Wessex

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Wessex

(wĕs`ĭks), one of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England. It may have been settled as early as 495 by Saxons under CerdicCerdic
, d. 534, traditional founder of the kingdom of Wessex. A Saxon, he and his son Cynric landed on the southern coast of England in 495. Little is certain about him except that later West Saxon kings traced their descent from him through his son Cynric and his grandson Ceawlin.
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, who is reputed to have landed in Hampshire. Cerdic's grandson, Ceawlin (560–93), annexed scattered Saxon settlements in the Chiltern Hills and drove the Celts from the region between the upper Thames valley and the lower Severn. But Ceawlin himself was finally expelled from Wessex, and until the end of the 8th cent. the country was overshadowed successively by Kent, Northumbria, and Mercia. King Cædwalla (reigned 685–88) conducted several successful campaigns; and his successor IneIne
, king of Wessex (688–726). In 694 he forced the people of Kent to pay compensation for the murder of a kinsman, and he extended his sway over Sussex and Surrey and probably over Devon.
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 consolidated the western expansion through Somerset and exacted tribute from Kent. After Ine's death, however, the kingdom relapsed into anarchy. EgbertEgbert,
d. 839, king of Wessex (802–39). His name also appears as Ecgberht. He was descended from Cerdic and was apparently an unsuccessful aspirant for the crown of Wessex against Beohtric (reigned 786–802).
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 (802–39) became overlord of all England, but his successors were forced to relinquish many of his gains and to concentrate on defending their lands against the invading Danes. With the reign of 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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 (871–99) and the halting of the Danes, the history of Wessex becomes that of England. In the 10th cent., Edward the Elder, Athelstan, Edmund, and Edred gradually acquired firm control over all England, including the Danelaw. This unity ended, however, after the quiet reign of Edgar (959–75), for ÆthelredÆthelred,
965?–1016, king of England (978–1016), called Æthelred the Unready [Old Eng. unrœd=without counsel]. He was the son of Edgar and the half-brother of Edward the Martyr, whom he succeeded.
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 (978–1016) could offer no effective resistance to the invading Vikings. Canute established Danish rule in 1016. The end of his line caused the recall of Edward the Confessor (1042–66), last of the Wessex line of Alfred. In the novels of Thomas Hardy, Wessex is used to mean the SW counties of England, mainly Dorsetshire.

Wessex

 

an Anglo-Saxon kingdom established by the Saxons at the beginning of the sixth century, during the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain. In 740, Wessex came under the dominance of Mercia. In 825, Egbert, the king of Wessex, defeated the Mercians and united under his rule an extensive area of the land thereafter known as England. At the end of the ninth century, however, King Alfred the Great, after a fierce struggle with the Scandinavians, was forced to conclude a treaty dividing the country; the southwest, including Wessex, remained under his rule. In historical literature, Alfred’s reign marks the end of the history of Wessex and the beginning of English history.

Wessex

1
Earl of. See Edward (sense 2)

Wessex

2
1. an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in S and SW England that became the most powerful English kingdom by the 10th century ad
2. 
a. (in Thomas Hardy's works) the southwestern counties of England, esp Dorset
b. (as modifier): Wessex Poems
References in periodicals archive ?
The analysis will scrutinize noun plurals attested in 9 Old English prose texts, which together represent the West Saxon dialect of Early Old English as well as all of the four major dialects of Late Old English, and which constitute approximately 475,000 words of textual material.
As they approached Tettenhall, or Wednesfield according to one source, they were met by a force of Mercians and West Saxons.
Promotion of culture and literacy among the aristocracy through the adoption of vernacular texts is surely one significant innovation underpinning Alfred's cultural programme; it is examined in this book in the context of existing West Saxon habits and, more comprehensively, in relation to Carolingian cultural trends.
A few hundred years after the first invaders, some of their legends, told over and over again in mead halls throughout the country, would be written down as a poem in a West Saxon dialect, known to us as Beowulf.
They were carved `to demonstrate the acceptance of the West Saxon overlord and his church'; or, in Derbyshire, `to construct a sense of secular union (between natives and immigrants) corresponding to pre-existing land-units'; or, in Yorkshire, to signal obedience to the Hiberno-Norse kingdom; or, when concentrated near markets, to commemorate Hiberno-Norse communities of traders.
Davis in his excellent article discusses how the West Saxon kings extended their lineage beyond Woden through Biblical patriarchs to "Adam, primushomo et pater naoster id est Christus"; thus "their genetic, blood-lineal descent from divinity, which had been obscured for centuries after the conversion, was neatly and triumphantly restored (36).
They discuss such topics as the polysemy of over in late Middle English verb-particle combinations, word order in West Saxon prose, and information structure and polysynthesis.
Northumbrian Lindisfarne and Rushworth 2, Mercian Rushworth 1, and West Saxon versions in two manuscripts--MSS CCCC 140 and CUL Ii.
King Sihtric of Dublin is set to marry Princess Edith, the sister of Aethelstan, the West Saxon King of England.
In subsequent chapters, which deal in turn with the Cynewulf and Cyneheard episode from the Chronicle, with The Battle of Brunanburh and other `political' verse in the employ of the later West Saxon state, and with The Battle of Maldon, the warrior `ethic' is seen increasingly to solidify into doctrine in the service of political propaganda: these texts develop thematic interests in such issues as the authority of kings (including the repercussions of their deposition) and the legitimization of royal power by genealogical and martial means; the sanction here rests ultimately with the preeminent role of the (just) lord, in whose service retainers are expected unswervingly to define themselves even, in the case of Maldon and the apotheosis of the ideal, unto death.
The first volume presents Scandinavian Viking-Age traveler Ohthere's report of his travels to the West Saxon king, Alfred; it is interpolated in the late-ninth-century translation of Osorius.
As for Old English, it is agreed that Lindisfarne Gospels are a gloss, whereas West Saxon Gospels can be treated as a more or less free translation, where language copying is more limited.