Source Problems in English History

Contents:

World History

IV. The Sources

1.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

(Anglo-Saxon text and translation, edition of Benjamin Thorpe in the Rolls Series.)

878. In this year, at Midwinter, after Twelfth-night, the army stole itself away to Chippenham, and harried the West Saxons’ land, and settled there, and drove many of the people over sea, and of the remainder the greater portion they harried, and the people submitted to them, save the king, Alfred, and he, with a little band, withdrew to the woods and moor-fastnesses. And in the same winter the brother of Inwar and Halfdene was in Wessex, in Devonshire, with twenty-three ships, and he was there slain, and with him eight hundred and forty men of his force. And there was the standard taken which they call the Raven. And the Easter after, Alfred, with a little band, wrought a fortress at Athelney, and from that work warred on the army, with that portion of the men of Somerset that was nearest. Then in the seventh week after Easter he rode to Egbert’s stone, on the east of Selwood, and there came to meet him all the Somersetshire men, and the Wiltshire men, and that part of Hampshire which remained of it on this side of the sea; and they were rejoiced on seeing him; and one night after, he went from the camp to Æglea, and one night after that to Edington, and there fought against all the army, and put it to flight, and rode after it, as far as the works, and there sat fourteen nights. And then the army gave him hostages with great oaths that. they would depart from his kingdom; and also promised him that their king would receive baptism; and that they so fulfilled; and three weeks after, King Guthrum came to him, with thirty of the men who were most honorable in the army, at Aller, which is opposite to Athelney; and the king received him there at baptism; and his chrism-loosing was at Wedmore; and he was twelve nights with the king; and he largely gifted him and his companions with money.

879. In this year the army went to Cirencester from Chippenham, and sat there one year. And in that year a body of vikings assembled, and sat down at Fulham on the Thames. And that same year the sun was eclipsed one hour of the day.

880. In this year the army went from Cirencester to East Anglia, and occupied and divided the land. And in the same year the army, which had before sat down at Fulham, went over sea to Ghent in France, and sat there one year.

881. In this year the army went up into France, and the French fought against them; and there was the army horsed after the fight.

882. In this year the army went up along the Meuse far into France, and there sat one year. And that same year King Alfred went out to sea with ships, and fought against four ship-crews of Danish men, and took two of the ships, and the men were slain that were therein; and the two ship-crews surrendered to him; and they were sorely fatigued and wounded before they surrendered.

883. In this year the army went up the Scheldt to Condé. and there sat one year. And Marinus the pope then sent lignum domini [of Christ’s cross] to King Alfred. And in the same year Sighelm and Athelstan conveyed to Rome the alms which the king had vowed [to send] thither, and also to India, to St. Thomas, and to St. Bartholomew, when they sat down against the army at London; and there, God be thanked, their prayer was very successful after that vow.

884. In this year the army went up the Somme to Amiens, and there sat one year. In this year died the benevolent Bishop Æthelwold.1

885. In this year the fore-mentioned army separated into two; one part [went] east, the other part to Rochester, and besieged the city, and wrought another fastness about themselves; but they, nevertheless, defended the city until King Alfred came without with his force. Then the army went to their ships, and abandoned the fastness; and they were there deprived of their horses, and forthwith, in the same summer, withdrew over sea. And the same year King Alfred sent a naval force from Kent to East Anglia. As soon as they came to the mouth of the Stour, then met them sixteen ships of vikings, and they fought against them, and captured all the ships, and slew the men. When they were returning homeward with the booty, a great naval force of vikings met them, and then fought against them on the same day, and the Danish gained the victory. In the same year, before midwinter, Carloman, king of the Franks, died, and a wild boar killed him; and one year before his brother died, he also had the western kingdom; and they were both sons of Lewis, whoalso had the western kingdom, and died in the year when the sun was eclipsed, who was the son of Charles, whose daughter Ethelwulf, king of the West Saxons, had for his queen. And in the same year a larger naval force assembled among the Old Saxons; and there was a great fight twice in that year, and the Saxons had the victory; and there were Frisians with them. In that same year Charles succeeded to the western kingdom, and to all the kingdom on this side of the Mediterranean Sea, and beyond this sea, as his great-grandfather had it, excepting the Lid-wiccas [Brittany]. Charles was the son of Lewis, Lewis was brother of Charles, who was father of Judith, whom King Ethelwulf had; and they were sons of Lewis; Lewis was son of the old Charles; Charles was the son of Pepin. And in the same year the good Pope Marinus died, who freed the Angle race’s school, at the prayer of Alfred, king of the West Saxons; and he sent him great gifts, and part of the rood on which Christ suffered. And in the same year the army in East Anglia brake peace with King Alfred.

886. In this year the army again went west, which had before landed in the east, and then up the Seine, and there took winter quarters at the city of Paris. In the same year King Alfred restored London; and all the Angle race turned to him that were not in the bondage of the Danish men; and he then committed the burgh to the keeping of the ealdorman Ethered.

1 Evidently a copyist’s error; Æthelwold died in 984.

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Chicago: "IV. The Sources," Source Problems in English History in Source Problems in English History, ed. Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915), 12–16. Original Sources, accessed July 1, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=UWD4ZGNC6VAVTF7.

MLA: . "IV. The Sources." Source Problems in English History, in Source Problems in English History, edited by Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915, pp. 12–16. Original Sources. 1 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=UWD4ZGNC6VAVTF7.

Harvard: , 'IV. The Sources' in Source Problems in English History. cited in 1915, Source Problems in English History, ed. , Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, pp.12–16. Original Sources, retrieved 1 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=UWD4ZGNC6VAVTF7.