325 – AEthelred: From Bad to Worse

When we left off, England was reforming its legal structure. Now, law isn’t known for being a sexy subject...neither are lawyers for that matter. But law shapes our societies in ways that are so fundamental that they are often invisible to us. And these reforms are no exception. These codes go on to transform English [...]

324 – AEthelred: Law and Lawlessness

With the Scandinavian raiders gone, and with AElfric of Hampshire defanged, England was free to get back to work. And, as we saw last episode, this meant that the King was once again redistributing wealth from the have-a-lots to the have-even-mores. Which meant that the dynasty of Wulfrun, the upteen cousin AEthelbrads, and Mom, were [...]

323 – AEthelred: Brotherhood of the Wolf

And we are back! Thank you all for being patient while the BHP went on a brief parental leave.  And speaking of things that are back… The Dowager Queen AElfthryth has returned to the King’s inner council following what looks like a political coup against AElfic of Hampshire and his faction. And just because it [...]

322 – Æthelred: We’re Absolutely Forked

Ealdorman AElfirc of Hampshire was out… and Ealdorman AEthelweard the Chronicler was in. He would now be the King’s chief councillor… and he would be supported by his son, AEthelmaer… the King’s uncle, High Reeve Ordwulf of Devon, and the King’s mother, AEthelthryth. And as for the King’s old council.  Well, with the exception of [...]

318 – Æthelred: Chaos is a Ladder

By 984 the Regency council had been broken and a new inner circle of nobles had been elevated.  And this development was accompanied by a rapid series of changes at the highest levels of the kingdom. The political rivals of this new council were rapidly losing power, with titles (and even lands) of wealthy dynasties [...]

317 – Æthelred: A Culture of Corruption

At 16 years old, King AEthelred was considered fully grown by Anglo Saxon standards. And as a bonus graduation present, the powerful Bishop AEthelwold of Winchester… who appears to have been the defacto head of state while AEthelred was a child… had died. With his passing, the power of the old guard had been broken [...]

315 – Æthelred: The Cracks in the Foundation

“Under AEthelred nothing was done; or, more truly, throughout his whole reign he left undone those things which he ought to have done, and he did those things he ought not to have done.”   That is the damning conclusion of  Edward Augustus Freeman, a Victorian historian, and epic beard grower.