Useful Notes / Alfred The Great
A Victorian Image of Alfred in Winchester

A sea-folk blinder than the sea
Broke all about his land,
But Alfred up against them bare
And gripped the ground and grasped the air,
Staggered, and strove to stand...

He broke them with a broken sword
A little towards the sea,
And for one hour of panting peace,
Ringed with a roar that would not cease,
With golden crown and girded fleece
Made laws under a tree.

Alfred the Great (849 - 26 October 899) was one of the most venerated rulers in British history, the only one to receive the title "The Great" aside from Cnut. He was born the fifth son of Aethulwulf, king of the obscure, semi-civilized Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex (roughly, southwestern England from about Berkshire to Devon). He took the throne after the death of his father and brothers. During his reign, he held off the Viking invaders and converted the Danes to Catholicism after defeating their king, Guthrum. He also was helpful in standardizing the laws and customs of the realm and encouraged learning. He even personally wrote commentaries on ancient literature. His small realm was to become the cornerstone of what is now Great Britain. He was also the father of Queen Æthelflæd of Mercia.

And what's he remembered for? Burning some cakes. Typical...

Alfred the Great in fiction: