In the late 9th century, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England were facing a grave threat. They were being invaded by the Vikings, who had already established a foothold in the north of the country and were now attacking the heartland of Wessex in the south. It was in this turbulent time that King Alfred the Great emerged as a hero and saviour of his people.
Alfred was born in 849 in the kingdom of Wessex, which was one of the few Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to survive the Viking onslaught. He was the youngest son of King Aethelwulf and was not expected to inherit the throne, but after his brothers died, he became king in 871.
In his early reign, Alfred faced a series of defeats at the hands of the Vikings, including a crushing defeat at the Battle of Chippenham. However, he refused to give up and instead rallied his forces, eventually defeating the Viking army at the Battle of Edington in 878.
After his victory, Alfred realized that he needed to do more than just defeat the Vikings in battle. He needed to create a system of defense that would prevent them from returning. To this end, he built a network of fortifications known as burhs, which were designed to protect his kingdom from future attacks.
Alfred was also a patron of learning and education. He believed that his people needed to be educated in order to defend themselves against the Vikings and to govern their kingdom effectively. To this end, he commissioned the translation of important Latin works into English, including the works of Bede and Augustine.
Alfred’s legacy is still felt in England today. He is remembered as a great king who saved his country from destruction and established the foundations of a united English kingdom. He is also known as a patron of learning and education, and his efforts to promote literacy and scholarship laid the groundwork for the English Renaissance that would follow centuries later.