Tag Archive | Aethelwulf

Vikings: Wanderer, part one Let us speak of Ecbert

 

 

they're at the top of that hill

they’re at the top of that hill

Before we talk of battle, blood and fears, let us talk of King Ecbert. If you recall, I previously mentioned my concerns about the land he has given us and I also voice thoughts on what his plans or motives might be?

https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/vikings-our-arrival-in-wessex-causes-much-gossip/

Because as we all know, everyone has secrets, everyone has some ulterior motive in their actions… well, everyone but Athelstan, but his is another story that we will talk of later! For now we will just focus on Ecbert, his possible motives and of course his involvement with us.

Upon our arrival at our farms, Lagertha did indeed question King Ecbert about the same concerns that I thought of earlier. He admitted that the previous landholders had been removed to allow for our settlement. He did make much assurance though that there would be no problem and we would be well safe and under his protection.

settling into the new home ecbert makes assurance that he will protect them and there will be no repercussions

It was always Ragnar's dream to find land to farm and live peacably now that is my dream as well

It was always Ragnar’s dream to find land to farm and live peacably now that is my dream as well

I give my oath that you will be safe here

I give my oath that you will be safe here

King Ecbert did little to hide his affections for Lagertha and made much attempt to win her heart? I am not saying whether this is good or bad… time will tell of that. I trust that my Lady Lagertha is wise enough to know of what games he might play, know the consequences and even take advantage of his affections for her if the need should arise. As I have said, I am sure that he has his own agenda and motives for his actions. But, as I see it for now, he truly does care for Lagertha so, really is that such a bad thing? She enjoys his company as well and as long as she is happy, that is all matters for the time being. Who are we to judge what is in the heart of others? To some, Ecbert’s  first gift to Lagertha may have seemed lacking… but it spoke volumes to Lagertha’s heart!

the way to a farm girl's heart  a gift of dirt Ahhhh dirt my favorite scent ecbert does seem sincere in his gift though I thank you with all my heart

The farming is a hard task and everyone must help to see it’s success. Lagertha  does never put herself above us and is always willing to do far more than she needs to.

the farmstead in Wessex

In her efforts, we are reminded of the Seer’s words to her… “The Sword and the Plow will sustain you until you become like a virgin once more.”

the marriage of plow and sword will sustain you until you become a virgin once more

the marriage of plow and sword will sustain you until you become a virgin once more

King Ecbert sees her efforts and her diligence, and I think he became even more impressed with her worth? He did offer some respite to her in an invitation to visit his Villa.

Farmer Lagertha agrees to visit Ecbert's home because  I need a bath

And, so Lagertha and Athelstan went back to Egbert’s home for a visit. He did his best to ensure her comfort. When  a  dinner time discussion of religion became a bit too uncomfortable for everyone, he gracefully managed to change the subject by presenting her with an additional gift! The topic had turned to differences in beliefs, always a touchy subject for casual dinner conversation.

ecbert waits anxiously for Athelstan's answer Athelstan tries to explain the differences athelstan's answer I love Odin and I love jesus christ ecbert decides a change of subject is needed Stones are much easier to wear than earth Now really what woman could resist such a gift

Later as Lagertha and Athelstan prepared to leave, there was a discussion in which Lagertha showed that she was wiser than thought and knew more of this English language than Ecbert had assumed?  Lagertha made thanks for the beautiful necklace and mentioned that it was such fine work, it must have been created by the dwarves. Ecbert laughed and said, “We do not have dwarves in this country.” Lagertha’s reply, “Oh, yes you do, you just don’t see them!”

we don't have dwarves in England  Yes you do  you just don't see them

we don’t have dwarves in England Yes you do you just don’t see them

There was much more that happened during this visit but it regards Athelstan and the Lady Judith and not Ecbert or his involvements so much with us. We will speak more of it when we speak of Athelstan’s troubles.

 

Now, let us speak more Ecbert and his other possible motives and reasons… His motives and other plans do include that Princess Kwentirith, and of course his son Aethelwulf, so we will speak of both of them during this discussion.  First it might help to know some true  history regarding King Ecbert and his reign over Wessex. because then it might make more sense to see how Kwentirith would tie in to his possible plans.

Although Kwentirith is a fictional person, I have made mention that she bears close resemblance to a real person in the history of Wessex. For that information you can refresh your memory by reading more about that here:  https://timeslipsblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/vikings-trivia-who-is-princess-kwenthrith/

Offa of Mercia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offa_of_Mercia

Kwentirith at one time mentioned that her Father was Offa, King of Mercia. There was actually a battle over the control of Mercia after Offa’s death, though Ecbert was not directly involved in that other than for the fact that many of the Mercians continuously opposed him and his rule of Wessex.  It was not until later years that he became involved in wanting control of Mercia.  For our purposes, Kwentirith would play into his plans for achieving this control?  She is fighting for control of Mercia herself, or so we would assume… But, in reality, it is quite obvious that the woman is not stable and very doubtful whether the residents of Mercia would allow her to rule even if she were stable minded. If Ecbert were to back her in her plan, though, he could then take control of Mercia from her. Once the battle was won, it would not be difficult to prove her unfitness to rule and if the Papacy were on his side he could very easily gain the rule of Mercia. The Papacy was on his side as it is thought that it was their backing that helped gain him the crown of Wessex in the first place.

