conquerors, has sprung from some remote 
province left rude by nature, and uncultivated from its diffi- 
cult access. From the unimportant mountain-ridge of As- 
turia, Pelayo, the last offshoot of the Goths, and the wonder- 
accompanied hero of Spain, took the first steps towards the 
expulsion of the Moors from the Peninsula, which was not 
completely accomplished for more than seven centuries 2 . 
From the eastern borders of Prussia resounded the first 
call to arms, which had for its result the driving of Na- 
poleon's army from Germany. It is a beautiful trait in 

1 Ethelwerd, iv, 515, has preserved his name. He is the same man whom the 
Chron. Sax. and Ethelwerd, under the year 894, point out as ealderman of the 
district. Vide Lappenberg, p. 318, n. 3. 

2 I find tliis interesting narration in Mariana's Historia de Espafia, lib. viL 
c. I : " Solo el infante Don Pelayo, como el que venia de la alcuna y sangre de 
los Godos, sin embargo de los trabajos que avia padecido, resplandecia, y se seas* 
lava en valor 7 grandeza de ammo." 



the character of a valiant nation when, after centuries have 
elapsed, it holds in grateful remembrance 1 the spot whence 
its salvation from great danger once proceeded, and which 
must ever be to it as the cradle of its freedom. And thus, 
to this day, when Alfred, his sufferings and his deeds, are 
the themes of conversation, the Englishman points out with 
pride to the stranger the low lands of Somerset. 

In this inhospitable spot Alfred and his companions had to 
pass many w r inter months. We cannot of course, at this day, 
describe in detail the privations they endured ; it is certain 
that but scanty sustenance could be found in the marshes ; 
and Asser 2 relates, that the king with his little band, con- 
sisting of a few nobles, warriors, and vassals, were sometimes 
obliged to make a sally against the heathen, and even the 
Christian dwellers in the neighbourhood who had succumbed 
to the Danish authority, and, either secretly or in open con- 
test, obtain something to eat and drink, and thus sustain 
their own lives and carry back relief to the women and chil- 
dren, who remained in the thickets. Alfred, whom the Danes 
and conquered Saxons must have thought entirely lost, lived 
such a needy and insecure life as probably never, to say the 
least, fell to' the lot of any other king. 

The interest that lies in these reverses of fortune afforded 
a wide field foi fiction ; and it is therefore not surprising 
that after their freedom was achieved, and the people were 
informed of the sufferings their king had undergone, that a 
series of narrations sprung up, which gradually took the 
character of traditions. Men, inspired by gratitude, delighted 
to embellish, in speech and writing, the history of the 
miseries that preceded their deliverance, by relating many 
exploits and mischances, and in adorning the simple beauty 
of the truth by the creations of a natural poetry. If in later 
centuries the English people, in its love for bodily courage 
and mental independence, found such rich material for poetry 
und romance in Hereward, the last Saxon, who so long bade 
Defiance to William the Conqueror, from the marshes in the 

1 " Ostenduntur ah accolis loca singula, in quibus vel malae fortunae copiam, 
vei bonae persensit inopiam." Wilh. Malm. G. Reg. Angl. ii. 121. 

1 Florence says, in the same words, that Alfred fought also with Christians. 
" ^ui se 1'aganorum subdiderant dominio," seems to me to belong to an earlier 


Isle of Ely, and also in the bold yeoman, Robin Hood, who 
bent his bow in Sherwood Fore&i, and with it protected the 
poor man, and punished his oppressors, we can easily im- 
agine that a similar poetical halo would surround the Saxon 
king when he emerged from the wilds of Somerset as a con- 
queror; especially when the dangers he had incurred became 
known. Posterity treated him as one of the heroes of all 
time 1 . The rich treasury of marvels belonging to the middle 
ages is still open to us, and a popular warrior takes as im- 
portant a place in it as a saint. Amongst the narratives of 
Alfred's abode in the marshes, it is easy to make a distinc- 
tion between those related by the people and those which 
the monks blended with the tales of their saints. Legend 
sprung from tradition, and these two different kinds of nar- 
ration succeed each other in the order of their origin ; and it 
is instructive to investigate their nature and development, 
even if we do not expect to discover any truth in them, 
arid wish to see all fiction excluded from the pages of genuine 

The following must be reckoned among the narrations of 
the traditionary series, and is first met with in the "Life 
of St. Neot," about the end of the tenth century, and is next 
copied into the "Annals," and from thence into the later 
manuscripts of the " Biography of Alfred 2 ." 

One day it chanced that the king arrived at the hut of one 
of his cowherds, who kept in his faithful heart the secret of 
his king's concealment. Whilst the man was gone to his 
daily labour, and his wife was occupied in baking bread, the 
stranger sat down by the fire, and began industriously to 
mend and make bows and arrows and other implements of 
warfare. The woman, who, from the stranger's poor and 
needy aspect, thought that he was a serf and one of her 
husband's companions, gave the bread in charge to him, and 
went out to see after the cattle. After a while she returned ; 
and when she found her baking burnt and spoiled, she flew 
at him in a rage, and with abusive words cried out : 

1 We are led to remember Frederick the Great, and one of the numerous 
events of his life which have become traditional, related by Ranke : " Neun 
Biicher Preussischer Geschichte," ii. 246. 

* Asser, p. 480; "Life of St. Neot," in Saxon, by Gorham; History and 
Antiquities of Eynesbury and St. Neots, i. 259. 


Holla, companion ! 

Dos not see that the bread there is burning? Why lazily sit, and not turn it? 
Rea -:y enough wilt thou be to take it from us and devour it. 

The hexameters, which have crept into the prose narrative, 
cast suspicion on it, and serve to convince us that the whole 
had been a popular song. The pious reflections with which 
the anonymous biographer of St. Neot accompanies the story, 
do not add much to the evidence for its authenticity. Ac- 
cording to him, the king, in the early years of his reign, was 
supercilious to his inferiors with all the arrogance of youth, and 
harshly rejected their complaints and petitions. Upon this his 
kinsman, the holy Neot, who was still alive, was much grieved, 
and in a prophetic warning unfolded to him the approach- 
ing period of misfortune. But Alfred did not heed this, until 
the Divine Disposer of all punishment visited his folly, and 
reduced him so low, that he was driven from his throne, de- 
prived even of necessaries, and roughly treated under the 
roof where he had found shelter. In itself the tale is not 
improbable, and it may very well have been among the 
number of those which Alfred, in happier days, related to 
Asser arid other friends 1 . But Florence says nothing of the 
occurrence, and this shows satisfactorily that it is not to be 
found in the genuine " Vita." Still it is worthy of note 
that Florence, in one of his narrations, seems to indicate the 
true foundation of the anecdote. In the account which he 
gives of the elevation of Denewulf to the Bishopric of Win- 
chester, he says : " This man, if we may trust the report 2 , at 
his advanced age was not acquainted with the art of reading, 
and in his early days had been a swineherd. When Alfred 
lived an exile in the forests, he became acquainted with 
Denewulf as he was driving his swine to the oak-woods to 
feed on acorns. The natural talent of the man interested 
the king, who took pains with his instruction, and afterwards 

1 " Solebat ipse postea, in tempora feliciora reductus, casus suos jucunda 
liilarique comitate familiaribus exponere." Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 121. Vide trans- 
lation of Lappenberg, ii. 53, n. 2. 

" Florent. Wigorn. i. 97: "Si famae creditur:" but the "res digna mi- 
raculo " seems rather enigmatical, if Denewulf, after the lapse of some years, 
was converted from a swineherd into a bishop. The " vaccarius " of the Vita 
Sti Xeoti, and of Asser, is also " subulcus." The " driving his ' porcos ad solita 
pascua,' " is from Roger de Wend. i. 330, who follows the pseudo Asser in the rest 
o( the narration. 


promoted him to a high dignity." "We here have an ex- 
ample of how tradition sports with facts and persons, and so 
completely overpowers them that the rescuing of the simple 
truth is not possible. 

In another narration, Alfred is said to have gathered toge- 
ther a band of fugitive and valiant comrades in his fastness 
at Athelney, and then to have gone disguised as a minstrel 
into the camp of the Danish king, accompanied only by one 
faithful servant. Alfred delighted the Danes by his skill in 
singing and playing the songs of his native land, and during 
his stay, which lasted many days, he penetrated into the 
privacy of the royal tent, where he saw and heard the plans 
and proceedings of his enemies. On his return from his re- 
connoitring expedition, he immediately assembled his people, 
made them advance silently on the Danes, and gained a bril- 
liant victory 1 . This is all probable enough, and its proba- 
bility is increased as we are aware of Alfred's love for min- 
strelsy ; but the most ancient accounts drawn from Saxon 
sources do not mention it. Norman authors alone relate that 
the Saxon king performed a similar exploit to one achieved 
afterwards by the Dane Aulaf, who went as a harper into the 
camp of King Athelstan 2 . The spirit, too, which breathes 
in this romantic story, is more Scandinavian-Norman than 

Belonging to the legendary, or in other words, the ecclesi- 
astical traditionary series, is another account, which proceeds 
from the north of England, and rather does honour to the 
wonder-working Cuthbert than to the person of the revered 
monarch. According to William of Malmesbury, Alfred him- 
self related to his friends how the holy bishop appeared to him 
and aided his deliverance. The king was still dwelling at Athel- 
ney in great need. His followers had gone to fish in a neigh- 
bouring stream, and he was sitting in his hut, his wife only 
being with him. He was endeavouring to console his spirit, 
oppressed with the weight of cares, by reading the Psalms of 
David, when a poor man appeared in the doorwav and prayed 
for a piece of bread. Full of true humanity, Alfred received 
the beggar as though he had been the Saviour himself, and 
divided with him the last loaf of bread he possessed, and the 

Ingulph. p. 869; Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 121 ; Guido, by Alberich. 4. 880- 
* WjJJj. Malroesb, ii. 131, 


Bcanty portion of wine that yet remained in the pitcher. 
The guest suddenly vanished the bread was unbroken, the 
pitcher full of wine to the brim. Soon after the fisher- 
men returned from the river laden with a rich booty. In 
the following night St. Cuthbert appeared to him in a dream, 
and announced that his sufferings were about to end, and 
gave him all particulars of time and place. The king rose 
early in the morning, crossed over to the main land in a boat, 
and blew his horn three times, the sound inspiring his friends 
with courage, and carrying terror into the hearts of his ene- 
mies. By noon live hundred gallant warriors gathered round 
him, he acquainted them with the commands of God, and 
led them on to victory 

This is the purport of the legend of St. Cuthbert, which, 
from internal evidence, seems to have been drawn up in the 
reign of King Edmund I. in the second half of the tenth 
century, soon after the monks of Lindisfarn and Durham, 
who had long wandered up and down the country with their 
sacred treasures and the miracle-working bones of their saints, 
had again found a quiet resting-place. How few correct his- 
torical accounts of Alfred were extant in the north of the 
island, may be learnt from the fact that Alfred was there 
considered to have passed three whole years in the marshes 
of Grlastonbury 1 . 

William of Malmesbury 2 gives a somewhat different version 
of the legend of the Northumbrian saint. Cuthbert, accord- 
ing to him, merely appeared to the sleeper, and addressed 
him in a formal speech, to the effect that Alfred and his 
country had now expiated their sins, and that in a short time 
the exiled king would be restored to his throne, and his 
people would be free. As a token that God had not for- 
.gotten him, his companions who had gone out to fish should 
return with nets well filled, although the water was at the 
time covered with thick ice. On Alfred's awaking, he 
found that his mother 3 , who slept near him, had dreamt 
the same dream ; both were filled with astonishment at 

1 Hist. St. Cuthherti, Twysden, p. 71-72. 

2 De Gest. Reg. Angl. ii. 121 ; also Ingulph. p. 869. 

J This could not have been Oslmrgha, as Lappenberg states, p. 319: the older 
authorities suppose it to have been his wife. His mother-in-law Eadburglia, 
whom Asser had seen, may have been stili alive. 


fche wonderful occurrence, when the fishermen soon after 
dragged in their heavy burden, which would have been suffi- 
cient to feed a large army. According to others, it was 
St. Neot who appeared to the king in a vision of the night, 
and who, after he had confessed his sins and undergone the 
Divine punishment, encouraged him to inflict a speedy and 
deserved revenge upon the enemies of his country and his 

The inquirer into history ought in justice to abstain from 
any decision on this variously-told legend ; its priestly origin 
is evident. Founded on Alfred's distress, charity, and faith, 
it associates him with St. Cuthbert, whose renown then first 
penetrated into the south of the island. Perhaps the church 
of Durham thought in this manner to evince its gratitude for 
the donations by which at a later period it was enriched, and 
which, although provided for by Alfred, were first actually 
bestowed by his successor. But it is time that we leave this 
digression into the regions of fable, and return to history. 

Easter 1 of the year 878 had arrived ; nature, roused from 
her wintry sleep, began once more to live anew, and with 
her wakening, brave hearts beat higher, and believed more 
firmly in the possibility of freeing their fatherland. The 
king and his followers left their huts and hiding-places, in 
which they had taken refuge, from the cold of winter and 
the attacks of their enemies. With their united skill they 
constructed a fortification at a place which was very favour- 
ably situated for the purpose, and which, under the name 
of Aethelinga-Eig (pronounced together Athelney, i. e. the 
Prince's Island), has become highly renowned as the point 
from which Alfred sallied forth to reconquer his kingdom. 
This island lay in the neighbourhood of the present Somer- 
ton, east of the Parrot, at the place where it joins the little 
river Thone 3 , and consists of an eminence rising high above 
the surrounding country, which is always damp, and frequently 
overflowed by the tide. This spot, owing to its difficulty of 
access, needed but little and light labour from human hands 
to render it impregnable. At the end of the seventeenth 

1 Easter, in 878, fell on the 23rd March. All our authorities take the follow- 
ing account from Sax. Chron. and agree unanimously on its principal points, as 
D the course of the events. 

2 Lappenberg, translation, ii. 53. 


century even, the nature of the ground rendered it unfavour- 
able for military operations 1 . 

That Alfred had chosen this place with the keen eye of a 
general, and that he remained there for a long time, is evi- 
dent by the inscription on the famous jewel which in later 
times was found there, and which bears the name of the king, 
as well as from the monastery which Alfred piously caused to 
be erected out of gratitude to the place of his refuge. 

From the stronghold of Athelney Alfred doubtlessly 
unfolded his standard that golden dragon which once 
shone in battle against Mercians and Britons, and w r hich, 
after a long resistance, had been forced to quail before the 
northern raven. As soon as the people in the neighbourhood 
saw it, and knew that their king yet lived, they all joyfully 
hastened to him, and courage began to return to the faint- 
hearted. The nobles of Somerset especially were among the 
first to join him with their followers, and to bring effective 
assistance to the enterprises which were now again actively 
carried on against the Danish hordes. The little army was 
kept in constant exercise, in order to form the solid germ ot 
a larger one. And even now it was sufficient to show the 
enemy that they were not yet undisputed masters of the 
country ; it was sufficient to proclaim to the dispirited in- 
habitants of the rest of the Saxon districts, that the time of 
their deliverance was at hand, and at the same time to sum- 
mon them to arms. After a short respite had taken place, 
and his skirmishes had been crowned with success, Alfred 
thought that the moment was arrived when he might attempt 
an open attack. In the seventh week after Easter, between 
the 5th and 12th May, on a pre-arranged day, he moved from 
his fortress to Egbertes-stan (Brixton 2 ), lying to the east of 
the forest of Selvvood 3 , which at that time formed a boundary 
between Devonshire and Somerset. To this place nocked, 
weapon in hand, the inhabitants of the neighbouring counties 
of Somerset, Wilts, and those dwellers in Hants who had not 

1 Vide Macaulay's History of England, i. 604. 

2 Now called " Brixton Deverill," in Wilts. 

* Instead of " Sealwudu," the pasture wood, Simeon of Durham, de Gest. Reg. 
Angl. p. 681, gives " Mucelwudu," which seems to be ratification of the false 
translation of Asser and Florence: Silva magna the Welsh Coitmawr. Or in 
seal, sel an adjective meaning great ? 


fled beyond sea 1 . Eejoicingly they greeted their beloved 
king, who, after long suffering, stood before them as one risen 
from the dead. Alfred, who now first saw an army again 
gathered round him, enjoyed one night of quiet sleep, and the 
next morning, starting at earliest dawn, took a north-eastern 
direction, in order to reach the Danes, who still held their 
camp at Chippenham. The army rested the following night 
at Okely 2 , and then, without further delay, marched till they 
came up with the enemy in the afternoon, at a place called 
Eth&ndune 3 . 

On the news of Alfred's reappearance, the Danes had here 
hastily assembled all their forces, and now they stood pre- 
pared to defend their plunder against its rightful possessors. 
A most desperate conflict ensued. Alfred made his warriors * 
advance in a compact phalanx 4 , and, thanks to these tactics, L 
sustained without wavering the furious onsets of the North- J 
men, and finally gained a complete victory over the enemy. 
Many were slain during a hasty retreat ; and before the con- 
quered army could reach the gates of their fortress, which 
we may suppose to have been Chippenham itself, many pri- 
soners were taken by the victors, as well as a large number 
of cattle. 

1 Gaiiner, v. 3168, mentions the names of some of the nobles: 

Co est del best de Selewode 

Ceolmer vint centre le e Cbude, 

Od les barons de Sumersete, 

De Wilteschire e de Dorsete. 

De Hamteschire i vint Chilman 

Ki les barons manda per ban ; 

but a confirmation of this is nowhere to be found, and the name Ceolmer, which 
immediately follows Selewode, seems very suspicious, as it may have originated in 
a misconception of the Celtic Coitmawr, which is found in Asser. 

2 Or Iglea. Supposed to be Leigh, now West bury, Wilts. 

3 I have permitted myself to take the time of day from the Norman rhyming 
Chronicler, v. 3189: 

E lendemain, a hure de none 
Done sunt venuz a Edensdone. 

According to Simeon, Alfred arrived before Ethandune " post tertium diem,' 
and fought from sunrise throughout a great part of the day, Ethandune, most 
probably, is Edington, near Westbury. 

4 Asser : Cum densa testudine atrociter belligerans. 


The captives were immediately put to the sword, and 
^Alfred began to Lay siege to the place 1 . 

This was a very great and sudden change of fortune, such 
as rarely occurs in the life of man. A few days made a 
conquering general of the exiled and supposed dead king, 
and he who so shortly before had been obliged to hide in 
the wilderness, now saw his followers joyfully hastening to 
his banner, and held the flower of the enemy's strength, fast 
besieged in its fortress. 

Fourteen days elapsed, and then the Danes, vanquished by 
hunger, cold, and misery, and reduced to the extreme of 
despair by their necessities, prayed Alfred to raise the siege. 
They submitted to him ; he was at liberty to take as many 
hostages as he pleased from the army, while they did not 
require one man on his part ; an unaccustomed concession, 
by which the Danes acknowledged themselves vanquished. 
They also promised to observe this contract more faithfully 
.than they had done their former ones, which they had so fre- 
quently broken, and to quit the kingdom with all speed. 

Alfred, pitying the wretched men 2 , once more accepted 
their hostages, and received their oaths ; but if other and 
much firmer security had not been given, it is probable that 
he would have had to rue, as bitterly as he had heretofore 
done, his confidence in the vows of the heathen. Guthorm, 
who commanded this army, and who was by far"tlie most 
powerful Viking who had yet appeared in England, caused 
it to be notified to the King of Wessex that he was de- 
sirous of embracing Christianity. There is no reason to 
suppose that Alfred had made this step one of the conditions 
of the treaty ; the first idea of it, even though insincere, and 
inspired alone by present necessity, seems to have arisen in 
the mind of the heathen. He himself ruled over Christian 
subjects, whose religious faith was stronger than their war- 
like courage ; and there were already becoming evident the 
first signs of the victory acquired by the Christian doctrine 
over the arms of its oppressors, which, in the course of years, 

1 Later authors, as Brotnpton and Gaimar, make Hubba fall at Chippenham, 
bnt in the previous year resting their opinion on the fact that a funereal mound 
existed there, bearing the name of Ubbelowe. 

* Asser : " Sua ipsius misericordia motus." 


so frequently occurred. To no one could such a conversion 
be more welcome than to Alfred. He fought not only for 
the restoration of his. kingdom, but also for the national 
faith, and he joyfully took advantage of the circumstance, 
when the first Danish king declared his wish to embrace 
that faith. Alfred immediately ratified the treaty, and the 
Danes departed northwards. Seven weeks 1 afterwards, 
Gruthorm, accompanied by thirty of his noblest warriors, 
appeared in Alfred's camp, which was again pitched in 
Somersetshire, at Aller, a place not far from Athelney. It 
must have been a proud and inspiring hour for Alfred, when, 
amidst all the solemnities of the Church, he presented 
Gruthorm for baptism, and became sponsor for him, giving 
him the name of Athelstan : his country was free, his greatest 
enemy become a Christian, and his steadfast heart beat high 
with solemn triumph. Gruthorm, with his companions, who 
had allowed themselves to be baptized with their prince, 
tarried for twelve days in the Saxon camp. On the eighth 
day the solemn ceremony of the chrism-loosing 2 took place 
at "Wedmore. This was performed by the Ealderrnan Ethel- 
noth 3 . 

The meeting of the two kings in the beginning of July had 
yet another object. Not only in a spiritual manner through 
this baptism was a way to be opened for a reunion and peace- 
ful intercourse between the two Grerman races, but a worldly 
league had to be established in a political point of view. 
Wessex was freed from the Danes, but it had no power to 
drive them from the rest of England. It was therefore a 
wise step cf Alfred's to leave the baptized sea-king in posses- 
sion of those English lands that for many years he had called 
his own. This settlement of the Danes became in the end ai 
real blessing to the island, for by degrees the two people 
became bound together by the bonds of religion and com-j 
merce. At Wedmore, where the first West Saxon WfEeha-' 

1 Cliron. Sax. A, 878, iii. : " Wucan " seems to be a clerical error. 

2 The clorismal was a white linen cloth, put on the head when the rite of 
b;iptism was performed, and taken off at the expiration of eight days. 

3 Asser, Oct-;vo die; chrism-lising, Chron. Sax.; chrismatis solutio, Asser 
und Florent. Wigorn. are undoubtedly the same with Ethelwerd's " dux pariter 
Mthelnoth abluit post lavacrum eundem in loco Vnedrnor," and Gaimar's " & 
VVednior f'urent desaleez." 


gemot 1 was held after the time of oppression, the following 
arrangements were entered into 2 . Alfred and the West 
Saxon Witan on the one hand, and Gruthorm and the nobles 
and inhabitants of East Anglia on the other, agreed that the 
boundary of the two kingdoms should commence at the moutfi 
of the Thames, run along the river Lea to its source, and at 
Bedford turn to the right along the Ouse as far as Watling 
Street. According to this arrangement, there fell to Alfred's 
share a considerable portion of the kingdom of Mercia, which 
was thereby protected from the invasions of the Scandina- 
vians. The remaining part of this treaty comprehended the 
foundations of the laws of national commerce, which, derived 
from this source, were received in common by both nations ; 
the Were- Geld, a fine for murder, was also confirmed, and a 
strict judicial inquiry instituted into other points of dispute, 
of which many must have existed among the colonised war- 
riors. Under the successors of both kings, all treaties were 
subject to ecclesiastical control. On the twelfth day after his 
baptism, Gruthorm and his companions took leave of Alfred, 
who loaded them with rich presents 3 . The Danish king led 
his people to Cirencester, where he remained quietly en- 
camped with the largest portion of them during the year 
879 ; but all those who refused to become Christians received 
warning to depart beyond sea under the command of the 
powerful Hasting 4 . Conformably to the tenor of the 
agreement, the whole army ought to have abandoned that 
part of Mercia ; but Alfred seems to have had neither will 
nor power to enforce its instant removal. There was work 
enough for him at home in re-establishing all that had been 
destroyed ; and the re-uniting of the many ancient bonds and 
relations which had been torn asunder, cost him more time 
and trouble than the fortunate reconquering of his country 

1 Kemble, the Saxons in England, ii. 251, assumes this as certain. 

2 " jElfredes and Gu'Srumes f rid in." Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, 
ed. Thorpe, i. 151, ff. 

3 For Asser's " Multa et optima aedificia," Lappenberg rightly reads " in 
beneficia," The Chron. Sax. also says, " aud he hine miclum and his geferan 
mid feo weortude." Henric. Hunt. : " Multa munera." Simeon Dunelm. : " Multa 

* Will. Malmesb. i?. 121 ; and in the same words, Elinand, in Alberich'a 
Chron. A. 880, ed. Liebnitz. 


had done. G-uthorm also, who had played so great and suc- 
cessful a part in lawless expeditions by sea and land, could 
not tame himself down immediately to lead a quiet life in his 
principality as a Christian ruler. The unappeasable longing 
after plunder and adventures tempted him as strongly as 
ever, and he still hoped to gratify it in some mode or an- 

The mighty stream in which the northern sea-warriors at 
that time swept over the whole west of Europe was yet by 
no means passed by. Many bold Yikings, with their un- 
governable hordes, filled the Christian states of the Continent, 
and their weak princes, with terror and dismay. Here and 
there, truly, the heathens sustained a complete overthrow ; 
but experience soon showed that they were not to be driven 
away by one defeat. Although Alfred had chastised and 
chased them from his dominions, he was obliged to hold him- 
self in constant readiness to meet fresh assaults. Yet it 
seemed as though he had inspired the enemy with a certain 
reverence for him by his speedily-won victory, for a large 
body of Danes, which in 879 had sailed up the Thames and 
settled at Fulham, at the end of winter returned to the 
Netherlands. Their leader, the terrible Hasting 1 , who had 
already for many years filled the Prankish coast, the adjacent 
country, and even the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, with 
his terrible renown, thought it advisable to seek further 
plunder in the kingdom of the Carlovingians. With w T hat 
interest the Saxons at that time watched the devastating foot- 
steps of their adversaries, is, during the next period, evident 
by the short notices in the Chronicles. The land of the 
Franks suffered fearfully ; beginning at Grhent, the ravaging 
army poured on along the banks of the rivers Maas, Scheldt, 
Somme, and Seine, towards the interior ; Conde and Amiens 
were laid waste, and at Haslo and Sau court decisive battles 
were fought 3 . At the same time pirates overspread the 
seas, and Alfred, anxious for the safety and defence of his 

1 The authorities for the history of his actions are collected together by Lap- 
penberg, p. 321, n. 3. It seems very probable to me that Hasting had been at 
Ethandune and Chippenham, and came to Fulham from Cirencester by sea. 

2 Chron. Sax. A. 880 to 885; with which may be compared the Prankish His- 
tories of Hincmar, A. 880, and Annal. Vedast. A, 880, Pertz M. G. S.S. L 
612, 618. 


country, did not delay to set out himself, with the few ships 
he possessed, to protect his shores from robbery. In the open 
sea he met and gave battle to four Danish transports; the 
Saxons fought bravely, conquered two of them, and slaughtered 
their crews. The other two made a more desperate resist- 
ance, and only surrendered to the king when their defenders 
were no longer able, from the blows and wounds they had re- 
ceived, to hold their weapons 1 . 

How did the baptized Athelstan reconcile himself to his 
unwonted state of peace, when he heard the ancient battle- 
cry resounding over the sea? All connexion with his coun- 
trymen, whose principal strength was now swarming on the 
Frisian and Prankish coasts, was to all intents and purposes 
broken off by his adoption of Christianity. In the beginning 
of the year 880, he went with his army into East Anglia, 
and took possession of the dominions assigned to him by the 
peace of Wedmore, and divided the lands among his followers. 
But the change from a wandering to a settled life, and still 
more the transformation of the old sea-robber's nature, could 
not be effected all at once. Before he had surrendered to 
Alfred's victorious arms and abjured heathenism, Isembart, 
a near relation of the Prankish monarch, and who had been 
exiled, owing to a quarrel with his king, was received as a 
guest by Guthorm, and accompanied him in his incursion on 
the west of England. After the peace was concluded, and 
its arrangements put in operation, military affairs recalled 
Isembart, and Athelstan made no scruple ^ of joining him in 
his expedition. The faithless vassal and the newly-baptized 
heathen devastated the country with fire and sword, as 
fiercely as the last-comers from the north, until at last they 
were most deservedly vanquished in the battle of Ludwig, near 
Saucourt 2 . Thereupon Athelstan probably returned at once 
to his own dominions ; but when, a few years later, some of 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 882. 

2 Guidn. by Alherich, A. 881, and Chron. S. Richarii, ap. Bouquet, viii. 27?. 
The traditionary Gormo, of the Saxo-Grammat. lib. ix. : and, Gorm liin Enskf, 
(Gorm the Englishman), who was baptized in England, Chronic. Erici Regis ap. 
Langebek Scriptt. Rer. Danic. i. 158; Gurmund, Willi. Malm. ii. 121, am! 
Aiberich ; and Guaramund, in Chron. Rich, are certainly one and the saint 
person. The Anglo-Saxon form of the name is Guthrum. I have employed 
with Kemble. \he complete Northern Guporm, i. e. the Battle-worm, 


fche Vanquished Northmen appeared on the coast of Kent, 
Alfred suspected that the ruler of East Anglia made common 
cause with them. In the summer of 885 they landed near 
Rochester, and prepared to besiege the castle, whilst they sur- 
rounded themselves with a rampart. The ancient inhabitants 
of Kent suffered much from their attacks. They were still 
occupied with their fortifications when Alfred with his troops 
levied in Kent, which had returned to its old allegiance 
since the victory of 878, advanced to oppose these aggre k s- 
sioiiF. The heathen did not venture to make a stand against 
him from their ramparts ; but made a hasty retreat to their 
ships, and put to sea 1 . Horses and prisoners fell to the 
share of the Saxons. In the mean while Athelstan and his 
people had openly broken the treaty of "Wedmore. Their 
perjury was shown by the fact that they neglected to fill up 
the vacancies which occurred, by death or other circum- 
stances, in the number of hostages who were in Alfred's 
power ; and when a part of the fleet vanquished at Eo- 
chester arrived at Beamfleot (Bemfleet), in Essex, they en- 
tered into alliance with it, and recommenced their former 
misdeeds 2 . 

Alfred, who still remained in Kent, assembled and manned 
all his available naval force to punish the faithless Athel- 
stan, his godson and sworn ally, for his broken oath. The 
fleet received instructions to show no mercy to the East 
Saxon and Anglian shores 3 , but to treat them as an enemy's 
country, and to do them all possible damage. At the 
mouth of the Stour, the Saxons met sixteen ships of the 
Viking ; a desperate sea-fight ensued, and the Northmen 
were completely defeated and put to the sword. Their 

1 Chron. Sax. Ethelwerd, iv. 516, Asser, p. 483. 

2 Lappenberg, p. 326, n. has endeavoured to connect Ethelwerd, iv. 516, where 
almost every word presents an enigma, with Chron. Sax. A. 885: " Se here on 
Eastenglum braee frid wrS Aelfred cyriing." His judgment is far preferable 
to that of the editor of the Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 516, n. d. who thinks that 
doubtful period originally belonged to the year 894. Ethelwerd's Chronicle 
especially is come down to us in a most deplorable condition it cannot possibly 
have been composed in such barbarous and unintelligible Latin. 

8 Chron. Sax. 885; Asser, 483; Florent. i. 100: the " praedendi causa" of 
the two last does not surprise me; Alfred had every right to allow the possessors 
jf those provinces to be pillaged, as soon as they showed themselves inimical 
to him. 


vessels, with the treasures contained in them, were carried 
off by the conquerors ; but as they were about to leave the 
mouth of the river, on their return home, they were suddenly 
attacked by the East Anglian and other Vikings, with a naval 
force superior to their own, and saw their scarcely-won vic- 
tory snatched from them. The results of this misfortune 
might have been very important to Alfred and his nation, for 
Gruthorm seems to have called a mighty ally to his aid, 
the renowned Eollo, who without delay hastened across the 
Channel from the siege of Paris to his old companion in arms 1 ; 
but we have no record to show whether or not the quarrel 
was once more decided by force of arms ; according to con- 
temporary history, England now enjoyed for many years 
the long-desired blessing of being free from the attacks of 
the Danes. Gruthorm- Athelstan remained monarch of East 
Anglia to the end of his life, and conversion made rapid 
strides among his people Alfred lived to see those peace- 
ful and civilising plans which he had endeavoured to set 
on foot by this arrangement carried out with success. 
But the king had to exert himself in another district also, 
to repair the mischief which the incursions of the northern 
barbarians had caused, and to endeavour as much as possible 
to secure to the original German inhabitants their material 
and spiritual possessions. That part of Mercia which, after 
the peace of Wedmore, the Danes had been forced to eva- 
cuate, was now much more closely bound to the king- 
dom of Wessex than East Anglia, yielded by Alfred to 
Guthorm under a very loose title. Tiie boundary-line, with 
which we are already acquainted, left undecided where the 
independent Anglo- Christian population of the north of 
Mercia joined the Scandinavian heathen colonists. The 
strength of this district, which formed the heart of England, 
lay in the west, especially in the present Worcestershire, 
which since the time of their arrival had been inhabited by 
the powerful Anglian family of the Hwiccas. During the 

1 This account depends upon Norman authors alone. Dudo, p. 78; Will. 
Gernet. ii. 4 (both by Duchesne) ; Wace Eoman de Rou, v. 1364, ft. ed. Pluquet 
l/uppenberg, p. 327, was the first to throw light on the misconceptions of the 
historian of the middle ages, who asserts a treaty to have been concluded 
between Rollo and Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred, or even with Alfrei. 
himself. Alsternut,Alstan, Athelstan, mean no other than the baptized Guthorra 


sovereignty of the Mercian kings, which was founded on 
the union of many distinct territories, this district had 
often distinguished itself by the bravery of its people under 
the command of leaders from its hereditary royal family. 
To it was assigned the task of protecting the borders of 
Mercia from the Celtic Welsh, and it must therefore have 
been of the greatest use to Wessex also, until the time when 
Wales acknowledged the supremacy of Cerdic. Alfred 
willingly recognised this service as soon as he possessed the 
power to do so. He knew how to reward those men whose 
assistance had enabled his family to retain that country. 
Ethelred the Ealderman, and hereditary leader of the 
Hwiccas, was entrusted with the viceroyship of the whole of 
Christian Mercia, and became closely bound to Alfred by 
receiving the hand of his daughter Ethelfleda. A complete 
union of the Anglian and Saxon dominions was not to be 
thought of at th'at time ; it remained for William the Con- 
queror and his successors to destroy, with an iron hand, the 
ancient barriers between the West Saxon and Mercian laws 
and customs. Ethelred, on the departure of the Danes in the 
year 880 1 , began to work in his capacity of prince in the service 
of his liege. He assembled the Diet, and ratified its decrees, 
always subject, however, to the approval of the West Saxon 
king. Faithfully and steadily Ethelred performed his duties, 
and restored to the district placed under his command that 
peace and quiet which had long been strangers to it. At 
Ins side stood Werfrith, the excellent Bishop of Worcester, 
who laboured with equal fidelity in his vocation, and was 
bound to his king by the ties of a common love of activity. 
The indefatigable efforts of both these men are indisputably 
evidenced by the fact that the Scandinavian influence did 
not penetrate into the middle of England. Their endea- 
vours to effect this end, form the subject of the following 
sections, as far as the scanty records we possess of their 
"ives will enable us to investigate them ; together with the 
relation of the different military events which followed the 
departure of the Danes, and an attempt to show in what 
manner our Alfred ruled in his kingdom, and lived in his home 
during the few happy years of peace. 

1 The documents are in Kemble, n. 311, A. 880, ini. y 




" AMIDST the deepest darkness of barbarism," writes a great 
historian respecting Alfred 1 , " the virtues of an Antoninus, the 
learning and valour of a Csesar, and the legislative spirit of a 
Lycurgus, were manifested in this patriotic kingj^// And we 
may truly look in vain, either in the history of ancient times, 
the middle ages, or modern days, for a similar example of all 
these beautiful features combining in such perfect harmony. 
Admiration rises to astonishment when we consider how this 
man, by his own unassisted efforts, acquired so many great 
and varied qualities, whilst during nearly the whole of his 
life he had to combat with the most adverse circumstances. 
On this account a comparison with Frederic the Great 01 
\ Charlemagne does not go far in enabling us to form a correc 
I idea of this distinguished King of Wessex. ^ 

~~"We have already seen how, with the courage of a Ca3sar, 
with true German endurance in time of need, and valour in 
critical moments, Alfred struggled, ventured, and won ; how, 
when the days of trial and suffering were past, he laid with 
his sword the foundations of a happier future for his island. 
Now he opposed the enemy with totally different weapons : 
that which had been conquered by the sword could only be 
protected by a higher state of civilisation. There is much 
that is very appropriate in the comparison with Lycurgus, 
especially in reference to the political condition of England 
at that time ; but the image is too vague and remote. We 
must rather, as we proceed, occasionally cast a glance at the 
connected and contemporary nations of the Continent. 

As in the extensive territories governed by the successors 
of Charlemagne, a number of Teutonic families had united to 
form a great state upon the basis of a conquered people, so 
in England, after the lapse of centuries, the union of many 
German and Celtic tribes under one general head had been 
at last effected. But scarcely had the numerous small states 

* Gio!)on, in the " Outlines of the History of the World Miscellaneous Works ; 
ti. 3rd ed. 1814," written in his youth, and well worthy of attention. 


entered into this union when they sustained a sudden and 
severe shock from barbarians allied to them by descent, whose 
long-continued hostility threatened them with destruction. 
That which had befallen the Franks, chiefly owing to the con- 
quests of Hollo in Neustria, the dividing of their monarchy 
into many single governments under powerful dukes and 
barons, would unquestionably have followed in England, and 
centuries must have elapsed before the country would have re- 
covered its unity. Nothing but Alfred's patriotism, courage, 
and foresight, joined to the brilliant successes of his heirs, 
would have sufficed to avert the consequences of the north- 
ern invasion from the Saxon people, until the period when 
the old Berserker fury, cooled by the influence of the Ro- 
mish Church, admitted of a beautiful combination of the two 

What were now the principles which guided Alfred in his 
labours ? He must have painfully experienced the collapse 
of that political fabric of which his grandfather had been so 
proud, and the stability of which his father's actions had 
tended to undermine. Was it not natural, now that the 
kingdom was placed in other circumstances, and rescued 
from its former evil condition, to hold the reins of government 
more tightly than before, and out of the loose political rela- 
tions to create a well-compacted state ? The scanty records 
that have descended to us through so many centuries show 
that Alfred did endeavour to take a step of this kind. In- 
deed, the hero has lately been reproached with having despo* 
tically attempted to narrow the ancient liberties of his people. 
This is not the place to refute such a charge, which must be 
met by remembering the higher necessity which at that time 
was at work in all the great Teutonic families, uniting and 
centralising them under one mighty leader. What in our 
time is comprehended in the term freedom, is indeed as far 
removed as heaven from earth, from the independence of a 
few half-civilised communities, and in the progress of history 
it has been frequently promoted even by tyrants. Did Alfred 
at any time act more despotically than Charlemagne, Otho I., 
or Henry III., whose judicious and stringent measures all 
admirer On the contrary, we recognise with pleasure the 
mild, but on that account not less effective method, by which 
he undertook to change the existing relations of men aiid 


things, and thus to prepare for a better and totally different 
polity than that of his ancestors. His innovations* were more 
of an ethical than of a political nature : it excites astonish- 
ment, that after the dissolution of all political ties he allowed 
the national constitution to remain so nearly in its former 
state ; whilst, with a view to the welfare of his people, and 
with a correct perception of the dangers that threatened, he 
took that path of moral education in which no other prince, 
even amongst those called " the great," had ventured to tread 
with such decision and energy. But before this assertion 
can be verified, it will be necessary to glance at the condition 
of the country, and at Alfred's activity in its restoration. 

We have already briefly considered the public condition of 
the Anglo-Saxons under Ethelwulf. By the attack of the 
Danes, the Cerdician kingdom had been brought to the very 
verge of ruin. After it was saved from annihilation by Alfred, 
but little change took place in its component parts. 

He had indeed lost the supremacy over the states on the 
east coast ; under Egbert it had never been very definite, 
but now by the conversion and settlement of G-uthorm it 
was in some measure restored. The three other territories 
which composed the kingdom of "Wessex remained as before. 
Mercia, which was the first to succumb to the northern 
hordes, had ceased to be an independent kingdom ; and when 
a great part of the district fell again into Alfred's power by 
the treaty of Wedmore, he instituted a government differ- 
ing essentially from that of his other provinces. Kent and 
its dependencies had become a prey to the enemy at the first 
attack for the nature of the country presented no means 
of defence. But when the conquerors were obliged to 
cross the Thames, there was no question of again making 
this an independent state. The old traditions of the Jutish 
princes had ceased to be repeated by the people, but law 
and custom remained unchanged so long as one peculiar 
blood ran unmixed in their veins. Alfred did not think of 
interfering with this nationality : it had characterised his 
mother, and the rulers of the country had never made any 
stand against it. 

The custom of appointing the Crown-Prince of Wessex to 
the sovereignty of Kent had been abolished in the reigu 
of Alfred's brother ; the annexation of this district to 


Wessex was already much more complete than that of 
Mercia. The ancient provinces longest withstood the general 
rain ; and it was from the most westerly district, w r hich had 
scarcely ceased to be Celtic, and where the Saxon plough 
had turned but shallow furrows, that the common deliverance 
proceeded. Wessex now once more formed the centre of 
the kingdom, the unstable Britons returned to their former 
allegiance, and never, so long as the Saxon hero lived, did 
they venture on an insurrection ; never, by union with the 
Scandinavians, did they threaten to become dangerous to 
their conqueror. 

Little is known of the mode in which Alfred governed 
these lands, where, although they were not extensive, and 
the nature of the country presented but slight obstacles, so 
much difference existed in origin, language, manners, and 
customs. Tbe authorities mention many earls, as Ethelnoth, 
Ealderman of Somerset, Ethelhelm of Wilts, Ethelbald of 
Kent, but their activity is by no means to be compared with 
that of earlier rulers, who nourished in the time of Ethel- 
wulf. They seem to have been merely officers of the court 
their former hereditary sovereignty over their particular 
districts begins to disappear. No Ealstan is seen amongst 
the superior clergy ; however distinguished some individuals 
may have been with w^hom Alfred filled his episcopal sees, he 
never allowed them any further participation in the actual 
affairs of state than appertained to their offices. These are 
sufficiently distinct indications as to the progressive state of 
the royal prerogative ; as Alfred alone was able to free his 
country, so he was the principal also in reaping the fruit of 
his success. 

There is nothing which implies any violent proceeding. 
It was natural that the common welfare should require a 
firmer bond, and this bond could only be cemented by those 
hands which had so valiantly wielded the sword. The people 
made no complaint of any infringement on their rights 
they rather in later days, when the yoke of the haughty 
CQnm.iG>ror^weio;hed heavily upon them, remembered their 
with imdinrnTnahed affection, and gratefully as- 

cribed tn l"m fit may be unjustly) every advantage, every 
t which t 

ey continued to I'lijity} Prom 
feeling arose the assertion made m ih& twelfth century, 


that Alfred first divided the country into shires, hundreds, 
and tithings 1 . But these divisions had existed from the first 
settlement of the Germanic race in England, and formed the 
peculiar basis of the state, only in Alfred's time their limits 
were distinctly fixed, and on account of the localisation of 
their political and social relations, the ancient communities 
of the Mark and the Gra fell into decay. 

It may be supposed that Alfred, after the spoliation of 
public and private property, re-arranged the boundaries, al- 
though the assertion that he caused a formal survey and 
measurement of the lands to be made, seems to have been 
taken from the History of the Doomsday Book 2 . 

In the time of Alfred, the way was at least prepared for 
another important change -the separation of the judicature 
from the government. Hitherto, the earl and the prefect 
had administered justice in their own districts, and the king 
in the Witenagemot ; but it seems that at that time special 
judges were appointed, besides the officers of state and gover- 
nors of the provinces 3 . The ranks of the earl and prefect 
remained the same as before ; but they were enjoined to 
watch more strictly over the public affairs of their districts, 
and especially over the means of defence and the military 
preparations 4 , 

In the council of the nation, the Witenagemot, the affairs 
of the community were discussed and arranged according to 
ancient custom. The district tribunals were likewise suffered 
to continue, although with the limited power of the earl their 
importance became much lessened. 

Amongst the Saxons and Angles, the Witenagemot was no 
longer confined to one particular season of the year ; no men- 
tion is made of a March or May sitting of the council, but as 

1 Vide the Normans, Ingulph. p. 870, and Will. Malmesb. ii. 122. Asser men- 
tions nothing of the kind. 

2 This question is admirably handled by Kemble, the Saxons in England, i. 
*47, 248. 

3 Documents of 884, in Smith's Bede, p. 771, whose authenticity is, however, 
questionable. We shall have to speak afterwards of the " Judices" of Asser. 
Ingulph. p. 870, is of some importance. He says: " Praefectos vero provincianr.n 
(qui antea vicedomini) in duo officia divisit, id est in judices, quos nunc justiciaries 
vocamus, et in vice comites, qui adhuc idem nomen retinent." 

* Perhji ps this is meant by " custodes regni constituit," Roger de Wen iover, i 


often as circumstances required, nobles and freemen were 
accustomed to meet their king at his vill, or at some other 
suitable place near at hand, to take counsel together. We 
know of only two West Saxon Witenngemots being held in 
Alfred's reign. In 878 the contract was concluded with 
Guthorm at Wedmore, in presence of the Witan ; and be- 
tween the years 880 and 885, a meet ing of the royal council 
took place at Langedene, when King Ethelwulf's arrange- 
ment of the inheritance was ratified, and Alfred's disposition 
of nis estates approved 1 . These prove satisfactorily how much 
the power of the king differed from that of the Normans and 
Plantagenets, whose usurpations roused that free, popular 
spirit, so carefully fostered by Alfred, to carry on the vic- 
torious conflicts which resulted in the formation of parlia- 
ments. Alfred never did more than the necessities of the 
country required from him ; in the south of England, steps 
had been taken towards centralisation long before his time. 
He did not attempt to restore that which had fallen into 
decay, and which would have acquired fresh strength by union ; 
wherever he found any vitality in the old arrangements, he 
infused new energy into them ; he even allowed some parts 
of the kingdom to remain divided. It is wonderful to reflect 
on all the important changes which the constitution of Great 
Britain has undergone in the course of its development. 

An essential point in the barrier between Wessex and Mercia 
continued to exist. Language and custom still maintained a 
division between the Anglian and Saxon population, and a 
part of Mercia yet gave allegiance to a native race of princes. 
These are the reasons of the separate government of that 
province, and the elevated position assumed by the Ealder- 
man Ethelred. He, appears as viceroy, governor, and ruler 
of the kingdom of Mercia 2 . His wife Ethelfleda, the eldest 
daughter of Alfred, was on a perfect equality with him in 
rank, and even in political consequence ; in accordance with 
the ancient Mercian usage, she was not only the wife of the 
prince (cwen), but was herself endowed with power as 
lady (hlsefdige). But as Burhred's marriage had alreadr 

1 Kemhle Cod. Dipl. No. 314, and Saxons in England, ii. 251. 

2 " Subrpgulus," Florent. i. 113. Even " rex," Ethel werd, iv. 518. "Mer. 
riorum gentis ducatum gubernans procurator, in dominio regni Merciorum," Cod 
Dipl. No. 106G, 1068. But also " comes," Asser, p. 489, and Florent. i. 101. 


testified the union which subsisted between the two states, so 
Ethelred and Ethelfleda indicate the progress of a closer con- 
nexion, for they are not invested with the royal title. Alfred 
himself is called King of Mercia. Nothing was there effected 
without his consent ; every decree, gift, and exchange, required 
his ratification. As far as we know, there was never any 
misunderstanding or disagreement between Alfred and his 
earl ; and this arose from the strictly honourable character of 
the son-in-law, as well as from the close relationship between 
them. Ethelred was devoted body and soul to his lord and 
king ; he entered with perfect sympathy into all Alfred's wise 
thoughts and schemes, and never sought to gratify his own 
ambition at the expense of the general unanimity. 

A fortunate circumstance permits us to gain a deeper in- 
sight into the affairs of Mercia than is possible with regard 
to "Wessex. The documents relating to Ethelred' s govern- 
ment are more numerous, and afford far more interesting 
details, than those which treat of Alfred. In many of the 
documents containing the resolutions and decisions of the 
Mercian council, special mention is made of Alfred. A 
"Witenagemot over which Ethelred presided, was held at Eis- 
borough in the year 883. Another took place in 888 ; in 896 
a full assembly met at Gloucester, and there is another, the 
date of which is not so exactly stated. Soon after Ethel- 
red's accession 1 , a council was called concerning the arrange- 
ment of some property held by Bishop Werff ith. The man- 
ner and form of the proceedings, and the persons who were 
authorised to take part in them, are all described in a docu- 
ment evidently prepared at Gloucester, the remaining con- 
tents of which deserve to be translated from the original 
Saxon, as a specimen of the method of managing affairs. It 
runs thus : 

" In the name of Christ our Lord and Saviour. After 
eight hundred and ninety-six years had passed since his birth, 
in the fourteenth Indiction, the Ealderman Ethelred sum- 
moned the Mercian Witan, bishops, nobles, and all his forces 2 , 
to appear at Gloucester ; and this he did with the knowledge 

1 Vide Kemble, the Saxons in England, ii. 251 ; and Cod. Dipl. No. 1066, 
1068, 1073, 1075; 327. 

2 " Bisceopas and aldermen, and all his dftgu'Se;" the last word correctly ex- 
presses the idea of power in the middle ages, i. e. military strength. 


and approbation of King Alfred. There they took counsel 
together how they might the most justly govern their com- 
munity before God and the world, and many men, clergy as 
well as laity, consulted together respecting the lands, and 
many other matters which were laid before them. Then Bishop 
Werfrith spoke to the assembled Witan, and declared that 
all forest land which belonged to Wuduceastre, and the re- 
venues of which King Ethelbald once bestowed on "Worcester 
for ever, should henceforth be held by Bishop Werfrith for 
wood and pasture ; and he said that the revenue should be 
taken partly at Bislege, partly at Aefeningas, partly at 
Scorranstane, and partly at Thornbyrig, according as he chose. 
Then all the "Witan answered that the Church must make 
good her right as well as others. Then Ethelwald (Ealder- 
man ?) spoke : he would not oppose the right, the Bishops 
Aldberht and Alhun had already negotiated hereon, he would 
at all times grant to each church her allotted portion. So he 
benevolently yielded to the bishops' claim, and commanded his 
vassal Ecglaf to depart with Wulfhun, the priest of the place 
(Gloucester? properly, the inhabitant of the place). And 
he caused all the boundaries to be surveyed by them, as he 
read them in the old books, and as King Ethelbald had for- 
merly marked them out and granted them. But Ethelwald 
still desired from the bishops and the diocese, that they 
should kindly allow him and his son Alhmund to enjoy the 
profits of the land for life ; they would hold it only as a loan, 
and no one might deprive them of any of the rights of pas- 
ture, which were granted to him at Langanhrycge at the 
time when God gave him the land. And Ethelwald declared 
that it would be always against God's favour for any one 
to possess it but the lord of that church to whom it had 
been relinquished, with the exception of Alhmund ; and that 
he, during his life, would maintain the same friendly spirit of 
co-operation with the bishop. But if it ever happened that 
Alhmund should cease to recognise the agreement, or if he 
should be pronounced unworthy to keep the land, or thirdly, 
if his end should arrive, then tie lord of the church should 
enter into possession, as the Mercian Witan had decided 
at their assembly, and pointed out to him in the books. 
This took place with the concurrence of the Ealderman 
Ethelred, of Ethelfleda, of the Ealdermen Ethulf, Ethelferth, 


and Alhhelm, of the Priests Ednoth, Elfrsed, Werferth and 
Ethelwald, of his own kinsmen, Ethelstan and Ethelhun, and 
likewise of Alhmund his own son. And so the priest of the 
place and Ethelwald' s vassal rode over the land, first to Gin- 
n-ethlaege and Boddimbeorg, then to Smececumb and Sen- 
getlege, then to Heardanlege also called Dryganleg, and as 
far as Little Na3gleslege and the land of Ethelferth. So 
Ethelwald' s men pointed out to him the boundaries as they 
were denned and shown in the ancient books 1 ." 

Bishop Werfrith, who has been before mentioned, was the 
highest ecclesiastical dignitary of Mercia ; he took the prin- 
cipal part in the discussions of the Witenagemot relative to 
his peculiar affairs, and also assumed a more important posi- 
tion with regard to the arrangement of secular matters than 
the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have done at that 
time in Wessex. A number of documents arranging dona- 
tions and inheritances, testify his zealous adhesion to ter- 
ritorial rights and tenures, and his eager desire to extend 
the possessions of the see of Worcester 2 . 

The resolutions made at Gloucester were also signed by 
Ethelfleda, who probably sat on the throne with her husband. 
There appear to have been ealdermen who took the highest 
rank amongst the lay counsellors ; as in "Wessex they ruled 
over single districts, but had no power over life and 
deed 3 . There was a careful distinction made between them 
and the rest of the assembly, which consisted of free 
landowners, to whom a full participation in the general 
government was assigned. The clergy seem to have been 
completely divided from the laity ; two bishops attended the 
meeting they were ranked next to Werfrith, and pro- 
bably filled the sees of Hereford and Lichfield. This Witen- 
agemot presents a much more complete form than any of 
the previous ones in the history of Wessex. In particular 
instances the mutual relations of the Euler, the Possessor, 
and the Server, were very similar in Wessex and Mercia, 
and a closer inspection of the laws will bring this mors 
evidently before us. 

1 Cod. Dipl. No. 1073. 

Cod. Dipl. Nos. 305, 315, 325, 327, 1071. 

Their names are given in Cod. Dipl. Nos. 1066, 1068. 


It was a circumstance of great consequence, to Mercia, that 
London, the old commercial mart of the island, lay within 
its jurisdiction, on the extreme south-eastern boundary of 
the territory which had been arranged by the treaty of Wed- 
more. In the year 880, Alfred formally installed the Eari 
of Mercia as governor of London, after the place had been 
rebuilt 1 , and rendered once more habitable, for it had often 
suffered severely from fire and pillage, and the ravages of the 
Danes. Alfred must have laid siege to London before 
accomplishing this, for a troop of Northmen yet occupied 
the ruins ; and when all those Angles and Saxons who had 
either been dispersed by flight, or for long years had groaned 
in the service of the Danes, again returned under his rule, 
the king himself led them to the restoration of their only 
important city 2 . And this name was then appropriate to 
London exclusively, according to our present ideas. Although 
there is no information given concerning its commerce and 
wealth until the following century, yet from its former im- 
portance in the days of British and Boman power, from its 
subsequent rapid elevation, and from its incomparable advan- 
tages of situation, we may gather that it contained a popula- 
tion which industriously exported the country's produce, 
wool and corn, and that foreigners from various continental 
nations brought their goods to this great port, which was 
destined to become the greatest in the world. What other 
towns could at that time compete with London ? In Exeter, 
Dorchester, Wareham, Dover, and other places near the 
coast, a maritime trade was perhaps carried on ; but pros- 
perity was only beginning to dawn on these and on 
other towns in the interior of the island, many of which, 
such as Sherborne, Winchester, Canterbury, Worcester, 
and Gloucester, were indebted for the few advantages they 
had acquired, to ecclesiastical influences, or the occasional 
presence of the court, which latter circumstance gave birth 
to the towns of Beading, Chippenham, Wantage, and 
others. It is true, that in many places the almost impreg- 
nable Boman walls, by affording protection against the 

1 Asser, p. 489: " Londoniam civitatem honorifice restauravit et habitabilew 
fecit, quam genero suo Aetheredo Merciorum comiti commendavit servandara. " 
Chron. Sax. Florent. i. 101 ; Ethelwerd, iv. 517. 


Scandinavians, tended to overcome the dislike the Germans 
felt to living in cities. Each nation alternately besieged, or 
took shelter behind, these ramparts. A more extensive com- 
merce, and an increasing magnificence in the royal court and 
the palaces of the bishops, were the first agents in the ad- 
vancement of the English maritime and inland cities. During 
Alfred's reign this development of so important a branch of 
civil life was very evident. But his people, nobles and com- 
moners, poor and rich, still preferred forest and plain to 
places fenced and walled ; and the corn-field and the pasture 
were sources of more profit to them than the inhospitable 

Still the king and his household havl no fixed residence. 
Like his forefathers, he journeyed from one royal fortress to 
another, as circumstances guided. We gain the most certain 
information of Alfred's presence in particular localities when- 
ever military affairs called him to a post of duty. In the 
summer of 897 he was at Winchester, which, under his suc- 
cessors, became a capital city 1 . According to one document, 
he stayed at a place called "Wulfamere, in the year 898. In 
the following year he had an interview with Earl Ethelred, 
Archbishop Plegmund, and Bishop Werfrith 2 , at Celchyth ; 
from his signature to Mercian documents it may be pre- 
sumed that he was present at the councils then held in that 

The signature of the king was either simply "Kex," or "Bex 
Saxonum," or " Dei gratia rex Saxonum." His court already 
represented the increasing power and splendour of the king- 
dom ; it may be plainly seen how state officers began to arise 
from the former nobles of the country, how the two are occa- 
sionally blended together, and how the dignities peculiarly 
connected with the court at last assume a definite form. In 
different years we learn the names of individual ealdermen 
(duces) ; these are, besides Ethelred the inferior sovereign, 
Ethelhelm of Wiltshire, Beocca, Ethelwald, Ethelnoth from 
a Mercian district, Ceolwulf, Ceolmund of Kent, Wulf'red of 
Hampshire, Beorhtwulf of Essex, Ordulf, Wullaf, Garulf, 
Byrhtnoth, who no longer as of old governed their particular 
provinces, only one here and there among them appears to 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 897. 2 Cod. Dipl. No. 234, 1047. 


Lave been invested with the title and employed in the service 
of the king. Thus Ethelhelm, Ealderman of Wilts, Ealder- 
man Beocca : Sighelm, and Athelstan, of whose rank nothing 
exact is known, were charged with missions to Rome. There 
are also two other nobles, Wulfred and Ethelred, who do not 
bear the title of either thane or ealderman 1 . In the year 892 
Elfric is called a royal treasurer (tbesaurarius, hordere, vide 
Athelstan, legg. i. 3), in 897 Egwulf is said to be a marshal 
(strator regis, cyninges horsPegn), in 892 Sigewulf 2 is desig- 
nated a cup-bearer (pincerna, byrel ? vide Beowulf, v. 2316, 
Cod. Exon. 161, 8) ; all three filled the highest offices about 
Alfred. Lucum on is called the king's reeve. Royal thanes were 
a kind of inferior chiefs under the ealderman, as Eadulf of 
Sussex. Ethelferth was termed the king's neat-herd 3 . A cer- 
tain Beornwulf was burgrave of Winchester. Wulfric, who had 
been marshal before Egwulf, and died in 897, held at the same 
time the office of Wealhgerefa, or Welsh reeve, which most 
probably consisted in the superintendence and jurisdiction of 
the dependent Britons who might be found in Alfred's service, 
and particularly on his lands in the west of the kingdom 4 . 
Although these few accounts are very meagre, yet they aid us 

_^ a correct idea of the life which Alfred led as king. 

Jut his efficiency as a monarch was of much greater and | 
'more recognised importance in legislation ; it was here that f 
he endeavoured to give a moral education to his people, and 
to establish entirely new principles on the foundation of the 
old ones. His well-preserved code of laws gives the most 
accurate and valuable material for an inquiry into this subject. 
The idea has been long since formed that Alfred was in the 
truest sense of the word peculiarly the legislator of his people ; 
we are told that " amidst the tumult of arms and the din of 
warlike instruments 5 " he found time to complete this great 
work. We know however, that during many years of his 

1 Kemble, the Saxons in England, ii. 128, with quotations from Florence; Cod. 
Dipl. No. 1065. 

2 Cod. Dipl. No. 320. 

3 " Cynges geneat," Chron. Sax. A. 897. 

4 Chron. Sax. A. 897 ; with which compare Kemble, Saxons, ii. 178, 179. 

5 u Ille inter fremitus armorum et stridores lituonam leges tulit," occuis ill a 
manuscript of Wilh. Malmesb. Hardy il. 122. 


reign, peace was enjoyed in England, and we may venture to 
conclude that the elaboration of his code must have occupied 
him at a time when he had less of other matters to engage 
his attention. The designation of lawgiver is strictly speak- 
ing erroneous : he created no new laws, his aim was simply 
to restore, to renovate, to improve. In every part of his 
dominions Alfred met with existing laws upon which he 
could take footing, but after the struggle for freedom, altered 
circumstances required fresh arrangements, and the closer 
connexion of the component parts of the kingdom, and the 
elevation of the royal prerogative, called for a correction and 
revision of the old laws, so tbat a more comprehensive system 
of legislation was necessary. 

Amongst particular tribes, and subsequent to the con- 
version to Christianity, the ancient laws had for some 
centuries acquired a durable character by being committed 
to writing, and a perfect written language was formed in 
the West Saxon dialect much earlier than in that of any 
other German people. These circumstances, happily for 
the British Island, tended to limit the power of the clergy 
there, in a much, greater degree than was possible on the 
Continent, and besides, made the German language the 
vehicle of the laws, so that it was not until the arrival of the 
Eomanised Normans that tlje_Eiig1ish ppppl^ W^TP judged and 
sentenced in a language thny did nnt understand. In former 
"clays, Kent, Wessex, and Mercia, had each its own laws in its 
own dialects, and both these were closely allied. All the 
people were of German origin. When Alfred undertook the 
work, in which he was faithfully assisted by the advice and 
co-operation of the wise and great men of his nation, he had 
before him the Kentish collection of Ethelbert, the first 
Christian king, with the supplemental additions of his suc- 
cessors, HlothhaBre, Eadric, and Wihtrad ; his own ancestor 
lua caused the West Saxon laws to be compiled ; and the 
law-book of the great Offa was used in Mercia. There was 
much in the three, of which, on inspection, he entirely ap- 
proved, but several points did not please him, and these, i>y 
the advice and consent of his counsellors, he rejected ; mean- 
while, he had some intention of putting his own ideas in their 
stead, but he knew not whether they would be approved b} 

-iLFRED'S LAWS. 129 

his successors 1 . Ina's collection was the only one received 
$ntire into the Codex, which was chiefly applicable to the 
condition of the West Saxons. A few articles were omitted 
here and there from the Kentish and Mercian laws, but re- 
search into this matter is not possible, as Ofta's book is lost. 

Thus the substance of many particular laws was included 
in the general work, and the principal parts of the old 
Teutonic general and provincial law by this means attained 
a wider signification and importance. It is superfluous in a 
biography of the king to enter into a closer examination of 
the peculiarities of the Anglo-Saxon laws, especially as this 
subject has been successfully handled by many learned men, 
in books that are universally accessible. But the necessity of 
inquiring into the exact opinions and acts of the king requires 
a notice of those points where his altering hand is discernible. 
The motives which actuated him in his work of reformation 
were twofold ; one, the high responsibility attached to the 
exercise of royal authority, and the other, his peculiarly 
earnest desire of infusing Christian principles into the ancient 
national laws derived from Paganism, and even taking these 
principles as a fresh foundation. Whenever traces of this 
spirit appear in his Codex, we may recognise the influence of 
Alfred, by whom new rules of action were thus created, or at 
least pointed out to posterity. 

The laws of King Ina present a striking picture of the inse- 
curity and rude licentiousness which existedthroughoutWessrx 
in his time. The distinctions of rank which had been preserved 
amongst the people in their wanderings, had been put on a dif- 
ferent footing by the division of landed property, therefore the 
Were-geld, inflicted on all freemen, had been but little effi- 
cacious in preventing constant breaches of the peace and 
never-ending feuds. The Church had from its commencement 
assumed the civil rights of the heathen priesthood, as well as the 
relation of conqueror to the subj ugated native inhabitants, who 
were almost reduced to the condition of serfs, and its daily in- 
leasing acquirements of land kept the public legal aftairs in 
perpetual confusion. Ina's book chiefly consists of a list of 

1 " Forpam me waes uncud hwaet paes pam lician wolde pe softer it* wa?rc:i. 
Introduction to Alfred's Laws, by Thorpe, "Ancient Laws and [natitttlf&ol 
England," i. 58. 



punishments for breaches of the peace, for quarrels, murder, 
robbery, and injury to forest and cattle ; or else it makes pro- 
visions for the conditions of freedom and general government 
of the slaves, and particularly of the numerous Welsh in the 
western part of the kingdom, who had hitherto been in an 
almost lawless condition. Alfred adopted much of this into his 
book ; in some instances he made wise alterations. Formerly 
different punishments had been awarded for stealing money, 
horses, and bee-hives ; now they were all dealt with in an 
equally severe manner, but a higher degree of punishment 
was adjudged for robbery from the person; in other re- 
spects, particularly in cases of bodily injury, he made a much 
more strict and extensive regulation than his ancestor 1 . 
The ancient law concerning boc-land (land granted by 
writings), which was to be held by the same family, and to 
descend to the male heirs, he likewise caused to be preserved 
in all its force, as it appears in its most complete form in the 
Mercian law-book 2 . 

A recognition of the rights of property, and the intrusion 
of elements decidedly foreign to the old Teutonic national 
law, were now perceptible in many places. An entirely 
new meaning was given to the very first article of the 
code. Whosoever should break his oath, or fail to perform a 
pledge, was sentenced to forty days' imprisonment in some 
.royal place, and to undergo penance ordained by the bishop. 
Already the use of the word "career" indicates that the depri- 
vation of freedom for a longer or shorter space of time could 
not have been known to the Saxons, and indeed in earlier 
collections of laws nothing is to be found resembling it. But 
from this period justice began to be administered with a more 
powerful hand, and particularly with regard to the sacred obli- 
gation of an oath, which, backed by its Christian importance 
was most strictly enforced. The fourth article is still more sig- 
nificant : " If any person, either by himself or others, practise 
treachery against the life of the king or his lords, he shall 
make compensation with his life and all his possessions ; if 
he should desire to clear himself of the accusation by judicial 

1 Compare Leg. JE\f. 44-77 with Leg. Athelb. 32-73. 

2 Vide Kemble, Cod. Diplom. Introduction, p. xxxii. with reference to Leg. 


means, he shall be allowed to do so according to the exact 
measure of the royal Were-geld." Here there is ail evidence 
of the height of power to which the monarchy had risen, and 
of the means whereby its authority was maintained and pre- 
served inviolate. Yet still the king's Were-geld continued, 
and this in a great measure placed him on an equality with 
all other freemen, for those who were thus able to expiate 
their offences might escape death. But the new principle, 
which alone was valid in later times, already began to be 
developed, and its introduction must be ascribed to Alfred, 
according to whose Scriptural notions reward and punishment 
proceeded immediately from Grod, and who would likewise 
protect earthly rulers by divine laws. 

It does not seem to be quite just, on account of these 
innovations to accuse Alfred of despotic aims, and to attribute 
to him " anti-national and un-Teutonic feelings 1 ." The strict 
Judaic doctrines respecting civil and religious liberty which 
had already for some time prevailed in the Catholic Church, 
began also to influence the secular government ; for when 
large kingdoms were established by the conquering Germans, 
all the rulers suffered themselves to be guided in the arrange- 
ment of their altered political relations, by the insinuating 
counsels of the Romish clergy. The nature and tendency of 
all that period of the middle ages prevented any Christian 
country or Christian ruler from becoming an exception to this 
rule ; it was not possible even for Alfred to accomplish his 
important task of uniting and improving his people, by any 
other means than those which were in universal use at the 
time ; and yet experience had plainly taught him what would 
become of the prosperity of the island, if in such a favourable 
moment as the present, he were to leave matters in their old 
condition. And had not his grandfather Egbert sought to 
learn from Charlemagne a new method of governing his 
kingdom ? So Alfred's reformation was a thorough one : 

1 Kemble, Saxons, ii. 208, n. 2. This intelligent author, whose thoughts and 
feelings partake so much of a German character, in attributing these errors to 
Alfred, accounts for them by his partial love for foreign literature, and his over- 
bearing character in his youth. The latter, at any rate, is not proved, and the 
precise relative dates of his literary and legislative labours are certainly not esta- 
blished. This view of the subject bears too much the stamp of the mode ol 
thinking in our own day. 



all that was once vigorous throughout the whole body of the 
state, but which was now fallen into decay, he abandoned ; all 
the other machinery of the government he left in action, and 
to his fostering and improving hand it must be ascribed that 
so much of it is in full activity at the present day in England, 
whilst so many of the other European German states have 
long had to mourn the loss of their ancient institutions. A 
strict monarchy was the only condition on which the country 
fiOTiljj^Tie saved at that time', and as all Alfred's efforts had 
this end in view, he had no choice with respect to the means L 
Besides, the exalted position of the monarchy h.acTT}een 
firmly established in the past days of the West Saxon state, 
which had early included a number of hundreds, and ex- 
tended itself over many districts, whilst the Jutish and 
Anglian kingdoms seem to have consisted at most of only a 
few. "We know that for centuries after their rise, Mercia 
and Wessex continued to prosecute their conquests. In the 
storm of conflicting circumstances, at length only "Wessex re- 
mained standing ; all the other kingdoms had fallen, many of 
them returning to their original form of provinces, but under 
the West Saxon dominion. It therefore cannot be matter 
of surprise that the power and dignity of the King of Wessex 
far exceeded those of the ealdermen who governed the pro- 
vinces. Alfred began to make special appointments to this 
office, which under him ceased to be hereditary, excepting in 
Mercia. Ealdermen and bishops, the two highest digni- 
taries in State and Church, came by degrees to take the same 
rank ; whilst in former times it was the king who was valued 
equally with the bishops, and thus it may be easily perceived 
that the king originally rose from and above the other 
ealdermen. Whilst in the law-book of Ilia the same fines 
were assigned for breaches of the peace against the king and 
the bishop,, in Kent, robbery of the Church or of a bishop 
or a priest was visited with a higher measure of punishment 
than robbery of the king's property 1 . Alfred obtained a 
higher compensation than any other ecclesiastical or secular 
dignitary in the state ; his sum remained the same as under 
the Kentish law, whilst those of the bishops and ealdermen, 

1 Allen. Inquiry into the Rise and Growth of the Royal Prerogative in Kng 
Vuid, p. r ad- ii. 


as well as those of the lower classes of nobility and freemen, 
were proportionally lowered. 

But Ina had already ordained, that whosoever 1 should ven- 
ture to draw his sword in the king's house, and to disturb 
the peace, such a crime could be expiated only by death or 
severe penance, according as the king might think fit. Alfred 
transferred this law unaltered into his Codex 3 . In this and 
similar decrees concerning crime, the laws providing for 
personal security, originally founded on distinctions of rank, 
tock a new development ; the importance of the old were-geld 
began to decline, and corporeal punishment was established 
in its stead. Notwithstanding this, all classes of the com- 
munity preserved their respective ranks ; but it is gratifying 
to find that there is scarcely any mention made in Alfred's 
laws of the lowest order of the people, whilst the arrange- 
ments of Ina relative to the Celtic slaves form a prominent 
feature in his code. 

The continuance of the frank-pledge (freoburh, friSgegyld) 
was ratified by many articles : those who were exempt from 
this arrangement, either as outlawed criminals or as foreign- 
ers, were not amenable to its obligations, but, like the tra- 
velling merchant, enjoyed, on the fulfilment of certain con- 
ditions, the protection of the king and his justiciary 3 . The 
necessity of forming new guilds may have become apparent 
at that time, but their origin and progress were contemporary 
with the rise of cities. 

Many of the arrangements in the first part of Alfred's 
collection of laws are to be attributed to the monopoly of 
ecclesiastical power, but at the same time also to the growth 
of Christian feeling ; and his efforts to educate the morals 
of his powerful, but still uncultivated people, in accord- 
ance with the doctrines of the Bible, are indeed beautiful 
and excellent. His aim was not only directed towards the 

1 Leg. Inae, 45 : King and bishop, 120 shillings ; ealderman, 80 ; a thane 
(degen), 60; a gesithcundman, 35. On the contrary, we find in Leg. Aelf 40: 
the king, 120 ; archbishop, 90 ; bishop and ealderman, 60 ; twelfthyndeman 30 ; 
sixhyndeman, 15 ; ceorl (freeman), 5. See Kemble, Saxons, ii. 399. 

2 Only instead of " house," he says " court." Compare Leg. Ina?, 6, with Leg. 
Aelf. 7. 

Leg. Aelf. 42, 27, 34. Translation of Lappen-berg, ii. 333. 


prevention of robberies and feuds, he also strove to check 
every species of immorality amongst all classes. The seduc- 
tion of nuns was dealt with most severely. Ina had com- 
menced the work, but still the regulations of his great suc- 
cessor, respecting such crimes, are much more numerous and 
strict. In a similar proportion were punishments adjudged 
for working on the Sunday, or other holy days 1 . Respecting 
the rules for priests, the revenues due from land to the 
Church, and for taking sanctuary, very little provision had 
been made in the legislation of the eighth century ; but yet 
King Ina had taken counsel on these points, not only with all 
his Witan, but also with his two bishops, Hedde and Eorcen- 
bald 2 . Alfred's high reverence for the Church and its faith 
enabled him to make new and more extensive arrangements. 
Although the highest ecclesiastical officers ranked far below 
him in the degree of compensation, yet every offence against 
their individual dignity was rigorously punished. Any one 
who presumed to fight within sight* of the archbishop or 
bishop, was compelled to atone for it by payment of 150 and 
100 shillings. A priest so far forgetting himself as to kill 
a man in combat, was to be delivered up to the bishop to 
be deprived of all his property and to be divested of his 
sacerdotal office. Stnet regulations were made concerning 
sanctuary in churches and monasteries, in which criminals 
and fugitives took refuge ; how long such persons should re- 
main there, and their treatment during the time allowed 
them. Bobbery of Church property was punished by the 
infliction of a double fine, and the loss of a hand 3 . 

Enough may be gathered from these instances to show what 
progress the national law had made at that time, and on what 
principles it was conducted. By a peculiar addition, Alfred 
impressed upon the entire Codex the character of his own 
mind, much more than that of the age in which he lived ; for 
he began his new book of laws with extracts from the Bible 
itself, both from the Old and New Testaments 4 . These 
words were placed first : " And the Lord spake all these 

Leg. Inse, 27, 31, 3; Leg. Aelf. 8, 9, 10, 11, 18, 25, 26, 43. 
2 Leg. Inse, 1, 4, 5, 61, and Thorpe's Introduction, i. 102. 
Leg. Aelf. 15,21,2,5,6. 
* Laws and Institutes, i. 44, ff. 


words, saying, I am the Lord thy God," &c. Then followed 
the Ten Commandments, omitting the second, but the 23rd 
verse of the chapter was inserted to make the Tenth Command- 
ment. Then followed, with a few omissions, the 21st, 22nd, 
and the first part of the 23rd chapters of Exodus, which 
contain the Mosaic laws, treating of the relations between 
masters and servants, of the punishments for murder, 
homicide, theft, and other heinous sins, as well as the sacred 
observance of holy and festival days. The last statute is : 
" Make no mention of the name of other Gods, neither let it 
be heard from thy mouth." Exod. xxiii. 13. Then the 
book proceeds : " These are the laws spoken to Moses by the 
Almighty God himself, who commanded him to keep them, 
and afterwards the only Son of God, who is Christ our 
Saviour came upon earth, and said, that he did not come to 
destroy these laws and to abolish them, but in every way to 
fulfil them ; and he taught mercy and humility. Then, after 
he had suffered, but before his apostles had gone forth to 
teach in all lands, and whilst they were still together, they 
converted many heathens to God, and still remaining to- 
gether, they sent messengers into Antioch and Syria to 
preach Christ's laws. But when they learnt that these mes- 
sengers met with no success, the apostles sent them a letter. 
And this is the letter sent by the apostles to Antioch, Syria, 
and Cilicia, which places are now converted from heathenism." 
Here follows literally the Epistle from the Acts of the 
Apostles xv., 23-29. Alfred then added, from Matthew 
vii., 12 : " Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, 
do ye even so to them." " By this one Commandment 
man shall know whether he does right, then he will require 
no other law-book." This short epitome of the laws of 
God upon earth proceeds further : " Since now it happens 
that many nations have adopted the faith of Christ, se- 
veral synods have assembled upon the earth, and also 
amongst the English people since they have professed the 
Christian religion, consisting of holy bishops with other dis- 
tinguished Witan. Moved by the compassion which Christ 
taught towards error, they ordained that by their permission, 
secular lords, for nearly every misdeed, might in the first in- 
stance make compensation by a fine, ercept for treason 
against a lord, on which crime they dared not exercise ant 


mercy, because the Almighty God would not grant it to those 
who exalted themselves above Him, nor Christ, God's son, to 
mm who sold Him to death, and He commanded that a lord 
should be loved like Himself 1 ." 

In different synods different punishments were allotted for 
various human offences, and different commandments were 
written in the several synod-books : " Whereupon I, King 
Alfred, have collected and commanded to be written down 
those laws which our forefathers held, those which seem to 
me good," &c. The manner in which he proceeded has been 
already considered : " I, Alfred, King of the West Saxons, 
showed them to all my Witan, and they said that they ap- 
proved of them all, and would observe them." Then follow 
his own statutes. It would be difficult to find in any other 
collection of laws of the middle ages so large a portion of 
Biblical matter as in this ; and we know, too, that no othe* 
has so completely adopted the principles of the Mosaic law. 
It is true that many passages from both Testaments are to 
be found in the Prankish and other Continental codes, and 
the general influence in legislation of eminent princes of the 
Church and of the entire clerical body is indubitable ; but in 
no other do we find the idea of blending the old Teutonic 
law with the Hebrew- Christian, so perfectly carried into 

How natural then is the conjecture that Alfred humbly 
submitted himself to the control of the bishops, and allowed 
them to have similar power in the state, to that which they 
enjoyed in the country of the weak descendants of Charle- 
magne, and even in England during the lifetime of his own 
father, who had taught his son to fear God and the Church. 
But a closer research into the condition of the English 
Church and the activity of its supporters at that time, will 
show us that this was by no means the case. Alfred, on the 
contrary, ruled in the most perfect concord with his clergy, 
and was, in fact, the head of the Church. We cannot deny 
the tendency towards despotism which he introduced into the 
government, this is evinced in various instances ; but never- 
theless Alfred's name must be held in all honour, for he ad- 

1 '' Lufioen seva hine selfne," not as one's self, as Thorpe translates it, but lik 
himself viz. God. Kemble, Saxons, ii. 208. 


ministered law and justice according to the eternal and 
divine precepts, and perfected the Old Testament Decalogue 
by the grand addition of the Christian doctrine, that " a man 
should love his neighbour as himself." 

This peculiar construction of his code proceeded from the 
earnest character of his religious belief, to which we may also 
chiefly ascribe its high moral tone. The question indeed 
presents itself: did Alfred really aim at governing his sub- 
jects according to the letter of the Levitical regulations ? 
"What could be done with reference to the punishments for 
damaging vineyards ? Would it not have been absurd to 
recal to the Saxons the memory of the captivity of the 
Israelites in Egypt ? It is true that many fundamental laws 
relative to property in land and cattle, as well as to assault 
and murder, were precisely the same amongst the Grerman 
and Semitic people ; and although Alfred made a Christian 
law of that Hebrew one 1 which bestowed freedom on a slave 
after six years of service, yet on the whole, he merely held up 
as an example to his subjects a code with which they were 
well acquainted, and which showed them those points wherein 
their Christian community was still deficient. He endea- 
voured to impress upon them his ow^n conviction, that 
punishment and rew r ard belonged to Grod, who ordained the 
king to be His representative upon earth to execute justice. 
And yet it is singular enough to find the old Teutonic Were- 
geld considered as a compensation for the Divine wrath ! 

It now only remains for us to add some particulars relative 
to the administration of justice. We know from the testi- 
mony of an historical eye-witness how strictly Alfred re- 
quired every man to be treated according to the right and 
equity of the Christian religion. 

Prom a work which is undoubtedly the genuine produc- 
tion of Asser, it may be gathered, that amongst the many 
evils consequent on the Danish invasion, great irregularities 
had entered into the administration of justice 3 . Throughout 
the kingdom, the common and poor freemen had no other 

1 The command of Moses, that a slave who wished to remain as a servant 
with his master should have his ear pierced through with an awl to the gate of 
the temple, Laws and Institutes, i. 47, n. 11, is vry similar to an old German 
custom. Compare Grimm. Deutsche Kechtsalterthiimer, p. 339. 

2 Asser, to\vards the end. Florent. Wigorn. i. 106 


protection than that afforded them by the king himself; 
for the great and powerful men who admini stered the laws 
were lifted up by pride, and occupied themselves with worldlv 
matters rather than with such as would do honour to their 
Christian name. In the regular tribunals, where the earls 
and other officials sat to distribute justice, there were so 
many discussions and quarrels about the meaning of the law, 
that the judgments rarely gave satisfaction. . But the kiug_ 
caused all decisions to be laid before him, whether they~we"re\ 
just or unjust, and he investigated them strictly, especially 
when the offence encroached on his own prerogative. The / 
unsettled state of affairs at that time naturally caused the king 
to be more and more considered as the principal guardian of 
justice. But the confidence placed in Alfred by a large portion 
of his subjects was fully justified by his extreme conscientious- 
ness. He was more sincere than any other in the country 
in his endeavours to discover a true and just judgment 1 , and 
to bestow their lawful rights upon the poor and oppressed, 
as well as upon the rich and powerful. In the same manner 
he inquired into all the sentences which were given in the 
district courts of his kingdom, whether they were just or 
unjust ; he often summoned the judge to be brought before 
him, and questioned him. Sometimes he obtained information 
through the agency of one of his faithful servants. He did 
this chiefly in order to discover whether injustice had been 
practised from ignorance or malevolence, from love, or fear, 
or hate, towards any one, or wholly from a desire of gain. 
It sometimes happened that a judge would acknowledge his 
ignorance, but then Alfred would seriously set before him his 
folly, and would say : " I am astonished at your great teme- 
rity, that you who, by God's favour and mine, have been 
entrusted with the office and rank of the Wise 2 , should have 
entirely neglected the studies and the labours of the Wise. 
Either, therefore, resign your temporal power, or assiduously 
apply yourself, as I require of you, to obtain wisdom." 
Thus many nobles and officers of high rank would frequently 
seek to acquire in their old age what they had neglected in their 
youth 3 , and would choose to submit to be instructed, a thing 

1 In exquendis judiciis discretissimus indagator. - Sapientes, witan. 

Uliterati ab infantia comites pene omnes, praepositi ac ministri. 


hitherto strange to them, and, like schoolboys, commence at 
the rudiments of learning rather than relinquish their offices. 
There is no good reason for doubting the truth of this 
narration, it is expressly stated that such cases often occurred. 
They became soon noticed by contemporary observers. In 
the course of the century, indeed, the evil seems to have in- 
creased, and to have greatly extended its ruinous effects ; and 
the accounts of the thirteenth and following centuries assert 
that the Saxon king was unmerciful enough to cause a great 
number of unjust judges to be hanged, after being severely 
reprimanded 1 . But how could the most beautiful traits of 
Alfred's character be thus mistaken and censured? The 
aim which peculiarly distinguished his legislation was to 
raise the moral greatness of his people, and to promulgate 
the Christian faith, and this is plainly shown us also by 
Asser ; Christianity required that the same measure of jus- 
tice should be allotted to the high as to the low. The state 
in which this can be done, must have wise and learned judges 
of the law ; and it must have been a source of great grief to 
Alfred, that those men who, from their rank and wealth, 
should have exhibited a brilliant example to all besides, and 
who had such an important voice in the public administration 
of justice, were found so deficient. They could not even read 
in public the laws of their country ; the hitherto universally 
acknowledged common law began now to be forgotten. And 
with this is connected another point of no less importance to 
us. Besides earls and governors, Asser mentions regular 
judges 2 , who, although they appear from their title to have 
had a right to practise their official employment, yet were 
nable to do so. It is extremely probable that the nobles 
and free landowners had so alienated themselves from the 
community, especially during the time of war, that they 
could no longer administer justice without further legal 
knowledge. Thus there arose a tribunal, which perhaps had 
been projected long before, and which the king now mo- 
delled and fitted for its important office. Possibly, an ar- 
rangement was then made in England similar to the missi 
dominici if Charlemagne, leading to the establishment of the 

> Andrew Home, Miroir des Justices, p. 296-298. 
* They were various : comites, praepositi, judices. 


courts called Assizes, for whilst the people and their 
sheriffs still retained the right of giving judgment, the king, 
to whom alone belonged an executive power, practised a 
strict inspection by means of messengers 1 . But the judges, 
whose national title was unquestionably G-erefan (Earls), 
were answerable for their interpretation of the law, and for 
the judgment pronounced by them. And this responsibility 
caused them to incur the anger of the king, their chief ma- 
gistrate, in those cases when they exposed their ignorance 3 . 

Before we leave this important subject, and conclude the 
account of the political affairs of the period, it may not be 
irrelevant to glance at that country which, in more than one 
respect, was united in the dominion of Wessex the Chris- 
tian Danish kingdom, which, by the policy of Alfred, had 
been established on the eastern coast. The first legal union, 
the-short statute made and confirmed in the treaty of "Wed- 
more between the two kings and their adherents, has been 
already noticed. The few principal points are very brief, 
and bear on them the stamp of necessity. Gruthorm -Athel- 
stan could not avoid the consequences of this treaty. Al- 
though he still adhered to piracy, the way was already pre- 
pared for a union of his own followers with the original 
Anglian population, when he died, in the year 890. Al- 
though his death occasioned a new and desperate attack from 
the Danes, and his immediate successor Eohric proved himseli 
to be no pattern of fidelity, yet the work which had been 
commenced was established on a firmer basis, and grew and 
nourished even beneath the storms of a war that continued 
for a year. An amplification of the resolutions of Wedmore is 
extant, which was made at a later period, and designated the 
Peace between Gruthorm and Edward. It is extremely im- 
probable, and it is not confirmed by any proofs, that the latter, 
Alfred's son, was invested with regal honours and princely 
power so early as the year 890 ; the execution of the new 
document must have taken place in Alfred's own reign., 
although there is only doubtful information of a Gruthorm 
II. 3 , who succeeded Eohric in 905. These laws apparently 
belong to the enlarged legislative code of Alfred; it is 

1 Kemble, Saxons, ii. 41-45. 2 Rise of the German Kingdom, by Sybel, p. 235. 
3 Thorpe, Ancient Laws and Institutes, i. 166. On the authority of Walling- 
ford, p. 539, 540. 



expressly stated in the introduction, that these are the ordi- 
nances of Alfred and Guthorm, which had been repeatedly 
ratified between the Angles and Danes, and were now 
revived by Edward. They bear in an extended form the 
same features as were exhibited in Alfred's code, and they 
give sufficing internal proof, that in the course of twenty 
years Christianity had become the state religion, or rather 
that it had conquered and completely overturned the old- 
established heathen faith. Here, too, the first articles treat 
of the Church, and of obedience to Christian commands. 
One Grod only shall be loved, and he Avill reward and punish. 
Peace towards the Church and towards the king, is alike to 
be preserved inviolably. Dues are to be paid to the king 
and to the Church ; they both protect morals and manners 
from injury. Labour, swearing, and the ordeal, were strictly 
forbidden to be practised on holy days. The punishment 
against profanation of the latter seems to have been par- 
ticularly necessary on account of the transgressions which 
had lately been committed by the Northmen. The perform- 
ance of pagan rites, witchcraft, and conjuration, were like- 
wise punishable offences. But on the other hand, priests and 
foreigners were to enjoy peculiar protection as amongst the 
West Saxons, and the rights of the different classes of the free 
population were based upon the ground of their respective pos- 
sessions. It is, however, remarkable that a careful distinction 
is made, in name at least, in the measure of compensation 
awarded to the people of Saxon and of Danish origin 1 . 

Thus then, after it had for a long time appeared probable 
that the principal Christian state in England was destined 
to destruction, it was not only delivered by the sword, but 
its deliverer also restored internal order, and bound it to- 
gether beneath his powerful protection. "We often see in 
history great revolutionary events interrupting the quiet 
progress of a nation ; all the ancient enfeebled institutions 
become abolished ; the people, under the guidance of some 
great man, struggle and are victorious, and then the seed 
is sown of a well-organized government, whose fruits are 
gathered in a happy future. 

1 Next to the wer and wite of the Saxons was always placed the lah-slitte of 
tl;e Northmen (lagsligt in old Swedish law). Laws an(? Institutes, i 168. 


Alfred's active exertions in the government, and in the 
administration of law, afford a glorious example of this. 
When, in later times, his people sighed beneath the heavy 
oppression of Norman kings, when might alone was right, 
when troops of exiles sheltered in the forests, and the high 
roads were perilous, they remembered with sorrow the security 
which they had once enjoyed under Alfred's just rule ; and 
in alleviation of their misery, they portrayed in poetry the 
golden peace of the past, when the traveller might lose his 
purse, full of gold, upon the way, and find it again untouched 
at the end of a month on the same spot, and when golden 
bracelets were hung up at the cross-roads in confidence that 
no passer-by would remove them 1 . 

But at the close of the great conflict, it became evident that 
the Church, the guardian of the Christian faith, was not less 
unsettled than the secular affairs of the country. How could 
it be otherwise after heathenism had made so desperate an 
attack upon the Christian state ? Since the days of Augus- 
tine and Wilfrith, wealth in gold and silver had been accu- 
mulating in the cathedrals and convents of the island. Eager 
after spoil, the northern robbers had rushed into every sacred 
place, the sword in one hand and the torch in the other ; the 
few unwarlike inmates who remained to guard their precious 
treasures died like martyrs. As soon as the Danes had taken 
possession of the gold, they departed to the next consecrated 
place, leaving nothing behind them but naked walls, blackened 
by smoke, whilst many other costly things which they knew 
not how to value books on which the maintenance of civili- 
zation depended became a prey to the flames. The monks of 
St. Cuthbert were not the only ones who, with the bones of 
their saints and a few of the vessels appertaining to the 
Church, wandered without shelter about the country ; every 
establishment was involved in the universal destruction : the 
Church of the Anglo-Saxons was defenceless. Happy were 
those of her members who had escaped across the sea, and 
could await better days in a foreign land ! 

> Ingulph. p. 870. Wilh. Malmesb. lib. ii. 122. This seems to be the repe- 
tition of an old tradition which has been already told by Bede, ii. 16, of the happj 
reign of Edwy of Northumbria, and at a later period was related as occurring ill 
the times of Frothis the Dane and Kollo the Norman. Lappenberg, p. 335. 


