272 – The End of the Age of AEthelflaed

Trying to tell the story of AEthelflaed is like trying to study gravity. We know her indirectly, by the impressions she left and the political shifts that happen around her. We can see the impact she left both on her lands, and in the devotion of her subjects.

And so in many respects, we know AEthelflaed through the shadow she left in her wake. And the size and strength of these political and military feats seem to far outstrip the picture of AEthelflaed that is painted in the Chronicle - particularly the picture painted in the copy made in Wessex during the reign of her brother Edward… which essentially paints no picture at all.

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271 – How to Break a Kingdom in Six Months

For the last several years, the Anglo Saxons had been on a true war footing. AEthelflaed and Edward had been showing skill and audacity in the field, and it had paid dividends. Under their leadership, the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of the south had been taking the fight to the Danish controlled lands and were seizing massive portions of key territories.

But the Northmen weren’t about to take this assault on their newly won lands lying down. Scandinavian fleets from across the sea, as well as large armies surging from the Five Boroughs and Northumbria, were mustering to challenge the Anglo Saxon gains in the south.

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270 – War in the Five Boroughs

There’s an entry from the Irish Fragmentary annals that caught my attention. It talks about the defeat of Hroald and Ohter at the hands of AEthelflaed… and it specifically gives credit to AEthelflaed for this battle, and then goes on to say that following that victory her fame spread in all directions.

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269 – The Western Front

Wessex and Mercia have had a busy decade. Both kingdoms militarized their borders, fought off invasion forces, and even took the offensive and marched into neighboring kingdoms. And even though the Chronicle is mysteriously tight lipped on all of these fights, it’s clear that way more than just construction work was going on at all of the burhs.

There were battles being waged. Battles that largely went unrecorded for some reason… but battles nonetheless. We know this because other sources from that time tell us that real blood, sweat, and tears were going into the acquisition and defense of these border shires.

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