The battle of Ellendun

A map of England during Egbert’s reign

 In 825 one of the most important battles in Anglo-Saxon history took place, when Egbert defeated Beornwulf of Mercia at Ellendun—now Wroughton, near Swindon. This battle marked the end of the Mercian domination of southern England.   The Chronicle tells how Egbert followed up his victory: “Then he sent his son Æthelwulf from the army, and Ealhstan, his bishop, and Wulfheard, his ealdorman, to Kent with a great troop.” Æthelwulf drove Baldred, the king of Kent, north over the Thames, and according to the Chronicle, the men of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex then all submitted to Æthelwulf “because earlier they were wrongly forced away from his relatives.”  This may refer to Offa’s interventions in Kent at the time Egbert’s father Ealhmund became king; if so, the chronicler’s remark may also indicate Ealhmund had connections elsewhere in southeast England.

The Chronicle’s version of events makes it appear that Baldred was driven out shortly after the battle, but this was probably not the case. A document from Kent survives which gives the date, March 826, as being in the third year of the reign of Beornwulf. This makes it likely that Beornwulf still had authority in Kent at this date, as Baldred’s overlord; hence Baldred was apparently still in power.  In Essex, Egbert expelled King Sigered, though the date is unknown. It may have been delayed until 829, since a later chronicler associates the expulsion with a campaign of Egbert’s in that year against the Mercians.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not say who was the aggressor at Ellendun, but one recent history asserts that Beornwulf was almost certainly the one who attacked. According to this view, Beornwulf may have taken advantage of the Wessex campaign in Dumnonia in the summer of 825. Beornwulf’s motivation to launch an attack would have been the threat of unrest or instability in the southeast: the dynastic connections with Kent made Wessex a threat to Mercian dominance.

The consequences of Ellendun went beyond the immediate loss of Mercian power in the southeast. According to the Chronicle, the East Anglians asked for Egbert’s protection against the Mercians in the same year, 825, though it may actually have been in the following year that the request was made. In 826 Beornwulf invaded East Anglia, presumably to recover his overlordship. He was slain, however, as was his successor, Ludeca, who invaded East Anglia in 827, evidently for the same reason. It may be that the Mercians were hoping for support from Kent: there was some reason to suppose that Wulfred, the Archbishop of Canterbury, might be discontented with West Saxon rule, as Egbert had terminated Wulfred’s currency and had begun to mint his own, at Rochester and Canterbury,  and it is known that Egbert seized property belonging to Canterbury.  The outcome in East Anglia was a disaster for the Mercians which confirmed West Saxon power in the southeast.

 

 More information of Egbert of Wessex and the battle Ellendun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egbert_of_Wessex

More information on Aethelwulf:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86thelwulf_of_Wessex

You might wonder how this relates in any way possible to our Vikings Saga?  Well, as it’s mentioned, this battle is the key to Ecbert taking control of Mercia. Let us look at how our story might make use of such battle?

We already know that Kwentirith is involved in a fight with her remaining brother for the land and that Ecbert has offered his help to her in this battle. Why would he offer assistance if there were not some potential of great gain for him.  He needs assistance to win the fight is not above using the force of well trained Danish mercenaries such as Ragnar and his men. This would also be a benefit because many of his own men probably are not keen on fighting with neighbors and family in Mercia? Ragnar and his men know little of the bigger picture… though Ragnar did mention earlier, “There is some bigger problem here that is not ours, but his.” He was referring to Ecbert at the time.

Ecbert’s son Aethelwulf quickly volunteered to join in the battle, which would put him in place to receive great credit for a success. A defeat of Mercia would bode well for him and it would go along with history’s reference to him being involved in the battle.

Initially there was no battle on the river bank because Kwentirith’s brother chose wisely to listen to his advisor who told him in no uncertain terms, “Leave, leave now in order to survive!”

well ok maybe the shrooms haven't quite worn off yet time to meet the brother

Bergrid I love you don't leave

Bergrid I love you don’t leave

Maybe now is a good time to pray

There was much that led up to this meeting but I will address them in another discussion. This discussion only pertains to those events important to understanding these Saxons involved in the fight.

WTH It's that crazy sister of mine!

WTH It’s that crazy sister of mine!

you must not trust her she killed your brother and she will kill you

you must not trust her she killed your brother and she will kill you

but I love her

but I love her

survive first then talk of love

survive first then talk of love

Realistically, if you were a Mercian, would you want this woman as your ruler? If  she succeeds in defeating her brother, the Mercians will probably beg King Ecbert to step in and remove her!

Kwentirith as future ruler

Bergrid made a choice to flee rather than face this army… probably a wise choice at the time. Ragnar knew he must continue the fight and sent Aethelwulf to find out where they would flee to. Aethelwul is not just a meek Christian but a warrior in his own right, and he begins to show his worth in this situation.

aethelwulf shows his own warrior leader side

aethelwulf shows his own warrior leader side

Aethelwulf also shows that he is not above his own methods of torture to gain needed information!

aethelwulf shows his own warrior leader side

aethelwulf shows his own warrior leader side

brother birghred's man is captured

brother birghred’s man is captured

I could remove an eye or some teeth which would you prefer

I could remove an eye or some teeth which would you prefer

I don't believe you I don't know anything it's your choice

It's strange how I always know if someone is telling the truth

It’s strange how I always know if someone is telling the truth

After the threat of such torture, the captured man gives up his information and Aethelwulf offers some forgiveness as he is not like those Northmen?

I have no argument with you let's sup together  we're not all like the northmen

One added thought on Aethelwulf’s comments… perhaps Lady Judith would be wise to take heed of his warnings?

I always know when someone is telling me the truth

I always know when someone is telling me the truth

Aethelwulf returns to the group with his information that holds the key to the possible future battle?

they're at the top of that hill

they’re at the top of that hill

Berghrid and his men wait at the top of the hill for help to defeat Ragnar and Ecbert’s forces.  Why is this important, why is this the key? That most important battle for Ecbert, the battle of Ellendun was fought at or near a place called Wroughton.  Occupation of the area continued into the early Middle Ages (AD 410–1066) when two battles are understood to have taken place in the area: Breahburh (AD 567), thought to have been fought by Ceawlin of Wessex on the slopes of Barbury Hill, and Ellandun (AD 825) at Elcombe Hall by Egbert of Wessex. However there is no agreement that the latter was here (it is known to have been south of Swindon). Burial sites in the vicinity are believed to be associated with these battles.

Wroughton: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wroughton

battle of Ellendun

battle of Ellendun

Barbury Castle:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbury_Castle

aerial photograph  by webbaviation.co.uk

Barbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort situated in Wiltshire, England. It is one of several such forts found along the ancient Ridgeway route. The site, which lies within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been managed as a country park by Swindon Borough Council since 1971. It is situated on Barbury Hill, a local vantage point, which, under ideal weather conditions, commands a view across to the Cotswolds and the River Severn. It has two deep defensive ditches and ramparts. The Old Ridgeway runs close by and the modern Ridgeway crosses through the castle. In the surrounding area are to be found round barrows, Celtic field systems and 18th-19th Century flint workings.

On a side note, this area is also the site of another historical landmark.  The Uffington White Horse is located close by.

The Uffington White Horse is a highly stylised prehistoric hill figure, 110 m long (374 feet), formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk. The figure is situated on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in the English civil parish of Uffington (in the county of Oxfordshire, historically Berkshire), some 8 km (5 mi) south of the town of Faringdon and a similar distance west of the town of Wantage; or 2.5 km south of Uffington. The hill forms a part of the scarp of the Berkshire Downs and overlooks the Vale of White Horse to the north. Best views of the figure are obtained from the air, or from directly across the Vale, particularly around the villages of Great Coxwell, Longcot and Fernham. The site is owned and managed by the National Trust and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

History

Uffington White Horse, sketched by William Plenderleath in The White Horses of the West of England (1892)

The figure presumably dates to “the later prehistory“, i.e. the Iron Age (800 BC–AD 100) or the late Bronze Age (1000–700 BC). This view was generally held by scholars even before the 1990s, based on the similarity of the horse’s design to comparable figures in Celtic art, and it was confirmed following a 1990 excavation led by Simon Palmer and David Miles of the Oxford Archaeological Unit, following which deposits of fine silt removed from the horse’s ‘beak’ were scientifically dated to the late Bronze Age.

Iron Age coins that bear a representation comparable to the Uffington White Horse have been found, supporting the early dating of this artefact; it has also been suggested that the horse had been fashioned in the Anglo-Saxon period, more particularly during Alfred’s reign, but there is no positive evidence to support this and the view is classified as “folklore” by Darvill (1996).

Numerous other prominent prehistoric sites are located nearby, notably Wayland’s Smithy, a long barrow less than 2 kilometres (1 mi) to the west. The Uffington is by far the oldest of the white horse figures in Britain, and is of an entirely different design from the others.  It has long been debated whether the chalk figure was intended to represent a horse or some other animal. However, it has been called a horse since the 11th century at least. A cartulary of Abingdon Abbey, compiled between 1072 and 1084, refers to “mons albi equi” at Uffington (“the White Horse Hill”).

The medieval Welsh book, Llyfr Coch Hergest [The Red Book of Hergest] (1375-1425), states: “Gerllaw tref Abinton y mae mynydd ac eilun march arno a gwyn ydiw. Ni thyf dim arno.” which translates as “Near to the town of Abinton there is a mountain with a figure of a stallion upon it and it is white. Nothing grows upon it.”

