The other early source

[Please note: I am not a Anglo-Saxon scholar, so the translation may not be 100% accurate. In fact, I’m not a Latin scholar, so those translations may not be beyond reproach either.]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was probably written (in Anglo-Saxon) at about the same time as Asser’s Latin account, perhaps a year earlier. Asser seems to have known it and translated bits into Latin. For the year 878, we read:

The Peterborough chronicle: Brittene igland is ehta hund mila lang. 7 twa hund brad

The Peterborough chronicle: Brittene igland is ehta hund mila lang. 7 twa hund brad

Her hiene bestæl se here on midne winter ofer tuelftan niht to Cippanhamme, 7 geridon Wesseaxna lond 7 gesæton 7 micel þæs folces ofer sæ adræfdon, 7 þæs oþres þone mæstan dæl hie geridon, 7 him to gecirdon buton þam cyninge Ælfrede. 7 he lytle werede unieþelice æfter wudum for, 7 on morfæstenum [ … ] 7 þæs on Eastron worhte ælfred cyning lytle werede geweorc æt Æþelingaeigge, 7 of þam geweorce was winnende wiþ þone here, 7 Sumursætna se dæl, se þær niehst wæs; Þa on þære seofoðan wiecan ofer Eastron he gerad to Ecgbryhtes stane be eastan Sealwyda, 7 him to common þær ongen Sumorsæte alle, 7 Wilsætan, 7 Hamtunscir se dæl, se hiere behinon sæ was, 7 his gefægene wærun; 7 he for ymb ane niht of þam wicum to Iglea, 7 þæs ymb ane to Eþandune …


“At this time in mid-winter, after Twelfth Night, the [Viking] army stole into Chippenham and overran the land of the West-Saxons, settling there and driving many of the people over the sea. Most of the rest they rode down and forced them to submit, except Alfred the king. He, with a few troops, and with great difficulty made for the woods and the protection of the swamps [… ] In the Easter of this year King Alfred with his little force constructed a fortification at Athelney, from which, aided by the forces of Somerset that were nearest, he attacked the enemy army. Then, in the seventh week after Easter, he rode to Ecgbryhtes stane [Egbert’s Stone] by the eastern side of Selwood. And all the people of Somerserset, and Wiltshire came out to meet him, and those of Hampshire remaining on this side of the sea. And they rejoiced to see him. And after one night he went from his camp to [Iglea-Iley] and went on to Edington …”

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2 thoughts on “The other early source

  1. Thank you 🙂 I’m well aware that I’m trying to reinvent the wheel with material that has been gone over for – literally – centuries by scholars. But who knows? The internet may provide pieces of the jigsaw that have never been brought together before. S

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