Did Ivar Ragnarsson have any bones

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Re: [CK2 / EU4] The head rests heavily, pushing a crown

Contribution from mark »Fri 17 Jun 2016, 7:14 pm

Now Alfred wanted - with the support of auxiliaries from Mercia - to proceed against the Kingdom of Northumbria next. Its ruler Aelfgar was also an Anglo-Saxon, but operated an independent policy in dealing with the Normans. But in 895 there was a domestic political uproar on this issue in Wessex, when the royal council, consisting of secular and spiritual princes, opposed Alfred's intention to force Northumbria to pay tribute as well.



Indeed, they could criticize the fact that the king should rather fight the Normans than attack the Anglo-Saxon neighbors. Alfred was able to counter this, however, by stating that these neighbors had already come to terms with the Normans and in some cases even made alliances. In the view of the king, a dominant position among the Anglo-Saxons was necessary in order to unite these empires under one banner and to march together against the Vikings. But even those in the council who agreed with the king in this regard had to warn of the alliance between Aelfgar of Northumbria and the Italian king Lothar II from the powerful Carolingian dynasty. It was known that Lothar II was able to call ten thousand men to arms. The council clearly voted five to two against Alfred's campaign against Aelfgar.

In the further course of the year 895, the king used his energy to win the approval of the princes after all - or simply to exclude them from participating in such a decision. The fact that a male heir to the throne was born to the king on October 22nd, 895 and was baptized in the name of Edward, had a not inconsiderable influence on this. What was more decisive, however, were the financial and political contributions (read: bribes and favors) that Alfred gave to the princes who were entitled to vote.



The compromise on this question was found in March 896: the council transferred the decision on declarations of war to the king, who in return promised to first eliminate the Vikings of York (who were responsible for a good part of the raids in southern England) before starting the campaign against Northumbria.



York was occupied by the Vikings in 866, a year before this chapter began. Before that it had been the capital of the Northumbrian Empire. The old Roman city was actually well fortified, but at that time it fell to the Vikings without significant resistance. The reason for this was the quarrel between two aspirants to the throne for power, who probably mistrusted each other so much that they were unable to unite against their enemies. Once York was in the hands of the Normans, the two rivals joined forces too late - their armies suffered a bloody defeat on the city walls. The two aspirants to the throne were among the fallen.

After 866, York remained in the hands of the Vikings, who set out from there on their numerous campaigns. Even on land they achieved a lot militarily: Here they operated with rapid cavalry units and the stationing of various garrisons in order to keep England in check. In the thirty years leading up to Alfred's current campaign, the plundering pirates had become a small but dominant minority in many parts of England, who set up large, powerful armies as well as settling their own peasants (of course on those farms from which they previously had the Anglo-Saxon Had driven peasants).

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes how King Alfred retaliated in 896. In the seventh week after Easter he rode to a place called Egberts Stein, east of Selwood. There he met numerous people: residents of Somerset, Wiltshire and part of Hampshire, who were happy to see him. Alfred moved north with a large army towards the main Normans' camp at Chippenham. Before that, they met the Vikings at Edington. The chronicler says: “There he fought against the whole army of the Danes and put them to flight. He chased it as far as York fortress and besieged it for many days. ”On September 13, 897, the king of the Northmen, Sigfrid, gave up and asked for peace.



This was not an unconditional surrender, his warriors were still too strong for that. But Sigfrid realized that he couldn't hold out against Wessex at this point in time and that one had to come to terms with King Alfred. So he agreed to its terms: the Danes had to hold the Anglo-Saxons hostage, a common method of contract compliance. In addition, they should leave Alfred's kingdom, Sigfrid should be baptized and renounce his pagan faith.



“Three weeks later, King Sigfrid and his thirty most important military leaders came to Aller, which is near Athelney, and the king was his baptismal witness there. His rites took place in Wedmore. And he was with the king for twelve days and honored him and his companions very much with gifts. ”The Danish ruler Sigfrid adopted the Anglo-Saxon baptismal name Aethelstan to make his change of religion clear.

However, the Vikings were generally quite relaxed about Christian baptism and often saw the crucified Christ as nothing more than an additional god of their many-gods beliefs. It was also almost impossible to swear the warriors to a longer peace treaty. But despite such restrictions, King Alfred had won an important victory that showed the limits of the great Normans' army. In addition, in February 899 the powerful Viking prince Ivar the Boneless (meanwhile returned from captivity from Germany) breathed out his life. As a result, the Normans initially lost their clout.



A few months later, Ivar's death was followed by the death of Lothar II of Italy, who died at the age of only 31. With this, King Aelfgar of Northumbria lost his most important ally. This event offered Alfred von Wessex, who was aiming for the campaign against the northern English empire anyway, the incomparably favorable opportunity to strike.