The head of the horse, with sheep grazing around it.

The horse is thought to represent a tribal symbol perhaps connected with the builders of Uffington Castle.

White Horse Hill and Dragon Hill

Also important to note here is Ecbert’s later move on to Northumbria?  According to history, shortly after his victory of  Mercia, he took control of Northumbria as well.Later in 829, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Egbert received the submission of the Northumbrians at Dore (now a suburb of Sheffield); the Northumbrian king was probably Eanred.  According to a later chronicler, Roger of Wendover, Egbert invaded Northumbria and plundered it before Eanred submitted: “When Egbert had obtained all the southern kingdoms, he led a large army into Northumbria, and laid waste that province with severe pillaging, and made King Eanred pay tribute.” Roger of Wendover is known to have incorporated Northumbrian annals into his version; the Chronicle does not mention these events.   However, the nature of Eanred’s submission has been questioned: one historian has suggested that it is more likely that the meeting at Dore represented a mutual recognition of sovereignty. In 830 Egbert led a successful expedition against the Welsh, almost certainly with the intent of extending West Saxon influence into the Welsh lands previously within the Mercian orbit. This marked the high point of Egbert’s influence.
Our Vikings saga differs from history in that our Aelle is currently leader of Northumbria… and conveniently, his daughter, Lady Judith has been married off to Aethelwulf to seal alliances between the kingdoms.  At this time, I am unaware of what precise agreements were made between Aelle and Ecbert so I can not delve into that right now.
Ecbert did gain control over Mercia and Northumbria in the 820s but was unable to maintain that control. Both Wessex’s sudden rise to power in the late 820s, and the subsequent failure to retain this dominant position, have been examined by historians looking for underlying causes. One plausible explanation for the events of these years is that Wessex’s fortunes were to some degree dependent on Carolingian support. The Franks supported Eardwulf when he recovered the throne of Northumbria in 808, so it is plausible that they also supported Egbert’s accession in 802. At Easter 839, not long before Egbert’s death, he was in touch with Louis the Pious, king of the Franks, to arrange safe passage to Rome. Hence a continuing relationship with the Franks seems to be part of southern English politics during the first half of the ninth century.Carolingian support may have been one of the factors that helped Egbert achieve the military successes of the late 820s. However, the Rhenish and Frankish commercial networks collapsed at some time in the 820s or 830s, and in addition, a rebellion broke out in February 830 against Louis the Pious—the first of a series of internal conflicts that lasted through the 830s and beyond. These distractions may have prevented Louis from supporting Egbert. In this view, the withdrawal of Frankish influence would have left East Anglia, Mercia and Wessex to find a balance of power not dependent on outside aid.

Despite the loss of dominance, Egbert’s military successes fundamentally changed the political landscape of Anglo-Saxon England. Wessex retained control of the south-eastern kingdoms, with the possible exception of Essex, and Mercia did not regain control of East Anglia.   Egbert’s victories marked the end of the independent existence of the kingdoms of Kent and Sussex. The conquered territories were administered as a subkingdom for a while, including Surrey and possibly Essex.   Although Æthelwulf was a subking under Egbert, it is clear that he maintained his own royal household, with which he travelled around his kingdom. Charters issued in Kent described Egbert and Æthelwulf as “kings of the West Saxons and also of the people of Kent.” When Æthelwulf died in 858 his will, in which Wessex is left to one son and the southeastern kingdom to another, makes it clear that it was not until after 858 that the kingdoms were fully integrated.  Mercia remained a threat, however; Egbert’s son Æthelwulf, established as king of Kent, gave estates to Christ Church, Canterbury, probably to counter any influence the Mercians might still have there.

In the southwest, Egbert was defeated in 836 at Carhampton by the Danes,  but in 838 he won a battle against them and their allies the West Welsh at the Battle of Hingston Down in Cornwall. The Dumnonian royal line continued after this time, but it is at this date that the independence of one of the last British kingdoms may be considered to have ended.  The details of Anglo-Saxon expansion into Cornwall are quite poorly recorded, but some evidence comes from place names.  The river Ottery, which flows east into the Tamar near Launceston, appears to be a boundary: south of the Ottery the placenames are overwhelmingly Cornish, whereas to the north they are more heavily influenced by the English newcomers.

I know that I have probably provided more information on Ecbert than most would be interested in knowing, but as I have stated before, I think it is important to understand some of his historical background when trying to figure out his character in our version of history.  I also think that it is important to present some of this history as a counter part to the fiction that is being presented in our story.

