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Synopsis

One of the most important sources of information on Alfred the Great (King of Wessex from 871 to 899) is Asser's "The Life of King Alfred". Asser was a Welsh monk who accepted a position in the court of King Alfred around 886. His work is both a translation of part of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (for the years 851-887), as well as eyewitness accounts and opinions of Alfred's kingship. Although the only copy of the manuscript was destroyed by fire in 1731, transcriptions and material from other writers ensured that the work was not lost forever. As a result, we have a revealing account of battles with Viking invaders, medieval English culture, consolidation of the seven kingdoms, and Alfred's efforts to revive religion and learning. Compared to the romantic and idealized royalty of Arthurian Legend, The Life of King Alfred gives a true, detailed portrayal of the actual kings of the Middle Ages.

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