Montag, 13. Mai 2019, 17:15 - 19:00 iCal

235. Institutsseminar, Catherine Cubitt

‘Understand well also that now for many years the devil has led astray this people too greatly’: Reassessing the Reign of Æthelred ‘the Unready’

Marietta-Blau-Saal im Hauptgebäude der Universität Wien
Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien

Seminar, Workshop, Kurs

The reign of Æthelred ‘the Unready’ (978-1016) was a tumultuous one for Anglo-Saxon England. Æthelred came to the throne after the murder of his elder brother, Edward the Martyr (975-978), and from the 980s the Anglo-Saxon kingdom suffered from devastating Viking attacks which culminated in the conquest of England by the Danish king, Cnut. It is a reign rich not only in events but also in sources, unusually so for the Anglo-Saxon period. Æthelred has been the subject of four scholarly studies of his reign: the seminal work of Keynes on his charters published in 1980, followed later by important biographies by Ryan Lavelle (2002), Ann Williams (2003) and Levi Roach (2016). Is there more to say? This paper will look at the murkier aspects of Æthelred’s reign, analysing both the contemporary discourses around his rulership and the modern historiographical debates which have shaped contemporary understanding of his reign. It will highlight significant but neglected aspects of his rule and shed new light on the troubled nature of his reign.


Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung


Stefanie Gruber
Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung