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Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to c.886 and King of the Anglo-Saxons from c.886 to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex who died when Alfred was young, and three of Alfred's brothers, Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred, reigned in turn.
After acceding to the throne, Alfred spent several years fighting Viking invasions. He won a decisive victory in the Battle of Edington in 878 and made an agreement with the Vikings, creating what was known as the Danelaw in the North of England. Alfred also oversaw the conversion of Viking leader Guthrum to Christianity. He defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, becoming the dominant ruler in England.
Alfred had a reputation as a learned and merciful man of a gracious and level-headed nature who encouraged education, proposing that primary education be conducted in Anglo-Saxon rather than Latin and improving the legal system, military structure and his people's quality of life. He was given the epithet "the Great" during and after the Reformation in the sixteenth century.
BBC Podcast: Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how a series of Danish invasions, settlements and battles with Anglo-Saxons changed England in the 9th and 10th centuries.
A basic sub-division of the Alfred coins is into types with portraits (Spink 1057-64), and types without portraits (Spink 1065-1072).