Bat as in worldly affairs many things had shown marks of 
decay before the invasion of the Danes, so for a long time 
many errors had existed in the Church which hastened her 
ruin. It has been noticed before, how in the ninth century 
no great individual Church teacher had appeared, and how 
after the death of the learned Bede the study of the Scripture, 
and the progress of all knowledge leading thereto, had been 
constantly declining. When the work of conversion had 
been completed at home, the most able men of York and 
Canterbury turned their steps towards the Franks, and in 
their service w r ere most zealous in preaching the doctrines of 
the Cross to the brethren in Northern Germany. Meanwhile 
the English clergy led a quiet, indolent life, instead of study- 
ing with earnestness and diligence. When, after the warlike 
reigns of Offa and Egbert, the pious Ethelwulf began to rule, 
the Church, having only her own advantage in view, seems to 
have advanced her power so far as to be the true mistress of 
state. Now for the first time, as was so frequently the 
ase in subsequent ages, the Church of England, behind 
e shield of piety and Romish orthodoxy, fell into iin- 
-emly worldly corruption and indifference to all higher 
bjects, whilst she almost entirely relinquished her most 
oble employment, the education and improvement of the 
eople, and cast aside the arms with which she should have 

The destruction without, and the moral decay within, com- 
ined to direct Alfred's attention to the true cause of such an 
nhappy state of things. What peculiajMmpres^^ 
ave felt when he called to mind, ^how,Tn ms~earliest cnHd- 
.ood, he had seen the greatest splendour displayed by his 
ather before the supreme head of Christendom, and how, in 
lis youth, his eager desire for acquiring knowledge was un- 
atisfied, because the Church of his native land could not 
iroduce a single master to instruct him in Latin! In 
jrermanic England, as in every part of Europe converted by 
Rome to Christianity, learning and the study of books were 
matters entirely confined to the clergy, and as a rule, the free- 
jorn laity remained in ignorance of such occupations.^ Never- 
theless, Bede and his coadjutors had accomplished much, and 
3ven prepared the way for more ; but it seemed as if these 
itars had set too soon, and for ever. Alfred recalled those 


times with touching regret, when he wrote thus 1 : " I have 
very often thought what wise men there once were amongst 
the English people, both clergy and laymen, and what blessed 
times those were when the people were governed by kings 
who obeyed Grod and his Gospels, and how they maintained 
peace, morality, and authority at home, and even extended 
them beyond their own country; how they prospered in 
battle, as well as in wisdom ; and how zealous the clergy were 
in tettchinglmd learning, and in all their sacred duties ; and 
how people came hither from foreign countries to seek for 
instruction, and now, when we desire it, we can only obtain 
it from abroad. So entirely has knowledge escaped from the 
English people, that there are only a few on this side of tin.' 
Humber who can understand the divine service, or even ex- 
plain a Latin epistle in English ; and I believe, not manv on 
the other side of the Humber either. But they are so 'few. 
that indeed I cannot remember one, south of the Thames, 
when I began to reign." There were still traces of former 
greatness in the north. It was in Wessex, and in the country 
south of the Thames, that the greatest ignorance prevailed ; 
and at the beginning of the ninth century, in consequence of 
the Danish invasion, any seeds of a higher civilisation and 
education which had been casually sown, were threatened 
with annihilation. ,J?or a considerable time there had like- 
wise been great danger that the worship of Woden would bo 
revived in some of the ancient and abandoned sites,' Alfred 
now correctly perceived what was wanting. The Church ot 
his country needed reformation ; in order to secure her from 
ruin, that support of which she had been deprived ought again 
to be secured to her, and this support could only consist in 
the bestowing of a moral and intellectual basis. At that 
time there could be no question of a Reformation, according 
to our ideas of the word. In the west it was long before 
there was any diversity of opinion respecting dogmas. Koine 
had been the mother of the Church, and continued to be her 
central point; and it was Alfred's most earnest endeavour to 
cement yet more closely the hitherto uninterrupted alliance 

1 Alfred's Preface to his Translation of the Regula Pastoralis of Gregor. I. 
according to the MS. Hatton. 20, in the Bodlei'.n Library, r'intelin Parker't, an i 
in V 7 '.a?'s editions of Asser. 


between Rome and England ; for the chief seat of Christen- 
dom never failed to send forth vital power, as the heart 
impels blood into all parts of the body. 

The perilous effects of the ambition of Rome had frequently 
been felt in many continental countries. But she found it 
more difficult to extend her power in that distant island, 
where but little progress had been made by the Romish canons 
in opposition to the national elements, where the language of 
the country was still maintained in the services of the Church ; 
where, since the first century after the conversion to Chris- 
tianity, the clerical body had been entirely composed of na- 
tives, and where the strict edicts relative to celibacy were by 
no means rigidly observed. No Pope of the ninth century 
professed that absolute power in England which had long 
been exercised by Rome in other countries* Even a John 
VIII. appears to have had neither the leisure nor the wish, 
owing to his ceaseless efforts in Western and Eastern Europe, 
to occupy himself in the affairs of Britain. It was a fortu- 
nate circumstance for the Church of England that the inti- 
mate connexion between herself and Rome was the most 
zealously observed on her own side. Almost all the princes 
of Britain in regular succession visited St. Peter's, and their 
national seminary, the Saxon school, rose again from the 
flames, and formed a perpetual bond of union. 

It is much to be regretted that no Italian authorities are 
extant, which would give us more accurate information con- 
cerning the efficacy of that institution, and throw light on 
the subject of the relations between the two powers. There 
is no evidence in the present day to support the notion that 
the Saxon school was, in the reign of Alfred, a tool of the 
papistical pretension. The faithful zeal of his forefathers 
was no less active in Alfred, but he had no desire, when 
bowed down by the weight of his position, to lay aside for 
ever all earthly cares at the miracle-working graves of the 
saints, as Ina had done, nor did he give himself up to devo- 
tion, like his father Ethel vnilf, neglecting all things besides 
Yet the Pope was regarded by him also as the successor of 
the first of the apostles ; he reverenced the relics of the 
saints, and believed their legends to be true ; therefore, in 
the age in which he lived, he could not fail to be considered 
as a faithful Catholic Christian. Moreover, the deep imprea 


sions which in his earliest youth were made upon him 
in Rome were not extinguished, and as soon as he had 
established peace at home, he commenced a systematic 
intercourse with the head of Christendom. The following 
accounts are given on this subject. 

The Pope Martinus (882-884), soon after he ascended the 
papal throne, sent gifts to the Saxon king, amongst which 
was a piece of the holy cross ; whereupon, in 883, Alfred 
despatched two of his nobles, Sighelm 1 and Athelstan, to 
make a return for these presents, by carrying his and his 
people's offerings to the Church of Rome. These were per- 
haps the very ambassadors who bore to the Pope the urgent 
entreaty of their king, that out of love for him, the Saxon 
school might be freed from all tributes and taxes, and it is 
affirmed that the benevolent Prince of the Church readily 
acceded to this request. Ethelwulf enjoined its fulfilment on 
his successors ; this duty his sons now conscientiously dis- 
charged. But a still more weighty commission was entrusted 
to these two men. Rome was not the remotest part of the 
globe to which Alfred's labours in the cause of Christianity 
extended ; he carried them still further. At a time when the 
Pagans were in possession of London (it is uncertain whether 
in 880 or even later), Alfred made a vow 2 , that after their 
defeat and expulsion, he would send an embassy with rich 
gifts to the Christians of the far east, to the Churches in 
India, which were called by the names of the apostles 
Thomas and Bartholomew. If this had not been related by 
the contemporary Saxon Tear-books, there might be some 
reason to doubt the whole narration, and to pronounce it 
a fable. But as Charlemagne had sent proofs of his magni- 
ficence and renown to the Caliph of Bagdad, to places which 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 884 and 885; Asser, p. 484; Ethelwerd, iv. 516; Florence, i. 
99. The Chronicle is the most certain authority. It completely contradicts, 
with regard to Sighelm, the " Suithelmus episcopus," who, according to Florence, 
succeeded Asser at Sherborne in 883 (see Introduction, p. 5), and also the Bishop 
Sighelm, of Wilh. Malmesb. Gest. Pontif. Angl. ii. 248 (ed. Frankf. 1601.) The 
first name is not to be found in any of the genuine lists of the Bishops of Slier- 
borne ; the second, in the fourth place after Asser, Monumenta Hist. Brit. p. 560, 
n. (1 Sighelm was minister regis in the year 875. according to the documents IB 
Ccd. Dipl. n. 307. Both ambassadors were probably distinguished laymeii. 
Chron. Sax. A. 833, and Henric. Huntingd. v. 740. 


before had only existed in marvellous legends for the people 
of the west, so out of gratitude for his own deliverance, the 
most Christian king of his age desired to send messages of 
peace and friendly gifts to his brethren in the faith at the other 
extremity of the world. According to his own belief, and 
that of his contemporaries, the Apostle Thomas himself had 
once preached the gospel in India, and the Church established 
by him still existed, although environed and oppressed by 
heathens of all nations. An obscure account of the spread 
of their doctrines has been preserved from the earliest times 
by the western Christians 1 , and confirms our present know- 
ledge that the Mahometans, on their first arrival in the east, 
found there various Christian sects. But it is enough for us 
that Alfred's messengers journeyed from Rome into that re- 
mote country ; they returned, and, " Glod be thanked," says 
the Chronicle, " they had been graciously enabled to fulfil the 
vow." They brought home perfumes and precious stones, as 
memorials of this wonderful journey, which were long pre- 
served in the churches 2 . This was the first intercourse that 
took place between England and Hindostan. In the year 
887, Athelhelm, Ealdermaii of Wilts, who has been before 
mentioned, carried to Home the tributes and gifts of his 
sovereign and of the Saxon people 3 . In the following year, 
Beocca, also an ealderman, had a similar commission. He 
took charge of Ethelswitha, the widowed sister of Alfred, and 
last Queen of Mercia, who appears to have left her brother's 
court in order to proceed to Eome, and end her life in some 
holy place there ; but the fatigues of the lengthened pil- 
grimage were too much for the feeble woman, who had long 
been bowed down by sorrow ; before she reached Rome she 
died, at Padua, in 888*. In the next year no formal embassy 
went to Italy ; only two couriers 5 were despatched with letters 

1 There is an Anglo-Saxon Vita Sti Thomae, in prose, in MS Cott. Calig. A. 
xiv., where, in the poem relating to him, the apostle is represented as being sent on 
a similar embassy with Andrew. 

2 Wilh. Malmesb. de Gest. Pontif. Angl. 1. c., and de Reg. Angl. lib. ii. 122 j 
Matth. Westm. p. 333. 

3 Chron. Sax. Asser, Florence. 

Chron. Sax. 888; Ethelwerd, iv. 517; Flor. i. 108. 
* Twegen hleaperas. Chron. Sax. A. 889. 


from Alfred. In 890, Bernhelm, an abbot 1 , \vas charged with 
the deliverance of the customary alms in the name of his king. 
It is evident from all the accounts which we possess, that this 
\vas done annually. No mention is made of a regular tithe ; 
the tribute was voluntarily given, to obtain those advantages 
which the king and his subjects might derive from Eome. It 
is a remarkable and significant fact, that amongst the am- 
bassadors to the Pope, only one, the last, appears to have been 
invested with ecclesiastical dignity; the king usually entrusted 
valuable and important commissions solely to his most con- 
fidential officers. 

Two accounts may be mentioned here in reference to the in- 
tercourse with foreign countries, which was commenced or con- 
tinued by Alfred, in ecclesiastical and religious aifairs. Owing 
to their brevity and imperfect condition, they unfortunately 
give us only a vague idea of that remote period ; but even 
with these disadvantages they are invaluable, because they 
are confirmed by contemporary authorities. Asser 2 mentions 
that he read the letters and saw the presents which were 
sent to his king by Abel, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. It 
appears by no means improbable that Sighelm and Athelstan., 
when they went to India, or on their return from thence, 
also visited, by Alfred's command, the land of promise and 
revelation ; that they were gladly received by the patriarch, 
and dismissed to the far western island with a letter and 
with gifts to their king. This account is of importance in 
the history of the Church at Jerusalem, so little known 
before the commencement of the Crusades, as one of the rare 
traces of any intercourse betw r een the Christian land of the 
west and the cradle of its faith. 

The other notice relates to a neighbouring island, to Ire- 
land, which had so gloriously distinguished itself at the first 
promulgation of Christianity, but w^hich was now more en- 
tirely excluded from its history than Jerusalem ; for the 
Celtic Church, after the separation of a century, would not 
again succumb to the doctrines nor the increasingly powerful 

1 Beornhelm abbad. Cliron. Sax. A. 890. 

2 P. 492: Nam etiam cle Hierosolyma Abel patriarchae epistolas et dona illi 
directas vidimus et logimus. Simeon Dunelm. copies from him ; de Gteet. Reg 
Angl. p C84. 


ascendency of Borne. At a time when Alfred, in unison with 
excellent fellow-labourers, was vigorously occupied in re- 
establishing his Church, and when his renown had traversed 
the sea, there suddenly appeared, in the year 891, on the 
coast of Cornwall, three Scotchmen, Dubslane, Macbeth, and 
Maclinmun. They had secretly left their country ; the Chris- 
tian faith was grievously on the decline there, and Swifneh 
(Subin 1 ), the best teacher that had ever appeared amongst 
the Scots, was dead ; from love to Grod they determined to go 
on a pilgrimage, they cared little whither. In a frail boat, 
patched together out of the hides of oxen, and provided with 
food for a week, they trusted themselves to a stormy sea, 
and did not land until the expiration of seven days. As soon 
as they left their miserable bark, they hastened to the King 
of the "West Saxons, who undoubtedly received these Celtic 
sufferers with kindness, and when they laid before him their 
wish to continue their pilgrimage to Borne and to Jerusalem, 
he granted them his protection and assistance in their under- 
taking. Only one of them returned home ; he perhaps was 
the bearer of Abel's letter 3 . 

The limited knowledge which we can gain from the few 
records of Alfred's intercourse with Eome and the rest of 
Christendom, increases our desire of becoming acquainted 
with those means by which, in a short period, he so raised the 
Church of his country from its state of total decay, as to gain 
for her and for himself a noble position in Europe. But no 
connected account of his proceedings Has reached us, and we 
must endeavour to gather the wished-for information from in- 
cidental details. The history of all the "West Saxon dioceses 
during this period is very obscure, yet from subsequent 
events it seems probable that the sees remained substantially 
the same, and only towards the west, where the German in- 
fluence had still to advance, was there any progress made. 
The Saxon and Anglian bishoprics were all subordinate to tho 
primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury. But the guidance 
of the chief pastor had become weak and inefficient ; fol 
during the assaults of the heathen, neither shepherd not 

1 Vide Annales Cambriae and Brut, y Tywysogion in Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 
836, 846. 

2 According to the Chron. Sax. A. 891, and Florent. Wig. i. 109. Ethehverd iv 
517, only mentions the pilgrimage to Rome aud the promised land, and its results 


flock had thought of anything but saving their own im- 
mediate possessions ; and owing to this confusion, no council 
seems to have been held. The entire structure, weakened by 
age, threatened to fall beneath the storms which surrounded 
it, unless some skilful master-workman should appear, and 
repair it from its foundation. This then, as soon as he could 
attain peace and leisure, was Alfred's most peculiar care. 
"We have already learnt from himself where the great de- 
ficiency lay, which had caused such a lamentable state of 
things ; and those men whom the king selected to be his 
fellow-workers, were obliged to prepare themselves in the 
most effectual manner for this remedial task. That he chose 
four native Mercians for his first counsellors and assistants, 
is a remarkable confirmation of his own assertion, that some 
sparks of improvement and cultivation .still lingered north of 
the Thames. 

The zeal of Werfrith of "Worcester in the government of 
his diocese has already been noticed ; Alfred appears to have 
summoned him frequently into Wessex, to advance and 
discuss matters of general interest ; two years before the 
king's death, Werfrith took part in an assembly at Celchyth 1 . 
He survived his king, and died about the middle of the reign 
of Edward, leaving behind him worthy memorials of his active 
exertions. The second notable Mercian was Plegmund, 
whom Alfred made primate at the death of Archbishop 
Athelred, in S90 2 . A later account states, that when the 
Danes took possession of his country, he fled from them into 
a lonely island in Cheshire, and lived there as a hermit, oc- 
cupied in peaceful labours, until the King of Wessex made 
him the highest dignitary of his Church 3 . This eminent man 
had even more intimate access to Alfred than Werfrith ; he 
straightway became his instructor in many matters 4 : that 
great undertaking, the advancement of the clergy and of the 
people to a higher degree of education, was doubtlessly 
placed under his superintendence. During Alfred's life, he 
had few opportunities of appearing in his position as a Prince 
of the Church, but under Edward he again took his place as 
a worthy successor of the former Archbishops of Canterbury ; 

1 Cod. Diplom. n. 1 074. 2 Asser, p. 487. 

3 Gervasius Dorobern. Acta Pontif. Cant. Twysden X. Scriptt. 1644. 

4 Pleimundus magister Elfredi regis. Wilh. Malmesb. de Gest. Pont. Augl. i, 20Qi 


in one day lie consecrated seven bishops ; and in 903 he 
made a solemn journey to Borne in his official capacity. His 
death occurred in the year 923 1 . 

Ethelstan and Werewulf, also natives of Mercia, obeyed a 
summons into Wessex, where they acted as priests and chap- 
lains in the immediate service of the king. There is no 
further information concerning them 3 . In Wessex itselt 
Alfred found no individual fitted for his purpose, with the 
single exception of Denewulf, that child of nature, with whom, 
if tradition is to be believed, he became acquainted in so sin- 
gular a manner in the wilds of Somersetshire. It is, however 
historically certain, that on the death of Dunbert, in 879, 
Denewulf became Bishop of Winchester, and that he too lent 
vigorous assistance to the general work, and governed in his 
diocese until the beginning of Edward's reign 3 . The remain- 
ing bishops whose names are known, were Swithulf of Roches- 
ter, Ealheard of Dorchester, Wulfsig of Sherborne, Eahstan 
of London 4 , and a Bishop Esne, whose see is not mentioned 6 . 

But the island did not possess sufficient internal resources to 
establish so great a work as that which Alfred had in contem- 
plation. He himself exclaimed sorrowfully, that learning 
must now be sought for out of the country ; and accordingly 
he sent messengers into Franconia, where, in the German 
and Romish provinces, many monasteries had become distin- 
guished for the diligent study carried on within them, under 
the direction of efficient men. Amongst them he hoped to 
obtain a teacher for his establishments. He was successful 
in finding one in the priest and monk Grimbald, who was a 
most excellent singer, particularly skilful in ecclesiastical 
discipline, and adorned with every good qualification 6 . In 
all probability, he was a brother in the Flemish convent 
of St. Omer, and having gained the permission of his supe- 
riors, especially of the Archbishop Fulco of Rheims, he 
readily agreed to go to Wessex. The account is much less 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 923. 2 Asser, p. 87. 

3 Florent. Wigorn, edited by Thorpe, i. 97. Cod. Diplom. n. 1085-1087. 

Chron. Sax. A. 897-898. 

5 Aelfr. Testam. ap, Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 314. 

6 Venerabilem videlicet virum, cantatorem optimum et omni moao ecclesiasticis 
disciplinis et in divina scriptura eruditissimum et omnibus bonis moribus ornatnm 
Asser, a. a. 0. 


certain that Grimbald was already provost of that convent 
when Alfred made a pilgrimage to Home with his father ; at 
that time he received his distinguished guests with much 
kindness, and by his merit made a lasting impression on the 
mind of the king's son, whose old and favourite wish was at 
length gratified, when, at his entreaty, the abbot and the 
brothers of St. Omer permitted their provost to depart for 
England 1 . Alfred likewise obtained a German monk, a man 
of acute intellect, John, the old Saxon, probably from the 
monastery of Corbei 3 . He and the Fleming were accom- 
panied by a number of priests, to assist them in arranging 
new convents, and in imparting instruction. The similarity 
of name, and perhaps an expression of Asser's, gave rise, at 
a former period, to the Saxon being confounded with the cele- 
brated John Erigena, the father of the Realists ; and this 
confusion has caused historians to mistake one for the other, 
or even to represent both of them as residing at the same 
time in Alfred's court ; but there is no sufficient evidence 
of the presence of the Irishman in England then ; his history 
is connected with the person and court of Charles the Bald, 
and of the Archbishop Hincmar 3 . Grimbald and John were 
Alfred's mass priests, and in full activity at the completion 
of his translation of Gregory's " Pastoral Care," as he men- 
tions them with high praise in the preface, composed after 
the year 890. 

At length Alfred obtained the services of that man whose 
narration, as far as possible, we have hitherto followed. The 
only account we have of Asser is given by himself, and as 
he describes his first meeting with Alfred very minutely, it 
may not be deemed undesirable to give his own words, in 
which many interesting details of the king's character are 
contained. " About this time" (he writes of the year 884) 

1 Mabillon, Acta Sanct. Ord. Bened. Sec. IV. ii. oil; Willi. Malmesb. lib. ii. 
122. It is difficult to believe in the authenticity of Archbishop Fulco's letter to 
Alfred, given in Wise's Asser, p. 123-129, from a MS. in Winchester. The rest 
is to be fonnd in a Cottoniun manuscript extracted in the Monasticon Anglicanum, 
ii. 435, new edition. 

* Asser, p. 487, 493 ; Mabillon, ii. 509. 

3 Asser calls his John " acerrimi ingenii virnm," and thus Ingulph. p. 470, and 
Malmesb. ii. 122, easily confound him with the Dialectician. The account 
of the attack is very similar in Asser and Malmesbury. 


t( I came into Saxony from the extreme limits of Western 
Britain, summoned by the king. After I had set out, I 
arrived, through many wide-intervening ways, in the country 
of the South Saxons, which is called in Saxon, Suthseaxe 
(Sussex), guided by some of that nation. There I first saw 
him in the royal vill called Dene 1 . After being kindly re- 
ceived by him, in the course of conversation, he urgently 
entreated me to devote myself to his service, to give myself 
wholly up to him, and for his love to relinquish all my pos- 
sessions on the other side of the Severn ; he promised to 
compensate me richly, as he actually did. However, I answered 
that I could not immediately consent without consideration, 
whilst it did not seem to me right to forsake those holy 
places in which I had been brought up, educated, and conse- 
crated, for the sake of earthly honour and power, unless I 
were compelled to do so. Upon this he said : ' If you cannot 
venture so far, at least grant me the half of your service - 
live six months with me, and the same time in 'Wales.' But 
I replied that I could not directly promise even this without 
the approbation of my friends. But when I perceived how 
much he seemed to desire my service (although I could not 
tell why), I agreed to return to him at the end of six months, 
if I continued well, with such an answer as should be ad- 
vantageous to me and mine, and agreeable to him. He de- 
clared that he was satisfied with this, and when I had given 
my word to be with him again at the appointed time, we left 
him on the fourth day and rode homewards. But soon after 
we had parted from him, a dreadful fever attacked me at 
Winchester, where, for more than a year, I hovered day and 
night between life and death. I could not, therefore, go to 
him as I had promised at the time fixed, and he sent mes- 
sengers to hasten my journey and inquire the reasons for my 
delay. As I was unable to go, I sent another messenger to 
inform him of the cause, and to assure him that as soon as I 
recovered I would fulfil my promise. When the sickness 
left me, all my friends agreed to my promise for the sake of 
benefiting our sanctuary and all its inmates, and I devoted 
myself to the king's service, stipulating that I should tarry 
with him six months in every year, either six consecutively, 
or alternately three in Wales and three in Saxony, so that 

1 There is a West and an East Dean near Chichester. 


this condition was in this respect also serviceable to the 
Cathedral of St. David 1 ." 

According to this, Asser was by birth a Welshman, and 
had been brought up and ordained a monk in the monastery of 
St. David, which at that time suffered much from the violence 
of King Hemeid, who once drove out all the inmates of the 
convent, with the Archbishop Novis, a relation of Asser, and 
Asser himself. Thus, when Asser was allowed to have 
friendly intercourse with the mighty Saxon king, he could 
not do otherwise than turn it to the profit of his monastery 
and his native land. He continues : " When I returned to 
him at the royal vill called Leonaford, I was honourably 
received by him, and remained with him six months from that 
time at his court," busily occupied in various matters, and 
munificently rewarded, as will be seen hereafter. 

These were the same men whom, in the years immediately 
succeeding the deliverance of the country, Alfred placed in 
supreme authority over all affairs relating to churches and 
schools : they appear to have acted in the most beautiful 
mutual harmony. The archbishop and the two bishops, it 
may be presumed, took charge of the Church in their own 
dioceses ; to the foreigners their proper duties were assigned. 
Scarcely one convent in Wessex could have survived the 
years of war ; the regulations had in every place become lax, 
either on account of the attacks of the Danes, or because 
the people could not resolve to exchange the abundance of 
worldly riches for a needy conventual life. Besides, it ap- 
pears that in earlier times the Saxons were much less favour- 
ably disposed towards monastic establishments than their 
English neighbours 3 , for before the reign of Alfred very 
little notice is to be found of any ecclesiastical foundation of 
the kind. But the earnest, indefatigable king had long 
known that all instruction and improvement in knowledge 

1 Asser, p. 487-488. The latter sentence is merely guessed at, the original is 
perfectly unintelligible: " Et ilia (conditione ?) adjuvaretur per rudimenta Sancta 
Degni, in omni causa, tamen pro viribus." The name of the church is also muti- 
lated. But the account is entirely characteristic of Asser, Who, to carry on a 
fraud in his name, would take the trouble to add to " ad regionem dextralium 
Saxonum," " quae Saxonice Suthseaxum appellatur?" No one but Asser, the 
Monk of St. David, wrote thus. 

2 Quia per multa retroacta annorum curricula monasticae vitae desiderium ab 
iila tota gente, nee non et a multis aliis gentibus funditis desierat. Asser, p. 493 


were cherished in them. He promoted with the greatest 
zeal the restoration of old monasteries, and the erection of 
new ones. The superintendence of them was undertaken 
by learned monks from abroad, and those priests and friars 
whom they directed, formed the body of those congregations 
in which the children of the land were to be brought up.' 
The establishments prospered, and were followed by schools, 
in which instruction was given in reading and writing, in the 
mother tongue and in Latin, and above all, in the books and 
doctrines of the Christian religion. 

The following accounts relate to these foundations of the 
king, and the men by whom their offices were held. At 
Winchester, latterly the chief city of the Anglo-Saxon king- 
dom, the new monastery (Newminster, Hyde Abbey) was 
founded, and Grrimbald was appointed abbot of the same 1 . 
Alfred could not complete this establishment in his lifetime, 
having planned it on a much larger scale than any other. 
His son finished it, in memory of his father, by whom it had 
been commenced, and in the former part of the following 
century it attained great importance. From gratitude to- 
wards Grod, and in remembrance of his deliverance from great 
danger, Alfred caused a convent for monks to be built upon 
Athelney,, where he had once been obliged to make a strong- 
hold, with a few faithful adherents, although there were many 
difficulties arising from the thickets and marshes, which ren- 
dered the island almost inaccessible. John, the old Saxon, 
was placed there as abbot, with a small number of Prankish 
monks, who resolved to dwell together in the desert, devoted 
to the service of Grod and the instruction of themselves and 
others 2 . 

Even amongst the children who went thither to be taught 
and educated for priests and monks, there were a great 
many foreigners ; Asser himself had seen a youth of hea- 
then, perhaps of Danish birth, who afterwards adopted the 
monastic habit 3 . The universal dislike of the Saxons for 

1 Wilh. Malmesb. lib. ii. 122 ; Ingulph. p. 870 ; Monastic. Anglic, n. 437, ff. 

2 Wilh. Malmesb. Gest. Pontif. Angl. ii. 255, says of the monks in Athelney, in 
the twelfth century: " Sunt pauci numero et pauperes, sed qui egestatem suam 
quietis et solitudinis amore vel magni pendant vel consolentur." 

3 Unum paganicae gentis, juvenem admodura vidimus, non ultimuz: scilicet 
eorum, p. 490. 


monachism, but more particularly the seclusion of Athelncy, 
prevented this place from ever attaining great prosperity. 
Perhaps, too, the wicked attack which was made upon the 
life of John the Abbot, which Asser has so copiously detailed 
from the account of an eye-witness 1 , might have been another 
cause of its unpopularity. A certain number of the Frankish 
monks had conspired against their superior ; two of them, 
armed, crept after him into the church, when he retired there 
at night to pray alone, insidiously intending to murder him. 
But he heard the sound made by the first movement of the 
murderers, and not being ignorant of the use of arms, the 
powerful Saxon defended himself until the brothers came to 
his assistance. Although severely wounded, he escaped with 
his life, and the villains were afterwards justly punished. So 
scandalous an event was sufficient to damage the good cause 
seriously, and indeed it gave a severe check to the esta- 
blishment of foreign priests in English cloisters. 

Nevertheless Asser, the scholar of St. David's, was called 
upon to exert himself in the organization of monasteries and 
their schools. We will return to his own words on this 
topic: at the expiration of the eight months, he says, 
" After I had frequently asked his (the king's) permission 
to depart, which permission, however, I could not obtain, 
and had at length resolved to demand it, he sent for me on 
Christmas eve 2 , and delivered to me two letters, which con- 
tained lists of the possessions of two monasteries, called in 
Saxon Amgresbyri 3 and Banwille. These two convents he 
gave to me from that day, with all appertaining to them, and 
with them a costly silk pallium and a man's load of incense, 
with words to this effect: he did not give me so little 
now because he was unwilling to give me still more at a 
future time. And on a later occasion, and quite unex- 
pectedly, he conferred upon me Exeter, with all the parishes 
belonging to it in "Wessex and Cornwall. And then I re- 
ceived permission to make a journey to these convents, which 
were richly endowed with valuable estates, and from thence, 
homeward 4 ." 

"We cannot venture to judge from this that Asser was 

1 Ut audivimus de eo a quibusdam referentibus. 2 Probably, in 886. 

Called in one MS. Cungresbury, a place near Banweli, in Somerset. 
A*er, ?. 488, 489. 


so munificently rewarded merely on account of his learned 
services as the king's teacher, he also took an important 
part in the practical exercise of his teachings, and from his 

Eromotion to the office of abbot, and even bishop, he was 
nked for ever to Alfred and his country. 
It is certain that he became a bishop, but the time when this 
took place, as well as the diocese in which he was established, 
is less clear. It is mentioned by our authorities in the fol- 
lowing manner : The king's own expression, in his Preface 
to the " Pastoral Care," is indisputable: he there alludes to 
nis Bishop Asser 1 , with whose assistance ha completed the 
translation of the book. Besides, a number of documents 
from the year 901 to 909 were signed by Bishop Asser, 
giving no clue, unfortunately, to his diocese 2 ; at last, in the 
collected manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Year-books, we 
find that Asser, Bishop of Sherborne, died in the year 910. 
According to this, the old "West Saxon bishopric was con- 
ferred upon him by his king ; but elsewhere, until the begin- 
ning of the tenth century, we meet with Bishop Wulfsige 
of Sherborne, who, as well as Asser, might have been included 
amongst the unmentioned bishops in Alfred's will 3 . Nothing 
remains then but to take it for granted, that after the death 
of Alfred, in the first year of Edward I., Asser succeeded to 
the diocese, and thereupon took up his final residence in 
Wessex. His own account by no means contradicts this, in 
which he asserts that Alfred gave him Exeter, with a paro- 
chial district (he expressly says, not diocese) in Cornwall 
and Wessex. He here presided over districts for which, as a 
Briton, he was peculiarly adapted, and over those Saxon 
parishes which, only lately arranged, passed over with their 
bishop to Sherborne, after the death of Wulfsige 4 . The 
certainty that Exeter was first raised to a bishopric under 
Edward the Confessor, cannot be affected by this view of the 
matter ; the loose political connexion of the state with the 

1 JEt Assere minuin biscepe. 

2 Kefnble, Cod. Diplom. No. 335, 337, 1076, 1077, 1082, 1085, 1087. 

3 Dam (bisceope) set Scireburnam ; in the Lai in text, et Assero de Shireburn. 

4 I entirely agree here with the reasons given by Lingard, History and 
Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ii. 420, 428, ed. ii., for differing rntk 
Wright. Biogr. Brit. Lit. p. 405, ff. 


Celtic subjects by no means admitted of unity in Church 
government, although the endeavour to restore such union 
had not ceased. Thus it is quite clear, that in addition to 
his labours in the court, Asser took an active part in the 
management of churches and monasteries. But there is still 
something to be added to the history of the latter. Unques- 
tionably, women feel much more inclination than men to re- 
nounce the world, and take upon them monastic vows. For 
a long period nunneries had already existed in Wessex, like 
that at Wareham, on the south coast. Two new ones were 
now established, which were in existence until their final 
abolishment, at the time of the Reformation. At Shaftesbury, 
in Dorset, " at the south gate," Alfred founded a house for 
nuns, perhaps in the year 887 ; and having endowed it, as well 
as the convent at "Winchester, with rich benefices, he placed 
his second daughter Ethelgiva in it as abbess, and many noble 
ladies entered with her. The king's daughter, whose health 
was infirm (she was probably deformed or lame), had chosen 
this mode of life in a believing spirit, and was consecrated to 
the Church in her early youth 1 : and Alfred's wife, Elswitha, 
for her soul's salvation, dedicated a nunnery to the Virgin 
Mary at "Winchester, where she might retreat after the death 
of her husband, and end her days 2 . Ethelred and Ethelfleda 
manifested equal zeal in Mercia; they founded the monas- 
tery of St. Peter at Gloucester, endowed it with costly gifts, 
and placed there the relics of the holy King Oswald 3 . 

After having thus collected the historical facts, a glance 
must be given to the high moral purpose which our Alfred 
kept constantly in view in all those appointments and regu- 
lations, and which we have placed above all others in treating 
this subject. His clergy were once more raised from their 
degraded condition, and by means of instruction and know- 
ledge a new and better life was infused into the Church. But 

1 Besides, Asser, p. 485, 495, the document of the establishment, Eegistrum 
de Shaftesbury. Kemhle, n. 310, where it is said; "And mine dochte Angelyne 
for panne He was on broken ihadod;" this is signed by Apered Arcebisceop as 
witness. Florence and Simeon mention the foundation in the year 887; v 
llonast. Anglic, ii. 471, if. 

2 Monast. Anglic, ii. 451, from the remaining annals of the establishment 
Wilh. Malmesb. de Gest. Pontif. iv. 283, 


he likevrise desired that the rest of the people might have a 
share in instruction, that his whole kingdom might advance 
in civilisation and morality. That was the extensive sphere 
of action to which he appointed men like Asser and Plegmund. 
"With such an object he did not scruple to introduce these 
foreigners. In the churches and convent schools their labours 
commenced, sometimes under the most unfavourable circum- 
stances ; but their results became evident in the next ten 
years, when under Alfred's immediate successor the West 
Saxon clergy took a much higher position in education than 
they had ever done before. 

But in the present day nothing increases our pleasure more 
than when we read that Alfred acted with the same noble 
spirit, and in conjunction with his coadjutors, for the mental 
advantage of the laity. The king's own words, in his cele- 
brated preface, most clearly confirm this. Hisjwish is, " that 
all the freeborn youth of his people, who possess the means, | 
may persevere in learning, so long as they have no other affairs 1 
to prosecute, until they can perfectly read the English Scrip- 
tures, and such as desire to devote themselves to the service) 
of the Church may be taught Latin 1 ." Golden words, sucn 
as have been seldom uttered, by a great man of the middle 
ages ; and only in much later days, with equal force by the 
Reformers of the Church. As the most beautiful fulfilment 
and realisation of this wish, Asser relates in what manner the 
king commenced the work in his own family. He gave his 
children that complete education, 'the want of which he 
so painfully felt in his own case. His youngest son Ethel- 
werd, who in particular showed great talent for intellectual 
pursuits, was entrusted to the care of experienced teachers, 
with almost all the children of the nobility, and many who 
were not noble. The sons of the members of the royal house- 
hold, whom he loved no less than his own, he caused to be 
taught with great care, and was himself very, frequently pre- 
sent during their instruction. In this school 2 they eagerly 

1 Daet eall sio giogiv$ $e nH is on angelcynne friora monna fiara fte $a spccUi 
haebben, ^set hie dasm befeolan mzegen tden to liornunga oiSfaeste, fta hwile 'So 
hie to nanre ofterre note ne maegen (>"$ ftone first "Se hie wel cunnen englisc gewrit 
araedan. laere mon siSSan fui"5ur on laeden geftiodefla Se mon fur'Sor laeran wille. 
and to hieran hade don wille. MS. Hatton. 20. 

2 Asser, p. 485 : Cum omnibus pene totius regionis nobilibus infantibus, .el 


learnt to read, and even to write Latin and Saxon , so that 
before they were old enough to take part in hunting and other 
manly exercises, such as are suitable and honourable for noble- 
men, they were fully instructed in the liberal arts. Edward, 
his eldest son, and Ethelswitha, his daughter, always rejnained 
at court, under the charge of their attendants and nurses, and 
were highly esteemed by every one, natives and foreigners, 
on account of their affability and gentleness, and subjection to 
their father, " in which," Asser writes, " they continue to this 
day. Besides their other employments, they also pursue in 
their leisure hours the study of the liberal sciences; they 
have learned the Psalms, Saxon books, especially Saxoii 
moems, and they read very frequently." 

/I A regular establishment was also formed in Alfred's court, 
where, in the constant occupation of teaching and learning, 

/great blessings accrued to his family and subjects. Even 
tKbse who were destined to rule in future, and who, in ac- 
cordance with the customs of the age, were more disposed to 
cultivate their bodily than their mental powers, participated 
to a certain extent in the instruction, and became in parti- 
cular well acquainted with the poetry of their native land. 
With touching envy the untaught old looked upon the more 
fortunate young ; and those judges and officers who had been 
so severely censured by the king for their ignorance, and who 
found learning to read too difficult a task, caused their sons 
and relations, or their freedmen or servants, who had been 

; taught at school, to read night and day from books, and to re- 
cite their contents ; whilst they themselves lamented heartily 
their own neglected childhood, and extolled the superior ad- 
vantages of the youth of the present times 1 . 

\Vliat pure happiness must have been felt by the great 
king, when he witnessed such progress amongst his own chil- 
dren, and the larger portion of his youthful subjects ! How 
vast was the improvement now in the country south of the 
Thames, compared with its state in the comfortless period 
when he began to reign ! 

etiam multis ignobilibus, sub diligent! magistrorum cura traditus est, in qua sclioln, 
etc. ; p. 486 : et literis imbuere solus die noctuque inter caetera non desinebat. 

1 Suspirantes nimium intima mente dolebant, eo quod in juventute sua talibus 
studiis non studuerint, Nices arbitrages hujus temporis juvenes, etc. Asser, y 
497 (in conclusion). 



The idea of attributing the establishment of a university 
to Alfred, of whom so many incorrect assertions have been 
made, could only have originated with persons totally unac- 
customed to critical reflection, and living at a much later 
date, and in an age of mere pretension to learning. A visit 
which Queen Elizabeth paid to the University of Cambridge, 
in the year 1564, gave occasion to an inventive orator to 
boast of the superior antiquity of this institution to that of 
Oxford, in a clever Latin oration. Upon this there ensued, 
between the two seats of scholastic wisdom in England, a 
dispute which was carried on through many decennia with 
the greatest obstinacy. The most absurd arguments were 
used on both sides, in order to establish the dates of their 
respective establishments, and to bring them as near as pos- 
sible to the arrival of the Saxons, the development of 
Christianity amongst the Britons, and even to the Deluge. 
An edition of Asser, which was compiled in 1603, from a pre- 
pared manuscript in the possession of the celebrated historian 
Camden, aimed to destroy the proofs brought forward by the 
learned men of Cambridge. In this book is to be found a 
detailed account of the serious discord which arose in 886 
at Oxford, between Grimbald and the old scholars whom he 
had found there on his arrival, and who refused to conform 
to his new foreign regulations. This strife had lasted for 
three years, when Alfred himself went to Oxford to appease 
it. The adversaries of Grimbald had represented to him, 
and endeavoured to prove from ancient annals, that although 
their institution had certainly lost somewhat of its importance 
owing to the oppressions of later days, it had flourished for 
centuries by means of its acts and institutes ; and that Gildas, 
Melldnus, Nennius, Kentigern, and others, had there studied 
pious literature, and that even Saint Germanus had remained 
there for half a year. Alfred succeeded in pacifying the quarrel, 
and Grimbald indignantly returned to his monastery at "Win- 
chester 1 . So far this genuine Oxford invention, in which we 
perceive not only the endeavour to nullify the assertion of its 

The well-known paragraph in Asser, p. 489, 490. Turner, History of th> 
Anglo-Saxons, book v. chap. vi. n. 42. 



opponents, but also that spirit so characteristic of the j. lace in 
all ages, the propensity to decry everything foreign. 

But Archbishop Parker, the well-known scholar and be- 
nefactor of Cambridge, had already, in 1574, caused the 
first edition of Asser to be printed, in which this suspicious 
narration was not to be found. No other manuscript of the 
Biography, not even the oldest, which was then still uninjured, 
contained a trace of it. "Whether Cam den allowed himself 
to be misled by so manifest an invention, is doubtful. No- 
thing but an infatuated desire of supporting ridiculous asser- 
tions could have so far carried away the Oxford scholars, as 
to make them perpetuate such a fallacy. 

Having once accepted fabulous evidence, it was an easy 
step to bring to the assistance of their theory confirmations 
from sources familiar to the people, namely, the Legends of 
the Saints. Not only was Grrimbald asserted to have been 
professor at Oxford, in the days of Alfred, but St. Neot, that 
pretended kinsman and pious admonisher of the afflicted 
king, was likewise made to contribute in an especial manner, 
by his counsels, to the foundation of schools in Oxford 1 . 

I have purposely hesitated about bringing so purely my- 
thical a personage into the narration of Alfred's life, but on 
some accounts he deserves to be briefly noticed. 

There are several Biographies of St. Neot, some in Latin, 
one (MS. Cotton, Vespasian D. xiv.) in very good Saxon. 
The original manuscript must have belonged to the tenth 
century, when Alfred's deeds and experiences, which are 
there mentioned, had already been formed into traditions by 
the islanders. The saint is of course the principal person, 
but as the great king, who had been dead for more than the 
age of man, was his contemporary and relation, he was also 
drawn into the circle of tradition. 

The saint is called " Neotus, qui erat cognatus suus," in a 
suspicious article in the false Annals of Asser, omitted in the 
Vita. Several manuscripts of legends do not hesitate to call 
him a son of Ethelwulf, and consequently Alfred's brother. 

I do not wish to deny that Alfred in his earlier years may 
have been connected with this saint, who lived in the south- 
west of England, and unquestionably flourished about the 

1 J. Brompton, Cbronicon ap. Twysden, X. Scnptt. p. 814. 


middle of the ninth century, and that he may have taken advice 
from him, and generally held him in high estimation 1 . It is 
also probable that St. Neot, the day of whose death is noticed 
in the calendar on the 31st July, was already dead in the year 
877, when, according to the legend, he appeared to the king 
in a dream at Athelney. In all the authorities adduced, the 
assertion, that the closest blood-relationship existed between 
the two, rests on a very slight foundation, and it can scarcely 
be credited that, in modern times, a man who has gained for 
himself much merit as an English historian, can go even 
further than the monks of the tenth and eleventh centuries 
in identifying this saint with Alfred's half-brother, Athelstan, 
King of Kent, of whom nothing is known after the year 851. 

John "Whitaker, in his book, which appeared in 1809 2 , 
zealously endeavours to support this opinion. According to 
him, the King of Kent, after bravely fighting against the 
Danes, and being unable to save his country, renounced the 
glories and sufferings of the world, became a monk, and in 
this character diligently studied the Scriptures in solitude, 
and occupied himself zealously with pious devotions. 

A conjecture like this, which selects the highest and beet 
individuals, and blends them one with another at its own dis- 
cretion, cannot be of much value, and it was very easy to 
refute such arbitrary decisions by a somewhat more profound 
comparison of the Legend of St. Neot with general history 3 . 
Nevertheless, we find in the notorious " Tracts for the 
Times," by means of which the later movements from Oxford 
to Rome have been facilitated, a popular Life of St. Neot, 
composed by a very skilful hand, in which a romantic account 
is given of the transformation of King Athelstan into a saint, 
on the battle-field upon the sea-shore, amongst the corpses of 
the slaughtered Danes. It is sad that tales of such late 

1 Ingulph. p. 870, says: Rex Alfredus sanctorum pedibus acclivis et subditus 
S. Neotum in summa veneratione habebat. 

2 The Life of St. Neot, p. 69-87. 

2 This was first done by Turner, History of the Anglo-Saxons, book v. chap. V M 
and in a book by Gorham, the History and Antiquities of Eynesbury and St. 
Neot's, in Huntingdonshire, ii. 1820-1824, which treats circumstantially of tiie 
saint, and the later reverence paid to him, and in which also the Saxon Vita is 
printed. Amongst other things, Gorham ref rs to the absurd assertions of the 
Oxford professor, i. 41-43. 

if 2 


origin should be diffused intentionally amongst the people, 
with a view to their religious instruction. 

Those early ages were prolific in romantic fictions, founded 
in some degree on fact. By way of contrast to the foregoing, 
I will here add an anecdote connected with Alfred, for which 
I could find no other place in the book. 

John of Tynemouth, a collector of anecdotes in the four- 
teenth century, who likewise wrote a Life of St. Neot, relates 
the following poetical incident 1 : 

One day, when Alfred was hunting in the forest, he heard 
the cry of an infant, which appeared to come from a tree. 
He despatched his huntsmen to seek for the voice. They 
climbed the tree, and found on the top, in an eagle's nest, a 
wondrously beautiful child, clothed in purple, and with 
golden bracelets on its arms. The king commanded that it 
should be cared for, baptised, and well educated. In remem- 
brance of the singular discovery, he caused it to be named 
Nestingus 2 . It was added, that the great-granddaughter of 
this foundling was one of the ladies of whom King Edgar 
was passionately enamoured. i 



IN the foregoing pages we have endeavoured to depict the 
noble zeal which animated the king in his efforts to advance 
the political and social well-being of his people. He did not 
strive to repair the ruins around him by general measures 
only, but also by directing his attention to many individual 
details of reform and improvement, and thus, aided by the 
most unwearied energy, he attained success. When we con- 
sider this, an involuntary wish arises to penetrate into the 
inmost workings of the spirit of that monarch who was ac- 
tuated by such pure moral ideas in an age so proportionably 
rude, and who sought to make those ideas the motive powers 

1 Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum, i. 256, ed. i. from the Historia Aurea cf John 
Tinemuth. MS. in Bibl. BodL lib. 21. cap. 117. 

2 J. Grimm, in his History of the German Language, gives many other equally 
interesting passages, frooi which numerous charming taVs have originate;.. 


of all his actions. It seemed desirable on many grounds to 
give precedence to the foregoing inquiry into the operation 
of Alfred's strenuous efforts tore-establish Church and State, 
especially as by so doing the thread of chronology is not 
broken, and we can begin to consider the mental culture of 
the king, at a period when he found leisure time to advance 
it, not only by receiving but by imparting knowledge. It 
appears from numerous authorities that Alfred did not give 
himself up to literary pursuits until he provided for the 
public weal in the fullest manner, and his industry as an 
author was displayed in the second half of that interval 
during which the struggle with the national foe was at rest. 

In considering his eager thirst for knowledge and his per- 
severing efforts in its attainment, we must bear in mind the 
circumstances already related, from which these mainly pro- 
ceeded : they were the love for the national poetry which 
as an infant he imbibed at his mother's breast, and his jour- 
neys to Eome, undertaken indeed in his earliest youth, but 
the impressions of which were never effaced in his manhood ; 
a dim remembrance of the heroes and glories of the ancient 
world always lived in his mind, and did not fail to give a bene- 
ficial colouring to his strong national feelings. It seems as 
if there already existed in Alfred that blending of the two 
elements, which in after times, when in an advanced state of 
intelligence an acquaintance with the works of antiquity 
was again cultivated, raised many a great man to high re- 

His decided taste for the history of foreign nations and of 
the condition of distant countries, as well as his desire of 
becoming acquainted with them by observation, are at least 
rare developments of the Germanic nature in those days, and 
can only in some measure be accounted for by his having 
attained a knowledge of that place where, amidst the rubbish 
of many centuries, some sparks of the ancient glory still glim- 
mered. The old times had long disappeared; classic purity 
in literature and art, previously on the decline, had already 
succumbed before the invasion of wild, uncultured strength ; 
yet still there remained enough of it in the ruins of the 
temples and palaces of eternal Eome, and in. passages from 
former authors in the true Church, to fill a spiritually minded 
prince of Grerman descent with reverential astonishment, and 


breathe into his soul a longing to peruse for himself the 
relies of greatness in the writings of the ancients, and to 
enable his subjects to become acquainted with them. Alfred 
resolved to devote himself to this work, which belonged of 
right to the Romish Church, but which she either uncon- 
sciously or designedly neglected. 

On the other hand, his innate love for the old poetry of his 
nation manifested itself throughout the whole of his life, 
lie was a German, and the influence of his descent was far 
stronger than that which ancient Home exercised over him,. 
Those powerful German songs which the boy had received as 
a lasting gift from his beloved mother, often rang in his ears 
during the vicissitudes of his chequered career. The youth 
passionately following the chase, rejoiced in the gigantic 
images of his traditionary ancestors, of whom poets sung in 
all lauds from the Danube to the Ehine, from the Appen- 
nines to his own island ; the king, in the most troubled hours 
of his sovereignty, strengthened and confirmed his anxious 
heart by the examples of patient endurance which this 
poetry revealed to him ; and the father caused his own and 
his people's children to learn betimes those poetical treasures 
Adth which lie constantly consoled himself. We are assured 
of this by repeated accounts in his Biography 1 . What 
traditions at that time were familiar to him and to his people 
can be gathered even at this day, without much difficulty, 
from the fragments of Anglo-Saxon poetry which remain to 
us ; they belonged, without doubt, to the great epic cycle 
which was the common property of all the Germanic races. 
This is shown by the poems of Beowulf, the God-descended 
hero, who fought with monsters of all kinds, but lived in 
harmony with all heroic natures, as appears in the Niebe- 
luugen and in the songs of the Edda. It is also shown in 
the poems of the wandering minstrels, who, at the courts of 
Hermanric the Goth, Audoin the Lombard, and in short, 
wherever the German tongue was spoken, sung to their 
audience the deeds of their heroic ancestors, and received 
therefore golden gifts 2 . In the small fragment entitled " The 
Battle at Einnesbury" appears Hengist, the Mythic Warrior ; 
and judging from the received tables of descent of the West 

1 Asser, p. 473, 485, 497. 2 \V. Grimm, Deutsche Heldensage, p. 13-20. 


Saxons and their kindred neighbours, it seems most probable 
that the vague accounts of the acts and deeds of celebrated 
men which we possess, once resounded from the lips of 
the wandering Scalds, and even in Alfred's day were living 
only in song. The origin of Christian Anglo-Saxon poetry, 
on the contrary, is chiefly to be ascribed to the impulse and 
direction which Alfred and his age gave to the nation, and it 
only began to nourish after the death of that great monarch. 
In order to satisfy the desire of knowledge which had 
animated him from his earliest youth, the man was obliged 
to exercise childlike humility, and take the position of a 
scholar at an advanced age. We know that his thirst for 
learning was not appeased in his youthful days, and he found 
no leisure in time of war. But his powerful mind never 
relinquished the hope of winning back the lost opportunity, 
and at the period of which we now speak, his long-cherished 
resolve was crowned with success. Before he became ac- 
quainted with Asser, he had already endeavoured to benefit 
by the wisdom and learning of his bishops ; he caused one 
of them to read to him at every leisure moment, so that one 
must have always been within call, and in this manner he 
mastered many books before he was able to read them for 
himself 1 . He may already in his youth have learnt to read 
his mother tongue, but he was grown to manhood before he 
acquired the knowledge of Latin, and with regard to writing, 
did not much outstrip Charlemagne, who, with his hand so 
accustomed to the sword, made but small progress in that 
art. As a skilful master had never presided over Alfred's 
education, the self-instruction to which he was obliged to 
have recourse must have been exceedingly tiresome, and no- 
thing could have been more difficult to him than the acquisi- 
tion of the mechanical art of writing. It is also uncertain 
when he first mastered it, and whether that prayer-book 
which he always carried in his bosom, and out of which the 
king, in the days when all seemed lost, derived consolation, 
was copied by his own hand. But the taste for collecting, 
compiling, and preserving, seemed to have been born with 
him ; and if he himself was not able to do it, he employed 
some one else who could, to transcribe first the services of the 

1 Asser, p. 487. 


hours, also some psalms and many prayers 1 . When in Liter 
times he selected the faithful Asser as his teacher, all the 
leaves of the book were already filled. The narration is as 
follows : 

Asser, after his recovery as we have already mentioned, 
began his labours with the king at Leonaford, probably in 
the year 885. He remained at court for eight months, and 
this long period must have been invaluable to his pupil so 
desirous of knowledge ; for from the first rudiments of educa- 
tion with which he may have been but imperfectly acquainted, 
he advanced to the study of works which were considered as 
very learned in that age. He was desirous of mastering all the 
literary resources which were at his command. His biogra- 
pher relates, that during this residence at Leonaford, he read 
to the king all the books that he desired, and that could be 
procured 2 ; for the habit had become a second nature to him, 
amidst all his bodily and mental sufferings, either himself to 
read books, or to listen whilst others read them. But the 
presence of so congenial a companion gave rise to a mutual 
interchange of ideas, and the active-minded king knew how 
to draw no small advantage from this intellectual conversa- 
tion. " As we were both one day sitting in the royal 
chamber," says Asser 3 , " and were conversing as was our 
wont, it chanced that I recited to him a passage out of a 
certain book. After he had listened with fixed attention, 
and expressed great delight, he showed jie the little book 
which he always carefully carried about with him, and in 
which the daily lessons, psalms, and prayers, were written, and 
begged me to transcribe that passage into his book." Asser, 
secretly thanking Heaven for the love of wisdom that was so 
active in the king's heart, joyfully assented ; he was already 
prepared to begin his writing, when every corner of the book 
was found to be occupied, for Alfred had written many 
things of all kinds therein 4 . Asser hesitated, the king be- 
came urgent ; Asser then inquired, " Will it please you that 

1 Asser, p. 474: " Celebrationes horarum, ac deinde psalmos quosdam et ora- 
tiones multas." 

2 Asser, p. 488 : " Recitavi illi libros quoscunque ille vellet et quos ad manum 

* Asser, p. 491. 

* Era,t enim omnino multis ex causis refertus. 


I transcribe this passage on a detached leaf ? "We cannot 
tell whether we shall not meet with more similar passages 
which you may like ; if this should happen, we shall be glad 
to have already made a separate collection of them." " That 
is a good thought," he answered. Asser directly arranged a 
fresh sheet, and wrote the passage in the beginning. He 
had rightly guessed what the king would do, for on the same 
day he caused him to enter three more quotations. This 
book also was soon filled with those quotations from their 
daily conversations, which the king wished to impress firmly 
on his memory. The activity of Alfred equalled that of the 
bee, which flies from flower to flower, occupied in bearing 
their sweet products to its well-stored cells. 

It is evident that Alfred's industry was chiefly limited to 
compiling, and his learning was of the same character. He 
gained information himself, and laid up at the same time a 
store of knowledge for himself and for his people. It is 
only on this theory that we can explain the assertion which 
is made by his biographers, and which has no other authority, 
that on the same day when the above quotation was made 
(it was apparently on St. Martin' s-day, November llth 1 ), the 
king began to study and translate into Saxon, with the desire 
of being able to instruct others. This short account gives a 
lively picture of the origin, progress, and aim of his studies. 
It does not indeed tell us how quickly the king learnt Latin, 
but that he did master it his works which we possess abund- 
antly testify. 

From a scholar he soon became an author, and this sphere 
of activity was commenced by the common-place book which 
Asser had begun, and which had been destined by Alfred for 
his own private use, that he might learn the passages con- 
tained in it, and thus profitably employ his time. The 
writings of the masters which he thus perused furnished rich 
material for annotation, so that in a short time the book grew 
to the size of a Psalter ; and because he always wished to 
have it at hand day and night, he named it his " Manual 2 ." 

1 Asser, p. 492 : " In venerabili Martini solemnitate." This occurrence is re- 
lated indeed in the year 887, shortly after the last annalistic portion of the work, 
and at the beginning of the last and longest episode. According to p. 488. Asser 
came to Leonaford in the year 885, and directly began his instruction. 

* Asser, p. 492 : Quern Enchiridion suum, id est manualem librura normnar 


Among the manuscript treasures of Saxon England it is 
unfortunately useless to seek for a single entire copy of this 
book, which, up to the middle of the twelfth century, must 
have been quite commonly known. But from the fragments 
of it that have descended to us through William the Monk 
of Malmesbury, it must have comprised, besides a collection 
from the Latin authors, many notes in the king's own hand, 
relating to the early history of his people, and probably, too, 
of his own family. Only very few of these invaluable relics 
remain, and how many important observations may have been 
lost with this private book 1 ! From the historical notices it 
contained, we may style it Alfred's only original work ; but 
although all the rest of his with which we are acquainted 
consist of translations, they are executed with such peculiar 
freedom as almost to merit the title of original. 

Among the translations from the ancients, the principal 
one is the celebrated " Consolations" of Boethius. It is well 
known in what high estimation this work of trie last Roman 
poet and philosopher was held in the middle ages. It was a 
monument of didactic writing, in which, with much talent, 
and not without artistic 'beauty, the little that remained of 
classic style under the sovereignty of the Groths was blended 
with the progressive Christian spirit belonging to a new 
epoch. In the misery and solitude of a fearful dungeon, into 
which he had been flung by the powerful arm of a wrathful 
Goth, the Roman consoled himself with reproducing the 
Wessons of wisdom. Here, after the old Roman manner, 

voluit, eo quod ad manum ilium die noctuque solertissime habebat." From the 
subsequent narratiou of Asser we must conclude that that Manual was not iden- 
tical with the Book of Prayers. Wright, Biogr. Brit. Lit. i. 395, considers the 
two as one work, and says that u contained " prayers and psalms and his daily 
observations." Nothing is anywhere said of the latter, and the author is perhaps 
careless enough to translate Asser's " Otationes" by " Observations." 

1 Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 123. Liber proprius, quern patria lingua Encheridion, 
id est manualem librum appellavit. The detached fragments are contained in 
Wilh. Malmesb. Vita Aldhelmi (Wharton, Anglia Sacra), and p. 2, treat of Ken- 
terus, the father of Aldhelm, and his relationship to the West Saxon royal family; 
and p. 4, to Aldhelm's poetry and its effect on the people. Further, in Florent. 
Geneolog. p. 693, ed. 1592, with reference to the reign of Kenfus, it is said, 
" Secundum dicta regis Aelfredi." In a catalogue of a Norman convent library, 
MS. Bodl. 103, fol. 251, in the time of Henry I., there is a book called " Elfredj 
regis liber Anglicus." 


the noble doctrines of the peripatetics and the stoics were 
explained by examples drawn from ancient traditions, and the 
work was also penetrated with the Christian spirit of faith 
and hope in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, whose 
Gospel began its victorious career from the central point of 
the Old World. 

The Latin Church regarded and carefully preserved the 
book of the last Roman, as an inheritance of the old classic 
days, until its own foundations, and with these the support 
of the revived and ever-youthful literature of Greece and 
Borne were shattered by the free and universal spirit of the 
valiant German Protestantism. The ascendancy maintained 
by Boethius, during the middle ages, waned before the greater 
lights of that time. The change that then took place rendered 
his work valuable only as a model of philosophical and 
grammatical learning, and it became the peculiar property of 
the learned priesthood. 

The great influence of monastic schools is evidenced by the 
fact, that wherever a newly-formed language was applied to 
literature, a translation of Boethius into the popular dialect 
was never omitted ; we find one in the most ancient form of 
the old High German, in the Proven9al, the North Frank 
(Norman), and even Chaucer made one when he gave her 
language to England. The Anglo-Saxons received one from 
their best prose- writer, their king himself. Instructed by the 
priests in the literature of his day, Alfred seems to have 
studied this book above all others, and to have superintended 
its translation himself. He had not, at that time, entirely 
mastered the Latin language, and Asser must have simplified 
and read aloud the text which the king rendered into Saxon 1 . 
This arrangement may still be recognised in the abridged 
form of the translation, in which many sections of the original 
are missing ; but the characteristics which the work presents 
are in such strict accordance with Alfred's other writings, 
that great importance must be attached to it. With reference 

1 Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 122. " Hie (Asserio, according to William's style) 
sensum librorum Booetii De Consolatione planioribus verbis enodavit, qnos rex ipsa 
in Anglicam linguam vertit." The Gest. Pontif. ii. 248, gives a similar account, 
with the addition : " Illis diebus abore necessario, nostris ridiculo. Sed eniin 
jussu regis factum est, ut levins a v . xlem in Anglicam transf'erretur serinonem. 


to the other translations, we will remark, once for all, that 
the king always handled his materials in the freest manner, and 
in general did not confine himself to the letter of the works 
before him. It therefore becomes difficult, on the one hand, 
to discover his knowledge of Latin ; we must even conclude, 
by the evident errors in tbe transcribing, that it was but im- 
perfect ; but on the other hand, the method he followed left 
open a wide field, on which he, as an independent author not 
bound by the letter, might use his own discretion. It ac- 
cordingly happens, that not only isolated traces of his 
nationality appear from time to time in this translation of 
Boethius 1 , but that entirely fresh matter, composed of the 
king's own thoughts and feelings, amplifies the text of the 
Roman, or completely suppresses and replaces it. We will 
point this out by a few examples from Boethius. The wel 1 - 
known tales of the Roman authors, such as those of Orpheus 
and Eurydice, and of Ulysses, are entered into with a prolixity 
which Alfred carries out far beyond the original. After he 
has given the contents of the verses in which Boethius treats 
of Nero, he continues with reflections on the cruel abuse of 
power, which crime he traces back to the example of the 
tyrant. Wherever in the Latin volumes there is mention 
made of the nothingness of all earthly splendour and renown, 
his noble soul inspires the smiting words of the lloman with 
deeper fulness of meaning and with thoughts springing from 
a truer humanity. Finally, when in the third book of 
Boethius he comes to speak of the nature of Grod and man's 
relation to Him, he casts aside all the fetters which up to 
that time had more or less bound him to the text, and from 
his own heart writes down all he thinks and feels of God's 
goodness, and wisdom, and holiness. It is very difficult to 
make a judicious selection from the rich materials which we 

1 The name which he inserts, instead of that of Fabricius, is most curious. 
Boethius, ii. 7, v. 15, asks : " Ubi nunc fidelis ossa Fabricii manent ?" Alfred, 
Boethius, ed. Cardale, p. 106, translates the passage thus: " Hwaet sint nu paes 
foremaeran, and paes wisan goldsmrSes ban Welondes?" Grimm, Mythologie, 
p. 351, supposes that the old skilful northern deity replaced Fabricius in 
Alfred's mind, he erroneously deriving Fabricius from faber (smith). Tha 
belief in the existence of this deity had long vanished ; but Alfred showed hit 
correct and intimate acquaintance with the national mythology. See Kembla 
Saxons in England, i. 421. 


find in these records of Alfred's own thoughts, but one 
example of the paraphrasing may be given. 

In a short episode of his second book, Boethius 1 asserts 
that he never allowed himself to be influenced by ambition, 
but desired only to obtain materials for discussion, that truth 
mi'rht not be lost through silence. From this the king takes 
occasion to explain at length his opinions respecting the 
manner in which government should be conducted. He says 
that materials and implements are necessary for carrying on 
every kind of work. That of the king consists in providing 
that the country should be thickly populated, and particularly 
that the three classes in it, the clerical, the martial, and the 
operative, should be largely represented. To maintain these 
functions efficiently, he must furnish those who filled them 
with estates and donations, weapons, bread, and beer, and 
clothing ; in fact, with whatever is requisite for each. "With- 
out these means he cannot preserve his tools, and without the 
tools none of the duty devolving upon him can be performed. 
Alfred states that his constant desire therefore is, to employ 
them worthily ; but as all virtue and power are nothing with- 
out wisdom, the results of folly must be useless. " This I 
can now truly say, that so long as I have lived I have striven 
to live worthily, and after my death to leave my memory to 
my descendants in good works 2 ." 

This confession of the king and hero is so noble and so 
great, that until the latest times those who read it will be 
filled with astonishment and admiration. 

The preface to the Anglo-Saxon Boethius could not pos- 
sibly have been written by Alfred himself, but it is taken 
chiefly from the preface to the translation of the Pastoral 
Care, by Gregory the Great, and is an old and valuable testi- 
mony that he was the author of the translation ; it explains 
at the same time the method of study pursued by him : 

" King Alfred was the translator of this book, which he 
turned from Latin into English as it now stands. Sometimes 

1 II. p. 7: Turn e^o, Scis, inquam, ipsa minimum nobis ambitionem mortalium 
rerum f uisse dominatam ; sed materiam gerendis ibus optavimus, quo ne virtus 
tacita consenesceret. 

2 Alfred's Boethius, edited by Cardale, p. 92 : pset is nu hraftost to secganne. pset 
ic wilnode weorpfullice to libbanne pa hwile pe ic lifede, and gefter minum life para 
monuum to laefanne pe aefter me waeren min gemynd on godum weorcum. 


he translated word for word, sometimes sense for sense, ac- 
cording as he could most clearly and intelligibly interpret it, 
in the midst of the manifold and various worldly matters 
which often claimed him bodily and mentally. It would be 
difficult to enumerate the different affairs which in his time 
oppressed the kingdom that he had received. Yet he studied 
this book, and rendered it from the Latin into the English 
tongue ; and afterwards he turned it into verse, as it now 
stands. But now he begs of those who may please to read 
the book, in God's name, to pray for him, and not to blame 
him if they should understand it better than he was able to 
do. For every man must, according to the ability of his in- 
tellect, say what he says, and do what he does." 

The continuation o'f the book forms a short historical in- 
troduction, which proceeded unquestionably from Alfred's 
own pen, and here, as well as on other occasions, there are 
decided evidences of Alfred's taste for historical lore. It 
treats of the times of Theodoric, but with the impressions 
received by the author from the erroneous ecclesiastical nar- 
rations ; and the consciousness that he is writing of a ruler so 
nearly allied to himself by nationality and a similar exalted 
station, is scarcely discernible in his account of Theodoric. 
Only a few traces of the G-othic family-legends of Jor- 
nandes are to be seen. Alfred states that the Groths came 
from Scythia ; that Eaedgota and Eallerie 1 reigned and 
subdued the whole of Italy between the mountains and the 
islands of Sicily. He also says : " Theodoric was Amal 2 ," and 
although he was a Christian, and at first mild and just to- 
wards the Romans, yet he followed the Arian heresy, and 
therefore caused much evil ; ordered the Pope to be put to 
death, and most cruelly treated the learned and wise Boethius. 
This is enough to demonstrate that Alfred's Theodoric is 
far more the infernal tyrant of the orthodox Church than the 
old powerful Bernese hero of German tradition. 

Alfred's Boethius must have been a favourite book in his 
own times, and it is not only mentioned by chroniclers of a 

1 Vide the Traveller's Song, in Cod. Exon. ed. Thorpe, 322, 333, 334. ; J. Grimm, 
Gesc-hichte der Deutschen Sprache, p. 446. 

2 He waes Amaling. Kemb" ?, Saxons, i. 424. thinks Alfred had no Latin au 
fchoritr for this designation. 


;ater period, such as Malmesbury and others, but has a 
come down to the present day in the form of two ancient 
manuscripts 1 . 

It appears, from various discrepancies and other reasons, 
that Alfred could not have been the author of that transla- 
tion of the work into Anglo-Saxon verse which is mentioned 
in the old prose preface 2 . But the actual translator, who pro- 
bably lived about the close of the following century, doubt- 
lessly had Alfred's version before him, which he by no means 
knew how to appreciate 3 . 

The next work, and one which is far more interesting in the 
present day than that of Boethius, is the translation of the 
" Chronicle of the World," by Orosius. The reason which 
induced the king to undertake this work, is to be found in 
his desire to impart all the information then current respect- 
ing the whole of the ancient world to the laity of his country. 
A varied choice was not open to him when he selected the 
meagre and incorrect composition of the Spanish priest ; al] 
better sources of information were unattainable by him and 
his contemporaries. Accident first led Orosius, who was not 
distinguished for learning, to undertake the office of histo- 
rian ; in the year 410, he became acquainted with Augustine, 
a father of the Church, who at that time was occupied with the 
eleventh book of his work, "De civitate Dei 4 ." Augustine 
persuaded his friend to write an historical work, with the view 
of supporting his own refutation of the charge made by the 
heathen writer, that Christianity had brought complete ruin 
upon the Roman world ; so Orosius commenced with the his- 
tory of the first man, and brought down the account of the 
calamities of all the people of every country to the time of the 
G-oths, Alaric, and Athaulf, the scourges of Eome. The 
object of the work recommended it to the orthodox clergy, who 

1 MS. Cotton. Otho, A. vi. sec. x., almost entirely destroyed by fire; a copy 
nf the same by Junius, in Oxford ; MS. Bodley, 180, sec. xii. init. ; Rawlinson's 
edition, 1698, and that of Cardale, 1829. A manuscript was in the library of 
Bishop Leofric, of Exeter, about the middle of the eleventh century ; vide Wanley, 
Catal. lib. MSS. p. 80. 

2 And geworhte hi eft to letfSe. MS. Bodl. 

3 See the instances noticed by Wright, Biogr. Brit. Lit. i. 56, 57 400 ff. The 
manuscript is almost completely destroyed. Fox's edition, 1835. 

* Augustinus de origine animae hoirunis, ad Beatum Hieronymum, ed. Bend* 
diet, ii. 759. 


turned with aversion from all better means of self- instruction. 
Authors such as Trogus Pompeius, Justinus 1 , Livius, and 
Polybius, whom Orosius had casually employed, were now 
entirely neglected and forgotten. 

Alfred again treats his text in the manner we have before 
described ; he made it a principle to select only what was 
applicable to existing circumstances. Accordingly he omits 
entirely the dedication to Augustine, and many other pas- 
sages, and contracts the seven books of the original into six 3 . 
Besides the omissions, there are, in almost every chapter, 
various alterations, repetitions, or slight addition a, some of 
the most remarkable of which may be noticed. [When Orosius, 
in the geographical survey of the ancient universe with which 
he introduces the Chronicle, proceeds to speak of Hibernia, 
the king remarks of the neighbouring island, that warmer 
weather prevails there than in Britain, because it is nearer to 
the setting-sun 3 .] Orosius mentions the refusal of M. Fabius 
to accept the triumph offered to him by the senate after his 
dearly-gained victory over the Veientes. Alfred appends to 
this a description of the Eoman triumph, from sources of 
which, unfortunately, we remain ignorant. He details the 
entry of the victorious consul in a magnificently- adorned 
chariot drawn by white horses, as well as the procession of 
the senate. A dissertation concerning the position of the 
two governing powers of ancient Home was also added 4 . 
Attains bequeathed his estate to the Romans "to boclande," 
precisely like a king of the West Saxons 5 . The two visits of 
Julius Csesar to Britain are included in one ; but he asserts 
that the place where Cassar crossed the Thames, before his 
last victorious battle with the Britons, is to be found at 
Wallingford 6 . In the reign of Commodus, the capitol was 
struck by lightning, which, amongst other buildings, de- 
stroyed the library then existing there. Alfred inserts from 

1 Alfred's Orosius, edited by Barrington, p. 37, quotes these two authors, as 
follows, from Orosius, i. 8. : Pompeius se hseftena scop and his cnight Justinus 
waeron "Sus singende. 

2 The only manuscript extant now bears the still unexplained title : Hoimesta 
Orosii. Some Latin manuscripts of Orosius are entitled Hormesta, or Hormesia 
Mundi. Orosius, ed. Haverkamp, Leyden, 1738. 

3 Aeifr. p. 30; Oros. i. 2. 5 Aelfr. p. 184; Oros. v. 10. 
* Aelfr p. 66 : Oros. ii. 5. Aelfr. p. 196 ; Oros. vi. 9. 


an earlier section of the original this addition " and all the 
old books therein contained were burnt. As much damage 
was then done as in the city of Alexandria, where a library 
containing four hundred thousand books was burnt ;" this 
happening at the same time that, in the presence of Caesar, 
the fleet was destroyed by flames 1 . The reverence which 
such a lover of books felt for so large a collection of them 
would not permit him to pass over this account. 

It may be easily perceived, from such examples as these, 
that there is much in the work independent of the original ; 
and a celebrated interpolation at the commencement of the 
book is unquestionably one of the most important relics that 
we possess of Alfred's writings. It consists of a geographical 
sketch of the large tract of land which Alfred terms Ger- 
mania, and of two original narratives received from northern 
mariners 2 . 

Alfred was acquainted with Ptolemy's principles of geo- 
graphy ; he found that they were also followed by Orosius 
in his second chapter, and he perfectly agreed with them in 
respect to the three divisions of the earth. His own refer- 
ences to Rome, Palestine, and India, have been mentioned 
before. As regards the north he is better informed than his 
author ; here he tacitly corrects the erroneous accounts, and 
gives besides a description of the situation of every country 
where the German language was spoken in the ninth century. 
The boundaries of his Germania lay along the Rhine and the 
Danube, and extended from the Mediterranean Sea to the 
Gulf of Bothnia ; they are more extensive and better defined 
than those before assigned by Tacitus. The actual German 
land he divided into two large portions, which he endeavoured 
to distinguish as the southern or East Frank, and the northern 
or Old Saxon 3 . In this manner the Slavonic boundaries east- 
ward were defined, and an arrangement was made of the 
situations of the Germanic Danes of the south and north, as 
well as those of Sweden. 

1 Alfr. p. 221 ; Oros. vii. 16, vi. 15, with which compare Parthey, the 
Alexandrian Museum, p. 32. 

2 In what follows I rely entirely upon Dahlmann's excellent treatment of the 
subject contained in his Inquiries, i. 401, ff., wi-'ch in every instance remains un- 
refuted, in spite of Scandinavian pretensions. 

sDahlmann, p. 418. 



Then follows the account which was given by Ohthere to 
his liege, King Alfred 1 , and which occupies an important 
place in the history of discoveries. The narrator, a wealthy 
mariner and whale-fisher from the province of Heliogoland 
on the north coast of Norway, in the course of his voyages 
(probably undertaken for the purpose of trading with fish) 
reached England, became known to the king, so eager after 
knowledge of all kinds, and after some time entered into 
his service. But to designate Ohthere as an historical per- 
sonage, and to recognise him again in a commander of the 
same name, who led a plundering horde into England, is a 
vain attempt of Scandinavian learning 2 . He informed his 
sovereign that he had gone as far towards the north as the 
land extended in that direction, and that he had turned with 
the land to the east, and at length had sailed into a large 
river (the "White Sea), whose coasts he found inhabited 
by Finns. Amongst these people, the Beormen, who spoke 
nearly the same language as the Finns, were the sole culti- 
vators of the land ; and Ohthere conversed with their king, 
and described their manner of life as similar to his own. 
The second part of his narrative describes the large extent 
of Scandinavia towards the south, and mentions the journey 
undertaken by Ohthere, from his home in Heliogoland, 
across Sciringesheal (in the Gulf of Christiania), probably 
through the Great Belt to Schleswig (set Hse'Sum 3 ). 

The other navigator, from whose lips Alfred wrote down 
the second account of travel, was a certain "Wulfstan, whose 
native country is not mentioned, who sailed from Schleswig 
to a place called Truso, which was probably situated in 
modern Prussia, on the Gulf of Friesland, and who fur- 
nished the earliest description of the then existing coasts of 
Estonia 4 . 

Neither of these accounts contradicts the erroneous opi- 
nion entertained in preceding centuries, that Scandinavia 
was a large island, and that the Gulf of Bothnia, or Quaner 
Lake, flowed into the North Sea. But, notwithstanding 
this, Alfred must be judged worthy of immortal praise, inas- 
much as through these sources of information he acquired a 

1 Ohthere saede his hlaforde Aelfrede kyninge, etc. Alf. p. 21. 

* Duhlmann, p. 410. * Dahlmann, p. 427, 443. Alfred, p. 25, ff. 


knowledge of the more distant parts of our quarter of the 
globe, and by his own true German energy and persever- 
ance, acquainted himself with German ethnography. The 
title of a geographer may be justly bestowed on the king, 
who so eagerly sought after geographical and historical 
knowledge, and he w r as indisputably the greatest one of his 
age. But how few, in the present day, are acquainted with 
this merit, or know how to prize it according to its value 1 ! 

As the royal author found the pagan kingdoms, and, to a 
certain extent, the universal history of the Old World, 
treated of by Orosius, so the invaluable work of his great 
countryman, Bede, furnished him with the history of Chris- 
tendom and of his own people. He undoubtedly descended 
from generals to particulars, when he resolved, for the be- 
nefit of the laity, to render into German this national work, 
which had hitherto been available to the clergy only. Bede 
wrote his ecclesiastical history at the beginning of the eighth 
century, to preserve the remembrance of the conversion of 
the Angles and Saxons, and the establishment of Chris- 
tianity amongst them. But considerable parts of his work 
treat necessarily of temporal subjects, and notice the de- 
velopment of the numerous small principalities founded by 
the German colonists upon the conquered island. That 
Bede lived in the north of England, and never left that 
part of the country during his long life, may be assumed 
from the knowledge he exhibits concerning his imme- 
diate neighbourhood. His knowledge of the south of the 
island was chiefly derived from viva voce information. 
But he also introduced, in their proper places, many 
popular and legendary matters, which, at a later period, 
may be again met with in the Saxon Tear-books. In 

1 At present, only one manuscript of the Saxon Orosius is extant, MS. Cotton. 
Tiber. B. i. legibly written, and almost contemporary. MS. Lauderdale, which 
ought to have been in the possession of Lady Dysart, is not to be found. There 
is a copy, by Junius, in Oxford. Sir John Spelman first inserted a Latin trans- 
lation of the geographical portions in his Vita Aelfredi. In 1773, Daines Bar- 
rington published the entire book, with a geographical treatise of Reinhold 
Forster. Since that time, the pressing necessity of a satisfactory edition has 
remained unfulfilled. Some parts only of the work, and amongst them Germania 
and the two narratives of voyages, are critically treated, in Thorpe's Analects 
Anglosaxonica, p. 81, ed. ii. 



tins respect especially, he ranks in the third place amongst 
the earliest national historians, although, in the better ar- 
rangement of his materials, in the steady aim towards a 
higher object, and particularly in the intelligence manifested 
throughout the whole, he far surpasses Jornandes the Goth, 
Gregory of Tours, and Paul the Deacon. During his life- 
time, his fame reached Rome, and soon extended over 
Western Europe. 

One hundred and fifty years after the death of Bede, his 
book was first translated into German. There is no trace to 
be found in the translation that this was accomplished by 
Alfred ; the name of the king does not occur in it, and it is 
not furnished with any introduction by him. But the most 
ancient testimonies leave no doubt that he alone was the 
author 1 . It is likewise probable that the compilers of the 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, who must have undertaken the work 
soon after the year 890, when they took into consideration 
Bede's book, had already seen their king's translation of it ; 
for one of the mistakes committed by Alfred was copied into 
the Chronicle 2 . 

Conformably to his purpose, Alfred prepared a selection 
from this national historical work, which he evidently endea- 
voured to adapt to the south of the island. He therefore 
omits the prolix accounts of the relations of the Church at 
York with the neighbouring Scots, who were of a different 
faith ; whilst, on the contrary, the history of the first Chris- 
tian kings of Wessex is literally translated. This is also the 
case with the details of the first conversions. All the docu- 
ments included by Bede in his work, the letters of bishops 

1 Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 123, enumerates the works: Orosius, Pastoralis Gre- 
gorii, Gesta Anglorum Bedae. The most ancient testimony is that of Archbishop 
Aelfric, about the year 1000, in his daily Homilies, iiii. Id. Martis Sci Gregorii 
papae urbis Romanae inclyti : Historia Anglorum : "Sa fte Aelfred cyning of Ledene 
on Englisc awende, translated by Thorpe, the Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon 
Church, ii. 116. Layamon, in his Brut. (Sir F. Madden's edition, i. 2), uses the 
translation in 1205 : 

he nam pa Englisca boc 

pa makede seirit Beda. 

* Beda, i. 9 : Maximus imperator oreatus est thus translated by Alfred : se 
casere was accenned (born), and Chron. Sax, A. 381, waos geboren. R. Sehmid, 
Geschichte des Angelsachs. p. Ivii. note 1. 


and popes, are wanting, with only a few exceptions for 
example, the first epistle of Gregory the Great, which is, 
however, merely inserted in an abridged form, and indirectly 
noticed ; neither do the hymns and epitaphs composed by 
Bede upon saints and bishops find any place in the transla- 
tion. But, again, the national history of the poet Caedmon 
is faithfully retained, and the proof of his poetical talent 
rendered into Saxon verse, which, in accordance with the rest 
of our conclusions, must have been the production of Alfred, 
for Caedmon himself wrote in the Anglian dialect. 

Alfred considered that the miracles related by Bede ought 
not to be withheld from the people. It is a singular fact, that 
he places the full index of its contents before each chapter, and 
also inserts the list of the numerous subjects omitted by him 
in the translation 1 . These few remarks may suffice to show 
the character of the book, on which the author bestowed 
much less attention than on his other works, and in which 
nothing is to be found to compensate for its manifold imper- 
fections. It is matter of special wonder that Alfred did not 
take advantage of the opportunity to supply from his own 
knowledge the earlier history of Wessex, of which Bede 
knew so little. But these deficiencies do not present suffi- 
cient reason why the translation of Bede at the present day 
_should not be considered as valuable as ever 2 . 

The other works of Alfred relate to theological subjects. 
He undoubtedly took peculiar delight in the writings of 
Gregory the Great ; and after becoming acquainted with 
them himself, he took pains to diffuse them in the national 
language amongst his clergy and their flocks, in order to ad- 
vance their spiritual welfare. Gregory, the first of all the 
popes who assumed a prominent position in the world, has I 
blended his history for ever with that of the British^islau d. J 
By his exertions the Teutonic conqueror of the country was 
won over to Christianity, and Alfred desired to render thanks 

1 Wheloc's Beda, p. 8 ; Smith's Beda, p. 479, 480. 

2 There are some manuscripts in existence, one in the University Library at 
Cambridge, also MS. Corp. Christ! Coll. Cambr. 41; MS. Cotton. Otho, B. xi. is 
burnt. Besides these, there are the original editions by Wheloc, 1643, and Smith, 
1722. It is much to be lamented that Stevenson prepared none, when he published 
his excellent lecture on the Historia Ecclesiastica (English Historical Society 


to him in the name of his people for such a benefit, and at 
the same time to make them acquainted with the literary 
works of this prince of the Church. From the numerous 
Gregorian writings which had become the widely-diffused 
property of the Catholic Church, he next selected the Pas- 
toral Care, " that book so full of deep knowledge of man- 
kind, and of a devout spirit, which contains such simple and 
comprehensive directions upon the great art of a wise and 
gentle spiritual government 1 ." Gregory had written the 
" Regula Pastoralis " in the commencement of his pontificate, 
when he was reproached with having attempted to avoid by 
flight the election to the chair of St. Peter 2 . " In it he col- 
lected together many passages that were scattered in various 
parts of his writings. He endeavoured also to point out in 
what spirit and manner the spiritual shepherd should enter 
upon his office, how he ought to conduct himself therein, 
how he should vary his mode of preaching, so as to suit the 
different circumstances of his hearers, and how he must 
guard himself from self-exaltation at the happy result of his 
labours. In the following centuries this book had a decided 
influence in awakening a better spirit amongst the clergy, 
and in causing efforts to be made to improve the condition of 
the Church. The reforming synods under Charlemagne 
made it a standard for their proceedings with respect to the 
amendment of ecclesiastical affairs 3 ." Its renown, and the 
persuasion of its excellence, passed from the Franks to the 
Saxons ; the translation made by their king chiefly contri- 
buting to this result. The original indeed was to be found 
amongst the books once bestowed on Augustine by Gregory, 
and in the fifteenth century it still remained in the library of 
the monastery at Canterbury 4 . 

Alfred may have first undertaken the translation about the 
year 890, after being occupied for several years previously 

Stolberg, Leben des grossen Alfred, p. 271. 

2 Lau, Gregor. I. der Grosse, p. 315. 

3 Neander. Allgemeine Geschichte der Christlichen Religion und Kirche. in. 
Vierter Abschnitt. i. 

* Alfred himself, in the poetical introduction, MS. Hatton 20* 
pis serend gewrit. Agostinus. 
ofer sealtne sae. vu^San brohtao. 
See Wanley's Catal. libr. MSS. p. 172. 


with similar works, in the introductory chapters and pre- 
faces of which, he frequently thanks Asser, Grimbald, and 
Johannes, as well as his Archbishop Plegmund, for the assist- 
ance they gave him. In this case also he sometimes trans- 
lated word for word, sometimes meaning for meaning, as 
these men deemed advisable. But amongst the compara- 
tively large number of existing manuscripts, his translation 
has hitherto never been published in print, the cause of 
which may be attributed to the indifFererce to the subject, 
which in our times has lost its interest amongst the few 
learned men acquainted with Anglo-Saxon literature, who 
might be capable of such an undertaking. It is, however, 
easy to perceive, on a comparison of many principal portions 
of the manuscripts at Oxford with the Latin text, that the 
king translated the work of Gregory much more faithfully 
than those of Boethius and Orosius, where more frequent 
occasions were afforded him to give free course to the expres- 
sion of his own ideas and experience. Neither does he appear 
to have omitted anything essential, for it evidently was his 
intention to make generally known the whole of Gregory's 
book, which so few could understand in Latin. 

But the most valuable memorial of his mind and writings 
which he has bequeathed to us, is contained in the admirable 
preface, in which he not only sets forth his purpose in pub- 
lishing this book, but the far higher aim, entertained by no 
other earthly ruler before his time, with which he devoted 
himself to its study. He desired by his own example to re- 
vive the learning which had so entirely vanished ; and to this 
end he reminded his readers in stirring language of those 
better times which were past, and whose glory could only be 
regained by means of education and the instruction of youth. 
It was therefore his anxious wish that the great scarcity of 
books should be remedied, and he caused it to be so arranged 
that each bishop in his kingdom should receive a copy of the 
Pastoral Care, and at the same time a small golden tablet, of 
the value of fifty marks 1 . Three of these copies have been 
preserved to the present day, with inscriptions addressed to 
Plegmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, Werfrith, Bishop of 

1 Ond to aelcum biscep-stole on minum rice wille ane onsendan. ond aelcie bilS 
an aestel. se bi$ on fiftegum mancessan. MS. Hatton. 20. 


Worcester, and Wulfsig, Bishop of Sherborne ; and in the 
style of handwriting, they resemble each other in a remark- 
able manner. 

The preface concludes with a poetical prologue, and at the 
end of the book there is an epilogue, also in verse, in which 
nearly the same ideas appear as in the preface, but with the 
peculiar expressions, drawn from nature and her analogies, 
so characteristic of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Hitherto these 
verses have been too little valued, although, as they are to be 
seen in the original manuscripts, it appears to be indubitable 
that they were Alfred's own production. It is useless to think 
of publishing them, or the entire translation 1 . 

The " Dialogues," another work of Gregory, was not trans- 
lated by Alfred himself, but by his friend, Bishop "Werfrith 
of Worcester. The eminent pope had written this book 
at the urgent entreaty of his friends that he would recount 
the lives and miracles of the Italian saints. He gave im- 
portant aid towards the furtherance of superstition in his 
own times and the next century, by the record of numberless 
incredible and often very absurd legends, and in this work 
he appears to have been the principal means of furnishing 
the- Catholic Church with the doctrine of purgatory. As he 
carried on these unconnected narrations in the form of con- 
versations with his confidential friend Peter the Deacon, he 
gave them the suitable name of Dialogues. It soon became 
a favourite book in all countries, and was even translated 
into Arabic and Greek 2 . 

Bishop Werfrith did not undertake the translation of this 
book from his own idea. The king commissioned him to do 
so, and it must have been closely allied to similar works of 
Alfred. It is, however, remarkable that it had been already 
noticed by Asser 3 , who had not once mentioned Alfred's 

1 Manuscripts: MS. Hatton. 20, in the Bodleian Library; MS. bibl. publ. 
Univ. Camb. ; MS. Cotton. Tiber. B. xi., injured by fire. MS. Cotton. Otho, B. ii., 
which was burnt, was prepared by Hehstan, Bishop of London. There are, besides, 
two earlier copies in Trinity College and Corpus Chrl^ti College, Cambridge. The 
preface was printed in Parker's Asser, 1574; in Wise's Asser, 1722; and in 
Wright's Biogr. Brit. Lit. 397. 

2 Lau, Gregor. I. the Great, p. 315. 

3 Asse.-, p. 486 : Werfrithum qui imperio repis libros dialogorum Gregorii 
papae et Petti sui discipuli de latinitate primus in Saxonicam linguam aliquandfl 


works, although it must be inferred that he commenced the 
Biography at the precise time when he was called up to 
assist the king in his learned occupations. 

Together with the numerous miraculous histories in the 
book, there were also many relations of actual occurrences ; 
and amongst others, the life and deeds of St. Benedict were 
blended with the account of the former kings of the Ostro- 
Goths, and here we may again recognise Alfred's sympathy 
with the fate of this branch of his own family. 

No one has ever yet attempted to publish the Saxon trans- 
lation, but it is sufficiently testified by the manuscript copy, 
and from the evidence of Asser, that Werfrith, following the 
example of his king, did not strictly observe the letter of the 
original. It is also probable that he only made a selection 
from the legends, and scarcely translated one half of the four 
books in the Latin version 1 . 

The few sentences which introduce the Dialogues, were 
perhaps written by Alfred himself; at all events, they are 
written in his name and in accordance with his style. It is 
there asserted that, from the perusal of holy books, he had 
become persuaded that it behoved him, on whom God had 
bestowed such great temporal glory, occasionally to with- 
draw his mind from worldly pursuits, and to direct it towards 
the consideration of divine and intellectual matters. He 
therefore entreated his faithful friend 2 to translate for him 
such books as treated of the doctrines and miracles of saints, 
wherewith he might console and strengthen his spirit beneath 
the oppressions of this world. Thus the translation was 
specially designed for himself: he was the child of his age, 
and favoured its superstitions. 

Another translation from the works of the earliest fathers 
of the Church has some claim to be considered as Alfred's 
production, the Anglo-Saxon Anthology, from a composition 
by St. Augustine. The Bishop of Hippo Eegius wrote the 

sensum ex sensu ponens, elucubratim et elegantissime interpretatus est. Cf. 
Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 122, jussu regis. 

1 I have only seen a MS. Hatton. 76 in the Bodleian Library, sec. xi., and that 
is very fragmentary. The only other copy is MS. Corp. Christ. Coll. Cambi 
No. 323, sec. xi. 

2 aud ic forpam sohte and wilnode to ininum getrywum freondurn, &c, MS 
Hatton. 76. 


two short book's of the Soliloquies about the year 387, before 
he had taken any part in the great dogmatic controversies. 
He there treats of the salvation of the soul, which is only to 
be attained by faith, hope, and charity, and of the difference 
between truth and error. The mind should strive after the 
first, that it may itself become the seat of truth, and thereby 
immortal. These ideas were pursued in the pleasing manner 
subsequently adopted by Boethius, namely, in the form of a 
dialogue between the author and Reason, and on this account 
Augustine chose the title of the little work 1 . In the only 
manuscript of the Saxon abridgment, which is much torn, and 
very defective, the last mutilated words, leading apparently to 
the conclusion, are these : " here end the Proverbs, selected 
by King Alfred from the books, which we call"- 2 But 
this is the only evidence that Alfred prepared the selection ; 
none of our authorities mention it amongst his other works. 
A preface, which on account of its train of thought is by 
no means worthless, and which exhibits some similarity with 
those previously written by Alfred, may perhaps serve as 
another proof; but unfortunately it comes to us in a very 
imperfect state, as does also the entire book. It speaks alle- 
gorically of the accumulation of wood which is necessary for 
building a house to dwell in, but particularly for erecting the 
high abode which is promised by St. Augustine, St. Gre- 
gory, St. Hieronymus, and many other holy fathers. It pro- 
ceeds to declare, that as every man receives the dwelling 
erected by himself as a fief from his master, and desires to 
enjoy it under his protection, so an earnest longing after a 
heavenly abiding-place is recommended. The style is pecu- 
liar, the treatment poetical, and by its not infrequent allite- 
ration takes occasionally a metrical character. There is no 
trace to be found of any specific purpose which the translator 
naa IL. undertaking the work, whilst Alfred, in the prefaces 
before mentioned as usually prefixed to his books, would not 
have omitted a notice of this kind. It is also noticeable that 
the whole work was written in impure Saxon, a circumstance 
which probably is not to be ascribed entirely to the early date 

1 S. Augustini Opera, ed. Bened. 1, 426. 

2 Saer endiaft pa cwiftas pe Aelfted kining alses of paere bee pe we hat&S 
MS. Cotton. Vitellius, A. la, sec. xii. Copy by Junius, in Oxford. 


of the manuscript and its incorrect transcribers ; but there 
are good reasons for supposing that the collector and trans- 
lator of the proverbs in the twelfth century, wishing to hide 
his unrenowned name, declared at the end of the book that 
it was written by the beloved king whose works were then 
still known and read by the people. 