In regards to the changes that Michael Hirst makes in order to adapt history to the storyline, I feel he makes great attempts to weave historical events and people into the story. I remind everyone that it is after all, historical fiction! My personal feeling is that this battle of Ellendun is  crucial to the expansion of Ecbert’s rule and later, Aethelwulf’s rule as well. I would think that might well get presented somehow within the story to show that other side of Ecbert, that side that we have seen little of as yet?  So, my current thought is that Berghrid’s men at the top of that hill in the distance could be some reference to this important battle.

they're at the top of that hill

they’re at the top of that hill

 

 

 

Vikings: Our arrival in Wessex causes much gossip!

Ok, first of all forgive me… I had hoped to write this earlier but I am afraid that I am not feeling so much like a hale and hearty Dane right now? I hate to admit of this, but I am feeling a bit under the weather and I fear this place has something to do with my current ailment. I have become so used to the generally crisp clean air of our Danemark that I had forgotten how truly horrendous and foul a place… and people can smell? Please forgive me if I sound off putting or rude to those of you who are Saxons by birth or ancestry, but this place smells awful! This  village is over full of people and animals all crammed together in one small space. It reeks of midden piles too close to living quarters, of waste both animal and human, and I do not know of when it might have been since some of these people have bathed. What ever happened to the oft repeated phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?”  Apparently, that phrase has not been coined or made so popular yet.  This is one great difference between our people and these Saxons. For the most part, we are a clean lot. Perhaps it is because we do not have such odd fear of water as these people seem to? We live near water- lakes and rivers cover our landscape… And, we make use of it. It is nothing uncommon for us to swim or to bathe in the rivers or lakes as often as need be. It astounds me that these people who also have access to lakes, to rivers, to the sea for some of them, would have such aversion to immersing themselves in it on some regular basis.  I pray to the Gods that we finish our preparations here quickly and can leave the overwhelming stench of this village! On a personal thought, all I can think is no wonder disease and plague spread so quickly. I want to be away from all of these people and Gods knows what germs they may spread.

Our arrival has caused a whirlwind of gossip and curiosity from the people here as well as suspicions and resentments. Of course, the women here all profess to be in fear of us and our men, but I can see that they also eye our men with something other than fear. I have to say that our men have been behaving themselves well for the most part? They are too busy making preparations for the coming battle they fight for that witch, Princess Kwentirith… I do have my own personal suspicions of her and I am not alone in my feelings. I know that there is most likely much more going on here than we are being told of, something does not feel right about this entire situation and I hold her liable for what ever schemes are being plotted without our knowledge. That said and set aside, I will say that our warriors are feeling some excitement about the fight even if it is not really our fight to be part of? They have been cooped up for too long and any excuse for a fight is looked forward to by them right now! I do need to add too that besides the fighting, some of them do look for free and honest women to pass some time with… Most of the women who have made this journey are wives and family- not ones who are willing or interested in sharing their beds or bodies with all of the men! So, the men’s eyes do wander to these Saxon women who may be of easy virtue and who seem more than willing to share their bodies, whether they would admit it openly or not! There are always willing women where ever one travels to and our men generally are not in the habit or liking of the idea of forcing a woman. Yes, I know of what future rumors will say about our men forcing themselves on women but it is not true. There are always those kinds of men in any society who would take enjoyment from abusing women, so our men have been put in much bad light for the sake of making some other group look better when it is simply not the case!  Our men are deeply offended by the thought that they would take such great pleasure or enjoyment from the abuse and rape of women. As I have said, for one thing- there are always women to be found anywhere you go, there is no pleasure or enjoyment to be found in forcing oneself on an unwilling person. No, that form of abuse has nothing to do with pleasure but all to do with power and control.

Our men are fine ones, respectful of women, courteous and usually well mannered in their interactions with women. They have no need to force themselves upon any woman, in fact they often have the problem of  avoiding women who are too willing and too desired of wanting them! And, if we are to be honest, there are many women who would take advantage of their kind hearts… there are also women who would lie and deceive, women who would willingly enjoy favor with men and then if found out, would claim they were forced? We all know of such women.

 

Now, as to rumors and gossip surrounding us here… much of that gossip pertains to the one person who we would think should cause none? Our friend Athelstan the priest is at the center of this gossip. Athelstan is normally the least likely man that any of us would assume there should be interest or curiosity about! For some reason though, he has attracted much attention from various virtuous religious ones here. It all has to do with the fact that he is or was a Christian monk, one of  God’s holiest of men, has turned against God and become Pagan, and yet carries a mark from God upon his hand.  During his last visit here, he was tortured by these “Godly” men, crucified by those Priests, and now his hand bears a scar that does not heal. I have looked at his hand, and I am as mystified as anyone else? I am not one for such mystical and religious miracles. I have tried to put it down to some more basic scientific or medical reason for the wound not healing completely, but even I do wonder at it?

