Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

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Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,

collective name given several English monastic chronicles in Anglo-Saxon, all stemming from a compilation made from old annals and other sources c.891. Although the work was thought for some time to have been commissioned by King AlfredAlfred,
849–99, king of Wessex (871–99), sometimes called Alfred the Great, b. Wantage, Berkshire. Early Life

The youngest son of King Æthelwulf, he was sent in 853 to Rome, where the pope gave him the title of Roman consul.
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, there is no positive evidence to substantiate this claim; his encouragement of learning, however, undoubtedly inspired the compilation of the chronicle. The original chronicle was later edited with additions, omissions, and continuations by monks in various monasteries. The four chronicles recognized as distinct are called the Winchester Chronicle, the Abingdon Chronicle, the Worcester Chronicle, and the Peterborough Chronicle.

The account begins with the start of the Christian era and extends to 1154. Much of the very early material is drawn from BedeBede, Saint
, or Baeda
(St. Bede the Venerable), 673?–735, English historian and Benedictine monk, Doctor of the Church, also called the Venerable Bede. He spent his whole life at the monasteries of Wearmouth (at Sunderland) and Jarrow and became probably the
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's history. From the period of the wars between Saxons and Danes onward, most of the annals are original and are the sole source for information about certain events. The writing is generally in sparse prose, but some poems are inserted, notably the stirring "Battle of Brunanburh" (see BrunanburhBrunanburh, battle of
, A.D. 937, a victory won by Athelstan, king of the English, over a coalition of Irish, Scots, and Britons (or Welsh) of Strathclyde. The site of the battle is not known. The battle is celebrated in a poem in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
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See C. Plummer, ed., Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel (1892–99); D. Whitelock et al., ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1962); C. Clark, ed., The Peterborough Chronicle (2d ed. 1970); G. N. Farmonsway, ed. and tr. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1978).

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