The Soliloquies also have not been published, and would 
never have become known had it not been for the plan of 
publishing a collected edition of Alfred's written works, 
which was projected by more efficient men than ever before 
had attempted the task, and they not only entertained the 
idea, but carried it out on strictly critical principles. 

At a later period of the middle ages, not only the deeds of 
the King of the "West Saxons were amplified and poetically 
exaggerated, but with regard to his literary efforts all kinds 
of productions were attributed to him, of which at the pre- 
sent day we are either ignorant, or which we must, without 
hesitation, deny to be his. Towards the close of the follow- 
ing century 1 , it was affirmed that the number of books which 
he translated was unknown. The most valuable account we 
possess is that of Malmesbury 2 , who states that Alfred began 
to translate the Psalms, but had scarcely completed the first 
part when death snatched him away. The Norman monk, 
whose knowledge of the country's language was certainly not 
very perfect, could not, however, without further proofs, at- 
tribute the current Anglo-Saxon Psalter to King Alfred ; it 
has descended to us in various manuscripts, and it may be 
concluded to have been the work of Aldhelm ; there must 
have been some earlier authorities for the observation that 
the king died during the progress of his undertaking. At 
all events, it was believed in the twelfth century ; and it was 
soon declared that parts of the Scripture, and even the whole 
Bible, had been translated by him 3 . 

At the time when such assertions as these found credence, 
many sayings of King Alfred passed current amongst the 
people in a poetical form 4 . 

1 Aethelweard, iv. 519: Volumina numero ignoto. 

2 Gesta Reg. ii. 123. 

* Boston of Bury, and Historia Eliensis ; Hearne, Spelman's Life of King 
Alfred, p. 213. 

4 Ailred von Riveaux, by Twysden, X. Scriptt. p. 355: Ext^l parabolae ejus 


A work of this kind is to be found in different manuscripts 
and various dialects of the thirteenth century. Alfred, how- 
ever, was not the author, but certainly the hero of the poem. 
It opens with a description of an assembly of many bishops and 
learned men, earls, and knights, which took place at Seaford, 
over which King Alfred, the Shepherd and Darling of England, 
presided ; but this is all pure invention, and it is particularly 
difficult to connect the historical event with the place men- 
tioned. Then follows a whole series of detached sentences, 
each beginning with the words, " Thus said Alfred," and ad- 
monitions are added respecting the fear of God, obedience, 
wisdom, temperance, and many other virtues. In the thirtieth 
section 1 Alfred addresses his son, whose name was not men- 
tioned, and imparts to him similar wise counsels. 

The contents of this book of proverbs recur in various 
forms, and throughout the middle ages, not in England 
alone, but in all the other Germanic countries. The style of 
the poem appears to indicate the twelfth century as the date 
of its origin, and the transition state of the language employed 
proclaims it to have been written in the earliest English 
tongue, in which we also possess the long epic poem of the 
priest Layamon. Like another Solomon, Alfred is made to 
discourse in this manner at a solemn Witenagemot ; and it 
proves how much national feeling the English people had re- 
tained beneath the Norman rule, that they still had on their 
lips, and even woven into poetry, the treasures of old popular 
wisdom bestowed upon them by their greatest monarch, whose 
memory they held in grateful remembrance. The depth of 
this attachment, which was fostered more by tradition than 
by history, is particularly shown in the beautiful designation 
given to the king " England's Darling," as well as in the 
general conviction that Alfred w r as the wisest and most pious 
man that had ever lived in England ; and the tradition that 
it was he who gave to the people those precious old laws, the 
deprivation of which was so painfully felt by them. 

A great number of such versified proverbs must have been 
extensively known ; for in a somewhat later poem reference 

plurimum habentes aedih'cationis, sed et venustatis et jucunditatis. Cf. Anna! 
Winton. ap. VVharton, Anglia Sacra, i. 289. 
1 Kemble's edition, Solomon and Saturn, p. 244. Aelfric Society. 


is made to several, which are not to be found in the so-called 
Proverbs of King Alfred 1 . 

In the same manner as the Parables and Proverbs, the king 
is said to have also translated for the Anglo-Saxons the Fables 
of Esop, so dearly loved by all the Germanic races. This in- 
formation is derived from the conclusion of the Norman- 
French fables of the poetess Marie of France, written in the 
thirteenth century ; but it is probable that the name of the 
Saxon king was only appended to those copies which were 
circulated in England 2 . Besides, it is a decided fact that the 
epic poem of Rein eke Fuchs (Reynard the Fox) was indige- 
nous only amongst the Franks and Saxons of the Continent, 
and not amongst the Anglo-Saxons. 

Finally, it is asserted on a much later and less credible 
authority, that Alfred, like the great Frederick II., wrote 
a treatise upon hawking. It is well known that, like all 
German princes and nobles, he was exceedingly fond of the 
chase ; but that he treated it in a literary point of view, 
seems an opinion founded on a misconception of a passage in 
Asser, who relates that the king took pains to establish and 
support falconers and fowlers of all kinds 3 . 

1 The Owl and the Nightingale, in Kemble's Solomon and Saturn, p. 249. 

2 Marie de France, Aesope in MS. Harlei. 978, fol. 87, b. 

Por amur le cunte Willame 

Le plus vaillant de nul realme, 

Meintenur de cest livre feire 

E del engleis en romans treire 

Aesope apelum cest livre 

Qu'il translata e fist escrire 

Del griu en latin le turna 

Li reis Alurez qui mut 1'ama 

Le translata puis en engleis, 

E ieo 1'ai rimee en franceis. 

Roquefort's edition of the works of this poetess, ii. 34, ff., he substitutes the 
name of Henri for that of Alurez, from another MS. A Latin manuscript of 
Esop (MS. Mus. Brit. Eeg. 15, A. vii.) contains these words: Deinde rex Angliae 
Affrus in Anglicam linguam eum transferri praecepit. A copy in Low Dutch, 
quoted by Lappenberg in the Getting. Gelehrt. Anzeigen, April 1, 1844, mentions 
Koning Affrus van Englant. 

3 Liber Alured regis de custodienrire accipitribus, in Catal. libr. MSS. aed 
Christi. A. 1315, apud Wanley Catal. jiraef. Asser, p. 486, et falconarios et acci- 
pitrarios, canicularios quoque docere. 


These spurious works deserve to be briefly noticed, for 
they show that an appreciation of the versatile literary cha- 
racter of the West Saxon king existed at a time when very 
few of his genuine works could be obtained. But enough of 
the latter remained in existence to hand down their fame to 
all ages. The knowledge of them became first revived when 
a general taste was awakened for research into the German 
language and history. Then, by degrees, the peculiarities of 
Alfred's literary works became known and considered. It 
goon appeared that he had written in the most pithy, and at 
the same time the purest prose style of his native language. 
We learn from the information possessed at the present 
day, that poetry decidedly predominated in Anglo-Saxon 
literature until the time of Alfred ; and that the merit un- 
doubtedly appertains to him of being the founder of a prose 
style which, in the age immediately succeeding his death, 
displayed its richest fruits, chiefly consisting of religious 
works. Aelfric, the best prose writer of the tenth century, 
says that in his day there were no other godly books in the 
Saxon language than those of King Alfred 1 . 

It does not appear that the good example which the king 1 
set to all his subjects, of eagerness in the pursuit of know* 
ledge, gained many imitators during his life ; amongst his 
teachers, intellectual friends, and bishops, only Asser and 
Werfrith attained any distinction as authors. An intimacy 
may have existed between Alfred and the learned philosopher, 
John Erigena, although it cannot be clearly proved; his 
scientific and literary productions, however, never flourished 
in the soil of England. 

There is an important but anonymous work which is in- 
disputably connected with the person and actions of the 
king, and, in all probability, owes its first publication to the 
revived interest in the literary and scientific studies of 
Alfred ; and this is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the principal 
authority for his history. The oldest manuscript 2 , contain- 
ing the first of the Tear-books, written in German prose, 
reaches in its oldest form down to the year 891, and perfectly 

1 Aelfric's Preface to his Homilies, Thorpe's edition, i. 2: baton ram bocum'Sfl 
AeH'red cyning snoterlice awende of Ledene of Englisc. 

2 MS. Corp. Christ! Coll. Camb. clxxiii. 


resembles those manuscripts which we possess of Alfred's 
time.1 In the part where a later hand began to write, the elec- 
tioifoi Plegmund as Archbishop of Canterbury is mentioned ; 
and formerly, on no very reasonable grounds, the entire merit 
of the more complete records in these Tear-books was ascribed 
to this instructor and first ecclesiastical dignitary of the 
king. But these historical works had no author's name 
affixed to them. The monks of one of the south-eastern 
convents of England, deriving their only knowledge of the 
north from Bede, and whose dialect presented but a slight 
resemblance to the English language, apparently already 
possessed in their calendar-lists similar brief historical data 
concerning the earlier centuries. Some of these were taken 
out of Bede's national work, others originated from "Welsh, 
and particularly from Saxon traditions, which evidently bear 
in some cases traces of the national poetry. This fact, and 
the decided purpose of the king to substitute his native 
tongue for the unfamiliar Latin as the language of literature, 
occasioned a history to be written in Saxon. Moreover, the 
events of the age and the deeds of its great heroes, which 
were very remarkable from the year 851, gave to the Chro- 
nicle a very different and more comprehensive form ; and 
there can scarcely be a doubt that for the next forty years, 
the Chronicle is nearly contemporary with the events it re- 
cords. Alfred's great taste for historical learning is very 
important to us, for to it we owe that a part at least of the 
records of his life and times has reached us in an authentic 

It is certain that the first article in the Chronicle dates 
from that period when, for the second time, he waged war 
against the Danes ; the records of the following part relate 
to the first half of the next century ; and from that time to 
the middle of the twelfth, the notices of this very remark- 
able literary memorial are formally arranged in a regular 
manner 1 . A wide field was thus opened to thinking minda 

1 Might Gaimar refer to the Chronicle when he mentions Alfred's works aa 
follows? v. 3451: 

II fist escrivere un livre Engleis 
Des aventures, e des leis, 
E de b;1'illes de la terre, 
E des reis ki firent la guere. 


amongst the Anglo-Saxons, where they might exercise them- 
selves in learning and teaching; and their king himself took 
the first steps in the formation of a literature. 

His constant exertions for the country's good were 
directed in other channels also, where, indeed, there was 
evident room for improvement, and where his efforts 
were no less conspicuous than in his literary pursuits. 
Alfred caused various arts to be sedulously studied, and 
in many instances appeared as the author and inventor of 
new plans and schemes. Scarcely anything is known at 
present of all the artistic works which were produced under 
his direction ; and the desire to know something of Alfred's 
taste, and that of his contemporaries, must ever remain un- 
gratified. It is difficult to say whether or not his visits to 
Rome exercised an early influence upon him with respect 
to architecture. Since the seventh century, the ecclesias- 
tical buildings of the Anglo-Saxons approached very nearly 
to the style then prevailing in Rome : but whether the 
powerful impression which had been left by that city upon 
the boy might have caused him, when he became king, to aspire 
to the perfection of the Italian models, must still remain a 
question to be solved ; for throughout England there is no 
structure to be found of which it can be affirmed with cer- 
tainty, that it bears any traces of that time, or was erected 
under Alfred's superintendence. We must therefore con- 
tent ourselves with the few details given occasionally by his- 
torians on this subject. 

With immediate reference to the buildings which were 
undertaken by him, it is explicitly stated that he did not 
bind himself to follow the customs of his ancestors ; but 
that from new and, in. fact, original inventions, endeavoured to 
erect something much more costly and worthy of admiration 1 . 
We are evidently given to understand that these buildings 
were chiefly churches and convents ; for as it was necessary 
that so many holy places which had been consumed, should 
be restored, it is possible that new methods and a better 
style of architecture was employed for this purpose. Where 
such as had been rased to the ground were to be replaced, 
necessity compelled an entirely new erection, and from ne- 

1 Asser, p. 486 : Venerabilia'a et pretiosiora nova sua machinatione. 


ceasity invention arose. This must have been the case espe- 
cially with the two monasteries of Athelney and Shaftesbury, 
although Alfred had recourse to foreign aid in the prosecu- 
tion of his artistic designs, as well as in his literary works. It 
is well known that innumerable artists and labourers, skilled 
in every kind of work, and procured from different nations, 
were to be met with in his employment 1 . 

In the little island of Athelney, hemmed in by water and 
thick bushes, there was great want of space, especially as 
Alfred desired that the place which had once served him as 
a stronghold, should always remain one ; being surrounded 
by water, it was only accessible from the east by a bridge, 
which at both extremities, and particularly on the western 
end, was furnished with strong fortifications 2 . Upon the 
island itself he caused the convent to be erected, where it 
would be defended from the wild and insecure character 
of the neighbourhood. From the records of the twelfth cen- 
tury, at which period it was still in good preservation, it 
appears that the church was very small, but that it had been 
constructed according to an entirely novel style of architec- 
ture. Four piers were sunk in the ground, no doubt on account 
of the swampy nature of the soil, supporting the whole edifice, 
and upon them four arches were placed in a circular form 3 . 

Alfred built the town as well as the convent of Shaftes- 
bury, so early indeed, if the account is credible, as the year 
880 4 . The rebuilding of London has already been men- 
tioned. The new minster at "Winchester, dedicated by Alfred 
to the Virgin, must have been used in his lifetime, for Grim- 
bald officiated as abbot there ; it was first completed in the 
year 908, when Archbishop Plegmund consecrated the tower 6 . 
He likewise caused the cities and fortified places through- 
out the kingdom to be repaired or entirely rebuilt; and 
he provided modes of defence, consisting of walls and en- 
trenchments, in case of a return of those invasions with 

1 Asser, p. 495: Ex multis gentibus collectos et in omni terreno aedificio 

2 Asser, p. 493 : In cujus pontis occidental! limite arx munitissima pulchemma 
operatione consita est. 

3 Wilh. Malmesb. Gesta Pontif. ii. 255. 

* Wilh. Malmesb. Gesta Pontif. ii. 251 ; Asser, p. 495. 
Ethelwerd, iv. 519. 



which the country was continually threatened. Those citi( 
thus protected by Alfred cannot be accurately specified ; and 
it appears that in most instances he did not proceed far with 
the work, for the innate indolence of his subjects placed an 
invincible obstacle in his way 1 . 

Alfred displayed regal magnificence at those places where 
he was accustomed to reside with his court. According to 
his command 2 , the buildings were adorned with gold and silver, 
and halls and royal chambers were constructed from stone 
and wood with great skill. Some stone vills were removed 
from their former sites, and placed in situations better adapted 
for royal residences. 

But amongst all his ideas, there was one which was most 
successfully carried out. The perfection which he attained 
in the art of ship-building, and the occasion which led him 
to acquire it, will be noticed in the following section. 

Our attention is now particularly directed towards the 
minor inventions which were produced in his day, and 
amongst them to the contrivance for measuring time, disco- 
vered by Alfred himself. His biographer describes this in- 
vention. Only by the help of strict punctuality could the 
great ruler have succeeded in the accomplishment of such 
extensive and various duties. But the blue sky with its 
planets did not indicate the time to him with any regularity. 
In his country there were many gloomy clouds and con- 
stant showers, which often prevented the calculation of time 
from the sun and moon. Alfred's inventive genius, however, 
discovered a remedy for such perplexities. He caused his 
chaplains, whose names we know were Athelstan and Were- 
wulf, to supply him with sufficient wax to weigh down 
seventy-two pence in the scales 3 . Prom this quantity he 
ordered six candles to be made, each of equal weight, and 
twelve inches long, with twelve divisions marked in each 
inch. These six candles burnt for twenty-four hours, day and 
night, before the relics of the saints, which always accom- 
panied him on his journeys. But here, too, the weather 
seems to have interfered with his schemes. The boisterous 

1 Asser, p. 493 : Propter pigritiam populi imperata non implentur, &c. 

2 Asser, p. 492 : Illo edceeute. 

* Asser, p. 496 : Tanta cgra quae septuaginta duos denarios wnsaret. 


wind, which often blew without intermission day and night, 
penetrated the slight doors and windows of the churches, 
and through the crevices in the walls and planks, and 
the thin canvas of the tents. The light either became ex- 
tinguished, leaving the king in darkness, or it burnt down 
quicker than usual, so as to prevent the observance of the 
astronomical point with which to begin the daily reckoning. 
Alfred removed this obstacle in the following manner : he 
had a lantern carefully made of wood and thin plates of horn ;N 
the horn was white, and scraped so thin as to be scarce!) 
less transparent than a vessel of glass. The door of the 
lantern was also made of horn, and closed so firmly that no 
breath of wind could enter. In this secure receptacle he 
could now place his candles without fear of injury; when they 
burnt down they were instantly replaced by others, and with- 
out a water-clock, or any other more ingenious contrivance 
still undiscovered, he computed the time, which to him was 
so exceedingly precious. 

As he caused all kinds of ornaments to be fabricated, he 
could not by any means dispense with goldsmiths 1 . A very 
remarkable specimen of their craft has been preserved to the 
present day, and has been frequently represented; it is 
called Alfred's jewel, and is a beautiful work of art. It 
was discovered in the year 1693, at Newton Park, in the 
lowlands of Somersetshire, near the river Parret, somewhat 
to the north of the spot where the island and fortress of 
Athelney were formerly situated 2 . There the king, in per- 
haps the most sorrowful days of his life, lost this token of 
his sovereignty ; it remained hidden in the marshes, until, 
after the lapse of many centuries, it was accidentally brought 
to light once more. It is now preserved as a precious 
memorial of the olden time, in the Ashrnolean Museum 
at Oxford. This work of art consists of a polished crystal 
of an oval form, rather more than two inches in length 
and half an inch thick, inlaid with a mosaic enamel of 
green and yellow. This enamel represents the outline of u 
human figure, which appears to be in a sitting posture, hold- 
ing in each hand a sort of lily-branch in blossom. Those 
who have described the jewel have made various guesses 

1 Asser, p. 486, says that he instructed goldsmiths (aurifices). 

2 Airman's Archaeological Index, p. 143, table six. 1. 



respecting this figure, calling it St. Cuthbert, St. Neot, and 
even Christ ; but the least perplexing solution would be, that 
it is merely a representation of a king in his state attire, 
The reverse is covered by a plate of fine gold, in which not 
without taste, and somewhat fancifully, a flower is engraved ; 
the oval-shaped sides are bordered by beaten gold admirably 
and durably manufactured, bearing around them these re- 
markable words, which banish all doubts respecting the former 
possessor of the jewel : 


Alfred had me made. 

The letters of this inscription are all capitals, and in their some- 
what stiff" form agree entirely with the initial letters in the 
principal parts of the authentic manuscripts of Alfred's time. 
Still more than the letters, the form of the two middle words, 
by their primitive, genuine orthography, bears witness to the 
age claimed by the motto. At the extreme end, where the 
crystal and its border join the gold, it is finished by a 
beautifully worked dolphin's head in gold, whose empty eye- 
sockets must have once contained precious stones, and from 
whose open jaws a small golden pin protrudes. This pro- 
bably served as a fastening to a cane, or some beautiful staff, 
on the point of which the jewel was placed. It is a strange 
freak of fortune which thus presents to us, in this extra- 
ordinary work of art, what in all probability was a part of 
Alfred's sceptre ; it gives a very favourable impression of the 
state of art a that period, and of the skill and ability of the 

It is certain that many works were executed in this man- 
ner, and Alfred himself speaks, in his preface to the " Pastoral 
Care," of some gold work, which he had caused to be exe- 
cuted, referring to four small golden tablets 1 , one of which he 
presented with each copy of the book. They were worth 
fifty mancuses each, and it is not unlikely that "William 
of "Malmesbury saw one of them 2 . Now when they are 

1 Aestel, an index or small tablet with columns : pugilkres , 

2 Gesta Reg. ii. 123: Cum pugillari aureo in quo est manca auri. The rela- 
tion to each other of manca, mancusa, and marca, has net yet been clearly 
ascertained. Du Cange, p. 5 


all lost, nothing can be accurately known of their value and 

There are a great number of coins extant with Alfred's 
stamp on them, but in their execution they are far inferior 
to the coinage of other Anglo-Saxon princes. The image of 
the king is in general so rudely engraved, that every attempt 
to trace any resemblance in even a single feature must be 
abandoned. There is no doubt that Oifa once employed 
Italian coiners ; his stamp could not otherwise have attained 
that perfection which every one must grant it to possess ; 
and in the time of Athelstan, Alfred's grandson, traces of 
artistic skill are again perceptible in the coinage, which then 
first became the object of legal enactments. From the 
coarse alloy 1 of Alfred's money, we may infer that the diffi- 
culties of the age prevented him from improving it, and that 
he probably had recourse to expedients similar to those which 
Frederick the Great could not avoid using. His laws contain 
no reference to coinage, although there is frequent mention 
made in them of pounds, shillings, and pence. The shilling and 
the penny existed as coins, as well as a third part of the latter 2 . 
On the pieces of money we possess, the king is simply desig- 
nated Aelfred, or Alfred rex, or Elfred MXX. ; the places where 
money was coined were Dorovernia, Oxnaforda, and Londinia. 

A particular branch of medieval art is formed by its ma- 
nuscripts. "We remember that book whose illuminated let- 
ters first smiled on the child, so anxious to acquire knowledge. 
The few manuscripts of Alfred's day which are still in exist- 
ence are very simply written ; the hand is flowing, and very 
legible, especially in the old copies of the " Pastoral Care." 
The initial letters of the chapter are regularly decorated, but 
without great splendour. Dragons or monsters of the bird 
species and distorted human countenances are drawn with a 
black pencil around the base of the letters, the red colour is 
then added afterwards for shading. 

These are the only fragments from which, at the present 
day, we can derive even an inadequate idea of the state of art 
and knowledge in England during the second part of the 
ninth century. But notwithstanding the great obstacles 

1 Ruding. Annals of the Coinage, ed. iii. vol. L p. 125. 
* Legg. Alf. 71 : priddan dael paeuninges. 


which present themselves in the research, we may clearly 
perceive how Alfred ceaselessly endeavoured to elevate the 
intellectual condition of his people, as long as was possible, 
by means of his own influence, and all the resources that he 
could command. The next century enjoyed the fruits of his 
efforts, which had regained the lost ground, and provided 
efficient defence against fresh disasters. 



THE years of peace, which could not have been more nobly 
and profitably employed by Alfred for the mental and bodily 
welfare of his subjects in all branches of legislation and poli- 
tical economy, and in the cultivation of the arts and sciences, 
were rapidly drawing to a close. Many things indeed still 
remained to be accomplished ; some might be effected in the 
quiet intervals of the immediately succeeding years, but 
others would be unavoidably left to later governments, 
with still less hope of success. The pressure of outward 
circumstances on the West Saxon kingdom began again 
to overpower all consideration of its internal condition, into 
which the incomparable exertions of its king had infused such 
new vigour. Once more Alfred was destined to resist the 
piratical foe, the terror of all organised forms of government. 

Harbingers of such a misfortune had not been wanting 
during the time that had elapsed since the king pro- 
cured a happy tranquillity for the country. Bumours of 
the exploits of the heathens, who still molested in large 
numbers all the coasts of the opposite continent, were con- 
stantly brought over to the Saxons, and claimed the serious 
attention of Alfred. Yet it seemed that the solemn doc- 
trines which, after great efforts, he had succeeded in impart- 
ing to the marauders, had still some influence over them, and 
restrained them during this period from making any fresh 
attack on his dominions. Since the year 885, they had made 
no actual attempt at hostility ; the two people so nearly re- 
lated, but who had so hated one another when they were 
separated by different religions and habits, had learnt to 


know their common interest since the conversion of many 
Northmen in East Anglia and even in Northumbria. It 
seems as if the admission of the Danes into the more civil- 
ised Anglo-Saxon community had formed a strong bulwark 
against any further attacks of heathendom. 

There had been no occasion for campaigns and battles 
during this period ; the deep wounds inflicted on the Saxons 
by the lengthened war were slowly healing. New influence 
had been gained for them by the heroic king, by which, in a 
peacaable manner, the boundaries of the kingdom were ex- 
tended, and its supremacy acknowledged by its hitherto 
unconquered neighbours. Alfred succeeded also in effect- 
ing what no other king had been able to accomplish be- 
fore him, the establishing a peaceful intercourse with the 
Welsh Britons, and convincing them of their dependence 
upon the powerful neighbouring state. During the long con- 
test with the Danes, the old national hatred had not once been 
thoroughly excited ; it is true the Welsh had by their enmity 
contributed not a little to the sufferings of the year 878, but 
they had experienced painfully enough that the Danes, with 
whom they thought to make common cause, did not spare 
them, but added severely to the wretchedness of their 
condition. Amongst the petty princes of their land there 
were continual disagreements and quarrels, it was therefore 
natural that the weaker side should first turn to that 
country which had, in fact, long possessed the dominion 
over them. 

It was about the time when Alfred became acquainted 
with Asser that discords such as these prevailed in the native 
land of the latter, information of which is only derived from 
him 1 . He applied to the King of the West Saxons on behalf 
of himself and his monastery of St. David, for protection 
against the constant provocations and injustice of Hemeid, 
the Prince of Demetia, and he formally made Alfred's 
promise of aid one of the conditions towards attaining 
that mutual relation which the king so much desired. But 
Alfred also took advantage of this state of things to fix deci- 
sively his authority over the Welsh. Being severely oppressed 
by the six sons of Eotri Maur (Eoderick the Great), the 

1 Asser, p. 488. 


Lords of Venedotia, or North Wales, Hemeid first submitted 
to the Saxon power, with his little territory of Demetia. 
Helised, son of Tendyr, and King of Brecknock, overpowered 
by the same adversaries, yielded himself to the sway of Alfred. 
Howel, son of Ris, and Prince of Glevesing, in the present 
counties of Monmouth and Glamorgan, Brocmail and Fern- 
mail, sons of Mouric, and princes of G-went-by-the-Severn, 
could neither of them any longer withstand the harsh mea- 
sures of Ethelred, the powerful Ealderman of Mercia, who 
desired to have peace within the borders, and they went 
voluntarily to solicit the protection of King Alfred. At 
length Anaraut, the son of Eotri, after renouncing the friend- 
ship of the Anglo-Danes in Northumbria, from which he had 
gained nothing, but had rather suffered injury, came with his 
brothers to declare his willingness also to submit without ap- 
pealing to arms. When he came into the presence of Alfred, 
the king received him with all due respect, adopted him as 
his godson from the hands of a bishop, probably Werfritb, 
presented him with rich gifts, and caused him with all his 
vassals, and with regard to all his seignorial rights, to enter 
into the same feudal relation with Wessex in which Ethelred 
and Mercia stood. When this compact was explained and 
comprehended on both sides, it might be justly asserted that 
all the lands of South- Western Britain belonged to King 
Alfred 1 . They never again opposed him, nor lent any aid 
to his northern foes, so long as he wielded the West Saxon 

The principal causes of the again-threatened outrages of 
the Danes against England must be attributed to the rest- 
less character of this people, and to the great losses they so 
frequently sustained on the Prankish coasts, but at the same 
time also to the events which took place in those parts of Eng- 
land which were inhabited by a mixed population. In the 
year 890, for instance, Guthorm-Athelstan 2 , the King of East 
Anglia, died : during his later years he had lived much more 
tranquilly, compelled either by age or the force of circum- 

1 Asser, p. 488 : Omiies regiones dexteralis Britanniae partis ad Aelf red regem 
pertinebant et adhuc pertinent. Dexteralis means southern, in which direction 
it was then considered the regions inhabited by Britons were situated. 

Chron. Sax. A 880; Florent. Wigorn. i. 108. 


stances, and seems to have performed faithfully the contract 
formerly entered into. He was buried at Thetford 1 . With 
respect to the succession in his kingdom, there is much ob- 
scurity in the sources of information, which however tend to 
show that circumstances had occurred to impede its regular 
course. After him a Northman named Eohric reigned ; and 
under Edward I., the son or nephew, Guthorm II. 2 , is first met 
with. But it is probable that after the death of Gruthorm, 
the principles of heathenism were revived in Suffolk and 
Norfolk. Egbert had reigned over one part of Northumbria 
during the latter part of the time that had elapsed since tho 
death of Halfdene, and Guthfrid of the Danes, over the other 
part. The origin of this prince is obscure ; it is said that 
he was a son of the Danish king, Hardicanute 3 ; he was a 
Christian, and an especial benefactor to the church at Dur- 
ham. He had sworn to maintain a sacred peace towards 
Alfred ; he died on the 24th of August, 894, and was interred 
in York Cathedral 4 . Under his rule, the influence of Alfred 
seems to have obtained pre-eminence in Northumbria; and 
after his death, the Danish power, which was represented by 
the three sons of the deceased, vainly attempted to resist 
it. The attacks which were meanwhile in preparation from 
abroad, were perhaps connected with events of this kind. 

Hitherto the Northmen had been unable to make a firm, 
footing, and to establish settlements upon the coasts of the 
German and Prankish Carlo vingians. In spite of the defi- 
ciency of power in those kingdoms, and the great defeats 
they had sustained, the warfare was continually carried on, 
and the vagrant enemy was never allowed to have any rest. 
Wherever they appeared anxious to settle, they were either 
repulsed by some unexpected assault, or their own restless- 
ness urged them onwards until they again met with another 
adversary, who was resolute in defending his possessions.^ At 
last the German king, Arnulf, who was once more destined 

Gaimar, v. 3383: Le cors de lui gist a Thuetfort; but according to the 
annals of the pseudo-Asser, in Headlaga. 

2 Vide above, p. 140. 

3 Simeon Dunelm. Gesta Reg. Angl. A. 883, ap. Twysden, 

Ethelwerd, iv. 518 : In natalitia Sancti Bartholomaei. Simeon Dunelm. Gesta 
Angl. p. 685. 


to do honour to the race from which he descended, engaged 
with the enemy on his northern borders 1 , with a considerable 
army, consisting of Franks, Saxons, and Bavarians. 

A defeat which was sustained by him at first, was soon fol- 
lowed by the splendid victory on the banks of the river Dyle, 
near Louvaine, on September 1st, 891. Arnulf surprised the 
Danes, and completely vanquished them before their ships 
could come up. The battle was so decisive, that in future 
the Danes never attempted to fix themselves for any length 
of time upon German territory 2 . 

But another large army, which in the most fearful manner 
continued to ravage the northern kingdoms of France, stood 
in no immediate connexion with the Danes who had been 
conquered in Flanders, and therefore felt no actual alarm at 
this defeat. Hasting, who must then have been approaching 
old age, was the dreaded leader of this division. Within a 
year, he had already pillaged the district by the river Somme ; 
now he had taken a firm position at Amiens, and from thence 
he attempted, by sudden attacks, to plunder the rich establish- 
ments of St. Vaast and St. Omer. King Odo, who marched 
against him, several times suffered grievous loss. In con- 
sequence of the incessant devastations, a universal famine 
visited these countries in the year 892 ; immense hordes of 
Danes, who found nothing more to plunder there, and who 
were joined from the north by the remnant of the army which 
was defeated at the Dyle, assembled together at Boulogne, 
and embarked with their horses in a fleet of 250 ships, 
for England 3 . They landed at the mouth of the little river 
Limene (Lymne), in East Kent, on the eastern side of the 
Andredswald, which the Chronicle describes as being 120 
miles long, and 30 miles broad. Here they probably availed 
themselves of an old Romish fortification, which has been re- 
cently discovered. They brought their ships four miles up the 
river into the Wald, and came upon a fortress which had been 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 891. 

2 Annal. Fuld. 891 ; Pertz. M. G. S.S. L 408. 

Annal. Vedast. A. 892 ; Pertz. Monum. i. 528 ; Chron. Sax. A. 893, in the 
original Cambridge manuscript, 892, which year is also noted by Ethelwerd, iv. 
518. Lappenberg, p. 342, n. 2, supposes, in accordance with Guido, Alberich, 
A. 895, that Bjorn Eisenrippe was the conductor of this fleet. 


thrown up by some Kentish peasants ; and as it was still in 
an incomplete state, the defence made there was unsuccessful. 
A little further on, the army settled near Appeldore. Not 
much later, in the year 893, another fleet of eighty sail landed 
in the mouth of the Thames, commanded by Hasting himself, 
from whom, unquestionably, the entire enterprise originated, 
and who, being compelled to leave the coasts of France, came 
to England in the hope of finding fresh booty, and perchance 
a kingdom, as others of his countrymen had done before. He 
went up the Swale, and also landed in Kent, where he raised 
a fortress at a place called Milton 1 . 

In this position the two armies remained quietly until 
towards the close of the following winter. About Easter, in 
the year 894 (March 31st), the Danes left their camp at 
Appledore, and, protected by the thickets and marshes, they 
penetrated into the neighbouring districts. Their destructive 
march extended into Hampshire and Berkshire 2 . The fickle 
inhabitants of East Anglia and Nortlmmbria, some of whom 
were still heathens, who had shortly before renewed their 
oath of fidelity to Alfred, the Northumbrians even giving 
him six hostages, acted in perfect unison with the large 
hosts of strangers, joining them in their incursions into the 
contiguous West Saxon and Mercian provinces, as often as 
they went from Appledore or Milton in search of plunder. 

The moment was now arrived when Alfred once more 
grasped the sword, which had long rested in the scabbard 
whilst he was exercising the weapons of the mind in the 
peaceful days of leisure. The dexterity and cunning of the 
foe were, from long and painful experience, well known to 
him. How often he must have seen that the Danes never 
practised a brave and honourable method of warfare, but were 
accustomed to steal cunningly out of the heat of battle, and by 
treacherous ambush, to gain the upper hand. Alfred therefore 
resolved to make the utmost use of this experience, which 
had been so dearly bought, and to employ the greatest cau- 
tion and similar craft in his own plans. So long as the 
Danes remained quietly in their fortified encampments he 
did not attack them, for the localities they selected were 

* Chron. Sax. A. 893 ; Ethelwerd, iv. 518. 
3 Ethelwerd, iv. 518. 


wholly inaccessible on account of the forest and the bogs. 
But every preparation was made to give them a bloody re- 
ception on more favourable ground. 

In the interval of peace Alfred had also provided for 
the warlike defence of his country, especially in the fol- 
lowing arrangements : all who were capable of bearing 
arms were to be divided into two parts, one to guard 
constantly house, field, and labour, whilst the other part 
opposed the enemy in the battle-field; at the appointed 
time an exchange was to be made, and the two divisions were 
to relieve each other. There was, besides, one particular 
troop which formed the garrison of the fortified places, and 
remained always under arms 1 . But Alfred unquestionably 
caused all his soldiers to practise the arts of defence during 
the whole time, and many of them had already been in battle. 
Immediately after the arrival of the Northmen, Alfred seems 
to have placed a small troop ol spies on the south-eastern 
part of his kingdom, under the command of his youthful son 
Edward, the crown-prince, who received information concern- 
ing every movement of the enemy 2 . The Ealderman Ethelred 
had likewise summoned his troops, especially placing those 
under his jurisdiction to garrison the newly-fortified city 
of London. When Edward announced that the heathen had 
passed near him on their march, although he was unable 
to obstruct them, Alfred arose with the whole strength of 
his troops and encamped between the two hostile divisions, as 
near as he could possibly approach, owing to the forest and the 
morasses on both sides, and so as to be able to attack either on 
the instant it might venture into the open plain. He could not 
have selected a more advantageous position, as in front he not 
only separated the two armies from each other, but also kept 
them apart from those who were in the Danish interest on the 
eastern coast. It seems that Hasting was induced by this to 
promise that he would soon quit the country, and that, on this 
occasion, he sent his sons as hostages to the Saxon king, 
who sent them back to their father 1 , after causing them to 

1 Haefde se cyning his fierd on tu tonumen. swa pset hie wseron simle healfe 
at ham. healfe ute. bfttan psem monnum pe pa burga healdaa scoldeik. 
Chron. Sax. A. 894. 

2 This is likewise to be gathered from Ethelwerd, iv 518 Praenotata stint 
haec clitoni turn Eaduuerdi filii regis, etc. 


be baptised, he and his son-in-law Ethelred being their 

The Danes, with a view to plunder, went in small bands 
along the edge of the forest. Similar small detachments 
were sent out by the king in pursuit of them, partly selected 
from his own forces, partly from those forming the garrison 
of the towns : by day and night there ensued perpetual 
collisions and skirmishes. The Danes only twice ventured 
out with their whole strength ; once, immediately after 
their landing, when the Saxons had not yet opposed 
them ; the next time, most probably, when the division 
which had invaded the remote districts of Hampshire had 
returned heavily laden with booty. Apparently, the purpose 
of the heathen was to go across the Thames and to reach 
Essex, whither their ships had already sailed. Alfred im- 
mediately went with his troops in order to cut off their 
retreat. At Farnham, in Surrey, he compelled them to fight, 
completely defeated them, and took from them all the spoil 
they had amassed. The Prince Edward gloriously dis- 
tinguished himself in the bloody conflict ; the heathen king 
(Bjorn ?) fled wounded from the battle-field. His army rushed 
in wild confusion towards the north, and passed over the 
Thames, being unable to discover more than one ford, which 
was probably between Hampton and Kingston. They re- 
turned into Essex, and first reassembled in the island of 
Thorney, which lies at the outlet of the Colne, where their 
vessels had previously gone. 

Alfred at once despatched a part of his army in the same 
direction. For a long time the Saxons blockaded the Danish 
ships, but at length their provisions failed; the time of 
service of that division which maintained the siege had 
expired, and in all probability they had no ships with which 
to approach the enemy by sea. The soldiers, by whom the 
siege had been commenced and then relinquished, were re- 
turned home, and Alfred was himself approaching with the 

1 This is borrowed by Lappenberg, p. 343, from Chron. Sax. 894: Haefdon hi 
hiora onfangen aer Hsesten to Beamfleote come, und from Ethelwerd, iv. 518: 
Obsecrant pacis barbari jamqiie foederisque statum : obsides dantur ; adfirmant 
jure exire regno praefati regis : actus et sermo simul una complentur. 


ed army 

troop appointed to take their place, to keep the besieged 
in check, and fully to annihilate it, when he received intelli- 
gence of a sudden attack which had been made by the faithless 
Northumbrians and East Angles upon the western coasts of 
his kingdom. The Danes, who had not yet recovered the 
heavy losses which they had sustained at Farnham, and being 
impeded by their severely- wounded king, who could not keep 
up with them, had, in order to overtake their allies, collected 
together several hundred vessels, in which they sailed for 
some distance along the south coast, and threatened to take 
possession of Exeter, whilst a fleet of forty ships went into 
the Bristol Channel, and commenced an attack upon a citadel 
in the north of Devonshire. The scheme was cunningly 
devised, for that part of the kingdom was then entirely 
destitute of every means of defence. When this intelligence 
was conveyed to Alfred, he resolved to return immediately 
with the principal part of the troops then remaining with 
him, to make preparations for defending his western pro- 
vinces, and to prevent the enemy from every attempt at 
gaining possession of them 1 . 

But whilst the king provided for the accomplishment of 
this object, he had at the same time to carry on the warfare 
in the east. For this purpose he had left behind a strong 
body of his forces, which marched towards London, and with 
other auxiliary troops hastening thither from the west, re- 
inforced the garrison already there. Unquestionably this 
army, commanded by the Ealderman Ethelred, on whom de- 
volved the duty of protecting the eastern parts of the king- 
dom, penetrated into Essex as far as Bamfleet. Thither 
Hasting had gone with his troops, shortly after the battle 
at Farnham, again occupying that fortress which he had 
abandoned in the year 885. The large army which had been 
formerly settled at Appledore, and had then been driven to 
the mouth of the Colne, was also opposed to him ; it was now 
within the citadel, and Hasting was engaged in a plundering 
expedition, when the Saxons appeared before it in all their 
strength. They easily overcame the resistance attempted 
against them, stormed the fortress, and took possession of all 
they found therein, women and children, as well as every 

Cliron. Sax. A. 894. 


kind of property, and returned home to London enriched 
with much spoil. The ships which they had found ashore at 
Barafleet, were partly broken to pieces or burned, partly taken 
to London and Kochester. 

Amongst the prisoners were the wife and the two sons of 
Hasting, who were sent to King Alfred ; he did not avenge 
himself upon them, however, but once again showed his 
generous and Christian nature by sending them back to the 
treacherous Dane, with costly presents. Hasting, who had 
violated his oath to the godfather of his children, could not 
yet be won to improvement and conversion. Even after his 
fortress was taken, and he had experienced the most bene- 
volent treatment from Ethelred and Alfred, he did not ab- 
stain from devastating in the wildest manner the dominions 
of his benefactors 1 . He knew that his brave opponent 
was busily engaged in the distant west, and, in a short time, 
he effected a union of the scattered hordes in Essex, which 
be reinforced by fresh allies from the coasts of Northumbria 
and East Anglia. He formed with them a strong entrench- 
ment at Shobury, somewhat to the east of Bamfleet. He 
soon considered his forces sufficiently strong to attack 
Mercia ; then marched up the left bank of the Thames, 
and passed across the country, until he reached the Severn, 
intending to follow the course of that river towards the 

But Ethelred did not look idly on during these disturb- 
ances, he collected together all the troops under his com- 
mand ; Ethelhelm, the Ealderman of "Wiltshire, Ealderman 
Ethelnoth, and the royal Thanes who occupied the garrisons, 
also came with their forces. Those places east of the river 
Parrot, and east and west of Selwood, sent their soldiers, as 
did the countries north of the Thames and west of the 
Severn, and even North Wales. With this great army 
Ethelred marched against the Danes, and encountered them 
at Buttington, on the banks of the Severn, where they were 
secured behind their fortifications. He immediately sur- 

1 And eft oftre sifte he waes on hergaS gelend on pset ilce rice, pa pa man his 
geweorc abrsec. Chron, Sax. A. 894, where the twice-repeated capture of 
Basting's sons ia considered as one. 


rounded them on every side, and for many weeks 1 prevented 
them from making any attempt to escape. As all means of 
conveyance were cut off, a fearful famine ensued amongst 
the besieged army ; they had already devoured the greater 
number of their horses, and many had died of starvation, 
when Hasting found himself compelled to risk a sally to- 
wards the east. A fearful battle ensued, in which many 
royal Thanes were killed, amongst them one named Ordheh ; 
but the Christians were victorious, and scattered the North- 
men in wild flight 2 . 

If that is true which we gather from the incomprehen- 
sible words of Ethelwerd, Hasting concluded a treaty, by 
which he promised to quit Mercia. It is clear that he was 
obliged to do so without delay ; and his victors appear to 
have permitted him to depart unmolested. He reached his 
fortress in Essex ; but before the winter 3 , he hastily gathered 
together the dispersed remnant of his countrymen, and 
fresh troops of East Angles and Northumbrians, and formed 
them into a large army. They gave their women, their 
ships, and all their property, into the charge of the East 
Angles, and then journeyed, day and night, in unbroken 
marches back again to the north-west. The pirate seems 
to have laid much stress upon effecting his passage to the 
western coast ; perhaps he purposed advancing to the assist- 
ance of the great fleet on the coast of Devonshire, which 
was in the mean time hard pressed by Alfred. 

Immediately after the victory at Buttington, Ethelred had 
dismissed the Mercian troops according to custom. Thus 
Hasting met with no opposition to his departure, and he 
reached Chester, which lies at the entrance of the penin- 
sula of Wirral 4 . But he did not succeed in surprising the 
garrison, which was safe behind the walls ; and the Danes 
contented themselves with besieging the city for two days, 

1 $a hie pa fela wucena sseton on twa healfe paere e. Chron. Sax. A. 894. 

2 Gesta haec quippe in Buttingtune praedicantur a priscis, says Ethelwerd, 
alluding in intelligible words to the songs which in his time were doubtlessly 
sung about this battle. 

3 Onforan winter. 

On anre westre ceastre on Wirhealum. seo is Legaceaster gehaten. Chroa 
Sax. A. 894. 


killing the few people whom they found without the walls, 
and driving all the cattle from the fields. They burnt the 
corn which fell into their hands, or consumed it themselves 
with their horses 1 . 

Hasting passed the winter at Wirrnl ; in the spring 
of the year 895 he made preparations for going into 
North Wales, for the supplies of cattle and corn had either 
been exhausted by his troops or again taken from him 2 . In 
Wales they advanced towards the south, and especially 
ravaged Grwent, Brecknock, and many other adjacent dis- 
tricts 8 . With the plunder which they obtained there they 
returned to the north, passed inland across Northumbria 
arid East Anglia, so that the Mercians who went in pursuit 
could not overtake them. They probably approached York, 
and then went through the Mercian territory towards the 
south. Near Stamford, on the river Welland, in Northamp- 
tonshire, a battle must have taken place between Hasting 
and the Ealderman Ethelnoth, who advanced against him 
from the west 4 . The greater number of the heathens re- 
turned, however, to Essex, and established themselves in the 
island of Mersey. 

At the same time that Hasting went into Wales, a pirate 
named Sigeferth sailed with his fleet from Northumbria, and 
devastated and pillaged along the coasts, after which he re- 
turned home laden with booty 5 . 

Meanwhile Alfred had kept the field in Devonshire for a 

1 On aslcere efenelvSe always at evening, if the word is correct. 

-' Chron. Sax. A. 895. 

3 Annales Cambriae, A. 895. Nordmanni venerunt et vastaverunt Loyer et 
Brecheniauc et Guent et Guinliguiauc ; also Morganwg and Buallt, Brut y 
Tywysogion, A. 894, in Mon. Hist. Brit. 

I infer this from the incomprehensible account of Ethelwerd, from which 
Lappenberg gathers, somewhat incorrectly, that it occurred in the following year, 
whilst two years had passed since the landing of the heathen. The words, 
w'liich defy all interpretation, areas follows: ab occidentali profectus est parte 
tune Anglorum Aetlielnoth dux ; adit in hoste Evoraca urbe, qui non parva teni- 
toria pandunt in Myrciorum regno loci in parte occidentali Stan ford a, hoc est inter 
rlucnta amnis Uueolod et condenso sylvae quae vulgo Ceoftefne (Ceostefne) nun. 

Ethelwerd, p. 518. We do not learn whither the march was directed. Ac- 
cording to the Annals of Ulster, p. 65, Sigeferth, Jngvars son, had killed i~L 
brother Guthferth. 


year, although no decisive event appears to have 
taken place in this part of the kingdom ; but he prevented the 
germ of his state, the old West Saxon province, from being 
devastated by the Danes, and at length compelled the great 
fleet which had vainly attempted to blockade Exeter to put 
to sea again and to sail homewards. 

On their way thither, the Danes and East Angles made a 
sudden onslaught upon the coast of Sussex, not far from 
Chichester ; but the citizens of that place attacked them, put 
them to flight, killed several hundreds of them, and seized 
some of their ships ; the remainder joined their comrades 
in the island of Mersey 1 . 

Before the end of the winter, the Danish encampment 
there was in motion ; they had left their ships afloat, and now 
towed them up the Thames, and thence up the Lea. The 
winter was passed in erecting a fort at a distance of four 
German miles north of London, in the neighbourhood of 
Hertford or Ware. With the summer of 896 a considerable 
number of Saxons and others came out of the garrison in 
London and assailed the fortress ; but they were repulsed by 
the Danes, and four royal Thanes were killed. About the 
time of harvest, Alfred, with a powerful army, encamped in 
the vicinity of London, in order that the people might carry 
their crops without molestation from the Danes. One day, 
when the king was riding by the side of the little river Lea 
he discovered a place where the channel might be very easily 
disturbed, so that the stream could be diverted from its 
course, thus preventing the enemy from bringing out their 
vessels. He began by causing two forts to be constructed 
on both sides of the Lea 2 . His soldiers had encamped near 
the spot, and were busily engaged in the work, when the 
Danes observed that the water was flowing off", and that it 
would be impossible for them to take away their ships. They 
therefore abandoned them ; they had before left their women 
in the charge of the East Angles, and they then hastened to- 

1 Chron. Sax. 895. 

- Chron. Sax. 896. Harrington, in his translation of Aelf. Oros. p. 60, suggests, 
with great probability, that Alfred was induced to undertake the task of divert- 
ing the course of the Lea by remembering a bimilar exploit of which he bad read 
k Orosius, performed by Cyrus at the Euphrates. 


wards the north, and again marched through the country to- 
wards the Severn, and encamped near Bridgenorth 1 in Shrop- 
shire. Whilst Alfred despatched his army in pursuit for 
some distance, the inhabitants of London took the forsaken 
ships into their possession. Such as were useless were all 
destroyed, but the serviceable ones were taken to London 2 . 

In the summer of the following year, the great army of 
Northmen left the Severn, and divided into three parts, one 
of which returned home into East Anglia, and another went 
into Northumbria. The third division, which was in the 
greatest need, procured ships, and led by Hasting, went 
southwards across the sea to the mouth of the Seine 3 . Here 
the old pirate understood how to compel King Charles the 
Simple to give up a piece of land in the province of Chartres, 
the possession of which was quietly enjoyed by Hasting until 
fifteen years later, when Eollo conquered Normandy 4 . 

Thus, after three years' valiant defence, the kingdom of 
the West Saxons was delivered from the destructive foe who 
had endeavoured to penetrate into it from all sides, by land 
and by water, and who at last were forced to abandon their 
purpose, and to depart as poor as they came. " Thanks be 
to God," writes the old Saxon chronicler, "this time the 
heathen did not so utterly despoil the English people 5 ." 
And we may venture to conjecture from Alfred's character, 
that he and all his people celebrated a joyful festival of 
thanksgiving in the restored and well-guarded churches. 
But another evil, from which the Saxons suffered greater losa 
than in the battle-field, was the contagious sickness, which, 
in consequence of the ravages and other distresses attendant; 
on war, raged amongst men and beasts. Even the highest 
classes of the community were not exempt from the pesti- 
lence, and amongst the most honoured dignitaries and officers 
in the kingdom who died at that time were the Bishops 
Swithulf of Eochester, and Ealheard of Dorchester ; the 
Ealdermen Ceolmund of Kent, Beorhtulf of Essex, and 

1 JEt Cwatbricge be Saefern. 

2 pe paer staelwyr'Se wasron, took with them what was worth stealing. 

3 Chron. Sax. A. 897, and Asserii Annales ad A. 895. 

4 Wilh. Gemet. ap. Du Chesne Scriptt. rer. Norm. p. 221, 228. 

5 nasfde se here, Godes ponces. Angel cyn ealles for swrSe gebrocod 
Chron. Sax. 896, 


Wulfred of Hampshire ; the Thane Eadulf , Beornwulf, the 
Burggrave of Winchester, and Ecgulf, the king's riding- 
master ; all of whom belonged to those important ranks upon 
which depended the welfare and security of the country. 

Yet the courage of the people and of their king by no 
means failed ; once more, and, indeed, for the last time in 
Alfred's life, they were obliged to make preparations for de- 
fence. The hostile troops, which came from Bridgenorth 
into Northumbria and East Anglia, and Avhich consisted of the 
faithless inhabitants of those parts, and of many homeless 
Danes, ventured again to attack the West Saxon territory, 
and endeavoured especially to reach the southern coast, where 
hitherto they had gained but little plunder, in the light 
vessels fabricated by them long since, in anticipation of such 
an enterprise 1 . Alfred, who had learnt to meet the enemy 
with their own weapons, and who had always succeeded, now 
resolved to attack them with all his power upon the sea itself. 
Amidst so many other cares, it had been until now impos- 
sible for him to arrange a fleet. A great many ships had been, 
indeed, repeatedly seized by his people in past years, and 
now lay in the harbours of London and Eochester. He might 
have very well employed them for his purpose, but the Danish 
vessels were small and frail ; besides, the Saxons were not such 
bold and hardy mariners as the Danes. 

Alfred sought in the stores of his inventive and persevering 
| mind for means to remedy this evil. He caused long ships 
to be built, nearly twice the length of the Scandinavian 
ships 2 , most of them propelled by sixty or even more oars. 
He proposed to gain stronger, higher, and at the same 
time more rapid vessels ; and in this aim he copied neither 
from Frisian nor Danish models, but produced an entirely 
national result, and furnished his country with a means of 
defence which, in later years, became the pride of the island 
and made her the sovereign of the seas. <MThus in the history 
of England's naval power, also, Alfred is found to have taken 
an important onward step. In order to man this new fleet, 

Ealra swiftest mid paem ae* )um pc hie f'ela geara aer timbredon. Chron. 
Sax. A. 897. 

- These so called snekkar (snakes) had generally only twenty oavs. Sir 
Harris Nicholas, History of the Royal Navy, i. 10. 


obtained, besides the mariners on his own coasts, certain 
Frisians who were particularly good sailors, and had not 
only lived and traded peaceably with the opposite island, 
but in the continual conflicts with the same foe must have 
acquired considerable skill in maritime war. Frisians and 
Saxons were both Low Germans and Christians ; they agreed 
together admirably, and endeavoured unanimously to repel 

"When the Danes in their old manner commenced their 
ravages on the south coast, Alfred determined to chastise 
them, with his new fleet. Six hostile ships w r ere stationed 
off the Isle of "Wight, and disturbed by unexpected landings 
the opposite coast as far as Devonshire 1 ; they had even en- 
tered a port of that province, when nine of Alfred's galleys 
appeared at the entrance, and blocked up their egress by 
sea. The Danes rowed against them with three of their 
ships, the three others remained aground somewhat further 
up the stream, where the tide had ebbed, and permitted the 
rapacious troops to land. The Saxons immediately began 
the conflict in six of their ships, seized upon two of the three 
Danish vessels and killed the crews ; the third escaped, after 
losing all its men excepting five. But in the heat of the 
battle the Saxons had failed to notice the shallowness of the 
water ; three of their ships went ashore before the commence- 
ment of the affray, on the same side as the three Danish ves- 
sels were stranded, and the Saxons succeeded in landing 
there. The other Saxon ships ran in upon the opposite shore, 
and this gave one of the enemy's ships an opportunity to 
escape, but all means of communication with their comrades 
was cut off". Meanwhile the Danes who reached the land 
had acquired knowledge from the past, and as the sea had 
so far receded that all the ships which lay ashore on their 
side were by this time at a great distance 2 from the water, 
in the fury of desperation they hastened to attack the Saxons. 
Upon the shore a furious conflict ensued between the tw r o 
forces, in which one hundred and twenty Danes were killed ; 
but on the Saxon side, Lucumon, the king's reeve ; Ethelferth, 
the king's neat-herd ; the Frisian seamen, Wulfheard, Aebbe, 

' Chron Sax. A. 897. 

* pact waeter waes ahebbod fela fur!ai/g<t irom pwm scipum, 


and Ethelhere, with sixty-two other brave men, were slain. 
Those Saxons whose ships remained immovable on the other 
bank of the river, so that they could not hasten to the rescue, 
were almost desperate when they were obliged to witness 
such a disaster 1 . Already the victory seemed nearly decided 
in favour of the Danes, when they perceived that their ships 
began to be afloat before those of their opponents. They 
hastily rushed into them, seized the oars, and guided them out 
to sea. They had gained an important advantage when the 
nine large Saxon ships were released and able to follow 
them. The vessels of the pirates were so much injured, that 
they could not venture to take them along the dangerous 
coasts of Sussex : the sea cast two of them on shore, where 
the inhabitants seized the crews, and took them prisoners to 
Winchester. Alfred, who was at that place, caused the cap- 
tives to be hanged together on the gallows. The crew of the 
remaining ship came sorely wounded into East Anglia. In 
the same summer twenty Danish vessels were wrecked upon 
the south coast, and every soul on board perished 2 . 

These are the last-recorded hostilities during Alfred's reign. 
His attempt to cope with the enemy by sea could not in this 
instance be called successful his people had gained the 
battle only after severe losses, and his large ships had been 
taken into a channel for which they were certainly not 
fitted. Much was still needed before the Saxons could com- 
pete with their adversaries by sea, in boldness and ability, 
yet they ventured to do so, and were able to defend their 
coasts from hostile attacks with the new fleet, especially in 
the ensuing year. The Danes w r ere now exhausted in the 
British island, they were kept in perfect restraint by the 
vigilance of Alfred. 

Posterity knows scarcely anything of the four last years of 
the king's life : after peace was restored, the old authorities 
had nothing more important to record than the death of some 
exalted personages, such as the Marshal Wulfric, the brave 

1 Henric. Huntingd. v. 741, derives his account from the Chronicle, but he 
gives a more lively and poetical description : Videres autem gentem sex naviuin 
helium aspicientem, et auxilium ferre nequientem pugnis caedere pectus, et 
nnguibus rumpere crines. 

2 Mid monnum, mid ealle. Chrra. Sax. A, 897, 

DEATH OF ALFRED, A. 901. 215 

Ealderman Ethelhelm, and Eahstan, Bishop of London 1 . But 
besides what we know and have already minutely consi- 
dered respecting Alfred's diversified sphere of action, we 
may confidently venture to fill up the chasm still left, by 
assuming that the king continued to enjoy the leisure time 
of peace by advancing his own mental improvement and that 
of those who belonged to him, as far as he was permitted by 
the affairs of his office and his bodily sufferings. He pro- 
moted the welfare of his country by a just administration of 
his laws ; the instruction of his youthful subjects prospered 
under his special superintendence ; and the time that was 
left at his disposal, after the fulfilment of his other duties, 
was devoted as before to study. After the years of peril had 
passed, he undoubtedly resumed his long-suspended literary 
labours in conjunction with his learned companions, and per- 
haps completed many works which had been previously com- 

But the bodily weakness caused by an insidious disease, 
from which Alfred suffered during the most precious years of 
his life, and which must have been much aggravated by 
severe privations and rigorous weather throughout a long- 
sustained war, brought, in all probability, a premature age 
upon him ; his powers, which he had so greatly exerted with 
unwearied energy in spite of all obstacles, now failed, and he 
died, on the 28th of October, 901, at the early age of fifty- 
three years and six months 3 . The exact particulars relating 
to his death were never recorded. But he died, as he had 
lived, happy in the consciousness of having fulfilled his duty 
to his best ability. His body was buried in the monastery 
founded by him at "Winchester, in which place most probably 

Chron. Sax. A. 897, 898. 

2 Chron. Sax. A. 901 : syx nihtum aer ealra haligra maessan, that is, the 26th 
October ; but no doubt instead of syx, the word ought to be f'eower, a mistake easy 
to arise in cypher, for the Anglo-Saxon Calendar mentions the 28th as the day ot 
theDepositio Aelfredi regis, and Florent. Wigorn. i. 116, expressly states: Quarta 
feria, v. Kal. Novembris. The Chronicle also falsely reckons the duration of his 
reign to be twenty -eight years and a half, for we know that he began to reign 
on the 23rd April, 871 : see p. 80. Florence has more correctly, xxix annis sexque 
mensibus regni sui peractis. Simeon Dunelm. Gesta Reg. Angl. on the contrary, 
records his death in 899, after twenty-eight years, but gives in his other works 
tiie correct Imliction iv. 


his death occurred, and which had risen rapidly of late 
fro be the chief city of the kingdom; here also his father 
and most of his ancestors were interred. According to a 
more recent account, he was previously buried in the epis- 
copal cathedral where these graves actually were, because 
the new monastery of the Virgin Mary was not yet 
finished ; but when the canons of the Church, excited by 
.their national credulity, and by hostile feelings towards the 
clergy of the new monastery, declared that the spirit of the 
great king might be seen wandering about at night, his son 
ordered the coffin to be removed into the adjoining build- 
ing, which was nearly completed 1 . In the reign of Henry I. 
the ashes were again removed into Hyde Abbey, opposite the 
northern gate of Winchester, where they were preserved 
until the ^Reformation, and the destruction of that edifice 2 . 

The country enjoyed a happy peace, when it had recovered 
from the grief occasioned by the death of its deliverer. He 
had been able to keep under his sceptre the w r hole of the 
English nation, excepting the east coast, where, before his 
accession, the Danes had succeeded in establishing them- 
selves ; but they, too, were dependent on him, and Wales 
obeyed without resistance. The eldest son of Alfred followed 
the course destined for him by his father, and immediately 
claimed his right of inheritance ; more fortunate than Alfred 
had been at his accession, when the enemy occupied the land, 
and engaged him in lengthened battles. Edward had already 
attained his majority, his father had educated him to rule, 
and had proved that he was worthy. It is known that in 
898 he took part in the affairs of government 3 . During his 
reign he always justified the confidence placed in him by his 
father, and he quickly gained that of his subjects also. 

Even in the first year he showed his efficiency. His 
cousin Ethelwald, the second son of King Ethelred, yet a 
child at the time of Alfred's accession, and excluded from 
the throne by his father's express regulation 4 , attempted to 
claim his rights : he was actuated by feelings in favour of 

1 Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 124. Florent. Wigorn. i. 116, in riovo monasterio. 
2 Townshend, Winchester, p. 17. Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, w. 11, 
Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 324, Donation document of the year 898. 
4 See page 84. 


a direct succession, which, hitherto had never been fullv re 
cognised in the kingdoms of Christendom. "Without the ap- 
proval of all the people acknowledging him as the legiti- 
mate successor of Alfred, and without the consent of the 
Witan, he took possession of two royal domains. He en- 
deavoured to maintain them with a troop of audacious ad- 
venturers, but he could find no party to his cause through- 
out the country of the Saxons. Besides, he was, in the 
opinion of the world, guilty of a heinous sin, having taken 
a maiden, who had been previously consecrated a nun, to be 
his wife, without permission from the king or the bishop. 
When Edward had advanced with his followers, and en- 
camped in the neighbourhood of Wimborne, the beleaguered 
prince swore that he would either live or die there ; but in 
the night he stole secretly out of his fortress, and escaped to 
join the Danes in Northumbria. With their help, joined 
with that of the enemy within the country, he believed that 
he could establish his claims. They indeed acknowledged 
him as their ruler, and obeyed his commands 1 . 

According to the custom of the pirates, he visited the 
domains of Edward with repeated devastations, but it was 
not until the year 905 that he ventured to invade Mercia 
with a large army, commanded by Eohric, King of the East 
Angles. He reached the Thames at Cricklade, and crossed 
the river, intending to carry home his plunder eastward 
through his cousin's territory. At length he was attacked 
by Edward, near the Ouse. 'Unfortunately for the king, and 
notwithstanding his commands, the Kentish men, who con- 
sidered that the term of their service was expired, and who 
had gone home, could not be induced to return. They were 
punished for this refusal by a defeat from the Danes ; but 
immediately afterwards, the foe was completely vanquished 
by Edward, and amongst many other hostile leaders, King 
Eohric and the Prince Ethelwald were slain 2 . 

This victory was of no slight importance. The Pretender 
himself, whom none of the Christian people would accept, 
and who had thrown them into the power of the heathen, 
had fallen in battle, and his colleagues were also conquered 
and punished. Shortly after, Edward compelled the Danes 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 901 2 Chroa. Sax. A. 905, 


in East Anglia and Northumbria to conclude the treaty of 
Yttingaford 1 , M'hereiii he, with the new prince, Gruthorm II., 
entered into those resolutions which we have already recorded, 
as a ratification of the peace of Wedmore, concluded by Al- 

However, this peace was not sufficiently durable to secure 
the country from fresh invasions ; in connexion with events 
in Prance, and particularly with Hollo's conquest of Nor- 
mandy, the Danes, who had been converted to Christianity, 
moved to the east coasts, especially in the years 911 and 
918, and invaded them repeatedly both by sea and land, 
but Ethelred of Mercia and King Edward always repulsed 
them with great loss. The king, who was strong and brave, 
like his father, was on all occasions fortunate and successful ; 
the people prospered under his government, and they reso- 
lutely opposed the foe whenever they appeared. The mind 
of Alfred lived and operated both in king and subjects, and 
brought to perfection that of which he had laid the founda- 
tions amidst toils and dangers. Edward effected the security 
of the country not only by the construction or restora- 
tion of a large number of fortresses, but he fortified many 
towns, which contributed greatly towards its prosperity. As 
proofs of this, the authorities give such names as Chester, 
Hertford, Stafford, Tarnworth, Warwick, and others. Towns 
like Towcester were for the first time surrounded by stone 
walls, and it was decreed in the laws of Edward that all labour 
and traffic should be only carried on within fortified places 2 . 
Like a careful prince, he endeavoured to secure his subjects 
and their property from every disadvantageous alliance with 
the deceitful foe. 

He gained for the kingdom itself prosperity as well as pro- 
tection. For in 912, when his brother-in-law, Ethelred, died, 
London and Oxford immediately appertained to "Wessex, 
and Edward gladly seized on both these places, taking them 
into complete and lasting possession. The remainder of 
Mercia continued under the powerful sway of his sister Ethel- 
fleda, who governed and ruled like a true daughter of Alfred. 
She built fortresses in conjunction with Edward, marched 
to the field herself, and in particular, defeated the Welsh 

1 Chron. Sax. A. 906. 2 Legg. Eadweardi, Laws and Institutes, i 158. 


prince, Owen, who had revolted and entered into a league 
with the Danes. Allied with this daring woman, the king 
was enabled to extend the eastern boundaries of the king- 
dom, and to resist the encroachments of the Northmen. This 
occurred especially at Derby, Leicester, Huntingdon, and 
also at Essex, where the citadel of "VVitham adjoined Maldon. 
Beyond the boundaries, the Danes in Northumbria and East 
Anglia again submitted to the supremacy of the West 
iSaxons. The power of the ruling state extended to Strath- 
clyde, the Celtish kingdom in Southern Scotland. "When 
Ethelfleda, that wonderfully active and energetic woman, died 
on the 12th of June, 919 1 , Edward took possession of the 
kingdom of Mercia, hitherto governed by her, undisturbed 
by the pretensions of Aelfwyn, his sister's only daughter, 
whom he sent into "Wessex. This was a politic step on his 
part, for it was not desirable that the border-land should 
remain in the dominion of a female descendant, because by 
marriage she would have it in her power to form an alliance 
with the foe. 

King Edward died at Farndon, in the year 924, at the sum- 
mit of his renown, which, so far as it was founded upon regal 
power, exceeded that of his father, but in nobility of soul 
and literary acquirements Edward never attained the height 
reached by Alfred 3 . Athelstan afterwards inherited the fame 
as well as the power of both. After he had arranged the burial 
of his father in the new cloister at Winchester, he was solemnly 
proclaimed and crowned at the royal castle of Kingston, with 
the unanimous consent of his people. 

In battles with the ancient foe he acquired the name of a 
victorious hero. York fell before his troops, and in the 
much-extolled battle of Brunandune (Bamborough), so 
famous in song, a most glorious victory was achieved by 
Alfred's grandson over the united forces of the Northmen 
and the Scottish Celts. His deeds, like those of Alfred, 
were celebrated in poetry. Feared as well as esteemed 
abroad, he formed friendly relations with conquered Norway, 
and in many other states arranged a foreign policy which 

1 Florent. Wigorn. i. 128. 

2 Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 125: Literarum scientia multuinpatre inferior, seil regni 
pctestate incomparabiliter gloriosior. 


possessed its most secure support in the flourishing com- 
merce and the greatly enhanced prosperity of England. At 
the time of Athelstan's death, which took place on the 27th 
of October, 940, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom had reached the 
highest point of its glory, from which nothing could have 
removed it during the two next centuries, except the power 
of the great rulers of the North, the weakness of the ener- 
vated descendants of the race of Cerdic, and the presump- 
tuous arrogance of a proud clergy henceforth no longer 



THAT the immediate descendants at least of the great 
king did honour to their name, is testified by the histories 
of Edward and Athelstan. They sprang from an heroic 
race, and kings and heroes themselves, they trod in the foot- 
steps of their father. But besides the successors to his 
throne, Alfred saw a numerous offspring grow up around 
him, and all record of the character and fate of these descen- 
dants is not lost. It does not, therefore, seem out of place to 
consider the conscientious care which the king extended to 
his subjects, and the father to his children, and finally to 
glance at the high moral position which he took in all his 
relations towards them. 

Our only authorities on this subject do not agree in all 
their statements, and this may be owing to the deficiency 
of historical evidence ; but we must acknowledge with grati- 
tude that in one document at least, known as Alfred's Will, 
there is preserved to us an invaluable means of becoming- 
acquainted with the condition of the king's family. This 
document is founded on the Will of King Ethelwulf, which is 
unfortunately lost, and on the agreement which Alfred, as 
crown-prince, entered into with his brother Ethelred at 
Swineburgh 1 . By that agreement the succession was assured 
to him, in spite of the claims of the elder branch, and at the 
same time the royal private property was legally divided 

' P. 84. 


About the year 885 1 a Witenagemot was held at Langadene, 
before which Alfred laid his father's will: the assembly 
recognised the king's right, as the kingdom and the principal 
part of the royal property were delivered into his hands to 
dispose of his own possessions in the manner he might judge 
to be most advantageous for his relations. The "Witan will- 
ingly ratified the several arrangements he made for this pur- 
pose, and the records of them remain to this day 2 , presenting 
a lively picture of the affectionate consideration with which 
Alfred treated his wife and children and his other friends. 

He remained attached through his whole life with true con- 
jugal fidelity to his consort Elswitha ; the sufferings which 
they underwent together during the troubled period of war 
and exile never invaded his domestic peace. Elswitha did not 
attempt to move in an active sphere among the Saxons ; this 
would not have been permitted her : she lived in the retire- 
ment of her home, occupied only in care for her husband 
and in the first education of her children. We nowhere find 
the slightest intimation that this beautiful harmony ever 
suffered any disturbance. Alfred appointed many estates 
tor her maintenance, and it is a significant fact, and noble 
evidence of the fine and delicate mind of Alfred, that amongst 
these estates are those of Wantage and Ethandune 3 , the one 
his own birthplace, the other the battle-field on which he 
had won freedom for his country with his sword. Wantage 
remained crown property until the time of the Plantagenets. 
History, occupied with other matters, relates little else of 
Elswitha. She was a Grod-fearing woman, as her mother had 
pre-eminently been ; she survived her husband, and as the 
mother of the succeeding king, lived near him until her death, 
in the year 90S 4 . 

Elswitha bore a number of children to her husband, of 
whom some died in their early youth. Amongst those who 

1 Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 314, finds good reasons in ths document for placing 
it between the years 880 and 885. 

2 And hi ealle me ftaes hyra wedd sealdon and hyra handsetene. 

3 ftone ham set Lamoburnan and set Waneting and set Etandune. 

4 Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 333. Some documents from the year 901, respect- 
ing an exchange of lands with the convent of Malmesbury, are signed by King 
Edward, and a'so by Ealhswifi mater regis, Aelfred coniunx. Chron. Sax A. 9Ua 


survived the eldest was Ethelfleda, the Lady of Mercia, a 
woman of strong mind and masculine courage. She stood 
faithfully by her consort Ethelred, and after his death took 
the reins of government into her own hands. Many docu- 
ments bear witness to her share in public affairs 1 . She died 
July 12th, 919, and there seems to have been no descendant 
from her only child, a daughter. In common with all her 
sisters, she was richly provided for by Alfred in his will. 

Edward, the heir to the throne, brought up under the eye 
and direction of his father, showed as a boy that his natural 
predilections were more in favour of corporeal than mental 
virtues, and his own reign confirmed the fact that his talents 
lay in this direction. His son Athelstan bore brilliant tes- 
timony to his descent from so noble a race. History has 
exalted his personal heroism even above that of his father, 
and poetry surrounds his birth as well as his victorious 
career, lib is related that as Prince Edward was once riding 
over the country, he alighted at the hut of a shepherd, whose 
daughter Egwina, already forewarned by a vision of her high 
destiny, fascinated him by her beauty 2 . This woman, who 
may have been of higher than peasant birth, but certainly 
was not the equal of the prince, was the mother of Athel- 
stan, and another child, a daughter. The boy grew up at the 
court of his grandfather, who, delighted with his beauty and 
the gentleness of his demeanour, prophesied a happy reign 
for him, and in his earliest youth attired him as a warrior, 
and presented him with a mantle of purple, a girdle set 
with precious stones, and a Saxon sword in a gold scabbard 3 . 
The grandson, thus as it were knighted, nobly fulfilled in 
later days Alfred's prophecy. We are told that Edward 
had twelve children by two other wives, who ranked as 
queens. Many of these children have been saved from 
oblivion by their position and history, and especially by their 
marriages, which strengthened and extended the foreign rela- 
tions of the West Saxon kingdom. One of his daughters, 


' Kemble, n. 311, 330, 339, 340, 1068, 1073, 1075. 

2 Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 139 and 126, calls her, " illustris foemina," and again. 
131, " ut ferunt concubina." By Florent. Wigorn. i. 117, she is designated, 
" mulier nobilissima." 

Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 133. 


Edgiva, became the consort of Charles the Simple, the King 
of the Franks; another, Ethilda, married Hugo the Great, 
the son of Robert, the powerful Duke of Neustria, Burgundy, 
and Francia. Athelstau, by these marriages, became con- 
nected with both the opposing races in the AVest Frankish 
kingdom, the Carlovingian and the Capetian, who were striving 
for the sovereignty. But the greatest alliance that he con- 
tracted was by the marriage of his sister Edgitha with the 
great emperor, Otho I. The ancient union between the 
continental and island Saxons was more firmly established 
than ever, and their common head and greatest prince held 
in his hands the destiny of Europe. A fourth daughter of 
Edward, whose name must have been Edgiva, espoused a 
prince in the neighbourhood of the Alps 1 . The youngest and 
most beautiful of all, Elgiva, became the wife of Duke Lud- 
wig, of Aquitania. The third son, Edmund, succeeded the 
childless Athelstan on the throne. These are the branches 
of a powerful and widely-extended genealogical tree. 

Alfred's third child was Ethelgeda, the Abbess of Shaftes- 
bury, who, on account of her delicate health, early chose a 
spiritual life, in which, with the express permission of her 
father, she continued until her death, the date of which is not 

His third daughter, Elfrida, Alfred gave in marriage to 
Count Baldwin of Flanders, the son of his step-mother 
Judith. Among other estates indicated in her father's last 
will, Elfrida received Lewisham in Kent, which she be- 
queathed, in the year 916, to the Convent of St. Blandin in 
Ghent 3 . The first Norman Queen of England, Matilda, the 
wife of the Conqueror, was descended from her. She died in 
the year 929 3 . 

To the great delight of Alfred, his youngest son, Ethel- 
ward, was in his earliest boyhood a zealous scholar, and 
became a fine example to studious youth. He received as 
the principal part of his inheritance the family possessions 
situated in various parts of the kingdom, and some of which 

1 Aethelweard prooem, i. 498; Ingulph. p. 878; Wilh. Malmesb. ii. 127 c 
Hrotsuithae Carmen de gestis Oddonis, 1, ap. Pertz, M. G. S.S. iv. 321. 

2 See Lappenberg, p. 347, n. 1. 

3 Auuales Blandinienses, ap. Pertz, M. G. S.S. v. 24. 


were even within the Celtic borders. He appears as crown- 
prince during the reign of his brother, and some documents 
are signed by him 1 . He died on the 16th of October, 922, 
and was buried in the royal vault at Winchester 2 . There 
are records remaining of three of his children, and after them 
there is no trace of his descendants. 

In accordance with the before-mentioned treaty of Swine- 
burg, Alfred faithfully bequeathed their father's possessions 
to each of his two nephews, Ethelhelm and Ethelwald. The 
will mentions particularly the names of the estates. The 
youngest, however, was not content with his inheritance, 
which must have been as sufficient for him as for his kins- 
man to maintain the rank and position of a near blood-rela- 
tion of the royal house. He not only endeavoured to extend 
his possessions, but even to seize the crown, which would 
have descended to him by right of succession, and was irre- 
vocably secured in stringent documents. He therefore be- 
came an enemy to the king and a traitor to his fatherland. 
His death in the year 905 has been already mentioned. 
Ethelhelm was of a more contented disposition than his 
brother ; he is probably that son of King Ethelred from whom 
the historian Ethelwerd boasts of being descended 3 . 

In his will Alfred also remembered a kinsman Osforth 4 , to 
whom he bequeathed some villages, but whose degree of 
relationship to the royal family is not further mentioned. 
His name leads us to suppose that he may have been a 
descendant of the family of Osburgha. 

These are the direct and lateral branches of Alfred's 
family. In order to enable them all to live in a manner 
worthy of their rank, they received bequests in land and 
money; Alfred provided for them in the most minute points, 
and always conscientiously carried out the wishes of his pre- 
decessors. But above all, he carefully kept in view the im- 
portant necessity of providing a direct heir who should rank 
above all his relations and all the nobles of the kingdom, in 

1 Ethelward filius regis, Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 335, 337. 
- Florent. Wigorn. i. 130. 

3 Ethelwerd, iv. 514. 

4 Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 314: " Osferde mlnum maege." " Osferft minister' 
is fbtJid in many of King Edward's documents. 


wealth and landed property, and enjoy a separate establish- 
ment. The old conservative principles upon which he acted 
in this matter will be best explained in his own words : 

" And I will that the persons who hold land follow the 
command in my father's will as far as is possible. And if 1 
have detained any money from any man, I will that my 
relations repay it. I will that those to whom I have be- 
queathed my boc-land shall never after their lifetime let it 
go out of my family, but if so be that they have no children, 
it must go to my nearest of kin. But I most especially desire 
that it may remain in the male line as long as one is found 
worthy of it. My grandfather bequeathed his land to the 
spear half, and not to the spindle half 1 . If, therefore, I have 
bestowed any of his possessions on a female, my relations 
must redeem it, if they will, while she is living ; but if not, it 
can be dealt with as we have before settled. But if they 
take it, it must be paid for ; because those are my heirs to 
whom I shall give what I have to give as it seems best to me, 
whether male or female 2 ." 

The sums of money set apart by Alfred furnish many in-, 
teresting evidences of his relations with his family and 
officers. To each of his two sons, as chief heirs, he be- 
queathed 500 ready money, and to each of his three 
daughters, and to his consort Elswitha, 100. Each of his 
ealdermen (and those related to him, Ethelhelm, Ethelward, 
and Osforth, are mentioned by name) was to receive 100 
marks. To Ethelred, the Governor of Mercia, is left by 
special mention a sword of 120 marks' value. Among his 
serving men, whom he was accustomed to pay at Easter 3 , 
200 were to be divided according to the claims of each, and 
in the manner pointed out by himself. His faithful and 
devoted clergy also find a place in his will. To the arch- 
bishop 4 the sum of 100 marks was bequeathed, and the same 
amount to the Bishops Esne 5 , "Werfrith 6 , and the Bishop 

Here the sexes are designated from the implements used by each the mail 
from the spear, the female from the spindle. 

2 Kemhle, Cod. Diplom. n. 314. Compare Leg. Aelfr. 41. 

8 Sam mannum fte me folgiaS, Se ic on eastertidum feoh sealde. 

4 Ethelred, Archbishop of Canterbury, died A. 888. 

5 Ksne, Bishop of Hereford, died A. 885. 

a Werfrith, Bishop of Worcester, died A. 911 or 915- 


of Sherborue, by whom it is not known whether Asser or 
Wulfsige is meant 1 . A sum of 200 was devoted to the sal- 
vation of his own soul, that of his father, and those of the 
friends to whom he or his father hnd promised benefits. 
This money was divided into four equal parts of 50 each : 
one for the whole body of mass-priests throughout the king- 
dom ; one for God's poor servants ; one for the distressed 
poor; and one for the church where he himself should rest. 
This was that of Winchester, to whose bishopric was already 
bequeathed all the landed property which Alfred possessed in 
Kent. The document then proceeds to set forth that Alfred 
did not exactly know whether his treasury would suffice for 
all these legacies, but he presumes that it would amount to 
still more. If this should be the case, the surplus is to be 
divided equally among all the legatees, the earldermen and 
servitors included. With regard to earlier arrangements, 
when his fortune was larger and his kindred more numerous, 
he remarks that he burnt all the writings connected with 
them after he had altered the arrangements ; but it' any of 
the documents should be produced, they were to be consi- 
dered of no value, and the present will, accredited by the 
council of the nation, was to be followed in all respects. 
f The document concludes with a beautiful and humane 
) decree of the kings. Alfred grants important alleviations 
to all his bond and free men. His personal dependents as 
well as the actual ceorls 2 in his service were to enjoy full 
liberty to go over to another master and to another estate at 
their own pleasure. No one was to extort any indemnifica- 
tion from them, and an unlimited choice of service lay open 
to both classes of servitors. In the name of God and his 
saints he prays his relations and testators to provide with all 
diligence for the fulfilment of this provision, and not allow 
any landholder to oppose these arrangements, made by him- 
self, and recognised as a law by the West Saxon Witan. 

Such were the provisions for the future disposal of his 
property made by Alfred, as a father and a king, soon after 

1 In a more modern Latin translation of the will, " Assero de Schireburn" is 
specih'ed. Kemble, Cod. Diplom. n. 1067. 

2 Cyrelif is a, person who has a ri#ht of choice, or who has exercised a choice, 
Kernbk, the Saxons in England, i. 504 


he had reconquered his throne, and without doubt they were 
conscientiously carried out. But the various endeavours to- 
wards providing for the security of Church and State, and 
for the elevation of his people to a higher state of morality, 
with which he was constantly occupied during the following 
years, must have required in his time also much aid in money, 
and he applied the revenues of his own royal property to this 
purpose. In the management of this property, he caused 
that economy and love of order to be exercised which we have 
already seen in the regularity with which he discharged the 
manifold duties which devolved upon him. 

His possessions in money, replenished by his yearly in- 
come, were divided into two parts 1 : the one was destined for 
the maintenance of worldly power and welfare ; the other for 
that of the spiritual. Each had three branches of adminis- 
tration the first of which was directed to the payment of 
the War department of the state, which also was not for- 
gotten in his will. We have thus an opportunity of learning 
in what manner the noble officers and the assembled war- 
like troops which must always have been about the court, 
fulfilled their bounden duties in their different stations. 
Alfred established a formal code of services, according 
to which the whole body was separated into three divi- 
sions, one of which was always to be at court, and do 
duty for the space of a month. At the beginning of a new 
month it was released by the next detachment, so that two- 
thirds of the whole were always at liberty to go to their 
homes and follow their own business, and Alfred, who always 
rigidly enforced this management, did not require service for 
more than three months in the year from his subjects. All 
were paid for their time of service in proportion to their 
rank and occupation. 

A second sum was yearly set aside for building, which gave 
employment to a large number of mechanics, some even from 
foreign countries. The third sum was apportioned to 
strangers who came from the most distant parts to Alfred's 
court, whether *,hey demanded help or not ; in either case, 
the liberality of the king provided the means to satisfy their 

1 Asser, p. 495, 496, is th 5 authority for the following account. It seems to bs 
the most genuine part of the *ork. 


wants. The second half of the revenue was set aside for ec- 
clesiastical necessities, and was divided into four subdivisions. 
The first was applied to the charitable relief of the poor of 
all nations, in which, as Asser relates, Alfred observes the 
saying of Gregory the Great : " Give neither much to him 
who needs little, nor little to him who needs much ; deny 
not him who needs something, nor give to him who needs 
nothing 1 ." The second part belonged to the two monasteries 
endowed by Alfred, and to the support of the brethren as- 
sembled in them. With the third the schools were supported, 
which he had endowed principally for the use and advantage 
of the noble youth of his kingdom. Finally, the fourth sum 
was devoted to all the neighbouring cloisters in Wessex and 
Mercia, as well as in the course of years to many ecclesias- 
tical establishments in Wales and Cornwall, France, Armorica, 
Northumbria, and even in Ireland, by which he assisted the 
pious servants of God even in foreign lands, and was enabled 
to stimulate them to good works. Some of this money may 
also have been given to the church of Durham, which in later 
days ascribed Alfred's donations to St. Cuthbert 2 . 

These beautiful examples of the conscientiousness and gene- 
rosity of the king enable us, in conclusion, to cast a brief 
but comprehensive glance on all the virtues and excellent 
qualities with which he was endowed. 

No one has left a description of Alfred's personal appear- 
ance, such as we possess of Charlemagne fromEinhard's mas- 
terly sketch. We do not associate the idea of a colossal 
figure with the name of Alfred, we rather picture to ourselves 
a naturally sturdy, healthy form, whose stamina, early weak- 
ened by constantly-recurring illness and continual bodily ex- 
ertion, was finally destroyed before he attained any great 
age, by the severegnjjerings from which he was exempt only 
at rare intervals. | But Alfred endured his affliction with in- 
comparable fortitude, considering that it was sent from God : 
his combats and privations on the battle-field, the efforts 
which it cost him to animate the sluggish nature of his people, 
by his own energy ; the manifold intellectual labours which 
constantly occupied him ; all these must have aided him in 

1 Asser, p. 496. " Nee parvum cui multum, nee multura cui parvum ; nee 
nihil cui aliqnid, nee aliquid cui nihu "' 

2 Simeon Dunelm. ; Hist. Keg. Angl. A 883 ; Ejusd. Hist. Eccles. ii. 13. 


forgetting the pain which seldom left him, and in suppress- 
ing any outward expression of it from those with whom he 
associated. His strong, active, and elastic spirit continually 
gained the mastery over his frail body. The character of hi's 
mind was that of a statesman and a hero, but elevated and, 
at the same time, tempered by a longing for those higher and 
immortal things on which all the power and glory of this 
world depend.] Unshaken courage was the steadfast founda- 
tion of his whole being ; as a young man, he early manifested 
this quality on the battle-field at Ashdown. Once it seemed 
as though it were about to fail, when the young king looked 
forward to a long life, with his country in the hands of the 
enemy, and his people in despair ; but again it shone forth, 
when he emerged, strengthened and victorious, from the purify- 
ing school of Athelney, to meet the future. Many valiant men 
would do well zealously to emulate his example. 

We must, for many reasons, notice another feature in 
Alfred's mind, scarcely less rich in results ; he had a decided 
inventive talent, with which he was not only enabled to aid 
his bodily necessities, but especially to apply new ideas to the 
improvement of all kinds of artistic and mechanical work. 
The quadrant on which the church of Athelney is raised 
the long ships the directing the channel of a river his time- 
candles all bear witness to the power of his mind, no less 
than the battles that he won. It seems to have been espe- 
cially easy for him to learn anything new, and to turn what 
he learnt to practical account. "When, after a long pause, the 
Danes again engaged him in a contest, Alfred endeavoured to 
meet them with craft and subtlety like their own, and actually 
succeeded in mastering them by these means. The maTTamTT 
the king turned his attention at an advanced age to literature, j 
and accomplished therein what no prince of his time, and ofj 
many centuries after him, could have even attempted. But 
industry and perseverance formed the principal features of 
his character, and they were the most powerful aids towards 
his attainment of such noble results. Biding and the chase, 
which he so passionately followed when a boy, he continued 
to practise through the whole of his life, in order to strengthen 
his frame, regardless of bodily suffering. (^ With the greatest 
assiduity he promoted the re-establishment of cities, fortresses. 


churches, and monasteries/ and he never omitted anything 
that could be suggested by his own genius as tending to the 
advancement of his highest aim, that of the education of his 
people. /He continually drew to his court, by gifts and 
friendly invitations, strangers of all nations, among whom 
were Franks, Frieslanders, Britons, Scots, Armoricans, and 
even Pagans 1 , in order that he with his nobles and clergy 
might benefit by their acquaintance./The king, in consequence 
of his own indomitable energy, perfected the learning which 
he so eagerly desired in his youth ; and it redounded to his 
honour, that he raised himself to be one of the first authors 
of the age, and contributed greatly to the instruction and 
amusement of his people, in works which, after the lapse of 
jnanv__ceiituries, are still gratefully acknowledged. 

The piety with which Alfred submitted to the requirements 
of Christianity, was not only evinced in his obedient subjec- 
tion tp the orthodox Church of his day, but it was an innate 
principle which produced and nourished in his heart a living 
faith in divine things. The long series of sufferings, trials, 
and privations, which extended throughout his life, had more 
influence in creating this feeling than the sight of Borne or 
the arrogant pretensions of the Pope. Alfred always ranked 
as a valiant warrior of the cross against heathenism, which his 
ancestors had long since renounced ; he protected the country 
from the repeated attempts that were made for its renewal, and 
endeavoured by conversion to reduce the conquered foe to com- 
plete subjection. With sword and pen, with hand and heart, 
he fought for his faith, and during his life he obtained the 
victor's reward. In the exercise of his spiritual duties he 
always manifested the same conscientiousness which charac- 
terised his conduct in other respects. The half of his time, 
as well as the half of his fortune, w r as dedicated to the service 
of God 2 . Wherever he was, it w r as his daily wont, not only 
for the sake of being an example to others, but from the deep 
inward necessity he felt for spiritual things and for the so- 
lemn ceremonies of religion, to hear the Psalms and appointed 
Lessons read, and he often w r ent at midnight to the church 
to humble himself in quiet prayer, far from all disturbing in- 

1 Asser, p. 486. 2 Asser, p. 495. 


luences 1 . As a dispenser of alms, lie treated \vith equal libe- 
rality the poor and needy of his own land and those of foreign 
churches and monasteries ; they were all benefited by his 
gifts till long after the period of his death. || In a true Chris- 
tian spirit he was accustomed to say to nis most intimate 
friends, and to confess with self-abasement to his Creator, 
that he had not striven to partake of the divine wisdom, nor 
employed the means of attaining it 3 . Pride and haughtiness 
were strangers to him. The consciousness of his own weak- 
ness told him that he was not in a situation to perform ffralx 
which he ought. Eminent by this piety over his whole nay 
tion, he was as far removed as any of his contemporaries from* 
becoming a religious enthusiast, who would bow willingly be-\ 
fore a haughty priesthood, and would neglect the safety of his / 
temporal kingdom and of his subjects for the exercise of his 
holy duties. He knew well what his country had suffered 
from his father's all-engrossing submission to ecclesiastical 
influence. It is impossible to draw a parallel between Alfred 
and his descendant, Edward the Confessor. Edward gaveV 
away his kingdom, and was canonized ; Alfred protected it \ 
with his sword and firm faith in God, and the Komish ] 
Church gave him no thanks for it ; but he lived with his deeds / 
in the hearts of his people, and became the hero of their/ 

There was no subject of discord with the supreme head oi' 
the Church during Alfred's time ; he rather cemented a bond 
of friendship with one Pope, and did not abolish the tribute 
to Home which Ethelwulf had established. It was his stead- 
fast conviction that Eome ought to be the central point of 
the Church, and that all regulations in matters of faith ought 
to proceed from thence ; for he, as well as his contemporaries, 
swore unquestioning allegiance to the errors and abuses which 
then were rife, without surmising that Christianity in its 
early days had been a very different and a purer thing. But 
the comparatively independent position of the Anglo-Saxon 
Church became established during his reign ; its first digni- 
taries were native-born Saxons. 

