King Alfred the Great (871-899) was one of the best kings ever to rule. He defended his kingdom from Viking raids, enacted a code of laws, and helped to give rebirth to religious and scholarly activity. During Alfred’s reign, he demonstrated military and strategic skills, sound authority and the capability to inspire men and plan for the future, great devotion to the support of religion, personal scholarship and the promotion of education. King Alfred was born in 849 AD at Wantage, Berkshire. Aethelwulf, the King of Wessex and Alfred’s father, had four sons and one daughter. Alfred was the youngest of the four other children. At the age of four, Alfred had the desire to become a monk. As a result, his father sends him to accompany Pope Leo IV in Rome. Alfred would go to Rome again with his father in 855 on a pilgrimage. In 858, Aethelwulf dies, leaving Wessex to be governed by his three other brothers, Ethelbald, Ethelbert, and Elthred. (Alfred the Great) In 865 a “great heathen army” (“Alfred the Great”) arrived in England seizing a dispute in Northumbria in order to control the divided kingdom. By 870, the army had built multiple roads into Mercia, subdued East Anglia, and killed its king Edmund. By 871, the heathens joined forces with another army from overseas, and began to attack Wessex. In return, the West-Saxons and the Mercian’s combine forces and attack the Danes. The only way for Alfred to get the Danes to submit to peace was to pay them a large sum of money. In 868, Alfred marries Ealhswith, the daughter of Aelthelred Mucill. Ealhswith was the granddaughter of a past King of Mercia. Alfred the Great suffered from some painful illnesses throughout his life. It is believed that he either had Crohn’s disease or haemorrhoidal disease. He died on 26 October 899.
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