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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old November 20th, 2017, 12:45 PM   #31

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^ Perhaps that is the reason the wives of kings were sent to nunneries (human nature apparently doesn't change that much over time), and why they the former wives dressed, as described above! And subsequent reputations emerged.
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Old November 21st, 2017, 12:12 PM   #32

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I think the reality of it is more complex than he was incompetent, and not as good as Athelstan, Edmund, or his father Edgar the Peaceful.

By his time, there was less distinction between English/Anglo-Saxon and Norse. It was over 100 years after the Great heathen Army invaded, and a couple of decades after Erik Bloodaxe was defeated by his great uncle (King Eadred). Bloodaxe had both English and Norse supporters in Jorvik, so English and Norse had started to all be "English" and get along.

And his son, Edmund Ironside, lost the Battle of Assundun since an English earl sided with Cnut. So was it because things weren't as black and white as they were in Alfred the Great's time? Did he appear indecisive because he knew there were many traitors, and a lot more than Alfred, Athelstan, or Eadred would ever have faced when they battled the Norse?
Stenton was evidently critical to some extent, of Aethelred, but as above there seems to be opinion that his '...acts of spasmodic violence' were something like common to the period, and thereby not necessarily such a big deal, again for the period. But of course Stenton does explain in some detail how Aethelred cannot exactly be blamed alone for the Danish invasions of his reign.
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Old November 22nd, 2017, 06:02 AM   #33

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From the learned discution above , Aethelred major failing was that he lost ,
that was the one unforgivable sin of those times
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Old November 22nd, 2017, 11:57 AM   #34

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Yeah. He lost the kingdom of the Aenglisc.
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Old November 22nd, 2017, 05:09 PM   #35

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It really doesn't look good for the guy, in fact. When an invading host arrives on your shoreline, and subsequently receives the submission of large swathes of the north, midlands and east of England, and then decides to go on a nice jaunt south, stopping off at Oxford and then Winchester; hanging out in London doing absolutely nothing whilst all this invasion thing is happening, is surely bizarre strategy at best.

If your invader retreats from a reasonably well defended London, but merely goes on to take over Bath, and then on his return to London finds the King strangely absent and London now ready to capitulate, and that subsequently causes you to flee abroad! At some point u might have to conclude Aethelred was simply not up to the job, and neither was his council.

And yet there is a level of complexity that apparently mitigates the case against him!
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Old November 23rd, 2017, 03:19 PM   #36

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A superficial reading of the situation is that he didn't have the confidence of his earls
no soldiers , no battle
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Old November 23rd, 2017, 07:26 PM   #37

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He lost his kingdom to the Vikings. Also the name "unready" had to be a historical one right? I understand "fat" and some other titles being endearing at the time, but was being "unready" ever really a good thing?
"Unready" was a term referring to his habit of not listening to council - "rede" in the old English term, not to his unfitness as a king in general.
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Old November 24th, 2017, 01:24 PM   #38

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It really doesn't look good for the guy, in fact. When an invading host arrives on your shoreline, and subsequently receives the submission of large swathes of the north, midlands and east of England, and then decides to go on a nice jaunt south, stopping off at Oxford and then Winchester; hanging out in London doing absolutely nothing whilst all this invasion thing is happening, is surely bizarre strategy at best.

If your invader retreats from a reasonably well defended London, but merely goes on to take over Bath, and then on his return to London finds the King strangely absent and London now ready to capitulate, and that subsequently causes you to flee abroad! At some point u might have to conclude Aethelred was simply not up to the job, and neither was his council.

And yet there is a level of complexity that apparently mitigates the case against him!
it's always good to question narratives and findings, in any academic discipline. whilst he is seen as a bad king, and nowhere near as good as his father, or Athelstan or Edmund, i don't think as it's simple to say he was bad and did nothing to stop the Danes. In his second reign, he even initially had to fight against his son and successor Edmund Ironside
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Old November 24th, 2017, 02:40 PM   #39

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The case in favour of Aethelred is circumstantial however at best, therefore. As to the points Higham made in 2015. Have to say, i am just not convinced
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Old November 24th, 2017, 09:54 PM   #40

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There had been plenty of successful bad kings ,
the point about Aethelred is that he was "bad" and unsuccessful in the first duty of a king ,
being a victorious leader
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