1 Asser, p. 486. 

- Eo quod Deus omnipotens eum expertem divinae sapientias et liberalium artiuro 
fecisset. Asser, p. 486 


But, on the other hand, Alfred did not avoid bringing 
foreign clergy into the country, and 'he especially set them 
at the head 'of the new ecclesiastical establishments. The 
language of the country continued to be employed in the 
services of the Church ; the king indeed enforced the study 
of Latin, but he strenuously endeavoured to supply all classes 
of his people with a translation of the Bible in the Saxon 
tongue. The time occupied in the general affairs of his 
people, and the great distance of England from Rome, pre- 
vented him from strictly following its dictation in matters of 
doctrine. The Decalogue in the beginning of his code of laws 
affords a particular instance of this : Alfred omits the Second 
Commandment in accordance with the decree of the Council 
of Nice, but he supplies it in the tenth place by the very un- 
Eoman but Mosaic commandment concerning image- worship 1 . 
We have documentary evidence that John of Ireland, a clear- 
seeing philosopher for the dark age in which he lived, re- 
ceived from Alfred a hospitable reception ; and it was, in fact, 
worthy of the high-hearted king to protect a man who, 
because he entertained a different opinion on transubstantia- 
tion and predestination, underwent most bitter persecution 
from Home 2 . Alfred's independent spirit could not submit 
itself unreservedly to those bonds by which all free exercise 
of opinion was fettered, and even tin's instance of it was not 
allowed to go unpunished by Eome. In spite of his predilec- 
tion for the Church, Alfred felt and thought more as a Ger- 
man than a Homan Catholic, and in his character we see the 
first germs of the independence of Protestantism. 
^^He imbued all his worldly enjoyments with the same inde- 
pendent spirit. Providence had sent him upon earth at a 
time when the nature of the kingdom was undergoing a 
decided change. The bias of all the Teutonic races towards 
democracy was disappearing, but in England it was less on 
the decline than on the Continent. The transition to 
feudalism took place very slowly, and was the result of 
regular causes, as all political changes have been in this 
remarkable island. It must not be forgotten that Alfred's 

1 Lingard, History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ii. 468. 

2 Bicknell, Life of Alfred the Great, p. 290, 294, whsre much that is correct is 
mingled with many errors. 


reign was one. step towards this development. We have 
compared Egbert to Charlemagne, but among the Franks 
the disturbances and alterations only began to make rapid 
progress with the decline of the Carlovingian race, whilst 
Alfred still continued to preserve the German nation in all 
its purity during this century, so that it was only by degrees 
that it was disturbed by the influence of a new and powerful 

"We perceive in Alfred a prince of an entirely different 
nature from the military chiefs of the little German states ; 
the nucleus of a court began to show itself around him ; the 
formerly independent nobility, who were only inferior in rank 
to the king, began to render service, and to renounce their 
hereditary power ; the royal person now stood like a tower, 
high above all the surrounding buildings. An arbitrary long- 
ing after something new never actuated Alfred. It is re- 
markable to consider the prudence by which he was guided 
in the construction of his legal code. A genuine conservative 
feeling moved him to preserve all those ancient customs 
which still remained in efficient operation ; that circumspec- 
tion in carrying out measures of reform, w T hich the great 
statesmen of England display in our day, was also cha- 
racteristic of Alfred whenever he resolved to abolish any- 
thing old, and replace it by a new arrangement in accordance 
with his own religious views, and in harmony with the spirit 
of Christianity. His efforts for the diffusion of the latter 
were at least as great as his evident desire to attain high 
temporal authority as a Christian monarch. 

He never disturbed the original political foundations of his 
nation. When all lay in ruins, he laboured unweariedly to 
re-establish, as far as possible, the former state of things. 
The roots of all the evils of the Saxon and Low German 
national character, sluggishness and indolence, he distin- 
guished, with his keen glance, above all other failings, and 
endeavoured to combat them in every possible manner ; now 
by kind teaching and exhortation now, when his patience 
became exhausted by repeated disobedience, by well-meant 
punishment. His active mind was needed to set in motion 
the slumbering strength of his people, and to see justice 
ione to its real value, as well as to drive out stubborn pre- 


^udices 1 . When the aged were not willing to receive in* 
struction, and especially when they retarded the execution 
of justice, he shamed them by the industry of youth, in 
which he knew how to sow the seeds of knowledge and a 
better comprehension of the right. By his own example 
alone was he able to induce the people to apply themselves 
to the strengthening and defence of the country. He car- 
Aried his point, and Saxons of all ranks rejoiced in the re- 
) conquered freedom which Alfred had given them, a freedom 
J whose nature was more secure than before, and the nume- 
I rous class of serfs, who until then had been treated as living 
\ property, received the invaluable gift of liberty of choice in 
their masters ; and, in common with their noble and free 
V countrymen, held the memory of their king in grateful re- 
membrance long after his death. 

So stands the image of Alfred, shining brightly in the 
book of the world's history, never defaced by malice or igno- 
rance, nor dimmed by his own errors. These he necessarily 
possessed, but they have been entirely forgotten in the blaze 
of his virtues, over which the lapse of centuries has cast no 
cloud. Severe trial and purifying cleansed him like a noble 
metal from all dross. Praise can never degenerate into flat- 
tery in the case of a great man whose strong sense of duty 
and exalted principles of morality have led him to employ 
his time in a truly noble manner. No king nor hero of an- 
tiquity or modern times can be compared with Alfred for 
so many distinguished qualities, and each so excellent. 
Princes more renowned for power and glory, and reigning 
over greater nations, have always had some defect in their 
moral character, which forcibly contrasts witli our high esti- 
mation of their mental qualities ; and although by the side 
of Alfred, ruling in his narrow Wessex, their forms appear 
to tow r er high amongst the stars, yet his figure, in its smaller 

Eroportions, remains one of the most perfect ever held up 
y the hand of Grod as a mirror to the world and its rulers. 
As such a noble example he has lived in the memory of a 

1 Asser, p. 492 : Leniter docendo, aduiando, hortando, imperando, ad ultimum 
inobedientes post longam paientiam acrius castigando, vilgarem stultitiam et 
pertinaciam omni modo obominando. 


thousand years, and during that period the people whom 
he governed have spread over the earth, making homes for 
themselves, and establishing freedom and independence of 
thought and deed to its most remote bounds. That tree, 
which now casts its shadow far and wide over the world, when 
menaced with destruction in its bud, was carefully guarded 
by Alfred ; but at the time when it was ready to burst forth 
into a plant, he was forced to leave it to the influence of time. 
Many great men have occupied themselves with the care of 
this tree, and each, in his own way, lias advanced its growth. 
William the Conqueror, with his iron hand, bent the tender 
branches to his will ; Henry the Second ruled the Saxons 
with true Roman pride ; but in Magna Charta the old Ger- 
man nature became roused, and worked powerfully even 
amongst the barons. It became free under Edward the 
Third, that prince so ambitious of conquest ; the old lan- 
guage and the old law, the one somewhat altered, the other 
much softened, opened the path to a new era. The nation 
stood like an oak in the full strength of its leafy maturity, 
and to this strength the Reformation is indebted for its 
accomplishment. Elizabeth, the greatest woman who ever 
sat on a throne, occupied a central position in a golden age 
of power and literature. Then came the Stuarts, who, with 
their despotic ideas, outraged the deeply-rooted Saxon indi- 
viduality of the English, and by their own fall contributed 
to the surer development of that freedom which was founded 
so long before. The stern Cromwell and the astute William 
the Third aided in preparing for the now-advanced nation 
that path in which it has ever since moved.^The Anglo- 
Saxon race has already attained maturity in the New World, 
and, founded on these pillars, it will triumph in all places 
and in every age. Alfred's name will always be placed amongst 
those of the great spirits of this earth ; and so long as men 
regard their past history with reverence, they will not ven- 
ture to bring forward any other in comparison with him 
who saved the West Saxon race from complete destruction, 
and in whose heart the virtues dwelt in such harmonious 
concord. / 




FROM 838 TO 901. 






On the Stour. 

King Egbert died. 
King Ethelwulf. 



King Ethelwulf. 


On the Weg. 

King Ethelwulf. 



King Ethelwulf. 



Alfred born. 


Easter (April 4). 


Battle near Ockley. 
Burhred of Mercia marries Ethels 


Alfred's first journey to Rome. 



King Ethelwulf. 


Ethelwulf arid Alfred at Rome. 




Ethelwulf is atlianced to Judith. 

October 1. 


Marriage with Judith. 


January 13. 
July (?) 

King Ethelwulf dies. 
King Ethelbald dies. 


Judith returns to France. 

Alfred learns to read. 



July 2. 
February (?) 
November 1. 


Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, dies 
King Ethelbert dies. 
Arrival of Hingwar and Hubba. 

Ealhstan, Bishop of Sherborne, dies 


March 21. 

Battle at York. 

Alfred marries Elswitha. 


September 21. 

Conflict at Nottingham. 
Battle near Kesteven. 


November 20. 

King Edmund of East Anglia dies. 


January (?) 
After 3 days. 

The Danes take Reading. 
Flight at Englafeld. 

Battle at Reading. 

After 4 days. 

Battle near Ashdune. 


After 14 days. 
After 2 months. 

Battle near Basing. 
Assembly at Swineburgh. 
Battle at Merton. 

April 23. 

King Ethelred dies. 
Battle at Wilton. 



Compact of the Danes with Burhred 

of Mercia. 

Werfrith, Bishop of Worcester. 


Fall of the kingdom of Mercia. 



King Burhred dies. 
Division of the Danish army. 


A small sea-fight in the Channel 

CHRONICLE continued. 



\ DATE. 




The Danes take Wareham. 



The Danes march towards Exeter. 




The Danes leave Exeter. 


They take Chippcnham. 
Blockade of Kymvith Castle, in 




Alfred in Somerset. 

Easter (Mar. 23) 


Intrenchment there. 

May 5 -12. 

Sally to Brixton. 

Battle at Edington. 

14 days later. 
12 days later. 

Chippenham taken. 
Treaty of Wedmore. 
Guthorni-Athelstan leaves Wedmore 


Retreat of the Danes. 

Hasting in Fulham. 

Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester. 




Embassy to Rome and the East 



Aisser arrives at Alfred's court. 



The Danes land near Rochester. 

Sea-fight at the mouth of the Stour. 

November 11. 

!.(;.; ;aford. 

Alfred commences his intellectual 



London rebuilt, and confided to 



Ethelhelm sent on an embassy to 



Beocca sent to Rome. 


Queen Ethelswitha dies. 


Beornhelm sent ambassador to Rome. 

King Guthorm-Athelstan dies. 



September 1. 

Battle near Louvaine, on the Dyle. 
The Panes land in Kent 


Easter (Mar. 31). 

The Danes go into Berkshire. 

Battle at Farnham. 

August 24. 

York . 

Guthred of Northumbria dies. 

Danes in Devonshire. 

Storming of the fortress of Bamfleet 
Hasting besieged at Buttingtou. 

Passes the winter near Chester, and 

in Wales. 

895 ; 

Devastations in Wales. 

Return to Essex. 

896 ! 

Fortifications on the Lea. 

The Danes march to Bridgenorth. 


Witenagemot at Gloucester. 


Dispersion of the Danes. 
Sea- fight on the coast of Devonshire 



Alfred on the coast. 

898 . 


Alfred meets Ethelred and hii 


S99 ' 


The same. 

HOI , 

October 28. 

King Alfred dies. 





UR6 ylbpan ealne Sypne ymbhpyppc Sypep mibbanjeapbep. 
cpseft Opopmp. ppa ppa Oceanup ymblije'S utan. pone man appe;z;c 
hacaft. on Speo cobaelbon. 3 hu hy fa ]jpy baelap on tSpeo 
tonembon. Spiam. 3 6upopam. 3 Hpppicam. J>eah pe fume 
men paebon J>aet )>aep naepon butan cpe^en bselaf. Spa. 3 paec 
o6ep upopa ; Xpa if bepanjen nub Oceanup Jaem jappecje 
be puSan. 3 nop^an. ] eapcan. -3 ppa ealne pypne mibbanjeajib 
ppam 8sem eapc baele healpne behsepS ; Donne on ftsem nop<5 
baele. faec ip Spia. on ]>a ppi^pan healpe. in Damn jwpe ie. 
]>aep Spia } Gupopecojs&bejielicjaS. "3 J)onne op paepe dean ie 
Danai. pu6 "jlanj penbel pa&p. ^ ]>onne pi5 pepcan !Mexanbjia 
faejie bypij. Spia -3 Spppica cojaebepe licjaS ; 

6upope hio onjinS. ppa ic aap cpasS. op Danai ])8epe ie. 810 
ip ypnenbe op nop$ bg&le op Ripping ]>s&m beopjum. ]>a pmbon 
neah ]?ajm jappecge ]>e mon haceS Sapmonbipc. y pio ea Dana. 
ypnfi panon puSjuhce. on pepc healpe Slexanbpep hepja. on in 
Rochouapco Saepe Seobe ; pio pypcft paec paenn. ]>e man hacefi 
ODeocebipc. ~\ fonne popS mib micle plobe neah paejie bypig )>e 
man haceb Theobopia. prS eapcan uc on fa pa& plopeS J>e man 
haec 6uxinup. "3 fonne mib lanjpe neaponeppe puft fanon be 
eapcan Eonprancmopolim Ejieca bypij Iije6. ^ Jwnne pop6 fanon 
uc on penbel pse ; Se pepc-pu6 enbe Gupope lanb-jemypce 
ip in Ippama pepcepeapbum aec ]> asm japipecje. 3 maepc aec f aem 
ijlanbe fee Ea'Sep hacce. ]?aep pcyc pe penbel pas up op paem 
jappec^e paep 6pcolep pyla pcanba<5 ;. On ])oem ilcan 
pae on liype pepc enbe ip Scoclanb ; 








OUR forefathers divided all the orb of this earth, saith 
Orosius, which is encircled by the ocean that is called Garsecg, 
into three, and named those three parts Asia, and Europe, and 
Africa, though some men have said that there were only two 
parts ; Asia, and the other Europe. Asia is bounded to the 
southward, northward, and eastward, by the ocean, and thus 
comprises half of all this earth from the eastern part. Then 
in the north part, that is of Asia, and on the right side, Europe 
and Asia join together in the river Tanais ; and then from 
this same river Tanais, soutli along the Mediterranean, and 
west of Alexandria, Asia and Africa join together 1 . 

Europe begins, as I sr'd before, from the river Tanais, 
which takes its source from the northern parts of the Biphaean 
mountains, which are near the ocean that is called the Sarma- 
tian ; and the river Tanais thence runs directly south, on the 
west side of Alexander's temples 2 , to the nation of the Eho- 
covasci. It forms the fen which is called Maeotis, and thence 
forth with a great flood, near the city called Theodosia, flows 
to the eastward into the sea called the Euxine, and then 
with a long narrowness south from thence passes east of 
Constantinople, the Greek city, and thence out into the 
Mediterranean. The boundary of the south-west end of 
Europe is in Spain westward at the ocean, and especially at 
the island called Cadiz, where the Mediterranean flows from 
the ocean where Hercules's pillars stand. In this same Me- 
diterranean, to the westward, is Scotland. 


A'pppica 3 Spa hypa lanb-gemypco onjinnaS op 
6 t iypca bypij. 3 lip paec lanb-gemaepe pub" panon opeji Nilup 
pa ea. 3 ppa opep Gchiopica pepcenne oft pone puS gappec;*;. 
3 paepe !Spppica nop5-pepc jemaepe ip aec paem ilcan penbel pae. 
):e op paem jappecje pcyc paep 6pcolep pyla pcanbaS. 3 hype 
pihc pepc enbe ip aec paem beopje pe man Xchlanp nemnefi. 
~ a&c ]>aem iglanbe ]?e man haec Fopcunacup ; 

Scopclice ic haebbe nu gepaab ymbe ]>a pjiy ba&lap caller 
)>ypep mibbanjeapbep. ac ic pille nu. ppa ic ep gehec. papa 
]>peopa lanb-pica jema&pe peccan. hu hy mib hyjia paecpum 

Spia onjean ]>s&m mibbele on paem eapc enbe. paaji licjeS pe 
muSa uc on pone jajipejc paepe ea pe man haceS lianbip. pone 
jappejc mon haec Inbipc. be puSan paem muSan. pio* pone 
jajipejc ip pepopc pe mon haec Ealijapbamana : Be puftan- 
eapcan pam popce. ip paec iglanb Deppobane. ^ ponne be 
iiopSan paem Eanbip pe muSa. paep paep Eaucapup pe beoph 
enbaS. neh paem jappecje. paep ip pe pope Samepa. be nopban 
paem popce ip pe mutla paepe ic pe man nemneft Occopogoppe. 
pone jappejc man haec Sepicup ; . 

Daec pine Inbea jemaepo. paep paep Eaucapup pe beoph ip 
be nopfian. -3 Inbup peo ea be pepcan. -3 peo Reabe pae be puSan. 
3 pe jappejc be eapcan ; On Inbea lanbe ip peopep 3 peopepcij 
Seoba. bucan paem ijlanbe Tappabane. paec haepS on him cyn 
bypij. bucan oSpum mane^um ^epecenum ijlanbum ; Op paepe 
ea Inbup. pe be pepcan eallum paem lanbe lift, becpux paepe ea 
Inbup. 3 paepe pe be peptan hype ip Tijpip hacce. pa plopafi 
buca pu5 on pone Reaban pae. "j becpeoh paem cpam ean pynbon 
pap lanb Opacappia. 3 Papchia. "3 Spilia. 3 PappiSa. 3 Cbebia. 
peah pe jeppica ope nemnan ealle pa larib OCebia. o6Se Sppipia. 
3 pa lanb ]-inbon ppyfte beophce 1 . 3 paep pynb ppySe pceappe 
pejap "3 pcanije ; Dajia lanba nop6 jemaejio pynbon aec paem 
beopjum Eaucapup. 3 on puS healpe peo Reabe pae. 3 on paem 
lanbe pynbon cpa myccle ea. Ipappep 3 Spbip. on paem lanbe 
ip cpa ^3 cpencij peoba. nu haec hie man eall Papchia ; Donne 
pepc ppam Tijpip paepe ea oS Guphpace pa ea. ponne becpeox 
paem ean pynbon pap lanb Babylonia. "} Ealbea-3 GDepopocamui ; 
Buman paem lanbum pynbon eahca 3 cpencij peoba '.- pypa 
nojiS gemaepo pynbon aec paem beopjum Taupo 3 Eaucapa. j 
hyjia pu5 jemaepo licja^ co pam Reaban pae ; Snblanj \rj&' 

ALFRED'S OROSius.jT^ / 241 

Of Africa and Asia the land-boundaries begin from Alex- 
andria, a city of Egypt, and that boundary lies south from 
thence over the river Nile, and then over the Ethiopian 
desert, as far as the Southern Ocean. And the north- 
western boundary of Africa is at the same Mediterranean sea, 
which flows from the ocean where Hercules' s pillars stand ; 
and its right western boundary is at the mountain called 
Atlas, and at the island called the Fortunate. 

Now I have shortly spoken of the three parts of all this 
earth ; and I will now, as I before promised, tell of the 
boundaries of those three regions, how with their waters they 
lie to each other. 

Towards the middle of Asia, in the eastern part, lies the 
mouth of the river called Granges, out in the ocean. This ocean 
is called the Indian. To the southward of that mouth, on the 
ocean is the port called Caligardamana. To the south-east of 
that port is the island Taprobane ; and then to the north of 
the mouth of the Granges, where mount Caucasus ends, near 
to the ocean, is the port of Samara ; to the north of that port 
is the mouth of the river called Octorogorra. That ocean is 
named Sericus. 

These are the boundaries of India : there mount Caucasus 
is to the north, the river Indus to the west, and the Eed Sea 
to the south, and the ocean to the east. In the land of India 
are four-and-forty nations, besides the island of Taprobane, 
which has ten cities in it, besides many other inhabited islands. 
From the river Indus, w r hich lies to the west of all that 
country, betwixt the river Indus, and the river to the w^est of 
it, called the Tigris, both which flow south into the Eed Sea, 
are the countries of Aracosia, Parthia, Assyria, Persia, and 
Media, though writings often name all these lands Media or 
Assyria ; and these lands are very mountainous 1 , and there 
are very sharp and stony ways. The northern boundaries of 
those lands are at the mounts Caucasus, and on the south side 
the Eed Sea ; and in that country are two great rivers, the 
Hydaspes and the Arbis ; in that land are two-and-twenty 
nations ; now it is all called Parthia. Then west from the river 
Tigris to the river Euphrates, and between those rivers, are 
the countries of Babylonia, and Chaldsea, and Mesopotamia. 
Within those countries are eight-and-twenty nations. Their 
north boundaries are the mounts Taurus and Caucasus, and 
their south boundaries lie on the Eed Sea. Along the Eeci 


Reaban faef. paef baelef J>e J>aep nop$ fcvr. lift -p lanb 
3 Saben 3 (Bubomane. ofep p/aepe ea Guphpace. pepc o$ )>one 
penbel fae. 3 nop$ popneah 08 $a beopjaf J^e man Taupif 
haec. 06 }>aec lanb >e man haec Xpmenie. 3 epc fuS 06 Gjypce 
maneja feoba f ynbon )>aef lanbef . f>sec if Eomagena. -3 Venicia. 
^ Damafcena. ] Eoelle. ~) GOoab. ~] Smmon. 3 Ibumei. "j lubea. 
^ Palej-cina. -3 Sappacene. "j feah hie mon haec eall Sypia:- 
Donne be nopfian 8ypia fynbon ]>& beopgaf ]>e man Taupuf 
haec. "] be noji^an ]>aem beopgum fynbon ]>a lanb Eappabocia 
j Spmenie. ~] hio Spmenie if be eafcan Eappabocia. y be pefcan 
Eappabocia if ]^aec lanb ]>e man haec feo Laeffe Sfia. -3 be 
nopSan Eappabocia if faec jepylbe. ]>e man haec Temefepaf . 
J>onne becpux Eappabocia. -j paepe Laeffan Sfiam if ]^aec lanb 
Eilicia. -j If f aupio ; 

8eo Sfia on aelce healfe hio if bepanjen mib fealcum paecepe 
bucon on eafc healfe. on noji6 healfe if feo fae Guxmuf. ^j on 
pefc healfe feo fae ]>e man haec Ppoponcif. -3 Gllefponcuf. -3 
^enbel fae be piftan ; On j^aepe ylcan Spam if f e hyhfca beoph 
Olympuf ; 

8eo ^jpcuf . ]>e uf neap if. be nopftan hype if ]>aec lanb 
Palefcme. "3 be eafcan hype Sappacene J>aec lanb. ^ be pefcan 
hype Libia )>aec lanb. } be fu^an hype fe beoph ]>e Elimax 
mon hacce;- Niluf feo ea hype aepylme if neah paem clipe 
paepe Reaban fae. peah fume men fecgan ]>aec hype aepylme 
fy on pefc enbe Sffpica. neah paem beopje Schlanf. 3 
fonne fuljia^e ]>aef fie eafc ypnenbe on ]>aec fanb. -3 ]?aep fy 
efc flopenbe up Of J>aem fanbe. "3 ]>aep pypcS mycelne 
fae. "3 )?8ep heo aepefc uppy!6. hy hacaS ]m men Nuchul. 3 
fume men Dapa. 3 }>onne of J>aem fae faep hio up of ]>aem 
fanbe cym6. heo if eafc yjmenbe fpam eaj - c baele ]mph 
6chiopica pefcenne. "3 J?aep man haec pa ea Ion 08 'Sone 
eafc bael. 3 ]>s&]\ fonne pyp6 co miclum fae. 3 faep ]?onne 
befincS efc in on ]?a eopSan. "3 ]>onne efc nopS J>anon upp- 
aj'ppmc'S neah paem chfe pi6 ])one Reaban fae fe ic aep befopan 
faebe. |>onne of ])aem aepylme man haec ]?aec paecep Niluf 
ea. 3 p/onne fOpS pej-c panon ypnenbe. heo colit5 on cpa ymb 
an ijlanb J)e man haec OOepeon. 3 ]>anon nopS bu^enbe. uc on 
j)one J7enbel fae. )>onne on faem pincpijum cibum pyji6 j - e 
muSa fopbpifen fopan cnam paem nopSepnum pinbum. 
feo ea bit5 flopenbe Ofep eall G^ypca lanb. 3 hio gebeS mib 
J>aem flobe fpii5e }>icce eop^-paefcmf on Ggypca lanbe;. 810 


Sea, at the part that runs north, lies the land of Arabia, 
Sabsea, and Eudaemon. Beyond the river Euphrates, west- 
ward as far as the Mediterranean, and northward almost 
as far as the mountains called Taurus, as far as the land 
called Armenia, and again south as far as Egypt, are many 
peoples of that land, namely, Commagena, and Phoenicia, and 
Damascus, and Coelle, and Moab, and Ammon, and Idumsea, 
and Judaea, and Palestine, and Saracene, though it is all 
called Syria. Then to the north of Syria are the mountains 
called Taurus, and to the north of those mountains are the 
countries of Cappadocia and Armenia, and Armenia is to the 
east of Cappadocia, and to the west of Cappadocia is the 
country called the Lesser Asia, and to the north of Cappadocia 
is the plain called the Themiscyrian ; then betwixt Cappadocia 
and the Lesser Asia is the country of Cilicia and Isauria. 

Asia is surrounded on every side with salt water, except 
on the east side ; on the north side is the Euxine Sea, and on 
the west the sea called Propontis, and the Hellespont ; and 
the Mediterranean is on the south. In this same Asia the 
highest mountain is Olympus. 

To the northward of hither Egypt is Palestine, and to the 
eastward the land of Saracene, and to the west the land of 
Libya, and to the south the mountain called Climax. The 
source of the Nile is near the shore of the Bed Sea, though 
some men say that its source is in the west part of Africa, 
near mount Atlas, and then rapidly flows running eastward 
into the sand, and near there again flows up from the sand, 
and there forms a great lake; and where it first springs up 
the land is called Nuchul, and by some Dara. And then 
from that lake, where it rises from the sand, it runs east from 
the east part, it runs through the Ethiopian desert, and there 
the river is called Ion, as far as the eastern part, and there 
then becomes a large lake, and there then sinks again into the 
earth ; and then again north from thence springs up near to 
the shore of the Eed Sea, as I mentioned before ; then from 
that source the water is called the river Nile ; and then run- 
ning from thence westward, it separates in two round an 
island called Meroe, and thence bending northward out into 
the Mediterranean. Then, in the winter seasons, the mouth 
is driven by the northern winds, so that the river is flowing 
over all the land of Egypt, and makes with that flood very 
abundant fruits in the land of Egypt. The farther Egypt 
R 2 


p-yppe Gjypcup li<5 eapc anblang f aep Reaban paep on pu8 healpe. 
] on eapc healpe f sep lanbep lift gappejc. "j on hype pepc healpe 
if peo up neape G$ypcup. 3 on f aem tpam e^ypcum if peopep 
3 cpencig fieoba ; 

Nu haebbe pe appicen faepe ISpiam pu<5 bael. nu pille pe pon 
Co hype nopft baele ; Daec ip f onne op f aem beopgum f e man 
haec Eaucapup. ]>e pe a&p bepopan pppaecon. Ja J?e be nopSan 
Inbea jynbon. ^ hio ongmnat) sepepc eaptane op ]?a&m jappecje. 
] ponne licjaS peptpihte ot5 ISpmenia beopjap. fa lanb-leobe 
hi hara8 Papcoabpap. fsep op faem beop^um pylS peo ea puS- 
peapb uppace. ] op J>aem beoji^um ]>e man Papcoabpap haec 
lic^aS fa beopigap pepcpihte. ]>e man Taupop haet. oft Eilicum 
J>33tlanb> Donne be nop^ian faern beop^um. anblanj faap 
^appecgep. oS fone nop^-eapc enbe ]>yr e F mibban^eapbep. f aep 
Bope peo ea pcyc ut on fone gappecg. ^ fanon pepc anblanj 
J>aep jajipec^ep. on J>one ps& ]?e man haec Eappia. fe ]> aep uppcyc 
co paem beopgum Eaucapup. faec lanb man ha&c fa ealban 
SciS^ian. j Ipcamam ' Ds&p lanbep ip fpeo "j peopepci^ feoba 
pibe copecene pop unpaepcmbaepneppe faej* lanbep I Donne be 
pepcan paem pa& Eappia o$ Danaip t>a ea. 3 oS f aec penn f e man 
haec GOeocebipc. ] fonne pu$ 06 f one penbel pae. 3 06 fone 
beoph Taupup. ^ nopt5 06 f one jappe^c. ip call SciSSia lanb 
binnan. ]>eah hie man conemne on cpa 1 } on fpicij feoba'.- Sc 
fa lanb on eapc healpe Danaip. f e f asp neah pynbon. Slbani h) r 
pynb jenemneb in Lacma. -3 pe hy hacat? nu Liobene;- Nu 
haebbe pe pcopchce jepaeb ymb !Spia lanb- gemaepe ; 

Nu pille pe ymbe upope lanb-jemaepe peccan. ppa mycel 
ppa pe hie pypmepc piCon. ppam faepe ea Danaip pepc o$ 
Rm Sa ea peo pylS op f a&m beopge f e man Slpip haec. ~] ypnS 
fonne nop^pyhce on faep ^appecgep eapm. fe faec lanb ucan- 
ymbhS f e man Rpyccanma haec. ~] epc jiitS 08 Donna fa ea. 
faepe aepylme ip neah faepe ea Rmep. 3 ip pi66an eaj'C ypnenbe 
pits Epecalanb uc on f one J7enbel pae. ^ nopb of f one gappejc 
f e man Epen-pae haec. binnan f aem pynbon maneja Seoba. ac 
hie man haec eall Eepmama '. 

Donne j>iS nopSan Donua aepylme. ^ be eapcan Rine 
pynbon apc-Fpancan. j be pu^an him pynbon Spaepap. on 
oSpe healpe faepe ea Donua. 3 be pu^an him "j be 
eapcan pynhon Bae^Spape. pe bael fe man Rejne-buph haec. 


lies east along the southern side of the Red Sea, and on the 
east side of that country lies the ocean, and on its west side 
is the nearer Egypt to us, and in the two Egypts are four- 
and-twenty nations. 

We have now written of the south part of Asia, now will 
we proceed to the north part. That is then of the mountains 
called Caucasus, of which we before spoke, which are to the 
north of India, which begin first east from the ocean, and 
then lie due west as far as the Armenian mountains. The 
people of the country they call Parcoatrse. There from those 
mountains the river Euphrates flows southward, and from 
the Parcoatrian mountains lie the mountains due west called 
Taurus as far as the land of Cilicia. Then to the north of 
those mountains, along the ocean, as far as the north-east end 
of this earth where the river Bore runs into the ocean, and 
thence west along the ocean, into the Caspian Sea, which ex- 
tends to the mountains of Caucasus ; all this land is called 
Old Scythia, and Hyrcania. In this country are three-and- 
forty nations, situated at great distances from each other, on 
account of the barrenness of the soil. Then to the west of the 
Caspian Sea, unto the river Tanais, and to the fen called Maeotis, 
and then south to the Mediterranean and mount Taurus, and 
north to the ocean, is all within the land of Scythia ; though 
it is divided in two-and-thirty nations. But those lands on 
the eastern side of the Tanais, which are near there, are called, 
in Latin, the Albani, and we now call them Liobene. Now 
I have shortly said concerning the boundaries of Asia. 

Now we wjll relate of the boundaries of Europe, so much 
as we best know concerning them ; from the river Tanais, 
westward to the river Rhine, which takes its rise in the 
mountains called Alps, and then runs direct north to the arm 
of the ocean, that surrounds the land called Britain, and 
again south to the river Danube, whose source is near that 
of the river Rhine, and then runs eastward towards Greece 
out into the Mediterranean, and north to the ocean which is 
called Cwen Sea, within which are many nations : but the 
whole of it is called Germany. 

Then to the north of the source of the Danube, and to 
the east of the Rhine, are the East Franks, and to the south 
of them are the Swabians, on the opposite bank of the 
Danube, and to the south and east of them are the Bavarians, 


-j pihte be eafcan him fynbon Berne, -3 eafc-nopfe fynbon 
Dypinjaf. -3 be nopftan him fynbon Galb-Seaxan. -3 be iiopftan 
pefcan him fynbon Fpyfan. j'be pefcan 6alb-8eaxum if ^Ijre- 
muSa paepe ea -3 Fpyflanb. -3 panon pefC-nop$ if paec lanb pe 
man IXngle haec 3 Sillenbe "3 pimne bael Dena. -3 be nojiftan 
him if Spbpebe. -3 eafc-nopS pylce J)e man ^Epelban hsec. 
^ be eajran him if pmebalanb. ]>e man haec Syjyle. ~y eafc-pi5 
opep fumne ba&l GOapoajio. ~] hi ODapoapo habbaS be pefcan 
him Dypmjaf "j Behemaf ^ BaejSpape healpe. j be fu6an 
him on oftpe healfe Donua ]>&]\e ea if ]?aec lanb Eapenbpe. 
fu6 oS Sa beopgaf J>e man ha3c Slpif . co ]>3&m ilcan beopjum 
licjaS Baaj^papa lanb-jemaepe ^ Spaepa. "j Sonne be eapcan 
Gapenbpan lanbe. be^eonban ]?aem pejrenne. if Puljapa lanb. 
j be eaftan Jjaem if Epeca lanb. j be eafcan GOapoapo lanbe 
if pifle lanb. 3 be eafran faem pnb Dacia. ]>a ^e m paepon 
lioecan;- Be eafCan-noptSan GDapoapa fynbon Dalamenfan. 
] be eafcan Dalamenfam finbon popichi. ^ be nop^an Dala- 
menfam pnbon Suppe. "j be peftan him pnbon Syfele.'- Be 
nopSan popichi if OOa&j'Salanb. -3 be nopftan GOaej^alanbe 
8epmenbe ot> 6a beopjaf Rippin. ^ be pefcan 8u6-Denum if 
]?aef gapfecgef eapm Ipe ht5 ymbucan ]>aec lanb Bpiccanma. 3 
be nopSan him if ps&f j-aej* eapm ]>e man haec Ofc-fae. -j be 
eafcan him "3 be nop^an him fynbon Nop6-Dene. aejfep je 
on paem mapan lanbum. ge on paem i^lanbum. j be eafcan him 
fynbon Spbpebe. ^ be fuSan him if 2Elpemu$a J>aepe ea. -j 
6alb-8eaxna fum bael;- Nop^5-Dene habbaS him be nopfcan 
}>one ilcan faef eapm J>e ma.n O]T-fae haec. j be eafcan him 
finbon OfCi 8a leobe. "3 Spbpaebe be fu^an ;. OfCi habbaft be 
nopSan him pone ilcan faef eapm. "3 pmebaf "3 Bupjenbaf . ^3 
be fuSan him fynbon paepelban;- Bupjenban habbat5 fone 
ylcan fa&f eapm be pefcan him. j Speon be nop^an. j be 
eafcan him fine 8epmenbe. "3 be piftan him 8uppe;. Speon 
habbaft be fu^an him pone fsef eapm OfCi. j be eafcan 
him Sepmenbe. "3 be nopSan opep pa pepcennu if Epenlanb. 
3 be pefcan-nop^an him pnbon Scpibe-Fmnaf. -3 be pefcan 


that part which is called Kegnesburh, and due east from them 
are the Bohemians, and to the north-east the Thuringians, 
and to the north of them are the Old Saxons, and to the 
north-west of them are the Frisians, and to the west of the 
Old Saxons is the mouth of the river Elbe, and Friesland, and 
thence to the north-west is the land which is called Angeln, 
and Seeland, and some part of Denmark ; to the north is 
Apdrede, and to the north-east the Wylts, who are called 
^Efeldan, and to the east of them is Wendland, which is called 
Sysyle, and south-east, over some part, Moravia, and these 
Moravians have to the west the Thuringians and Bohemians, 
and part of the Bavarians, and to the south, on the other side 
of the river Danube, is the country called Carinthia, soutli 
as far as the mountains called the Alps. Towards the same 
mountains lie the boundaries of Bavaria and Swabia; and 
then to the east of the Carinthian land, beyond the waste is 
Bulgaria, and to the east of that is Greece, to the east of 
Moravia is the Vistula land, and to the east of that are the 
Dacians, who were formerly Cloths. To the north-east of the 
Moravians are the Dalamensae ; east of the Dalamensa3 are 
the Horithi, and north of the Dalamensse are the Surpe, and 
to the west of them are the Sysele. To the north of the 
Horithi is Maegthaland, and north of Ma3gthaland, Sermende, 
as far as the E/iphaean mountains, and to the west of the South 
Danes is that arm of the ocean that surrounds Britain, and 
to the north of it is that arm of the sea which is called the 
East-Sea, and to the east of that and to the north of it are 
the North Danes, both on the continent and on the islands ; 
and to the east of them are the Afdrede, to the south is the 
mouth of the river Elbe, and some part of the Old Saxons. The 
North Danes have, to the north, that same arm of the sea 
which is called the East-Sea, and to the east of them is the 
nation of the Osti, and Afdrede to the south. The Ostihave, 
to the north of them, that same arm of the sea, and the Wends 
and the Burgundy, and to the south of them are the Haefel- 
dan. The Burgundae have the same arm of the sea to the 
west of them, and the Swedes to the north ; and to the east 
of them are the Sermende, and to the south of them the Surfe, 
the Swedes have to the south of them the arm of the East-Sea, 
and to the east of them Sermende, and to the north, over the 
wastes, is Cwenland, to the north-west are the Scride-Fins, 
and to the west the Northmen. 


Ohchepe paabe hip hlapopbe .ZElppebe kynmcge paec he eaipa 
NopSmanna nopftmepc bube ; pe cpaeft paec he bube on paem 
lanbe nopftepeapbum pift pa pepc pae. he paebe Seah paec paec 
lanb py ppy^e lang nopft panon. ac hit ip call pepce bucon on 
peapum pcopum pciccemaelum piciaft Finnap. on huncaSe on 
pincpa. 3 on pumepa on pipcofte be paepe p ae ; pe paebe ]>sec 
he aec pumum cyppe polbe panbian hu lan^e J>3&t lanb nop8- 
jnhce la&je. o&Se hpaej^eji senij man be nopfian ]>&m pefcene 
bube ) Da fop he nop^pihte be faern lanbe. lee him ealne 
pej jiaec pepce lanb on J>aec pceopbopb. "3 pa pib fa& on baecbopb. 
]?py bajap . }>a paef he ppa feop nop6 )7a hpsel-huncan pyppepc 
papaS ; Da poji he J^a-jyc nop^pyhce. ppa he mihce on faem 
oSpum fpim bajum jepejhan. J?a beah psec lanb ]?aep eaj-c- 
pyhce. oSSe po f83 in on past: lanb. he nyj'ce hpaepep. bucon 
he pipce paec he pa&p bab pejran pmbep. o8(5e hpon nopSan. j 
j-e^lebe panon eaj-c be lanbe. ppa ypa he mihte on peopep bajum 
jepejhan. pa pceolbe he paep biban pyhce noji^an pmbep. 
pop^an paac lanb psep beah pu'Spihte. ot5Se peo pae in on paec 
lanb. he nypce hpaepep. pa peglebe he panon pu^pihce be 
lanbe. ppa ppa he mihce on pip bajum jepejhan ; Da laejpaep 
an mycel ea up in paec lanb. pa cypbon hy up in on fta ea. 
poppaem hy ne boppcon popS be paepe ea pejhan pop unppifte. 
poppaem pa&c lanb paep call jebun on oftpe healpe paepe ea ; Ne 
mecce he aep nan jebun lanb pySSan he ppam hip ajnum 
hame pop. ac him paep ealne peg pepce lanb on paec pceopbopib 
bucan pipcepan. 3 pugelepan. ^j hunt an. 3 paec paepon ealle 
Finnap. 3 him paep a pib pae on paec baecbopb ; . Da Beopmap 
haepbon ppiSe pell jebun hypa lanb. ac hi ne boppcon paepon 
cuman. ac papa Teppmna lanb paep call pepce. bucan paep 
huncan gepicobon. o^(5e pipcepap. o&Se pugelepap ; 

Fela ppella him paebon pa Beopmap. ae^peji je op hypa 
ajenum lanbe. je op paem lanbe pe ymb hy ucan paepon. ac 
he nypce hpaec paep po^ep paep. poppaem he hie pylp ne jepeah ;- 
Da Finnap. him puhce. ^ pa Beopmap j-ppaacon neah an 
je^eobe ; SprSopc he pop Sybep. co-eacan paep lanbep pcea- 
punje. pop paem hopp-hpaelum. poppaem hi habba^ ppySe 
8et5ele ban on hypa coftum. pa ceS hy bpohcon pume paem 
cymncje. j hyjia hyb biS ppi^e job Co pcip-papum > Se 
hpael biS micle laeppa Sonne oSpe hpalap. ne biS he len^pa 


" Ohthere told his lord King Alfred, that he dwelt north- 
most of all the Northmen. He said that he dwelt in the 
land to the northward, along the West-Sea ; he said, how- 
ever, that that land is very long north from thence, hut it is 
ail waste, except in a few places, where the Fins here and 
there ^well, for hunting in the winter, and in the summer 
for fishing in that sea. He said that he w r as desirous to try, 
once on a time, how far that country extended due north, or 
whether any one lived to the north of the waste. He then 
went due north along the country, leaving all the way the 
waste land on the right, and the wide sea on the left, for three 
days : he was as far north as the whale-hunters go at the 
farthest. Then he proceeded in his course due north, as far 
as he could sail within another three days ; then the land 
there inclined due east, or the sea into the land, he knew 
riot which, but he knew that he there waited for a west wind, 
or a little north, and sailed thence eastward along that land 
as far as he could sail in four days ; then he had to wait for a 
due north wind, because the land there inclined due south, 
or the sea in on that land, he knew not w r hich ; he then sailed 
thence along the coast due south, as far as he could sail in five 
days. There lay a great river up in that land ; they then 
turned up in that river, because they durst not sail on by 
that river, on account of hostility, because all that country 
was inhabited on the other side of that river ; he had not 
before met with any land that was inhabited since he came 
from his own home ; but all the way he had waste land on 
his right, except fishermen, fowlers, and hunters, all of whom 
were Fins, and he had constantly a wide sea to the left. The 
Beormas had well cultivated their country, but they did not 
dare to enter it ; and the Terfinna land was all waste, except 
where hunters, fishers, or fowlers had taken up their quarters. 

" The Beormas told him many particulars both of their 
own land, and of the other lands lying around them ; but he 
knew not what was true, because he did not see it himself; 
it seemed to him that the Fins and the Beormas spoke 
nearly one language. He went thither chiefly, in addition to 
seeing the country, on account of the walrusses, because they 
have very noble bones in their teeth, some of those teeth they 
brought to the king : and their hides are good for ship-ropes. 
This whale is much less than other whales, it being not longer 


ponne pypan elna Ian;?, ac on hip agimm lanbe ip pe becpca 
hpael-huncafi. pa beoS eahca 3 peopepcijep elna lange. 3 pa 
maepcan pipcijep ehia lanje. papa he peebe paec he pyxa pum 
opplo^e pyxcij on cpam bagum ;. pe paep ppyfle ppebi^ man on 
psem aehcum ]>e heopa ppeba on beoft. ty if on pilbeopum;- 
Pe haepbe pa-jyc. fa he pone cynmgc pohce. tampa beopa 
unbebohcpa j-yx hunb;- Da beop hi hacat5 hpanaf. fajia 
paejion pyx )Tael-hpanaj\ 8a beo^ fpy^e bype mib Fmnum. jroji- 
^Saem hy po5 Ja pilban hpanap mib ; 

Pe paep mib fg&m pyppcum mannum on ]>3em lanbe. naepbe 
he feah ma fonne cpencij hpyfiejia. "j cpenci j pceapa, j cpencig 
ppyna. 3 ]>aec lycle fa&c he epebe. he epebe mib hojipan. ac hypa 
ap ip msepc on fa&m japole fe ]>a Finnap him gylbao". ]>ec japol 
bi8 on beopa pellum. j on pujela pe^ejium. j hpaelep bane. ~] 
on ]>aem pcip-papum ]>e beo6 op hpaelep hybe jepopht ^ op peolep ; 
^jhpilc gyle be hyp jebypbum. pe bypbepca pceal gylban pip- 
ryne meapt5ep pell. -] pip hpanep. ^ an bepan pel. -j cynambfia 
pe'Spa. ] bepenne kyptel oJ5Se ycepenne. ^ cpegen pcip-papap. 

^S^P IT ry xc 'S ema l an S- ol 76 ^ IT F hpselep hybe jepophc. 
ot5ep op piolep ; . 

Pe paebe )>aec NopSmanna lanb paepe ppytSe lang j ppySe 
pma&l ; - Gall ]>aec hip man a]?ep oSSe eccan o6Se epian ma&j. 
]>aec liS pi(5 ])a pge. ^ -p ip J^eah on pumum pcopum ppy^e clubij. 
3 licjaS pilbe mojiap pi5 eapcan. j p?6 uppon emnlanje ]>aem 
bynum lanbe ; On ]>aem mopum eapbia^ Finnap. 3 paec byne 
lanb ip eapcepeapb bpabopc. *] pymle ppa nopftop ppa pmaelpe * . 
Gapcepeapb hie ma&j bion pyxcij mila bpab. oS6e hpene bjis&bpe. 
j mibbepeapb fpitij o^Se bpabpe. "j nop^epeapb hecpaeS. f>a&ji 
hie pmalopc pa&pe. ^ hie mihce beon J>peopa mila bpab co faem 
mofie. j pe mop pyfipan on pumum pcopum ppa bpab ppa man 
maeg on cpam pucum opeppepan. j on pumum pcopum ppa 
bpab ppa man maeg on pyx bajum opeppepan;. Donne ip co- 
emnep faem lanbe pu'Sepeapbum on o])pe healpe J?aep mopep 
Speolanb o^ Saec lanb nojiSepeapb. j co-emnep ]>aem lanbe 
nop^epeapbum Epenalanb|- Da Epenap hepjiaS hpilum on 
j^a Noptimen opep pone mop. hpilum pa Nopftmen on hy; 
paep pine ppifte micle mepap peppce jeonb pa mopap. ~] bepaS 
pa Epenap hypa pcypu ope|i lanb on pa menap. "j panon 


than seven ells ; but in his own country is the best whale- 
hunting, there they are eight-and- forty ells long, and most of 
them fifty ells long ; of these he said that he and five others 
had killed sixty in two days. He was a very wealthy man in 
those possessions in which their wealth consists, that is in 
wild deer. He had at the time he came to the king, six 
hundred unsold tame deer. These deer they call rein-deer, of 
which there were six decoy rein-deer, which are very valuable 
amongst the Pins, because they catch the wild rein-deer with 

" He was one of the first men in that country, yet he had 
not more than twenty horned cattle, and twenty sheep, and 
twenty sw r ine, and the little that he ploughed he ploughed 
with horses. But their wealth consists for the most part in 
the rent paid them by the Fins. That rent is in skins of 
animals, and birds' feathers, and whalebone, and in ship-ropes 
made of whales' hides, and of seals'. Every one pays accord- 
ing to his birth ; the best-born, it is said, pay the skins of 
fifteen martens, and five rein-deer's, and one bear's-skin, tern 
ambers of feathers, a bear's or otter's skin kyrtle, and two 
ship-ropes, each sixty ells long, made either of whale-hide or 
of seal's. 

" He said that the Northmen's land was very long and 
very narrow ; all that his man could either pasture or plough 
lies by the sea, though that is in some parts very rocky ; and 
to the east are wild mountains, parallel to the cultivated land. 
The Fins inhabit these mountains, and the cultivated land is 
broadest to the eastward, and continually narrower the more 
north. To the east it may be sixty miles broad, or a little 
broader, and towards the middle thirty, or broader; and 
northward, he said, where it is narrowest, that it might be 
three miles broad to the mountain, and the mountain then 
is in some parts so broad that a man may pass over in two 
weeks, and in some parts so broad that a man may pass over 
in six days. Then along this land southwards, on the other 
side of the mountain, is Sweden, to that land northwards ; and 
along that land northwards, Cwenland. The Cwenas some- 
times make depredations on the Northmen over the moun- 
tain, and sometimes the Northmen on them ; there are very 
large fresh meres amongst the mountains, and the Cwenas 
carry their ships over land into the meres, and thence make 


on J>a Nopftmen. hy habbaS ppyfte lycJb pcipa. 

leohce '. 

Ohchepe paebe -p pio pcip hacce palgolanb ]?e lie on bube ; 
pe cpaeft j? nan man ne bube be nopSan him \ Donne ip an 
pope on pu<5epeapbum faem lanbe. ]>one man haec Scipingep- 
heal J>ybep he cpaeS ty manne mihte gepejhan onanum monSe. 
gyp man on nihc picobe. 3 aelce baege haepbe ambypne pmb. j 
ealle J)a hpile he pceal pejlian be. lanbe. -3 on J>aec j-ceopbopb 
him bio" aepejT Ijialanb. ] ]?onne ]?a ijlanb j?e jynb becux Ipa- 
lanbe. "j ]?ifj'um lanbe ', Donne if J>if lanb o'S he cym6 co 
Scipm^ef-heale. 3 ealne peg on J>sec baecbopb Nop^peje. piS 
pu^an fone Scipmgef-heal pyl5 ppy^e mycel pas up in on J?a&c 
lanb. peo ip bpabjie ponne semj man opeppeon maege. ^ if 
liotlanb on o^pe healpe onjean. 3 pi^Sa Sillenbe ; 8eo ps& h^ 
maenij hunb mila up in on ]>8et; lanb. 3 op Scipingej-heale he 
cpa&S ^ he pejlobe on pip ba^an co J>aem popce ]?e mon hs&c aec- 
PaeSum. pe pcent becuh pmebum. *] Seaxum. *] Sngle. ~] hyji^5 
in on Dene \ 

Da he ])ibeppeapb pejlobe ppam Scipm^ep-heale. }>a peep 
him on ]?8&t; baecbopb Denameapc. ^ on Jaec pceopbopb pib pae 
J?py bagap. y p-a cpe^en ba^ap a&p he co paeftum come, him paep 
on fa&c pceopbopb Eoclanb. -3 Sillenbe. 3 iglanba pela. on J>m 
lanbum eapbobon Gngle. aep hi hibep on lanb comon. j hym 
paep ])a cpejen bajap on tSaec baecbopb fa iglanb ]>e inco Dene- 
meapce hypaS ', 

pulppcan paebe ^ he gepope op paa^um. J>aeC he paape on 
Tpupo on pypan bajum ^ nihcum. p-aec ])aec pcip pa&p ealne pej 
ypnenbe unbep pejle. |7eonoblanb him paep on pceopbopb. *] on 
baecbopb him paep Langalanb. ~\ Laelanb. y Falpcep. y Sconej. 
j ]?ap lanb call hypaS co Denemeapcan. ] fonne Bupgenbalanb 
paep up on baecbopb. ^ ]>a habbafi him pylp cynin^;- Donne 
aepcep Bupjenbalanbe paepon up )>ap lanb fa pynb hacene 
aapepc Blecmja-eg ^ GDeope. ^j Goplanb. ^ Doclanb on baecbopb. 
3 J>ap lanb hypaS co Speon. anb ]7eonoblanb paep up ealne peg on 
pceopbopb. o'ft J7iple-mu$an ; 8eo piple ip ppySe mycel ea. ^ hio 
cohS ^iclanb ~] p'eonoblanb. ~] faec J/iclanb behmpeS cc 
Gpcum. -3 peo piple liS uc op peonoblanbe. 3 liS in Gpcmepe. 
3 pe Gj-cmepe ip hupu pipcene mila bpab ; Donne cymeS Ilpm c i; 
eapcan in Gpcmepe op }>aem mene fe Tpupo pcanbeS in pca5e. 3 


depredations on the Northmen ; they have very little ships, 
and very light. 

" Ohthere said that the shire in which he dwelt is called 
Helgoland. He said that no one dwelt to the north of him ; 
there is likewise a port to the south of that land, which is 
called Sciringes-heal ; thither, he said, no one could sail in 
a month, if he landed at night, and every day had a fair 
wind ; and all. the while he would sail along the land, and on 
the starboard will first be Iraland, and then the islands which 
are between Iraland and this land. Then it is this land 
until he comes to Sciringes-heal, and all the way on the 
larboard, Norway. To the south of Sciringes-heal, a very 
great sea runs up into the land, which is broader than any 
one can see over ; and Jutland is opposite on the other side, 
and then Seeland. This sea lies many miles up in that land. 
And from Sciringes-heal, he said that he sailed in five days, 
to that port which is called ^t-Hsethum (Sleswig), which is 
between thfe Wends, and Seaxons, and Angles, and belongs to 

" When he sailed thitherward from Sciringes-heal, Den- 
mark was on his left, and on the right a wide sea for three 
days, and two days before he came to Hasthuni, he had on 
the right Jutland, Seeland, and many islands. In these 
lands the Angles dwelt before they came hither to this land. 
And then for two days he had on his left the islands which 
belong to Denmark. 

" Wulfstan said that he went from Sleswig to Truso in 
seven days and nights, that the ship was all the way running 
under sail. Wendland was on his right, but Langeland, 
Lolland, Falster, and Skaane on his left, and all these lands 
belong to Denmark, and then Bornholm was on our left, 
which has a king of its own. Then after Bornholm, the 
lands of Blekinge, Meore, Oland, and Gothland, were first 
on our left, and these lands belong to Sweden ; and Wendland 
was all the way on our right, to the Vistula mouth. The 
Vistula is a very large river, and it separates Witlaud from 
Wendland ; and Witland belongs to the Esthonians, and 
the Vistula flows out of Wendland, and flow r s into the 
Frische Half, and the Frische Haff is at least fifteen miles 
broad. Then comes the Elbiug, from the east into the 
Frische Haff, from the lake on the shore of which stands 


cumaS uc pamob in pcmepe Ilpinj eapcan op Gapclanbe. 3 pirlf 
fufian op pinoblanbe. j ponne bemmS p'iple Ilpmj hipe naman, 
~] li^eS op paem mepe pepc. j nojift on pae. popfiy hie man haec 
piplemuSan ; Daec 6apclanb ip ppySe mycel. ] paep biS ppySe 
manig buph. "j on aelcepe bypig biS cymngc. ^ paep br5 ppyfte 
mycel huijn ] pipcaS. 3 pe cymnj "j pa picopcan men bpincaS 
mypan meolc. ~] pa unppebijan ] pa peopan bpmcaS mebo * 
Daep biS ppy<5e mycel jepinn becpeonan him. j ne biS paeji 
naenij ealo jebpopen mib Gpcum. ac paap biS mebo jenoh ; 

Snb pa&p ip mib GjTum Seap. ponne paep bi6 man beab. 
)>a&c he Ir5 mne unpopbaepneb mib hip magum ~] ppeonbum 
monaft. je hpilum cpejen. j pa kyninja]"] pa o^pe heahSun^ene 
men ppa micle lencj ppa hi mapan ppeba habba<5. hpilum healp 
jeap. ^ hi beoS unpopbaepneb. -3 licjaft bupan eop^an on hypa 
hupum. "j ealle pa hpile ]>e paec lie biS mne. psep pceal beon 
gebpync -3 pleja. 06 pone baej pe hi hme popbaepnaft '. Donne 
J>y ylcan baeje hi hineco paem abe bepan pyllaS. ponne tobaelafi 
hi hip peoh. paec ])aep co lape biS aepceji paem jebpynce -3 paem 
plegan. on pip o^6e pyx. hpilum on ma. ppa ppa paep peop anbepn 
biS | !MecjaS hie ponne pophpaeja on anpe mile, pone maepcan 
bael ppam paem rune, fonne oSepne. t5onne paene ))fiibban. op 
]>e hyc call aleb biS on paepe anpe mile. j pceall beon pe laepca 
bael nyhpc ]^83m curie, pe pe beaba man on lift \ 

Donne pceolon beon jepamnobe ealle pa menn pe ppypcojre 
hopp habbaS on )>aem lanbe pophpaeja on pip milum. o^Se on 
pyx milum ppam paern peo.'- Donne aepnaS hy ealle copeapb 
paem peo. ponne cymeS pe man pe paec ppipce hopp hapaft co 
j>aem aepepcan baele. ~\ co paem maepcan. j ppa aelc aepcep o^pum. 
o$ hie biS eall genumen. 3 pe mmS t5one laepcan bael pe nyhpc 
?iaem cune ftaeC peoh jeaepneS. ^ 'Sonne pibeft aelc hyp pejep mib 
San peo. 3 hyc mocan habban eall. 3 pop'Sy paep beo<5 pa 
ppipcan hopp unjepohje bype \ Snb Sonne hyp gepcpeon beoS 
]mp eall appenbeb. ponne bypft man hme uc. ~\ popbaepneS mib 
hip paepnum "j hpaejle. ] ppiSopc ealle hyp ppeba hy pojippenbaS. 
mib pan langan lejepe paep beaban mannep mne. ~) paep ]>e 
hy be paem pejum alecjaS. pe Sa pjiemban co-aepna5. -j 

-] bsec if mib Gpcum Seap Saec paep pceal aelcep jeSeober man 


Truso, and the Elbing flows from the east from Eastland, 
and the Vistula from the south from Wendland, and then 
the Vistula deprives the Elbing of its name, and runs out of 
that mere west, and north into the sea ; therefore it is called 
the Vistula's mouth. Eastland is very large, and there are 
in it many towns, and in every town is a king ; and there is 
also a great quantity of honey and fishing, and the king and 
the richest men drink mares' milk, and the poor and the slaves 
drink mead. They have many contests amongst themselves, 
and there is no ale brewed among the Esthonians, for there 
is mead enough. 

" And there is a custom among the Esthonians, that when 
any one is dead there, he lies unburnt with his relations 
and friends for a month, sometimes two, and the kings and 
other great men, as much longer as they have more wealth ; 
sometimes it is half a year that they are unburnt, and lie 
above ground in their nouses. And all the while that the 
corpse is in the house there are drinking and sports till the 
day on which it is burnt. Then the same day that they 
carry it to the pile, they divide his property which is left, 
after these drinking bouts and sports, into five or six, some- 
times into more, according to the vaiue of the property. 
They then lay the largest part about a mile from the dwell- 
ing, then another, then a third, until it is all laid within the 
mile ; and the least portion must be nearest to the dwelling 
in which the dead man lies. 

" Then shall be assembled all the men who have the swiftest 
horses in that country, that is, within five or six miles from 
the property. They then all run towards the property ; then 
he who has the swiftest horse comes to the first and largest 
portion, and so each after other, till the whole is taken, and 
he takes the least portion who takes that which is nearest 
the dwelling, and then every one rides away with the pro- 
perty, and they may have it all ; and, on this account, swift 
horses are there excessively dear. And when his wealth is 
thus dispersed, then they carry him out and burn him, with 
his weapons and clothes ; and chiefly they spend the whole 
wealth of the deceased, by the dead man's continuing so long 
in the house, and because they lay on the way that to which 
the strangers run and take. 

" And it is a custom with the Esthonians, that people of 


beon popbaepneb. 3 gyp Sap man an ban pmbe<5 unpopbaepneb. 
hi hie pceolan miclum jebecan ; 3 J?aep if mib Gajruin an 
m^S ]>aec hi magon cyle jepypcan. -3 ]>y 'Saep hcjaft Sa beaban 
men fpa lanje j ne puhaS. ~p hy pypcaft ]?one cyle lime on. -j 
]>eah man apecce cpejen paecelf full ealaS O(5<5e psecepef . hy 
jebot) ^ oSep biS ofepfpopen. fam hie j-y fumojx. fain 
psncep 1 ; 

Nu pille pe f ec^an be f u^an Donua ]?sepe ea ymbe Ejiecalanb. 
]>e h^ py^ eafcan Eonfcancmopolim Epeca bypig. if fe fai 
Ppoponbici] 2 . "j be nopSan Eonfcancmopohm Epeqa bypij. 
jcyc fe fa& eapm up of ]?8em fae peftpihce. ]>e man haac Guxmuf . 
] be pefran-nopftan f'a&jie bypij Donua muSa J>sepe ea fcyc 
fu<5-eafc uc on )>one faa Guxmuf. -3 on fuft healfe. j on pejr 
healfe pasf mutian finbon GOoefi Epeca leobe. ^ be pefcan J>a&pe 
bypij finbon Tpaci. 3 be eaftan faape bypij OOacebome 
*] be ) - u^an pgepe bypij. on jni6 healpe ]>82f fsef eapmef pe man 
hasc Gjeum j-mbon Schena. "j Eopmchuf }>a lanb. ^ be peftan- 
ruftan Eopmchon ij- !Schaie ^ lanb. aec ]?33m J7enbel f32 ; Daf 
lanb fynbon Ejieca leobe. ^ be pefcan Schaie. anblang ]?j&f 
penbel foaf if Dulmacia ])est lanb. on nop6 healfe ]>S&Y ]'&]' ~] 
be nop^an Dalmacia finbon Pul^ape j Iftpia. ~j be piSan 
IjTjna if fe penbel fae f>e man ha&c Sbpiacicum. ~) be pejran 
pa beojijaf ]?e man haec Slpif . j be nop^an f>cec pej'cen. ^) if 
berux Eapenbpan -3 Puljapum ; 

Donne if Icalia lanb pefc-nop5 lanj. ] eafC-fuS lanj. j hie 
beliS p'enbel f aa ) rm ' :) ea ^ ucan bucon pefcan-nop'5an '. TC 
}ja&m enbe hie belicjaS Sa beopjaf j^e man ha&c Slpif . ]>a on- 
jinnaS peftane fjiam ]?aem penbel ] - a& in Napbonenfe faepe 
Seobe. ^ enbiafi epc eafC in .Dalmacia f>aem lanbe aec 'Saem fae. 
Jni lanb J>e man haec liallia Beljicaj- Be eafcan psem if po ea 
)>e man hsec Rin. ^j be fuSan J>a beopjaf ]>e man ha&c Xlpip. -] 
be pefcan-j-uSan fe gapfecj pe man ha&c Bpicanifca. -j be 
nop^an on o^pe healfe ]?8&f japf ecjef eapme if Bpiccanma ; 
Diec lanb be pefcan Li^ope if JEquicama lanb. 3 be pit$an 
^Equicama if ]>a&f lanbef fum bael Napbonenfe. -3 be pefcan- 
fuSan Ifpania lanb. ~] be pefcan gapfecj be f uSan Napbonenfe 
if fe penbel j-ae fsep paep Roban feo ea uc-pcyc. ^j be eafcau 


every language shall be burnt ; and if any one finds a bone 
unconsumed, they must make compensation with a large sum. 
And there is among the Esthonians, a tribe that can produce 
cold, and therefore the dead, in whom they produce that cold, 
lie so long there and do not putrefy ; and if any one sets two 
vessels full of ale or water, they contrive that one shall be 
frozen, be it summer or be it winter." 

Now will we speak concerning the south of the river 
Danube, about Greece. To the east of Constantinople, a 
Greek city, is the Propontis, and to the north of Constanti- 
nople an arm of the sea issues due west from the sea called 
the Euxine to the westward, and to the north-west of that 
city, the mouth of the river Danube flows out south-east into 
the Euxine sea, and on the south side and west side of this 
mouth are the Mcesians, a Greek nation, to the west of that 
city are the Thracians, and to the east of that city the Mace- 
donians ; and to the south of that city, on the south side of 
the arm of the sea called the JEgean, are the lands Athens 
and Corinth, and to the south-west of Corinth is the land of 
Achaia, near the Mediterranean. These countries are Greek 
nations, and to the west of Achaia, along the Mediterranean, 
is the land of Dalmatia ; on the north side of that sea, and to 
the north of Dalmatia are Bulgaria and Istria, and to the 
south of Istria is the mediterranean sea called Adriatic ; and 
to the west the mountains called Alps ; and to the north that 
desert which is between Carinthia and Bulgaria. 

Then is Italy long to the north-west and south-east, and 
the Mediterranean surrounds it on every side but the north- 
west. At that end it is inclosed by the mountains called 
Alps, which begin west from the Mediterranean in the Nar- 
bonase country, and end east in the land of Dalmatia, at the 
sea/ those lands that are called G-allia Belgica. To the east 
of it is the river called Ehine, and to the south the 
mountains called Alps, and to the south-west the ocean 
called the British, and to the north, on the other side of 
this arm of the ocean, is Britain. The land to the west 
of Liguria is Aquitaine ; and to the south of Aquitaine is 
some part of the Narbonese country, and to the south-west 
is the land of Spain, and to the west of the ocean, to 
the south of the Narbonese, is the Mediterranean, where 
the river Rhone flows out, and to the east of it the Provence 


lam Ppopenc pae. 3 be pepean him Ppopenc pae opep J?apepcenii. 
jeo up neappe Ippama. j be pepcan him *] nojiflan Gquicama. 
-} papcan be nopftan ; Ppopene pae haepft be nop<5an hype )>a 
beopjap pe man !Mpip haec. } be pu<5an hype ip penbel pae. ~] 
be nopSan hype 3 eapcan pynb Bupjenbe. 3 papcan be 
pepcan 1 ; 

Ippania lanb ip ppypcyce. 3 eall mib pleoce ucan-ymbhaapb je 
eac bmnan-ymbha&pb opep J>a lanb. ae^ep %e op faem jappecje 
ge op ]?am penbel pae. 3 an t5a&pa jajiena 1 Iit5 puS-pepc on^ean 
}>a&c ijlanb ]>e Eabep hatce. y otSep eapc ongean ]>aec lanb Nap- 
bonenpe. } pe 6pibba nop^-pepc. onjean Bpijancia Ijalliabuph. 
] onjean Scodanb. opep fione paep eajim. on gepyhce ]?aene 
muSan ]>e mon ha&c Scene ; 8eo up p-yppe Ippania hype ip be 
pepcan gappecg ~] be nopSan. penbel pa& be puSan ~] be eapcan. 
peo up neappe Ippania. be nopftan |>a&pe pync Gquicama. ^j be 
nop^an-eapcan ip pe pealb Pypeni. "j be eapcan Napbonenpe. -] 
be puSan penbel pae ; 

Bpiccamna ])aec ijlanb. hie ip nop5-eapc lanj. ^ hie ip eahca 
hunb mila lanj. ~] cpa hunb mila bpab. fonne ip be puSan him. 
on o$pe healpe J>a&p pa&p eapmep. Eallia Belgica. ^ on pepc 
healpe on oppe healpe )>aep paep eapmep ip Ibepnia ]>aec iglanb. 
~] on nop^ healpe Opcabup )>aec ijlanb ; Ibepnia. ty pe Scoclanb 
hacaS. hie ip on aelce healpe ymbpangen mib gappecge. ] popSon 
J>e pio punne |)aep ja&5 neap on peel J>onne on oftpum lanbe. 
]?8&p pynbon lySpan pebepa ponne on Bpiccannia ; Donne be 
pepcan-nopSan Ibepnia ip }>a&c ycemepce lanb )>aec man haec 
Thila. "j hie ip peapum mannum cuS pop )>;epe opep-pyppe;- 

Nu haebbe pe gepaeb ymbe ealle Gupope lanb-jemaepo. hu hi 
colicjat). nu pille pe ymbe Spppica hu fa lanb-gemaepo colic- 
5a6> Upe ylbpan cpaebon f hio paepe pe ftpibba bael Sypep 
mibban^eapbep. naep na popSam ]>e f>aep lanbep ppa pela paepe. 
ac popSam ]>e pe J7enbel pae hie ha&p6 ppa cobaeleb. pop^an ]>e 
he bpycft ppi^op on ]>one puS bael forme he bo on pone nopS 
bael. y pio haece haep'5 jenumen ]?aep pu'5 baelep mape ]?onne pe 
cyle Saep noptS baelep haebbe. popSon j?e aelc pihc maej bee 
cyle fonne pit5 haece. pop fam ])injon ip Xpppica aa^fep je on 
lanbum je on mannum laeppe fonne Gupope ; 


sea ; and to the west of the Provence sea, over the wastes, 
is the nearer part of Spain, to the north-west of it Aquitaine, 
and Gascony to the north. The Provence sea has to the 
north of it the mountains called Alps, to the south of it is the 
Mediterranean, and to the north-east of it the Burgundi, and 
to the west the Gascons. 

The land of Spain is triangular, and all ahout surrounded 
with water, and also over the country inclosed either by 
the ocean or by the Mediterranean. And of the three 
angles one lies south-west opposite to the island called 
Cadiz; another east towards the land of the Narbonese; 
and the third north-west towards Brigantia, a town of Gaul, 
and towards Scotland, over the arm of the sea, and opposite 
to the mouth of the Seine. That [part of] Spain, which 
is farthest from us, has to the west and the north the ocean, 
the Mediterranean to the south and to the east. The 
[part of] Spain nearer to us has to the north Aquitaine, and 
to the north-east the wold [called] Pyreni, and to the east 
the Narbonese, and to the south the Mediterranean. 

The island of Britain is long towards the north-east, and 
it is eight hundred miles long and two hundred miles broad : 
then to the south of it, on one side of the arm of the sea, is 
Belgic Gaul, and on the west side, on the other side of the 
arm of the sea, is the island of Ireland, and on the north 
side the Orcades. Ireland, which we call Scotland, is sur- 
rounded on every side by the ocean, and because it is nearer 
to the setting sun than any other country, the seasons are 
milder than in Britain. Then to the north-west of Ireland 
is that utmost land called Thule, which is known to few, on 
account of its distance. 

Now have we said concerning all the boundaries of Europe, 
how they are divided ; now we will [speak] of Africa, how 
those boundaries are divided. Our forefathers said that it 
was the third part of this earth ; not because there was so 
much of this land, but because the Mediterranean has so 
separated it, because it breaks with greater force on the south 
part than it does on the north part ; and the heat has con- 
sumed more of the south part than the cold of the north ; 
because every creature may withstand cold better than heat ; 
for which reason Africa is less than Europe, both in lands 
and men. 



Hpppica onin5. ppa pe aep cpaebon. eafcan peftpepb ppam 
e^ypcum. aec paepe ea pe man Nilup haec. ponne if po eafc- 
niefce peob hacen Libia Eipimacia. hipe if be eafcan po uf 
neappe JEjypcuf. 3 be nopSan }7enbel fae. pe man haec Libia 
jEchiopicum. } be pefcan 8ypcef maiopef |- 

Be pefcan Libia JEchiopicum if fio uf pyppe .^Ejypcup 
j be puftan fe japfecg fe man haec Gchiopicum. ] be pefcan 
Rogachicuf Tpibulicania po J>eob. ]?e man ot>pe naman haer 
Spzujef. hio haepS be eafcan hype fone 8ypcef maiopej- 
~] RojaJ)ice pa lanb. "j be nop^an ^one penbel fae. pe man 
haec Sbpiaticum. y pa peobe pe man base Sypcef mmopef. 
^ be pefcan Bizantmm. oS pone fealcan mepe. ~) be 
fu^an hype Natabpef . 3 Hreothulaf. ^ Urapamancef 08 pone 
japf egc Bizannum | 810 piob paep fae-beoph 1 if Sbpumecif 
j 8eujef. "j po piob paep po myc lebuph if Eapcaina. ~j 
Numibia po peob hi habbaS be eajran him Saet lanb Syptej- 
mmopef ] pone fealcan mepe. "j be nopftan him if p'enbel 
fae. 3 be peftan him GOaupitama. -3 be piSan him Uzepa pa 
beopgaf. ^ be fuSan pam beopgum pa fimbel-papenban 
jEchiopef. 08 'Sone japfecj OOaupicama. hype if be eafcan 
Numebia. j be nopftan penbel fa&. ~] be pefcan GOalua fio ea. 
*j be fu^an SfCpix ymb pe beop/af pe coba&la^ ^ paefcmbaepe 
lanb. -3 paec beab pylle fanb. pe fyS6an hS pi$ on pone gapfecj 
OOaupicama. pe man oftpe naman haet Tingecana. be eafcan 
hype if ODalua fio ea. ] be nopftan Sbbenaf pa beopgaf ^ 
Ealpif. o^ep beoph. paep fcyc fe enbe up op pam gapfecge. 
becuhpan cpam beopjum eafCpeapb. paep 6pcolef fyla fCanbaS. 
] be pefcan him if fe beoph Schlanf. 06 'Sone japfecj. j 
fu^an pa beopjaf pe man haec ^Efpepof. "j be piSan him 
Sulolum po peob 0$ Sone japf ec^ ; 

Nu haebbe pe ymb Spppica lanb-gemaepco y^s&b \ Nu pille 
pe fec^an ymb pa iglanb pe on pa penbel fae pnbon \ Eippof 
paec ijlanb hie ht5 ongean Eihcia 3 Iffaupio. on pam faef 
eapme pe man haec OOepcof. 3 hie if an hunb mila laj j pip 
j hunb-fypanci^ ^j an hunb mila bpab 3 cpa 3 tpentij ; Epeco 
$ ijlanb him if be eafCan fe fae pe man Sppac um haec. 3 pefcan 


Africa, as we have before said, begins from the east west- 
ward from Egypt at the river culled Nile ; and the most 
eastern nation is called Libya Graramantica ; to the east of 
which is the [part] of Egypt nearest to us, and to the north 
the Mediterranean, which is called Libya ^Ethiopica, and to 
the west the Syrtes Majores. 

To the west of Libya ^Ethiopica is the farther Egypt, 
and to the south the ocean called .^Ethiopicum, and to the 
west of Eogathitus is the nation of Tripolitania, which is 
called by another name, Arzuges, this nation kas to the east 
of it the Syrtes Majores, and the land of Bogaftriti ; to the 
north the mediterranean sea, which is called the Adriatic, 
and the nation called the Syrtes Minores ; and to the west of 
Byzacium, to the salt mergj^ and to the south of it the 
Natabres, Getuli, and Graramantes, to the sea of Byzacium. 
The principal sea-ports there are Hadrumetum and Zeuges, 
and .the principal large town there is Carthage. And the 
people of Numidia have to the east of them the country of 
the Syrtes Minores and the salt mere, and to the north of 
them is the Mediterranean, and to the west of them Mauri- 
tania, and to the south of them the mountains of Uzara, and 
to the south of the mountains the ever-wandering Ethiopians, 
to the Mauritanian ocean. To the east of them is Numidia, 
and to the north the Mediterranean, and to the west is the 
river Malva, and to the south the Astrix, near the mountains 
which divide the fruitful country from the barren and welling 
sands, which lie south towards the Mauritanian ocean, which 
by another name is called the Tingetanian. To the east 
of it is the river Malva, to the north the mountains of Ab- 
benis, and Calei, another mountain ; there the end of the 
ocean flows between the two mountains eastward, where 
Hercules' s pillars stand ; and to the west of them is Mount 
Atlas, as far as the ocean ; and to the south the mountains 
called Hesperius, and to the south of them the nation of the 
Auloli, as far as the ocean. 

We have now said concerning the boundaries of Africa ; 
we will now speak of the islands that are in the Mediter- 
ranean. The island of Cyprus lies opposite to Cilicia and 
Isauria, on that arm of the sea called the Mesic ; and it is a 
hundred and seventy-five miles long, and a hundred and 
twenty-two miles broad. To the east of the island of Crete 
is the sea called the Carpathian, and. to the west and 


3 be nopSan EpeCicum re rae. 3 be pefcan Sicilium. }>e man 
o6pe naman haec Xbpiacicum. hie if an hunb mila long. 3 
hunb-f ypancig 3 p ipcig mila bpab i Dapa iglanba J>e man haec 
Ciclabef J>apa pnbon )>peo -3 pipcig. 3 be eafcan him if fe Rifca 
rae. 3 be fuftan fe Epecifca. "3 be nopftan re Gjifca. "3 be 
pefcan Sbpiacicum ) Sicilia paec ijlanb ir ^jiyrcyte. on 
aelcef j-ceacan enbe rmbon beopgar. ]>one nopS j-ceacan man 
haec Pelopef . ]?aep ip reo buph neah GDefrana. ~\ re pi8 rceaca 
hacce Pachmum. ]?aep neah if po buph Sipacuprana. 3 fone 
perc rceacan man haec Lilibeum. pasp if j'eo buph neah ]>e 
man haec Lilibeum. 3 hie ir an hunb 3 jypan ] pipcig mila lang 
fu5 3 nop6. -3 re fpibba j-ceaca if an hunb 3 fypan j hunb- 
fyfancij, pefC lanj. "j be eajcan ])gem lanbe if fe penbel fae ]>e 
man haec Sbpiacicum. j be fu^an ]>am man haec Sffpicum. 3 
be pefcan ])e man haec Tippenum. j be nop^an if fe fae ]>e 
sej^ep if ge neapo je hjieoh ; 

J7iS Icalia ]>am lanbe 8apbima 3 Eoppca }>a iglanb cobaeleS 
an lycel faef eapm. fe if cpa ^ cpencij mila bpab. Sapbima if 
l^peo -3 ppicig mila lanj -3 cpa } cpencig mila bpab. him if be 
eafcan fe p'enbel j'ae. J>e man haec Tippenum. ]>e Tibep fio ea 
ac fcyc on. "j be fuftan fe fae J?e litS ongean Numebia lanbe. 
j be pefcan ]?a cpa iglanb. pe man haec Baleapif. ^ be nopSan 
opf ica faec ijlanb i Eopf ica him if Rome buph be eafcan. 
3 Sapbima be futSan. -j be pefcan J>a i^lanb Baleapif. 3 be 
nopftan Tufcama J>aec lanb. hie if fyxcene mila lanj. -3 nyjan 
mila bpab [ Baleapif pa cu ijlanb. him if be nopftan Sffpica. 
j Eabef be pefcan. y Ifpania be nopftan'.- Scopclice haebbe 
pe nu gefaeb be ]>sem gefeceneffum iglanbum. J>e on J>aem 
|7enbel fae f mbon \ 


Jp j^aem fe Romebuph gecimbpeb paejie ]>pim hunb pmcpa. 
-] fufenb pincpa. Nmuf Sffypia kynm onjan manna aepej-c 
picfian on Syj-um mibbanjeapbe. ^ mib unjemaeclicpe jepil- 
nunj;e anpalbef he paef hepienbe ~] peohcenbe pipcij pincpa. 
oft he haefbe ealle Spam on hif gepealb genyb. piS ppam ))aem 
Reaban fae. "3 fpa nopS o^ pone fae ]>e man haec uxinuj\ 
bucan paem ]>e he eac opcpaeblice pop mib miclum gepeohrum 


nortli tLc Cretan Sea, and to the west the Sicilian, which 
by another name is called the Adriatic ; it is a hundred miles 
long, and a hundred and twenty miles broad. There are 
three- an d-fifty of the islands called the Cyclades ; and to the 
east of them is the Eisca Sea, to the south the Cretan ; to the 
north the JEgean, and to the west the Adriatic. The island 
of Sicily is triangular, at each angle there are mountains ; the 
north angle is called Pelorus, near which is the town of Mes- 
sina ; and the south angle is called Pachytum, near to which 
is the city of Syracuse ; and the west angle is called Lily- 
baeum, near to which is the city called Lilybseum ; and it is 
a hundred and fifty-seven miles long, south and north, and 
the third angle is a hundred and seventy-seven long west ; 
and to the east is the mediterranean sea, called the Adriatic, 
and to the south of it the African, to the west the Tyrrhenian, 
and to the north the sea is both narrow and rough. 

Opposite to the land of Italy a small arm of the sea sepa- 
rates Sardinia and Corsica, which is two-and-twenty miles 
broad ; Sardinia is three-and-thirty miles long, and two-and- 
twenty miles broad ; to the east of it, is [that part of] the 
Mediterranean called the Tyrrhenian Sea, into which the 
river Tiber runs ; and to the south, the sea which lies oppo- 
site to the land of Numidia ; and to the west the two islands 
called the Balearic ; and to the north the island of Corsica. 
To the east of Corsica is the city of Borne, and Sardinia to 
the south, and on the west the Balearic islands, and the 
country of Tuscany to the north ; it is sixteen miles long, 
and nine miles broad. Africa is to the south of the two 
Balearic islands, and Cadiz to the west, and Spain to the 
north. Thus have we now shortly spoken the positions of 
the islands that are in the Mediterranean Sea. 


Thirteen hundred years before the building of Borne, 
Ninus, king of Assyria, began first of men to reign in this 
world ; and having great desire of power, he committed de- 
vastations, and carried on wars for fifty years, till he had re- 
duced all Asia to the south of the Bed Sea into his power, 
and to the north as far as the Euxine. Not to mention that 
he likewise often invaded hostilely the north countries of 


on 8eiSt5ie fa nop^ lanb. fafte jecpebene pynbon faheapbepcan 
men. feah hy pyn on fypon popolb-jepaelfon fia unppebjepcan. 
3 hy fa. unbep faem fe he him onpinnenbe paep. pupbon 
jepabe pijcpaepca. feah hi aep hypa lip bylpitlice alypben. ~] hy 
him aepcep faem gpimme popjulbon fone pijcpaepc. fe hy aec 
him jeleopnobon. -3 him Sa peapS emleop on hypa mobe ^ hy 
jepapon mannep blob agocen. ppa lnm ps&p fapa nycena meolc 
fe hy m33j-c bilibbaS ; Snb he Nmup Sopoaj-cpem Baccpiana 
cyninj. pe cuSe manna s&pept bpycpaeptap. he hine opeppann 
~] opploh. anb fa sec nyhptan he paep peohcenbe piS SciSo'ie on 
ane buph. ~\ faep peap8 oppcocen mib anpe plane. -3 aepcep 
hip bea8e Samepamip hip cpen penjc sejfep je co faem gepmne 
je to faem pice. 3 hio f aet ylce jepm fe hio hine on beppon 
mib manigpealbum pipen-lupcum. cpa ^ peopepnj pmcpa paep 
bpeo^enbe. -3 hype f a-jyc co lycel fuhce faep anpalbep f e pe 
cyningc aep gepunnen haepbe. ac hio mib piphce mt>e paep 
peohcenbe on faec unbepienbe pole ^Echiopiam 1 . 3 eac on 
Inbeap. fa nan man ne aep ne pyftSan mib gepeohce ne jepop 
bucon !Mexanbep ', pio paep pilmenbe mib jepmnum faec hio 
hy opepppiSbe. feah hio hie Suphceon ne mihce ', 810 gicpun^ 
fa -j fa gepin paepon jpimlicpan fonne hy nu pyn. popSon hy 
hypa nane bypene aep ne cuSan. ppa men nu picon. ac on 
bilpicneppe hypa lip alypbon ; 

8eo ylce cpen 8amepamip. pyS6an ty pice paep on hype 
jepealbe. nalep -p an faec hio 'byppcenbe paep on pymbel mannej- 
blobep. ac eac ppelce mib ungemechcpe ppaenneppe mamjpealb 
jehjpe ppemmenbe paep. ppa faec aelcne fapa fe hio jeacpiar 
myhce. faec kyne-kynnep paep. hio Co hype jeppon pop hype 
jeli^epneppe. "3 py^San hio hy ealle mib pacne beppac co beaSe. 
3 fa aec nehpcan hype agenne punu hio genam h) r pe co jelijepe. 
3 popSon fehio hype pipen-lupce puljan ne mopce bucan manna 
bypmpunje. hio gepecce opep call hype pice, faec nan popbypb 
naepe aec gehgepe becuh nanpe pibbe \ 


fe Romebuph jecimbpeb paepe fupenb pmcjia j an 
hunb 3 pyxci^. faec paepcmbaepe lanb. on faem Sobome ^ Ijo- 
moppe fa bypij on paepon. hie peap'S ppam heoponhcum pype ppo- 
baepneb.- ^aec paep becuh Sjiabia 3 Palepcina fa 


( 3 2G5 

Scythia, wh ) are considered the liardiest men, although in 
the goods of this world they are the poorest. By his making 
war against them, however, they straightways became war- 
like, although they had previously lived a life of innocence ; 
and they paid him dearly afterwards for the art of war, which 
they had learned from him ; and then it became as plea- 
sant to their minds to see man's blood shed, as it was the 
milk of cows, on which they chiefly live. And Ninus over- 
came and slew Zoroaster, king of Bactria, who first of men 
understood the magic arts, and then at last he was fighting 
against the Scythians, against a town, and was there shot 
with an arrow ; and after his death his queen, Semiramis, 
succeeded both to the war and to the kingdom ; and that 
same war which she had drawn on him by her manifold sinful 
passions, she carried on for two-and-forty years ; and still 
the empire which Ninus had conquered appeared to her toe 
small. But she, with feminine hate, made war on the inno- 
cent ^Ethiopians, and also on the Indians, whom no one, 
neither before nor since, overran with war, except Alexander. 
She was very desirous to subdue them by war, although she 
could not effect it. Cupidity and wars were then fiercer than 
they now are, because they had no previous examples, as mer 
now have, but had passed their lives in innocence. 

This same Queen Semiramis, after the empire was in her 
power, was not only constantly thirsting for human blood 
but was also with boundless lust perpetrating manifold pros- 
titutions, so that every one of those she might hear of that 
was of royal race, she enticed to her for her lewdness, and 
afterwards deceived, and put them to death ; and then at 
last took her own son to lie with her ; and because she could 
not follow her sinful lusts without the reproach of men, she 
established throughout her realm that there should be no 
obstacle to intercourse between any relations. 


A thousand and sixty years before the building of Rome the 
fruitful land on which Sodom and Gromorra stood was burnt by 
heavenly fire. It was between Arabia and Palestine those mani 


fealban paepcmap paepon. popSam ppiSopc ]>e lopbamp peo ea aelce 
jeape J>aec lanb mibbepeapb opeppleop mib pocepjncce plobe. ~] hit 
)>onne mib Sam gebyngeb peapS \ Da paep ]>aec pole J>aep micclan 
pelan unjemeclice bpucenbe. oS J>aec him on pe miccla pipen- 
lupc on mnan apeox. ] him com op paem pipen-lupce Lrobep 
ppaco. ])aec he eal ^ lanb mib ppeplenum pype popbaepnbe. p 
pfrSan J>j> pa&p pcanbenbe ps&cep opep ]?amlanbe. ppahicj^aepe 1 
ea-plob aep gepleop. ~\ J)a&p baelep pe bsel pe ^ plob ne jpecce. yp 
gyc co-baeg paepcmbaepenbe on aelcep cynnep blsebum. ~\ pa 
pynbon ppySe paegepe ] lupcumhce on Co peonne. ac ]>onne hij 
man on hanb nym$. Jwnne peojiSa'S hij Co acxan ; 


^Ep Saem ]>e Romebupih jecimbpeb pa&pie fupenb pmcpa j 
hunb-pypancij. Thelepcipep -j Eiappachi ]>& leobe becuh him 
jeptn uphopon. ^ ]>aec bpugon 08 hi mib ealle opplejene psepon. 
bucan ppyge peapum. 3 ppa-peah $ ]>aep co lape peap6 }>apa 
Thelepcipa. hy heopa lanb opjeapan. "j jepopan Ro^um p/aec 
ijlanb. pilnienbe -^ hy aelcum jepmne oSplojen haepbon. ac hy 
Epeacap J>aep onpunbon. j hy mib ealle popbybon ". 


JEp Sam ]>e Romebuph gecimbpeb paepe eahca hunb pmcpa. 
mib Gjypcum peapS pypan geap pe unjemechca eopS-pela. *j hy 
aepcep j?am pajpon on ]>am maepcan hun^pe oSpe pypan geap. 
~\ him ]^a lopeph. pihcpipman. mib jobcunbe pulcume jehealp > 
Fpiom Sam lopepe Pompemp 2 . pe haapena pcop. ~] hip cmhc 
lupcinup paepan Sup pingenbe. lopeph ]-e]>e Jin^pc paep hyp 
gebpoSpa. ~] eac jleappa opep hi ealle. ^ him ]>a onbpaabenbum 
]>&m jebpoSpum. hy genamon lopeph -3 hme jepealbon in 
Gjypca lanb. Da poebe he Pompemp 'p he J>a&p bpycpaepcap 
jeleopnobe. ] op }>8em bpycpaepcum -^ he jepunobe monije 
p-unbop co pypcenne. ~] f he mihce ppa pel ppepn peccan. y eac 
J>a3C he op p8em cpaepce Phapaone ]>s&m cyninge ppa leop pupbe. 
3 he paebe ^ he op paem bpycpa&pce jeleojmobe gobcunbne pip- 
bom. ^ he ^p lanbep psepcmbaepneppe fapa pypan jeapa aap 
bepopan paebe. 3 ]>apa oSepa pypan geapa paeble. ]?e faep aepcep 
com. 3 hu he gejabepobe on ]?am aeppan pypan geapan nub 


fold fruits were, because the river Jordan annually over- 
flowed the midst of the country with a flood a foot thick, 
with which it was afterwards manured. Then was that na- 
tion enjoying to the utmost this great prosperity, till enor- 
mous sinful lust waxed within them, and for that sinful lust 
G-od's vengeance came on them, so that he burned the whole 
country with sulphureous fire; and afterwards water was 
standing over the land as the deluge had formerly overflowed 
it ; and that part which the flood did not touch, is to this 
day fertile in every kind of fruit, and which are very fair and 
delightful to look upon ; but when any one takes them into-*"" 
his hand, then they turn to ashes. 


In the year a thousand and seventy before the building 
of Rome, the Telchises and Carsathii began a war between 
them, and carried it on till they were all slain except a very- 
few, and yet those of the Telchises who survived, abandoned 
their country, and went to the island of Rhodes, hoping that 
they had escaped from all war ; but there the Greeks found 
them, and entirely destroyed them. 


Eight hundred years before the building of Borne there 
was a vast plenty, for seven years, in Egypt, and after that 
for the next seven years there was a terrible famine ; and 
Joseph, a righteous man, much assisted them by the divine 
support. Of this Joseph, Pompeius, the heathen poet, and 
his servant, Justin, thus sang. Joseph was the youngest of 
his brethren, and also wiser than them all; so that his 
brethren, dreading him, took Joseph and sold him in the 
land of Egypt. Pompeius then said that he there learned 
magic, and through that magic was wont to work many 
wonders ; that he could well interpret dreams, and alt<o 
that he was beloved by Pharaoh, the king, for that craft : 
and he said that by magic he had learned heavenly wis- 
dom, so that he foretold the seven years of fruitfulness, 
and the other seven years of famine which came after ; 
and how he gathered in the first seven years, through 


hyp pipbome. ^ he pa aepcepan pypan geap eall ^ pclc jepcylbe 
pr5 pone nnclan hunjop. j paebe ^ GOoypep paepe paep lopepep 
pinu. ^ him paepan ppam him bpycpaepcap gecynbe. popSon pe 
he monije punbop pophce in (Bjypcum. 3 pop paem pole ]>e on 
]>aec lanb becom. pe pcop paep pecjenbe }) Gjypci abpipen GQoypep 
uc mib hip leobum. popSon paebe Pompemp 3 ]>a 6jypcipcan 
bipceopap. f fa Eobep punbop ]>e on hiopa lanbum jepojiben. 
psepon to ]?on jebon -J) hi hiopa agnum ^obum gecealbe paepon. 
^ pmc biopoljilb. nalep J>am po'San Eobe. popSon J>e hiopa jobu 
pynbon bpycjiaepca lajieopap. j ^ pole nu jyc ^ cacn lopepep 
gepecneppe aepceji-pyl^eaS. -J> ip 'p hy jeapa jehpilce J^one pipcan 
bael ealpa hiopa eopfi-paepcma paeni cynmge co gapole jepyllaS '. 
paep pe hunjep on J>aep cynmjep bagum on Gjypcum. J>e 
mon haec Smoj-ep. peah 6e hiopa J>eap paejie -p hy ealle hiopa 
cynmgap hecan Phapaon ] On paepe ylcan cibe picpabe 
Baleup pe cynm^ in Sppipia paep ae]i paap *Nmu)' ; On ]?aem 
leobum ]>e monSpji haec picpabe Spip pe cynmjc '. On faepe 
cibe naep na ma cynmja anpealba. bucan pypan ppim picum. 
ac pySftan paep pio bypen op him opep ealle pojilb ) "Kc Saec ip 
co punbpianne. p/aec ]>a 6gypti ppa lycle poncunje pipcon 
lopepe. faep ]?e he hy aec hungpe ahpebbe. f hi hjp cyn ppa 
jia^e jeunapebon. ~] hy ealle co nyblingum him jebybon \ 
Spa eac ip jyc on ealpe ]\vppe pojiulbe. p/eah Cob lanjpe Cibe 
pille hpam hyp pillan co-poplaecan. ~] he ponne ]>aep epc lyCeljie 
cibe p/ohge. }} he pona popgyc ^ job ty he aep haepbe. "j 
j^aec ypel paec he ponne haep6 ; 


J&]\ Saem pe R.omebuph ^ecimbpeb J>aepe eahca hunb pincpa 
] cyn jeapan. picpobe A'mbiccio pe cyninj in Schena Epeca 
bypij \ pe paep pe ppibba cyninj }>e aepceji Eecpope J>aenr. 
cynin^e picpabe. pe aepepc paep }?aepe bupje cyninj ; On J?aej 
!Smbiccionej' Cibe pupbon ppa mycele paecep-plob jeonb ealle 
poplb. } peah maepc m Thapalia Epeca bypij ymb pa b^opjap 
pe man haec Papnappup. paep pe cyninj Theuhaleon picpobe. f 
popneah eall ]? pole poppeap^. ~) pe cynmjc Theuhaleon ealle 
)>a pe co him mib pcypum o^plujon Co paern beopjum. he 
hy paep onpenjc. -3 hy paep apebbe ; Be paem Theuhaleon 
pajp gecpeberi. ppilce mon bippel paebe. ^ he paepe moncynne- 


his wisdom, so that in the second seven years he protected all 
the people against the great famine, and said that Moses was 
this Joseph's son, from whom he learned magic, because he 
wrought many wonders in Egypt. And on account of the 
plague which happened in that land, the poet says that the 
Egyptians drove Moses out with his people ; because, said 
Pompeius and the Egyptian bishops, that those miracles of 
God which were performed in their land were done that they 
might be ascribed to their own gods, who are devils, not to 
the true God, because their own gods are teachers of magic. 
And that nation still follows that token of Joseph's ordinance, 
that is, that they every year give a fifth of the fruits of the 
earth to their king for a tax. 