I know you too well you can not hide anything

I know you too well you can not hide anything

The most important thing you must remember about this time is that anything unexplainable is looked on with great fear and is directly attributed to God, or the Gods… for every culture tried to explain such things in the same ways. They were signs from the Gods, or from the one God. Sometimes it would be looked on favorably and considered a miracle or a gift, other times it would be looked at as a bad omen? It really depended on the person and the situation at the time? It also depended on anything that happened in relation to such occurrence? Say such sign preceded a traumatic event, then of course that sign was in retrospect, a bad omen. If the sign were related to a good event happening, then it was a miracle, a sign that God was pleased.  I am much worried for Athelstan right now in that this sign on him could easily go either way? If good things happen to those believers around him, he will be put on a pedestal and worshiped. If bad things happen, then he will be a marked man doomed to be slain by those who believe that God has marked him in anger… either way, it will not go well for our Athelstan if this wound does not heal itself.

In this time of  religious zeal, frenzy and ultimate devotion, Athelstan is the ultimate prize for those seeking a closer contact or ear to God. I do not think that he really has any idea yet how dangerous his situation could become.  One of those devout and fevered Christians is none other than Aethelwulf’s wife, Judith. Aethelwulf is himself, a devoutly religious man who deems Athelstan as a traitor to their God. From the time of Athelstan’s arrival back here, the Lady Judith has been ever watching him and Aethelwulf is not happy about this.

For my own personal reasons, I feel need to make friends with Judith… I think she can be my best way of visiting the Wilton Abbey? I am quite sure she would know well of it and could help me in my quest to gain admittance or entry there. You see, it is such a small and private Abbey right now that one would need some connection or referral from a well placed Noble to visit or eventually seek sanctuary there if need be. I am sure that if I work this right, I can get her to take me there on the premise of making contribution to their good works.  I must be careful though in my endeavor for I do plan to take advantage of her infatuation with Athelstan. I do not want to put him at more risk than necessary and hope this plan does not completely backfire on me or him!  I must also be careful in my visit of the place… I do not want to remain there right now and they may be quite forceful in attempts to convert me to their ways and keep me there. A comment from Rollo recently reminds me to use caution and not remain there at this time. We were speaking of this upcoming battle and he in jest mentioned that he should not like to return and find that I had indeed run off to one of these places? He was jesting only in part, and grew more serious in his added reply that should I find myself hiding away in such a place, he would feel need to remove me from there, by what ever force necessary!  I do fear that such an event be the start of an even greater battle, a religious war that is not a part of this history. I do not want that on my conscience!  I worry too why Rollo would feel such need to “rescue” me? When I broached that subject, he simply said, “As you once told Siggy, that is not a place for you!” I left it at that as I did not want to go any deeper into such discussion with him. His reason was that he considered me a good friend and he would not see me shut myself away from the world in such a way. It had nothing to do with any kind of deeper relationship between us which we both know is not possible.  I laughed it all off and reassured him that I would give him fair warning should I ever decide on this choice. I also had to make known the fact that I was well aware of his recent interests in all the fine women of Wessex and other places… He did look a bit sheepish at this and said that he must find ways to entertain himself and forget the heartaches. I understand this and do not hold any of it against him.

rollo's way of setting up dates

I said nothing then… I understood his bitterness and his anger at Siggy but I did know that he would not forget his feelings for her. So, as any good friend would do, I simply added her name to the list of women vying for his favors!

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

As the men busied themselves with their battle plans, I put my own plans into motion with much trepidation. This could all go so badly and I would forever feel guilt if I were the cause for anything happening to Athelstan. It was all quite easy and I placated myself, justified my actions in that the Lady Judith would have eventually made her move on Athelstan anyway even had I not intervened? All I really had to do was put myself near to her and casually strike up conversation about Athelstan with her. She could not resist the temptation to speak more with him. So, all I did was point her in his direction… and was rewarded with her undying gratitude!

lady Judith enters and makes her play for Athelstan in a chastely religious manner

lady Judith enters and makes her play for Athelstan in a chastely religious manner

Anything that would happen as a result of this meeting is upon them, not me!

I wanted to wish you and your people good fortune

I wanted to wish you and your people good fortune

If it's not true that you bear a stigmata of Christ then why not show me your hand

Judith can't resist grabbing his hand to see such a religious sign

Judith can’t resist grabbing his hand to see such a religious sign

it is true!

it is true!

kissing athelstan's hand in utter reverence and devotion

kissing athelstan’s hand in utter reverence and devotion

 

now judith will be enraptured with this saintly man marked by god

now judith will be enraptured with this saintly man marked by god

trying to regain her composure

trying to regain her composure

I will admit that even I was a little surprised by her reaction… I thought she might pass out right there from her dazed frenzy of having touched and kissed the hand of one she felt was chosen by God!

 

Athelstan's first groupie

She was so overtaken by the experience that I think she forgot everything else… including her husband, who was not happy, to say the very least!

aethelwulf can not compete with one who could be marked as a future saint

aethelwulf can not compete with one who could be marked as a future saint

fare thee well husband go save the world while I stay here with my religious treasure

fare thee well husband go save the world while I stay here with my religious treasure

wait patiently for my return

wait patiently for my return… have you forgotten you have a husband and a son!

you are my wife

you are my wife

There take that you pagan priest

There take that you pagan priest! She is my wife!

