261 – The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and the Mercian Register

I hope that after the last few episodes (and honestly, the last few years) have dispelled the myth of elegance that surrounds monarchy. Especially medieval monarchy.

Even among the best monarchs, you won’t find a Prince Charming. Each one of these individuals had serious flaws … they all do things that are ineffective, short-sighted, or just downright unsavory … and many of them have at least a little scandal in their lives. And that’s just their public lives. On the occasion that we get a glimpse into a monarch’s personal private matters- you see the same mess that you could expect to find in anyone’s life. Sometimes even more. Alfred the Great’s eldest son, Edward suddenly had a new wife…after a lover had vanished for reasons unknown… and a young son from that vanished lover that’s been sent away to Mercia…all after his parents have died.

And even though AEthelwold was dead, Edward’s political problems hadn’t fully gone away. When AEthelwold rebelled he didn’t do it alone. Some number of West Saxons joined him… and so did some of the Northumbrians and the Danes of East Anglia. AEthelwold might be dead, and the King of East Anglia might be dead… but that didn’t mean the war was over. These things had a habit of dragging on, and it’s likely that Edward had some serious lingering concerns.

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  1. Thank you for this – I was getting about ready to ask you to clarify references to manuscript A, B and similar.

    Also copy is no longer a word.

  2. I love this episode. I did not expect to ever get a lecture on the phylogeny of historical manuscripts. It’s exactly like tracking mutations through species to see how they are related. Makes me wonder whether some manuscripts cluster more closely together than others, and whether that was due to chance or evolutionary pressures.

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