This famine happened in the days of the king of Egypt, 
called Amasis ; though it was their custom to call all their 
kings Pharaoh. At the same time King Baleus ruled in As- 
syria, where Nimus had been previously. Over those people, 
who are called Argivi, King Apis ruled. In those days there 
were no governments of kings but in these three kingdoms ; 
but afterwards the example of them was [followed] over all 
the world. But is it to be wondered at, that the Egyptians 
showed so little gratitude to Joseph for having delivered them 
from famine, that they so quickly dishonoured his kin, and 
made them all their slaves. So, however, it still is in this world; 
though God permits every one to have his will for a long 
time, and he then suffer for a short time, he soon forgets the 
good which he had before, and remembers the evil which 
he then has. 


Eight hundred and ten years before the building of Borne, 
King Amphictyon reigned in Athens, a city of Greece. He 
was the third king that reigned after Cecrops, who w r as the 
first king of that city. In the time of this Amphictyon, 
there was so great a flood over the whole world, and particu- 
larly in Thessaly, a Greek town, near the hills called Parnas- 
sus* where King Deucalion reigned, that almost all the folk 
perished ; and the King Deucalion received and fed all those 
who fled to him for refuge in ships to the mountains. It 
wis said of this Deucalion, as if told as a fable, that he was 


tybpienb. ppa ppa Noe psepi- On paem ba^um paep fe 
man-cpealm in ^Ethiopian Spppica leofce. ppa paec heopa peapa 
to lape pupbon ; Gac on paem bagum paep -p Libep Pacep 
opeppan pa unbepijenban Inbea Seobe. 3 hy popneah mib-ealle 
popbybe. aejpep je mib bpuncennyppe. ge mib pipen-lupcum. 
ge mib man-plyhcum. peah hy hme epc aepcep hyp baege heom 
pop job hsepbon. j hy paebon ^ he psejie eallef gepmnep 
palbenb ; 


.2Ep tSam ]>e Romebuph jecimbpeb paepe eahta hunb pmtpa. 
3 pip pmcpum. jepeapS ]>&t QOoypep laebbe Ippahela pole oj: 
^Egypcum. aepcep ]>xm mane^um punbpum ]>e he ]?aep jebon 
haepbe;- Daec paep paec popme. -p hypa paecep pupbon to 
blobe!- Da pasp ]>aec aepcep pe. p ppoxap comon jeonb call 
jij^)ca lanb. ppa pela ^ man ne mihce nan peopc pypcan. ne 
nanne niece gejyppan. ^ ]7apa pypma nsepe empela faem 
mere aep he jegeappob psepei- Djubbe ypel paep aepcen j)am. 
f jna&ccap comon opep call J>aeC lanb. je mne je uce. mib pyp- 
pmeopcenbum bicum. ^ aejSep je fa men ^e ]?a nycenu una- 
blinnenlice pinienbe pa&pon> Da paep faec people. J>aer 
ealpa pcamhcojc paep. }) hunbep pleogan comon jeoi.b call Jwt 
mancyn. ~\ hy cjiupon ]?aem mannum becpuh |>a 'Seoh. je 
jeonb call ]>a limu. ppa hie eac pell jebapenobe. faec Bob j^a 
maepcan ofejimecco gem^pobe mib paepe bipmeplicepcan ppace. 
3 psepe unpeop^licopcan \ Daec pipce paep hypa nycena 
cpealm;- Daec pyxce paep. ])aec eall pole paep on blaebpan. y 
fia paepon j-pi^e hpeophce beppcenbe. j J>a popmp ucpionbe '. 
Daec pypefte paep. )) 8aep com hajol pe paep pi$ pype jemenjeb. 
}>aec he aejftep ploh je ]>a menn. je pa nycenu. je eall paec on 
|>aem lanbe paep peaxenbep 3 jpopenbep | Daec eahco^e paep. 
j>aec jaeppcapan comon. 3 ppaecon ealle'pa ^aepp-ci^ap. pebupan 
]>aepe eopSan paepon. je pupSon pa jaepj'-ci^ap. ~] pa pypcpuman 
pceoppenbe paepon ; Daec nygoSe paep. paec paep com hajol 3 
ppa mycel pyrcepnep. je baejep ^;e nihcep. j ppa jebpepeblic. 
5aec hie man gepelan mihce \ Daec ceoSe paep. paec ealle pa 
cmhcap. -] ealle pa maebena pe on paem lanbe ppumcenne^e 
paejion. pupbon on anpe mhc acpealbe. ~] peah paec pole nolbe 
aep liobe abujan. hy hpae^pe pa hypa un^ancep him gehyppume 
paepon. ppa ppySe ppa hi aep GOoype. 1 ] hyppolce paep uc-paepelbe; 


the parent of mankind, as Noah was. In those days there 
was the greatest plague in Ethiopia, a nation of Africa, so 
that few of them survived. In those days also it was, that 
Liber Pater subdued the innocent Indian people, and almost 
entirely destroyed them, either by drunkenness and sinful 
lusts, or slaughters ; though after his day they held him for 
a god, and said he was ruler of all war. 


Eight hundred and five years before the foundation of 
Eome, it happened that Moses led the people of Israel out 
of Egypt, after the many miracles that he had performed 
there. The first was, that their water was turned to blood. 
The second was, that frogs came over the whole land of 
Egypt, so many that no one could do any work, nor prepare 
any meat, so that there were not reptiles as much as meat 
before it could be dressed. The third evil was, that gnats 
came over all the land, both within doors and without, with 
bites smarting like fire, and both men and cattle were un- 
ceasingly pained. Then was the fourth, which was the most 
shameful of all, that dog-flies came over all that people, 
creeping between men's thighs, yea, over all their limbs ; so 
that it was also well fitting that God should humble the 
greatest pride with the most ignominious and most humi- 
liating vengeance. The fifth was the plague of their cattle. 
The sixth was, that all the people had boils, which burst very 
virulently, and thence issued corruption. The seventh was, 
that hail came mixed with fire, which killed both men and 
cattle, yea, everything that waxed and grew on the land. 
The eighth was, that locusts came and devoured every blade 
of grass which was above the earth, yea, even gnawed off the 
grass and the roots. The ninth was, that hail came, and such 
great darkness, both by day and night, and so thick that it 
might be felt. The tenth was, that all the boys and all the 
maidens, who were the first-born in the land, were killed in 
one night ; and though that people would not before submit 
to Grod, yet they then, against their wills, were obedient 
to Him ; as much as they before had forbidden Moses and his 
people to depart from Egypt, so much were they the more 


pynnbon. ppa micle hy paepon geopnpan. psec hy him ppam pul- 
gen;- "Re peo hpeoppunj. pe him pa gepeapt).' ppySe pa$e on 
pyppan jepanc jehpyppeb;- ppaeblice pe cyninjc pa nub luj 
p;tlce heom paep aepcep-pyljenbe. 3 hy jecyppan polbe epc c<> 
6 ( zypcum ) 8e kymnjc Phajiaon haepbe pyx hunb pig-paegria. ~j 
ppa pela paep o'Spep hepep psep. $ man maeg panon oncnapan. 
pa him ppa pela manna onbpebon ppa nub GOoype psepon. psec 
paep pyx hunb pupenba manna > PpaeSpe Gob pamiclan Pha- 
paonep menge gelyclobe. j hypa opejimaecan opepmecco je- 
ny^epobe. -j bepopan GOoype 3 hip polce. ~] 6one Reaban pae on 
tpelp pejap abpijl-e. paet hi bpi^an pocan paene pae opeppep- 
bon ; Da paec jepapon pa Gjypce. hy pa gecpymebon hyp:* 
bpyap. Eeamep -3 GOambpep. 3 gecpupebon mibhy'pa bpycpaepc- 
um. paec hy on Sone ilcan pej pepan meahcan. pa hi J>a on 
mnan paem pse-paejielbe paepon. pa gebupon hi ealle 3 abpun- 
con ; Daec cacn nu jyc ip opjyce on paep paep pca^e hpsep 
papa pij-paejna hpeol onganjenbe paepon \ Daec beS Eob co 
cacne eallum mancynne. ^ peah hie pmb'o^Se paep plob mib 
ponbe opepbpipen. ^ hie 6eah biS epc ppa jepyne ppa hie aeji 
paepi- On paepe cibe paep pio opep-myccle haeco on ealpe 
populbe. nalep ^ an ^ men paepon miclum jej-pencce. ac eac 
ealle nycenu ppytie neah poppujibon. ^ pa puSmepcan ^Echio- 
pian haepbon bpyne pop Saepe haece. y Settle 8a no]it5mepcan 
haepbon unjepunelice haeton \ Da haepbon monije unpipe 
rnenn him Co popbe. 3 Co leapung-ppelle. f pio haece naepe pop 
hiopa pynnum. ac paebon ^ hio paepe pop Feconcippoppcapunge. 
anep mannep ! 


^Ep ^Saem ]>e Romebuph jecimbpeb paepe pyx hunb pincpan 
j pip. in Gjypcum peapS on anpe mhc pipcij manna opplegen. 
ealle ppam hiopa ajnum punum. j ealle pa men comon ppam 
cpam jebpo^jian ; * Da pip jebon paep pa-^yc 1\ peban pa 
ebpofipa> 8e ylbpa paep hacen Danaup. pe paep ypt-^-j- 
opbppuma paep. pe peapS op hip pice abpsepeb. ~] on A'pge ]^rec 
lanb he pleonbe becom. j hip pe cynmj paep Tenelaup nnlbelice 
onpenj. peah hehichim epc mibypele poji^ulbe. pa he hinecphif 
jiice abjiaepbe \ On paem bajum on G^ypcan psep paep kyninge; 


X f ~J l * 273 

desirous that they should depart from them. But the re- 
)entance which then came over them was very soon turned 
;o worse thoughts. Quickly was the king, with his people, 
bllowing after them, and would bring them back again to 
Egypt. King Pharaoh had six hundred war-chariots, and 
:here were so many of the other host, which may thence be 
\nown, when so many men dreaded them as were witli 
Moses, that was six hundred thousand men. God, however, 
essened the great multitude of Pharaoh, and humbled their 
?xcessive pride before Moses and his people, and dried up 
:he Red Sea into twelve ways, so that they crossed that sea 
with dry feet. When the Egyptians saw that, their magicians, 
G-eames and Mambres, encouraged them, and they trusted 
:-hat by their sorceries they could cross over the same road ; 
Hit wiien they were in the sea-road, they all sank and were 
drowned. The track is still known on the sea-shore where 
;he wheels of their war-chariots passed. God does this as a 
oken to all mankind, so that, though the wind or sea-flood 
cover it with sand, yet it will be again seen as plain as it 
;as before. At that time was the very intense heat all over 
the world, so that not only men were sorely afflicted, but also 
ill the cattle were very near perishing. And the southmost 
Sihiopians had burning in place of heat ; and the Scythians, 
the most northern, had unusual heats. Then many unwise 
nen uttered the opinion and falsehood, that the heat was not 
for their sins, but said that it was through the transformation 
)f Phaeton, [who was only] a man ! 


In the year six hundred and five before the building of 
Rome, fifty men were slain in Egypt in one night, all by 
ir own sons, and all these men came from two brothers. 
When this was done, the brothers were* yet living. The 
?lder was named Danaus, who was the author of this evil, 
was driven from his kingdom, and came a fugitive to the 
and of Argos, and there, Sthenelaus, the king, received him 
dndly, though he afterwards requited him with evil, when 
le expelled him from his kingdom. In those days it was the 


peap BopipiSip. -p ealle }>a cuman. p/e hme gepohcon. he to biota 
jebybe. 3 hip jobum bebeab ; 

Ic polbe nu. cpaeS Opopiup. ty me J>a geanbpypban. J>a p/e 
pecgaS J>aet J>eop poplb py nu pyppe on Syr an cpiptenbome. 
}?onne hio aep on ]>aem hae)>enpcype paepe. p/onne hi ppylc gebloc 
3 ppylc mopS bonbe paepon. ppylc ic hep aep bepopan paebe ; 
Ppaep if nu on aenijan cpijrenbome. becuh him fylpim. ^ 
mon him fupjre fpilc onbpasban. ^ hine mon senigum jobum 
bloce. o^Se hpaap fynbon upe jobap. pe j-pylcpa mana gypnen. 
'fpilce hiopa psepon ? | 

On })a&m bajum Pepf euf j-e cynm^c op Epeca lanbe m Spam 
mib pypbe pop. j on ])a Seobe pinnenbe pa&p. oS hi him IP.- 
hyppume paapon. 3 J>aepe peobe o^epne naman apcop be him 
pyluum. ppa hi mon py&6an hsec Peppi ) 

Ic pac jeape. cpae8 Opopiup. -f> ic hip pceal hep pela opeji- 
hebban. ~\ ])& ppell ]>e ic pecje ic hi pceal gepcypcan. popSon ]>e 
Sppypie haepbon LX. pmtpa ~] an hunb "j an J>upenb unbep 
pipcigan cynmga pice. 8s&c hie na bucon gepynne naep. ottyaer 
Sapbanapolip opplejen peapS. j pe anpalb pi^San on OOaeSe je- 
hpeapp ; Ppa ip p/aec call Sa ypel }>e hi bonbe paepon apecjean 
ma&je o^Se apeccean ? \ Gac ic pille jeppijian Toncohp ^ 
Philopep. 6apa pcanblicepcepa ppella. hu maneja bipmephce 
jepm Tontolup jeppemebe. p) r (SSan he cynmgc psep. ymb ]>one 
cmhc ]?e he neabmga jenam. Eraneme])ip. ^ hu he hip ajenne 
punu hip jobum to blote acpealbe. 3 hine him pylp pi^6an to 
mete ^ejyppebe .' 6ac me pceal a^peocan ymbe Philopep. 
ymbe Tapbanu]-. ~) ymbe ealpa fapaTpoiana ^epin to apecgenne. 
popt5on on ppellum ] on leoSum hiopa jepm cu^e pinbon \ Ic 
pceall eac ealle poplaetan. ]?a Se op Peppeo 3 op Eabmo gepaebe 
fynbon. -3 eac ^5a jpe op Thebam -j op Spaptam jepaabe pynbon ; 
ac ic pille geppijian ]> apa man-baeba fapa Lemmaftum. j Pan 
tluonip paep cymngep. hu hpeophce he peapt5 abpaepeb op Sthe- 
niencium hip ajenpe ]?eobe. ^ Stpejap ^ ThigepSep. hu hi heopf 
pa&bepap opplogan. j ymb hiopa hetehcan pophjneppa. ichit et 
pojilaece ' Gac ic hep poplaete Sbipup. hu he a&j^ep opploh 
hip ajenne paebep. ge hip pteop-paebep. je hip pceop-punu | < 
])sem ba^um paepon ppa ungemethce ypel. ty ]>a men 
fcaet heponep tunjul hiopa ypel plugon | 


custom of the king, Busiris, in Egypt, tliat all strangers who 
resorted to him he sacrificed and offered to his gods. 

I would now, says Orosius, that those would answer me, 
who say, that this world is now worse, in this Christianity, 
than it was before in heathenism, when they were enacting 
such sacrifices and murders, as I have just now mentioned. 
"Where is there now, in any [part of] Christendom, among 
themselves that men need to dread being sacrificed to any 
gods ? or where are our gods who desire such atrocities as 
those were ? 

In those days Perseus the king went from Greece into 
Asia with an army, and made war on that people until they 
were obedient to him ; and gave another name to the nation 
from himself, so that they were afterwards called Persians. 

I well know, says Orosius, that I shall here omit many 
things of this [time], and that those narratives which I 
shall relate, I shall shorten ; because the Assyrians, for 1160 
years, under the reigns of fifty kings, were never without war, 
till Sardanapalus was slain, and the power was then trans- 
ferred to the Medes. Who is there that can relate or enume- 
rate all the evils that they did ? I will also pass by in silence 
the most abominable histories of Tantalus and Pelops ; how 
many disgraceful wars Tantalus carried on after he was king, 
on account of the youth Granymede, whom he forcibly took ; 
and how he sacrificed his own son to his gods, and afterwards 
prepared him for himself for food. It would weary me also to 
relate about Pelops, and about Dardanus, and about all the 
wars of the Trojans ; because their wars are known in histories 
and in songs. I shall likewise omit all that has been said 
about Perseus and Cadmus, and also what has been said of 
the Thebans and Spartans. I will also pass in silence the 
crimes of the Lemnians, and of King Pandion, how cruelly 
he was driven from the Athenians, his own people ; and of 
Atreus and Thyestes, how they slew their fathers, and about 
their execrable lusts, I shall omit it all ; I shall also here 
omit Oedipus, how he slew both his own father and his step- 
father, and his stepson. In those days there was such enor- 
mous evil that men said that the stars of heaven flew fro:n 
their wickedness. 



^Ep 6am )>e Romebuph jecimbpeb paepe pyx hunb pmtjium 
j pyxtygum. peapS ty unjemeclice mycle gepeohc betpeoh Epe- 
cenpe ~) Xchemenpe J>aem polcum. *] ])a Epetenpe haepbon ftone 
Spimlican pije. -3 ealle 8a aeSelepcan beajm ]>apa Xchemenpa hy 
genamon. 3 fealbon Saem GQmocaupo to ecanne. ^ paef healp 
mann healf leo ; On 6 gem bajum psej- ty Laphice -3 Thef j-ali 
pjepon pmnenbe him becpeonan. ftonne 8a I^aphice jefapon 
Thefj-ali ty pole op hiopa hoppan beon jreohtenbe piS hi. j^onne 
hecan hi Eentaupi. -p jynbon healf hopf ] healp men. 
hi on hoppe peohcan ne gepapon aep fa ; 


.2Ep faem ^5e Romebuph jecimbpeb paepe peopep hunb pintpan 
;j hunb-eahcacijum. Yepojep Gjypca cynmj paep pmnenbe on 
put) baele Spiam. 06 ]?e him pe maepta bael peap8 unbepSeobeb. 
3 he Yepojep Gjypca cyninj paep pytStSan mib pypbe papenbe on 
SciSftie on ]>a nopS bselap. "3 hip aepenbpacan bepopan apenbe co 
faepe Seobe. -3 him untpeogenbhce pecgan hec. ^ hi oftep pcolbon. 
oSSef) lanb aec him alypan. o^tSe he hi polbe mib gepeohte poji- 
bon 3 pophepjian | Py him ])a jepcabpiphce anbpypbon ~] 
cpaebon. ^ hie jemahlic paepe 3 unpihclic. ^ ppa opepplenceb 
cyninj pceolbe pinnan on ppa eapm pole ppa hi paepon. her an 
him )>eah ^ anbpypbe pecjan. -p him leoppe paepe piS hine Co 
peohcanne. J>onne ^apol Co jylbenne ', PI ^ gelaepcon ppa. ~] 
pona ftone cyningc jeplymbon mib hip poke. -3 him aepcep pol- 
gienbe paepon. "3 ealle Gj^pca apepcon. bucan o"aem pen-lanbum 
anan. "3 ]?a hi hampeapb penbon. be pepcan paepe ea 6uppace. 
ealle Xpiam hy jenybbon ty hi him japol julbon. ^ Saep paepon 
pipcyne jeap ^ lanb hepgienbe 3 pepcenbe. 06 hiopa pip him 
penbon aepenbpacan aepcep. ~] him paebon. ty hi o<5ep bybon. 
o^Se ham come. ofrSe hi him polbon oSeppa pepa ceopan> 
Pi }>a ty lanb poplecon. ^ km hampeapb pepbon;- 



In the year six hundred and sixty before the foundatioi. 
of Rome, happened that exceedingly great fight between the 
Cretans and Athenians, and the Cretans had a bloody victory, 
and they took all the noblest children of the Athenians, and 
gave them to the Minotaur to be eaten, which was half man 
half lion. In those days it was that the Lapithie and Thessa- 
lians warred with each other. "When the Lapitha3 saw the 
Thessalians fighting against them on horseback, they called 
them Centaurs, that is half horse half man ; because they 
had never before seen fighting on horseback. 


Four hundred and eighty years before the building of 
Eome, Vesoges, king of Egypt, carried on a war in the south 
part of Asia, till most of it was subjected to him ; and he, 
Vesoges, king of Egypt, afterwards marched with an army 
into the north parts, into Scythia, and sent his ambassadors 
before him to that nation, and commanded them to say un- 
equivocally, that they should either redeem that land from 
him, or he would ruin and desolate them with war. They 
thereupon discreetly answered him, and said, that it was 
wicked and unjust, that so highly exalted a king should 
make war on so poor a nation as they were. They, how- 
ever, bade that answer to be given him : that it was more 
agreeable to them to fight against him than to pay him tri- 
bute. That they made good, and soon put the king with his 
people to flight ; and pursued him and laid all Egypt waste, 
except the fen-lands alone. And as they returned home- 
wards, on the west of the river Euphrates, they compelled 
all Asia to pay tribute to them, and they were there plunder- 
ing and ravaging that country for fifteen years, till their wives 
sent messengers after them, and said to them that they must 
do one or the other, either return home, or they would choose 
other husbands. They then left that country and went home- 


)n paepe ylcan tibe pupbon cpejen aeSelmgap aplymbe op 
Sci8o"ian. Plemup 3 Scolopeciup paepan hacene. ] gepopan ^ 
lanb. 3 jebubon becpeoh tappabociam 3 Poncum. neah J>aepe 
laeppan Spam, } 8aep pmnenbe paepion. oS'p hi him ])aep eaph 
( xenamon. ^ hi J>aep. aepcep hpaeblice cibe. ppiam paern lanbleobum 
Suph peapia opplejene pupbon'- Da pupbon hiopa pip ppa 
papije on hiopa mofce. 3 ppa ppiolice jebpepeb. sejftep je tSajia 
ae^ehnja pip. je ]>apa otSejipa manna. t5e mib him ojrj'lejene 
paepan. ^ hi pgepna naman. to }>on ^ hi heopa pepap ppecan 
Sohcan. y hi J?a hps&bhce aeprep J?aem ojrflojonealle^apaepneb- 
menn ]?e him on neapej'ce psejion \ FopSon hy bybon ppa }>e 
hi polbon J)8ec ]>a oSpe pip psepan empapige heom. ^ hy p^^San 
on him pulcum hsepbon. }) hi ma meahton hypa pejiap ppecan ; 
pi J)a ]?a pip ealle cogsebejie jecypbon. ] on ]?sec pole pmnenbe 
psepon. ^ ]>a paepneb-men jleanbe. 06 hi ]?ep lanbep haepoon 
mycel on hiopa anpealbe *. Da unbep Sa&m jepmne. hi jena- 
mon ppi^5 piS Sa pa&pneb-men ; 8yt5San paep hiopa Seap. -^ hi 
aelce jeape ymbe cpelp monaS copomne pepbon. 3 paep Sonne 
beapn ajrpynbon. epc 8onne ]?a pip heopa beapn kenbon. Sonne 
pebbon hi ]m maaben-cilb. "j flojon pahyfe-cilb. 3 Saem mseben- 
cilban hi popcenbon ^ PPy^pe bpeopc popan. ^ hie peaxan ne 
pceolbe. ^ hi haejrban ]?y ptpengjian pcyce. pop^on hi mon hec 
on Epeacipc Smazonap. ^ ip on Gnglijx- popcenbe \ piopa cpa 
paepan heopa cpena. GOappepia y Lampiba paepan hacene. hy 
heopa hepe on Cpa cobaelbon. oi5ep aec ham beori. hiopa lanb co 
healbenne. oSep uc-papan co pinnanne ; Py pySSan ^eeobon 
Gupopam *] Spiam Sone maepcan bael. "3 jecimbjiebon 
?ia buph. ] monije o$pe on J>aepe laeppan Spiam. 3 pi^an 
hiopa hepep J>one maepcan bael ham penbon mib hiopa hepe- 
hy^e. ~] Sone oSepne bael faep lecon. ^ lanb Co healbenne \ 
Daep peajiS GOappepia pio cpen oppla^en. ^ mycel faep hepep }>e 
mib hype baepcan paep \ Daep peap^ hype bohcop cpen. Sinope. 
pio vice cpen Sinope. co-eacan hype hpaecpcype j hype mom- 
pealbum bu^u^um. hype lip jeenbobe on mae^habe|- 

On ]>aem bajum paep ppa mycel ege ppam paem pipmanmnn. 
j} Gupope ne Spia ne ealle fa neah Seoba ne mihcan afiencan 
ne acpaepcan. hu hy him pi^pcanban mihcan aepSon hi gecupon 
Gpcol Sone enc. ty he hi pceolbe mib eallan tpeaca cpaepcum 
beppican. ~] 8eah ne boppce he gene^an ^ he hi mib pyjibe je- 
Fope. aeji he on^an mib Epeaca pc^-pum. ]>e mon buhnnnuj 



At that same time two princes were expelled from Scythia, 
their names were Plenus and Scolopythus, and proceeded to 
and ruled the country between Cappadocia and Pontus, near 
to the Lesser Asia, and there carried on war till they took 
their habitation there, and there in a short time were slain 
by the country people by treachery. Then were their wives 
so sorrowful in their minds, and so afflicted, both the wives 
of the two princes, as well as of the other men who were slain 
with them, that they took arms to avenge their husbands, 
and soon afterwards killed all the males nearest to them. 
They did so, because they would that the other wives should 
be as sorry as they, that they might then have support in 
them, that they might better avenge their husbands. All 
these wives then combined together, and carried on the war 
against the people and slew the males of the country, until 
they had much of the country in their power. Then during 
the war, they made peace with the males. Afterwards it was 
their custom every year or twelve month to come together, 
and there then to beget children. Then, when the women 
had brought forth their children, they fed the maiden-children, 
and slew the male children ; and of the maiden-children they 
burned off the right breast, that it might not grow, that they 
might have the stronger shooting power ; therefore they were 
called in Greek, Amazonas, that is English burned 1 . Two of 
these were their queens; their names were Marpesia and 
Lampedo. They divided their army into two ; one [part] to 
be at home to defend the land, the other to go out to war. 
They afterwards overran the greatest part of Europe 
Asia, and built the city of Ephesus, and many others in the 
Lesser Asia, and afterwards sent home the greater part of 
their army, with their booty, and left the other part there, 
to keep possession of the country. There was the queen 
Marpesia slain, and many of the army that remained behind 
with her. Then was queen her daughter, Sinope, that same 
Queen Sinope, who in addition to her bravery and manifold 
virtues, ended her life in maidenhood. 

In those days there was so great dread from those women, 
that neither Europe, rior Asia, nor all the nations near could 
devise or resolve how they might withstand them, till they 
chose the giant Hercules, to overreach them with every kind 
of Grecian cunning. And yet he durst not venture to in- 
.vade them with an army before he had commenced with 


haet. ]>& man fec5 f an fcip mae^e an ftufenb manna 1 , 
nihtef on un^eappe hi on befcael. 3 hi fpiSe popploh j popbybe. 
3 hpae]>epe ne meahte hi ]>aef lanbef benaeman | On tiaem 
bajum j^aep paepan tpa cpena. J>a paepan gefpeofcpa. Snthiopa 
j Opithia. 3 f/aep peapS Opichia jepangen ) ^Efcep hype penjc 
co paem pice Penthepha. f 10 on ])aem Tpoiampcan jepeohce f pitSe 
ma&pe ^epeapS ; 

Pie if fconbhc. cpaet5 Opopup ymb j-pylc to j-ppecanne. 
hpylc hie ])a pa&j'. ]>a ppa eapme pijrmen [^ j'pa el^eobje ha&p- 
bon jejan J)one cpaejrc^efcan bsel. -3 )>a hpatej-can men eallep 
Jjipej* mibban^eapbef. ]>get ps&j- Spam ^ Gupope pel popneah 
mib-ealle apuppon. 3 ealba ceajxpa. ~] ealb bejnj copuppon. ^ 
sefCep Sam hie bybon aa^Sep je cymnja picu faecan. je nipe 
ceapcpa nmbpebon. 3 ealle |>a pojiolb on hiopa agen pill on- 
penbenbe pa&pon polneah C. pincpa. ^ j-pa jepunobe men 
pG&pon selcep bpocep ]>a&rte hie hie jrolneah to nanum Ia8e 
naapbon. ]?sette hie 2 ] hy ppa tincpejebon. j nu Jja Eotan 
comon op ])am hpatejran mannan Ijepmama. }>e aejSep 
je Pippuf fe pet5a Epeaca cynmjc. ^e ISlexanbep. je lulmf 
fe cpaefti^a cafepe. hie alle fpam him onbpebon. ^) hi hi 
mib gefeohte fohte 3 > pu unjemetlice je Rompape be- 
mupcniaft ^ bej-ppecaS. fa&t eop nu pypf fie on ]>yfan cpiften- 
bome. J>onne Ips&m. Seobum J>a pa&pe. f op^on ]?a liotan eop hpon 
opephep^oban. 3 eoppe buph abpaacon. ^ eopep peape opplo^an. 
] pop hiopa cpaeftum 3 pop hiopa hpaetpcype eoppa pelppa 
anpalbef eoppef un^ancef habban mihcan. ]>e nu luftlice pb- 
fumef ppi^ef. j ]*umne bael lanbef a&t eop bibbenbe fynbon. 
to Son ^ hi eop on pultume beon moton. ~\ hit aep 'Syj-an jenoh 
aametij laeg j jenoh pep te. ~] e hif nane note naef bon | pu 
blmbhce momje feoba fppecaS ymb Sone cpiftenbom. ^ hie 
nu pyjife jy fonne hit aep pa&pe. f hi nellaS je^encan. oSSe ne 
cunnan. hpaep hit jepupbe aep fiaem cpiftenbome. ^ aenij Seob 
o8pe hype pillum ppi^ep baebe. bucon hype 6eapp paepe. o^tSe 
hpaep aemj Seob aet o^jie myhte ppi^ bejitan. o^Se mib golbe. 
oSSe mib peolppe. ot)Se mib aenijan peo. bucan hi him unbep- 
Seobeb psepe;- Sc fy$San Epift jebopen paef. ]>e eallef mib- 
banjeapbef if pbb 3 ppiS. nalep ^ an ]? men hi mihtan alyfan 
mib peo op Seopbome. ac eac fieoba him becpeonan. butan 8eop- 
^ome. jep ibpime paepon | Nu pene ^e hpylce f ibbe )>a pepaf 
haefbon aep Saem cpiftenbome. ]>onne hiojia pip fpa momjpeaib 
ypel bonbe paepon on ftypm mibbangeapbe!' 


tliose Grecian ships, which are called dulmuns 1 , of which it 
is said that one ship may contain a thousand men, and then 
stole upon them in the night unawares, and slew and de- 
stroyed vast numbers of them ; and yet he could not take the 
country from them. In those days there were two queens, 
who were sisters, Antiope and Orithyia, and Orithyia was 
taken prisoner. After her Penthesilea succeeded to the king- 
dom, who gained great glory in the Trojan war. 

It is shameful, says Orosius, to speak about such [a state 
of things] as was, when such miserable women [and so 
foreign] had subdued the most powerful part and the bravest 
men of all this earth : that was, Asia and Europe they well 
nigh totally prostrated, and destroyed old cities and old towns ; 
and after that they sought royal realms, and built new cities, 
and turned the whole world according to their will, for very 
near one hundred years, and so accustomed men were to 
every calamity, that they almost accounted it no evil that 
they so tormented them. And now the Goths came from the 
bravest men of Germany, of whom Pyrrhus, the fierce king of 
Greece, and Alexander, and the powerful Julius, all stood 
in dread, lest they should seek them in warfare. How 
immoderately ye Romans murmur, and complain that ye are 
now worse in this Christianity than those Gentiles were ; 
because the Goths have plundered you a little, and taken 
your city, and slain a few of you ; and by their crafts and 
bravery might have had dominion over you in your own de- 
spite ; who now ardently pray you for a tranquil peace, and 
some portion of land, that they be of aid to you ; which 
land previously lay sufficiently unoccupied and sufficiently 
waste, and ye had no enjoyment of it. How blindly many 
people speak about Christianity : that it is worse now than 
it was before, and will not or cannot call to mind where it 
happened before Christianity, that any nation voluntarily 
sued another for peace, without having need of it, or where 
any nation could obtain peace from another, either with gold 
or with silver, or with any money, without being subjected 
to it. But since Christ was born, who is the peace and love 
of all the earth, not only might men redeem themselves from 
thraldom with money, but nations also were at peace with 
each other, without slavery. Now, think what peace men 
had before Christianity, when their women did so much evil 
on this earth. 



^Ep Sam ]> e Romebuph jecimbpeb paepe peopep hunb pmcpt 
3 ppicig pincpa. gepeapft -^ Slexanbep. Ppiamipep punu. o"asp 
cynm^ep op Tpoiana Saepe bypij. genam paep cynmgep pij. 
GOonelaup. op Laecebemoma. Epeaca bypij. Glena;-* Ymb 'hi 
peapS ^ maepe gepin -3 pa miclan jepeohc. Epeaca -3 Tpoiana. 
fpa paec Epeacap haepbon M. pcipa ]?apa miclena bulmuna. j 
him becpeonum jeppopan. j) hi naeppe nolbau on cy^t>e cuman. 
a&p hi heojia ceonan geppaecon. -] hi fa ryn jeap ymb (Sa buph 
piccenbe pa&pon ~] peohcenbe '. Ppa ip ty apiman msage hpa. i c 
]>3&]i moncynnep poppeapS on sejSpe hanb ? \> Omepup pe pc-op 
ppeocohcopc pa&be. popSon nip me J?aep feapp. cps&S Opopiuf . 
co pecjenne. pop^on hie langpum ip ~j eac monegum cu6 ; 
Deah ppa hpilcne mon ppa lypce p pican. jiaebe on hip bocum 
hpilc unjecima ] hpilce tibejmeppa. 8&j5ep ^e on mon-plyhcar. 
je on hunjpe. ^e on pcib-gebpyce. je on miplicpe poppceapunje 
ppa mon on ppellum pe^S \ 

Da pole him becpeonum pulle cyn pincep ]><a gepmn ppecenbe 
paepon. je^ence Sonne tiapa ciba. ^ nu Syppa. hpaeSep him bee 
lician ! 

Da pona op ft'.m jepeohce paep o^ep 8epcep-p} T ljenbe. 6neap 
mib hip pypbt pop op pasm Tpoiampcan jepeohce in Icaliam. -^ 
mBaj man eac on bocum pceapian. hu maneja jepmn -3 hu 
maneja jepeohc he faep bpeojenbe paep ', 


^Ep 'Saem pe Romebuph jecimbpeb psepe peopep 'j p\ r xcij 
pincpa. picpabe SapSanapolup pe cynmj in S!ppipia. paep Ninup 
pe cyninj aepepc picpabe. 3 8apSanapolup paep pe piftmepra 
cynmjc. pe on ft&m lanbe picpobe'. pe paep ppiSe pupftumlic 
man -3 hnepchc. -3 ppySe ppaene. ppa f he ppiftop lupabe pipa je- 
baepa ponne paepneb- manna ] Daec pa onpunbe Spbacup hip 
ealbopman. pe he gepec haepbe opep GOeSap ^ lanb. he on^an 
pippan mib pam polce pe he opep paep. hu he hine beppican mihce. 
3 appeon him ppam ealle pa pe he onbpeb -j> him on pylpce beon 
polbon|- Da j - e cynmj; -^ onpunbe. paec him man ^eppicen 
haepbe. he pa hine p\lpne popbaepnbe. "3 py55an haepbon GDaeSe 

KING ALFRED'S OROSITJS. J~i l f i /^ 283 


Pour hundred and thirty years before the building of 
Rome, it happened that Alexander, son of Priam, king ot 
the city of Troy, took Helen, the wife of Menelaus, king ot 
Lacedsemon, a Greek city. For her was that long war and 
those great battles between the Greeks and Trojans, such 
that the Greeks had a thousand ships of those great dulmuns, 
and had sworn among them that they would never return to 
their country ere they had avenged their wrongs ; and they 
were ten years investing the city, and fighting. Who is there 
that can number the human beings that perished on each 
side ? as Homer the poet has most manifestly said : there- 
fore, says Orosius, there is no need for me to say it, because 
it is long, and also known to many ; though whoever desires 
to know it, let him read in his books what mishaps and what 
sacrifices, either by slaughter, or by hunger, or by shipwrecks, 
and by various vicissitudes, as it is said in histories. 

These nations continued at war between them for full ten 
years. [Let any one] think then of those times, and now of 
these, which he likes best. 

Immediately after that war another ensued. Eneas with 
his army went from the Trojan war to Italy. It may also be 
seen in books, how many wars and how many battles he was 
there engaged UL 


Sixty-four years before Rome was built, King Sardanapalus 
reigned in Assyria, where King Ninus had first ruled, and 
Sardanapulus was the last king that reigned in that land. 
He was a very wonderful man, very effeminate, and very libi- 
dinous, so that he more loved the manners of women than 
of men. When his viceroy Arbaces, whom he had set over 
the land of the Medes, found this, he began to plot with the 
people, over whom he was, how he might deceive him and 
entice from him all those who he feared would be a support 
to him. When the king found that he had been deceived, 
he burned himself, and the Medes then had sway over the 


onpalb opep ^ppipie ; pit ip unySe Co pecgenne hu maneja 
jepm pyfrSan paepan betuhx GQaeSum. 3 Ealbeum. -j SciSSian. 
ac paet mon maag pican. ponne ppaopepmaethcu picu onpcypebe 
pa&pon. hu manige mippenhce mon-cpealmap on pam gepinne 
gepupbon \ 

^Eptep 8aem picpabe Fpaoptep pe cyninjc in CfteSen. aepcqi 
Saem Fpaopte picpobe Dioclep. pe GOaefia pice ppiSe jemiclabe. 
aeptep $am Diocle jrenj Sjnai to pice. j*e naepbe naenne junu. 
ac he nam hip nejran him to puna op Peppan faepe Seobe. Eipuj- 
paep haten. pe ]?a nub Son J>e he gepeox. him fa op^mcenbum ] 
J?am Peppeum. ^ hi on hip eamep anpalbe psepori. -3 on Sapa 
GDeSa. ac 1 hi epm uphopon ; pe ]?a Sptiai pe cyngc beSohte 
ppiftopt to Sppellep hip ealbepmen. }) he nub hyp cpa&pte hip 
nepan mib ^epeohte piSptobe. popfton ]>e pe cyn^c ne gemunbe 
J>apa manejjia teonena. ]>e hiopa aejftep o^pum on aeji-bajum 
gebybe. j hu pe cynmjc het hyp punu opplean. ^ hyne pySSan 
^83m pa&bep to mete ge^yppan ; Deah hiopa jepinn pa je- 
pemeb paepe. he J>a pe ealbepman mib pypbe pop onjean faam 
Peppeum. ] pona fsep polcep 6one maeptan bael pleonbe mib-ealle 
fopla&bbe. ] mib peappe Saem Peppeo cynin^e on anpalb jebybe. 
3 on J>am jepeohte OOa&'Sa cpa&pt ] hiopa bujuS ^epeol ; Da 
pe cymnj ^ pacn onpunbe. pe pe ealbepman pi6 hme gebon 
haepbe. he Seali gegabepobe pone pultum pe he p/a mihte. "3 piS 
pam nepan pypb jela&bbe. ^ he llipup. Peppa cymnjc. ha&pbe 
ppibban bael hyp pypbe baeptan him. on ^ jepab. ^ip a&mg paepe 
pe pypplu^e 2 pe on pa&m gepeohte paep. ponne to paem polce pe 
paep baepcan psbp.'p hme mon ploje ppa pafte ppa mon hiopa pynb 
polbe ; Da peah-hpaepepe gebypebe him. f hi hpaet-hpapa ge- 
bujan to pleonne. hi pa hiopa pip him ongean ypnenbe hy ppiSe 
topn pypbon. j ahpebon. gip hi peohtan ne bopptan. hpibep 
hi pleon polbon. ^ hi oftep jenep naepbon. buton hi on hypa 
pipa hpip ^epiten ; pi pa hpaebhce. aeptep 8aem Se pa pip hi 
ppa pcanbhce ^epaeht haepbon. jepenbon ept onjean Sone cynin^;. 
] ealne hyp hepe jeplymbon. ^ hme pylpne jepen^on ', pe pa 
Eipup ajeap ^aem cynmje. hyp eame. ealle pa ape pe he aej. 
haepbe. butan -J) he cynjc naepe. 3 he paet paep call poppacenbe. 
popSon pe him Sppeilap pe ealbopman aep to beppice peapfi 
mib hip ajenpe peobe. ac him Eipup hip nepajej'ealbe Ipcamam 


Assyrians. It is not easy to say how many wars there were 
afterwards between the' Medes, and Chaldeans, and Scy- 
thians ; but any one may easily know that, when such im- 
mense kingdoms were excited, how many various slaughters 
happened in that warfare. 

After this, King Phraortes reigned in Media ; after Phra- 
ortes, Deioces reigned, who greatly increased the empire of 
the Medes ; after Deioces, Astyages succeeded to the kingdom, 
who had no son, but he adopted his nephew, called Cyrus, a 
Persian by nation, who, when he grew up, both he and the 
Persians taking it ill that they were under the dominion of 
his uncle and the Medes, raised up a war. King Astyages 
then chiefly bethought him of Harpagus, his general, that 
he with his power might withstand his nephew in war ; for 
the king did not remember the wrongs which one had 
formerly done to the other ; and how the king had com- 
manded his son to be slain, and afterwards to be prepared 
as food for his father. Though their enmity was then 
appeased, he, the general, having gone with an army 
against the Persians, soon taking to flight, completely be- 
trayed the greater portion of the people, and treacherously 
delivered them into the power of the Persian king, an'd 
in that battle the power and valour of the Medes fell. 
When the king discovered the guile that the general had 
used against him, he, nevertheless, collected what force he 
could, and led his army against his nephew. And Cyrus, 
king of Persia, had a third part of his army behind him, 
in order that, if any one fled who w T as in the battle, 
towards the people that were behind, they should slay 
him as readily as they would their enemies. When, never- 
theless, it happened that they inclined somewhat to flee, their 
wives, running towards them, were highly incensed, and 
asked, if they durst not fight, whither they would flee ; that 
they had no other place of refuge, unless they would pass 
into the wombs of their wives. They then quickly, after 
their wives had so reproachfully addressed them, turned 
again against the king, and put to flight all his army, and 
took himself prisoner. Cyrus then gave up to the king, his 
uncle, all the possessions he had previously had, except that 
he was not [longer] king ; and he renounced all that, be- 
cause his general, Harpagus, had deceived him with his own 


<5a peobe on anpalb co habbenne \ Daep peajiti fiCae?>e onpalfr 
geenbob. ac Eipup mib Peppeum Co paem anpalbe penj. ac l )a 
bypij. pe on monegum peobum GOaeftum aep gapol julbon. pup- 
bon Eipupe co monejum jepeohcum \ - 

On 8aem bajum pilnabe )-um aeftelmjc co picpanne m Sp- 
gencme paepe peobe. Falopep paep hacen. he paep op Sicilia (5aem 
lanbe. ~] mib unjemeclicpe pmunje he psef f pole cpilmenbe. 
Co 8on "}) hi him anbugon \ Da pgej- ]>gep j* um aj)-jeocepe. pe 
mihce bon mippenlica anhcneppa. he Sa pe ^eocepe jebeab 6aem 
a&ftelmje. poji^on ]?e he him cpeman }>ohce. -p he him aec psepe 
pinunje pylpcan polbe. J>e he fa&m polce bonbe psep. he 'Sa ppa 
bybe. 3 jepeophce anep peajipep anhcneppe op ape. co Son ])onne 
hie hac J)aepe. ~) mon J>a eapman men on mnan bon polbe. hn 
j-3 hlyn maepc paepe. Sonne hi faec pupl fsep on Jjpopienbe 
paepon. } eac }>83C pe se^elin^c ae5ep haepbe je hip plejan e 
hip jepiU. |>onne he papa manna cmcpejo opephypbe \ Da 
]>cTRC }>a onhaac paep. j call jebon ppa pe jeocepe paem a&Sehnje 
a&fi behec. pe aeSehnjc ty pa pceapobe } cpae'5. paec Saem peopce 
nanum men aep ne gepipe bee co panbienne ponne pam pyphcan 
pe hie pophce. hec hine pa mman. j paepon bepcupan '. Foji 
hpi beppicaft nu men pap cpipcenan ciba. j j'ecjaS -p nu pyppan 
Ciba pyn ponne pa paepan. pa peah hpa paepe mib pam cymnjum 
on hiopa gepill ypel bonbe. *p hi ppa-fteah aec him ne meahcon 
mib py nane ape pinban ? } nu cynm^ap. ^ capejiap. peah hpa 
pi5 hiopa pillan jejylce. hi ^eahpopEobeplupan. be paep 
mae^e. popjipneppe bot5 ; 


^Ep ^5am pe Romebuph ^ecimbpeb paepe ppicij pincpa. paep 
paec Pelopenpium. ^j Tfchemencium. Epeaca peoba. mib eallum 
hiopa cpaepcum him becpeonum pinnenbe paepon. ~] hi Co ^on 
ppi?)e popplejene pupbon on a&jppe hanb. ty heopa peape co lape 
pupbon ; On paepe ylcan cibe. paepan epc oftpe pi5e papipmen 
pinnenbe on Spiam pe aep on Sci^iSian paepan. 3 hi ppySe apepcau 
3 pophepgoban ; . 

KING ALFRED'S OROSIUS. ~7, . t, 3 287 

people ; but Cyrus, his nephew, gave him to rule over the 
land of Hyrcania. Then was ended the power of the Medes, 
and Cyrus, with the Persians, succeeded to the sovereignty ; 
but the cities, which, in many countries, previously had paid 
tribute to the Medes, cost Cyrus many wars. 

In those days a certain prince aspired to reign in the 
country of Agrigentum, who was named Phalaris ; he was of 
the land of Sicily, and destroyed the people with unheard-of 
torments in order to make them submit to him. There was 
at that time a brass-founder there who could make various 
likenesses, and this founder offered to the prince, thinking to 
please him, that he would assist him in the torments he was 
inflicting on the people. And he did so, and wrought in 
brass the likeness of a bull, in order that when it was hot, 
and when the miserable men were thrown into it, [he might 
hear] how great the cry would be, when they were suffering 
torment in it, and also that the prince might have both his cli 
version and his will, when he heard the torments of the men. 
When it was heated, and all done as the founder had previously 
directed the prince, the prince looked at it, and said, That no 
one was better fitted first to make trial of the work than the 
workman who made it. He ordered him then to be seized, 
and shoved into it. Why do men now complain of these 
Christian times, and say that now times are worse than those 
were ; when, although any one were with those kings doing 
evil at their desire, they might not yet find any mercy from 
them ? And now, kings and emperors, though any one sin 
against their will, yet, for love of God, grant forgiveness ac- 
cording to the degree of guilt. 


Thirty years before the building of Eome, it was that the 
Peloponnesians and Athenians, nations of Greece, carried on 
war with each other with all their powers, and so many were 
slain on each side, that few of them remained. At the same 
time the women, who were formerly in Scythia, again, a 
second time, made war on Asia, and greatly laid it waste and 
ravaged it. 



Ssem f e Romebuph gecimbpeb paepe tpentigum pmtpum 
Laecebemome 3 GOepiane. Epeaca leobe. him becpeonum pin. 
nenbe paepan Cpenci pmcpa. popfton GOepiane nolbon "p Laece- 
bemonia maegben-men mib hiopa oppjieben. -j hiopa obum 
onpaejben \ Da aec nyhpcan hi haepbon gecojen eall Epeaca 
pole co faem gepmnum. fa Laecebemoman bej'aecon fa buph 
GOaepe tyn pincep. ] aSap geppopan ty hi naeppe nolban aec ham 
cuman. aep hi faec 3 eppecen haepbon [ Da paebban hi him be- 
cpeonum. j cpsebon. p hi co paSe polbon pulcumleape beon 
a&c hiopa beapn-ceamum. fa hi f aep ppa lanje f ohcon co beonne. 
3 -p mib hiopa pebbum gepaepcnob haepbon. } *p hi hiopa peonbum 
bee bybe ftonne pypp ! COib fam jecpaeban fa. faec fa fe aep 
aec Saem a^um naepe. faec fa ham gepenban. 3 be eallan hypa 
pipum beapn apcpynbe. 3 Sa oSpe piccenbe paepan ymb Sa 
buph. 08 f e hi hy jepunnene haepbon. f eah hi him lycle hpile 
^ehyppume paepon ; Sc jecupan him aenne pcop co cymn^e of 
Schemenpem. ~] epc mib py'pbe popan pit) fa GOeppene ! Da hi 
him genealaehcon. fa jecpeonobe hi hpaeSep hi pi6 him mihce 1 \ 
Se hiopa cyninj on^an Sa pm^an. ] jibbian. *] mib fam pcop- 
leoSe hiopa mob ppiSe jecpymebe. Co fon p hi cpaebon -p hi 
GOej-iana polce piSjranban rnihcen. heopa 'Seah pupbon peape Co 
lape on a$pe hanb. ~\ faec Epeaca pole pela geapa him be- 
Cpeonan bpeo^enbe paepon. ae^ep e op Laecebemoma. je op 
GOepiane. ge op Boecium. je op Schemencmm. ] monije oSpa 
<5ioba co fam ilcan jepinne gecugon | 

Nu ip hit pcopchc ymbe faec ^epaeb faec aep ^epeapS aep 
Romebuph gecimbpeb paepe. f paep ppam ppymSe mibban- 
^eapbep peopep t5upenb pmcpa. 3 peopep hunb. ^ cpa j hunb- 
eahcaci^. anb aepcep faem fe hio ^ecimbpeb paep. paep upej 
Dfuhcenep akennep ymb pypan hunb pmcpa y cyne ; 

pep enbaS pio popme boc. "3 onjmtJ pio aepcejie)- 

KING ALFEEP'S OROSIU8. *l ltf> 289 


Twenty years before the building of Eome, the Lacedae- 
monians and Messenians, Greek people, were at war with 
each other for twenty years ; because the Messenians would 
not permit the Spartan virgins to make offerings with theirs 
and sacrifice to their gods. "When at last they had drawn all 
the Grecian people into those wars, the Lacedaemonians be- 
sieged the town of Messena for ten years, and swore oaths, 
that they never would return home, till they had avenged it. 
Then they consulted together, and said, that they should 
very soon be helpless on the part of their families, as they 
thought of being there so long, and had bound themselves by 
their pledges, and that they were rather doing better for 
their enemies than worse. They determined, therefore, that 
those who were not at those oaths, should return home and 
beget children on all their wives, and the others should be- 
siege the town, till they had conquered it ; although they 
were but a little while obedient to them. But they chose 
them an Athenian poet for king, and again marched with an 
army against the Messenians. When they approached them, 
they doubted whether they could go against them. Their king 
then began to sing, and make verses, and with his poetry 
so greatly confirmed their courage, that they said they should 
be able to oppose the Messenians. Yet few were left on 
either side, and the Grecian nation suffered for many years 
among themselves, either from the Lacedaemonians, or the 
Messenians, or the Boeotians, or the Athenians, and drew 
many other nations into that same war. 

Now it has been shortly said, what happened before the 
building of Eome, that was from the beginning of the world 
four thousand four hundred and eighty-two years ; and after 
it had been built seven hundred and ten years, was the na- 
tivity of our Lord. 

Here ends the first book, and begins the second. 




IE pene. cpaeS Opopiup. ]> aet nan pip man ne py. butan he 
jenoh geape pice. ^ Cob pone aepeptan man pihtne 3 gobne 
epceop. ^ call mancynn mib him ; Xnb popSon pe he ^ job 
j.oplet. J>e him gepealb paep. 3 pyppe geceap. hie Eob pySSan 
lanjpumhce ppecenbe paep. aepept on him pyluum. 3 pySpan on 
hip beapnan. geonb ealne 6yfne mibbanjeapb. mib momgpealb- 
um bpocum j jepmnum. ge eac J)ap eopSan J?e ealle cpice 
pilica bi hbbab\ ealle hype psej-cmbaepo he gelyclabe ; Nu pe 
pican ty upe Dpihren uf jepcop. pe pitan eac ^ he upe peccenb 
ip uj- mib pihthcan Jjin^an 1 Iuj:at5 fonne aemj mon ; Nu pe 
pi can ^ ealle anpalbay ppam him jynban. pe pican eac ]>xt ealle 
picu jynban ppam him. popSon ealle anpalbap op pice jynbon ; 
Nu he 6apa le&ppena pica peccenb ip. hu micle ppiSop pene pe 
p he opep ]>a mapan py. pe on ppa ungemechcum anpalbum 
picpebanl- Kn paep Babylomcum. ]?sep Ninup picpabe ' paec 
o^ep paep Epeaca. ]>sep fflexanbep picpabe '. ppibba paej 
Xpppicanum. ])aep Phcolomeup picpebon:- 8e peopfta ij 
Romane. pe j;yc picpienbe pmbon|- Dap peopep heapobhcu 
picu pinbon peopep enbap pypep mibbangeapbep. mib unapec- 
jenblicpe Cobep tacnunge ; Dsec Babylomcum paep ^ popme. 
3 on eapcepepbum \ paec aeptepe pa&p ^ Epecipce. ^ on 
nopSepepbum ; pa&tr %ibbe psep paec Spppicanum. y on 
puSepeapbum \ past people ip Romane. "j on pepcepeapbum ; 
Babylompce ^ aepepce. *] Romane j? pi^mepte. hi paepan ppa paebep 
3 punu. ponne hi hiopa pillan mocan pell pealban ] pa&cEpe- 
cipce. "j paec Spppicampce. paepan ppa ppa hi him hyppumebon. ~\ 
him unbept)eobeb paepe;- Daec ic pille eac jepcabpiphcop 
jepecjan. ^ hie man jeopnop a^ycan maeje ' 

Se aepepca cyninj paep Ninup haten. ppa pe aep bepopan paeban. 
~] pa hine mon ploh. pa peng Samepamip hip cpen Co paem 
pice, ^j jecimbpebe pa buph Babylome. co Son ty Ino paepe 
heapob eallpa Xppipia. ~^ hie pela pmcpa pi'So'an on paem pcob. 
08 paec Kpbacup. CTe^a ealbopman. Sapftanapolum. Babylonia 
"yninjc. opploh ; Da peapft Babylonia "j Sppipia anpalb jeenb- 



I SUPPOSE, said Orosius, that there is no wise man but 
full well knows that God created the first man just and good, 
and all mankind with him ; and because he forsook the good 
which was given to him, and chose worse, Grod slowly avenged 
it, first on himself, and afterwards on his children, through- 
out all this world with manifold miseries and wars, yea, also 
of this earth, by which all living creatures live, he diminished 
the fruitfulness. Now we know that our Lord created us, 
we know also that he is our ruler, and with all righteous- 
ness loves us more than any man. Now we know that all 
powers are from him, we know also that all kingdoms are 
from him, because all powers are derived from a kingdom. 
Now he is the ruler of the smaller kingdoms, how much more 
may we think that he is over the greater, which ruled over 
such immense powers ? One was the Babylonian, where Ninus 
reigned ; the second was the Greek, where Alexander ruled ; 
the third was the African, where the Ptolemies ruled ; the 
fourth is the Roman, who are still ruling. These four princi- 
pal empires are at the four ends of this earth by the ineffable 
dispensation of God. The Babylonian was the first arid east- 
ward ; the second was the Grecian and to the northward ; the 
third was the African and to the southward ; the fourth is 
the Roman and to the westward. The Babylonian the first, 
and the Roman the last, were as father and son, when they 
could well command their will ; the Grecian and the African 
were as though they obeyed them and were subordinate to 
them. That I will also more distinctly explain, that it may 
be the better understood. 

The first king was called Ninus, as we before said ; and 
when he was slain, Semiramis, his queen, succeeded to the 
kingdom, and built the city of Babylon, that it might be the 
capital of all Assyria ; and it so continued many years after, 
till Arbatus, a prefect of the Medes, slew Sardanapalus, king 
of Babylon. Then was the power of the Babylonians and 



oh. j jehpeapp on OOe^afi' On paem ylcan jeape pe pip psep. 
Ppocop. Numecopep pa&bep. onjan picpian in Icahapaem lanbe. 
paep aepc Romebuph jecimbpeb peapS | 8e Ppocop paep Nu- 
mecopep paebep. 3 GOuliepep. 3 paep Siluian earn ; 810 Siluie 
paep Remupep mobop 3 Romulep. pe Romebuph gecimbpebon \ 
Daec pille ic gecyftan. ^ pa picu op nanep mannep mihcum fpa 
jecpaefcjabe ne pupbon. ne pop nanpe pypbe bucan ppam Hobef 
jepcihcun^e '. 6alle pcaep-ppicepap pecjeaS. *p Sppipia pice a&c 
Nmupe bejunne. -j Romana pice aec Ppocope bejunne '. Fpam 
Jjsem sepepcan jeape Nnmpep picep. ot5 paec Babylonia buph 
jecimbpeb pa&p. psepan peopep ^ pyxcij pincpa. eac op f a&m il- 
can geape 6e Ppocop picpobe in Icalia psepan eac ppylce peopeji 
3 pyxcij pincpa. sep mon Romebuph gecimbpebe | Dy ylcan 
geape. fe Romana pice peaxan ongan -j myclian. on Ppocop 
bsege. Jaep cymnjep. Sy ylcan geape jepeol Babylonia. ~} call 
Sppipia pice. ] hiopa anpalb ; JEpcep Saem ]>e mon hiop 
cynmjc opploh. Sapftanapolum. piSSan hs&pbon talbei pa Ian 
gebun on ppeobome. }>e nyhpc ]>aepe bypij pa&pon. J>eah GDe5 
hsepbe ]?one anpalb opep hi. oSftaec Eipuj 1 . Peppa cyninj. picpiar 
onjan. ~] ealle Babylonia apepte. j ealle Sppipie. ^ ealle GOe^e or 
Peppa anpalb gebybe. ty fa ppa ^elamp f on pa&pe ylcan cibe. p 
Babylonia J>eopbome onpenj ppam Eipupe psem cynmje. -^ Ro 
mana alypeb peap'S op feopbome ]>apa unpihcpipepcena cynmja 
-] ]>ajia opepmobijeptena. J)e mon hec Tapcuime. -3 pa paec eapc 
pice in Sppipia jepeoll. pa eac }) pepc-pice in Romana ajiap \ 
liyc j-ceall ic. cpaeS Opopiup. mamjpealblicop pppecan piS Sa ]>c 
I ec^aS p pa anpalbap pyn op pyjiba ma&jenum jepopbene. nale 
op Gobep jepcihcun^e ; 

}?u emlice hie jelamp ymb pap cpa heapob-picu. Sppipia 
Romana. ppa ppa pe s&p paebon. ^ Ninup picpabe on pone eapc 
pice cpa "3 pipcig pincpa. ~] sepcep him hip cpen. 8amepamip. cpa - 
peopepcij pincpa. j on mibbepeapbum hype pice hio jecimbpeb 
Babylonia pa buph;* Fpam psem jeape pe heo jecmibpe* 
peap'S. paep hype anpalb pupenb pincpa "j an hunb ~\ 
pulneah peopep. sep hio hype anpalbep benumen pupbe. ^ beppi 
cen ppam A'pbace. hypa a^enum ealbojimen. j GDeSa kynm^e 
peah rySSan ymb pa buph lycle hpile ppeobom pa&pe bucan an 
palbe. ppa pe a&p paebon. ppam Ealbei pam leobum. ~] ppa ea 
fpjlce peapS Romebuph ymb M. pincpa. ~) an hunb 3 pyxcij 


Assyrians ended, and devolved on the Medes. In that same 
year that this happened Procas, father of Numitor, began to 
reign in the land of Italy, where Home was afterwards built. 
This Procas was the father of Numitor and Amulius, and 
was uncle to Silvia. Silvia was the mother of Eemus and 
Eomulus, who built Home. That I will declare, that those 
kingdoms were not rendered so mighty by the powers of 
any man nor through any fate, but by Grod's dispensation. 
All historians say, that the Assyrian empire began with 
Ninus, and the Eoman empire with Procas. From the first 
year of Ninus' s empire till Babylon was built, were sixty- 
four years ; also from the same year that Procas reigned in 
Italy were likewise sixty-four years before Eome was founded < 
That same year, in which the Eoman empire began to nourish 
and increase, in the days of Procas the king, in that same 
year Babylon and all the Assyrian empire and their power 
fell. After their king Sardanapalus was slain, the Chaldeans 
had inhabited those lands in freedom which were nearest to 
the city, though the Medes had sway over them, till Cyrus, 
king of Persia, began to reign, and laid waste all Babylonia 
and all Assyria, and reduced all the Medes under the Persian 
power. It then so happened, that at the same time in 
which Babylonia received servitude from Cyrus, the Eomans 
were delivered from servitude to their most unrighteous, 
and most proud kings, who were called Tarquins ; and when 
the east empire in Assyria fell, then also the west empire of 
the Eomans arose. I shall yet, says Orosius, more fully speak 
against those who say that powers are from the influences of 
fate, not from the dispensation of Grod. 

How similarly it befel with regard to these two chief em- 
pires, the Assyrian and the Eoman ! as we before said, that 
Ninus reigned in the east empire two and fifty years ; and 
after him his queen Semiramis two and forty years ; and in the 
middle of her reign she built the city of Babylon. From the 
year in which it was built, its empire continued nearly eleven 
hundred and sixty-four years, before it was deprived of its 
power and overthrown by Arbatus, their own prefect, and 
king of the Medes ; though afterwards, around the city, for 
a little while, there was freedom without dominion, as we 
before said, under the Chaldean nation. And so in like manner 
was Eome about a thousand one hundred and nearly four 

294 KIXG ALFRED'S onosius. 

pulneah peopep. -p 6allpica. hipe ealbopman. 3 Corona cynm;$. 
hype anpalbep hi bemman polban. *j hio hpaef epe onpealh on 
hipe onpalbe aeptep Ssem f uphpunabe '. peah aejfep <Kppa 
bupga fuph Eobep bi;z;elneppa f up getacnab pupbe. aepepc Baby- 
lonia, fuph hype agenne ealbopman. fa he hype cynmjc beppac. 
ppa eac Roma. fa hi hipe a^en ealbopman. ~] Eotona cymng. hypa 
anpalbep bemman polbon. hit f eah I/ob pop hiopa cpiftenbome 
ne gejmpobe. naf>ep ne pop hiopa caj-epap. ne pop hypa pylppa. 
ac hi nu jyc pynb picpenbe. s&Jfep je mib hiopa cpipcenbome. 
je mib hiopa anpalbe. je mib hiopa capepan \ 

Dip ic pppece nu. pop^aem ]>e ic polbe ty fa on^eacon ]>e J>a 
Ciba upep cpipcenbomep leahcpiaS. hpilc miltpung pi^8an paep. 
jyt5t5an pe cpiptenbom pa&p. 3 hu mam^pealb polba&pnep ])8&pe 
populbe s&p Ssem pa&p. ] eac ^ hi oncnapen hu gehmphce upe 
Cob on Sa&m aeppan cibum ]?a anpalbap 3 fa picu pette. pe ylca 
pej>e jyc peccenbe ip. 3 penbenbe s&lce anpalbap "j aelc pice co 
hip pillan. hu jehc anjm fa tpa bypig haepbon. ^ hu gelice 
hiopa bajap paapan. se^f ep ge on 6a3m jobe. ge on Saem ypele ; 
He hiopa anpalba enbap paepan ppi'Se unjehce. pop^on f e Baby- 
lonie mib mom^pealbum unpihcum ^ pipen-lupcum. mib hiopa 
cymnje. buton aelcpe hpeope. hbbenbe paepon. ^ hi hie na je- 
becan nolban. aep^on hi Urob mib f aem maepcan bipmepe jeeab- 
mebbe. fa he hi a&Jfpep benam. ge hiopa cynmjep 
heopa anpalbep ; . 'Kc Roman e mib hiopa cpiptenan cynmje 
Eobe feopienbe paepan. ^ he him pop t5aem a&j^pep jeutJe. 
hiopa kynmjep. ge heopa anpalbep | Fop^aem magan hiopa 
pppaece jemec^ian fa f e Saep cpipcenbomep pi^epphtan pinb. 
SYF hy jemunan pilla'S hiopa ylbpena uncla&nneppa. y hiopa pol- 
gepmnan. ] hiopa mom^pealban unpibbe. ] hiopa unmikpunje. 
fe hi to Eobe haepbon. je eac him pelpum betpeonum. -f hi 
nane milbheopcneppe ^5uphceon ne mihcan. sepfton him pio 
boc op faem cpipcenbome com. fe hi nu ppiftopc caelaS ; 


Ymb peopep hunb pincpa. ] ymb peopeptij. f aep f e Tpoiana. 
Epeaca buph. apepceb paep. peapS Romebuph jecimbpeb. ppam- 
cpam jebpo^pan. Remup } Romulup. ~\ paSe aepcep San. Ro- 
mulup hiopa an^in jeunclaenpobe mib hip bpo^op plege. ~) eac< 
fy^San mib hip hipunge. "3 hir jepepena. hpylce bypena he faej. 
rellenbe paep. mib faem fe hi Daeban Sabne fa buphpape. f h 

ALFRED'S DEOSira.jC^ I j 1 293 

years, when Alaric, her count, and king of the Goths, would 
deprive her of her power, and yet she continued after that 
unbroken in her dominion. Although both of these cities, 
through God's secrets, were thus distinguished ; first Babylon 
by her own prefect, when he deceived her king, so also 
Rome, when her own count and king of the Goths would 
deprive her of power ; yet God, on account of their Chris- 
tianity, would not permit it, not for their Ca3sars nor on their 
own account : but they are now yet ruling with their Chris- 
tianity and their power, and with their Caesars. 

This I say now because I am desirous that those may un- 
derstand who inveigh against these times of our Christianity, 
what mercy there was after Christianity was, and how mani- 
fold was the world's calamity before that was ; and also that 
they may know how fitly our God in those early times 
established those dominions and those realms, the same who 
yet establishes them and turns every power and every realm 
to his will ; how like a beginning those two cities had, and 
how alike were their days, both in good and in evil : but 
the ends of their power, however, were very unlike ; for the 
Babylonians, with their manifold unrighteousnesses, and sin- 
ful lusts, together with their king, were living without any 
repentance, so that they would not amend before God ha'd 
humbled them with the greatest ignominy, when he deprived 
them both of their king and their power. But the Romans, 
with their Christian king, served God, so that he granted 
them both their king and their power. Therefore may those 
moderate their speech who are adversaries of Christianity, if 
they will recollect the uncleanness of their forefathers, and 
their calamitous wars, and their manifold dissensions, and 
their cruelty, which they had to God and also between them- 
selves, so that they would perform no mercy, before the atone- 
ment of Christianity came, which they now vehemently re- 


About four hundred and forty years after the destruction 
of Troy, the Greek city, Rome was built by two brothers, 
Remus and Romulus, and Romulus soon afterwards denied 
their undertaking with his brother's slaughter, and also after- 
wards with the marriage of himself and his associates. What 
examples he there set, when they asked the Sabine towns- 


him ;$eu(5an heopa bohtpa him to pipum to haebbenne. 3 hi 
heom paepa bena poppypnbon. hi ppa-Seah hiopa unftancep mih 
ppicbome hi begeaton. mib paem pe hi baeban ^ hi him pylptan 
moptan. ^ hi hiopa gobum pe y$ blotan meahton. pa hi him 
paep getrSoban. pa haepban hi him to pipum. ^ hiopa paebepum 
eft agypan nolban ; Ymb paet peapS j) maepte gepm moni 
jeap. 08 pe hi popneah mib-ealle popplegene ~] poppopbene 
po&pan on aejfepe healpe. ty hi mib nanum J)in^e ne mihtan 
jepemebe pyp^an. s&p ^apa Romana pip. mib hiopa cilbum. 
ypnenbe psejian jemang; J>am jepeohte. *] hypa pa&bepum psepon 
to potum peallenbe. -j bibbenbe ^ hi. pop ftapa cilba lupan. J>aep 
jepmnep pumne enbe jebyben ; . Spa peop^hce ~\ ppa milbehce 
pa&p Romebuph on ppuman gehalgob mib bpoSoji blobe. "j mib 
ppeopa. -3 mib Romulupep eame Numetopep. J>one he eac 
opploh. ]?a he cynmjc paep. ^ hj m pj Ip py<5(5an to faam pice 

Dup gebletpobe Romulup Romana pice on ppuman. mib hip 
bpoSop blobe J>one peall. j mib Sapa j-peopa blobe J>a cypican. 
^ mib hip eamep blobe -p pice. 3 piSSan hip agenne )~peop 
to beaSe beppac. pa he hine to him appeon. ~] him gehet ^ he 
hip pice piS hine bselan polbe. ^ hine unbep paem opploh ; pe 
Sa Romulup a&ptep Sypan unbeppenj Emmenpa jepinn. papa 
buphpapana. pop^on J?e he Sa-^yt lytel lanb-pice haepbe. 
butan pa&pe bypij anpe|- FopSon pe Romulup 3 ealle 
Romepape oSpum polcum unpeople pa&pon. popSon ]>e hi on 
cmhthabe paepan o%a manna nyblm^ap ; Da hi pa ha&pbon 
Eimnenj'a pa buph ymbpeten. ^ pa&p mycelne hun^ep polienbe 
paepan. pa gecpseban hy. }) him leoppe paepe. ty hi on 'Saem 
yprnSum hiopa lip jeenbabe. ponne hi paet jepinn popletan. 
oS5e pprS 5enaman> pi paep pa pinnenbe paepan. 06 hi 8a 
buph abpaecon. "j aeptep paem pit) Sa lanbleobe on aslce healpe. 
unablmnenlice pinnenbe paepan. oS hi paep ymbutan ha3p- 
bon moneja bypij be^itene ; 

'Re pa cynmjap. Se aepcep Romulupepicpeban. paepan popcuo"- 
pan ^ eapjjian ponne he paepe. 3 paem polcum lafipan j 
unjetaeppan. o^paet Tapcummp. pe pe aepi ymb paebon. pe 
hiopa eallpa ppaco'Sopt paep. ae^pep je eaji^opt. je ppaenopt. ^;e 
opepmobi japt ; Galle papa Romana pip. pa pe he mihte. he 
to ^elijpe ^enybbe. 3 hip puna ^epapobe. ^ he laej mib Latinup 
pipe, Lucpetie hatte. Bputupep ppeoptop. pa hi on pypbe pae^ 

ALFRED'S oEOSirs. < 7T L 297 

men to gi v e them their daughters for wives, and they refused 

I their prayer; yet they got them against their will by treachery, 

whilst they intreated their assistance that they might the 

more easily sacrifice to their gods ; when they had complied 

with this, they took them for wives, and would not restore them 

to their fathers ! On account of that there was a very great 

war for many a year, until they were almost all slain and 

j destroyed on either side, so that they could not by any means 

be reconciled, before the wives of the Romans with their 

I children ran amongst the combatants, and fell at their fathers' 

feet, and intreated, that for love of their children they would 

put an end to the war. So worthily and so mildly was the 

j city of Rome first hallowed with the blood of a brother and of 

1 their fathers-in-law, and of Romulus' s grandfather, JSTumitor, 

whom he also slew whilst he was king, and himself succeeded 

to the kingdom ! 

Thus did Romulus at first bless the empire o Rome : the 
wall with his brother's blood, and the temples with the blood of 
IJ their fathers-in-law, and the kingdom with his grandfather's ; 
ij and afterwards treacherously put to death his own father-in- 
Ilaw, when he enticed him to him and promised to divide his 
I kingdom with him, and under that [pretext] slew him. After 
I this, Romulus made war against the Cseninenses, because he 
| had as yet little land- dominion, but only the city. The Ro- 
| mans were despised by other nations, because in their boy- 
|i hood they had been slaves to others. Now when the r y had 
besieged the town of Ca3iiina, and were suffering greatly from 
hunger, they said that they had rather end their lives in 
I those miseries, than abandon the war, or accept peace. They 
|then continued the war there, till they took the town, and 
I after that they warred incessantly with the people of the 
W country on every side, till they had acquired many cities 

But the kings who reigned after Romulus, were more de- 

ipraved and wicked than he was, and more hateful and noxious 

I to the people ; till Tarquiu, of whom we have before spoken, 

I who was the most detestable of them all, the most depraved, 

| the most libidinous, the proudest. He debauched all the Ro- 

I man women that he could, and allowed his son to lie with 

Collatinus's wife, named Lucretia, the sister of Brutus, 

while they were engaged in war, although they were the most 


pon. ]>eah hi Romana bpymupce paepon co paem 
pio )>a Lucpecie hy pylpe pop fiaem acpealbe> Da patic 
Lacmup. hype pep. jeahpobe. 3 Bpucup. hype bpoftop. pa 
poplecon hi 8a pypbe. pe hi bepican pceolban. j pa hi ham 
coman. J>a abpaep.bon hy aejpep je pone cyning. je hip punu. 
je ealle $a pe paep cyne-cynnep piepan. op 8y pice mib- 
ealle i Pirn pa Romane aepcep J)sem unbeji-lacceopap jepec- 
Can. pe hi Eonj-ulap heton. ^ hiopa pice heolbe. an jeap. an 
man ; 


^Eptep 6sem ]>e Romebuph gecimbpeb ps&p cpa hunb pmtpa 
] peopep. ]>a&c Bpucup paej* popma conpil;- Romulup. hiojia 
popma cyninj. ~\ BpuCup. heopa popma conpil. pupbon emn 
peftej' Romulu]' jloh hip bpotSop. ^ hip earn, j hij* ppeop. 
Bjiutuf j'loh hip pip jnina. "3 hip pipep tpegen bpo^jia. popSan 
)>e hy pppsecon psec hie betepe psepe. Js&c Romane epc heopa 
cyne-cynne onpengon. ppa hy aep hs&pbon. pop ?am he hy hen 
jebmban. ^ bepopan eallum fam polce mib bepman ppinjan. ~) 
pyi56an mib sexum hypa heapob op-aceoppan ; Tapcuinup pa. 
]>e aep Romana cyning pa&p. appeon Tupcea cyninj him on 
pilcum. Pojij-enna pa&p hacen. -p he pe ea6 mihce pinnan piS 
Bpucupe. ] pi(5 eallum Romanum ', pe )>a Bpucup jecpaeS 
anpij prS ])aene cynin^. embe heopa peonbpcipe. ac him 
Tapcuinup oSepne Sejn ongean penbe. Xppunpep. punu 
faep opepmobijan. "3 heopa J>aep ae^pep oSepne opploh \ 
^Eptep pam Poppenna 3 Tapcuinup. pa cynmjap. embpaecan 
Romebuph. "j hy eac begeacon ]?aap. jip GDutiup naepe. an man 
op ]>*pe byjii^;. he hy mib hip popbum jeejpobe. pa hy hine 
gepengon \ pa pmeban hy hine mib J>am paec hy hip hanb 
'bsepnbon. anne pm^ep ~] anne. ~] hine pecgan hecon. hu 
pela papa manna paepe. pe pi6 ]>am cyninje Tapcume ppiSopc 
piSpacen haepbe. ]m he ]>sec pecjan nolbe. pa ahpobon hi hine. 
liu pela ]?a&p ppylcepa manna paepe ppylce he paep. pa paebe he 
heom. psec pa&p pela papa manna paepe. ~] eac geppopen 
ha&pbon paec hy oftep popleopan polban. oSSe heopa ajen lip. 
o^^5e Pojipennep. paap cynmgep ] Da paec pa Poppenna gehypbe. 
he paec peel 3 paec gepinn mib-ealle poplec. pe he sep ppeo- 
pmcep bpeojenbe pa&f \ 

KIXG ALFRED'S onosius. 299 

illustrious of the Romans [next] to the king 1 . For thia 
Lucretia then killed herself. When Collatinus, her hus- 
band, and Brutus, her brother, heard this, they left the 
-army which they were appointed to command, and when 
they came home they drove both the king and his son, and 
all there who were of royal race, altogether from the king- 
dom. After this the Eomans appointed under-leaders, whom 
they called Consuls, who should hold the government, one 
year one man. 


After that the city of Eome had been built two hundred 
and four years, Brutus was the first consul. Romulus, their 
first king, and Brutus, their first consul, were equally cruel. 
Komulus slew his brother, and his grandfather, and his 
father-in-law ; Brutus slew his five sons and his wife's two 
brothers, because they said it would be better that the Ro- 
mans received their royal race again, as they had before. For 
this he ordered them to be bound and scourged with rods, 
before all the people, and then to have their heads cut off with 
axes. Tarquin then, who had before been king of the Romans, 
induced the king of the Etruscans, named Porsena, to assist 
him, that he might the more easily make war against Brutus 
and against all the Romans. Brutus then offered single 
combat against the king for their enmity ; but Tarquin sent 
against him another officer, Aruns the son of the proud 
[tyrant], and each of these there slew the other. After- 
wards the kings, Porsena and Tarquin, besieged Rome, and 
they would also have taken it, if it had not been for Mucius, 
a man of the city ; he terrified them with his words when they 
had taken him prisoner. They then tortured him by burning 
his hand, one finger after another, and commanded him to 
say how many men there were of those who had most strongly 
declared against king Tarquin. When he would not say 
that, they asked him how many of such men as he was there 
were ? Then said he to them, that there were many of those 
men, and who had also sworn either to lose their own lives, or 
to kill king Porsena. When Porsena heard that, he aban- 
doned the siege, and the war altogether, which he had been 
carrying on for three years. 



Sam paep faet Sabmipce jepinn. 3 him "Romana faet 
/pySe onbpaebenbe paepon. "j him gepetton. faet lypa an latteop 
paepe fonne hypa consul. }>sene fe hy Tictatopep heton 1 . ^ hi 
mib fam tictatope mycelne pije haepbon;- JEptep fam 
Romane betpux him pylpum. fa pican menn } fa eapmpan. 
mycel gepinn up-ahopan. 3 him f aet to lanjpumpe ppace come, 
fsep hi f e hpa^op ne gej'emeb ne pupbon ] On ]?am bajum 
paspon fa mseptan un^ecima on Romanum. sejfep je on 
hun^pe. ^e on man-cpealme. unbeji fam tpam conjailum. Tica 
j Pubha hatcon. ^ hy heopa ^epeohca fa hpile hy jepejron. 
f eah hy f aep hungpep ^ faef man-cpealmej" ne mihtan. ac fa 
memjpealbaii yP m ^ a f 3 - pepi^an bujih j^y^e bpoci^eiibe 
paepon;. ^Ep6am fe peo pol geenbob pa&pe. Ueijencej- j 
Gcpufci. fa leoba. pit) Romanum gepmn up-ahopon. ~] piS fam 
Cpam conjnlum. GOapcupe ~] Ijneafe. ^ fa Romane him onjean 
popan. 3 heom becpeonum a'Sap jeppojion. f aet heopa nan nolbe 
epc eapb jepecan. butan hi pije haepbon> Ds&p paepon 
Romane ppa ppy^ e poppla^ene. feah hy pge haepbon. f sec hyjia 
an conpul. fe heom to lape peapft. poppoc faene cpiumphan. 
fe him man onjean bpohte. fa he hampeapb paep. *] paebe f aet 
hy haepbon bet gepyphte ^ him man mib heope onjean come, 
fonne mib tpmmphan;- Daet hy tpmmphan heton. ^ paep 
f onne hy hpylc pole mib gepeohte opepcumen haepbon. fonne 
paep heopa feap. faet pceolbon ealle hypa penatap cuman 
ongean hypa conpulap. aepcep fam ^epeohte. pyx mila ppam 
faepe bypig. mib cpaet-paene. mib jolbe ^ mib jimptanum 
jeppaetpebum. ] hi pceolbon bpingan peopep-petep. tpa hpite. 
fonne hi hampeapb popon. fonne pceolbon hypa penatap piban 
on cpaet-psenum piS-aeptan fam conpulum. 3 fa menn bepopan 
him bpypan ^ebunbene. f e f aep jepanjene paepon. faet heopa 
maepfia pceolbon f e f pymhcpan beon ; Sc fonne hy hpylc 
pole butan jepeohte on hypa ^epealb gen\bbon. fonne hy 
hampeapb paepon. fonne pceolbe him man bpin^an onjean. op 
faspe bypi^. cpaat-paen. pe paep mib peolppe jejypeb. "j a&lcep 
cynnep peopep-petep peop an. heopa conpulum to maepfte!- 
Daet paep fonne tpiumpheum ; Romulup ^epetce aepept 
manna penatum. fast paep an hunb rnanna. feah heopa septep 

KING ALFEED'S oBosius.T* Jf- 801 


After that was the Sabine war, which the Romans greatly 
dreaded, and decreed that they would have one leader, who 
should be above their consul, whom they called a Dictator, and 
with that dictator they had a great victory. After this the 
Eomans among themselves, the rich men and the poorer, 
raised a great war, and which would have come to a length- 
ened vengeance, if they had not quickly been reconciled. In 
those days were the greatest misfortunes on the'Eomans, both 
by famine and pestilence, under the two consuls, called Titus 
and Publius ; and they rested the while from their battles, 
though they could not from the hunger and the plague ; but 
these manifold miseries continued to afflict the distressed city. 
Before the pestilence was ended, the Veientes and Etrusci 
raised up war against the Eomans, and against the two con- 
suls, Marcus and Gneus ; and the Eomans marched against 
them, and swore oaths among themselves that none of them 
would again seek their country, unless they had victory. 
There were the Eomans so terribly slaughtered, though they 
had the victory, that the one of their consuls who was left 
refused the triumph, which was brought to meet him, when 
he returned homewards, and said that they would have done 
better to have met him with lamentation than with a triumph. 
What they called a triumph, that was when they had over- 
come any people in war, it was then their custom that after 
the war all their senators should meet their consuls six 
miles from the city with a chariot, ornamented with gold 
and precious stones, and should bring four-footed [cattle], 
two of them white, when they proceeded homewards : then 
should their senators ride in chariots behind the consuls, 
and drive before them the men that had been captured, 
that their glory might be the grander. But when they 
had reduced any nation under their power without fighting, 
when they were on their return home, then they were 
met by a chariot ornamented with silver, and one of every 
kind of four-footed cattle, in honour to their consuls. 
That then was a triumph. Eomulus, first of men, esta- 
blished the senate, that was a hundred men, although after a 

302 KING ALFEED'S oEosiua. 

pyppce paepe J>peo hunb | Da paepon pymble b mnan Rome- 
bypig pumgenbe. to San -p hy heopa paeb-J>eahcepap paepon. 3 
conpulap petton. *] paet ealle Romane him hyppumebon. 3 J>aec 
hi bepipcon call -p hcgenbe peoh unbep anum hpope. )>aet hi 
begeaton. o'SSe on japole. oSSe on hepgunge. -J5 hy hit pyftSan 
mihton him eallum gemaenehce to nytce jebon. pam )>e J^aep 
buton feopbome paapon ; Da conj-iila]*. ]>e on J>am bagum 
J>aet Sabmij'ce gepmn unbeppenjon. j?e man het call hypa cynn 
Fabiane. jrop^an hit ealpa Romana senlicoj-c pgej- -j cjia&pc- 
ejoft | Nu gyt to baeje hit ij* on leoSum junjen. hpylcne 
bemm hi Romanum gepeollan ; Gac }>am manega ea pynbon 
be nanian nemnebe. pop J>am jepeohte. ^ eac ]>a jeata. ]>e hi 
ut op Romebypij to ]?am ^epeohte pepbon. him man a gepceop 
]>a naman J>e hy jyt habbatS 1 ; ^Epcep ]?am Romane cupon 
J>peo hunb cempena ~] pyx cempan. ^ pceolbon to anpige 
^anjan pi6 ppa pela Sabina. j jecpupebon ^ hi mib heopa 
cpaeptum pceolbon pije gepeohtan. ac 8abmi. mib heopa 
peappum. hi ealle ])3&p opplo^on. butan anum. pe ^ la^ppell aet 
ham jebobobe ! Ngep na on Romane anum. ac ppa hit on 
fceop-leoSum punjen ip. ]?aet jeonb ealne mibbanjeapib paepe 
capu. *) ^epmn. j e^e:- 

Eipup. Peppa cyninj. ]>e pe aep bepopan paebon. fa hpile 
])e 8abim j Romane punnon on ]?am pept-baele. J>a hpile 
pann he ae^fep je on SciSSije ^e on Inbie. oS he haepbe 
maepc ealne p/aene eapt-bael apej't. y aeprep ])am pypbe 
^elaebbe to Babylonia. J>e ]>a pelejpe paep )>onne semj o^ep 
buph. ac hine Danbep peo ea lanje jelecte paep opep-paepelbep. 
pop6am fe ]?aep pcipa naepon!- paet ip eallpa pejjpcpa 
paecepa maepc. bucan (Buppate ; - Da jebeotobe an hip pejena 
j) he mib punbe Ja ea opeppajian polbe mib tpam tyncenum. 
ac hine pe ptpeam popbpap ; Da jebeotobe Eipup ty he hip 
J>ejen on hype ppa geppecan polbe. ]>a he ppa gpam peapS on 
hip mobe. *] piS pa ea jeboljen. pa&t hi mihton pipmenn be 
heopa cneope opeppaban. ]>83p heo a&p paep nyjan mila bpab. 
]>onne heo plebe ps&p;- Pe J>aec mib bsebum jelaepte. 3 hi 
up-poplec on peopep hunb ea. 3 on pyxtij ea. 3 py^San mib hip 
pypbe J>aep opeppoji -j aeptep ]>am 6uppace ]>a ea. peo ip maepc 
eallpa peppcpa paetepa. -3 ip ypnenbe Sujih mibbepeapbe Baby- 
lonian buph. he hy eac mib* jebelpe on memje ea upp-poplec. 
"j j'yb'San mib eallum hip polce on ]>aepe ea-janj. on pa buph 


time there were three hundred of them. These al *ays dwelt 
within the city of Eome, that they might be their counsellors, 
and appoint the consuls, and that all the Eomans might obey 
them, and that they might have the care of all the treasure 
under one roof, which they got either by taxes or from plun- 
der, that they might afterwards employ it in common for the 
benefit of all who were not in a state of slavery. The consuls, 
who in those days undertook the Sabine war, were of the race, 
all of which w r ere called the Fabian, because it was the most 
eminent of all the Eomans, and the most strenuous. Now yet 
to this day it is sung in ballads what a loss they were to the 
Eomans. Many rivers, too, are named after their name, on 
account of that contest, and also the gates, out of which they 
went from Eome to that war, have ever since borne the names 
which they yet have. After this the Eomans chose three 
hundred and six champions, who should go to combat so many 
Sabines, trusting that they w r ith their might would gain the 
victory ; but the Sabines, with their stratagems, slew them all 
save one, who announced the sad tidings at home. Not alone 
among the Eomans, but, as it is sung in poems, throughout 
all the world, there was care, and war, and terror. 

Cyrus, the king of the Persians, as we before said, while 
the Sabines and Eomans were warring in the west, was at 
the same time warring both in Scythia and in India, until 
he had laid waste almost all the eastern parts, and afterwards 
led an army to Babylon, which was then more opulent than 
any other city ; but the river Gyndes long prevented his 
crossing, because there were no ships there. That is of all 
fresh waters the greatest except the Euphrates. Then one 
of his officers declared that he would cross the river by swim- 
ming with two " tyncens," but the stream carried him away. 
Cyrus then threatened that he would so avenge his officer on 
it (as he was so exasperated in his mind and angry with the 
river), that women might w^ade over it, [the water only reach- 
ing] to their knees, where it before was nine miles broad, when 
it was flood. That he made good by deeds, and drew it off 
in four hundred and sixty rivers, and then with his army 
crossed over, and afterwards the river Euphrates, which is the 
greatest of all fresh waters, and runs through the middle of 
the city of Babylon: this he also by digging drew oft' into 
many rivers, and afterwards with all his folk proceeded in 


papenbe paep. "j hi jepaehce;. Spa ungelypebhc if aenjjure 
men "p to pecganne. hu aenij man mihce ppylce buph 
gepypcan. ppylce j-eo paep. oSSe ept abpecan ; . 

Nembpafi pe enc ongan aepepc cimbpian Babiloma. 3 Ninup 
pe cynmj aepcep him. 3 Samepamip hip cpen hi geenbabe aepcep 
him on mibbepepbum hype pice> 8eo buph paep jecimbpab 
on pilbum lanbe. 3 on ppifte emnum. 3 heo paep ppiSe paejep on 
Co locianne. j heo paep ppiSe pihce peopeppcyce. ~\ ]?aep peallep 
mycelnypp *] ps&ptnyjy ip un^elypeblic Co pecgenne. -^ ip ^ he ip 
L. elna bpab. y II. hunb elna heah. 3 hip ymbjanj ip hunb- 
peopancij mila. ^j peopeSan bael anpe mile. *] he ip gepophc op 
cijelan. -3 op eop$-cypepan. ^ ymbucan ]?one peall ip peo maepca 
bic. on )>am ip ypnenbe pe unjepochcorca pcpeam. ^ piSucan 
Sam bice ip jepophc cpe^pa elna heah peall. } bupan ]?am 
mapan pealle. opep eallne }?one ymbjonj. he ip mib pca&nenum 
pi jhupum bepojihc ; . Seo ylce buph Babylonia, peo J>e msepc 
psep -j aepepc ealpa bup^a. peo ip nu laepc 3 pepcapc. Nu peo 
buph ppylce ip. ]>e sep peep eallpa peopca psepcapc ^ punbophcof c. 
~] msepapt. jelice ^ heo paepe Co bypne apcealb eallum mibban- 
eajibe. ^ eac ppylce heo pylp pppecenbe py co eallum mancynne. 
~] cpe^e. Nu ic )mp jehpopen com. 3 apej-jepicen. hpaec je 
ma^on on me onjican j oncnapan. }> je nanuhc mib eop nab- 
ba^ psepcep ne pcpan^ep -pee J>uphpuman mse^e;. 