I am so sorry Athelstan… I hope that at least you will find some joy in this situation before it all goes badly?

Now the other situation which is causing much rumour, I had nothing at all do with! I watched it unfold along with everyone else at that feast and was as surprised as anyone at this next infatuation? from the moment King Ecbert laid eyes upon Lagertha, he was as he admitted, completely infatuated with her. I do not necessarily trust him any more than I trust anyone else here and I have my worries as to where this will lead. I do think that Lagertha is a strong and capable woman though and would see through any games he might attempt to play? I would hope she will not be overly dazzled by his charm and will not fall for any trap him might try to ensnare her in. But, on the brighter side, Lagertha does deserve a bit of fun, some enjoyment of life’s pleasures and she should see the advantage of having this man on her side rather than against her or us…

Yes I am King so what?

Yes I am King so what?

well at least Lagertha looks happy about his presence

well at least Lagertha looks happy about his presence

she is unlike any woman I have ever met

I am infatuated with her

I am infatuated with her

Lagertha is impressed at least a little

Lagertha is impressed at least a little

We all made our way to the land which Ecbert had promised and it was a glorious sight!

travel to the new land

travel to the new land

As we came to our new home, I was excited like everyone else, but something deeply troubled me. This was rich farmland, that had once been occupied. There were farms and homes already here… where had those people gone? Had they been forced out of their homes, off from this wealth of land for us? If so, I could well understand the bitterness and hatred from some of those in the village! What had happened to the previous residents, what had Ecbert done to them in order to provide us with this bounty.  There was an underlying fear in my heart now.

the new land all the way to the horizon with many farms that need to be worked

the new land all the way to the horizon with many farms that need to be worked

Ecbert made vows and promises of peace between us all but, could or would he keep that peace if all of those previous land holders were so intent on breaking it? How would we have felt… how did we feel when during that time in Kattegat when our lands, our homes were taken from us. Did we sit back and allow someone, such as Jarl Borg or King Horik to take our homes and our land from us. Is not this a similar situation for such people here who may have been displaced to give the lands to us?

he wants us to live in peace here

he wants us to live in peace here

 

While we journeyed to this new land and this trouble brewing, our men journeyed into their own trouble!

travel to battle

They headed into a battle for the strange princess Kwentirith… This woman was no shieldmaiden and was completely unprepared for the battle that would pit our men against her brother and her Uncle. She spent much of journey dancing and celebrating in her own bizarre fashion!

kwentirith shows off her dancing skills

kwentirith shows off her dancing skills

That is not to say the men did not enjoy the spectacle but, could any of them really take this woman seriously? One who was not amused by any of it was Aethelwulf, who voiced his disgust and his concerns to his personal Priest!

being the good christian that he is Aethelwulf goes nowhere without his personal priest

being the good christian that he is Aethelwulf goes nowhere without his personal priest

What they sailed into felt more like a battle set up to defeat them from all sides. They were unprepared to meet armies on both sides of the river, and were taken by surprise.

the first arrow of attack from out of nowhere

Our men felt as though they had sailed into a trap… one set by the scheming Princess Kwentirith. Ragnar was understandably furious with this turn of events and showed his growing mistrust of Kwentirith.

she's obviously hiding something she's uneasy talking about her uncle

she’s obviously hiding something she’s uneasy talking about her uncle

tell me about your uncle

is that your brother?

is that your brother?

 

 

 

 

I love him my brother bergrid but he has been taken in by my uncle's schemes

I love him my brother bergrid but he has been taken in by my uncle’s schemes

Having no choice now, the men determined their best odds and set about winning this uneven battle. Their anger and feelings of betrayal spurred them into fighting even harder to win!

Besides his anger at the general situation they were in, his distaste of Kwentirith and his extreme frustration, Ragnar was even less happy about some of his own warriors, namely his son Bjorn and Bjorn’s wife Porunn. It was rather obvious that he did not approve of Porunn’s being there in the first place and then when she placed herself in the middle of the battle and Bjorn became so distracted and felt need to keep her safe, well Ragnar’s disgust clearly showed on his face!

ragnar sees bjorn with porunn and is really pissed

ragnar sees bjorn with porunn and is really pissed

porunn holds her own

porunn holds her own

porunn is right in the middle of the fiercest fighting

porunn is right in the middle of the fiercest fighting

now she struggles to hold her own in the fighting

now she struggles to hold her own in the fighting

pulling porrun out of danger

pulling porrun out of danger

nope, ragnar is not happy about porrun

nope, ragnar is not happy about porrun

It was a fierce and bloody battle that took it’s toll and they barely managed to survive and win that day!

Bjorn becomes distracted in fear for her bjorn does well in the battle break the damn arrow and keep fighting floki gets to uncle first

In the end, they were victorious… and Kwentirith’s uncle was taken down by an enraged Floki! They succeeded that day, but none trusted Kwentirith and no one knows yet what the consequences or the cost of this battle will be other than more battles for these Christians and death for our men.

