226 – Alfred and Legitimacy: The First Steps to War

Today, we are going to talk about the early steps of Alfred’s guerrilla war against King Guthrum. We will talk about the elements of this sort of war, the circumstances of the West Saxons under Guthrum’s rule, and the resulting fallout within Wessex.

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  1. Hey, I haven’t got this far yet in the episodes but I just wanted to take a moment and say that I’m a big fan and I appreciate your work. And it’s not a reality this month, but becoming a member is on my to-do list ‘cuz I reckon that’s the best way to thank you and ensure my future listening enjoyment, ha!

  2. Jamie, how did you get through law school with your eyes! It must have been so painful, even if it did seem normal. And all the reading required for this podcast! You must have the perseverance of water. I am in awe.

  3. I like your analysis of Guthrum’s options and motivations for his oppressive, terroristic crackdown.

    This seems to be exactly the same strategy that the Romans applied against the ancient Britons. They terrorised the people to show that a guerrilla king could not defend them, thus forcing the enemy to either fight in the open or lose legitimacy.

    If I recall correctly, you painted the Roman strategy as highly successful, and didn’t mention any risks. But here you explain how it was a high stakes gamble for Guthrum. Has your thinking evolved since then, or do you think there is some relevant difference between the two situations?

    1. The show has evolved. Early in the BHP, I wasn’t sure if the audience would tolerate detailed discussions of the hows, whys, and pros/cons. So I didn’t include them back then, but as it went on it became clear that people are interested in that kind of stuff, so now it gets included.

      Glad you liked the episode!

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