On ]>am bagum J>e Eipup. Peppa cynj. Babylonia abpaec. ]>a 
paep Epoepup. pe Li'Sa cyninj. mib p) r jibe jepapen Babylomum co 
pulcume. ac ]?a he pipce ^ hy him on nanum pulcume beon ne 
mihce. 3 -p peo buph abpocen paep. he him hampeapb pepbe. co 
hip ajenum pice. 3 him Eipup paep aepcep-pyhgenbe o5 he hine 
jepenj -j opploh;. Onb nu upe cpipcene Romana bepppycS. 
^ hype peallap pop ealbunge bpopman. nalaep na poptSam ]>e hio 
mib pophepjunge ppa jebypmepab paepe. ppa Babylonia paep. ac 
heo poji hype cpij'Cenbome nu jj r c ip gepcylb. p aej^ep je neo 
pylp. je hype anpealb. ip ma hpeopenbe pop ealbbome. }>onne op 
aeni^ep cymngep niebe * 

./Epcep ^5am Eipup jelaebbe pypbe on Sci^Sie. ~\ him faep an 
^ionj cyning mib p> r pbe onjean pop. 3 hip mobop mib him. 
Damapip ; Da Eipup pop opep ^ lanb- jemaepe. opep ]?a ea pe 
hacce Spaxip. him paep pe geonja cyninj; paep opep-paepelbep 
poppyfinan myhce. ac he popSam nolbe. py he mib hip polce 
^ecpupabe -p he hine beppican mihce. py&San he binnan pam je- 

KING ALFRED'S onosius. I.Lf. 305 

;he bed of the river on to the city and took it. So incredible 
is it for any man to say how any man could build such a city 
as that was, or again capture it ! 

Nimrod the giant first began to build Babylon, and Ninus 
:he king after him, and Semiramis, his queen, finished it after 
lim in the middle of her kingdom. The city was built on 
the campaign land and on very level [ground], and it was 
very fair to look on, and was very exactly quadrangular, and 
the magnitude and strength of the wall is incredible to say, 
that is, that it is fifty ells broad, and two hundred ells high, 
and its circuit is seventy miles and one seventh of a mile, 
and it is wrought of bricks and bitumen, and round the wall 
is an immense ditch, in which runs a most unfordable stream ; 
and without the ditch a wall is constructed two ells high ; 
and above the great wall, over all the circumference, it is 
beset with stone towers. This same city of Babylon, which 
was the greatest and first of all cities, is now the least and 
most desolate. Now is the city that whilom was the strong- 
est and most wondrous, and greatest of all works, like as it' 
it were set as an example to all the earth, and also as if it 
were speaking to all mankind, and saying: " Now I am thus 
fallen and passed away, something ye may learn and know 
from me : that ye have nothing with yourselves that is firm or 
strong that can continue." 

In those days that Cyrus the king of Persia took Babylon, 
Croesus the king of Lydia marched with an army to aid 
Babylon. But when he found that he could be of no help 
to them, and that the city was taken, he turned homewards 
to his own kingdom, and Cyrus followed him until he took 
him prisoner, and slew him. And now our Christian Rome 
announces that her walls are decaying from age, not because 
she has been so maltreated by hostile ravages as Babylon 
was ; for she, for her Christianity, is yet shielded, so that 
both herself and her power are falling more from age than 
by the violence of any king. 

' After that Cyrus led an army into Scythia, and there a young 
king encountered him, together with his mother, Tomyris. 
When Cyrus marched over the frontier, over the river called 
the Araxis, the young king could there have prevented his 
crossing, but he would not, because he trusted that with his 
folk he might circumvent him, after he was within the con- 


maepe paepe. j pic-ptopa name ; Sc fa Eipup geaxpobe f hine 
pe jeonja cyninj faep pecan polbe. 3 eac ]? fam polce pelbpyne 3 
uncuSe paepon pmep bpencap. he popf am op f aepe pic-pcope apop | 
on ane bigle ptope. 3 faep beaeptan poplet call f faep hftep paep J 
ppetep. ^ J?a pe Jionja cymnj fpi^5op myccle penenbe paej- f hy ]>&- 
non pleonbe paepon. ]?onne hy senijne ppicbom cySan boppcan. ]>a 
Jiy hie f a&p j-pa a&menne jemecton. hy ]?8ep fa mib mycelpe bh& 
nepfe. bucon gemecgunge. ^ pin bpmcenbe psepon. 08 hi heojia 
pylppa lytel gepealb ha&fbon. he fa Eipup hy fa&p befypobe. -3 mib- 
ealle Of floh. ^ jy^San paej* jrapenbe fsep fasf cyninjej- mobop mib 
f am tpam bselum faej* polcep pumgenbe paep. fa he pone f pibban 
bael mib fam cyninje beppicen ha&p be : peo fa. f eo cpen Dame- 
pip mib mycelpe gnopnunge ymb f aep cynmgep pleje. hype puna. 
Sencenbe paep. hu heo hit jeppecan myhce. ^j f eac mib baebum 
jelaepce. -3 hype pole on tpa cobaelbe aejfep je pipmen je paep. 
neb-men, pop&an f e f aep pipmen peohca^. ppa pame ppa paepneb. 
men. hio mib f am healpan ba&le. bepopan f am cyninje papenbe 
pa&p. ppylce heo pleonbe paepe. oS hio hine gelaebbe on an my eel j 
plaeb. j pe healpa bael paep Eipupe aepcep-pyhjenbe. faep peapS I 
Eipup opplejen. j cpa 1 Supenb manna mib him 8eo cpen her I 
fa fam cynmge ^ heapob op-aceoppan. ] bepyppan on anne 
cylle. pe paep apylleb mannep blobep. *] fup cpaeS. Du f e fyppc* 
enbe paepe mannep blobep xxx. pmcpa. bpmc mi Sine pylle;- 

fam f e Romebuph jecimbpab paep tpa hunb pmtj 
e Eambip penj to Peppa pice. Eipupep punu. pe 
fan f e he 6jypte opeppon. jebybe f nan haeSen cynj aep ge 
ne boppte. f aet paep ty he heopa gob-jylbum eallum pifpoc. 
aaptep fam mib-ealle topeapp ; ^Eptep him pixabe Dapiup. | 
pe apenbe ealle Xppipige -j Ealbei ept to Peppeum. f e aep ppam | 
him gebogene paepon ; . ^Eptep fam he pann on SciSSie. aejf ep I 
,Xe pop Eipupep plege. faep cynm^ep hip maejep. je eac popSam ; 
);e him man faep pipep poppypnbe 2 ; pip hepep paep peopon hunb i 
l>ujenba, fa he on ScrSSie pop. hpaefepe fa SoSSie uolbon hine 


3, and hj*d fixed his camp. But when Cyrus was informed 
,hat the young king would seek him there, and also that po- 
rtions of wine were uncommon and unknown to the people, 
le marched away from his encampment into a secret place, 
md left behind all that was delicate and sweet ; so that the 
-oung king imagined much more that they were fleeing thence, 
han that they durst plan any deceit. When they found it' 
o deserted there, they then with great joy drank the wine 
without moderation, until they had little power over them- 
selves. Cyrus then there entrapped them, and slew the 
whole of them, and then marched to where the king's mother 
vith two parts of the people was staying, when he had de- 
ceived the third part with the king. She then, the queen 
Tomyris, was with great lamentation thinking of the death 
of the king her son, [and] how she might avenge it, and also 
made that good by deeds, and divided her people in two, 
)oth women and males ; because there the women fight the 
same as the males. She [then] with the half part went 
jefore the king as if she were fleeing, until she had led him 
on to a great swamp, while the [other] half was following 
. There was Cyrus slain and two [hundred] thousand 
uen with him. The queen then commanded the king's head 
to be cut oft' and cast into a leathern vessel that was filled 
with man's blood, and thus said : " Thou who hast been 
bursting after man's blood for thirty years, drink now thy 


After the city of Eome had been built two hundred and 
six years, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, succeeded to the king- 
dom of Persia, who, when he had conquered Egypt, did what 
no heathen king before durst do, that was, that he disowned 
all their idols, and afterwards totally destroyed them. After 
him Darius reigned, who reduced all the Assyrians and Chal- 
deans again under the Persians, who had previously with- 
drawn from them. After that he made war on Scythia, both 
on account of the slaying of Cyrus his kinsmen, and also be- 
cause they had refused him the wife [he desired]. His army 
was seven hundred thousand when he marched to Scythia 


gepecan to polc-gepeohte. ac f onne hy geonb *J? lanb topapene 
pa&pon. hi f onne hy plocmselum plogon ; Da paepon fa Pejipe 
mib fam ppyfte geegpobe. } eac onbpebon }) man fa bpycje 
poppypcean polbe. f e set fam jemaepe paep. -f> hy pyfiSan nyptan 
hu hy fanon comon;. pe fa pe cyng. aeptep fam fe hip pole 
pprSe popplejen paej\ ]>86p poplec hunb-eahcacij fuj-enba be- 
a&fcan him. ^ hy fsep ]?a-^yc len^ pmnan j-ceolban. -3 he j-ylp 
fanon jepac on 6a Isejyan Spam. -3 hy jrophepjobe. -3 j*y$t5ad 
on GDaecebomam. 3 on lonaj". Epeca leobe. -3 J?a hi butu 
opephep^obe. ~] pop pySSan pypp on Epecap. ^ gepm up-ahop 
piS Schemenpep. popftam ]?e hie OOseceboniam on pultume 
paepon . 8ona ppa Sthemenpe pipcen ^ Dapmp hy mib je- 
peohce pecan polbe. hi acupon enbleopan Jmpenb manna, j him 
onjean popan. 3 J>one cymnj sec J)aepe bune meccon J)e mon , 
hsec GOopocchome \ peopa lacceop psep hacen pceppeup. pe > 
paep mib hip bsebum pnelpa ponne he maegenep haepbe. pe e- 
pojihce mycelne bom on 8am gepeohte. J>a peapS tpa hunb 
J>upenba Peppea opplejen. ^ 8a o^pe jeplymeb ;. Da epc haepbe 
he pypbe gegabepob on Peppeum. j -^ ppecan ))ohte. ])a jepop I 

!Sptep him penj hip punu to Peppea pice. Xepxip. ~] -p jepm 
ty hip psebep aptealbe. he bijelhce pop fam pip geap pcipa 
pophce. ] pultum je^abepobe *. - Da paep mib him an ppseccea 
op Loecebemoma. fipeca buph. pe paap haten Damepa^. j - e -fi 
pacn to hip cy^SSe jebobabe. 3 hit on anum bpebe appat. ] 
pySSan mib peaxe bepophte!- Xefixip. fa he an Epecap pop.: 
haepbe hip agenep polcep vm. c. pupenba. ~j he haepbe op j 
oSpum 'Seobum abeben 1111. c. M. ~] he haepbe pcipa p-aepa 
mycclena bulmuna an. M. J n. hunb. ~] Jaepa pcipa paepon 
in. M. ]>e heopa mete baepon. ~] eallep hip hepep paep ppylc 
un^emet f mon ea$e cpe^an mihte ty hit punbop paejie hjniji 
hy lanbep haepbon. ^ hy mihton on-jepician. oSSe paetepep -^ 
h^ mihton him p-uppt op-abpincan. ppa-feah peo ungemetlicej 
menigeo faep polcep paep fa yftpe to opeppmnenne fonne heo j 
up py nu to gepimenna oSSe to ^elypanne ; Leom^a. Lsecefte-; 
moma cymnj. Epeca buph. haepbe 1111. fupenb manna, fa he 
onjean Xepxip pop. on anum neappan lanb-pieptene. *] him 


however, the Scythians would not engage with him in a 
general battle, but when they (the Persians) were dispersed 
over the country, they then slew them in swarms. The Per- 
sians were thereby greatly terror-stricken, and also dreaded 
lest they should destroy the bridge which was on the boun- 
dary, so that they might not know how to escape from 
thence. The king then, after his people had been much 
slaughtered, left there eighty thousand behind him, that they 
might yet longer carry on the war there, and himself departed 
thence into the Lesser Asia, and laid it waste, and afterwards 
into Macedonia and Ionia, Greek nations, and ravaged both 
of them ; and afterwards went further into Greece, and raised 
a war against the Athenians, because they had aided the 
Macedonians. As soon as the Athenians knew that Darius 
would make war on them, they chose eleven thousand men, 
and marched against him, and found the king at the moun- 
tain that is called Marathon. Their leader was named 
Theseus, who was bolder in his deeds than [in proportion to] 
the power he had. He gained great glory in that battle : 
there were two hundred thousand Persians slain, and the 
others put to flight. When again he (Darius) had gathered 
an army in Persia, and would avenge it (his defeat), he died. 
After him his son Xerxes succeeded to the kingdom : and 
for the war that his father had undertaken, he secretly for 
five years wrought ships and gathered aid. There was with 
him an exile from Lacedsemon, a Greek city, who was named 
Demaratus, who announced that device to his country, and 
wrote it on a board, and then covered it over with wax. 
Xerxes, when he marched against Greece, had of his own 
people eight hundred thousand, and of other nations he had 
demanded four hundred thousand ; of ships he had of those 
great " dulmuns " a thousand and two hundred, and of ships 
that bore their food there were three thousand ; and of his 
whole army there was such an immense number, that it might 
easily be said, that it was a wonder where they could have 
land on which they might encamp, or water that they might 
quench their thirst; yet was the immense multitude of 
people more easy to overcome than it may now be for us 
to count or to believe. Leonidas, king of Lacedemonia, a 
Greek city, had four thousand men when he marched against 
Xerxes in a narrow land-pass, and there withstood him with 


faep mib gepeohte piftptob ] Xepxip ty oi5ep pole ppa pp:8e pop- 
peah. ^ he axobe hpaet pceolbe aet ppa lyclum pepobe mapa 
piltum. butan fa ane fe him f aep aep abolgen paep on fam 
aeppan gepeohte. tyte paep on OOepothoma faepe bune. ac 
gepette fa men on aenne tpuman. f e mon heopa magap aep on 
5am lanbe ploh. } pipte ^ hy polbon jeopn pulpan beon faepe 
ppace fonne o8pe men. 3 hy ppa paepon 08 hy faep ealle 
maept opplegene pupbon * Xepxip ppiSe him fa opftmcenbum 
]) hip pole ppa popplejen paep. he pylp fa faep topop. mib 
eallum fam maegene fe he faepto gelaeban myhte. j faep 
peohtenbe paepon in. bagap. 08 faepa Peppea paep unjemetlic 
pael geplegen. pe het fa faet paepte lanb utan ymbpapan. f> 
him man pceolbe on ma healpa on-peohtan fonne on ane ' 
Leom<5a ty fa geaxpobe. ^ hine mon ppa befpybian polbe. he 
fanon apop. ~] hip pypbe jelaebbe on an oftep paeptpe lanb. 
3 faep gepunobe 06 niht. 3 him ppam apapan het ealle fa 
buphpape. fe he op oftpum lanbe him to pultume abeben 
haepbe. ^ hi heom gepunbe bup^an. pop^am he ne ufte ^ aemj 
ma polca pop hip finjum poppupbe. fonne he pylp mib hip 
agenpe f eobe. "Re he fup paep pppecenbe "j ^eompienbe. Nu 
pe untpeogenbhce pitan ^ pe upe agen lip poplaetan pcolan. pop 
fam ungemethcan peonbpcipe f e upe ehtenbe on pynbon. uton 
feah-hpaeSepe acpaeptan. hu pe heojia an fyppa mhta majan 
ma&pt beppican. j up pylpum betpt popb 3 lanjpumapt aet 
upum enbe jepypcan \ pu mycel ^ ip to pecjenne. "pte 
Leoni^a mib vi. c. manna, vi. c. M. ppa jebypmpabe. pume 
opploh j pume jeplymbe'- 

Xepxip paep fa aet tpam cyppum on fam lanbe ppa gepcynb 
mib hip opmaetum menijeo. he f a-^yt fpibban pi^e paep pilni- 
enbe mib pcip-pypbe. ^ he faep gepmnep mihte mape jeppemman. 
^j him lonap. Epeca leobe. on pultum geppeon. f eah hi aep opep 
heopa pillan him to-gecypbon. "j hy him geheton. ^ hi ^ 
jepeoht aepept mib him pylpum ftuphteon polbon. feah hi him 
ept pacen jelaeptan. fa hy on fam pae peohtenbe paep on;- 
Themiptoclep hatte Sthemenpa latteop. hy paepon cumen 
LeomSan to pulcume. feah hy aet fam aeppan jepeohte him 
ne myhton to-cuman[- 8e Themiptoclep jemyn^abe lonap 
J>sepe ealban paeh^e f e Xepxip him to jepopht ha&pbe. hu he 


battle. Xerxes so greatly despised the other folk, that he 
asked why against so little an army there should be more 
force besides those alone who had before been exasperated 
against them in the former battle, that was on the hill of 
Marathon ? and placed those men in one body, whose relatives 
had before been slain in that country, knowing that they 
would naturally be fuller of revenge than other men. And 
they were so, until almost all of them were there slain. 
Xerxes then sorely vexed that his people had been so 
slaughtered, proceeded himself with all the force he could 
lead thither, and Avas fighting there for three days, until there 
was a great slaughter made of the Persians. He then com- 
manded them to make a circuit round the pass, that they 
(the enemy) might be attacked on more sides than one. 
Leonidas then found that they would thus surround him, 
[and] marched from thence, and led his army into another 
stronger place, and there continued till night, and com- 
manded all the citizens, that he had called to his aid from 
another land, to depart from him, that they might safely 
secure themselves ; for he would not allow any more people 
to perish for his sake, than himself with his own nation. But 
he was thus speaking and groaning : " Now we undoubtedly 
know that we shall lose our own lives on account pf the 
exceedingly great enmity entertained by our persecutors. 
Yet let us devise how we one of these nights may most de- 
ceive them, and for ourselves, acquire at our end the best 
and most lasting renown." How wonderful it is to say, 
that Leonidas with six hundred men so maltreated six hun- 
dred thousand, slaying some, some putting to flight ! 

Thus was Xerxes, on two occasions, with his enormous 
multitude, so disgraced in that land ; yet he was still desirous, 
a third time, with a naval force, of prosecuting the contest, and 
of alluring the lonians, a Greek nation, to aid him ; although 
they before, against their will, had turned to his side ; and 
they promised him that they would first settle the conflict by 
themselves, although they afterwards acted guilefully towards 
him, when fighting at sea. Themistocles was the name of 
the Athenian leader. They had come to the assistance of 
Leonidas, although at the first battle they were not able to 
come to him. Themistocles reminded the [onians of the old 
enmity that Xerxes had exercised towards them, how he had 


hy mib pophepjunje. j mib heopa maga plihtum. on hip 
gepealb genybbe> pe baeb hi eac }) hy gemunbon faepa 
ealbena tpeopa. ~] faep unapimeblican ppeonbpcipep. fe hi 
s&jfep haepbon. ge to Sthemenpum e to Laecebemomum. aep 
..on ealb-bagum. 3 hi bibbenbe paep -J) hy mib pume peapa- 
ppence ppom Xepxe f am cyninge pume hpile apenbe. }> hy ~\ 
Laecebemome moptan piS Peppum faep gepinnep )iimne enbe 
jepypcan. 3 hy him faepe bene jetigCebon/ Da f a Peppe 
ty jepapon. ^ him fa ppambugan. fe hi betpt getpeopbon. f 
him pceolbe pige jepeohtan. hi pylpe eac pleonbe paep on. "J 
heopa, faep peapft pela opplegen. ^ abpuncen. 3 jepanjen;- 
Xepxip fegen paep haten GOapftomup. pe hme paep geoprie 
laepenbe. ty he ma hampeapb pope, f onne he faep lenj bibe. 
f y laep aenegu unjef paepnepp on hip a^enum pice ahapen pupbe. 
j cpae6 }> hit jepipenhcpe paepe. -p he ty jepinn him betsehte. 
mib f am pultume f e faep to lape f a-gyt: paep. lenj to pinnenne. 
j paebe ^ hit f am cynje laeppe ebpit paepe. gip f am polce buton 
him fa-^yt mipppeope. ppa him aep bybe \- Se cyning fa Xepxip 
ppic5e gelypeblice hip f e^ene jehypbe. "j mib pumum baele hip i 
pultume f anon apop ; Da he fa hampeapb to faepe ic com. 
f e he aepi peptpeapb het fa opepmetan bpic ( t;e mib ptane opep- 
jepypcan. hip pige to tacne. f e he on f am pi^e Suphteon 'Sohte. 
fa paej peo ea to San plebe. ^ he ne myhte to faepe bpycje 
cuman ; Da paep fam cynge ppi^e anje on hip mobe. f na^aep 
ne he mib hip pultume naep. ne ^ he opep fa ea cuman ne 
mihte. to-eacan fam he him paep ppifte onbpaebenbe. ^ him hip 
pynb paepon aeptep-pyhgenbe. him fa to-coman pipcepe. 3 
uneafte hme aenne opep-bpohte ; pu liob fa maeptan opep- 
metto. "3 ^ maepte anjmn on ppa heanlice opepmetto geny- 
Sepabe. f pefe him aep gefuhte. ^ him nan pae piShabban nei 
mihte. "J) he hme nub pcipum 3 mib hip pultume ap^'llan ne 
mihte. ty he ept paep bibbenbe anep lytlep tpojep set anum 
eapman men. ^ he mihte hip peoph genepian > 

GDopSomup. Xepxip f ejn. poplet fa pcipa. f e hy on-psepenbe 
paepon. j pop to anpe bypij on Boetium. Epeca lonbe. "j hr 
abpaec ; pirn mon ^ aeptep fam hpaebhce popjealb. fa hi 
mon jeplymbe. j ppit5e popploh. f eah fe Sthemenpum pe pi^e. 


reduced them under his power by devastation and the 
slaughter of their relatives. He, moreover, besought them 
to remember their old compacts and the numberless friend- 
ships that they had entertained both for the Athenians and 
Lacedemonians in former days ; and he besought them that by 
some artifice they would for some time desert king Xerxes, 
that they and the Lacedaemonians might put an end to 
this war against the Persians. And they granted them their 
prayer. "When the Persians saw that they (the lonians) 
withdrew from them, on w T hom they had most relied that 
they would gain the victory for them, they themselves also 
took to flight, and many of them were there slain, and 
drowned, and taken prisoners. The general of Xerxes was 
named Mardonius : he earnestly advised him rather to pro- 
ceed homewards than to abide longer there, lest some discord 
should be stirred up in his own kingdom ; and said that it 
were more fitting that he should commit the war to him 
with the support that still was left there to carry it on longer. 
And said that it would be a less reproach to the king, if the 
people without him were to speed ill as they had done 
before. The king Xerxes heard his general very implicitly, 
and with a part of his forces departed from thence. When 
on his way home, he came to the w r ater, over which he before 
had ordered the immense bridge of stone to be constructed 
westward, in token of his victory, which on that march he 
thought of completing, there was the water at such high 
flood that he could not come to the bridge. Then was the 
king very anxious in mind that he w r as neither with his 
army nor could cross over the water, in addition to which he 
was very fearful that his foes were in pursuit of him. Then 
there came a fisherman to him and with difficulty conveyed 
him over alone. How God humbled the greatest arrogance, 
and the greatest undertaking in such shameful arrogance, 
that he to whom it before had seemed that no sea could re- 
sist him, that he could not quell it with ships and with his 
forces, that he was afterwards begging a little boat of a poor 
man, that he might save his life ! 

Mardonius, Xerxes' general, then left the ships in which 
they had been faring, and proceeded to a city in Bceotia, a 
Greek country, and took it. Tor that he was afterwards 
quickly requited, being put to flight and sorely beaten with 


3 peo peapung paep Peppipcan peop co mapan pconbe pupbe. 
popfton pyS<5an hi pelegpan paepon. hi eac blitSpan jepupbon;- 
^Epcep 6am Xepxip peapS hip ajenpe feobe ppiSe unpypS. -j 
hine hip agen ealbopman Spcabacup bep\ pobe "j opploh ; . 
ala. cpaeS Opopiup. hu lupcbaeplice ciba on pam bajum pa&pon. 
fpa j-pa fa j-ec^aS pe paep cpij-cenbomep pi^epplican fynb. $ 
Uf nu iepcep ppylcum lanjian ma&je fpylce ]>a paejion. ]>a ppa 
my eel pole, on ppa lyclum pypjre. s&c ppim polc-^epeohcum 
foppupbon. -^ paep mjon x. hunb Jmpenba op Peppa anpa 
anpealbe. bucon heopa pi^eppmnum. a&^pep je op SciSSmm je 
op Ejiecum;. Daec cacnobe Leom^a on hip ]?am nexcan 
gepeohce ^ Peppa. hpylc man-cpealm on Epeca lonbe psep. mib 
momgpealbum beat5um. mib Sam }>e he pppecenbe pa&p co hip 
gepepum. sec hip unbepn-gepeopbe. aep he co Sam jepeohce 
pope. Ucon nu bpucan Syppep unbepn-mecep. ppa pa pceolon. 
J>e heopa aepen-jypl on helle gepeccan pculon \ Deah he fa 
ppa cpaebe. he cpseS epc oSep popb. Deah ic aep paebe. -p pe co 
helle pceolbon. feah ne geopcpupige ic na Lrobe. p he up ne 
maeje jepcylban co becepan cibon ponne pe nu on pynb;. 
LeomSa paebe )) pa ciba pa ypele paepon. ^ pilnabe -p him 
copeapb becepan paepon. j nu pume men pecgaS ^ pa becepan 
paepon ponne nu jynb ; . Nu hi ppa Cpj^ypbije pynbon. fonne 
paepon ae^fep jobe je ]>a seppan. ppa pume menn nu pec^aS. 
je eac pap aepcpan. ppa hi aep paebon. ] naepon na paepe on 
Sance. jip hi ponne po<5 ne paebon. fonne naepon naSop jobe. 
ne pa ne nu ; 

Nu pe pceolon epc. cpaeS Opopiup. hpyppan neap Roma. )>aep 
pe hie aep poplaecon. poppon ic ne maeg eal pa momjpealban 
ypel enbemep apeccan. ppa ic eac eallep Sypep mibbaneapbep. 
na mapan baelep ne an^ice. bucon -^ce on cpam anpealbum 
jepeapS. on fam aejiepcan. 3 on pam piSemepcan. ^ pynb 


^j-^ji pam fe Romebuph jecimbpab paep n. hunb pmcpa 
3 hunb-eahcacijum. py ylcan jeape pe Sabini Romane ppa 
beppicon. pa heopa in. b mb 3 pyx men. op aejSeppe healpe. co 


great slaughter ; though the victory and plunder of the Per- 
sian treasure proved a great scandal to the Athenians ; for 
after they were wealthier they became also more luxurious. 
Afterwards Xerxes became very contemptible to his own 
nation ; and his own prefect, Artabanus, plotted against him 
and slew him. Ah ! says Orosius, what joyous times there 
were in those days, as they say who are the adversaries of 
Christianity ; so that we may long after such as they were, 
when so great a [number of] people in so little a space, pe- 
rished in three national wars, that was ninety hundred thou- 
sand men of the Persian power alone, exclusive of their ad- 
versaries, both Scythians and Greeks. Leonidas, in his last 
battle with the Persians, announced what a pestilence there 
was in the land of Greece through the numerous deaths, 
when he said to his companions at his morning-repast, be- 
fore he went to battle : " Let us now eat this morning-meal 
as those should who are to seek their evening-refection in 
hell." Although he thus spoke, he again said other words: 
" Although I before said that we shall go to hell, I yet do 
not lose trust in God, that he may shield us for better times 
than those in which we now are." Leonidas said that those 
times were evil, and desired that better might be at hand for 
them. And now some men say that those were better than 
[those that] now are. Now are they so ambiguous. Then 
were both good, the former times, as some men now say, and 
also the later, as they formerly said, and were not grateful 
for them. If they did not speak truth, then were neither 
good, neither those nor [those that are] now. 

Now we will again, says Orosius, return nearer to Borne, 
where we before left it ; for after all I cannot recount all 
the manifold evils of all this earth, as I am not acquainted 
with the greater part, except that which is within two em- 
pires, the first and the last ; those are the Assyrian and the 


After Borne had been built two hundred and eighty years, 
in the same year that the Sabines so deluded the Bomans, 
when three hundred and six of them on either side went to 


anpi;$e eobon. peapft mycel punbop on heopenum gepepen, 
ppylc eall pe heopon bypnenbe paepe. f tacen peapS on 
Romanum ppifte jepputelab. mib pam mycclan pol-bpyne mann- 
cpealmep. pe him pafte paep aeptep com. ppa -p hy healpe behpene 
pujibon. -j heopa tpegen conpulap. pe hi pa haepbon. ge pa sec 
nexcan. pa J>e' paep to lape beon mopton. paepon to Sam 
meSige. -p hy ne myhcon pa pop'Spapenan to eopSan bpinjan ; 
foona gepceji pam ealle heopa peopap piS pa hlapopbap pmnenbe 
paepon. ^) hi benamon heopa heapob-ptebep. -p hi fcapitolium 
hecon. ] hi miccle r jepeoht ymb ty hsepbon. ot5 hi opplojon 
pone aenne conpul.,pe hi ]>a nipan jepet haepbon. Seah ]>a 
hlapopbap on pam enbe ha&pbon heanlicne pije. ^ pona fasp. py 
aeptepan jeape. Romane punnon prS Fulpci -p pole, j paep 
pupbon ppi'Se popplejene. ^ pe bael ]>e J?a3p to lape peep. peapS 
on an paepten bebpipen. y paep pupbon mib hungpe acpealbe. 
paep heopa pa ne gehulpe pa paep aet ham paepon. mib pam ]>e 
hi gegabepoban eall moncynnep p paep laepeb paep. "j jenamon 
aenne eapmne man him to conpule. paepi he on hip aecepe eobe 
j hip j-ulh on hanba haepbe. -] pj^SSan to Fulpcipci pam lanbe 
pepbon -3 hi ut-popleton ; 

yEptep ]>am paep an j;eap pullice. 'p opep eall Romana pice 
peo eopt5e paep cpacienbe 3 bepptenbe. ^j aelce baej man com 
unapimeblice opt to penatum. ^ him paebon ppam bupgum ^ 
ppam tunum on eopftan bepuncen. ^ hy pylpe paepon aelce baeg 
on paepe onbpaebmje hpaenne hi on ]>a eopSan bepuncene 
pupbon ' ^Eptep pam com ppa mycel hete jeonb Romane. -^ 
ealle heopa eopS-paeptmap. je eac hi ]*ylpe. neah poppupbon> 
^Epcep pam ]?aep peapS pe maepta hun^ep \ JEptep pam 
Romane jepettan him x. conpulap. paep hi aep tpe^en haepbon. 
to pan -p hi heopa ae bepiptonj- peopa an paep Elaubmp 
haten. pe him paep onteonbe ealbopbom opep pa oSpe. peah hi 
him paep gepapienbe naepon. ac pit) hine pmnenbe paepon. oft 
pone pyppt pe hi pume to him ^ecypbon pume nolbon. ac ppa 
on tpa tobaelbe. him betpeonan punnan. >p hi popjeatoli paepa 
uttpa jepeohta. pe him on henbe paepon. 06 ealle pa con- 
pulap tojaebepe ^ecypbon. ^ Elaubium. pone aenne. mib paglum 
opbeoton. j pj^tS'fian heopa agen lanb pepjenbe paepon \- 

Yjpelice. cpaeS Opopmp. 3 pceoptlice ic haebbe nu ^epaeb 
hiopa m-jepmn. peah hi him paepon popneah ]7a maeptan. -3 J>a 
pleoleceptan. -p eac 65na ^ ppeplene pyp tacnobe. pa hit upp 


combat, there was a great wonder seen in the heavens, as if 
all the heaven were burning. That token was sorely mani- 
fested to the Romans by the great deadly pestilence which 
soon after came, upon them, so that the half of them pe- 
rished, together with their two consuls that they then had ; 
so that at last those that might be left were enfeebled to 
that degree that they could not bring the departed to the 
earth. Immediately afterwards all their slaves made war 
against their masters, and they took their chief place that 
they called the Capitol, and they had great battles about it, 
until they had slain one consul who had been newly ap- 
pointed ; although the masters finally had an inglorious vic- 
tory ; and immediately after, in the following year, the Eo- 
inans made war against the Volscian nation, and were there 
sorely beaten, and the portion that was left was driven into 
a fastness, and had there perished by hunger, if those had 
not helped them who were at home, by gathering all the 
males that remained, and taking a poor man for their consul, 
where he was going in his field, and had his plough in his 
hand, and then marched to the A 7 olscian land and released 

After this it was full a year that over all the Bom an terri- 
tory the earth quaked and burst, and every day there came 
men innumerable times to the senate, and told them of sunken 
towns and villages ; and they themselves were every day in 
dread when they should be sunk in the earth. After that 
there came so great a heat throughout Home that all their 
earth-fruits, yea, also themselves, nearly perished. After 
that there was the greatest famine. After that the Ro- 
mans appointed ten consuls, when before they had had 
[only] two ; to the end that they might take care of 
their laws. One of them was named Claudius, who would 
arrogate to himself the supremacy over the others, although 
they would not concede that to him, but strove against him, 
until the time when some turned to him, some would not, 
but, thus divided in two, contended with each other, so that 
they forgot their external wars that they had on hand, until 
ail the consuls combined together and beat the one, Clau- 
dius, with clubs, and afterwards defended their own country. 

Familiarly and shortly, says Orosius, I have now spoken 
of their intestine calamities, although they were almost the 
greatest and most perilous, which Etna also, that sulphureous 


op helle geace apppang on Sicilia ]>am lanbe. hpylce jepmn pa 
paepon. be )>am J?e nu pynbon. 3 Sicilia pela opploh. mib bpyne 
3 mib pcence. ac pySSan hie cpipcen peapft. f helle pyp paep 
pyftftan geppeftpab. ppa ealle ungecima paepon. ]? hie nu ip bucon 
ppylcum tacnungum j?8&f ypelef ]?e hie a&p by be. ]>eah hie aelce 
jeape fjf bpabpe ^j bpabpe ; 


Sam }>e Romebujih jecimbpab pasp in. hunb pinrpa 
an. fee Sicilie unjepabe paepon him becpeonan. -3 hi healpe 
appeonnon Laecebemonie him on pulcum. ^ healpe Schemenj-ep. 
Epeca feoba. ]>e a&p aecgaebepe pi6 Peppe pinnenbe paspon. ac 
piftftan hi on Sicilmm punnon. hi eac pi&San becpeonum him 
pylpum pinnenbe paepon. oS -p Dapmp. Peppa cyninj. Laecebe- 
monium on pulcume peapt5. piS pam Schemenpep. pop fam 
^epmnum hip ylbpena ; y&f -J) mycel punbop f eall Peppa 
anpealb j Laecebemoma. f hi 18 myhto'n Xchene fa buph apepc- 
an. fonne hi -p pole meahcon co heopa pillum jenyban ! 

Snb pona aepcep fam. ]>y ylcan jeape. Dapmp jepop. Peppa 
cyn^. j hip 11. puna ymb f pice punnon. Sptecpeppep -3 Eipup. 
oS heopa ae^ep f maepce pole on jean ot5epne jeceah. 3 ]>a 
unpibbe mib jepeohcum bpeogenbe paepon. oS Eipup opplajen 
peapS. pe faep jmjpa paep> On ]>am bajum paep an buph in 
Spppica. peo paep neah J?ape pae. o^5 an pae-plob com. 3 hy apepce. 
3 fa menn abpencce 1 ;. 


]?am ]?e Romebuph jecimbpab paep in. hunb pmcpa 
3 Lv. fee Komane bepsecon Ueiopum J>a buph x. pincep. 3 
him f peel ppit5o}i bepobe fonne fam fe ]>aepinne paepon. aejftep 
je on cyle je on hunxpe. bucon ]>am ]>e mon ope hepjobe. 
ae^ep je on hy pylpe je on heopa lanb aee ham. 3 hi )>a hpaebhce 
bepopan heopa peonbum poppeopfian pceolbon. faep hi 8a bupb 
ne abpaecon mib J>am cjisepce f e ]a pcanblicopc pasp. feah he 


fire, showed (when from the gate of hell it sprang up in the 
land of Sicily), what calamities those were compared with 
those that now are : and in Sicily killed many with burning 
and with stench. But since it became Christian, that heli- 
fire was mitigated, as well as all calamities were ; so that it 
now is without such manifestations of evil as it caused before; 
although it every year is broader and broader. 


After Borne had been built three hundred and one years, 
the Sicilians were at variance among themselves, and half of 
them drew the Lacedaemonians to their aid, and half the 
Athenians, Greek people, who had previously warred together 
against the Persians ; but after they had made war in Sicily, 
they also made war between themselves, until Darius, the Per- 
sian king, gave aid to the Lacedaemonians against the Athe- 
nians, on account of their wars with his forefathers. That 
was a great wonder that all the Persian and Lacedemonian 
power could more easily lay waste the city of Athens than 
they could force the people to their w r ills. 

And immediately after, in the same year, Darius, the 
Persian king, died, and his two sons, Artaxerxes and Cyrus, 
contended for the kingdom, until each of them had brought a 
vast number of people against the other, and carried on their 
enmity by battles until Cyrus was slain, who was the 
younger. In those days there was a town in Africa that wad 
near the sea, until a sea-flood came and destroyed it, and 
drowned the inhabitants. 


After Rome had been built three hundred and fifty-five 
years, the Romans besieged the city of the Veii for ten years, 
and the siege was much more detrimental to them than to 
those that were in it, both through cold and hunger ; be- 
sides which they (the Veii) often made hostile incursions 
both on themselves and on their lands at home, and they 
would speedily have perished before their enemies, if they 
had not taken the city by that craft which was then most 


him ept ye peop<5epta pupbe. ^ paep ^ hi ppam heopa pic-ptopum 
unbep paepe eopSan bulpon. 08 hi bmnan paepe bypig up-eobon. 
3 hi nihtep on ppum-plaepe on beptaelan. 3 pa buph mib-ealle 
apeptan;- Dypne nyttan cpaept. peah he aphc naepe. punbe 
heopa tictatop Eamillup hatte '. Sona aeptep pam peapft 
Romana gepmn j paepa Eallia. pe paepon op 8enno paepe bypij. 
"p paep aepepc .popj?am ]>a. Eallia hsepbon bepecen Tupci f>a 
buph> Da penbon Romane sepenbpacan to Eallmm. -3 hi 
baebon -J) hi ppiS pi^ hi haapbon \ - Da on J>am ylcan bae^e. 
a&pcep J>am ]?e hi ]?ip ^epppecen haepbon. puhcon Eallie on ]>a 
buph. ]>a gepapon hi Romana aepenbpacan on hi peohcenbe mib 
]?am buphpapum. hi pop fam hi jebuljon. j ]?a buph poplecon. 
~] mib eallum heopa pulcume Romane pohton. -] him Faump pe 
conpul mib gepeohte on^ean com. ^ eac pa8e geplymeb peapS 
epc in co Romebypig. *] him I/allie paepon aepcep-pyhgenbe oS 
hi ealle J>aep bmnan paepon. jelice ~] mon maebe mape hy paepon 
f>a buph hepgienbe ^ pleanbe. bucon aelcepe pape \ Daec 
cacen nu jyt cu^ ip. on Ja&pe ea noman. ]?aep conpulep plejep 
Fauiupep. ne pene ic. cpaeS Opopmp. faec aemj man atellan 
maeje ealne ^one bem J>e Romanum aec ]>am cyppe gebon 
peapt5. ]>eah hi pa buph ne popbaepnbon. ppa hi ]>a gebybon. j 
]>a peapan ]>e paap co lape pupbon. gepealbon M. punba ^olbep 
pr3 heopa peojie. 3 hi ^ bybon pop Sam ppiSopc. J>e hi 'Sohcon ^ 
hi pyfrSan heopa unbepjeopap paepon. -j pume bmnan -p paepten 
o^plujon. ty hi Eapicolmm hecon. hi ]>a eac bepaecon. oS hi 
pume hungpe acpaelon pume on hanb eobon. -j hi pySSan o^pum 
polcum him piS peo gepealbon;- pu Smc8 eop nu. cpaefi 
Opopiup. ]>e faep cjuptenbomep ciba leahcpiaS. py^San Callia uc 
op Saepe bypij apopan. hu bh^e tiba Romane aepcep J>am 
haepbon. J?a 6a yjimmjap ]>e paep to lape pujibon. ut op J>am 
holan cpupan. ]?e hy on luteban. ppa bepopene ppylce hy op 
oSeppe populbe comon. ]?onne hi bepapon. on pa bepenjban 
buph ] on ]>a peptan. ^ him pa paep pynbpi^ e^e. paep him aep 
paep peo maepte pynn. eac butan pam ypele nahton hi napop. 
ne paepinne mete, ne paepute ppeonb \ 

Daet paepon pa tiba. pe Romane nu aeptep pecaS. ~] cpeSaft. 
f him Eotan pyppan tiba gebon habbr i ponne hi a&p haepbon, 

KINO ALFRED'S OEOsius.X/ i 321 

scandalous, but which, on the other hand, was most valuable 

to them ; which was, that from their camp they delved under 

the earth until they came up within the city, and stole on 

them by night in their first sleep and totally destroyed the 

city. This useful craft, although it was not honourable, was 

devised by their dictator, named Camillus. Immediately 

after was the war of the Eomans and the Gauls, who were 

from the city of Sena. That was, at first, because the Gauls 

had besieged the city of the Etruscans. Then the Eomans 

sent messengers to the Gauls, and prayed them that they 

might have peace with them. "When on the same day, after 

they had said this, the Gauls were fighting against the city, 

they saw the Roman messengers fighting against them with the 

inhabitants, at which they were incensed, and, abandoning 

the city, with all their force sought the Eomans, and Fabius 

the consul met them in battle, and was also speedily driven 

into the city of Eome, and the Gauls followed him, until they 

were all within ; and like as when a meadow is mown they 

ravaged the city and slaughtered without any heed. The sign 

is yet known, in the name of the river, of the defeat of 

3?abius. I do not imagine, says Orosius, that any man could 

recount all the misery that was inflicted on the Eomans at 

that time, [even] though they (the Gauls) had not burnt the 

city as they then did ; and the few that remained gave a 

thousand pounds of gold for their lives ; and they did that 

chiefly because they thought that they afterwards might be 

their slaves : and some fled away into the fastness that they 

culled the Capitol, where they also besieged them, until some 

perished from hunger, some delivered themselves up, and 

they afterwards sold them to other nations for money. "What 

think ye now, says Orosius, [ye] who calumniate the days of 

Christianity, what joyous times the Eomans had after the 

Gauls had gone from the city, when the poor wretches who 

were left there crept out of the holes into which they had 

crouched, weeping as though they had come from another 

world, when they looked on the burnt city and on the ruin ; 

that was to them dreadful beyond everything, where before 

had been the greatest joy ; moreover, besides that evil, they 

had neither food within nor a friend without. 

Those were the times which the Eomans now long after, 
and say, that the Goths have caused them worse times than 



1 naenon on hy hepgienbe. buton ppy bajap. 3 Dallie paepon 
aep pyx mona'S bmnan paepe bypig hep^ienbe. 3 pa buph 
baepnenbe. 3 him -p pa-gyt to lycel ypel Suhte. buton hi peep 
naman bename. ^ hi nan pole naepon \ 6ft pa Irotan paep 
laeppan hpile hepgebon. -J> hi pop paep cpiptenbomep ape. -j o"uph 
Jlrobep eje. ^ hi napep ne pa buph ne bsepnbon ne psej- pone 
pillan na&fbon -p hi heopa namon hi benamon. ne papa nanne 
ypehan nolban. pe to pam Eobej- huj-e o^jrlujon. peah hi hseftene 
psepon. ac j-piSop miccle paepon pilmenbe ^ hi jemonj him 
mib pbbe pttan moj-tan. 3 uneaSe mihte aep aemj pam 
Ealhum opfleon o^Se otShyban. 3 pa ^a liotan peep lytle hpile 
hepjebon. ne mihte mon buton peapa ojrjiagenpa jeaxian * 
Daep paep jejyne Ijobef ypP e - F a ne P a aejienan beamap. ] 
heopa anhcneppa. Jwi hi ne mihton ppam Eallipcum pype 
popbaejmbe peoji^an. ac hi hepenhc pyp aet pam ylcan cyppe 
popbaepnbe | Ne pene ic. cpaeS Opopmp. nu ic lange ppell 
ha&bbe to pecgenne. ty ic hi on Syppe bee jeenbian maeje. ac ic 
oSepe onjinnan pceal ; 



SFT6R pam pe Romebuph ^etimbpab peep in. hunb pmtpa 
3 Lvn. on pam bajum pe ISallie Rome apepthaepbon. pa jepe 
peo maepte pibb -j peo bypmoplecopte. betpih Laecebemonmm. 
Ejieca lonbe. "j Peppum. aeptep pam pe Laecebemome haepbon 
Peppe opt opeppunnen ; Da jebubon him Peppe ty hi haepbon 
in. pmcep pibbe pi6 hi. pepe ^ polbe. 3 pepe ^ nolbe. ^ hi 
polban pa mib jepeohte ^epecan ; pi pa Laecebemonie luptlice 
paepe pibbe hyppumebon. pop pam lytlan eje pe him mon< 
gebeab [ On pan mon maej pputole oncnapan hu mycelne 
pillan hi to 8am gepinne haepbon. ]7a heopa pcopap on heopa 
leoSum jybbienbe pynbon. "j on heopa leappellunjum \ Ne 
jeSmcS pe ppylc jepinn noht luptbaepe. cpaeS Opopmp. ne pa 
tiba pe ma. j?te him hip peonb maeje ppa eaSe hip mib popbum 
jeptypan ; ^Eptep 8am pe Laecebemonie hgepbon opeppunnen j 
Athene pa buph. hiopa ajene leobe. hy hi pa up-ahopon. 
p;nnan onjunnan on aelce healpe heopa. je pit> heopa a^en pole.) 
$e piS Pejipe. je piS pa laeppan Spiam. je pi8 Athene pa buph. 1 ! 


they had before, and yet they were only three days plunder- 
ing them, and the Gauls before were six months within the 
city ravaging and burning, and that seemed to them too little 
an evil, unless they could deprive them of their name, that 
they might be no more a nation. Again the Goths plundered 
and ravaged there for a less period, [and] so that they in 
honour to Christianity, and through fear of God, neither 
burnt the city, nor had the desire to deprive them of their 
name, nor would they do evil to any one of them who fled to the 
house of God, although they were heathens ; but were much 
more desirous that they might settle among them in peace. 
And with difficulty could any one before flee or hide him- 
self from the Gauls. And when the Goths had plundered 
there a little while, no one heard of more than a few slain. 
There was seen the wrath of God, when their brazen beams 
and their images, when they could not be burnt by the 
Gaulish fire, but heavenly fire at the same time burnt them 1 , 
do not imagine, says Orosius, now I have long narratives 
to relate, that I can end them in this book, so I shall begin 


THREE hundred and fifty-seven years after the building of 
Rome, in those days when the Gauls had laid Home waste, 
then was the great and most ignominious peace between 
Lacedaemon, a Greek country, and the Persians, after the 
Lacedaemonians had often overcome the Persians. Then the 
Persians enjoined them to have a peace of three years with 
them, those that would ; and those that would not they would 
seek with war. Thereupon the Lacedemonians gladly sub- 
mitted to the peace, on account of the little dread that was 
inspired into them. By which it may be clearly known how 
great a will they had for that war, as their poets sing in their 
songs and in their fables. Let not such a war appear to thee 
anything agreeable, says Orosius, nor yet those times, when 
a man's enemy may so easily govern him with words. After 
the Lacedemonians had conquered the city of Athens, their 
own nation, they exalted themselves, and began warring on 
every side of them, against their own people, and against the 
Persians, and against the Lesser Asia, and against the city of 
Y 2 


pe In aep apeptan. popfton pa peapan pe paep ut oSplu gon. haepbon 
ept pa buph gebogene. 3 haepbon Thebane. Ejieca leobe. him 
on pultum apponen;. Laecebemome paepon ppa up-ahapene. 
J) aejSep ge hy pylp penbon. ge ealle fa neah peoba. ^ hi opep 
hi ealle mihton anpealb habban. ac him Xthemenpe mib The- 
bana pultume piftp tobon. j hi mib jepeohte cnypebon : - ^Ejrcep 
fam Laecebemome jecupon him to latteope Ipcchbif pgef 
haten. ^j hme fenbon on Pepye mib fultume. pift hi to 
jejreohtanne. him ]>a Peppe mib heopa tpam ealbopmannum 
onjean comon. o^ep hatte Fapnabufep o^ep Dipppapnon;- 
8ona ppa psepa Laecebemoma labteop pipte J he pi$ ]>a tpejen 
hepap peohtan pceolbe. him fa peebhcepe geSuhte ^ he piS 
oSejme ppi$ Rename. ^ he fone oSepne ]>e yg opepcuman 
mihte. ] he ppa jebybe. ~] hip sepenbpacan to J>am o8pum 
onpenbe. 3 him pecjan het. ^ he jeopnop polbe pibbe pit) 
hme fonne gepinn;. pe J>a pe ealbopman ^elypeblice mib 
pibbe paepa sepenba onpen^. y Lsecebemoma J>a hpile geplym- 
bon pone oftepne ealbopman ; . 

^Eptep ]>am Peppa cymng benam pone ealbopman hip pcipe. 
pe sep pam ppifte onpenj aet Laecebemomum. ~] hi gepealbe 
anum ppeccean. op Xthene. Epeca bypi^- r e P^F haten Eonon. 
] hme penbe mib pciphepe op Peppum to Laecebemomum;. 
Snb hi penbon to gyptum Laecebemome. "] him pultumep 
baebon. -3 hi him gepealbon an c. paepa mycclena ppiepe- 
'Spena ; . Laecebemome haepbon him to labteope aenne pijue 
man. peah he healt paepe. pe paep haten Sgepilaup. ^ him to 
jylp-popbe haepbon. ^ him leoppe paepe. ^ hi haepbon healtne 
cynmj ponne healt pice \ pi py^SSan on ^am paa togaebepe 
popan. ^ paep ppa unjemethce jepuhton. ^ hi neah ealle 
poppupban. ^ napaep ne mihte on oftpum pije ^epaecan. pgep 
peajiS Laecebemoma anpealb "j heopa bom alejen ] . Ne 
pene ic. cpaeft Opopmp. paet a&mj tpejen latceopap emnap 
gepuhton ; . 

^Eptept pam Eonon gelaebbe pypbe epc on Laecebemome. y 
"p lanb buton paepe bypig. on aelcum t5mjum mib-ealle apepte. 
f te pa pe aep ute o^pa peoba anpealba ypnbon. him pa ^ob 
puhte. paep hi mihte hy pylpe aet ham pit) peopbom bepepian ; 
Pippanbep hatte pum Laecebemoma latteop. he gepohte I!lonon 
njib pcipum. pa he op Laecebemomum pop. 3 paepa polca 

KINO ALFEED'S onosius. HL, ( 325 

Athens that they had before laid waste; because the few 
that had fled from thence, had again inhabited the city, and 
had drawn the Thebans, a Greek people, to their aid. The 
Lacedemonians were so up-lifted, that both they themselves 
and all the neighbouring people imagined that they might 
have power over all of them ; but the Athenians, with the 
aid of the Thebans, withstood them and overcame them in 
battle. After that the Lacedaemonians chose a general named 
Dercyllidas, and sent him to Persia with a force to fight 
against that nation. The Persians with their two generals, 
one named Pharnabazus, the other Tissaphernes, marched 
against him. As soon as the Lacaedemonian general knew 
that he should have to fight against the two armies, it seemed 
to him most advisable to make a truce with one, that he might 
the more easily overcome the other : and he did so, and sent 
his messengers to the one, and commanded them to say that 
he would rather have peace with him than war. Thereupon 
the general credulously received the message with peace, and 
the Lacedaemonians in the meanwhile put the other general 
to night. 

Afterwards the Persian king deprived that general of his 
province, who had previously accepted peace from the La- 
cedaemonians, and gave it to an exile from Athens, the Greek 
city, who was named Conon, and sent him with a fleet from 
Persia to Lacedaemonia. And the Lacedaemonians sent to the 
Egyptians, praying them for aid, and they gave them a hun- 
dred large triremes. The Lacedaemonians had for general a 
wise man, although he was lame, who was named Agesilaus, 
and had as a vaunt, that they would rather have a lame king 
than a lame kingdom. They afterwards came together at 
sea, and there fought so fiercely that they nearly all perished, 
so that neither could gain a victory over the other. There 
was the Lacedaemonian power and glory prostrated. I do not 
think, says Orosius, that any two leaders fought more equally. 

After that Conon led an army in return against Lacedae- 
monia, and totally laid waste the country, exclusive of the 
city, on all sides ; so that to them who before had coveted 
power over other nations abroad, it now seemed good if they 
could defend themselves against thraldom at home. There 
was a Lacedaemonian general named Pisander, who went in 
search of Conon with a fleet, when he left Lacedaemonia, 

326 KitfG ALFRED'S OROsrcs. 

a&goep on oSpum. mycel pael geplojan;. Daep pupbon Laece- 
bemonie ppa pprSe popplajen. ty hi nafop naepbon pyftftan. nc 
heopa namon ne heopa anpealb. ac heopa hpype peapft Hrhe- 
num to apaepneppe. }) hi fone ealban teonan geppecan mihton. 
pe him on aep-bagum gemaene peep;- Snb hi 3 Thebane hi 
jegabepebon. 3 Laecebemome mib gepeohte pohton. j hi 
geplymbon. "] hi on heopa buph bebpipon. } j^San befseton ;. 
Da buphpape penbon )?a aepceji Sjepilaupe. ^e mib heopa hejie 
peep in Sfiam. 3 baebon ^ he tibhce hampeapb paepe. ^ heopa 
^ehulpe. 3 he j-pa gebybe. ] on Schene unjeappe becoman. 

hi gejrlymbon ; . Schenienj-e pa&pon ]>a him j^pi^e onbpae- 
benbe ty Laacebemome opep hi pixian mihcon. ppa hi aep bybon. 
pop J?am lytlan pi^e. J>e hi fa opep hi haepbon ; . pi penbon ]?a 
on Peppe a&ptep Eonone. j hme ba&bon ^ he him on pulcume 
paepe. ^j he heom )?aep jecit5abe. -3 hi mib micclum pciphepe 
^epohte. j hi La&cebemome maefC ealle apepcan. 3 hi to tSan 
jebybon. p hy hi jylpe let on aegSep je pop heane ge pop un- 
ppaepte ; . JEptep ]>am Eonon jelenbe to Sthene J>a&pe bypij. 
hip ealb cySSe. y ]>aep mib micclum gepean Jjapa buphleoba 
onpan^en paep. 3 he Jaep hip pylpep lange jemynejun^e gebybe. 
mib ]>an }>e he jenybbe aegSep je Peppe ge Laecebemome. ^ 
hi gebetton j, a buph. fe hi aep tobpaecon. ^j eac -p Laecebe- 
monie Jaepe bypig pySSan gehyppume paepon. feah hi aep lange 
heopa pi^eppmnan paepon ; . ^Eptep feopan jepinne. jepeapS 
jfce Peppe jebubon ppi^5 eallum Epaeca polce. naep na popfam 
J>e hi him aenigpa joba ufan. ac poji^am ]>& hi punnon on 
Glyptic. ^ hi moptan pop him J>y bet J>am jepmne pull^anjan ; . 

!Sc Laecebemome haepbon J)a hpile mapan unjnllnejja 
fonne hi mae^enep haepbon. -3 paepon ppiftop pinnenbe on 
Thebane fonne hi pultumep haepbon. -3 hloSum on hi 
ptalebon. o$ hi abpaecon Spcabum heopa buph;. ^Eptep 
]>am Thebane hi mib pypbe jepohton. 3 him Laecebemome 
oSpe on^ean bpohton;- Da hi lange puhton. fa clypabe 
Laecebe ealbopman to Spcabium. 3 baebon -p hi faep gepeoht- 
ep jej'picon. ^ hi mopton Sa beaban bebypian. )>e heopa 
polcep opplajen paepon ; Daet ip mib Epecum f eap. }> mib 
Cam popbe biS jecy^eb. hpae^ep healp hsep? )>one pije;. 


and both of these nations fought, one against the other, 
with great slaughter. There were the Lacedemonians so 
totally defeated that they afterwards had neither their name 
nor their power ; but their fall was the raising up of the 
Athenians, so that they could avenge the old grudge which 
in former days had been mutual. And they and the Thebans 
assembled, and sought the Lacedemonians with warfare, and 
put them to flight, and drove them into their city, and then 
laid siege to it. The inhabitants thereupon sent for Agesi- 
laus, who was with their army in Asia, and requested him to 
return home speedily and aid them ; and he did so, and came 
on the Athenians unawares and put them to flight. The 
Athenians then greatly dreaded lest the Lacedaemonians 
should rule over them as they before had done, in conse- 
quence of the little victory they had gained over them. So 
they sent to Persia after Conon, and besought him to aid 
them, to which he consented, and sought them with a large 
fleet, and they laid waste the greater part of Lacedaemonia, 
and so reduced them, that they regarded themselves both as 
too base and too powerless. After that Conon landed at the 
city of Athens, his old country, and was there received with 
the great joy of the citizens, and he there made a long re- 
membrance of himself, by compelling both the Persians and 
the Lacedaemonians to repair the city which they before had 
ruined, and the Lacedaemonians to be thenceforth obedient 
to the city, although they previously had long been its adver- 
saries. After this war it happened that the Persians offered 
peace to all the Greek people, not because they would give 
them any benefits, but because, being at war with the Egyp- 
tians, they might the better for themselves terminate the 

But the Lacedaemonians meanwhile were more restless than 
powerful, and made war on the Thebans more vigorously than 
their force admitted ; but stole on them in bodies, until they 
took their town from the Arcadians. After that the Thebans 
sought them with an army, and the Lacedaemonians brought 
another against them. When they long fought together, the 
Lacedaemonian general called to the Arcadians, and requested 
that they would cease from fighting, that they might bury 
the dead that had fallen of their people. It is a custom 
among the Greeks that with those words it is declared which 


Fop'San ic polbe gepecgan. cpaeS Opopmp, hu Epeca gepinn. 
fe op Laecebemoma faepe bypig aepept onptaeleb paep. ~j mib 
ppell-cpybum gemeapcian. a&pept on Xthena pa buph. 3 
pyftftan on Thebane. 3 py$$an on Boetie. -3 pyfrSan on 
GDacebome. pippe paepon ealle Epeca leobe. 3 pySSan on fa 
laeppan !Xpiam. "j fa on fa mapan. 3 j^58an on Pepj-e. ^ 
j-y^San on G^yptie ; - Ic jreal eac fy lacop Romana ijropia 
apecjan. fe ic ongunnen ha&pbe*. 


pam pe Romebuph jecimbpab psep in. hunb pncpa 3 
Lxxvi. peep in Schie eopSbeopanj. "j tpa bypij. bopa ^ 61ice. 
on eopSan befuncon ; Ic maeg eac on upum agemim cibura 
jelic an^mn pam pecgan. feah hie ppylcne enbe nsefbe. ^ce 
Eonjtrancmopolim. Epeca buph. on ppylcepe cpacunje paef . ^ 
hype gepitejab pggj- O p pot5j:83ftum mannum. ty heo pceolbe on 
eopftan bepncan. ac heo peap^ gepcylb ^uph pone cpifcenan 
caj-epe. Spcabmj-ap. ~] tSuph ^ cpiftene pole, pe on pam bup^um 
paefi' "P S etacno ^ e ? EpifC if ea^mobejpa help -3 opep- 
mobigpa pyll '. OOape ic ftypep ^emynjobe fonne ic hip mib- 
ealle apaabe. jip hip hpa py luptpull mape to pitanne. pece him 
ponne pylpi- Da on Sam bajum epeapS. fte Fulpci 3 
Fahpci. pe a&p pa&pon Lxx. pintpa pi8 Romane pinnenbe. ^ hi 
hi fa opeppunnon. } heopa lanb opephepgobon. ^ pa^e a&pceji 
pam. Suttpian ^ pole paepon hepgienbe on Romane. oS paspe 
bupge jeaca \ pit Romane aeptep ^am hpaebhce mib jepeohte 
3 mib hep^un^e him popgulbon. 3 hi ^eplymbon ; 


fam fe Romebuph jetimbpab paep in. hunb pmtpa | 
Lxxxm. pa^a Laucmp. fe o<5pe naman paep haten Hrenutiup. f 
j Qumtup. fe ot5pe naman paep haten Seppilmp. pa hi pajpon j 
conpulap on Rome. gepeapcS pe miccla man-cpealm on pam ;' 
lanbe. nalaap. ppa hit ^epuna ip. op untibhcuni gepybepum. 
ip op paetum pumepum. ^) op bpijum pmtpum. ] op 

KING ALFRED'S OKOSIUS. 2Ev '> 2/3 329 

side has the victory. Because it has been my wish to relate* 
and in narratives describe, says Orosius, how the Greek war, 
which first proceeded from the city of LacedaBmon [extended 
itself], first to the city of Athens, and afterwards to Thebes, 
and then to Bceotia, and then to Macedonia (all these were 
Greek nations), and then to the Lesser Asia, and then to 
the Greater, and then to Persia, and then to Egypt, I shall 
the later recount also the Eoman history, which I had 


After Borne had been built three hundred and seventy-six 
years, there was an earthquake in Achaia, and two cities, 
Ebora and Helice, sank into the earth. I may also in our 
own times relate a beginning like to that, although it had 
not such an end : that Constantinople, the Greek city, was 
in a similar quaking, and it was prophesied of it by veracious 
men, that it should sink into the earth ; but it w<as shielded 
through the Christian emperor, Arcadius, and through the 
Christian people who were in those towns. That manifested 
that Christ is the help of the humble and the ruin of the 
proud. More of this I would have commemorated than I 
have altogether related of it : if any one be desirous to know 
more, then let him seek it himself. It happened in those 
days that the Volsci and Falisci, who had previously been 
warring on the Bomans for seventy years, were overcome by 
them and their lands ravaged ; and soon after that the nation 
of the Sutrini laid waste the Eoman [territory] as far as the 
gates of the city. After which the Eomans quickly requited 
them with war and destruction, and put them to flight. 


After Eome had been built three hundred and eighty- three 
years, when Lucius, who by another name was called Genu- 
cius, and Quintus, who by another name was called Servilius, 
when these were consuls at Eome, happened the great pesti- 
lence in the country, not as it is wont, from unseasonable bad 
weather that is, from wet summers and from dry winters, 
and from fierce spring heats, and with excessive autumnal 


lenccen-haetan. ] mib unjemetlican haeppepc-paetan. -j sepcep- 
haeSan. ac an pmb com op Ealabpia pealbe. 3 pe pol mib 
fam pinbe|- Dep man-cpealm paep on Romanum pulle n. 
geape. opep ealle men gelice. }>eah ]>e pume beabe paepon. j-ume 
unease jebpehte apeg-comon. 06 ^ heopa bipceopap paebon. ^ 
heopa gobap baebon. ^ him man pophte ampitheatpa. f man 
mihce ]>one haeSempcan plegan p/aepmne bon j heopa beopol- 
jylb. ^ pa&pon openlice ealle unclaenneppa'.-. pep pe majon 
nu. cpaeft Opopiup. J?a jeanbpypban. ])e faep cpiptenbomep 
piftepphtan jynbon. hu heopa jobap. Jmph heopia blotunje. j 
]>uph heopa beopoljylb. ]>aep man-cpealmep gehulpon. buton 
}>aec hy ne onjeacon mib hpylcum pcmcpaepce ~] mib hpylcum 
lotppence hie beopla bybon. naep na pe poSa liob. ty hi mib fy 
ypele J?a menn ppencton. to Son -^ hy jelypbon heopa opppun^a. 
] heopa beopoljylbum. ~] p hi )>anon mopcon to Sam paplum 
becurnan. 3 f hi mopton tapian mib J>aepe maepton bipmpunge. 
ac heopa ampitheatpa J>a paepon unapimebe. j me nu ma&nij- 
pealb to apecjanne. popSon Su. pajbep Sjuptmup. hy haeppt on 
t5mum bocum ppeotole jepaeb. 'j ic gehpam pille paepto taecan. 
J?e hme hyp lypt ma to pitanne \ 

^Eptep ^ypon. on Sam ylcan geape. tohlab peo eopSe bmnan 
Romebypij. }>a paebon heopa bipcopap epc. -p heopa S oba r 
baebon. ty him mon pealbe anne cucenne mann. ]?a him Jmhte |, 
^ hy heopa beabpa to lyt ha&pbon. T peo eopSe ppa gmienbe 
bab. oS )>aet GOapcup. p/e oSpe namon hatte Euptiup. mib;i 
hoppe ^ mib paepnum. ]>sep on-mnan bepceat. j heo piSSanli 
Coga&bepe behlab ; 


JEpcep Sam fe Romebuph getimbpeb paep in. hunb pmtpai 
] Lxxxvm. ^ Irallie opephepjebon Romane lanb oS mi. mila tc 1 
Saepe bypnj. "j fa buph mihcon eaSe be^itan. jip hy faep ne j 
gepacoban. popj)am Romane paepon ppa pophte ^ ppa aemobe. 1 }| 
hy ne penbon }? hy ]>a buph bepepian mihton.'- Sc ]?aep or 
mopgen Titup. heopa labteop. ]>e oSpan namon paep hater 
Qumtiup. hy mib pypbe jepohte. Saep gepeaht GOanhup anpij 
J>e oSpe namon paep haten Topcuatup. piS anne liallipcne mann 
j hme opploh. y Titup Qumtiup fa oSjie pume jeplymbe. pumt 


rains and after-heats ; but a wind came from the forest of 
Calabria, and with that wind the plague. This pestilence 
was full two years in the Eoman [territory] over all men 
alike ; though some died, some afflicted with difficulty escaped, 
mtil their priests said that their gods commanded amphi- 
theatres to be built for them, that the heathen games might 
therein be enacted, and their idolatries, that were manifestly 
all uncleannesses. Here may we now, says Orosius, answer 
those who are adversaries of Christianity [who assert] how 
their gods, through their sacrificing and their idolatry, helped 
them in this pestilence, only that they knew not by what 
sorcery and by what artifice of devils they did it (it was not 
the true God), [and] that they afflicted men with that evil, in 
order that they might trust in their offerings and to their idols, 
and that they might thence come at their souls, and that they 
might treat them with the greatest contumely ; for their am- 
phitheatres then were innumerable, and too many for me to 
relate ; [and] because thou, Father Augustine, hast manifestly 
said it in thy books, I will direct every one thereto who de- 
sires to know more of the subject. 

After this, in the same year, the earth yawned within the 
city of Eome ; whereupon their priests said that their gods 
commanded a living man to be given them, as it seemed to 
them they had had too few of their dead. And the earth so 
continued gaping, until Marcus, who by another name was 
called Curtius, with horse and weapons cast himself therein, 
and it afterwards closed together. 


After Eome had been built three hundred and eighty-eight 
years, the Gauls ravaged the Eoman territory to within four 
miles of the city, and might easily have gained the city, if 
they had not lost their energy, because the Eomans were so 
timid and so pusillanimous, that they did not suppose they 
could defend the city. But on the morrow, Titus, their 
general, who by another name was called Quinctius, sought 
them with an army, where Manlius fought in single combat, 
who by another name was called Torquatus, with a Gaulish 
man, and slew him. And of the others Titus Quinctius put 
some to flight and some he slew. How many were there slain 


opploh ! * Be J>am mon mihte onptan hpaet }>aep oppla^en paep . 
pa heopa pela Jmpenba jepanjen paep : 


Sam ]>e Romebuph getimbpeb paep 1111. hunh 
11. -p Eaptama paepe bupje aepenbpacan comon to Rome, 
him gebubon ^ hy ppiS him betpeoimm haepbon. poppon hy on 
an lanb J>a pmnenbe paepon. ty paep. on Benepente ; GDib Sam 
pe Sa sepenbpacan to Rome comon. J>a com eac mib him peo 
opepmsete heapbpaelnep. ^j mone^pa J>eoba ypmSa. peo lonje 
aepteji pam peaxenbe pasp. ppa hit heponep tunnel on Sam tiban 
c^Senbe paspon. ty hit paep mht oS mibne ba&j. ^j on pumejie 
tibe hit ha^olabe ptanum opep ealle Romane> On Sam 
bagum pa&p Slexanbep ^ebopen on Epecum. ppa ppa an mycel 
ypt come opep ealne mibbaneapb. j Ocup. Peppa c^'nmj. J?one 
mon oSpum namon het Sptecpeppip. aeptep Sam }>e he Ggypcum 
pophepjabe. he jepop piSSan on luSana lanb. *] heopa pela 
pophep^abe. piSSan on Ipcamam fam lanbe. he heopa ppiSe 
peala gepette piS ]>one pa& ]>e mon Eappia haet. j hy ]>aep gepet- 
tene pint git oS Jnpne baeg. mib bpabum polcum. on Sam to- 
hopan. ^ hy jurne piSe Eob fanon abo to heopa agnum 
lanbe]- SiSSan ISptecpeppip abjiaec SiSonem. Fenitia bujih. 
peo ps&p J>a pelegapt on J?am bajum ', 

^Eptep J?am Romane angunnon ^ Sommticum gepmn ymbe 
Eampena lanb. hy |)a lange 3 optpaebhce ymb ty puhton. on 
hpeoppenbum pigum ] Da getugon Somnite him on pultum 
Pippupan. Gpipa cyninj. ]>one maeptan peonb Romanum;- 
Daet jepinn peapS hpae]?pe pume hpile geptilleb. pop]>on Punici 
piS Romane pinnan ongunnon. piSSan ^ gepmn onjunnen 
paep .' Ijip aenig mann py. cpaeS Ojioj'iup. ]>e on geppitum pmbau 
mae^e. ^> lanap bupu piSSan belocen pupbe. butan anum 
jeafie. ^) ^ paep popSam J>e Romane ealne ]?one geap on mann- 
cpealme laejan. aepept on Octaviamip baeje. ]>aep capepep 1 ;- 
^ hup haepbon Romane to Sam anum tacne gepopht. -^ on 
ppylce healpe ppylce hy ]?onne pmnenbe beon polbon. ppa puS. 
ppa nopS. ppa ept. ppa pept. )>onne unbybon hy ]?a bupu. pe on 
}>a healpe open paep. ^ hy be ]?am pipton hpibep hy pceolbon. 
mib pam pe hy Sapa bupa hpylce opene jepapon. ponne tujon 
hy heopa hjiaejl bupan cneop. ~] jipebon hy to pige. j be ]>am 

J-,*+/*~ 333 

may be conceived from this [circumstance], that many thou- 
i sands of them were taken. 


After Eome had been built four hundred and two years, 
messengers came from the city of Carthage to Eome, and 
proposed that they should have peace between them, because 
they were warring together in a country, that was, in Bene- 
ventum. When the messengers came to Eome, with them 
also came the overwhelming calamity and miseries of many 
nations, which went on increasing long after that, as the stars 
of heaven at that time testified, so that it was night till mid- 
day, and at one time it hailed stones over all the Eoman 
[territory]. In those days Alexander was born in Greece, as 
a great tempest comes over all the earth ; and Ochus, king 
of Persia, who by another name is called Artaxerxes, after he 
had laid Egypt waste, proceeded to the land of the Jews and 
destroyed many of them ; afterwards in the land of Hyrcania ; 
he settled many of them by the sea called the Caspian, and 
they are yet settled there to this day in considerable numbers, 
in the hope that at some time God will conduct them thence 
to their own land. After that Artaxerxes took Sidon, a city 
of Phoenicia, which was the wealthiest in those days. 

After that the Eoman s began the Samnite war about the 
land of Campania. They fought long and often for it with 
alternate victories. The Samnites then drew to their aid 
Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, the greatest enemy of the Eoman s. 
That war was, nevertheless, for some time suspended, because 
the Carthaginians had begun to war on the Eomans since 
that (the Samnite) war was begun. If there be any man, 
says Orosius, who can find in writings that the door of Janus 
was afterwards closed, except for one year, and that was be- 
cause the Eomans were all that year afflicted with the pesti- 
lence, hrst in the time of the emperor Octavianus. That 
temple the Eomans had built for that one sign : that on 
whatever side they would be at war, whether south, or north, 
or east, or west, they then undid the door which was opened on 
that side, that they might thereby know whither they should 
[proceed] ; and when they saw any one of the doors open, 
they then drew up their robe above the knee, and prepared 


pipcan ty hy piS pum pole ppiS ne ha&fbon. ] ponne hy ppift 
haepbon. ]>onne paepon ealle $a bupa becynebe. 3 hi lecon heopa 
hpaegl opbune Co pocum'.- Sc papa Occavianup pe capepe co ( 
nice peng. pa pupbon lanap bupa becynebe. 3 peapS pibb ^ ppift 
opep ealne mibbangeapb ' ^Epcep pam pe Peppe ppiS genamon 
pi$ Romanum. prSSan jelicobe eallum polcum. ^ hy Romanum 
unbeppeobeb paepe. ^ heopa ae co behealbenne. ] ppa 
ppiSe pone ppi^ lupebon. ^ him leoppe paep. *j) hy Romampce 
cymngap haepbon. ponne op heopa agnum cynne ; On pam 
paep ppeocole jecacnab ^ nan eopShc mann ne mihce ppylce 
lupe j ppylce pibbe opeji ealne mibbanjeapb jebon ppylce 
pa paep;. Sc heo pop Sam paep pe Epipc on pam bagum 
gebopen paep. pe pibb ip heoponpape ~] eopftpape ; Daec eac 
Occavianup ppeocole gecacnobe. pa^a Romana him polbon 
opppian. ppa ppa heopa gepuna paep. 3 paebon. ty peo pibb on hip 
mihce paepe. ac he aejSep pleah. je pa baeb je pa paegene. ^ 
eac pylp paebe. -p peo baeb hip naepe. ne eac beon ne mihce 
nanep eopolicep mannep. ^ ealpe populbe ppylce pibbe bpinjan 
mihce. ty cpa peoba aep habban ne mihcon. na ft laeppe paep. cpa 
gemaejSa ; 


6am ]>e Romebuph jecimbpeb paep 1111. hunb pincpuiy 
3 vin. jepeap^ ^ Romane ^ Lacme punnon;- On ]>am 
popman jepeohce peap6 Romana conpul opplajen. GOanlmp. ]>e 
o6pum namon paep hacen Topcuacup. "j heopa o8ep conpul. 
\>e mon Deciup hec. 3 oSpum namon GOupe. hip ajenne 
punu opploh. popfon he opepbpaec heopa gecpibpaebenne. 
^ paep. ^ hy haepbon jecpeben. ty hy ealle emnhce on Lacme 
cenjbon;- 'Re ])aep an uc-apceac op Lacma pepobe y anpijep 
baeb. 3 him J>aep conpulep punu on^ean com. ~\ hme J>aep 
opploh | Fop ]>am jylce nolbon Romane bpmjan J?am conpule 
pone cjnumphan. ]?e heopa jepuna paep. peh he pije haepbe 1 ; 

On jmm aepcepan geape }?aep. GDmucia hacce an pipman. ]>e 
on heopa pipan pceolbe nunne beon. peo haepbe gehacen heopa | 
jybenne Dianan. -p heo polbe hype lip on paemnanhabe alibban. | 
]?a roplaej heo hy pona : - Py fa Romane. pop ]>am jylce |>e j 
he~ hype jehac aleah. ppa cuce hy on eopSan bebulpon. j nw j 


them for war ; by which it was known that with some nation 
they were not at peace. And when they had peace, then all 
the doors were closed, and they let their robe down to their 
feet. But when the emperor Octavianus succeeded to the 
empire, then were the doors of Janus closed, and there was 
peace and quiet over all the earth. After the Persians had 
made peace with the Eomans, it pleased all nations to be 
subject to the Eomans and to observe their law; and so 
greatly did they love that peace, that it was more agreeable 
to them to have Eoman kings than of their own race. By 
which it was manifestly indicated that no earthly man could 
cause such love and such peace over all the earth as that was. 
But it was because Christ was born in those days, who is the 
peace of the inhabitants of heaven and of earth. That also 
Octavianus manifestly indicated, when the Eomans would 
sacrifice to him, as was their wont, and said that the peace 
was through his might ; but he disclaimed both the act and 
the speech, and also said himself, that the deed was not his, 
nor could it be of any earthly man, that could bring such 
peace to all the world, what previously two nations could not 
have, nor, what was less, two families. 


After Eome had been built four hundred and eight years, 
it befel that the Eomans and the Latins made war. In the 
first battle the Eoman consul, Manlius, who by another name 
was called Torquatus, was slain ; and their other consul, 
named Decius, and by another name, Mus, slew his own son, 
because he transgressed their agreement, which was, that 
they had declared they would all equally assail the Latins. 
But there one of the Latin army rushed forth and demanded 
a single combat, and the consul's son advanced against him 
and there slew him. For that crime the Eomans would not 
bring the triumph to the consul, which was their custom, al- 
though he had the victory. 

In the year after this, a woman named Minucia, who in their 
manner is said to have been a nun, had promised their god- 
dess Diana that she would pass her life in maidenhood ; but 
she soon committed fornication. The Eomans thereupon, for 
the siu of having belied her vow, buried her alive in the- 


gyt to-baege. pam Jylte to tacne. mon haet ty lanb manpelk 
J>aep hy mon bypibe | 

RaSe aptep pam. on paepa tpegpa conpula baege. Elaubiup. pe j 
oSpum namon hatte GDapcellup. 3 Ualepianup. pe oSpum 
namon hatce Flaccup. Sa gepeapS hit. peh hit me pconbhc py. 
cpaetS Opopmp. ^ pume Romana pip on ppylcum pcmlace pupbon. 
] on ppylcum pobum bpeame. )? hy polbon aelcne mann. je pip 
ge paepneb. ]>a&pa fe hy mihton. mib attpe acpellan. ^ on mece 
ot>o"e on bpmce to ^e^icganne gepyllan. ^ ty lange bonbe paepon. 
aep *J) pole pipte hpanon ^ ypel come, buton -p hy paebon ^ hit 
upane op paepe lypte come, aep hit Jmph aenne ]?eopne mann 
geyppeb peap^ 1 ; . Da paepon ealle pa pip bepopan Romana pitan 
jelaSobe. faepa paep in. hunb j Lxxx. 3 faeji paepon genybbe. -f 
hy -p ilce figebon ^ hy aep o^5pum pealbon. ^ hy paep beabe 
paepon bepopan eallum )?am mannum : 


^Eptep pam pe Romebuph getimbpeb paep mi. hunb pmtna 
j xxn. ISlexanbep. 6pipotapum cymnj. paep mapan Xlexanbpep 
earn, he mib eallum hip maegene pi6 Romane pinnan ongan. 
^j aet Sommte gemaepe -j Romana jepaet. -j pa nihptan lanb- 
leobe on aegSpe healpe him on pultum geteah. 06 Somnite 
him jepuhton piS. j pone cymnj opploh;. Nu ic Sipep Slex- 
anbpep hep gemynbgabe. cpaeS Opopiup. nu ic pille eac p32p 
mapan Ifflexanbpep jemunenbe beon. paep o^pep nepan. peh ic 
ymbe Romana jepinn on pam jeap jepime popft. oS $ [ic] 
jeteleb haebbe ; 

Ic pceal hpaeppe ept-gepenban. -p ic aelcne hu^u bael gepecje 
Slexanbpep baeba. 3 hu Phihppup. hip paebep. mi. hunb pmtpum 
aeptep pam pe Romebuph getimbpeb paep. he penj to 
GDaceboma pice 3 Epecum. ~] ty haepbe xxv. pmtpa. j -binnan 
paem jeapum he geeobe ealle pa cyne-picu pe on Epecum 
paepon;- !Sn paep Sthemenpe. o6ep paep Thebane. in. paep 
Theppali. 1111. Laecebemome. v. Folcenpep. vi. OOepn. vn. GOace- 
borne, -p he aejiept haepbe > Phihppup. pa he cmht paep. he ps3f \ 
Thebanum to jiple jepealb Gpammunbe. pam ptponjan 


earth ; and now to this day, in token of that sin, that land is 
called the " Campus sceleratus," where she was buried. 

Soon after that, in the time of the two consuls, Claudius, 
who by another name was called Marcellus, and Valerius, 
who by another name was called Flaecus, it befel, though I 
feel shame, says Orosius, [to relate it], that some Roman 
women were in such [a state of] magical delusion and such 
frantic passion, that they would kill every human being, both 
female and male, that they could, by poison, and give it 
them to take either in food or drink. And this they did for 
a long time, before the people knew whence the evil came, 
only that they said it came from above, from the air, until it 
was made known by a slave. Thereupon all those women 
were summoned before the Eoman senators (there were 
three hundred and eighty of them), and were there forced to 
consume that which they had before given to others, so 
that they died before all those men. 


After Eome had been built four hundred and twenty-two 
years, Alexander, king of the Epirots, the uncle of Alexander 
the Great, began to war on the Romans with all his power, 
and posted himself on the boundary of the Samnites and 
Romans, and drew to his aid the nearest people of the coun- 
try on either side, until the Samnites fought against them 
and slew the king. Now I have here made mention of this 
Alexander, says Orosius, I will also mention the Great Alex- 
ander, the other's nephew ; although I shall recount concern- 
ing the Roman wars in that year, until I have related them. 

I shall, however, retrograde, that I may relate every, even 
small, portion of Alexander's deeds ; and how his father, 
Philip, four hundred years after the building of Rome, suc- 
ceeded to the realm of Macedonia and the Greeks, and held 
it for twenty-five years, and in those years he conquered all 
the states that were in Greece. One was the Athenian, the 
second was the Theban, the third was the Thessalian, the 
fourth the Lacedaemonian, the fifth the Phocian, the sixth 
the Mcesian, the seventh Macedonia, which he had first. 
When a boy, Philip had been given as a hostage to the 
Thebans, to Epaminondas, that powerful king and most 


3 fam jelaepebeptan philopope. ppam hip apium bpeSeji 
Klexanbpe. ]>e Laecebemoma jiice fa haepbe. 3 mib h:m jelaepeb 
peapS. on fam Spym geapum fa he Saep paep ;. Da peapS 
2Qexanbep oppla^en. hip bpoftop. ppom hip a^enpe mebep. f eh 
heo hype oftepne punu eac aep opploje. pop hype gehjepneppe. 
3 heo paep Phihppupep p teopmobop ; . Da peng Phihppup co 
GOaeceboma pice. -3 hie ealle hpile on miclan pleo ] on miclan 
eapjre^an hsepbe. ty sejcSep je him 1 monn ucane op o&pum lanbe 
him onpann. ge eac ^ hip ajen pole ymb hip ajen peoph pypebe. 
paec him ]>a aec mhptan leoppe paep/^ he uce punne fonne he 
aec ham pa&pe ; . pip popme gepeohc pa&p pi6 Schemenpe. ^ hy 
opepponn. -3 aepcep fam piS lUipicop. |>e pe Pul^ape hataS. 3 
heopa maemj pupenb opploh. ~] heopa maeptan buph geeobe. 
Lajiippan. -j pit56an on Theppah he ^ jepinn ppi^opc bybe. poji 
Sa&pe pilnun^e fe he polbe hy him on pulcum ^eceon. pop 
heopa pijcpaepce. -j popt5on ]>e hy cu(5on on hoppum ealpa 
polca peohcan becpc. 3 aepept hy ]>a. ae^ep ^e pop hip eje 
pop hip olecunje. him to jecypbon ; pe f a jegabepabe. mib 
heopa pulcume -3 mib hip a^enum. ae^ep je pibenbe je janj- 
enbpa. unopeppunnenblice hepe ; . 

^Epcep fam ]>e Philippup haapbe Schemenpe ^ Theppah him 
unbepjnobeb. he begeac Spuhep bohcop him co pipe. GOalo- 
polum cynm^ep. OhmphiaSe heo pa&p hatenu ;. Spuhep penbe 
p he hip pice jemichan pceolbe. fa he hip bohcop Phihppupe 
pealbe. ac he hme on faepe pununge jebanb. j him on genam 
ty he pylp haepbe. j hme piSSan poppenbe. 06 he hip lip poplec ; . 
^Epcep f am Philippup peahc on Ochone ]?a buph. on Thebana 
pice. -3 him J>aep peapS ty o6ep eaje mib anpe plan uc- 
apcocen;. pe peh-hpaeo'pe fa buph jepann. -3 call ty ma 
cynn acpealbe. ^ he faspmne jemecce. 3 sepcep fam mib 
hip peappum he jeeobe call Epeca pole, popfon heopa jepuna 
pasp. f hi polbon op aalcepe bypig him pylp anpealb habban. 
nan o5ep unbepfybeb beon. ac paapon him ppa becpeonum 
pinnenbe ; . Da bsebon hy Philippup a&pc op anpe bypij f onne 
op o^eppe. ^ he him on pulcume paepe plS 6a f e him onpunnon * 
ponne he fa opepppiSeb haepbe. f e he f onne onpmnenbe pa&p. 
nub fam polce fe hme aep pulcumep baeb. fcnne bybe he him 
co anpealban. ppa he belycejabe ealle Epece on 

ALFRED'S OEOSIUS. ~^/ 7 339 

learned philosopher, by his own brother, Alexander, who then 
had the realm of Lacedaemonia. and was taught by him 
(Epaminondas) during the three years that he was there. 
Then was Alexander, his brother, slain by his own mother, 
although she had before slain also her other son, for the sake 
of her adultery, and she was Philip's stepmother. Philip then 
succeeded to the kingdom of Macedon, and held it all the while 
in great peril and with great difficulty ; for both from with- 
out, from other countries, war was made on him, and his 
own people also plotted against his life, so that at last it was 
preferable to him to make war abroad than to be at home. 
His first war was with the Athenians, and them he overcame ; 
and after that with the Illyrians, whom we call Bulgarians, 
and of them he slew many thousands, and took Larissa, their 
largest city, and afterwards carried on the war principally 
against the Thessalians, in consequence of his desire to draw 
them to his aid, on account of their military skill, and because 
they of all people could fight the best* on horses ; and at the 
first, either through dread of him, or through his flattery, they 
turned to him. He then, with their force and with his own, 
gathered an invincible army of both horse and foot. 

After Philip had reduced the Athenians and Thessalians 
under his subjection, he obtained the daughter of Arucha, 
king of the Molossians, to wife, whose name was Olympias. 
Arucha thought that he should increase his kingdom when 
he gave his daughter to Philip ; but he confined him to his 
dwelling, and took from him what he already had, and after- 
wards banished him, until he ended his life. After that, 
Philip fought against the city of Methone, in the Theban 
realm, and there was one of his eyes shot out with an 
arrow. He, nevertheless, won the city, and slew all the 
people that he found in it. And afterwards, by his artifices, 
he conquered all the Greek nations, because it was their 
usage, that they would of every city have the power to 
themselves, and no one be subject to another, but were thus 
\varring among themselves. They then besought Philip, first 
from one city, then from another, that he would aid them 
against those who were warring against them. Then, when 
lie had overpowered those with w r hom he was then at war, 
with [the aid of] the people who had before sought his help, 
he reduced them both to his si .bjection. Thus he deluded 
z 2 


gepealfc ;. Da Epece ty fa unbepgeatan. ~] eac him ppifte 
opSmcenbum. ^ hy an cymng. ppaySehce bucon aelcon jepinne. 
on hip jepealb befpybian pceolbe. gehce } hi him feopienbe 
paepon. he hy eac op 1 oSpum polcum opcpaebhce on feopoc 
pealbe. f e aep nan pole ne mihte mib gepeohce gepmnan. hy pa 
ealle pi5 lime gepmn up-ahopon. 3 he hme geeaSmebbe to 
fam polce. fe he him f aep heapbopc anbpeb. ty paeponThejjali. 
3 on hy gelec ^ hy mib him on Schene punnon ; . Da hy 
Co |>am gemaepe comon mib heopa pypbe. ]?a haepbon hy heopa 
clupan belocene ; Da Phihppup psep-bmnan ne mihce. ^ he 
hij- teonan geppsece. he ]?a penbe on fa ane }>e him )>a jecpype 
paepon. "j heopa buph jepop. j p pole mib-ealle pojibybe. 
-] heopa hepgap topeapp. ppa he ealle by be. J>e he ahpep je- 
mecte. ge eac hip ajene. o> ^ him ]?a bipceopap psebon. ^ ealle 
^obap him yppe paepon. ~] piSpmnenbe. "3 feah hy him ealle yppe 
paepe on ]>am xxv. pincpum. J?e he pinnenbe paep 3 peohcenbe 
he na opeppunnen ne peapft ; . ^Epcep pam he gepop on Eappa- 
bociam ^ lanb. j J>a&p ealle fa cynmjap mib hip ppice 
opploh. 3 py^San ealle Eappabociam him jehyppumebon. 
3 hme pi^San penbe on hip Spy gebpofipa. } aenne opploh. j fa 
cpegen o^plujon on Olmchum fa buph. peo paep paepcapc j 
pelegapt GQaecebonia picep. ^) him Phihppup aepcep pop. ] ]>a 
buph abpaec. 3 fa bpofop opploh. j eall f a&c faepinne paep. 
fa fpy jebpo^pa naepon na Phihppupe gemebpeb. ac paepon 

On f am ba^um. on Thpacia f am lanbe. paepon cpegen cymngap 
ymb ^ pice pinnenbe. fa paejion jebjioSpa. fa penbon hy Co 
Phihppupe. ] baebon -p he hy ymbe p pice jepembe. -3 on 
])aepe gepicneppe paepe ^ hie emne gebaeleb paepe \ . pe fa 
Phihppup Co heopa gemoce com mib micelpe pypbe. ^ fa 
cynmjap be^en opploh. ^ ealle fa pican. j penj him Co Sam 
picum bam ;. ^Epcep fam Schemenpe baebon Phihppup. ^ he 
heojia labceop paepe piS Focenpep fam polce. feh hy asp heojia 
clupan him ongean beluce. ~) ty he oSep f aepa bybe. oSSe hy 
gepembe oSSe him gepulcumabe. ^ hy hy opeppmnan mihcan. 
he him fa gehec. ^ he him gepulcumian polbe. f hy hy opep- 


all Greece into his power. When the Greeks became sen- 
sible of that, and also being sorely mortified that a king, so 
easily, without any war, should reduce them under his 
power, as though they were his slaves (he also often 
sold them in thraldom to other nations, whom before no 
nation could overcome in war) ; they thereupon all raised 
war against him, and he humbled himself to that people 
whom he most sorely dreaded, namely, the Thessalians, and 
by his flattery induced them to make war with him on the 
Athenians. When they came to the boundary with their 
army, they [the Athenians] had shut up all the passes. 
When Philip could not enter, that he might avenge his 
mishap, he turned against those who alone had been true to 
him and took their city, and slew all the people and over- 
threw their temples, as he did all that he found in any place,t/ 
yea, even his own, until the priests said to him that all the gods 
were wroth with him, and warring against him ; and although 
they all were wroth with him for the five-and-twenty years 
that he was engaged in war and fighting, he was not over- 
come. He afterwards proceeded to the land of Cappadocia, 
and there, by his treachery, slew all the kings, and after- 
wards all Cappadocia submitted to him ; and he afterwards 
turned against his three brothers and slew one [of them], 
and the two fled to the town of Olynthus, which was the 
strongest and wealthiest of the realm of Macedon ; and 
Philip followed them and captured the town, and slew his 
brothers and all that were in it. The three brothers were 
not [related] to Philip by the mother, but by the father. 

In those days, in the country of Thrace, there were two 
kings contending for the kingdom ; they were brothers. 
They then sent to Philip, and prayed that he would recon- 
cile them with regard to the kingdom, and be witness that it 
was equally divided. Philip thereupon came to their assem- 
bly with a large army, and slew both the kings and all their 
councillors, and succeeded to both the kingdoms. After that 
the Athenians prayed Philip to be their leader against the 
Phocians, although they had previously closed their passes 
against him; and that' he would do either the one or^the 
other, either reconcile them, or aid them that they might 
overcome them [the Phocians]. He thereupon promised 
them that he would aid them, so that they should conquer 


Ainnon*. Gac a&c pam ilcan cippe. baeban Focenpe hif 
f ulcumep piS Xchene. he him pa gehec paec he hy jefeman 
polbe ; . SiSSan he pa chip an on hip gepealbe ha&pbe. pa bybe 
he him eac pa picu co gepealban. ~) hip hepe geonb pa bypij 
cobaelbe. 3 he bebeab. -p hy ty lanb hepjienbe paepon. o$ f 
hy hie apepcon. ty pam polce paep aegpep pa. je ^) hy ^ maefcp 
Vfel jropbepan pceolbon. je eac ^ hy hif pcipan ne bopfCan. ac 
he ealle ]>a picofcan fopflean hec. ^ pa o^pe fume on ppaecp<5 
fopj-enbe. j-ume on ot5pa meapca jepecce ; . 8pa he Philippup 
pa miclan picu jeni^epabe. peh pe aep anpa ^ehpylc penbe j> 
hit opep momge o^pe anpealb habban mihce. )>aec hy pa see 
nihiftan. hy pylfe to nohce bemsecan ; . 