Under these conditions, the campaign of 902 turned into a triumphal procession for King Alfred. Together with the troops of his vassals from Mercia and York, the West Saxons occupied and sacked northern England and besieged the fortresses. After a year these quickly fell one by one to Alfred's armies. The situation was hopeless for Aelfgar, who had to ask Alfred for peace in January 904 (after the loss of that diocese of Lindisfarne, of all things, whose plunder by the Vikings in 793 was so well known). The terms of the contract were similar to the previous ones Alfred had signed: the provision of hostages and the recognition of the tribute to the Kingdom of Wessex.



With the end of the independence of the Viking Empire from York and the subjugation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Cornwall, East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria, a heyday of relative calm began for the British island. Alfred had to experience how associations of the notorious large Danish army returned from France and immediately invaded southern England again, plundering. But in the meantime one was prepared and the far-sighted policy of the King of Wessex was having an effect. Alfred had further fortified places built, behind whose entrenchments the population could persevere.



From there, the Anglo-Saxon warriors made targeted attacks against the Vikings. Their multitudes found that they could hardly count on the element of surprise and that more and more resistance was being offered to them. After heavy losses and less and less booty, they retreated to Danelag in eastern England. There they favored the quieter peasant life over the now risky warrior activity, at least for now. If Normans were still out for raids or conquests on the coasts of the British Isles, they had to turn their gaze to Ireland. Hundreds of clans were involved in deeply rooted feuds, a good prerequisite for invasions and political interference from outside.



In England, after decades of chaotic conditions, the King of Wessex was ultimately the winner. Only the north remained as an independent Viking empire. The large Danish areas in East Anglia and Central England were under Anglo-Saxon control. Whatever the bond with the English crown, Alfred undertook. At the end of 905 he engaged his son Eduard to the daughter of King Aelfgar of Northumbria, against whom he had been at war two years earlier. After lengthy negotiations, his daughter Ethelgiva became the bride of the East Franconian King Ludwig III. (historical: Ludwig IV. the child).



With the engagement of the other daughter Elfthryd to the Welsh heir to the throne, this kingdom in the south-west of England also recognized neighboring Wessex as the dominant power of order in England. Only the Welsh Prince Anarawd the Cursed resisted submission, but was finally subjugated by the jointly formed armies of Alfred and his Welsh allies in the summer of 909. Alfred was ruler of an England that did not yet exist in the form of a united kingdom, but was united under the leadership of Wessex through tribute and marriage agreements.



In September 907, Alfred's son and designated successor Edward was able to rule at the age of sixteen. The prince showed early on that, thanks to his skills, his training and his character traits, he was suitable for ruling England. King Alfred entrusted the government of the Duchy of Cornwall to his son.



The time of wars was now a thing of the past for Alfred, he could turn to cultural promotion. Following the example of Charlemagne, Alfred founded numerous monasteries. By creating new schools, he promoted the cultural and intellectual life of his empire. In old age he learned Latin himself and invited numerous scholars from the Frankish Empire to come to England; he himself translated Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. The Franconian and Anglo-Saxon lawyers began writing common law under his reign in a set of laws called the Domboc. It was not for nothing that Alfred received laudatory nicknames such as "The Just" from his subjects. Even in his old age, Alfred had excellent values ​​in politics, the military and the economy. When he died in 918, he was called "the great" soon after his death. He is the only king in English history to have received this nickname. He was never officially canonized, but many people soon venerated him, and a cult of saints, which has been handed down to this day, arose around his tomb in Swithun Cathedral.




... and how did it go on?

Alfred's son Eduard (the elder) ascended the throne and ruled until his death in 924. Eduard first had to defeat his cousin Ethelwold, who himself claimed the crown. Little is known about Eduard's reign due to a lack of sources or documents. He marched against the Vikings in the north of England and inflicted a heavy defeat on them. Eduard controlled Wessex, Mercia and also the north up to the Humber until 920, but King of all England, like his father, Eduard never became official. Edward's son Ethelweard succeeded him to the throne, but only survived him by four weeks, then he too died in August 924. So another son of Edward was crowned king, namely Ethelstan. He continued the policy of Alfred and made the Scots and Welsh tributes subject, he annexed York to the Kingdom of Wessex. Ethelstan, like Alfred, was crowned king of England, although he could not rule over the entire British island. But his power was great enough to become an important factor in French politics. After fifteen years of reign, Ethelstan died in 939 and was succeeded by his half-brother Edmund I on the throne. He spent his seven years on the throne mainly to end the turmoil caused by the turmoil of the line of succession and to restore his rule over York and Northumbria.

Well, and so on. I think it will be interesting to return to England a good hundred years later: because in 1066 three parties will fight for the crown there, and the outcome of this struggle will become THE decisive event in the following English history. But now it's back to the continent to become the Germans.


Used literature:

Krause: The world of the Vikings
Gable: Of helpless people and lions hearts