 

 

 

 

 

Vikings: Message to Athelstan!

To my Dear friend Athelstan,

I send you this message to entreat you to tread very carefully on your future path in England. I have received some unclear tellings of the future from the Seer here in Kattegat… some of which concerns you? I feel I must warn you of this and ask you to be most careful in any affairs of the heart that you may at some point enter in to. I know that you are torn by your beliefs and most likely will eventually forsake your vows as a monk… that is not what I am concerned about. It is more the choice of which ever woman you will forsake these vows for which concerns me. I know too that you will treat this message and it’s contents as much private and will not share this information with anyone else, as it could put us both in grave danger from all sides.

athelstan season3

I have spoke to you before of my visions, as you are want to call them, of what the future may hold for all of our friends- both in Kattegat and in England. What I must warn you of  concerns those in England?  I know and understand how you are torn in your loyalties to both the Vikings and the English as am I. This very touchy matter of which I warn you about regards the English of whom you feel some of that loyalty to?

athelstan with aethelwulf and ecbert

You have developed a close relationship to Ecbert, and not so much of a closeness to his son, Aethelwulf… The matter of which I must warn you of  concerns these two men, or rather more so- Ecbert’s son Aethelwulf and his wife, Judith?

judith vikings

We know that Judith, the daughter of Aella has been wed to Aethelwulf as a show of peace and alliance between Northumbria and Wessex. It is a fragile peace and alliance as most are… and if this marriage should not work out for what ever reasons, it will not bode well for either side? I mention this because I do realize that it may not be the easiest or happiest of marriages for Judith? Aethelwulf is reported and recorded as being a very devout and overly zealous Christian… I understand there was some difficulty for you when he accused you of turning into a Pagan?

aethelwulf and athelstan

I bring this up because as he is such a devout man, he would take his marriage vow, and those of his bride quite seriously? There is also the matter of any offspring from this union, which would hold great importance in the future. 

aethelwulf and judith Judith_Wedding vikings

What I know of the future of  England is that sons of Aethelwulf will play very important roles? My sight of the future may differ from what will happen… I can only say that you should take great care in any relationship you may form with Judith. Someone will bear Aethelwulf sons who will be a part of shaping the future of England. Now, whether Judith bears those sons or some one else does is difficult to determine? There is also the possibility that Judith could bear him sons who may or may not be of his blood? That would be extremely difficult to prove in this time!

aethelwulf vikings2

The Seer has shared some images with me that lead me to believe that Aethelwulf becomes much troubled over some event in his life? What ever this event is, it takes a toll on the man and he resorts to gevious  penance and religious fervor over it.

what on earth is going on here?

what on earth is going on here?

what goes on here 2

what goes on here 2

The Seer has also shown me some vague images that perhaps you and Judith may become more than just good friends?

more wooo but with who?

more wooo but with who?

I just feel that I must warn you to take great care and caution if this is the path you choose… Aethelwulf will one day be King of Wessex, Judith will be queen and it could be dangerous for both of you should this relationship be found out! I do not think that Ecbert will take this matter lightly either should it come to light while he is King? Please use care. Judith seems to be a good woman and I know it would pain you deeply if one you cared about were to be greatly harmed by this affair of the heart. I will leave this matter to your soul and pray that you will find happiness in the future, but will not find it at the harm or heartbreak of another. Please let your conscience and your mind be your guide in this, and not some other part of your person. Think of what I have shared with you on the future of your England?

athelstan and ecbert aethelwulf and ecbert

Aethelwulf in history:

Æthelwulf, also spelled Aethelwulf or Ethelwulf; Old English: Æþelwulf, meaning “Noble Wolf”, was King of Wessex from 839 until his death in 858. He was the only known child of King Egbert of Wessex.  He conquered the kingdom of Kent on behalf of his father in 825, and was sometime later made King of Kent as a sub-king to Egbert. He succeeded his father as King of Wessex on Egbert’s death in 839, at which time his kingdom stretched from the county of Kent in the east to Devon in the west. At the same time his eldest son Æthelstan became sub-king of Kent as a subordinate ruler.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86thelwulf_of_Wessex

 

Judith in history: Judith’s true history differs from what is portrayed and presented in our Vikings version of history.

Judith of Flanders (or Judith of France) (c. 843 – c. 870)  was the eldest daughter of the West Frankish King and later Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Bald and his wife Ermentrude of Orléans. Through her marriages to two Kings of Wessex, Æthelwulf and Æthelbald, she was twice a queen. Her first two marriages were childless, but through her third marriage to Baldwin, she became the first Countess of Flanders and an ancestress of later Counts of Flanders. One of her sons by Baldwin married Ælfthryth, a daughter of Æthelbald’s brother, Alfred the Great. She was also an ancestress of Matilda of Flanders, the consort of William the Conqueror, and thus of later monarchs of England.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_of_Flanders#Queen_of_Wessex