Phihppupe gepuhte septep pam. ^ he on lanbe ne mihce 
pam pice mib gipim gecpeman. pe him on pmbel pa&pon mib- 
pinnenbe. ac he pcipa jejabepabe. 3 picm^ap pupbon. ] pona 
aec anum cyppe an c. 3 eahcacij ceap-pcipa jepenjon;. Da 
ceaj he him ane buph pi$ pa pae. Bizancium pa&p hacen. co 
)>on. ^ him gelicobe. ^ hy paep mihcon becpc bmnan ppi3 
habban. 3 eac ^ hy paap jehenbajre psepon ^ehpylc lanb 
panon to pinnanne. ac him pa buph-leobe paep pi^cpaebon. 
Philippup mib hip p ultume hy bepast y him onpann ; . 8eo ilce 
Bizancium peep aepep t jetimbpeb ppam Paupania. Laecebemoma 
labteope. ^ septep pam ppam Eonpcancmo. Sam cpipcenan 
capepe. geieceb. ~] be hip namon heo pa&p jehatenu Eonptan- 
tinopohm. "] ip nu ^ heahpce cyne-petl. ~j heapob eallep eajr- 
picep> JEptep 'Sam ]>e Philippup lange pa buph bepecen 
ha&pbe. pa oppuhce him ^ he ty peoh co pellenne nsepbehip hepe. 
ppa hy gepuna pa&pon. he )>a hip hepe on tpa tobaelbe. pum 
ymb pa buph paet. j he mib pumum hloSum pop ^ maneja 
bypi^ bepeapobe. on Ehepampce. Epeca polce. ^ piSSan pop on 
SciSSie. mib Slexanbpe hip punu. pa&p Stheap pe cyning pice 
ha&pbe. pe aep hip gepopta pa&p piS IpSpiana jepmne. 3 pa on ^ 
lanb papan polbe. ac hy }>a lanb-leobe piS ^ jepapnebon. j 
him mib pypbe on^ean popan ; . Da paec pa Philippup geahpobe. 
J?a penbe he aeptep mapan pulcume co pam ]>e Sa buph ymb- 
peten haapbon. y mib eallum maejene on hy pop ; . Deh pe 


them. At the same time the Phocians also prayed him to 
aid them against the Athenians. He then promised that he 
would settle their difference. After he had the passes in his 
power, he also reduced those countries to subjection, and dis- 
persed his army among all the towns, and commanded that 
they should harry the land until they had laid it waste. That 
was a calamity to the people, both that they had to bear that 
greatest of evils, and also that they could not free them- 
selves from it ; for he had commanded all the most powerful 
to be slain, and of the others sent some into exile, [and] 
placed some in other confines. Thus did Philip humble 
those large realms, although each of them before had ima- 
gined that it could have power over many others ; so that at 
last they esteemed themselves as nought. 

It seemed to Philip after that, that on land he could not 
conciliate the people with gifts who had been constantly 
fighting [in alliance] with him, but he collected ships, and 
they became pirates, and soon, at one time, they captured a 
hundred and eighty merchant-ships. He then chose him a 
city on the sea called Byzantium, in order (what seemed de- 
sirable to him) that they might therein best have peace, and 
also that they there might be the nearest at hand to make 
war from thence on any country. But the inhabitants of the 
town refused him this, [and] Philip, with his forces, besieged 
them and made war on them. This same Byzantium was first 
built by Pausanius, the Lacedemonian general, and after 
that enlarged by Constantine, the Christian emperor, and 
from his name it was called Constantinople, and is now 
the highest royal seat and head of all the eastern empire. 
After that Philip had long laid siege to the town, it pained 
him sorely that he had not money to give to his army, as 
they had been accustomed to receive. Thereupon he divided 
his army in two, stationed some about the town, and he with 
some bodies went and plundered many towns of the Cherso- 
nesus, Grecian people, and afterwards marched to Scythia, 
with his son Alexander (where King Atheas ruled the realm, 
who had previously been his associate in the Istrian war), 
and would enter that country ; but the people of the country 
forbade him that, and marched with an army against him. 
When Philip was apprized of this he sent for a larger forco 
to those who were besieging the town (Byzantium), and 


ScrSSie haepbe mapan manna maemge. 3 hy pelpe hpoetpan 
paepon. py J>eah Phihppup bepipebe mib hip loccppencum. 
rnib pam pe he hip hepep ppibban bael gehybbe. 3 himpelp mib 
psep. "3 pam cpam baelum bebeab. ppa hy peohcan onjunnon. 
j) hy pit) hip plugon. ty he piftSan mib }>am tipibban baele hy 
beppican mihce. )>onne hy topapene paepon ; . Dajp peapfi 
8ci^Sia xx. M. opla^en } ^epan^en. pipmanna ^ paepmanna. 
j ]>ae]i paap xx. M. hoppa gepangen. feh hy fa&p nan licgenbe 
peoh ne mecton. ppa hy s&p gepuna pa3pon. ponne hypael-pcope 
^epealb ahcon ; . On Sam gepeohte paep sepepc anpunben 
8ciS6ia pannppeba ; . Gpc ]>a Philippup paep panon cyppenbe. ]>a 
op-pop hyne oftepe SciSSie mib lytelpe pypbe. Tpibaballe 
paepon hatene. Philippup him bybe heopa pig unpeopS. oft 
hyne an cpene pceac J'uph ty 'Seoh. ^ -p hopp paep beab. ]?e he 
on upan paet . Da hip hepe gepeah ^ he mib py hoppe apeol. 
hy pa ealle plu^on. ^ eall ^ hepe-peoh poplecon. ]>e hy aep 
gepangen haepbon ; . paep *p micel punbop. f ppa micel hepe 
pop paep cynmjep pylle pleah. ]>e na aep pam pleon nolbe. ]>e 
hip monn pela pupenba opplo^e;. Philippup mib hip lotc- 
ppence. J>a hpile ]>e he punb paep. alypbe eaUum Epecum. ^ heopa 
anpealbap mopton ptanban him becpeonum. ppa 1 aep on ealb- 
bajum bybon ; . 'Kc pona ppa he gelacnob paep. ppa hepgabe 
he on Athene ;. Da penbon hy to Laecebemonmm. 3 baebon 
ty hy jeppiynb pupbon. ]>eh hy aep lonje S e Fy nfc) p*pon. 3 
baabon -p hy ealle ^emaenehce cunnobon. mihcan hy hypa 
jemaenan peonb him ppam abon ; . Py pa pume him getnSebon. 
] gejabepobon mapan mann-pultum ponne Philippup haepbe. 
pume pop e^e ne bopptan ; . Phihppupe 5e])uhte }m -p he lenj 
mib polc-jepeohcum piS hy ne mihce. ac optpaebhce he paep 
mib hlotSum on hy hepgenbe. ] onbutan pyppenbe. o$ hy epc 
tocpaembe paepon. 3 ]?a on unjeapepe on Schene nub pyp^ e 
^epop : . JBC pam cyppe pupbon Schemenpe ppa pselhpeoplice 
popplajen -3 pophyneb. f hy pi66an nanep anpealbep hy ne 
bemaecan. ne nanep ppeobomep ; ' 

JEpcep pam Philippup jelaebbe pypbe on Laecebemome 3 on 
Thebane. 3 hy micclum cmcne^abe 3 bipmepabe. 06 hy ealle 


with all his power marched against them. Although the 
Scythians had a greater multitude of men, and were them- 
selves more vigorous ; yet Philip deceived them with his arti- 
fices, by hiding himself with a third part of his army, with 
which he himself was, and commanded the two parts, that, 
when they began to ^ fight, they should flee towards him, that 
he then, with the third part, might ensnare them, when they 
were dispersed. There w r ere twenty thousand Scythians 
slain and captured, females and males, and there were 
twenty thousand horses taken ; though they there found no 
treasure, as they had previously been accustomed to do, 
when they kept possession of the field of battle. In that 
war the poverty of the Scythians first became known. "When 
Philip was on his return, other Scythians met him with a 
little army ; these were called Triballi. Philip regarded their 
hostility as contemptible, until a woman shot him through 
the thigh, so that the horse was killed on which he sat. 
When his army saw that he had fallen together with his 
horse, they all fled, and left all the booty they had before 
taken. It was a great wonder that so large an army fled in 
consequence of the fall of the king, which before that would 
not flee from those who slew many thousands of them. 
Philip, with his cunning, during the time he was wounded, 
allowed all the Greeks to retain their sovereignty among 
themselves, as they had done before. But as soon as he was 
cured, he committed ravages on the Athenians. Thereupon 
they sent to the Lacedaemonians, and besought them that 
they might be friends, although they had before long been 
foes, and besought that they might all endeavour in common 
to drive from them their common enemy. To this some ac- 
ceded, and collected a larger force than Philip had ; some 
from fear durst not. To Philip it then seemed that he could 
no longer withstand them in great battles, but he frequently, 
with detachments, made hostile inroads on them, and laid 
ambushes around them, until they w r ere again divided, and 
then unexpectedly marched with his army on Athens. On 
;his occasion the Athenians were so cruelly slaughtered and 
tumbled, that they never afterwards assumed to themselves 
any power or any freedom. 

After that Philip led an army against the Lacedaemonians 
and the Thebans, and sorelv afflicted and misused them, until 


pa&pon popbon ~] pophyneb;. ^EfcejiSam ]>e Phihppup haepb 
ealle Epecap on hip jepealb jebon. he pealbe hip bohcop 
fflexanbpe ]>am cyninje. hip agenum ma&je. ]>e he aep Gpipa 
pice gepealb haepbe ; Da on ]?am bsege plejebon hy op hoppum. 
aegSep ge Philippup ge Slexanbep. p/e he him hip bohcop pyllan 
polbe. ge Slexanbep hip agen punu. ppa heopa ]?eap sec ppylcum 
psep. -j eac mani^e oSepe mib him ; Da Philippupe jebypebe 
|) he pop )>am plejan uc op ]?am mann-pepobe apab. ]>a ge- 
mecce hine ealb gepana pum. ~) hme opj-canj;. Ic nac. cpasS 
Opopiup. pop hpi eop Romanum pynbon fa aeppan jepmn ppa 
pel gehcob. ~] ppa lupcpumhce on leoft-cpibum co ^ehypanne. ~] 
pop hpy je fa ciba ppelcpa bpoca ppa pel hepigeao". j nu ])eh 
eop lyclep hps&c ppelcpa jebpoca on becume. Jonne maenad ge 
hie co 6am pyppepcan cibum. -3 majon hy ppa hpeophce pepan. 
ppa ge majon fsepa oSpa bliSelice hhhhan \ dp je ppylce 
])ejnap pine ppylce je penaS $ ^e pien. ]>onne pceolbon ge ppa 
lupclice eoppe ajenu bpocu apepman. ]>eh hy la&ppan pyn. ppa 
je heopa pine co jehypanne. ]?onne ]?uhce eop ]>ap ciba becepan 
^onne ]>a. poppon eoppe bpocu nu laeppan pmbon. ponne heopa 
J>a paepe. popf on Philippup paap xxv. pincpa. Epeca pole hynenbe. 
aej^ep je heopa bypij baapnenbe. je heopa pole pleanbe. 3 
pirne on ellfeobe poppenbenbe. j eopep Romana bpocu. f>e je 
J?aep ealne ba&g bpipaS. naap bucon |>py bagap;. Philippupep 
ypel myhce feh J?a-gyc be pumum ba&le jemeclic fyncan. aap pe 
ppel^enb co pice peng ISlexanbep. hip punu*.. Deh ic nu hip 
baeba pume hpile jepupian pcyle. o^5 ic Romana gepecje. ]>e on 
J>am ilcan cibum jebone paapon ; 


]>am ]>e Romebuph jecimbpeb paep 1111. hunb pincpa 
3 xxvi. Eaubenep Fupculap peo pcop jepeapS ppiSe maepe. 3 
jic co-baeje ip pop Romana bipmepe ; . Daec jepeapS sepcep 
}>am jepeohce. |>e Romane 3 8omnice haepbon. ppa pe aep bepojmn 
paebon. J>a papa Somnice xx. M. opplajen pupbon. unbep Fauio 
fam conpule:* 2c Somnite aet o^pan jepeohce mib mapan 
pilcume. 3 mib mapan paeppcipe. co Romana jemecmje 

ALFRED'S OEOSIUS. i#-/// 347 

they were all undone and ruined. After I^hilip had reduced 
all the Greeks under his power, he gave his daughter to the 
king Alexander, his own kinsman, to whom he had before 
given the kingdom of Epirus. On that day when they were 
playing on horseback, both Philip and Alexander, to whom 
he would give his daughter, and also Alexander his own son, 
as was their usage on such [occasions], and also many 
others with him ; when Philip, in the course of the play, 
had occasion to ride out from the company, he was met by 
one of his old enemies and mortally wounded. I know not, 
says Orosius, why by you, Romans, these old wars are so 
well liked and listened to in poems, and why you so warmly 
praise times of such miseries ; and now, though a very little 
of such miseries befal you, you bemoan it as the worst of 
times, and can as bitterly bewail it as you can joyfully laugh 
over those others. If you are such persons as you imagine 
you are, then you should as willingly bear your own afflic- 
tions (although they are less) as you are [willing] to hear 
[those] of those [times] ; then might these times appear 
better to you than those, as your afflictions are now less 
than theirs then were ; because Philip was for twenty-five 
years devastating the Greek nation, either burning their 
towns or slaying their people, and sending some into exile ; 
and your Roman afflictions, which you are all day adducing, 
were for three days only. Yet might the evil caused by 
Philip in some degree be thought moderate, before the 
drunkard Alexander, his son, succeeded to the kingdom ; 
though I will now for a while be silent as to his deeds, until 
I relate [those] of the Bornans, which were done at the 
same time. 


four hundred and twenty-six years after the building of 
Eome, the place [called] Caudinae Furculae became very 
famous, and yet to this day is a reproach to the Romans. 
That befel after the war that the Romans and Samnites had, 
as we have before said, when twenty thousand of the Samnites 
were slain [by the former] under the consul Fabius. But 
in a second war, the Samnites came with a larger force and 
with more caution than before to meet the Romans, at the 

348 KING ALFRED'S onosius. 

coman. ponne hy aep bybon. set paepe ptope J>e mon het 
Eaubenep Fupculap. -j paep Romane ppiSopt pop pam bipmepe 
paepon. pe him p lanb uncuSpe paep ponne hit Somnitum paepe. 
j on ungepip on an nypepett bepopan oS hy 8ommce uton 
bepopan. }? hy piSSan oSep pceolbon. oSSe pop metelepte heopa 
lip aleton. oSSe Somnitum on hanba ^an \. On ]>am anpealbe 
paepon Somnite ppa bealbe. ty pe sej^elmj ]?e heopa labteop paep. 
Pontmp paep hacen. hec ahxian J)one cynmj hip psebep. ]?e j>aep 
aet ham pgep. hpa&pep him leoppe paepe. }>e he hy ealle acpealbe. 
\>e hy libbenbe to bipmpe gepeman hete ; - py ]?a pe aepehn^ 
to fam bipmpe getapabe. J>e J>a on ]>am bajum maept paep. ]? 
he hy bepeapobe heopa cla^a 3 heopa paepna. ] vi. hunb ^ipla 
on hip gepealb unbeppeng. on ^ jepab. ty hy him pi'Sfan ece 
peopap paepon. 3 pe ae^elinj bebeab pumum hip polce. -p hy 
gebpohton Romana conpulap on heopa ajnum lanbum. *] him 
bepopan bpipan ppa ppa niebhngap. ^ heopa bipmep ]>y mape 
psepe;. fieopnop pe polbon. cpaeS Opopiup. eoppa Romana 
bipmopa beon poppugienbe ponne pec^enbe. Jjaep pe pop eoppe 
ajenpe jnopnunje mopte. Je ge pi'5 ]mm cpiptenbome habbaS : 
Ppaet ge pitan J) je jyt to-baeje paejion Sommcum peope. gip 
je him ne lujon eoppa pebb j eoppa aSap. ]>e ge him pealbon. 
] ge mupcma^ nu. poppam J>e monega pole J>e je anpealb opep 
haepbon. nolbon eop jelaeptan ^ hy eop behecon. y nellaS je 
Sencean. hu laS eop pylpum paep to laeptanne eoppe a<5ap fam 
]>e opep eop anpealb haepbon ; . 8ona ]>aep. on Sam aeptepan 
geape. popbpaecon Romane heopa a'6ap. J?ehy Somnitum jepealb 
haepbon. "j mib Papipio. heopa conpule. hy mib pypbegepohton. 
3 ]?aep beablicne pije jepopan. poppam ]>e ae^ep faepa polca 
paep paep gepeohtep geopn. 8ommte pop Sam anpealbe. ]>e hy 
on ae^Spe healpe haepbon. } Romane pop Sam bipmepe. ]>e hy 
aep aet him jepopan. oS Romane jepen^on Somnita cyninj. -j 
heopa paepten abpaecon. -3 hy to japol-jylbum gebybon;. 8e 
ilca Papipmp paep aeptep pam gepeohte mib Romanum ppylcep 
bomep beleb. ty hy hine to pon jecopen haepbon. ^ hy mib 
gepeohte mihte J>am mapan Slexanbpe piSptanban. jip he 
fcaptane op Spiam Itaham gerohte. ppa he jecpeben haefbf^ ; . 

-/ 319 

place called Caudinae Furculae ; and there the Eomans suf- 
fered disgrace chiefly because that land was more unknown 
to them than it was to the Samnites, and in their ignorance 
they marched into a narrow pass, until the Samnites encom- 
passed them without, so that they must then do one or the 
other, either perish from want of food, or yield themselves to 
the Samnites. In their power the Samnites were so confident, 
that the prince, who was their general, named Pontius, caused 
the king, his father, who was at home, to be asked, whether 
he preferred that he should slay them all, or order them to be 
preserved alive as a mockery. The prince then treated them 
with that contumely which in those days was the greatest. He 
bereft them of their clothes and their weapons, and received 
six hundred hostages into his power, on condition that they 
should afterwards be perpetual slaves to him; and the prince 
commanded some of his people to conduct theKoman consuls 
to their own territories, and to drive them before them like 
thralls, that their ignominy might be the greater. We would 
rather, says Orosius, be silent than speaking on the disgraces 
of you, Eomans, if we might, notwithstanding your own 
discontent which you have with Christianity. "What ! you 
know that, even at this day, you would be the slaves of the 
Samnites, if you had not belied your pledges and your oaths 
that you gave them ; and you now murmur because many 
nations, over whom you had power, would not perform w r hat 
they had promised you. And will you not call to memory 
how hateful it was to yourselves to perform your oaths to 
those who had power over you ? Immediately after this, in 
the following year, the Eomans broke their oaths that they 
had given to the Samnites, and with Papirius, their consul, 
sought them with an army, and gained a deadly victory (for 
both of those nations were eager for battle ; the Samnites on 
account of the power that they had on every side, and the 
Eomans because of the disgrace they had undergone from 
them) ; till at length the Eomans captured the king of the 
Samnites, and took their fastness and made them tributaries. 
The same Papirius was, after that war, invested with such 
authority, that they chose him to withstand in war the Great 
Alexander, if he from the East, from Asia, should invade 
Italy, as he had said. 



Sam fe Romebuph jetimbpeb paep 1111. hunb 
xxvi. f en S 2Oexanbep to GOaeceboma pice aeptep Philippupe hip 
jraebep. 3 hip aepeptan fejnpcipe on fon jecybbe. fa he ealle 
Epecap mib hip pnyttpo on hip gepealb gemebbe. ealle Sa f e 
piS hme gepinn up-ahopon ; Daet peapS aepept ppom Peppum. 
fa hy j-ceolbon 1 DemojThanafe. fam philoj-ophe. lic^enbe peoh. 
piS Sam J>e he gelsepbe ealle Epecaj* ]? hy Slexanbpe piSpocon ; 
Hchene bubon gepeohc fflexanbpe. ac he hy yona popfloh i 
geplymbe. ty hy j^SSan ungemetlicne e^e jrpam him haefbon. ~\ 
Thebana faepcen abpaec. "3 mib-ealle topeapp. ^ asp psef ealpa 
Epeca heapob-pcol. ~\ fiSSan eal f pole on ellSeobe him pi'5 
peoh jepealbe. 3 ealle fa oSpe feoba fe on Epecum paepon. he 
Co gapol-gylbum jebybe buton GOaecebomam. fe him epc to 
jecypbon. ~] fanon pa&p papenbe on Illipice 3 on Thpacn. J hi 
ealle to him gebigbe. ] p$5an he ^abepabe pypbe piS Peppe. "] 
fa hpile f e he hy jabepobe. he opploh ealle hip majap f e he 
gepaecean mihte : On hip peSe-hepe paepon xxxn. M. -3 fa&p 
jehoppeban pipte healp M. "j pcipa an hunb ~] eahtatij;. 
Nac ic. cpaeS Opopmp. hpaefep mape punbop paap. f e he. mib 
ppa lytle pultume. f one maeptan bael f ipep mibbanjeapbep jejan 
mihte. fe }> he. mib ppa lytlan pepiobe. ppa micel anjinnan 
boppte ;- 

On Sam popman gepeohte f e Slexanbep jepeaht piS Dapiup 
an Peppum. Dapiup haepbe pyx hunb M. polcep. he peapS feh 
ppiSop beppicen pop Hlexanbpep peapepe f onne pop hip gepeohte ' 
Daep paep unjemetlic pa&l geplajen Peppa. ~] Slexanbpep naep na 
ma f onne hunb tpelptig on Sam pabe-hepe. ~] mjon on fain 
peSej- Da apop 31exanbep fanon on Fpigam. Spiam lanb. 3 
heopa buph abpaec } topeapp. fe mon haet Sapbipl- Da 
paebe him mon ^ Dapiup haepbe ept pypbe jegabepob on 
Peppum;- Slexanbep him -p fa onbpeb. pop faepe neapepan 
ptope f e he fa on paep. -3 hpaeSlice pop f am e^e fanon apop 
Ofep Taupu] an f one beoph. -3 unjelypeblicne micelne peg on Saop 



Four hundred and twenty-six years after the building of 
Rome, Alexander succeeded to the kingdom of Macedon, 
after his father, Philip, and manifested his earliest ability by 
reducing by his policy all the Greeks under his power, all 
those who had raised up war against him. That arose first 
from the Persians, when they gave Demosthenes, the philo- 
sopher, treasure, in order that he might instruct all the 
Greeks to oppose Alexander. The Athenians declared war 
against Alexander, but he forthwith beat and put them to 
flight, so that from that time they stood in boundless awe of 
him ; and took the fastness of the Thebans, and totally de- 
stroyed it, which before had been the capital of all the 
Greeks ; and afterwards sold all the people into foreign 
countries ; and all the other nations that were in Greece he 
made tributaries, except Macedonia, which again returned 
to him ; and thence he marched against the Illyrians and 
Thracians, and subjected them all to him ; and afterwards 
lie gathered an army against Persia, and while he was gather- 
ing it, he slew all his relations that he could reach. In his 
foot-army there were thirty-two thousand, and of cavalry 
four thousand five hundred, and of ships a hundred and 
eighty. I know not, says Orosius, which was the greater 
miracle, that he with so small a force could overcome the 
greatest part of this earth, or that he with so little an army 
durst undertake so much. 

In the first battle that Alexander fought with Darius and 
the Persians, Darius had six hundred thousand people, yet 
he was defeated more by Alexander's craft than his fighting. 
There was an immense slaughter of the Persians, and of 
Alexander's [force] there were no more than a hundred and 
twenty of the cavalry and only nine of the infantry [slain]. 
Alexander then marched thence to Phrygia, a country of 
Asia, and took and destroyed their town called Sardis. It 
was then told him that Darius had again gathered an army 
in Persia. At this Alexander was in dread, on account of 
the narrow place in which he then was, and [urged] by that 
fear, speedily marched from thence over Mount Taurus, and 

352 KING ALFRED'S onosius. 

baege gepop. oft he com to Thappum paepe bypij. on Eihemm 
pam lanbe ', On J>am baeje he jemette ane ea. feo haep be 
ungemethcne cealb psetep. peo paep EySnup haten. ]>a onjan lie 
hyne baSian paepon ppa ppatijne. pa pop pam cyle him je- 
pcpuncan ealle aebpa. }) him mon paep hpep ne penbe ; Rafie 
aeptep Sam com Dapmp mib pypbe to Slexanbpe. he haepbe in. 
hunb pupenba peSena. 3 an hunb M. gehoppebpa ; 31exanbep 
peep ]?a him j-pit5e onbpgebenbe pop J?a&pe miclan maemje. 3 pop 
J>a&pe lytlan fe he pylp hsepbe. ]>eh }>e sep mib psepe ilcan 
Dapmp mapan opepcome:- Daat S e F eonc P^F jebon mib 
micelpe jeopnpulnepj-e op t5am polcum bam. 3 J>aep paepan pa 
cynmjap bejen ^epunbob ; Da&p paep Peppa x. M. opplagen 
gehoppebpa. y eahtatij M. peSena. -3 eahtatij M. jepanjenpa. 
3 J?aep pa3p un^emethce licjenbe peoh punben on pam pic- 
pcopum ; Da3p pa&p Dapmp mobop gepangen. -3 hip pip. peo 
pasp hip ppeoptep. 3 hip tpa bohtpa;- Da beab Dapmp healj: 
hip pice Slexanbpe pit5 ^am pipmannum. ac him nolbe fflexanbep 
]> 33]' geti&an ; Dapmp ]> a-gyt fpibban pit5e je^abepabe pypbe 
op Peppum. -3 eac op oSpum lanbum. ]?one pultum ]>e he him 
to appanan mihte. 3 pi$ Mexanbpep pop ; Da hpile ]>e Dapmf 
pypbe gabepabe. pa hpile penbe Slexanbep Papmemonem hif 
labteop. f he Dapmp pciphepe aplymbe. j he pylp pop in Sipmm. 
~] hy him ongean comon. ^ hij- mib eafimobnejyan onpenjan. 3 
he ])eah na pe laep heopa lanb opephepgabe. "j ty pole pum paep 
ptcan let. pume panon abpaepbe. pume on ellpeobe him piS peo 
jepealbe. -3 Tipup. pa ealban buph -] pa pelejan. he bepaet 3 
tobpaec. ~] mib- ealle topeapp. poppon hy him lupthce onpon 
nolbon. 3 pi^San pop on Eihcmm. -3 ^ pole to him genybbe. 3 
j-itStSan on Robum -J) i^lanb. -3 -^ pole to him genybbe. -3 aspteji 
pam he pop on Ggyptie. 3 hy to him ^enybbe. -3 paep he het pa 
buph atimbpian. pe mon pi^San be him het Slexanbpia. 3 
j-iSSan he pop to pam heapge pe jypti paebon ty he paepe 
Smmonep heojia jobep. pe paep lobepep punu. heopa oSpef 
jobep. to pon ^ he polbe belabian hip mobop Nectanabuj'ej* 
paep b)iyp. pe mon paebe f heo hy piS poplae^e. -3 ^ he IMexan- 
bpep paebep paepe;- Da bebeab !Mexanbep pam haeftenan 


proceeded an incredibly long way on that day, until he came 
to the city of Tarsus in the land of Cilicia. On that day he 
met with a river that had exceedingly cold water, which was 
called Cydnus, and all sweaty began bathing in it, when, 
through the cold, all his veins shrank, so that no one sup- 
posed him alive. Quickly after that Darius came with an 
army to Alexander: he had three hundred thousand foot 
and 'a hundred thousand horse. Alexander greatly dreaded 
lim, on account of that great multitude, and of the little that 
le himself had ; although he had before with the same Darius 
overcome a greater. The battle was fought with great 
obstinacy by both nations, and both kings were there 
wounded. Of the Persians there were slain ten thousand 
:iorse and eighty thousand foot, and eighty thousand 
captured, and there was an immense treasure found in the 
camp. The mother of Darius was there taken, and his wife, 
who was his sister, and his two daughters. Darius then 
offered half his kingdom to Alexander for the women, but 
Alexander would not grant him that. Yet a third time Darius 
gathered an army from the Persians, and also what aid he 
could draw to him from other countries, and marched against 
Alexander. While Darius was collecting an army, Alexander 
sent his general Parmenio to put the fleet of Darius to 
light, and he himself marched into Syria, and they came to 
meet him, and received him with great humility ; yet he, 
nevertheless, ravaged their country, and of the people he let 
some remain, drove some thence, sold some into foreign 
countries. And the ancient and rich city of Tyre he besieged 
ind took, and totally destroyed, because they would not 
voluntarily receive him ; and afterwards proceeded to Cilicia, 
ind subdued that people, and afterwards to the island of 
Rhodes, and reduced that people under his subjection, and 
after that proceeded against the Egyptians, and reduced 
;hem to subjection, and there commanded the city to be 
Duilt that from him was afterwards called Alexandria ; and 
if'terwards he proceeded to the temple which the Egyptians 
said was [that] of their god Ammon, who was the son of 
Jove, their other god, for the purpose of exculpating his 
11 other with reference to Nectabanus the sorcerer, with 
idiom it was said she had committed adultery, and that lie 
s the father of Alexander. Thereupon Alexander com- 


bipceope. -p he gecpupe on paep Smmonep anlicneppe. ]>e lime 
on pam heapje paep. aeppam pe he 3 -p pole hy paep gabepabe. 
3 psebe hu he him an hip gepill bepopan pam polce anbpypban 
pceolbe. paep he hyne acpabe ; Erenoh ppeotohce up gebybe 
nu to pitanne Slexanbep hpylce pa haeftenan jobap pmbon to 
peopSianne. -p hit ppiSop ip op paepa bipceopa jchloSe. j o> 
heopa ajenpe jepypbe. ^ ^ hy pecgeaS. ponne op fsepa joba 
mihce | 

Op ps&pe ptope pop IMexanbep ppibban pitSe onjean Dapmp. 
3 hy sec Thappe paepe bypij hy gemeccon ; On pam jepeohce 
paspon Peppe ppa ppiSe popplajen. ^ hy heopa miclan anpealbep 
3 langpuman hy pylpe pi^San pi3 Slexanbep to nahte bemsetan ; 
Da Dapmp jepeah -p he opeppunnen beon polbe. pa polbe he 
hme pylpne on pam jepeohte popppillan. ac hme hip pejnap 
opep hip pillan ppam atujon. "p he pippan pa&p pleonbe mib paepe 
pypbe. "j Slexanbep paep xxxiu. ba;z;a on ]?aepe ptope. a&p he pa 
pic-ptopa y -p pael bepeapian mihte. ^j pi^tSan pop an Peppe. ~] 
jeeobe Peppipolip pa buph. heopa cyne-ptol. peo ip gyt pelejapc 
ealpa bupja".- Da pasbe mon Slexanbpe. -p Dapmp hsepbe 
jebunben hip ajene ma^ap mib jylbenpe pacentan. Da pop he 
piS hip mib pyx M. manna, y punbe hme anne be pe^e hcjean. 
mib ppepum topticob. healp cucne ; pe pa Mexanbep him 
anum beabum lytle milbheoptneppe jebybe. 'p he hme her 
bebypijean on hip ylbpena bypig. pe he piftftan nanum enbe 
hip cynne ^ebon nolbe. ne hip pipe, ne hip mebep. ne hip 
beapnum. ne -p ealpa laept paep. hip Jin^pan bohtop. he nolbe 
buton haeptnybe habban. peo paep lytel cilb ; UneaSe mae^ 
mon to geleappuman ^epec^an. ppa maemjpealb ypel ppa on pam 
ftpim jeapum gepupbon. on ^pim polc-^epeohtum. betpeox 
tpam cymngum. -p paepon piptyne hunb pupenb manna, -p 
bmnan pam poppupbon. anb op Jam ilcan polcum poppupbon 
lytle aep. ppa hit hep bepopan pec5. nigontyne hunb pupenb 
manna, butan miclan hepjungum. ]>e bmnan pam Spim jeapum 
jepupbon. on mom^pe peobe. -p ip -p Sppipie eall peo peob apepc 
peaptS ppam ISlexanbpe. ~\ moneja bypij on !Spiam. -3 Tipup 
peo maepe bujih. eall topeoppenu. y Eihcia -p lanb eall apept. } 
Lappabocia f lanb. ] ealle Gjyptie on peopote gebpohc. 3 j 


manded the heathen priest to creep into the image of Ammon, 
that was within the temple, before he and the people had 
assembled there, and said how he, according to his will, 
should answer before the people to what he might ask him. 
Plainly enough Alexander has now given us to know what the 
heathen gods are for [objects of] worship, [and] that it ia 
rather from the body of priests and their own utterance that 
which they say, than from the power of the gods. 

From that place Alexander marched for the third time 
against, Darius, and they met each other at the city of Tarsus, 
lu that battle the Persians were so totally defeated, that 
their great and long power they afterwards esteemed as no- 
thing against Alexander. When Darius saw that he should 
be overcome, he was desirous of perishing in the battle, but 
his officers drew him away against his will, so that he after- 
vvards fled with the army ; and Alexander was thirty- three 
days on the place before he could plunder the camp and the 
dead, and afterwards marched into Persia and took the city 
of Persepolis, their royal residence, which is still the wealthiest 
of ail cities. Then it was told to Alexander that his own 
relations had bound Darius with a golden chain. He then 
marched towards him with six thousand men, and found him 
alone lying by the way pierced with spears, half dead. Alex- 
ander then showed to him alone [when] dead a little compas- 
sion, by ordering him to be buried in the tomb of his ancestors, 
which he would not afterwards show to any part of his kin, 
not to his wife, nor his mother, nor his children, not to that 
which was least of all, his younger daughter, [whom] he 
would have only in captivity, who was a little child. Not 
easily [even] to 'the credulous can be related so many evils 
as in those three years befel, in the three great battles be- 
tween the two kings. It was fifteen hundred thousand men 
';hat perished within that [time] ; and of the same nations 
.here perished a little before, as has before been said, nineteen 
iiindred thousand men, not to mention the great ravaged 
tvhich took place within those three years among many a 
people; that is, in Assyria all the nation was plundered 
:>y Alexander, and many cities in Asia, and Tyre, the great 
nty, were destroyed, and all the land of Cilicia laid waste, and 
he land of Cappadocia, and all Egypt reduced to slavery, and 
2 A2 


Roftum ^ ijlanb mib-ealle apept. 3 monig oSpe lanb ymbe 
Taupop pa muntap ; 

Na laep ^ an ^ heopa tpejpa gepinn fa paepe on pam eapc 
enbe pipep mibbangeapbep. ac on emn p am. IKjiSip Spaptana 
cynmg. 3 Sntipatep. oSep Epeca cyning. punnon him be- 
cpeonum. 3 Xlexanbep 6pipia cymng. paep miclan 31exanbpep 
earn, pe pilnobe paep pept-baelep. ppa pe o^ep bybe faef eaj-c- 
baelef. "j pypbe jelaebbe m Icaliam. j faep hpaeblice opj^lajen 
peapS. 3 on J>aepe ilcan tibe. Zoppipion Ponco cynmj mib pypbe 
jepop. 3 he ] hif pole mib-ealle faep poppeap^]- Slexanbep 
sepcep Dapiup beat5e. jepann ealle GOapbof. -j ealle Ipcaman. ] 
on o^pe hpile Jje he ]?aep pmnenbe psep. ppepelice hme jepohce 
CDmothea. peo SciSSipce cpen. mib Spym hunb pipmanna. Co 
fon ^ hy polban piS Slexanbep ~] piS hip meepeptan cem- 
pan beapna ptpynan ', ^Epcep fam pann Slexanbep pi? 
Papthum J?am polce. 3 he hy neah ealle opploh j popbybe. 
sep he hy jepmnan mihte. 3 s&pcep }>am he geponn Dpan- 
cap ^ pole. 3 Guepgetap. 3 Papamomenap. 3 Sppapiap. 3 
monega o^pa Seoba. J>e jepetene pine ymbe J>a muncap Eau- 
capup. 3 pap hec ane buph acimbpian. ]>e mon pifrSan hec 
IMexanbpia ! Naep hip pcmlac. ne hip hepjunj on pa ppeme- 
ban ane. ac he gelice ploh 3 hynbe pa pe him on piml paepon 
mibpapenbe -3 pmnenbe * ^iEpepc he opploh Smintap hip mo- 
bpian punu. 3 piSSan hip bpoftop. ] pa Papmemon hip pegn. 3 
pa Filotep. ^3 pa Eaculupan. pa Gupilohup. pa Paupamap 3 
moneje o^pe. pe op GOaeceboniam picopce paepon. 3 Ehtup. pe 
paep s&jSep je hip 8egn ^e ep Phihppupep hip paebep ; Da hy 
pume pi'Se bpuncne aec heopa pymble paeton. pa on^unnon hy 
cpeahcigean hpa&^ep ma maephcpa baeba geppemeb ha&pbe. pe 
Phihppup pe Slexanbep. pa paebe pe Ehtup pop ealbpe hylbe. f 
Philippup ma haepbe gebon ponne he \ pe pa !Slexanbep ahleop 
pop paepe paegene 3 opploh hme. co-ecan pam pe he hynenbe 
paep aejSep ge hip ajen pole ge oSepa cyninga. he paep pin- j 
pyppcenbe mannep blobepi- RaSe aeptep pam he pop mib 1 
p^pbe on Lhopapmop 3 on Dacop 3 him co japol-jylbum hy 
genybbe*. Ehahpcen pone pilopopum he opploh. hip emn- 
pceolepe. pe hy aecjaabepe jelaepebe paepon. aec Spipcocelef 
heopa ma^ipcpe. 3 mone^a menn mib him. poppon hy nolban 
t.o him jebibbm. ppa co heopa gobe;* 


the island of Rhodes totally laid waste, and many lands about 
the mountains of Taurus. 

Not only was then the war of those two in the east part 
of this earth, but coeval with that Agis, the Spartans' king> 
and Antipater, another Greek king, were at war with each 
other ; and Alexander, the uncle of Alexander the Great, 
desired the west part as the other did the east part, and led 
an army into Italy, and was there speedily slain. And at 
the same time, Zopyrion, king of Pontus, marched with an 
army, and he and his people there totally perished. After 
the death of Darius, Alexander won all the Mardi and all 
Hyrcania ; and at another time, when he was there carrying 
on war, Minothaea, the Scythian queen, with three hundred 
women, shamelessly sought him, because they wished to con- 
ceive children by him and his greatest warriors. After that 
Alexander made war on the Parthian nation, and slew and de- 
stroyed them nearly all before he could overcome them. After 
that he subdued the nations of the Drangse, the Euergetae, 
and the Parapameni, and the Adaspii, and many other nations 
that are seated about the mountains of Caucasus, and there 
commanded a city to be built, that was afterwards called Alex- 
andria. Neither his treachery nor his ravages were exercised 
only on foreigners, but he slew and injured alike those who 
were constantly his associates and fellow- warriors. First he 
slew Amyntas, the son of his maternal aunt, and afterwards 
his brother, and then Parmenio, his general, and then Phi- 
lotas, and then Attains ; then Eurylochus, then Pausanias, 
and many others that were the most powerful of Macedonia ; 
and Clitus, who was both his servant and previously his father, 
Philip's. When they on one occasion were sitting drunk 
at their feast, they began to discuss who had performed the 
greater deeds, whether Philip or Alexander; when Clitus, 
from old affection, said that Philip had done more than he. 
Alexander then, on account of that speech, leapt up and 
slew him ; besides that, he was the oppressor both of his 
own people and those of other kings ; he was ever thirsting 
after human blood. Quickly after that he marched with an 
army against the Chorasmi and Daha3, and forced them to 
be tributaries to him. Callisthenes, the philosopher, his 
fellow-disciple, he slew (they had been taught together by 
their master, Aristotle), and manv men with him, because 
they would not worship him as their god. 


tmm he pop on Inbie. to J>on ^ he hip pice jebnaebhe 
08 pone eapc jappec^ ; On ]>am piSe he jeeobe Nipan. Inbia 
heapob-buph. -j ealle }>a beopjap J>e mon Debolap haec. 3 call -^ 
pice Eleoppilep J>aepe cpene. 3 hy co gehgpe genybbe. 3 pop )>ani 
hipe pice epc-ageap ; JEpcep J>am }>e IMexanbep haepbe ealle 
Inbie him co gepylbon gebon. bucon anpe bypij. peo paej' un- 
jemaetan paspce. mib clubum ymbpeaxen. J>a geahpobe he ^ 
6pcol pe enc. J?aep paap co-jepapen on a&p-bajum. co J>on ^ he 
hy abpecan ]>ohce. ac he hie poppam ne angan )?e })8&p peep 
eop^beopung on faepe Cibei- pe fa 2flexanbep hie ppit5opc 
popfam ongann )>e he polbe ^ hip maep^a paepon mapan ponne 
6pcolep. ]>eh ]>e he hy mib micle poplope ]?aep polcep begeate ; 
^pcep }>am !Mexanbep haepbe jepeohc piS Popope. )> am pcpenj- 
epcan Inbea cynmje 1 On J>am ^epeohce paepon J>a maejran 
blob-gycap on aej^pe healpe faepa polca * On fam gepeohce 
Pop op 3 Slexanbep ^epuhcon anpig on hoppum. ]>a opploh 
Popop Hlexanbpep hopp. J)e Bucepal paep haten. 3 hme pylpne 
mihce ])aep. jip him hip pegnap co pulcume ne comon. j he 
haepbe Popop monejum punbum jepunbobne. "j hme eac e- 
pylbne bybe. pi^San hip pegnap him Co comon. 3 him ept hip 
pice co-poplec pop hip pejenpcipe. fy he ppa ppiSe paep peohcenbe 
andean hme ; Snb he Slexanbep him hec pitS^San cpa bypij 
acimbpian. o^ep paep hacenu be hip hoppe Bucepal. o$ep 
Nicea ; 8it5San he pop on Sbpaepcap J>a leobe. 3 OR Eachenap. 
^j on Ppepibap. ^ on Iran^epibap. 3 piS hi ealle ^epeahc 3 
opepponn ; Da he com on Inbia eapc ^emaepa. J>a com him 
]?aep on^ean cpa hunb fupenba jehoppabep polcep. 3 hy Slex- 
anbep unease opepponn. aegSep je pop )>33pe pumop-haece je 
eac pop t5am opcpaeblican jepeohcum ; 8i5^an aepcep ]>am he 
polbe habban mapan pic-pcopa. Jjonne hip jepuna aep paepe. 
popfon he him piSSan aepcep }> am jepeohce. ppiSop anpaec }>onne 
he aep bybe \ ^Epcep ]>am he pop uc on jappecj. op Sam 
muftan J>e peo ea paep hacenu Gjmenpe. on an ijlanb. )>aep Smop 
J) pole 3 leppomap on eapbobon. 3 hy Gpcol faep aep gebpohce 
3 gepecce. ^j he him ]?a Co gepylbum jebybe ) ^Epcep ]>am he 
pop co Jam ijlanbe J>e mon f pole GDanbpap hsec. -3 Subagpop. 


After that he proceeded to India, for the purpose of ex- 
tending his dominion to the eastern ocean. In that expedi- 
tion he took Nyssa, the chief city of India, and all the 
mountains called Daedali, and all the realm of Cleophis, the 
queen, and compelled her to prostitution, and for that re- 
stored to her her kingdom. After Alexander had reduced 
all India under his power, excepting one town that was ex- 
ceedingly strong, surrounded by rocks, he was informed that 
Hercules, the giant, had journeyed thither in days of old, 
with tLe design of taking it ; but he did not attempt it, be- 
cause there was an earthquake at that time. He, Alexander, 
then undertook it, chiefly because he would that his glory- 
should be greater than Hercules' s, although he gained it 
with a great loss of his people. After that Alexander had a 
battle with Porus, the most valiant king of India. In that 
battle there was infinite bloodshed of those people on both 
sides. In that battle Porus and Alexander fought in single 
combat on horseback, when Porus killed Alexander's horse 
that was named Bucephalus, and might [have killed] himself, 
if his attendants had not come to his succour ; and he had 
wounded Porus with many wounds, and also made him pri- 
soner, after his attendants had come to him ; and left him his 
kingdom again, on account of his valour, because he had so 
stoutly fought against him. And Alexander afterwards 
commanded him to build two cities, one was called after his 
horse, Bucephala, the other jS"icaea. He afterwards proceeded 
against the nation of the Adrestae, and against the Cathaei, 
and against the Praesidse, and against the Grangaridae, and 
fought against them all and overcame them. When he came 
to the east confines of India, there came against him two 
hundred thousand people on horseback, and Alexander with 
difficulty overcame them, both on account of the summer 
heat, and of the frequent battles. After that, he would have 
a larger encampment than he was previously wont to have ; 
because, after that battle, he stayed within it more than ho 
had done previously. After that he inarched out to the 
ocean, from the mouth of the river which was called Acesine, 
on to an island where the nation of the Sibi and the G-essona3 
dwell (and Hercules had before brought them thither and 
established them), and them he reduced to subjection. 
After that he proceeded to the island the people of which 


3 hy him bpohtan angean ehtahunb M. 1 peSena. j Ix. M. gehoppa- 
bep polcep. ^ hy lange paepon -J) bpeogenbe. aep heopa afep 
mihte on oSpum pije gepaecan. aep Hlexanbep lace unpeopft- 
licne pige gepaehte .' JEptep fam he jepop to anum paeptene. 
fa he faep to com ]>a ne mihton hy naenne mann on fam 
paeptene utan gepeon ; Da pimbpabe ISlexanbep hpi hit ppa 
aemenne paepe. 3 hpsebhce fonepeall pelp opepclomm. ~] he |)aep 
peap8 ppam t5am buphpapum mn-abpoben. *j hy hip pi^San 
paepon ppa ppi"3e ehtenbe. ppa hit ip ungehepebhc to pecjenne. 
je mib gepceotum. je mib ptana toppunjum. ge mib eallum 
heopa pijcpa3ptum. "j ppa-J>eah ealle Ja buphpape ne mihton 
hme aenne ^enyban ^ he him on hanb gan polbe \ Sc J>a him 
p pole ppit5opt onfipang. fa jeptop he to anep peallep by^e. *j 
hme J?a&p apejiebe * Snb ppa eall ^ pole peapS mib him anum 
ajaeleb. ^ hy faep peallep nane jyman ne byban. ot5 Slexanbpep 
}>ejnap to-emnep him ]>one peall abpaecan 3 faepmn comon|- 
Daep peajiS Slexanbep Suphpcoten mib anpe plan unbepneotian 
p o^ep bpeopt '. Nyte pe nu hpaej>ep py ppiSop to punbpianne. 
J>e ty hu he ana pi^ ealle ]>a buphpape hme apepebe. }>e ept J>a 
him pultum com. hu he Jmph $ pole geftpang. f he fone ilcan 
opploh. }e hme s&p ftuphpceat. ]>e ept ]?83pa Se^na ongm. fa hy 
untpeo^enbhce penbon ty heopa hlapopb pa&pe on heojia peonba 
gepealbe. oSSe cuca o'SSe beab. ^ hy ppa-feah nolbon ]?aep peall- 
jebpecep ^eppican. ^ hy heopa hlapojib ne geppaecon. feh J>e hy 
hme metSigne on cneopu pittenbe metten;- SiSSan he fa 
buph haepbe him to gepylbum gebon. fa pop he to oftpe bypij. 
f a&p Smbipa pe cynmj on punabe. f a&p poppeapS micel fflex- 
anbpep hepep pop gesettpebum ^epcotum. ac Slexanbpe 
peapS on 6a&pe ilcan mht on ppepne an pypt o^ypeb. fa nam 
he fa on mepgen. ^ pealbe hy fam gepunbebum bpmcan. y hy 
pupbon mib fam jehaeleb. ^ pi^San fa buph jepann 3 he piSSan 
hpeapp hampeapb to Babylonia, f sep paspon aepenbpacan on 
anbibe op ealpe peopolbe. ^ pajp ppam Spaneum. 3 op Spppica. 
j op Eallmm. -3 op ealpe Italia'.- Spa egepull paep Slexanbep. 
f af a he paep on Inbeum. on eaptepeapbum f ipum mibbaneapbe. 
J5 fa ppam him abpeban fa paepon on peptepeapbum | ac 
him comon a&jira&pacan op monejum f eobum. fe nan mann 


are called Mandrse and Subagri, and they brought against 
jhim eight hundred thousand foot 1 and sixty thousand horse, 
and they were long contending before either of them could 
attain the victory over the other, until Alexander at length 
gained a dishonourable victory. After that he proceeded to 
a fortress, when he came to which he could from without see 
no man in the fortress. Thereupon Alexander wondered 
why it was so deserted, and quickly climbed over the wall 
himself, and he was there dragged in by the inhabitants, and 
they then assailed him so violently that it is incredible to 
relate, both with arrows and casting of stones, as well as 
with all their warlike devices; and yet all the inhabitants 
could not compel him, a single man, to surrender to them. 
But when the people pressed on him most violently, he stept 
to the angle of a wall and there defended himself. And thus 
were all the people hindered by him alone, so that none 
guarded the wall, until Alexander's followers broke down 
the wall opposite to him and came in. There was Alexander 
pierced with an arrow underneath one of his breasts. "We 
know not now which is most to be wondered at, how he alone 
defended himself against all the inhabitants, or, on the other 
hand, when aid came to him, how he pressed through that 
people, so that he slew the same who had before shot him ; or 
again, the conduct of his followers, when they knew without 
a doubt that their lord was in the power of their enemies, 
either alive or dead, that they, nevertheless, would not cease 
from breaking down the wall, [and] that they did not avenge 
their lord, although they found him faint, resting on his 
knee. After he had reduced the city to subjection he pro- 
ceeded to another city, in which the king Ambira dwelt, 
where many of Alexander's army perished by poisoned 
arrows. But in that same night a plant was shown to 
Alexander in a dream ; this he took in the morning, and 
gave it to the wounded to drink, and they were thereby 
healed, and afterwards took the city ; and he afterwards re- 
turned homewards to Babylon, where ambassadors were 
awaiting him from all the world, that was, from Spain, and 
from Africa, and from Gaul, and from all Italy. So terrible 
was Alexander when he was in India, in the east of this 
earth, that those dreaded him who were in the west. There 
came to him also ambassadors from many nations to whom 


Hlexanbpep gepeppcipep ne penbe. ty mon hip namon pipte. j him 
ppiftep co him pilnebon \ Da-gic fa Xlexanbep ham com co 
Babylonia, f a-gic paep on him pe maepca f uppc mannep blobep ] 
He fafa hip gepepan onjeacan "p he f aep jepmnep fa-jic jeppi- 
can nolbe. ac he paebe ty he on Spppica papan polbe. fa geleopne- 
bon hip bypelap him betpeonum. hu hy him mihcon ty lip 
oSfpunjan. j him jej'ealban atcop bpincan. fa poplec he hip 
lip | Gala, cpaeo" Opopmp. on hu micelpe bypi^neppe menn nu 
pinbon on fypon cpipcenbome. ppa-feah fe him lyclep hpaec 
uneSe py. hu eappo^lice hy hie jemaenaS ; O5ep f apa ip. 
oSSe hy hie nyton. o68e hy hie pican nyllaS. an hpelcan bpo- 
cum fa hpbon f e aep him paepan. nu penaS hy hu f am psepe f e 
on Slexanbpep jepalbe pa&pan. fa him fa ppa ppitSe hine anbpe- 
ban f e on pepcepeapbum f ipep mibbangeapbep pa&pan. ^ hy on 
ppa micle nef in^e. -3 on ppa micel ungepip. ae^ep ge on paep 
pyphco. je on pepcennum pilbeopa ^ pypm-cynna mippenhcpa. 
je on feoba jepeopbum. }) hy hine aaptep ppi^5e pohcon. on 
eaptepeapbum f ypan mibban^eapbe ' Sc pe pitan geopne. -p 
hy nu ma pop yphfte. naf ep ne buppan. ne ppa peop ppiS gepe- 
cean. ne pupfon hy pelpe aac heopa cotum pepian. fonne hy 
mon aec ham pec8. ac )) hy fap ciba leahtpien ) 


f am feRomebuph getimbpeb paep 1111. hunb pincpa 
3 L. unbep f am cpam conpulum. f e ot5ep paep haten Fauiup. 3 
oSpan namon ODaximup. *] unbep f am f e Epincup paep haten. 3 
oSpan namon Decmp. on heopa conpulatu. on Icalium peopep 
fa pcpenjepcan feoba hy him becpeonum jepppaecan. ^ paepan 
Umbpi. j Dpypci. ^j Sommce. ^ I/allie. -J) hy polbon on Romane 
pnnan. j hy him p ppi^e onbpeban. hu hy piS him eallum 
enbemep mihce. "3 ^eopne pipebon hu hy hy tocpaeman mihcan. 
j jepealbenne hejie on Dpypci ^ on Umbpe penbon an hep- 
junje. -3 ^ pole Co amyppanne;- Da hy $ geacpeban. fa 
penban hy him hampeapb. co fon ^ hy heopa lanb bepepeban. 
3 Romane fa hpile mib heopa majian pulcume. f e hy aec ham 


no one of Alexander's associates imagined that his name 
was known, and desired peace of him. Even after Alex- 
ander came home to Babylon, there was in him the greatest 
thirst after human blood. But when his associates found 
that he yet would not desist from war, for he said he would 
march to Africa, his cup-bearers devised among themselves 
how they might deprive him of life, and gave him poison to 
drink. He then abandoned his life. Alas ! says Orosius, in 
how great a delusion men now are in this Christendom ; 
although [only] some little thing befal them that is un* 
pleasant, how bitterly they bewail it. It is one of these, 
they either do not know, or they will not know, in what 
miseries those lived who were before them. Let them now 
think how it was with those who were in the power of Alex- 
ander, when they who were in the west of this earth so 
greatly feared him, that they were in such great degradation 
and such great ignorance, that not only on the dread of the 
sea, and in the deserts of wild beasts and the various ser- 
pent kinds, and in tongues of people, they sought him for 
peace in the east of this earth. But we know well that they 
now, more from fear, neither dare either seek peace so far 
away, nor, indeed, defend themselves in their cots, when any 
one seeks them at home ; but [yet] that they criminate these 


After Borne had been built four hundred and fifty years, 
under the two consuls, one of whom was called Pabius, and, 
by another name, Maximus, and under him who was named 
Quintus, and, by another name, Decius, in their consulship 
four of the strongest nations in Italy, the Umbrians, the 
Etruscans, the Samnites, and the Gauls, agreed among them- 
selves to make war on the Romans ; and they greatly dreaded 
how they might finally withstand them, and diligently 
planned how they might divide them, and sent a powerful 
army to harry on the Etruscans, and on the Umbrians, and 
to ruin that people. When they were apprized of that, they 
returned homewards, that they might defend their country ; 
and the Romans in the meanwhile with their large force, 


haepbon. popan ongean Somnite. ] on jean liallie | Baep on 
f am gepeohte paej" Epintup pe conpul opplajen. 3 Fauiup pe oSejv 
conpul. aapoep fa&p oftpep pylle. j-ige haepbei- Daep peapS 
Sommta 3 Eallia peopeptij M. ojrjiagen. 3 peopon M. Romana. 
on ]> am baele f e Decmp on opplajen pasp ; Donne paebe Libiup 
$ Sommta 3 Eallia paspe oj>ep healp hunb M. opplajen faapa 
peSena. j peopon M. jehoppebpa;- Gac ic gehypbe to poCunt 
pecgan. cpaaS Opopmp. ^ hie na nsepe on Sam ba^um mu 
Romanum buton jepmne. oS6e piS o6pa pole o6Se on him 
pelpum. mib momjpealbum polum *] mann-cpealmum. ppa ppa 
hit fa psep ; Da Fauiup pe conpul op J?am gepeohte hampeapb 
poji. Ja bybe mon ]?one tpiumphan him bepopan. )>e heopa 
jepuna pajp fonne hy pije ha&pbon ; Sc pe gepea peapS ppiSe 
pa6e on heopa mobe to gebpaapebneppe jecyppeb. ]?a hy je- 
papan ]>a beaban menn ppa 6ichce to eopSan bepan. fe ]>s&p a&ji 
set ham pa&pan. popfon ]>e J>aep pajp pe micla mann-cpealm on 
Saepe tibe ; 

3 ]>8&p ymb an ^eap. Sommte gepuhton piS Romanum. ~j hy 
jeplymbon. "j hy bebpipan into Romebypig. ^ hpseblice aepteji 
}am Somnite apenban on oSpe pipan. segSep je heopa pceopp. 
ge call heopa pa&pn opep-pyleppeban. to tacne f> hy o^ep 
polban. oft^e ealle libban. oSSe ealle hc^ean \- On fam bagum 
jecupon Romane Papipmp him to conpule. ~] pa^e faep pypbe 
gelaebban onjean 8ommtum. ]>eh ]>e heopa bipceopap ppam 
heopa gobum paebon. ^ hy ^ jepeoht popbube|- He he 
Papipmp fa bipceopap pop J> aepe pejene ppiSe bipmpebe. 3 f 
paepelb ppa-feah gepop. ~) ppa peopShcne pi^e haapbe. ppa he aep 
unpeop^lice papa goba bipceopan opephypbe;- Daep peapS 
8ommta tpelp M. oppla^en. ^ 1111. M. gepangen. j paSe aeptep 
Jmm masplican pige. hy pupbon ept jeunpett mib mann- 
cpealme. ^ pe pasp ppa unjemethc ^ ppa lanjpum. fast hy fa 
aat mhptan pitenbe mib beopol-cpasptum pohton hu hy hit 
Reptilian mihtan. 3 gepetton epcolapmp fone pcmlacan mib 
f aspe ungemetlican naabpan. fe mon GpiSaupup het. y onhcopt 
bybon ppylce him na&ppe aep f am gelic ypel on ne become, ne 
aepteji f am ept ne become | Dy aepteppan geape ]> aap ]> e 
Fauiup heopa conpul. fe o^pum namon pa&p haten Eupiup. 
jepeaht piS Sommtum. 3 heanhce hampeapb oftfleah. fa polbaa 


which they had at home, marched against the Samnites and 
against the Grauls. There in that war, Quintus, the consul, 
was slain, and Fabius, the other consul, after the other's fall, 
gained a victory. Of the Samnites and Gauls forty thou- 
sand were there slain, and seven thousand of the Romans, 
in that part where Deems" was slain. Now Livy has said, 
that of the Samnites and Grauls a hundred and fifty thousand 
foot were slain, and seven thousand horse. I have also heard 
say for a truth, says Orosius, that with the Eomans in those 
days it was nothing but war, either against other nations or 
among themselves, together with manifold plagues and pes- 
tilences as then were. "When the consul Fabius returned 
homewards from that war, they brought a triumph to meet 
him, as was their custom when they had victory. But joy 
was very quickly turned in their minds to grief, when they 
saw the dead bodies so thickly borne to earth, that had been 
previously at home ; because the great pestilence was there 
at that time. 

And about a year afterwards the Samnites fought against 
the Eomans and put them to flight, and drove them into 
Eome, and speedily after that the Samnites changed to 
another fashion, and covered with silver both their garb and 
all their weapons, as a token that they would either all live 
or all fall. In those days the Eomans chose Papirius for 
their consul, and soon after led an army against the Sam- 
nites, although their priests told them from their gods that 
they (the gods) forbade the war. But Papirius scoffed much 
at the priests for their declaration, and, nevertheless, pro- 
ceeded on his march, and had as honourable a victory as he 
before had dishonourably contemned the priests of the gods. 
Of the Samnites there were twelve thousand slain and four 
thousand taken. And soon after that glorious victory they 
were again saddened by pestilence, and it was so violent and 
so lasting, that they at last wittingly sought by devilish arts 
how they might stay it ; and fetched the image of JEscula- 
pius with the immense adder that is called the Epidaurian; 
and they did like as if a similar evil had never before befallen 
them, and was afterwards never to befal them again. In the 
second year after this, Fabius, their consul, who by another 
name was called G-urges, fought against the Samnites, and 
ignominiously fled homewards. Thereupon the senate would 


fa penacup hme apeoppan. popfon he -J) pole on pleame e- 
bpohce. fa baeb hip paebep. paep eac Fauiup hacen. f )>a penacuj 
jropgeapon f am puna Sone gyle. 3 -J) he mopce mib Sam puna 
aec oSpan cyppe piS Sommcum mib heopa ealpa pukume. 3 hy 
him f aep jeci'Sebon ', - Da bebeab pe paebep pam conpule. ^ he 
mib hip pipbe onjean pope. 3 he bea&ptan jebab mib pumum 
J>am pulcume;- Da he gepeah ^ Ponciup Sommca cynmj 
haepbe fone conpul hip punu bepipeb. *] mib hip polce ucan 
bejranjen. he him ]?a Co pulcume com. j hme ppiSe jeanmecce. 
3 Ponciup Sommca cynmj jepenjon ; Daep peapS Somnica 
xx. M. opplajen. 3 1111. M. jepan^en mib J>am cyninje!- Dsep 
peapS Romana gepmn ~\ Somnica jeenbob. popf on ]> e hy heopa 
cynmg jepengon. ty hy sep bpeojenbe psepon Lvuii. pincpa. 
Daep on o6pum ^eape Eupiup pe conpul mib Romanum jepeahc 
piS Sabinan. 3 heopa unjemec opploh. 3 pige haepbe. be Son 
mon mihce pican. fa hi J>a conpulap hy acellan ne mihcan ; 


JEpcep Sam f e Romebuph gecimbpeb paep 1111. hunb pincpum 
3 Lxm. fafa Dolabella 3 JDomiCiup paepon conpulap on Rome, 
fa Lucani. 3 Bpuci. 3 Sommce. j tallie op Senno angunnon 
piS Romanum pinnan \ Da penbon Romane aepenbpacan co 
Urallmm ymbe ppiS. fa opplojon hy fa aepenbpacan | Da 
penbon hy epc Eecihum heopa ppecopium mib pypbe fsep 
liallie j Bpuci aec^aebepe paejion. "j he faep peapS opplagen. 
p pole mib him. -p paep xvm. M .' Spa ope fcalli piS Romanura 
punnon. ppa pupbon Romana neh gecnypebe \ Fopf on. 
Romane. cpaeS Ojiopiup. f onne ge ymbe ^ an gepeohc ealnej 
ceopiaS fe eop fcocan jebybon. hpi nellaS je geSencan fa 
monejan aeppan. f e eop Irallie opcpaeblice bipmeplice Suphcu- 

Ic pceal eac jemynb^ian be pumum baele f aep f e fflexanbpep 
aepcep-pylgenbap bybon on Sam ciban. ]>e Sip jepeapS on Rome- 

KING ALFRED'S OEOSITJS. JU-, to f ' f 367 

depose him, because he had brought the people to flight j 
then his father prayed (he was also named Fabius) the senate 
to forgive his son his crime, and that, with his son, he might 
a second time march against the Samnites with their whole 
force: and this they granted him. The father then com- 
manded the consul that he with his army should go against 
(the enemy), and he would stay behind with some of the 
force. "When he saw that Pontius, the king of the Samnites, 
had ensnared the consul, his son, and surrounded him with 
his people, he came to his succour, and greatly encouraged 
him ; and they took Pontius, the king of the Samnites. Of 
the Samnites twenty thousand were there slain, and four 
thousand taken, together with the king. There was the war 
of the Eomans and the Samnites ended, because they (the 
Eomans) had taken their king, which they had been carrying 
on for fifty-nine years. In the second year after this, Curius, 
the consul, with the Eomans, fought against the Sabines, and 
slew an infinite number of them, and had the victory ; which 
may be known by that, that they, the consuls, could not 
reckon them (the slain). 


After Eome had been built four hundred and sixty-three 
years, when Dolabella and Domitius were consuls in Eome, 
the Lucani, and Brutii, and Samnites, and the Seno-Galli 
raised war against the Eomans. Thereupon the Eomans 
sent ambassadors to Gaul [praying] for peace; and they 
slew the ambassadors. They then afterwards sent Caecilius, 
their pr&tor, with an army to where the Gauls and the Brutii 
were together, and he and the people with him were there 
slain, that was eighteen thousand. As often as the Gauls 
warred with the Eomans, the Eomans were nearly crushed. 
Therefore, ye Eomans, says Orosius, when ye are always 
murmuring about that war which the Goths made on you, 
why will you not think of the many earlier ones that the 
Gauls frequently, to your disgrace, have carried on against 

I shall also record in some measure what the successors of 
Alexander did ic. those times, when this took place at Eome, 


bypij. hu hy hy pvlpe mib mippenhcan gepeohtuin popbybon> 
PIC ip. cpaeS he. J>am gehcopc. f onne ic hip jef encan pceal. f e ic 
ptce on anpe heahpe bune. "3 jepeo f nne on pmetmm pelba 
pela pypabypnan. ppa opep eall GDaeceboma pice, ty ip opep ealle 
fa mapan Spam, j opep 6upope fone maeptan bael. "3 ealle 
Libiam. -p hie na naej* buton here -3 gepmnum ; Da ]?e unbep 
Slexanbpe fypmejt paepan. J^aep ]?sep hy aapcep him pixeban hy 
^ mib ^epinnum apepcan. ^ J>sep J^aep hy nsepan. hy jebyban 
J>one ma&)-can ege. ppylce pe bicepepca pmic upp-apci^e. 3 J>onne 
pibe topape]- Slexanbep xn. ^eap J)ipne mibbanjeapb unbeji 
him J>pypmbe ^j ejpabe. ^j hip s&pcep-polgepap xim. jeap hie 
cotu^on ^ tocaspon. ]>am gelicopt ]?onne peo leo 
hip hunjpegum hpelpum hpaec to etanne. hy ]?onne 
on f>am a&ce hpylc heopa maepc maeg ^ehpyppcman 1 
Spa ]7onne bybe Phcolomeup. Slexanbpep fejna an. pa he 
togaebepe ^epceop ealle Gjyptum *] Spabia. j Laumebon. hip 
oSep pe^n. pe bepeng ealle Sppipie. "j Thelenup Eiliciam. ~\ 
Filocop Illipicam. *] Scpapatup ]?a mapan GOe^iam. -j 8cpomen 
J>a Isejjan GOe^iam. ] PepSice fa laeppan Spiam. ^ Supana J?a 
mapan Fpijan. j Sncigonup Liciam ^j Pamphiham. ^ Ne- 
apchup Eapiam. ^ Leonacup ]>a laeppan Fpigiam. "3 Lipimachup 
Thpaciam. -3 6umenep Eappabociam 3 Paplajomam. 3 Seleucuj- 
haepbe ealle fa aeSeleptan menn Slexanbpep hepep. -3 on len^Se 
mib him he begeafc ealle fa eapc lanb. "3 Eappanbep fa cempan 
mib Ealbeum. -3 on Paccpmm -3 on Inbeum pa&pon fa ealbop- 
menn fe 2Qexanbe}i gepetce. "3 ^ lanb becux fam cpam can. 
Inbupe 3 Kappene. haepbe Taxilep. -3 Ichona haepbe calome. fa 
feobe on Inbeum. -3 Papapamenap haepbe Oxiapchep. aec faep 
beopjep enbe Eaucapup. -3 Spa j Spachapihebpop haepbe 8ibup- 
cup. 3 Sconcop haapbe Dpanceap -3 Speap fa ^eoba. -3 Omincaf 
haepbe Xtpianup. ^ Sicheup haepbe Sortianop -p pole. 3 Nicanop 
haepbe Papthor. -3 Philippup Ipcanop. -3 Fpacapepnep haepbe 
Spmeme. "3 Theleomomop haepbe GOaeSap. -] Feucepcup haepbe 
Babylomap. -3 Pelaupop haepbe Spchop. -3 Spchelaup GOepopoca' 
miam 1 ; Gall heopa jepinn apaecnebon aepepc ppam Slexanbpej- 
epipcole. popfon fe he faepon bebeab. ^ mon ealle fa ppeccan 
on cyfif e lece. f e on fam lanbum paejion f e lie aep pylp jehep- 

ALFRED'S onosrus. J5^, / 309 

how they ruined themselves with divers wars. It is, says 
he, when I think of it, most like as if I were sitting on a 
high mountain, and then see many fires burning in the 
smooth field ; so over all the realm of Macedonia, that is, 
over all the Greater Asia, and the greatest part of Europe, 
and all Libya, it was nothing but hate and wars. They who 
were foremost under Alexander, ravaged with wars there 
where they reigned after him; and there where they were not, 
they caused the greatest terror, like as the bitterest smoke 
ascends and is then widely dispersed. Alexander, for twelve 
years, oppressed and terrified this world under him ; and his 
successors, for fourteen years after, rent and tore it, most 
like to when the lion brings his hungry whelps something to 
eat ; then they show in that food which of them can tear it 
the most. So then did Ptolemseus, one of Alexander's 
officers, when he united together all Egypt and Arabia, and 
Laomedon, his other officer, who seized on all Assyria, and 
Thelenus Cilicia, and Philotas Illyria, and Atropatus the 
Greater Media, and Stromen the Lesser Media, and Per- 
diccas the Lesser Asia, and Susana the Greater Phrygia, and 
Antigonus Lycia and Pamphylia, and Nearchus Caria, and 
Leonnatus the Lesser Phrygia, and Lysimachus Thrace, and 
Eumenes Cappadocia and Paphlagonia ; and Seleucus had all 
the noblest men of Alexander's army, and at length with 
them he acquired all the east lands, and Cassander the 
common soldiers, together with the Chaldeans. And in 
Bactria and in India were those prefects whom Alexander 
had appointed ; and Taxiles had the land between the two 
rivers, the Indus and the Hydaspes, and Pithon had the 
colonies, nations in India, and Oxyartes had the Parapar- 
meni at the end of Mount Caucasus, and Sibyrtius had the 
Arachosii and G-edrosia, and Stasanor had the nations of the 
Drangae and the Arei, and Amyntas hadjbhe Bactrian people, 


and Scythseus had the Sogdiani, and Nicanor had the Par- 
thians, and Philippus the Hyrcanians, and Phrataphernes 
had Armenia, and Tlepolemus'had the Medes, and Peucestes 
had the Babylonians, and Archon had the Pelasgi, and 
Archelaus Mesopotamia. All their wars arose first from 
Alexander's epistle, because he therein commanded, that all 
the exiles should be permitted [to return to their] country, 
who were in those lands which he himself had previously 



gab haepbe ; Da nolban Epecap ]>am bebobe hypan. pop)>on 
hy onbjieban. Jjonne hy hyg egabepebon. ty hy on him geppaecan 
Jra ceonan J>e hy aep mib him gepoleban. ge eac prSpocon ^ hy 
Wg pi$ Laecebemomum hypan nolban. paep heopa heapob-ptol 
paep : Snb paSe paep Xthemenpe gelaebban xxx. M. polcep 3 tpa 
hunb pcipa ongean Xntigone. pam cyninge. pe eall Epeca pice 
habban pceolbe. popfon ]>e he ]>a&p s&penbej* aepenbpaca paef 
fpam 2lexanbpe. -] ^ej'etcon him to labceope Demoftenon ))one 
fdoj-opim. ~] afponon him co pulcume Eopinchum J>a buph- 
leobe. ] Sihonap. 3 ODapjaj-. 3 beyaecan Sntipatpum. J?one 
cynmj. on anum peefcene. pop^on )>e he paep SnCigone on 
fuluume ; Dasp peapft Leofcenef . ot5ep heopa labceopa. mib 
anpe plan oppcoten \ Da hy ppam p83pe bypig hampeapb 
paepon. ]>a gemecton hy Leonantmp. fe pceolbe Sntipacpume 
to pultume cuman. ~] |>83p opplagen peaji^ \ ^Eptep ]> am 
Pep^icca. J>e Ja Iseppan Spiam hsepbe. onjann pinnan pifi Spia- 
pa^e. Eappaboca cyninje. 3 hine bebpap into anum paeptene. ~] 
pa buphpape pelpe hit onbsepnbon on peopep healpa. ty eall 
p oppeapj? ^ J?aep bmnan paep \ 

-^Eptep fain Hntigonup *] Pep'Sicca jebeoteban ty hy polban 
him betpeonum gepeohtan. y lanje ymb ^ pipeban hpaep hy hi 
^emetan polban. 3 monij iglanb apepcan on fam ^eplite. 
Upaepep heopa mihte mapan pultum him to geteon | On fam 
anbibe PepSicca pop mib pypbe on Ggyptum. paep Phtolomeuf 
pa&p pe cymng. popfon |>e him paep gepaeb. ^ he polbe Sntigone 
f ylpcan. fam cyninge 1 Da gegabepabe Phtolomeup micle 
pypbe ongean him ; Da hpile ]>e hy tojaebepe-peapb punbe- 
ban. jepuhton tpejeri cymnjap. Neoptolemup ^ Gumenep. "3 he 
Gumenep geplymbe Neoptolemup. ^ he com to Antigone, fam 
cyninje. ^ hme ppeon ^ he on Gumenep unmynblinga mib hepe 
become ] Da penbe ISntijonup hine pylpne. *] hip oSepne pejn 
Polipepcon mib miclan pultume. ty hy hine beppicen> Da 
geahpobe ty Gumenep. ^ poppaetabe hy ]>aep J>aep hy gefoht 
haepbon ^ hy hine bepaetebon. 3 hy begen opploh. -3 ]?a o8pe je- 
plymbe ; ^Eptep fam gepeahc PepSicca -3 Phtolomeup. 3 faap 
peapS PepSicca opplagen \ JEptep ]?am peapS GDaecebonium 
cuS. $ Gumenep. ^ Pipon. -3 Ilipgup. 3 Slceta. Pep^iccan bpo- 


ravaged. Then the Greeks would not obey that command, 
because they dreaded, when they were all gathered [to- 
gether], that they would avenge on them the injuries that 
they had previously suffered with them; yea, they even 
refused longer to obey Lacedaemonia, where their chief city 
was. And soon afterwards, the Athenians led thirty thousand 
men and two hundred ships against the king Antigonus, 
who was to have all the Grecian realm, because he was the 
messenger of that errand from Alexander; and they ap- 
pointed for their leader Demosthenes, the philosopher, and 
drew to their support the inhabitants of Corinth, and Sicyon, 
and Argos, and besieged the king Antipater in a fortress, 
because he was a supporter of Antigonus. There was Leo- 
sthenes, another of their leaders, shot with an arrow. When 
they were [returning] homewards from that city, they met 
Leonnatus, who was coming to the aid of Antipater, and was 
there slain. After that, Perdiccas, who had the Lesser Asia, 
began to war against Ariarathus, king of Cappadocia, and 
drove him into a fortress, and the inhabitants themselves 
burnt it on four sides, so that all that were within it 

After that, Antigonus and Perdiccas threatened that they 
would fight with each other, and were long planning about 
where they should meet, and laid waste many islands in the 
contest, which of them might draw to him the greater aid. 
In that interval, Perdiccas proceeded with an army into 
Egypt, where Ptolemy was king, because it had been told 
him that he (Ptolemy) would aid King Antigonus. There- 
upon Ptolemy gathered a great army against him. While 
they were proceeding to meet each other, the two kings, 
Neoptolemus and Eumenes, fought, and Eumenes put Neo- 
ptolemus to flight, so that he came to King Antigonus, and 
prevailed on him to come unawares upon Eumenes with an 
army. Thereupon Antigonus sent himself (Neoptolemus) 
and his other officer, Polyperchon, with a large force, that 
they might take him by surprise. When Eumenes was in- 
formed of that, he beset them where they had thought to 
beset him, and slew them both, and put the others to flight. 
After that Perdiccas and Ptolemy fought, and Perdiccas was 
there slain. After that, it became known to the Macedonians 
that Eumenes, and Pithon, and Illyrius, and Alceta, the 


fcop. polban pinnan on hy. 3 pinbon )} Xntigonup him pceolbe 
mib pypbe onjean cuman ; On J>am gepeohte jeplymbe Xnti- 
jonup Gumenep. "3 hme bebpap into anum pa&ptenne. 3 hine 
paep bepaet ; Da penbe Gumenep to Xntipatpe pam cymnje. 
3 hine pultumep baeb ) Da Sntigonup j? onjeat. pa poplet he 
|> petl | !Sc he Gumenep him penbe pjiam Xntigonup ham- 
p aepelbe micelpa untpeopSa. 3 him Co pultume appon ]>a fe aep 
paepon Slexanbpep cempan. ]?a paepan hatene Spjipappi^ef. 
pop]>on )?e ealle heopa pa&pn paepan opep-pyleppebe ; Da on 
pam tpeon. J>e hy ppa unjeopne hip pillan pulleobon. J?a becom 
him Sntigonuf mib pypbe on. 3 hy benaembe ae^ep je heopa 
pipa. je heopa beapna. ge heopa eapbep. je eallep ]>aep lic- 
jenoan peop. fe hy unbep Slexanbpe bejeacan. ^ hy j-ylpe 
unease ot5plu^on to Gumene ; ^Eptep ]?am J?a penbon hy to 
Snti^one ymb heopa ^ maepte bipmep. ^ hine baebon -^ he him 
ageape -p he a&p on him bepeapobe ; Da onbeab he him. f he 
him J?aep getyg'Sian polbe. jip hy him Gumenep. J>one cynmj. pe 
heopa hlapopb ]>a paep. gebunbenne to him bpohte. ^ hy f 
geppemeban ppa | Sc he heopa ept aagftep ge mib bipmepe 
onpenj. je hi eac on pone bipmephcoptan eapb gepette. ty paap 
on Jam ycemeptan enbe hip manna. ~] him ppa-J?eah nanuhc 
agipan nolbe paep pe hy bena paepon \ 

^Eptep pam Gupi^ica. SpiSeupep cpen. GOaeceboma cymnjep. 
heo paep )?am polce monig ypel bonbe. puph Eapj-anbep. hipe 
hlapopbep pegn. mib pam heo haepbe bypne jehjpe. ^ unbep ]>am 
heo gelaepbe pone cynmg. -p he hine ppa upp-ahop. ^ he paep 
bupan eallum pam pe on pam pice paepon to pam cyninge. 3 heo 
gebybe mib hype lape. f ealle ODaecebome paepon pam cyninge 
piSeppeapbe. 06 hy pur, -on ^ hy penbon aeptep Ohmpia^um. 
Slexanbpep mebep. j) heo him gepylpte. }} hy mihtan aegSep je 
pone cyning ge pa cpene him to gepylbum ^ebon ; peo pa 
Ohmpia^e him to com mib 6pipa pultume. hipe agenep picep. 
3 hipe to pultume abaeb Gaceban. GOoloppopum cyninj. 3 hy 
butu opploh. ge pone cynmj je pa cpene. -3 Eappanbep 
o^pleah. j Ohmpia^e peng to pam pice. 3 pam polce pela laftep 
jebybe. pa hpile pe heo pone anpealb haetbe ; Da Eappanbf p 


j brother of Perdiccas, would make war on them, and settled 
(that Antigonus should go against them with an army. In 
I the battle Antigonus put Eumenes to flight, and drove him 
into a fortress, and there besieged him. Thereupon Eumenes 
sent to King Antipater, and implored his aid. When Anti- 
I gonus was apprized of that, he abandoned the siege. But 
1 Eumenes, expecting from Antigonus a homeward march of 
| great perfidies, would draw to him the aid of those who had 
1 been previously Alexander's soldiers, who were called Agyr- 
I aspidse, because all their weapons were silvered over. While 
I in doubt whether they, though with no zeal, should fulfil his 
i wishes, Antigonus came upon them with an army, and took 
1 from them their wives, and their children, and their land, 
and all the treasure, which they had acquired under Alex- 
ander ; and they themselves with difficulty fled to Eumenes. 
After that they sent to Antigonus, on account of this great 
contumely, and prayed him that he would restore that of 
which he had previously bereft them. He thereupon an- 
nounced to them that he would grant it them, if they would 
bring to him King Eumenes bound, who was at that time 
their lord ; and they did so. But he afterwards both received 
them with contumely, and also set them on the most squalid 
land, which was at the extreme end of his people, and, at 
the same time, would restore them nothing that they had 
prayed for. 

After that, Eurydice, the queen of ArridsBus, king of 
Macedon, did much evil to the people, through Cassander, 
her lord's minister, with whom she had secretly criminal 
intercourse, and during which she persuaded the king that 
he so raised him up, that he was above all who were in the 
kingdom [next] to the king ; and by her counsel she was the 
cause that all the Macedonians were hostile to the king, 
until they resolved on sending for Olympias, the mother of 
Alexander, that she might support them, that they might 
compel both the king and the queen to their will. Then 
she, Olympias, came to them with a force of Epirots, of her 
own realm, and requested aid from ^Eacidas, king of the 
Molossians, and they slew both the king and the queen, 
and Cassander fled ; and Olympias succeeded to the kingdom, 
and did much that was hostile to the people while she had 
the government; When Cassander was apprized that she 


f> jeacp abe. ^ heo pam polce laftabe. pa jegabepabe he pypbe \ 
Da heo ty jeacpabe ty psep polcep paep ppa pela to him jecippeb. 
pa ne tpiepbe heo ^ hipe polbe pe oftep bael gelaptpull beon. ac 
^enam hipe pnope Roxan. Hlexanbpep lape. ~] Hlexanbpep punu 
(Bpcolep. 3 pleah to pam pseptene pe FiSnam paep haten. 3 
Eappanbep hipe aeptep-pop. ~] ty fae]"ten abpsec. ~] OlimpiaSum 
opfloh. "j ]>a buph-leobe o^bjiubon J>a fnope mib hype puna. |m 
hy ongeatan ^ ^ paepten fceolbe abpocen beon. 3 hy j-enbon 
on oftpe fsej'tpe jreepten. "j Eajjanbep hy het Jaep bej'ittan. 3 
him eallef faep anpealbep peolb GOseceboma picep ; Da penbe 
mon ty ^ ^epinn geenbab psepe betpeox Slexanbpej* poljepum. 
]>a 'Sa paepan jejeallen pe ]>9ep ms&pt jepunnon. ^ psef PepSicca. 
3 umenep. ^j SlciSen. -3 Polipepcon. 3 OhmpiaSa]-. ^j Snti- 
patep. ^ manege o^pe|- Sc Sntijonuj*. fe mib un^emete 
gipnbe anpealba ojrep ot5pe. j to J>am pseptene pop ]?aep 
IHlexanbpep lap paep. y hip punu. ^ hy J>aep bejeat. to ]>on -^ he 
polbe "p pa pole him J>y ppitSop to buje. )>e he haepbe heopa ealb 
hlapopbep punu on hip gepealbe;. 8i66an Eappanbep -p ge- 
ahpabe J?a gepoptabe he pr5 Phtolomeup. "j pi^ Lipimachup. j pi5 
Seleucup. fone eapt cymng. y hy ealle pmnenbe pa&pan piS 
Sntijonup ^ pi$ Demetpiup hyp punu. pume on lanbe pume on 
paetepe ; On J)am jepeohte gepeoll pe maepta bael GDaceboma 
bugufte on se^pe healpe. J?eah hy pume mib Snti^one paepe 
pume mib Eappanbpe '. . Deep peap^ Sntijonup jeplymeb. 3 hij 
punu;- ^Eptep pam Demetpiup. Xntigonep punu. jepeaht on 
pcipum piS Phtolomeup. 3 hme bebpap on hip ajen lanb:- 
^Eptep J>am Hntigonup bebeab. ^ mon aeg'Sep hete cymnj ge 
hme je hip punu. pop]?on ]?e Slexanbpep polgepap na&pan aep 
))am ppa gehatene. buton labteopap ; Eiemonj )?am ^epmnum. 
Sntijonup him onbpeb Spcolep. Slexanbpep punu. f ^ pole hme 
polbe to hlapopbe ^eceopan. popj>on ]>e he pyht cyne-cynnep 
paep. het pa aej^ep opplean. ge hme ge hip mobop ; Da }>aet 
]>a Spy jeahpoban. ^ he hy ealle beppican pohte. hy pa ept hy 
^ejabepeban ^ piftpunnan * . Da ne boppte Eappanbep pylp on 
pam paepelbe cuman pop hip pam nihptan peonbum. pe him ymb 
psepan. ac penbe hip pulturn to Lipmache hip jepoptan. "j 
ha&pbe h^p pipan ppi^opt bepoht to Seleucupe. poppon pe he 

KING ALFRED'S onosius. 22^ // 375 

was detested by the people, he gathered an army. "When 
she was informed that so many of the people had turned to 
him, she did not trust that the other part would be obedient 
to her, but took her daughter-in-law, Eoxane, Alexander's 
Telict, and Alexander's son, Hercules, and fled to the fortress 
which was called Pydna ; and Cassander followed her, and 
took the fortress, and slew Olympias ; and the inhabitants 
carried off the daughter-in-law with her son, when they were 
aware that the fortress would be taken, and sent them to 
another stronger fortress ; and Cassander ordered them to be 
besieged there, and wielded all the power of the Macedonian 
realm. Now, it was imagined that the war among Alex- 
ander's successors was ended, when those had fallen who 
had most contended in it, namely, Perdiccas, and Eumenes, 
and Alceta, and Polyperchon, and Olympias, and Antipater, 
and many others. But Antigonus, who immoderately desired 
power over others, proceeded to the fortress where Alex- 
ander's relict was with his son, and got them, because he 
would that the people should the more readily submit to 
him, when he had their old lord's son in his power. When 
Cassander was informed of that, he made a league with 
Ptolemy, and Lysimachus, and with Seleucus, the east king, 
and they all made war on Antigonus, and on Demetrius, his 
son, some on land, some on water. In that war the greatest 
part of the flower of Macedonia fell, although some were 
with Antigonus, some with Cassander. There was Anti- 
gonus with his son put to flight. After that Demetrius, the 
son of Antigonus, fought in ships against Ptolemy, and drove 
him to his own country. After that Antigonus commanded 
that the people should call both him and his son king ; be- 
cause Alexander's successors had not previously been so 
called, but generals. In the midst of these wars, Antigonus 
dreaded Hercules, the son of Alexander, lest the people 
should choose him for sovereign, because he was of the right 
royal race: he therefore commanded both him and his 
mother to be slain. When the three were informed that he 
intended to deceive them all, they again assembled and 
warred against him. But Cassander himself durst not join 
in the expedition, on account of his nearest enemies, who 
were about him ; but sent his force to his ally, Lysimachus. 
His councillors had also bethought themselves ei Seleucus, 


monige anpealbap mib gepmnum geeobe on pam eapt-lanbum. 
$ paep aepept Babylome. 3 Paccpiane. j aepcep pon he jepop on 
Inbie. psep nan man aep ne piftSan mib pypbe gepapan ne boppte. 
buton Slexanbpe. 3 he Seleucup genybbe ealle pa labteopap to 
hip hyppumneppe. 3 hy ealle Hntigonup anb Demetpiup hif 
punu mib pypbe gepohton. on pam jejreohce paej* Sncijonuj- 
opflajen. 3 hif funu oj: ]?am pice abpaejreb ; Ne pene ic. cpae 
Opoj-mj-. J aemj psepe ]?e f acellan mihte. J on J>am 

On ]?aepe tibe S e FP Eajyanbep. ^ hif pinu pen^ to J>am 
pice. Philippup | Da penbe mon epc oSpe ]*it5e ^ ^ jepmn 
!lexanbpep plgepa jeenbob pa&pe'.- Sc hy j-ona feBf him 
becpeonum punnon. ] 8eleucuj~ ^ Demecpiup Sntijonuf pinu. 
heom cojsebepe je]>oj:Ceban. 3 pi^ 'Sam Spim punnon. Phil 
ippuj-e. Eafj-anbpej- puna. 3 pitS Phcolomeuj-e. -3 pit5 Lifimachupe. 
j hy "J> jepmn pa paef licopc anjunnon. pe hy hit aep ne 
onjunnon ; On J>am jepinne opfloh Sntipatep hif mobop. 
Eajyanbpep lape. peh J?e heo eapmlice hipe peopej* to him 
pilnobe ; Da bseb Slexanbep hipe pinu Demetpiup. f he him 
jepylfte. ^ he hif mobop j*lege on hij* bpeSep jeppecan mihte. 
3 hy hyne pa6e J?sep opflojon ; . ^Eptep pam jepunnon Deme- 
tjnuf -j Lipmachu]'. ac Lipmachuj- ne mihte Demetpmpe 
piSptanban. pop^on pe Dopup. Thpacea cynmj. him eac 
onpann ; Da paep Demetpiup on psepe hpile ppit5e jeanmett. 
j pypbe jelaebbe to Phtolomeupe Da he ^ jeahpobe. )>a 
bejeat he Seleucup him to pultume. 3 Pippup 6pipa cynmj. j 
Pijijmp him poppam ppi^opt pylpte. pe he him pylpum pacabe 
OOaeceboma onpealb. 3 hy pa Demetpiup op pam abpipan ^j 
Pippup topen^ ; jjEptep pam Lipimachup opploh hip ajenne 
punu Sjathoclen. ^ Sntipatep hip apum]- On pam bagum 
Lipimachia peo buph bepanc on eopftan mib polce mib-ealle. 3 
aepcep pam pe Lipimachup haepbe ppa pi^ hip punu gebon ~\ pi8 
hip apum. pa onpcunebon hyne hip agene leobe. 3 monije ppam 
him cypban. y Seleucup ppeonan. ty he Lipimachup beppice> | 
Da jyt ne mihte pe ni^ betux him tpam ^elicjean. peh heopa 
pa na ma ne hpbe. paepa pe !Mexanbpep poljepap psepon. ac ppa 

ALFRED'S oitosius. 


use he had conquered many states by wars in the east 
untries, namely, first the Babylonians and the Bactrians, 
.d after that he marched to India, where no man, before or 
ince, durst march with an army, save Alexander. And he, 
sleucus, reduced all the generals to his obedience, and they 
1 sought Antigonus and his son, Demetrius, with an army, 
n that war Antigonus was slain, and his son driven from 
he kingdom. I do not imagine, says Orosius, that there 
as any one who could tell what [number] perished in that 

At that time Cassander died, and his son, Philip, suc- 
d to the kingdom. Then again, a second time, people 
agined that the war of Alexander's successors was ended, 
ut soon after, they warred among themselves ; and Seleucus, 
d Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, made a league toge- 
her, and warred against the three, against Philip, the son 
f Cassander, and against Ptolemy, and against Lysimachus ; 
d they entered upon that war just as if they had not pre- 
iously begun it. In that war Antipater slew his mother, 
' e relict of Cassander, although she miserably begged her 
ife of him. Thereupon Alexander, her son, prayed Deme- 
rius to aid him, that he might avenge his mother's death 
n his brother ; and they soon after slew him. After that 
emetrius and Lysimachus made war ; but Lysimachus 
uld not withstand Demetrius, because Dorus, king of 
hrace, also made war on him. Then was Demetrius at that 
ime greatly elated, and led an army against Ptolemy. When 
received intelligence of that, he got Seleucus to aid him, 
md also Pyrrhus, king of the Epirots. And Pyrrhus chiefly 
supported him, because he was craftily aiming at the domi- 
lion over Macedonia ; and they then drove Demetrius from 
t, and Pyrrhus took possession [of the kingdom]. After 
hat Lysimachus slew both his own son, Agathocles, and 
ntipater, his son-in-law. In those days the city of Lysi- 
achia sank into the earth with all its inhabitants. And 
fter Lysimachus had so acted towards his son and his son- 
n-law, his own people shunned him, and many turned from 
ini, and prevailed on Seleucus to deceive Lysimachus. Not 
ven yet could the grudge between the two be allayed, 
'though at that time no more of them were living who had 
followers of Alexander ; but old as they then were, they 


ealbe p pa hy pa paepon hy jepuhton ] Seleucup haepbe f eopon 
} hunb-peopontij pmtpa. } Lipimachup haepbe ppeo 3 hunb- 
peopontij pmcpa ; Daep peapS Lipimachup opplagen. 3 paep ymb 
ppeo nihc com Phtolomeup. pe Lipimachup hip ppeopcep haepbe. 
^ bygellice aeptep Seleucupe pop. pa he hampeapb paep. oft hyp 
pyjib topapen paep. j hme opploh ; Da paep peo pibb 3 peo 
milcheopcnep jeenbab. ]>e hy aec Slexanbpe geleopnobon. ty 
paep ^ hy Cpejen. ]?e ]?a&p lenjpce lipbon. xxx. cynmja opplogon. 
heopa ajenpa ealb jepepena. ^ him ha&pbon piSSan ealle ]>a 
anpealbap. ]>e hy ealle aep haepbon gemong ]?am jepmnuml- 
Lipimachup poplec hip xv. puna, pume he pylp opploh. pume on 
jepeohcum bepopan him pylpum mon opploh [ Dyllicne 
gebpoSoppcipe. cpae^ Opopmp. hy heolban him becpeonum ]>e 
on anum hipebe pa&pan apebbe 3 jecybe. ^ hie ip up nu ppi^op 
bipmpe gelic. -p pe ])aep beppecaS. "] f f pe gepinn nu hacaS, 
fonne up ppembe 3 ellfeobige on becuma&.-j lyclep hpaec on uf 
jepeapaS. ^ up epc hpa&bhce poplaecaS. "j nellaS ^e^encan hpylc 
hie pa paep. ]?a nan mann ne mihte aet o^pum hip peoph je- 
bycjan. ne puppon ty pa polban geppiynb beon. ]>e paepon 
jebpo^pa op paebep -j op mebep ; 



}>am pe Romebuph jetimbpeb paep cccc. pmtpum 
3 Lxim. Tapencme -p pole plejebon binnan Tapencan heopa 
bypig. aet heopa peacpa. pe paep binnan gepopht paep. pa 
jepapan hy Romana pcipa on paepe pae ypnan. pa hpaebhce 
coman Tapentine to heopa ajnum pcipum. ^ pa o^pe hmban 
oppopan. ] hy ealle him to gepylbum jebybon. bucon v. j pa 
pe paep jepan^ene paepan. hy capeban mib paepe msepcan 
unie^neppe. pume opplojan. pume opppungon. pume him piS peo 
jepealban ; Da Romane -p jeahpoban. pa penbon hy aepenb- 
paean co him. "3 baeban ty him mon gebetce. ty him p 
to aebyljSe jebon paep | Da tapebon hy ept pa aepenbpacan 
mib pam maepcan bipmepe. ppa hy pa oSpe aep bybon. ~\ h 
pi^San ham popletan ', ^Epcep pam popan Romane on Tap en 
tine, j ppa claene hy namon heopa pultum mib him. ^ heop 

ALFRED'S OHOSITTS.J^ // ^/ / 379 

Fought. Seleucus was seventy-seven years [old], and Lysi- 
machus was seventy-three. There was Lysimachus slain, and 
phree days after came Ptolemy, whose sister Lysimachus had 
j-narried, and marched secretly after Seleucus, as he was pro- 
ceeding homewards, until his army was dispersed, and slew 
pirn. Then that peace and mercy which they had learned from 
Alexander, were ended. That was, that those two, who 
ived the longest, had slain thirty kings, their own old com- 
panions, and afterwards had for themselves all the dominions, 
kvhich they [the thirty] had previously had during those 
krars. Lysimachus lost his fifteen sons, some he himself 
slew, some were slain in the wars before his eyes. Such 
brotherhood, says Orosius, they held among themselves, who 
'were nurtured and instructed in one family, tha^ it is now 
bo us rather ridiculous that we complain, and that we now 
3all it war, when strangers and foreigners come upon us, and 
plunder us of some little, and again quickly leave us, and 
ivill not think how it then was, when no man could buy his 
ife of another, nor even would those be friends, who were 
jrothers by father and by mother. 



AFTEE Eome had been built four hundred and sixty-four 
fears, the Tarentine people were playing in their city of 
Darentum, at their theatre, which had been therein built, 
vhen they saw Eoman ships running on the sea. There- 
ipon the Tarentines went quickly to their own ships and 
sailed after them, and got them all into their power, save five, 
md those who were there taken they treated with the 
greatest barbarity: some they slew, some they scourged, 
some they sold for money. "When the Eomans were informed 
f that, they sent envoys to them, and demanded reparation 
or what had been done to [excite] their indignation. They 
hen treated the envoys with the greatest ignominy, as they 
md before done the others, and afterwards let them go home, 
lifter that, the Eomans marched against the Tarentines, and 
10 completely took [all] their force with them, that [even] 


ppoletapn 1 ne mojTon him baeptan beon]- Daet paepon pa 
pe hy gepetce haepbon. ty pceolban be heojxa pipum beapna 
pcpynan. ponne hy on jepin popan. 3 cpaebon fy him piphcpe 
Jmhte. ty hy pa ne poplupe pe paep utpope. haepbe beapn pe 
pe mihte \ 

Py pa Romane comon on Tapentme. "j paep call apeptan ty hy 
jemetcan. 3 monega bypig abpaecan]- Da penbon Tapencme 
aeghpap aejrcep pulcume. paep hy him aemgej- penbon. ~) Pippup 
6pipa cynmj. him com to mib pam ma&jran pulcume. sej^ep 
ge on jan^-hepe je on pab-hepe ; pe paaj- on 'Sam bajum 
jemaepj-ob ojrep ealle o^pe cynmjap. aaj^ep je mib hif miclan 
pulcume. je mib hip paeb-peahtunge. je mib hip pigcpsepte ] 
Foppam pylpte Pippup Tapentmum. poppon pe Tapence peo 
buph paap jecimbpeb op Laecebemomum. pe hip pice pa paep. 3 
he haepbe Theppali him to pultume. *] GQaecebome. ^ he haepbe 
xx. elpenba to pam gepeohte mib him. pe Romane a&p na ne 
jepapon. he paep pe popma mann pe hy aepept on Italmm 
bpohce. he paep eac on flam bajum jleapapt to pi^e 3 co 
Jepmne. buton pam anum ty hine hip jobap j hip biopoljylb be- 
ppicon pe he begangenbe paep ; Da he hi ahpobe hip jobap. 
hpaeSep heopa pceolbe on o^pum pije habban. pe he on Roma- 
num. pe Romane on him. pa anbpypban hi him tpeohce ^j 
cpaebon. Du haeppt o$8e naeppt 2 ; Daet popme gepeoht ty he 
piS Romanum haepbe. hit paep m Eompama. neah paepe ea pe 
mon Lipum haet ; Da aeptep pam pe paep on aegSpe healpe 
micel pael geplejen paep. pa het Pippup bon pa elpenbap on ^ 
jepeohcl- 8ippan Romane -^ jepapan. ^ him mon ppylcne 
ppenc to bybe. ppylcne hy aep ne gepapon. ne pecjan nehypbon. 
pa plugon hy ealle buton anum menn. pe paep GOinutiup haten. 
he geneftbe unbep anne elpenb. ^ he hine on pone napelan 
opptan^ \' Da prSSan he ypp e P^r T jepunbob. he opploh micel 
paep polcep. ^ ae^Sep je pa poppupbon pe him on upan paepan. 
je eac pa o8pe elpenbap pticabe 3 jpemebe. ^ pa eac maept 
ealle poppupbon. pe paep on upan paepon. *] peh pe Romane 
geplymeb paepe. hy paepan peh jebylbe. mib pam ^ hy piptonhu 
hy to pam elpenbam pceolban \ On ^am jepeohte paep Ro- 
mana xim. M. opplajen peSena. ^ hunb-eahtatij ^ vin. hunb. 
gepangen. ^ paepa gehoppebpa paepan opplagen m. hunb j an 
M. ^J paep paepon vn. hunb ju^panena jenumen> pit naepna 


their proletarii might not remain behind. These were those 
whom they had appointed that they might heget children by 
their wives, while they went forth to war, and said that it 
seemed to them wiser not to dispense with those who there 
went forth, let whoever might have children. 

The Eomans then came upon the Tarentines, and there 
Laid waste all that they found, and took many towns. There- 
upon the Tarentines sent everywhere for aid, where they 
could expect any: and Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, came to 
:hem with the greatest aid, both of foot and horse. He was, 
n those days, famed above all other kings, as well for his 
great army as for his counsels, and for his military skill. 
Pyrrhus aided the Tarentines, because the city of Tarentum 
md been built by the Lacedaemonians, who were then under 
lis government ; and he had the Thessalians to aid him, and 
;he Macedonians ; and he had twenty elephants with him for 
;hat war, which [animals] the Romans had not before seen : 
ic was the first man who introduced them into Italy : he 
was also in those days the most expert in battle and warfare, 
except only that his gods and his idols that he worshiped 
deceived him. When he inquired of his gods, which of them 
hould have victory over the other, he over the Eomans, or 
;he Eomans over him, they answered him ambiguously : 
Thou wilt have it or not have it." The first battle that he 
lad with the Eomans was in Campania, near the river called 
;he Liris. There, after a great slaughter was made on both 
sides, Pyrrhus commanded the elephants to be led into the 
mttle. When the Eomans saw that such a wile was prac- 
ised on them, such as they before had not seen nor heard 
spoken of, they fled, all save one man, who was called 
Minutius. He ventured [to go] under an elephant, so that 
le stabbed it in the navel. When it was angry and wounded 
t slew many of the people, so that both those perished who 
vere upon it, and he also wounded and irritated the other 
elephants, so that most of those also perished who were on 
hem ; and although the Eomans were put to flight, they 
were, nevertheless, emboldened by knowing how they should 
act] with elephants. In that battle fourteen thousand foot 
f the Eomans were slain, and eight hundred and eighty 
aken prisoners ; and of the horse there were slain one thou- 
sand three hundred ; and there were seven hundred ensign* 


jejaeb hpaec Pippupep polcep jepeallen paepe. pop],on hit nsep 
feap on fam cibum. fy mon aemj pael on fa healpe jiimbe. fe i 
fonne pylbpe paep . bucon faep fy laep opplagen paepe. ppa mib, 
Slexanbpe paep. on fam popman gepeohce. fe he pi$ Dapmf' 
peahc. faep naep hip polcep na ma opplajen forme nigonl- Kci 
Pippup gebicnebe epc hu him peo pige jelicobe. J>e he opep Ro- 
mane ha&pbe. ]?a he cpaeS aec hip jobep bupa. ] hie ppa ))32pon 
appac. Dane hapa Su lopep. ^ ic pa mopce opeppmnan. ]>Q 
a&p paepon unopeppunnen. ~) ic eac ppam him opeppunnen 
com ; Da ahpebon hine hip J?ejnap. hpi he ppa heanlic popb be 
him pylpum jecpaebe. ^ he opeppunnen paepe. ]?a anbpypbe he 
him 3 cpa&S. Hip ic jepape epc ppylcne pije aec Romanum. fonne 
maej ic piS^an bucan aelcon ]?ej;ne Epeca lanb pecean 1 ; Dsec | 
peapft eac Romanum on ypelum cacne oSypeb aep fam jepeohce. j 
fa hy on pypbe paepon. ty f aep polcep pceolbe micel hpype beon, 
fa Sunop opploh xxmi. heopn pobpepa. ^ fa oSpe jebpocabe i 
apej comon;- ^Epcep fam jepuhcon Pippup j Romane ml 
Spulia. f aepe feobe. fa&p peaptS Pippup punb on oSpan eapme. 
3 Romane haepbon pige. ] haepbon geleopnob ma cpaepca. hu hy 
fa elpenbap beppican mihcon mib fam fe hy namon cpeopu. ^ 
plogon on o^epne enbe monije pceappe ipene na&glap. j hy 
mib plexe bepunbon. ~\ onbaepnbon hie. ~j bef ybbon hie fonne on 
Cone elpenb hmban. }> hy fonne popan pebenbe. aejSep ge popji 
f aep plexep bpyne. ge pop f aepa naejla pcicunje. -p aec aelcan ] 
poppupbon aepepc f e him on upan paepan. ^ piSSan -p o^ep pole 
paepon ppa ppiSe pleanbe. ppa hy him pcilban pceolban;. On 
fam gepeohce paep Romana ehca M. opplajen. "j xi. guftpanoE 
jenumen;- Snb Pippupep hepep paep xx. M. opplagen. -] hyj 
ju^pana [Lin.] 2 jenumen;. Da peapS Pippupe cu6 ^ Kja- 
choclep. Sipacupa cyninj. faepa buph-leoba. paep jepapen or 
8iciha fam lanbe> Da pop he fibep. ~] f pice co hiralj 
genybbe ; 

8ona ppa -p jepinn mib Romanum geenbob paep. ppa paep f aep 
feo momjpealbepce pol mib man-cpealme. je eac ^ nanuhc 
bepenbep. ne pip ne nycen. ne mihcon nanuhc libbenbep t ie- 
bepan. ^ hy fa aec nyhpcan paepon opcpeope. hpae^ep him 
aenij mann eac acuman pceolbe. fa penbe Pippup ppam Sicilmra 


taken. It was not said how many of Pyrrhus's people were 
slain, because it was not the custom in those times to count 
any slaughter on that side which was the prevailing one, 
unless a very small number were slain, as it was with Alex- 
ander, in the first battle he fought against Darius, where of 
lis people there were no more than nine slain. But Pyrrhus 
testified afterwards how he liked the victory he had over the 
Romans, when at the door of his god he said, and thereon so 
wrote it : " Have thanks, thou Jove, that I have been able 
to overcome those who before had not been overcome ; and I 
am also overcome by them." His officers thereupon asked 
him why he said such debasing words of himself, that he was 
overcome, when he answered : " If I again gain such a vic- 
;ory over the Romans, I may afterwards return to Greece 
without any soldier " For the Romans also it appeared as 
an evil token, before the battle, when they were in camp, 
that there would be a great fall of the people, when thunder 
slew twenty-four of their fodderers, and the others came 
away half-dead. After that Pyrrhus and the Romans fought 
in the country of Apulia, where Pyrrhus was wounded in one 
f his arms, and the Romans had the victory, and had learned 
nore devices, how they might circumvent the elephants, by 
taking stakes, into one end of which they drove many sharp 
ron nails, and wound flax about them and set it on fire, and 
,hen drove it into the hinder part of the elephant, so that they 
ran raging mad, both in consequence of the burning of the 
flax and the pricking of the nails ; so that with every one 
hose first perished that were upon them ; and afterwards 
hey as impetuously slew the other people as they should 
lave protected them. In that battle eight thousand of the 
Romans were slain and eleven ensigns taken. And of 
3 yrrhus's army twenty thousand were slain, and [fifty-three] 
>f his ensigns taken. It then became known to Pyrrhus, 
hat Agathocles, king of the citizens of Syracuse, was dead 
n the land of Sicily. Thereupon he proceeded thither, and 
ubjected that realm to him. 

As soon as that war with the Romans was ended, there 
was such a complicated pestilence with mortality, that even 
lothing bearing, neither women nor cattle could bring forth 
ny thing living ; so that at last they were in despair whether 
any man should be born to them. Pyrrhus then turned 


ept to Romanum. 3 him onjean com llupiup. pe conpul. ) 
heopa -p Spibbe gepeoht paep on Lucamam. on Kpopmp f aepe 
bune> Deh fe Romane 1 pume hpile haepbon ppi'Sop pleam 
gef oht f onne gepeoht. aep f onne hy gej-apon ty man fa elpenbap 
on ^ jepeoht bybe. ac piSSan hy fa gepapan hu hy hi sejpe- 
meban. ^ hy fa peepan ppiSe pleanbe fe hy pylptran pceolban. ] 
Pippupep hepe peap^ popfam ppi^Sopc on pleame ; . On fam 
jepeohce Pippup haepbe hunb-eahcacig M. pe^ena. -j v. M. je- 
hoppebpa. 3 J>a&p ps&p xxxvi. M. opplajen. -j 1111. hunb jepanjen ;. 
JEptep fam Pippup pop op Itahum. ymb v. jeap ]>aep f e he aep 
f sepon com. ^ pa^e fsep ]>e he ham com. he polbe abpecan 
Spjup )>a buph. ~] faftp peap^ mib anum ptane oppoppen ; . 

JEptrep J?am fe Tapencme jeahpoban }) Pippup beab pap. 
fa penbon hy on Spppice. to Eaptagmienpep. septep pultume. 
j ept pi8 Romanum punnan. -3 pa$e f sep J>e hy toja&bepe co- 
mon. Romane hsepbon pi^e ; . Dsep onpunbon Eaptajimjenpep 
p him mon opepppif an mihte. ]>eh hy nan pole sep mib jepeoht 
opeppmnan ne mihte ; Eemonj f am fe Pippup piS Romane 
pmnenbe psep. hy hs&pbon ehta legian ; . Da haepbon hy fa 
eahte^an Rejienpe to pultume ^epette ; . Da ne jetpupabe 
pe ehtaSa bael faepa legian ^ Romane Pippupe pitSptanban 
mihte. anjunnon fa hep^ian *] hynan fa f e hy ppi^ian pceol- 
ban ; . Da Romane -f> jeahpoban. fa penbon hy f ybep Denu. 
tiup heopa conpul mib pultume. to fon f he on him geppsece, 
p hy fa plojon ^ hynbon fe ealle Romane ppi^ian polbon. ~\ he 
fa ppa jebybe;. 8ume he opploh. pume gebanb -3 ham penbe. 
^j f sep ps&pan piSSan pitnabe. "3 piSSan fa heapba mib ceopp- 
aexum op-acoppene : . 


fam fe Romane-buph ^etimbpeb paep cccc. pmtpum 
Lxxvn. gepupbon on Rome fa ypelan punbop. j) psep aep epc. 
Sunop toploh hypa hehptan ^obep hup. lopepep. 3 eac f aefie 
up^e peall micel to eopSan jehpeap. j eac ^ fpy pulpap on, 
anpe mht bpohton anep beabep mannep hchoman binnan fa 
bnph. 3 hyne f aep pi$6an ptycceroselum tobpubon. oS fa IT enn 


rom Sicily again to the Eomans, and Curius, the consul, 
;ame against him, and their third battle was in Lucania, on 
he mountain of Arusius. Although the Eomans had for 
some while thought more of flight than of fighting, before 
hey saw that the enemy brought the elephants into the 
>attle ; yet after they saw how they could irritate them, so 
hat they impetuously slew those whom they should aid, 
Pyrrhus' s army was chiefly on that account put to flight. 
[n that battle Pyrrhus had eighty thousand foot and five 
;housand horse, and there were thirty-six thousand slain and 
bur hundred captured. After that Pyrrhus departed from 
[taly, about five years from the time he first came thither; 
and soon after he came home, he would take the city of 
Argos, and was there mortally struck with a stone. 

After the Tarentines had been informed that Pyrrhus was 
dead, they sent to Africa, to the Carthaginians, for succour, 
and again warred against the Eomans; and quickly after 
;hey came together the Eomans had the victory. There the 
arthaginians found that they could be overcome, although 
no people had before been able to conquer them in war. 
While Pyrrhus was warring against the Eomans, they had 
eight legions. They then appointed the eighth to aid the 
people of Ehegium. "When this eighth part of the legions felt 
not confident that the Eomans could withstand Pyrrhus, 
they began to plunder and oppress those whom they should 
protect. When the Eomans were informed of that, they 
sent thither their consul Grenucius with & force, in order 
that he might take vengeance on them, for slaying and op- 
pressing those whom all the Eomans should protect; and he 
did so. Some he slew, bound and sent some home, and there 
they were afterwards scourged, and their heads afterwards 
cut off with axes. 


After the city of Eome had been built four hundred and 
seventy-seven years, there happened in Eome evil prodigies. 
The first was, that thunder struck the house of their highest 
god, Jove ; and also much of the city-wall fell to the earth; 
and also three wolves, in one night, brought a dead man's 
body into the city, and there afterwards tore it piecemeal, 


onpocan. 3 ut-ujmon. ~] hy piSSan onpeg plugon ; . On |?am | 
bajum jepeapft. -p on anpe bune neah Romebypig. tohlab peo 
eopSe. 3 paep bypnenbe pyp up op )>aepe eop&an. ty on aelce 
healpe j?p py<pep peo eopSe paep pip aecepa bpaebe co axpan ge- 
bupnen ; . 8ona J>aej*. on J?am aepceppan jeape. g e FP Semppo- 
muj- fe conpil. mib pypbe pi^S Pencentef Italia pole;. Da 
mib }>am )>e hy hi jetpymeb haepbon "j togaebepe polban. J>a 
peajiS eop^beopunj. -p a&^ep paepa polca penbe untpeojenbhce. | 
^ hy pceolban on J>a eopSan bepmcan. ] hy ]?eah ppa anbpas- j 
benbe jebiban ^ pe e^e opepjan pa&p. ] )?aep pit55an paeljpnnljcej 
jepuhcori> Daep pa&p pe msefca blob^yce on s&jSpe healpe 
]>a&pa polca. ]?eh J?e Romane pige ha&pbe. ^a peapan J?a&p to lape 
pupboni- Da&p paep jejyne ty peo eopSbeopunj tacnabe ]>9 
miclan blob-bpyncap. ]>e hyjie mon on J>sepe tibe to-poplet ! 


fam ]>e Romebuph jetimbjieb paep 1111. hunb pintpuifi 
Lxxx. jemonj J?am o^pum monegum punbpum. J?e on <5an 
bajum jelumpan. ^ mon gepeah peallan blob op eopftan. * 
pinan meolc op heopenum ', On ]>am bagum Eaptajimjenpe] 
penbon pultum Tapentmum. p hy ]>e eaS mihton peohtan pit 
Romanum^ Da penbon Romane aepenbpacan to him. ~\ hj| 
ahpebon pop hpy hy ^ bybon ; . Da oS)*popan hy }>am aepenb | 
paean mib ]?am bipmephceptan a^e. ty hy him naeppe 01 ' 
pulcume naepon. J>eh fe J>a aSap psepan neap mane J>onn 
po^e ; . On }>am ba^um Ulcmienpep "j Thpupci ]>a pole popneal 
ealle poppupbon pop heopa agnum bypije. poppam J>e hy pirn*! 
heopa ]>eopap jepjieoban. ^ eac him eallum pupbon to milbe *t 
to popjipene 1 Da opjmhte heopa ceoplum 1 . ^ man J>a feopas 
ppeobe. ] hy nolbe ! Da pi^papan hy J>am hlapopbum 3 }M| 
Jjeopap mib him. o^ hy pylbpan paepon fonne hy|- Snb h; 
piS^an mib-eaUe op Sam eapbe abpipon. "j him to pipum byboi 
]?a ]>e xji paepan heopa hlaepbian '. Da piSSan jepohtan ])! 
hlapopbap Romane. ~] hy him jepylptan. ^ hy ept CO beojn 
ajnum becomon ; . 


2 / 


the men awoke and ran out, and they afterwards fled 
iway. In those days it befel, that on a hill near the city of 
~ >me, the earth opened and there was burning fire up from 
the earth, so that on each side of the fire, the earth, for the 
)readth of five acres, was burnt to ashes. Soon after this, in 
the following year, Sempronius the consul marched with an 
irmy against the Picentes, a people of Italy. Then, when 
they had put themselves in array, and would engage, there 
an earthquake, so that both people imagined indubitably 
that they would sink into the earth, and they, nevertheless, 
mtinued thus dreading until the terror had passed over, 
id afterwards there fiercely fought. There was a vast 
loodshed of those people on both sides, though the Romans 
lad the victory, when few were left there. There was seen 
that the earthquake betokened the great blood-drenchings 
riiich they let flow on her. 


After Eome had been built four hundred and eighty years, 
mong many other wonders that happened in those days, 
lood was seen to boil from the earth, and milk to rain from 
he heavens. In those days the Carthaginians sent succour 
the Tarentines, that they might the more easily fight 
inst the Eomans. Thereupon the Eomans sent messengers 
them, and asked them why they so did ? They then swore 
the messengers with a most shameful oath, that they had 
.ever afforded them aid; although those oaths were nearer to 
alsehood than to truth. In those days, the nations of the 
'ulsinienses and Etruscans almost all nearly perished through 
iheir own folly, because they had freed some of their slaves, 
md were also too mild to them all, and too indulgent. Then 
heir churls took it ill that the lords had freed the slaves, 
d would not [free] them. They thereupon rose against 
he lords, and the slaves with them, until they were stronger 
han they. And they afterwards entirely drove them from 
he country, and took for wives those who had previously 
3n their mistresses. Afterwards the lords applied to the 
>raans, and they aided them, so that they again came to 
heir own. 




^Epcep 8am fe Romebuph gecimbpeb paep cccc. pmtpum 3 
Lxxx. becom on Romane micel mann-cpealm. )> hy fa aec 
nyhpcan ne ahpeban hpaec faepa gepapenpa psepe. ac hpaec 
heopa f onne Co lape paepe ) Snb eac fa beopola f e hy on 
pymbel peopSobon hy amypbon. co-eacan fam oftpum monij- 
pealbum bipmpum f e hy laepenbe paepon. p hy ne cuSan ongi- 
can $ hie Eobep ppacu paep. ac hecon fa bipceopap ^ hy 
paebon fam polce. ty heopa gobap mm ps&pon yppe. Co fam ^ 
hi him fa-gic ppiftop opppebon "3 bloccon fonne hy aep byboni- 
On f aepe ilcan cibe Eapeppome paep hacenu heopa goba nunne. 
fa gebypebe hype ^ heo hy poplaeg \ Py f a Romane pop fam 
gylce hi ahenjan. "j eac f one fe f one gyle mib hype gepophce. 
3 ealle fa f e f one gyle mib him pipcon -3 mib him haelon ; . pu 
pene pe nu Romane him pylp Syllice ppicon 3 peccon pop heopa 
agenum gylpe -3 hepinge. -3 f eah gemong f aepe hepmje f yllica 
bipmepa on hy pylpe apaebon. hu pene pe hu monegpa mapan 
bipmpa hy pojipygebon. aegSep ge pop heopa agenpe lupan 3 
lanbleoba. ge eac pop heopa penacum ege ; 

BG nSRTSINS EeiUINNe ; Nu pe pculon pon. q> Opo- 
fiup. ymb ^ Pumca gepmn. {) paep op fam polce op Eapcama f aepe 
bypij. peo paep gecimbpeb ppam Ghpann fam pipmen Lxxxn. 
pincpum aep Romebuph. ppa pome faepa buphpapena ypei 3 
heopa bipmepep peapS lycel apaeb j appicen. ppa ppa Tpogup 3 
Jupcmup paebon. pcaep-ppicepap. popf on f e heopa pipe on naenne 
pael pel ne gepop. na^ep ne innan ppam him pylpum. ne ucane 
ppam ot5pum polcum ; 8pa-feah. co-eacan fam ypelum. hy 
gepeccon. fonne him micel mann-cpealm on becom. f hy 
pceolbon menn heopa gobum blocan | Spa eac fa beopla. f e 
hy on gelypbon. gelaepbon hy ^ fa fe faep onhaelebe paepan. f 
hy hale pop hy cpealbon. "3 paepon fa menn co f on bypige. ty hy 
penbon ty hy mihcon ^ ypel mib fam gepcillan. ^ fa beopla 1 co 
fon lycige. ^ hy hie mib fam gemicleban. y popfon fe hy ppa 
bypige paepon. him com on Hobep ppacu. on jepeohcura 



ij After Eome had been built four hundred and eighty years, 
1 great mortality came on the Eomans, so that at last they 
[id not ask how many had died, but how many of them then 
jemarned. And also the devils, whom they constantly wor- 
[hiped, led them astray, in addition to the other manifold 
Icandals that they taught them, so that they could not under- 
itand that it was the vengeance of Grod ; but commanded 
jhe priests to tell the people that their gods were wroth 
rith them, in order that they might more frequently offer and 
acrince to them than they had ere done. At the same time 
fc happened that a vestal of their gods, who was named 
i^apparonia, committed incontinence. For that crime the 
Romans hanged her, and also him who had perpetrated the 
rime with her, and all those who were privy to the crime, 
jnd concealed it among themselves. How can we now 
hiugine, that the Eomans themselves wrote and composed 
bch [narratives] for their own glory and praise, and yet, in 
he midst of the praise, have related such disgraces of them- 
elves ? How many may we imagine greater disgraces they 
ave passed in silence, both for love of themselves and 
ountrymen, as well as for fear of their senate ? 

OE THE CARTHAGINIAN WAR. We will now, says 
)rosius, begin concerning the Carthaginian war (that was of 
he people of the city of Carthage, that was built by the 


Elisa eighty-two years before Eome), as of the 
alamities of the citizens and their disasters little has been 
aid and written, as Trogus and Justinus, the historians, 
ave related; because their affairs at no time succeeded well, 
either within among themselves, nor without from other 
ations. And yet, in addition to these evils, they decreed, 
rhen a great pestilence came upon them, that they should 
acrifice men to their gods. In like manner, the devils, in 
rtiom they believed, instructed them, that for those who 
rere unhealed there they should slay the hale; and men 
ere so foolish, that they imagined they might thereby still 
le evil, and the devils so crafty that they thereby aug- 
lented it. And because they were so very foolish, the 
engeance of God came upon them, in wars, besides other 


co-eacan oSjmm ypelum. paet paep optopt on Sicilmm 3 on Sap- 
tSinium pam ijlanbum. on pa hy gelomlicopt punnon '. ^Eptep 
pam pe him ppa optpaebhce miplamp. ]? hy anjunnon hit pi tar 
heopa labteopum 3 heopa cempum heopa eappeSa. 3 him be- 
bubon "p hy on ppaecpiSap popan j on ellpiobe ; Rafte aeptep 
pam hy baeban. ty hy mon to heopa eapbe poplete. ^ hi moptan 
gepanbian. hpaeSep hy heopa mebpa&l^a opepppiSan mihcon|- 
Da him mon ]>aep poppypnbe. J>a jepohcan hy mib pipbe ; On 
|>aepe hepjunje jemecce pe ylbepca labceop. GOazeup. hip a^enne 
punu. mib puppupum je^ypebne on bipceophabe. he hine )>a pop 
[>am jypelan gebealh. j he hine opeppon hec ~] ahon. j penbe ^ 
he pop hip poppepenneppe ppelc pceopp pepebe. popj>on hie naep 
|)eap mib him f aemj ot5ep puppupan pepebe bucon cymnjum ; 
Ra^e aepcep J>am hy bejeacan Eapcama ]?a buph. ^ ealle ])a 
a&lcaepepcan opplojon. ]?e J)3epmne paepon. ^ ]?a o^pe to him 
jenybbon ; Da set nihptan. he peapS pylp bepypeb y oppla- 
jen ; Dip paep jepopben on Cipupep baeje. Peppa cynmjep ; 


]7am Pimilco. Eaptama cynmj. jepop mib pypbe on 
8icihe. j him J>sep becom ppa paeplic ypel. p J>a meiin paspion 
ppa paSe beabe. ppa hit him on becom. ty hy ]?a aet nihptan hy 
bebypjean ne mihton. ^ pop fam eje hip unpillum penbe. -) 
ham pop. mib fam pe paep paepon |- Sona ppa ^ popme pcip 
lanb jepohte. *] ty ejephce ppell jebobabe. ppa paepon ealle pa 
buphpape Eapta^inijenpep mib ppiShce heape ^ pope onptypeb. 
] aelc ahpienbe -3 ppmenbe aeptep hip ppynb. -] hy untpegenblice 
nanpa tpeopSa him ne penbon. buton ty hy mib-ealle pop- 
peopSan pceolban ; GDib pam pe pa buphpape ppa geomoplic 
anjm haepbon. pa com pe cynmg pylp mib hip pcipe. 3 lanb je- 
pohte mib ppiSe lySephcan gejypelan. 3 ae5ep je he pylp ham- 
peapb pop. ^e ^ pole ^ him ongean com. call hit him pepenbe 
hampeapb poljobe. 3 he pe cymnj hip hanba psep upppeapbep 
bpaebenbe pift paep heoponep. "] mib opepheoptneppe him paep 
pamenbe aejftep ge hip ajenne heapbpaelpa. ge eallep paep polcep. 
3 he pa-syt him pylpum jebybe f paep pyppt paep. pa lie to hif 


/ * 391 

evils. That was oftenest in the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, 
in which they most frequently warred. After they had so 
often been unsuccessful, they began to blame their generals 
and their soldiers for their disasters, and commanded them 
to go into exile and banishment. Shortly after, they prayed 
to be re-admitted to their country, that they might try 
whether they could overcome their bad fortune. When this 
was refused them, they attempted with an army. In the 
ravage, the general-in-chief, Mazeus, met his own son clad in 
purple, though one of the priesthood. On account of that 
garment he was incensed, and he commanded him to be 
seized and crucified; and thought that in contempt of him 
he wore such a garment ; because it is not a custom with 
them that any other should be clad in purple but kings. 
Shortly after this they got the city of Carthage, and slew all 
the chiefs that were in it, and reduced the others to sub- 
jection. Then at last, he was himself circumvented and 
slain. This happened in the days of Cyrus, king of the 


After that Himilco, king of Carthage, proceeded with an 
army to Sicily, and there came upon them such a sudden evil, 
that men were dead as soon as it came upon them, so that at 
last they could not bury them ; and from fear against his 
will departed, and proceeded home with those that there 
were. As soon as the first ship reached the land and an- 
nounced the fearful intelligence, then were all the Cartha- 
ginian citizens affected with violent groaning and weeping, 
and every one asking and inquiring after his friends, and 
would positively believe nothing true, but that they must all 
have perished. "While the citizens were engaged on so 
mournful a subject, the king himself came with his ship, and 
landed in a very squalid garment, and both he himself pro- 
ceeded homewards, and the people who had come to meet 
him, all followed him homewards weeping; and he, the king, 
stretched out his hands upwards towards heaven, and with 
overflowing heart, bewailed both his own hard fortune and 
that of all the people ; and he, moreover, did to himself that 
which was worst, when he came to his house, when he there 


inne com. fa he -p pole faep-ute becynbe. 3 hine aenne faep- 
inne beleac. ~] hine pylpne opploh * jE$ cep fam paep pum pehj 
mann binnan Eaptama. pe paep haten panno. j paep mib unje- 
mete f aep cynebomep gypnenbe : "Kc him gef uhte j) he mib 
f aepa pitena pillum him ne mihte tocuman. ^ him Co paebe 
jenam ^ he hy ealle to jepeopbum to him gehet. ty he hy 
pSSan mihte mib attpe acpellan. ac hit gepeapS fuph fa 
amelbob. J>e he jefoht haepbe ^ him to Saepe ba&be pylftan 
fceolbe ;. Da he onpinbe ^ ^ cnS psef . )>a gejabepabe he ealle 
fa feopap ^j fa yplan menn f e he mihte. 3 f ohte ty he on fa 
buphpape on ungeapepe become, ac hit him peapS aepop cuft \ 
Da him aet f aepe bypi^ ne jeppeop. fa gepenbe he mib xxiai. M. 
to anpe o^eppe bypi^. -] fohte -p he fa abpsece : Da hsepbon 
fa buph-leoba GOaupitane him to pultume. 3 him on^ean comon 
butan fagptene. ^j pannon jejrenjon. ^j fa oftpe ^eplymbon. "j 
f aep pfrSan tintpejab peapS ; ^Epeft hine man ppang. fa 
fticobe him mon fa egan ut. 3 pSSan him mon ploh fa hanba 
of. fa ^ heapb. y call hif cynn mon ojrj-loh. fy laej* hit mon 
ujrepan bajum ppaece. oSSe a&mg o^ep bopfte ept fpylc ongm- 
nan ' m Dip gepeapS on Philippupep bseje. f aep cynmgep " ^Eftep 
f am hypbon Eaptanienfep ty pe maepa Mexanbep haejrbe abpocen 
Tipum fa buph. peo pa&j- on aep-bajum heopa ylbpena eSel. ^ 
onbpebon ]? hy eac to him cuman polbon ; . Da penbon hy 
fibep Kmilcop. heopa f one jleapeptan mann. ^ he Slexanbpej* 
pij-an befceapobe. ppa he hit him ept ham onbeab. on anum 
bpebe appiten. 3 pS^an hit appiten paep he hit opep-pophte 
mib peaxe ) 6pt fa Mexanbep ^epapen pasp 3 he ham com. fa 
tugon hine f a&pe bupje pitan. ^ he heopa ppicbomep piS Slex- 
anbep ppemmenbe paepe. "j hine pop f aepe tihtlan opplojon [ 
JEptep fam Eaptanienpep punnon on Sicilie. f sep him pelbon 
teala jeppeop. 3 bepaetan heopa heapob-buph. Sipacupep peep 
hatenu \ Da ne onha^obe Sjathocle. heopa cynmje. ^ he 
piS hy mihte buton pa&ptene gepeohtan. ne eac ^ hy ealle 
mihton pop metelepte f aep binnan jebiban. ac leton heopa 
pultum f a&p binnan beon. be fam baele. f e hy aej^ep mihton ge 
heopa paepten jehealban. ge eac f fa mete haepbon fa hpile. 3 
j-e.cymnj mib fam oSpum ba&le on pcipum pop on Eaptanienpe. 
3 hy paSe f aep popbsepnan het. f e he to lanbe jepop. popfoo 


shut the people out, and locked himself therein alone, and 
slew himself. After that, there was a wealthy man in 
Carthage, who was named Hanno, ana was immoderately 
craving after the kingship. But it seemed to him that with 
the will of the senators he could not attain it, and he took 
the resolution that he would bid them all to a feast, in order 
that he might then kill them by poison. But it was divulged 
through those who he had thought would have aided him in 
the deed. "When he found that it was known, he gathered 
all the slaves and the evil men that he could, and thought 
that he could come on the citizens unawares ; but it had been 
previously made known to them. "When he did not succeed 
at the city, he betook himself with twenty-four thousand to 
another city, and thought he could capture it. But the 
citizens had the Mauritanians to aid them, and came against 
him outside the fortress, and took Hanno, and put the others 
to flight, and there he was afterwards tortured. First they 
scourged him, then put his eyes out, and afterwards struck 
off his hands, then his head, and slew all his kin, lest they at 
a future day might avenge it, or any other might again dare 
the like. This happened in the days of Philip the king. 
After that, the Carthaginians heard that the Great Alexander 
had taken the city of Tyre, which, in days of old, was the 
country of their forefathers, and dreaded lest they should also 
come to them. Thereupon they sent Amilcar thither, their 
most expert man, that he might observe Alexander's move- 
ments, so that he might announce it to them at home written 
on a board ; and after it was written, he worked it over with 
wax. After Alexander was dead and he was come home, the 
senators of the city accused him of having acted treache- 
rously towards them with Alexander, and for that accusation 
slew him. After that the Carthaginians made war on Sicily, 
where they seldom succeeded well, and besieged their chief 
city called Syracuse. Then it did not seem advisable to 
Agathocles, their king, that he should fight with them outside 
his fortress, nor also that, on account of want of food, they 
should all remain within it; but let a part of their force be 
within, both that they might hold their fastness, and also 
that during that while they might have food ; and the king 
with the other part proceeded in ships to the Carthaginian 
territory, and immediately after he had reached land com- 


he nolbe f hip pynb heopa ept aenijne anpealb haepbe. -3 him 
J>aep pa'6e paepten jepophce. "3 psep f) pole J>anon-ut pleanbe 3 
hynenbe. o$f panno. J>sep polcep o$ep cymng. hine a&c J>am 
paeptene jepohte mib xx. M. '. Sc hine Sjathoclep jeplymbe 
3 hi]' polcep opploh n. M. 3 him aeptep-pyljenbe pa&p 06 v. mila 
co J?a&pe bypij Eapcanienpe. ] J>sep oSep paepcen jepophce. 
~] ]>aep ymbucan pa&p hepjenbe -3 baapnenbe. ^ Eapcamienpe 
mihcon jepeon op heopa bypij -^ pyp. ^ ]>one teonan fonne 
hy on pope pa&pon \ Ymbe fone timan ]?e Sip pa&p . Snbpa 
]?33p hacen Sjachoclep bpoSop. )?one he a&c ham on J>aepe 
\>ypjj him bea&pcan lee. he bepipebe ty pole ]>e hi embpeten 
haepbon. on anpe mht ungeapepe. -3 hit maept call opploh. 
^ J>a o^pe co pcipan o^plujon ; . Snb pat5e faep J>e hy ham 
comon. 3 ^ ppell cuS peapS Eapcaimenpum. ppa pupbon hy 
ppa ppiSe pop})ohce. ty nalaep ^ an ^ Sjachocle manega bypij 
to japol-jylbum pujibon. ac eac hy him heapmaelum pylpe 
on hanb eobon. ppa eac Opeplep pe cymnj. mib Eipene hip polce 
hme eac gepohce;. Sc ISjachoclep jebybe uncpeophce pib 
hine. ^ he hine on hip paepum beppac 'j opploh. ppa him eac 
pylpum pifrSan aeptep lamp ; . dp he Sa ])a ane uncpeopfta ne 
gebybe. ppom ]?am ba&ge he mihte butan bpoce ealpa Eaptama 
anpealb bejitan ; . On fa&pe hpile ]>e he J>one unpaeb Suph- 
teah. Bomilcop [2?milcop]. Pena cyninj. psep mibpibbe piS hip 
papenbe. mib eaEum hip polce*.. 3Sc betux Hgathocle 3 hip 
polce peapS unjepeebnep. ^ he pylp opplajen peapS;. ^Eptep 
hip beaSe popan ept Eaptainienpep on Sicilie mib pcipum * Da 
hy -^ jeahpebon. fa penbon hy aepteji Pippupe. 6pipa cynmje. -3 
he him pume hpile jepylpte ; . 


pam ]>e Romebuph getimbpeb pasp cccc. pintpum 
3 Lxxxm. penbon OOameptme. Sicilia pole, aeptep Romana 
pultume. J> hy pi$ Pena polce mihte ; Da penbon hy him 
Sppmp riaubmp J)one conpul mib pultume : 6pt ]>a hy 

KING ALFRED'S OROsius.IZ^ *~t & 395 

manded them to be burnt, because he would not that his 
enemies should have afterwards any power over them ; and 
he there speedily constructed a fortress, and was driving out 
the people thence and oppressing them, until Hanno, the 
people's other king, sought him at the fortress with twenty 
thousand men. But Agathocles put him to flight, and slew 
two thousand of his people, and followed after him to within 
five miles of the Carthaginian city, and there constructed 
another fortress, and there about was harrying and burning, 
so that the Carthaginians might see the fire from their city, 
and the calamity, while they were [out] in the expedition. 
About the time that this was, the brother of Agathocles, who 
was named Andro, whom he had left behind him at home in 
the city, overcame by artifice the army that had besieged him, 
in one night unexpectedly, and slew them almost all, and the 
others fled to their ships. And immediately after they came 
home, and the intelligence became known to the Cartha- 
ginians, they were so despised, that not only many cities 
became tributaries to Agathocles, but also surrendered to 
him in bodies. So also Ophelias, the king, with Gyrene, 
his people, likewise sought him. But Agathocles acted 
treacherously towards him, by deceiving him into a compact 
with him, and slew him ; as it happened afterwards also to 
himself. If he had not done that one act of treachery, he 
might from that day, without difficulty have acquired the 
rule over all the Carthaginians. During the time that he 
was following that evil counsel, Bomilcar, the Punic king, 
was peaceably marching towards him with all his people. 
But there was dissension between Agathocles and his people, 
so that he himself was slain. After his death the Cartha- 
ginians proceeded again to Sicily with ships. "When they 
(the Sicilians) were apprized of that, they sent for Pyrrhus, 
king of Epirus, and he for some time aided them. 


After Rome had been built four hundred and eighty-three 
years, the Mamertini, a Sicilian people, sent to the Ro- 
mans for aid, that they might withstand the Punic people. 
"Whereupon they sent to them the consul, Appius Claudius, 
with aid. Then after they had proceeded together with their 


cogaebepe-peapb popan mib heopa polcum. pa plugon Pene. ppa 
hy epc pylpe paebon. j hy punbpeban f hy aep plujon aep hy 
cogsebepe genealaehcon ; . Fop pam pleame panno. Pena 
cynmg. mib eallum hip polce. peapS Romanum Co gapol-jylbum. 
j him aelce jeape gepealbe cpa hunb calencana peolppep. on 
aelcpe anpe calencan paep Lxxx. punba ; - ^Eftep pam Roir.ane 
bej-aetan )>one ylbpan pannibalan. Pena cynmj. on Sjpijence. 
Sicilia bypi^. 06 he popneah hun^pe fpealt;. Da com him 
Pena o$ep cyninj co pultume mib pciphepe. panno pasj- hacen. 
] ]?3ep jeplymeb peap'5. 3 Romane pft<5an f paapcen abpaecan. -] 
Panmbal pe cynmj; on mhc uc-oSjrleah mib peapum mannum. ^j 
Lxxx. f cipa gegabepabe. ^ on Romana lanb-gemaepo hejijabe ; 
On pa ppace punbon Romane aepep; ty hy pcipa pophcan. f 
geppemebe Duiliup heopa conjTil ^ ty un^in peapS tibhce 
Jmphtogen. ppa ty a&pceji pyxci^um ba^a faep J?e 'p timbep 
acoppen paep. J)gep pa&pon xxx. 3 c. geapopa. ge mib maepte je 
mib pejle. -3 oftep conpul. pe paap hacen Eopnehup Spma. pe 
jepop on Lipapip }> ijlanb. Co panmbale co punbop-pppa&ce 
mib xvi. pcipan. ]>a opploh he hine ; Spa ^ J>a pe oftep conj-ul 
jehypbe. Duiiiup. ppa gepop he Co J>am ijlanbe mib xxx. pcipum 
~] panmbalep polcep in. hunb opploh. y hip xxx. pcipa ^enam. j 
xin. on psa bepencce. -3 hyne pylpne jeplymbe.'- ^Epcep ]>am 
Punici. ty pmbon Eapcamenpe. hy gepeccon pannonan opep 
heopa pcipa. ppa panmbalep paep aep. ty he bepepebe SapSimam 
^j Eoppicam J?a i^lanb piS Romanum. ~] he paSe faep pi^ hy 
gepeahc mib pciphepe. ^ oppla^en peapft 

Daep on J>am aepcepan jeape Ealacinup pe conpul pop mib 
pypbe co Eamepmam. Siciha bypij. ac him haepbon Pene ]?one 
peg poppecen. J>a&p he opep J>one munc papan pceolbe ; Da 
jenam Ealacinup in. hunb manna mib him. ] on anpe bijelpe 
pcope pone munc opeppcah. ~] ]?a menn apsepbe ^ hy ealle 
onjean hine paepon peohcenbe. -3 J>one pej lecan bucan pape. 
^ peo pypb piftftan ]>a&p 5uph pop. ~] paep peap<5 pa in. hunb 
manna opplagen ealle. bucon pam conpule anum. he com punb 
apeg \ ^Epcep Sam Punice gepeccon epc pone ealban pan- 
mbalan. -f he mib pcipum on Romane punne. ac ept pa he paep 


people, the Carthaginians fled, as they themselves said 
afterwards ; and they wondered that they fled before they 
had engaged together. Through that flight, Hanno, the 
Punic king, with all his subjects, became tributaries to the 
Eomans, and paid them every year two hundred talents of 
silver, in each single talent were eighty pounds. After that 
the Eomans besieged the elder Annibal, the Punic king, in 
Agrigentum, a city of Sicily, until he nearly perished with 
hunger. Then the other Punic king, who was named Hanno, 
came to his aid with a fleet, and was there put to flight, and 
the Eomans afterwards took the fortress, and the king, 
Annibal, fled away by night with a few men, and gathered 
eighty ships, and pillaged on the Eoman coasts. In re- 
taliation, the Eomans first resolved to construct ships, w hich 
Duilius, their consul, promoted, so that the undertaking was 
speedily accomplished; so that after sixty days from the 
time that the timber was cut, a hundred and thirty were 
ready, both with mast and sail ; and the other consul, who 
was named Cornelius Asina, proceeded to the island of 
Lipara with sixteen ships, to a private conference with 
Annibal, when he slew him. When Duilius, the other 
consul, heard that, he proceeded to the island with thirty 
ships, and slew three hundred of Annibal' s people, and took 
thirty of his ships, and sank thirteen in the sea, and put 
himself to flight. After that the Poani, that is, the Cartha- 
ginians, placed Hanno over their ships, as Annibal had 
previously been, that he might defend the islands of Sardinia 
and Corsica against the Eomans ; and he soon after fought 
against them with a fleet and was slain. 

In the year after this, the consul Calatinus proceeded with 
an army to Camerina, a city of Sicily; but the Carthaginians 
had beset the way, where he was to pass over the mountain. 
Calatinus thereupon took with him three hundred men and 
ascended the mountain at a secret place, and the men feared 
that they were all fighting against them, and left the way 
without defence, so that the army afterwards passed there- 
through; and there were all the three hundred men slain, 
save the consul alone; he came away wounded. After that 
the Carthaginians again appointed the old Annibal to make 
war on the Eomans with ships; but again, when he was 
about to harry there, he was quickly put to flight, and in the 


hepgean pceolbe. he peapft pafte geplymeb. ~] on fam pleame 
hyne opcyppbon hip agene gepepan '. JEpcep fam Sciliup ye 
conpul apepce Lipapum "j GQehcam. Siciha iglanbl- JEpcen 
fam popan Romane on Xpppice mib mi. hunb pcipa y 
f picigum '. Da p enbon hy heopa cpejen cynmgap him onjean 
pannan 1 } Smilcop. mib pcipum. ~] faep pupbon begen geplymeb. 
3 Romane jenamon on him Lxxxmi. pcipa. -3 p88anhy abpaecon 
Elypeam heopa buph. 3 pa&jion hepjenbe oS Eapcama heopa 
heapob-buph ; ^Epcep fam Re^uluj- j-e consul unbeppenj 
Eapcama jepinn ; Da he sepej-c fibep mib pypbe jrapenbe psef . 
Jja gepicobe he neah anpe ea. feo paef haten Ba^paba. fa com 
op J>am paecepe an naebpe. feo paap unjemechce micel. 3 fa 
menn ealle opploh ]>e neah fam paetepe comon ; B6 D^ER6 
N^EDRSN ; Da gegabepabe Rejulup ealle fa pcyccan fe on 
J>am paepelbe paepon. ^ hy mon mib planum opepcome. ac 
fonne hy mon ploh o^6e pceac. fonne jlab hie on fam pcillum. 
j-pylce hie paepe pmeSe ipen ; Da hec he mib fam palipcap. 
mib fam hy peallap bpaecan. fonne hy on r~j-cenne puhcon. -p 
hipe mon mib fam f pipep onpuppe \ Da peapS hipe mib 
anum pyppe an pibb popob. -j> heo pi'SSan maejen ne haepbe 
hy co jepcylbanne. ac pafie f a&p heo peap^5 opplajen. popf on 
hie ip naebpena gecynb. -p heopa ma&jen j heopa pe$e bift on 
heopa pibbum. ppa o^epa cpeopenbpa pypma bi on heopa 
pocum ;. Da heo jepylleb paep. he hec hy behylban. j fa hybe 
co Rome bpmjan. j hy faap co maeptSe afenian. popfon heo 
paep hunb-cpelpcijep poca lanj ; ^Epcep f am jepeahc Re^ulup 
piS Spy Pena cynmgap on anum jepeohce. piS cpegen papbpu- 
balap. 3 pe ftpibba paep hacen Smilcop. pe pa&p on Sicihum him 
co pulcume jepecc;- On fam jepeohce paep Eapcamienpa 
xvn. M. opplajen. 3 xv. M. ^epanjen. 3 ix. elpenbap jenumen. 
*] Lxxxn. cuna him eobon on hanb ; 

Da aepcep fam f e Eapcaimenpe jeplymbe paepon. hy pilnebon 
ppiSep Co Rejule. ac epc fa hy onjeacan. ^ he ungemeclic 
japol piS fam ppi^e habban polbe. fa cpsebon hy -p him leoppe 
paepe ^ hy on ppylcon mSe beaS popname. f onne hy mib ppylcan 
niebe ppi& bejeace ; Da penbon hy aepcep pulcume. a;$Sep je 
on Ijalhe. je on Ippanie. je on Laecebemome. aepcep Gxancipupe. 
fam cyninge ; Gpc fa hy ealle ^epomnab paepan. ]>& bef ohcan 
hy ealb heopa pi^cpaepcap co Gxancipupe. 3 he pi(3t5an fa pole 

KING ALFRED'S OEOSits._/jC- 399 

flight his own companions stoned him to death. After that 
the consul Atilius laid waste the Sicilian islands of Lipara 
and Melita. After that the Eomans proceeded to Africa 
with four hundred and thirty ships. Thereupon they sent 
their two kings, Hanno and Amilcar, against them with ships ; 
and there were both put to flight, and the Eomans took from 
them eighty-four ships, and they afterwards took their city 
of Clupea, and harried as far as their chief city, Carthage. 
After that the consul Eegulus undertook the Carthaginian 
war. When he first came thither with an army, he en- 
camped near a river that was named Bagrada, when there 
came from the water a serpent that was enormously large, 
and slew all the men that caine near the water. OF THE 
SERPENT. Thereupon Eegulus gathered all the archers that 
were in the expedition, that they might overcome it with 
arrows ; but when they struck or shot at it, it (the missile) 
glided on its scales as if they were smooth iron. He then 
commanded that with the balistas, with which they break 
walls when they fight against a fortress, they should cast at 
it obliquely. Thereupon with one cast one of its ribs was 
broken, so that afterwards it had no power to protect itself, 
but shortly after was slain ; because it is the nature of 
serpents, that their power and their locomotive faculty is in 
their ribs, as of other creeping worms it is in their feet. 
When it was killed, he ordered it to be flayed and the hide 
brought to Eome, and there to be stretched out as a wonder ; 
because it was a hundred and twenty feet long. After that, 
Eegulus fought against three Punic kings, in one battle, 
against the two Asdrubals, and the third called Amilcar, 
who was in Sicily, [but] fetched to aid them. In that battle 
seventeen thousand Carthaginians were slain, and fifteen 
thousand captured, and nine elephants taken, and eighty-two 
towns surrendered to him. 

Then, after the Carthaginians had been put to flight, they 
desired peace from Eegulus ; but after they had ascertained 
that he would have an immoderate tribute for the peace, 
they said that they would rather that death should destroy 
them in such [a state of] hate, than that they under such 
hard conditions should obtain peace. Thereupon they sent 
for succour to Graul, to Spain, and to Lacedaemonia, to the 
king, Xantippus. After they were all assembled, they com- 


jeiaebbe paep hy Cogabepe gecpeben haepbon. 3 gepecce Cpa jrolc 
biegelhce on cpa healpa hip. 3 ftpibbe beaepcan him. 3 bebeab 
pam tpam polcum. ponne he pylp mib pam pypmepcan baele 
piS pap aepcemepcan pluge. ^ hy ponne on Regulep pypbe on 
cpa healpa ppypep onpope. paep peapft Romana xxx. M. opplagen. 
3 Re^uluj- jepanjen mib v. hunb manna;- Dep pje gepeapft 
Punicum on ]?am ceoSan geape heopa jepmnej- *] Romana '. 
RaSe ])8&p Gxantipuj* pop epc co hif ajnum pice. 3 him Romane 
onbpeb. pop]>on ]>e hy pop hip lape sec heojia jemiccmje 
beppicene pupbon ; JEpcep pam ^Emilmp Paulup pe conpul pop 
on Spppicam mib in. hunb pcipa Co Elypeam fam ijlanbe. 
} him comon fa&p onjean Punice mib ppa pela pcipa. j faep 
jeplymbe pa&pon. j heopa polcep paep v. M. opplajen. ~\ heopa 
pcipa xxx. gepangen. ] 1111. *] an hunb abpuncen. 3 Romana 
paep an c. ~] an M. opplagen. ] heopa pcipa ix. abpmncen. -3 hy 
on fam i^lanbe paepcen pophcan. 3 hy paep epc Pene jepohcon 
mib heopa cpam cymnjum. ]?a paepan bejen pannon hacene. 
j paep heopa paepon ix. M. opplagen. 3 pa o'Spe jeplymeb ; 
GDib psejie hepe-hy^e Romane opephlaeptan heopa pcipa. pa hy 
hampeapb paepon. -f> heopa gebpap cc. 3 xxx. 3 Lxx. peapS co 
lape. 3 unease jenepeb mib pam f hy maepc ealle uc-apuppon 
f paepon paep:. ^Epcep pam Smilcop. Pena cymng. pop on 
Numibiam 3 on ODaupicaniam. -j hy opephep^abe. -3 co japol- 
jylbum jepecce. poppon pe hy aeji Rejule on hanb eoban '. 
Daep ymb vi. jeap Seppihup Eepio anb Sempponiup Blepup. pa 
conpulap. popan mib in. hunb pcipa j Lx. gum on Spppice. 3 
on Eapcamenpum moneja bypig abpaecon. j pi^San mib 
miclum pin^um hampeapb popan. 3 epc heopa pcipa opep- 
hlaepcan. ^ heopa jebpupon L. -3 c. > ^Epcep pam Eocca pe 
conpul pop on Sicilie 3 hy ealle pojihepgabe. paep paepon ppa 
micle mannplyhcap. on ae^pe healpe. -p hy mon aec nyhpcan 
bebypjean ne mihce ; On Luciupep bae^e Eehupep. paep con- 
pulep. 3 on GOecellupep Eaiupep. 3 on Fupiupep Pacilupep. com 
^j-cepbal. pe mpa cymnj. op Lapcamum on Lilibeum f i^lanb 
nn& xxx. M. jehoppebpa. 3 mib IJLX. gum elpeKbaj c. 3 paSe paef 


mitted all their military force to Xantippus, and he subse- 
quently led those nations to where they had agreed together, 
and placed two nations secretly on each side of him, and the 
third behind him, and commanded the two nations, when he 
himself with the foremost part should flee towards the hind- 
most, that they then should march on the army of Eegulus, 
on each side obliquely. There were slain thirty thousand 
Eomans, and Begulus with five hundred men was taken. 
This victory happened to the Carthaginians in the tenth year 
of their war with the Eomans. Shortly after, Xantippus 
returned to his own kingdom, and the Eomans were fear- 
stricken, because by his instruction, in their engagement, 
they had been overreached. After that, the consul JEmilius 
Paulus proceeded to Africa with three hundred ships, to the 
island of Clupea, and there the Carthaginians came against 
him with as many ships, and were there put to flight, and 
five thousand of their people were slain, and thirty of their 
ships taken, and a hundred and four sunk ; arid of the 
Eomans one thousand one hundred were slain, and nine of 
their ships sunk : and they constructed a fortress on the 
island ; and there the Carthaginians again sought them with 
their two kings, who were called the two Hannos, and there 
nine thousand of them were slain, and the others put to 
flight. With the booty the Eomans overloaded their ships 
when they were [proceeding] homeward, so that two hundred 
and thirty were lost, and seventy were left, and with difficulty 
saved, by casting out almost all that was in them. After that, 
Amilcar, the Punic king, proceeded to Numidia and to 
Mauritania, and ravaged them, and made them tributary, 
because they had before submitted to Eegulus. Six years 
after, Servilius Carpio and Sempronius Blsesus, the consuls, 
proceeded with three hundred and sixty ships to Africa, and 
took many towns from the Carthaginians, and afterwards- 
with much spoil proceeded homewards, and again so over- 
loaded their ships, that a hundred and fifty of them were 
lost. After that, the consul Cotta proceeded to Sicily, and 
ravaged it all ; there were so many slaughters on both sides, 
that at last they could not be buried. In the days of the 
consul Lucius Caelius, and of Metellus Caius, and of Furius 
Pacilus, Asdrubal, the new king of Carthage, came to the 
island of Lilyba3um with thirty thousand horse, and with a 



gepeaht piS GOetellup pone cynmj ' He piSSan GOetellup pa 
elpenbap ocepcom. piSSan he haepbe eac jiafte -p o$ep pole 
jeplymeb ; ^Eftep pam pleame. Xptepbal peapS opplajen ppam 
hip ajnum polce ; 

Da paepon Eaptaimenpe ppa opepcumene. 3 ppa jebpepebe 
betux him pylpum. ty hy hi to nanum onpealbe ne bemsecanu 
achy gepeapft. ^ hy polban to Romanum ppiftep pilman'- 
Da fenbon hy Rejulup Sone conpul. J>one hy haepbon mib him 
pip pmtep on benbum. 3 he him geppoji on hip joba namon. ^ 
he ae^ep polbe. je ^ aepenbe abeoban. ppa ppa hy hine hecon. 
ge eac him ^ anbpypbe ept gecySan. 3 he hie ppa ^elaepce. -] 
abeab ^ aaj'Sep J9epa polca oftpum ajeape ealle J>a menn fe hy 
^ehepgab haapbon. ~] pi&San him becpeonum pibbe heolban. j 
aspcep J>am ]>e he hit aboben hsepbe. he hy halpobe. Jj> hy 
nanuht p-sepa aepenba ne unbeppengon. ^ cpaeS. ^ him to micel 
aepipte paspe. ^ hy ppa emnlice ppixlebon. } eac ^ heopa 
gepipna na&pe ^ hy ppa heane hy jefohtan. ^ hy heopa gelican 
pupbon. Da aeptep J>am popbum. hy bubon him -^ he on 
cyfr5e mib him punobe. ~j to hip pice penge. ]?a anbpypbe he 
him j cpaaS. ty hit na gepeopSan pceolbe. *$ pe paape leoba cymng. 
pepe sep paep polce J>eop. Da apaeban hip gepepan hu he heopa 
aepenba abeab. fta popcuppon hi him pa tpa aebpan. on tpa 
healpa }>aepa eajan. ty he aeptep J>am plapan ne mihte. 06 he 
ppa peapijenbe hip lip poplet ; 

JEptep J>am Stiliup Rejulup "j ODanliup Ulpco. )>a conpulap. 
popon on Eaptame on Lilibeum ^ ijlanb. mib tpam hunb 
pcipa. -3 J?aep bepaetan an paepten ;. Da bepop hine J>aep pan- 
nibal pe geonga cynin^. Smilcopiep punu. J>aep hy ungeapepe 
bucon paeptene paetan. ] Jaep ealle opplajene pa&pan buton 
f eapum ; ^Eptep fam Elaubiup pe conpul pop ept on Punice. 
3 him panmbal ut on pae on^ean com j ealle opploh. butan xxx. 
pciplaepta ]?a ofcplujon to Lilibeum ]>am iglanbe. p/aep paep 
oppla^en ix. M. 3 xx. M. jepanjen;- ^Eptep Jmm pop Camp 
luniup. pe conpul. on Spppice. "j mib eallum hip paepelbe on 
pa& poppeapS \ - Dsep on ]>am aepteppan jeape. panmbal penbe 
pciphepe on Rome, j fa&p unjemetlic gehepjabon ; ^Eptep 
|>am Lutatia pe con/Til pop on Xpppice mib in. hunb pcipa, 


hundred and thirty elephants, and immediately after fought 
with the king Metellus. But after Metellus had overcome 
the elephants, he also quickly put the other people to flight. 
After the flight, Asdrubal was slain by his own people. 

Then were the Carthaginians so overcome and so perplexed 
among themselves, that they could not assume to themselves 
any power, but they determined that they would desire peace 
of the Romans. Thereupon they sent the consul Regulus, 
whom they had had five years with them in bonds ; and he 
swore to them, in the name of his gods, that he would both 
announce the errand, as they commanded him, and also again 
declare the answer. And that he so performed, and an- 
nounced, that each people should restore to the other all the 
men that they had captured, and afterwards preserve peace 
between them. And after he had announced that, he im- 
plored them not to accept aught of the errands, and said, that 
it would be a great disgrace to them to exchange on such 
equal terms ; and also that it was not fitting that they should 
think so meanly of themselves that they were their equals. 
Then, after those words, they enjoined him to stay at home 
with them, and assume the government ; but he answered 
them and said, that it could not be that he should be a king 
of nations, who had before been a slave to people. "When 
his companions had related how he had announced their 
errands, they cut the two nerves on the two sides of his eyes, 
so that after that he could not sleep, until thus enduring 
pain, he yielded up his life. 

After that Atilius Eegulus and Manlius Vulso, the consuls, 
proceeded against the Carthaginians, on the isle of Lilybaeura, 
with two hundred ships, and there besieged a fortress. Then 
the young king, Annibal, the son of Amilcar, betook him- 
self there where unprepared they were sitting about the 
fortress, and there all were slain save a few. After that the 
consul Claudius again proceeded to Carthage, and Annibal 
met them out at sea and slew them all, except thirty transports 
that escaped to the island of Lilybseum. There were slain 
nine thousand, and twenty thousand captured. After that 
the consul Caius Junius proceeded to Africa, and perished at 
sea with his whole expedition. In the year after, Annibal 
ent a fleet to Eome, and there they committed great ravages. 
Mter that, Lutatius, the consul, proceeded against Africa 


co Sicihum. ~) him Punice J>aep pio" gepuhton. fta&p peapfl 
Lutatia punb Jmph ^ oSep cneop. J>aep on mepgen com panno 
mib panmbalep pypbe. "j J> a&p gepeaht pi)> Lutatia )>eh he punb 
paepe. 3 pannan geplymbe. 3 him aeptep pop. oS he com to 
Einam J>aepe bypig | Ra<5e Jjsep comon ept Pene mib pipbe co 
him. 3 jeplymbe pupban. ^ opplajen n. M. |- 

Da pilnebon Eapcame o8pe pi^e ppi^e]- Co Romanum. ^) hy 
hie him on ^ gepab jeapan. -^ hy him Siciliam co ne cujon. 
ne 8ap8miam. ^ eac him jepealbon j?aep on-upan in. M. talentana 
aelce geape ; 


)>am ]>e Romebuph jecimbpeb paep v. hunb pincpum. 
} vn. peapS unjemeclic pypbpyne mib Romanum. j) nan mann 
nypte hpanon hit com ', Da ^ pyp alet. ]>a peapft Tibep 
j-eo ea ppa plebu ppa heo naeppe a&p nsep ne pit5San. ^ heo maept 
eall jenam ty bmnan J>aepe bypij paap J?a&pa manna anblypene. 
je eac on heopa getimbpum | On J?am bajum ]>e Titup 
Sempponiup 3 Epatiap Eaiup paepon conpulap on Rome, hy 
jepuhton piS Falipcip J>am polce. ^ heopa opplojon xn. M. ' 

On ]>am geape pupbon Ijallie Romanum pi^eppeapbe. J>e 
mon nu haste Lan^beapbap. 3 pat5e J)33p heopa pole cojaebepe 
jelaebbon. on heopa J?am popman gepeohte pa&p Romana in. M. 
opplagen. ] on fam septepan jeape pasp Dallie 1111. M. opplagen. 
3 11. M. ^epanjen ; Da Romane hampeapb psepan. ]?a nolban 
hy bon Jone tpmmphan bepopan heopa conpulum. ]>e heopa 
^epuna paap fonne hy pije haepbon. pop]?on ]>e he aet J>am a&ppan 
^epeohte pleah. -3 hy ^ piSSan peala geapa on mippenlicum 
pijum bpeogenbe pa&pon ; Da]?a Titup GOanhup. ^ Topcpatup 
naiup. j Stiliup Bubulcup paepan conpulap 1 on Rome, pa 
onjunnon SapSmie. ppa hy Pene ^elaepbon. pinnan piS Ro- 
manum. ] paSe opepppiftbe paepon ; ^Eptep )>am Romane 
punnon on Eaptame. poppon ]>e hy ppi8 abpocen ha&pbon ; - 
Da penbon hy tua heopa aepenbpacan to Romanum aeptep 
. 3 hit abibban ne mihton;. Da aet }>am Spibbar. 

ALFRED'S OROSIUS. -2^/ 6/7 405 

with three hundred ships to Sicily, and the Carthaginians 
there fought against him. There was Lutatius wounded 
through one knee. On the morrow came Hanno with 
Annibal's army, and there fought against Lutatius, although 
he was wounded, and he put Hanno to flight, and proceeded 
after him, until he came to the city of Erycina. Quickly 
after, the Carthaginians came to him again with an army, 
and were put to flight, and two thousand slain. 

The Carthaginians then a second time sued for peace to 
the Romans, and they granted it to them on condition that 
they should not take possession of Sicily nor Sardinia ; and 
should, moreover, pay them three thousand talents every 


After Home had been built five hundred and seven years, 
there was an immense conflagration among the Eomans, and 
no man knew whence it came. "When the fire ceased, the 
river Tiber was so swollen as it had never been before nor 
since; so that it carried away almost all the sustenance of 
the people that was within the city, yea, even in their dwell- 
ings. In those days, when Titus Sempronius and Caius 
Gracchus were consuls at Borne, they fought against the 
people of the Falisci, and slew twelve thousand of them. 

In that year, the Gauls, who are now called Longobards, 
were hostile to the Romans, and shortly after, led their 
people together. In their first battle three thousand of tii-o 
Eomans were slain ; and in the following year four thousand 
Gauls were slain, and two thousand captured. When the 
Eomans were [returning] homeward, they would not make a 
triumph before their consuls, as was their wont when they 
had victory, because in the first battle they had fled ; and they 
for many years after endured that in divers victories. When 
Titus Manlius, and Caius Torquatus, and Atilius Bulbus 
were consuls at Eome, the Sardinians, as the Carthaginians 
had taught them, began to war against the Eomans, and were 
soon overpowered. After that the Eomans made war on the 
Carthaginians, because they had broken the peace. They 
thereupon sent two of their messengers to Eome for peace, 
but could not obtain it. Then, at the third time, they sent 


cyppe hy penbon x. heopa ylbeptan pitena. ] hy hit abibban ne 
mihton ; JE& fam peopftan cyppe hy penbon pannan heopa 
pone unpeopfteptan f egn. 3 he hit abeab'- p'ltobhce. cpae'S 
Opopmp. nu pe pinbon cumen to fam goban tibum. }>e up 
Romane o^pitaS. } to f aepe gemhtpumneppe. fe hy up ealnij 
pope gylpaS. ^ upe ne pen fam jelican ; He ppme hy mon 
}>onne. aeptep hu monega pmtpum p eo fibb jepujibe. paef J>e hy 
s&ppt unpbbe piS mone^um polcum haepbon;- Donne 
aeptep L. pintpa -3 cccc. Xhpje fonne ept hu lanje feo fib 
gef tobe. fonne pa&p ^ an jeap \ 

Sona ]>aef on ]>am aepteppan geape. ISallie punnon pi^S Ro 
mane, y Pene on oftpe healpe ; pu SmcS eop nu Romanum. 
hu feo pibb jepaeptnob paepe. hpaa^ep heo pi Jmm jelicopt ]>e 
mon mme anne elep bpopan ~] bpype on an mycel pyp. ~] Sence 
hit mib pam abpaspcan. J>onne ip pen ppa micle ppit5opi ppa 
he ftencS ^ he hit abpaspce. ^ he hit ppa micle ppiftop on- 
tynbe ; 8pa fonne paep mib Romanum. -p an geap f hy pibbe 
haepbon. ^ hy unbep faepe pibbe to ]?aepe mseptan pace become. 

On heopa ]>am aepeptan jepmne. Smilcop Eaptama cyninj. 
]>& he to Romanum mib pypbe papan polbe. fa peapfi he ppam 
8penum bejjpibab ] opplajen ; On J>am jeape Ilipice opplogan 
Romana 33penbpacan . ^ptep Jjam Fuluiup Poptumiup pe 
conpul pop ]>am on hi pypbe gela&bbe. ^ pela opplagen peapft on 
ae^pe healpe. 3 he )>eah pije haepbe;- 8ona J>aep on fam 
*pteppan jeape. jelaepban Romana bipceopap ppylce mpe 
pasbap. ppylce hy pull opt aep ealbe gebybon. fa him mon on 
8peo healpa onpmnenbe paep . ae^ep ge Eallie be pufan mun- 
tum. ge Dallie be nop8an muntum. ge Pene. ^ hy pceolban 
mib mannum pop hy heopa gobum blotan. "j faet pceolbe beon 
an Hallipc pa&pneb-mann. *) an Dallipc pipmann. -5 hy fa Ro- 
mane be fa&pa bipceopa lape. hy ppa cuce bebyp^bon '. "Re 
hit Cob ppaec on him. ppa he aep ealneg bybe. ppa opt ppa hy 
mib mannum opppeban. ^ hy mib heopa cucum gulbon ^ hy 
unjyltije cpealboni- Daet paep aepept gepyne on fam je- 
peohte fe hy pit5 Gallium hsepbon. feh f e heopa ajenep pul- 
tumep pajpe eahta hunb M. buton ot5pum polcum fehy haepbon 
to-apponen. -f hy paSe plujm. faep fe heopa conpul opplajen 

KING ALFRED'S oaosiirs.IZE^ J 407 

ten of their eldest senators, and they could not obtain it. At 
the fourth time, they sent Hanno, their unworthiest minister, 
and he obtained it. Verily, says Orosius, we are now come 
to the good times that the Romans twit us with, and to the 
abundance that they are always boasting of before us, [saying] 
that ours are not like to them. But let then any one ask 
them, after how many years the peace was, from the time 
they first had war with many people ? It is then after four 
hundred and fifty years. Then let him again ask, how long 
the peace lasted ? It was one year ! 

Immediately after, in the following year, the Gauls made 
war against the Romans, and, on the other side, the Cartha- 
ginians. How think ye now, Eomans, how the peace was 
established, whether it were not likest to any one taking a drop 
of oil and dropping it on a great fire, and thinking thereby 
to quench it, when the probability is much greater that, when 
he thinks that he quenches it, he makes it burn so much 
more fiercely ? So then it was with the Eomans, that the 
one year they had peace, during that peace, they fell into 
the greatest strife. 

In their first war, Amilcar, king of Carthage, when he was 
about to proceed against the Eomans with an army, was 
surrounded by the Spaniards and slain. In that year the 
Illyrians slew the Eoman envoys. After that Fulvius 
Postumius, the consul, on that account, led an army against 
them, and many were slain on both sides, yet he had the 
victory. Soon after, in the following year, the Eoman priests 
taught, as new doctrines, such as they had very often prac- 
tised in former times : when a war was raging on three 
sides of'them, with the G-auls on the south of the mountains, 
the G-auls on the north of the mountains, and the Cartha- 
ginians, that they should sacrifice for themselves to their 
gods with human beings, and that should be a Gaulish 
man and a Gaulish woman. And the Eomans then, by the 
instruction of their priests, thus buried them alive. But 
God avenged it on them, as he had always done before. So 
often as they sacrificed with human beings, they paid with 
their living ones, for having slain the guiltless. That was 
first seen in the battle that they had with the Gauls, al- 
though their own force was eight hundred thousand, besides 
other nations that they had drawn to them, when they quickly 


paep. 3 heopa oSpep polcep in. M. ty him fa jeSuhte ppylc ^ 
maepte pael. ppylc n Y F C ^P FP na <hc haepbon'.- Mfc heopa 
oSpan gepeohce peep I/allia ix. M. opplagen. f aep on f am Spibban 
jeape GOanhup Topcuatup 3 Fulmup Flaccup paepon conpulap 
on Rome, hy gepuhton piS Ijallium. ~] heopa hunb M. opflogon. 
^ vi. M. jepenjon;- 

On ]?am s&pceppan geape paepan moni^e punbpa jepepene. an 
paej" ^ on Piceno J>am puba an pille peoll blobe. ^ on Thpacia 
j>am lanbe mon peah ppylce pe heopon bupne. ^j on Spimmio 
J>aape bypi^ pa&p mhc oS mibne bsej. ~] peapS ppa micel eopftbeo- 
pun^. ^ on Eapia 3 on RoSum. ]?am iglanbum. pupbon micle 
hpypap. ] Eoloppup jehpeap *. . Dy geape Flaminiup pe conj - ul 
poppeah J?a ps&^ene ]?e fa hlyccan him paebon. ^ him lojan ^ he 
sec ]>am gepeohce ne come pr3 Iiallie. ac he hie ftuphceah. -} 
mib peopftpcipe ^eenbabe. J?s&p paep liallia vn. M. opplajen. -] xv. 
M. jepanjen:- ^Epcep ]>am Haubiup pe conpul jepeaht pi(5 
liallie. 3 heopa opploh xxx. M. ^ he pylp ^epeaht piS J>one 
cynmj anpig ^ hyne opploh. j GOegelan ]>a buph ^eeobe '. ^Epcep 
|>am punnon Iptpie on Romane. ]>a penbon hy heopa conpulap 
ongean. Eopnehup ] GQinutiup. J>aep psep micel pael geplagen on 
s&g^pe healpe. ] Ipcpie pupbon feh Romanum unbepjjeobbe*.- 


J?am ]?e Romebujih gecimbpeb paep v. hunb pincpum 
3 xxxni. panmbal. Pena cymnj. bepaec Sajuncum Ippama buph. 
poppon ]>e hy on pimbel piS Romane pibbe heolban. j faep paep 
pitcenbe vm. monaS. o^ he hy ealle hunjpe acpealbe j fa buph 
copeapp. f eh ]> e Romane heopa aepenbpacan to him penbon. 3 
hy pipmetcon ^ hi f jepm poplecon. ac he hy ppa unpeopShce 
poppeah. ty he heopa pylp onpeon nolbe on fam jepmne. j eac 
on monejum oSpum;- -^pcep J?am panmbal jecy^be J?one 
ni6 3 fone hete. ]>e he bepopan hip paebep jeppeop. fa he nijon 
pjncpe cmhc paep. ^ he naeppe ne puribe Romana ppeonb ;. Daf a 

KING ALFRED'S onosius. J*-i // ; 409 

fled, because their consul was slain, and of their other people 
three thousand : that seemed to them as an immense slaughter, 
what they had often before regarded as naught. In their 
second battle, nine thousand Grauls were slain. In the third 
year after this, Manlius Torquatus and Pulvius Flaccus 
were consuls at Rome. They fought against the Grauls, and 
slew a 'hundred thousand of them and took six thousand. 

In the year after, there were many wonders seen. One 
was, that in the wood of Picenum a spring welled with blood ; 
and in the land of Thrace it was seen as if the heavens were 
burning ; and in the city of Ariminum there was night until 
mid-day; and there was so great an earthquake that in Caria 
and the isle of Rhodes there were great ruins, and the 
Colossus fell. In this year, the consul Flaminius despised 
the sayings that the augurs had said to him, and falsely warned 
him not to engage in war against the Grauls ; but he carried 
it through and with honour ended it. There were seven 
thousand of the Grauls slain, and fifteen thousand captured. 
After that, the consul Claudius fought against the Grauls 
and slew thirty thousand of them; and he himself fought 
with the king in single combat, and slew him, and took the 
city of Milan. After that, the Istrians warred against the 
Romans; they thereupon sent their consuls, Cornelius and 
Minucius, against [them]. There was a great slaughter made 
on both sides, though the Istrians became subjected to the 


After Rome had been built five hundred and thirty-three 
years, Annibal, the Punic king, besieged Saguntum, a city of 
Spain, because they had ever held peace with the Romans ; 
and was sitting there eight months, until he had killed them 
all by hunger and destroyed the city ; although the Romans 
sent their messengers to him, and prayed him to abandon the 
war, but he so injuriously slighted them, that he declined 
even the sight of them in that war, and also in many others. 
After that, Annibal manifested the enmity and hate, that he 
had sworn before his father, when he was a .boy of nine years, 
that he would never be a friend of the Romans. When 


Publiup Eopnehup. y Scipio Publiup. ^ Semppomup Longup 1 . fa 
hy paepon conpulap. pannibal abpaec mib jepeohce opep fa 
beopjap ]>e mon ha&tc Pepenei. fa pinbon becpyx Hialleum ^ 
Spaneum. } pi88an he gepop opep J)a monejan f eoba. oS he com 
co ISlpip fam muncum. j faep eac opep abpaec. f eh him mon 
opcpaeblice mib jepeohcum piSpcobe. 3 f onne peg jepophce opep 
munci. pop ppa. f onne he to fam pynbpi^um pcane com. fonne 
hec he hme mib pype onhaecan. ^ pitS'San mib mactucum 
heapan. *] mib ]>ain ma&pcan jeppmce )>a muncap opeppop \ . 
pip hepep psep an M. pe^ena. 3 xx. M. gehoppebpa ; . Dane 
ha&pbe on j?am emnecce jepapen oS he com co Ticinum paepe 
ea. fa com him Jaep onjean Scipio pe conpul. 3 faep ppecenlic i 
jepunbob peapS. j eac opplajen paepe. jip hip punu hip ne ge 
hulpe. mib J?am fe he hme popan poppcob. 08 he on pleame 
pealh. J>aep peapS Romana micel pael jeplajen ;. peopa aepcepe 
gepeohc paep a&c Tpepia J>a&pe ea. j epc paepon Romane popplegen 
^ jeplymebi- Da ]?a&c Sempponmp jehypbe. heojia o^ep 
conpul. pe paep on 8icilmm mib pypbe ^epapen. he ]>onan apop 
j bejen fa conpulap paepon mib pypbe ongean pannibal. ^ heopa 
gemiccmg paep epc aec Tpepia J>aepe ea. y eac Romane geplymeb 
3 ppiSop poppla^en. ^ pannibal gepunbob | ^Epcep fam pop 
pannibal opep Bapban fone beoph. ]>eh J?e hie ymbe J>one ciman 
paepon ppa micel pnap-geblanb. ppa ^ aejSep ge faepa hoppapela 
poppupbon. je ]>a elpenbap ealle bucon anum. je fa menn pylpe 
unease fone cyle jenaepan \ He pojif am he jene^be ppi'Sopc 
opep Sone munc. fe he pipce ^ Flamimup pe conpul penbe ^ he 
bucon popje mihce on fam pmcep-pecle jepuman. f e he fa oiv 
paep mib f am polce f e he fa gegabepab haepbe. ] uncpeojenbhce 
penbe f nan naepe f e -J> paepelc ymbe f one Ciman anjinnan 
boppce o6Se mihce. pop f on ungemechcan cyle | GOib f am 
fe pannibal Co fam lanbe becom. ppa jepicobe he on anpe 
byjelpe pcope neah fam oSpum polce. 3 pum hip pole penbe 
jmb }) lanb co baepnanne ^ Co hepjeanne. ty pe conpul paep 
penenbe ^ eall ^ pole paepe jeonb ^ lanb tobpaeb. ~) fibepi- 
peapb papenbe paep. 3 Sencenbe $ he hy on f aepe hepjunje 
beppice. ~] ty pole bucon cpuman laebbe. ppa he pipce ^ )? oSepi 
paep. oS -p pannibal him com ftpypep on mib fam pulcume fe 
he a&cjaebepe haepbe. ^ fone conpul opploh. j f aep ot$pep polcef 


Publius Cornelius, and Publius Scipio, and Semproniua 
Longus were consuls, Annibal burst with warfare over the 
mountains called the Pyrenees, that are between Gaul and 
Spain, and afterwards he traversed many nations, until he 
came to the mountains of the Alps, and burst across them 
also, although oftentimes opposed with battle ; and then 
wrought a way over the mountain [and] so proceeded. "When 
he came to the rock itself, he commanded it to be heated 
with fire, and afterwards hewed with mattocks, and with 
the greatest -toil crossed the mountains. Of his army there 
were a [hundred] thousand foot and twenty thousand horse. 
When he had marched on the plain until he came to the 
river Ticinus, the consul Scipio came against him, and was 
there dangerously wounded, and would also have been slain, 
if his son had not helped him, by placing himself before him, 
until he betook himself to flight. There was a great slaughter 
made of the Romans. Their second battle was at the river 
Trebia, and the Romans were again beaten and put to flight. 
When Sempronius, their other consul, who was gone with an 
army to Sicily, heard that, he departed thence, and both 
consuls proceeded with an army against Annibal, and their 
meeting was again at the river Trebia, and the Romans [were] 
also put to flight, and more completely beaten, and Annibal 
wounded. After that, Annibal proceeded over the Apenuine 
mountains, although about that time there were such great 
snow-storms, that of the horses many perished, and all the 
elephants but one ; yea, the men themselves with difficulty 
could sustain the cold. But he ventured across the mountain, 
chiefly because he knew that the consul Flaminius imagined 
that he might without apprehension abide in the winter- 
station in which he then was with the army he had gathered, 
and imagined undoubtingly that there was no one who durst 
or could undertake the passage at that season, on account of 
the intense cold. When Annibal came to that land, he en- 
camped in a secret place near the other army, and sent some 
of his people over the country to burn and pillage ; so that 
the consul imagined that all the army was dispersed over the 
land, and proceeded thitherward, and thought he should 
circumvent them in the plundering, and led the army in dis- 
order, as he knew that the other was, until Annibal came 
upon his flank with the force that he had toge fter, and slew 


xxv. M. 3 vi. gepangen. 3 panmbalep polcep paep cpa M. opplajen ;. 
^Eptep fam Scipio pe conpul. f aep oSpep Scipionep bpoftop. paej 
moneja gepeoht bonbe on Ippamum. j GOajonem Pena labteop 
gepeng ; 3 moneja punbop gepupbon on f aepe tibe ; ^Epef c 
paep. "J) peo punne psep ppylce heo paepe eal gelytlabu;- OSep 
paep -p mon gepeah ppylce feo punne -3 j-e mona puhton;. 
Dap punbop jepupbon on Sppip J>am lanbe. 3 on SapSmium mon 
jej*eah tpegen pcylbap blobe ppascan. ] Falij'ci *}> pole hy jej'apan 
fpylce j*eo heopon paepe tohliben. } Schium ^ pole him gefmhce. 
f hy heopa copn-pipan 3 heopa caplap apylleb hsepbon. ^ eall 
fa cap pa&pon blobige .' 


J>am ]>e Romebuph gecimbpeb paap v. hunb pincpum 
^j xl. J>aJ>a Luciup ^Emiliup. "3 Paulup Publiup. j Tepenciup 
Uappo 1 . fa hy paepon conpulap hy jepopan mib pypbe onjean 
panmbal. ac he hi mib fam ilcan ppence beppac. ]?e he aec heopa 
aeppan ^emetin^e bybe. 3 eac mib fam mpan. ]>e hy aep ne 
cuSan. faec paep. ^ he on paepcpe ptope lee pum hip pole. 3 mib 
fumum pop on jean fa conpulap. 3 paSe ]>a&p ]>e hy copomne 
comon. he pleah piS fa&p 2 baeptan paepan. ^ him fa conpulap 
paepon aepcep-pyljenbe. ] ^ pole pleanbe. j penbon ^ hy on f am 
baeje pceolban habban f one maeptan pige. ac pa^e f aep f e pan- 
nibal on hip pulcume com. he jeplymbe ealle fa conpulap. ^j on 
Romanum ppa micel pael jejloh. ppa heopa naeppe naep. ne aeji 
ne pifrSan. aet anum gepeohce. faec paep xlim. M. ^ faepaconpula 
tpegen opploh. "j f one ftpibban jepenj. ^ fa on baeg he mihce 
cuman co ealpa Romana anpealbe. faep he popS S e FP e co 
Saepe bypij . ^Epcep f am panmbal penbe ham to Eapcama 
Spieo mibb jylbenpa hpinja hip pige Co tacne ; Be f am hpmg- 
um mon mihce pican hpaec Romana bu^u^e jepeallen paep. pop- 
f on f e hie paep feap mib him on fam bagum. ^ nan o^ep ne 
mopte 'gylbenne hpmj pepian. buton he aetSelep cynnep paepe : - 
^Eprep fam jepeohce paepon Romana ppa ppiSe popfohce. ^ 
Eecihup GOecellup. f e fa heopa conpul paep. je ealle heopa pena- 

ALFRED'S oBOSius. / 413 

the consul, and of the other people twenty-five thousand, and 
six [thousand] were captured ; and of Annibal's people two 
thousand were slain. After that, the consul Scipio, the 
brother of the other Scipio, fought many battles in Spain, 
and took Mago, a general of the Carthaginians, prisoner. 
And many wonders happened at this time. The first was, 
that the sun was as if it were all diminished. The second 
was, that it was seen as if the sun and moon were fighting. 
Theee wonders happened in the land of Arpi. And in 
Sardinia two shields were seen to sweat blood. And the 
people of the Falisci saw the heavens, as it were, cloven. 
And it seemed to the people of Antium, that, having thrown 
their bundles of corn into their baskets, all the ears were 


After Eome had been built five hundred and forty years, 
when Lucius JEmilius, and Paulus Publius, and Terentius 
Varro were consuls, they marched with an army against 
Annibal ; but he deceived them by the same stratagem that 
he had used at their former meeting, and also with a new one 
which they knew not before ; which was, that he left some of 
his army in a strong place, and with some marched against 
the consuls, and as soon as they came together, he fled 
towards those who were behind, and the consuls pursued him 
and slew his people, and thought that they on that day should 
have the greatest victory. But as soon as Annibal came to 
his force, he put all the consuls to flight, and made so great 
a slaughter of the Romans as never had been of them, neither 
before nor since, in one battle ; that was forty-four thousand ; 
and he slew two of their consuls and captured the third ; and 
on that day he might have come to the dominion of all the 
Romans, if he had marched on to the city. After that 
Annibal sent home to Carthage three measures of golden 
rings, in token of his victory. By the rings might be known 
how many noble Romans had fallen ; because it was their 
custom in those days, that no one might wear a golden ring, 
unless he were of noble lineage. After that battle the 
Romans were so very desponding, that Csecilius Metellus, 
who was then their consul, yea, all their senate, had resolved 


tup haepbon jefoht. -p hy pceoibon Romebuph poplaetan. je 
pupSon ealle Italiam. 3 hy ^ ppa jelaepton. gip him Scipio ne 
geptypbe. pe paep faepa cempena ylbept. mib fam fe he hip 
ppeopbe gebpaeb. 3 ppop ty him leoppe paepe. f he hine pylpne 
acpealbe. J>onne he poplete hip paebep-eftel. ^ paebe eac ^ he 
faepa aelcep ehtenb polbe beon. ppa ppa hip peonbep. fe faep 
popbep paepe ^ ppam Romebypig f ohte. j he hy ealle mib f am 
genybbe. -^ hy at5ap ppopan. 'p hy ealle secjsebepe polbon. o^Se 
on heopa eapbe licjean. oSSe on heopa eapbe hbban ; ^Eptej i 
|>am hy gepeccan ticcatop. f he pceolbe beon heppa opep ]>a 
conpulap. pe pa&p hacen Dec i up lumup. he naep bucon xvn. 
pincjie 1 . j Scipian hy jepetcon co conpule. } ealle fa men J?e hi 
on }>eopbome hsepbon. hy geppeobon. on ^ jepab. ^ hy aSap 
ppopan. ty hy him sec J>am jepmnum gela&pton. 3 pume Ja ]>e 
heopa ppejean nolban. oS hme anjobe -^ hymihton. fonnejul- 
bon hi fa conpulap mib heopa gemaenan peo. ~\ pi^San ppeobon. 
3 ealle pa pe popbemebe psepon sep J>am. o^6e hy pylpe pop- 
pojihc hsepbon. hy hit call popjeapon. pi6 ]?am pe hi him aet J?am 
jepmnum pulleobon. paapa manna peep vi. M. pa hy jejabepab 
paepon. j ealle Icaliam geppican Romanum. j co panmbale je- 
cypbon. popfon Je hy paepon oppene. hpaeSep aeppe Romane to 
heopa anpealbe become ; Da gepop panmbal on Benepente. -j 
hy him on^ean comon. *] him to gecipbon ; yEptep ]>am Ro- 
mane haepbon gegabepab 1111. lejian heo