Athelstan of England

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Athelstan (or Æthelstan) (Old English: Æþelstan, Æðelstān) (c. 893 / 894 – 27 October 939), called the Glorious, was the King of England from 924 or 925 to 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder, and nephew of Æthelflæd of Mercia. Æthelstan's success in securing the submission of Constantine II, King of Scots, at the Treaty of Eamont Bridge in 927 through to the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 led to his claiming the title "king of all Britain".[2] His reign is frequently overlooked, with much focus going to Alfred the Great before him, and Edmund after. However, it was of fundamental importance to political developments in the 10th century.

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Sources

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which is vocal during the reigns of Alfred and Edward the Elder, falls into relative silence during Athelstan's reign, and what entries survive are retrospective. A few references tell of his military campaigns, the longest entry being a poem about the Battle of Brunanburh (937), probably composed in his successor Edmund's reign. Other narrative sources from across Europe, though, provide more information. The Annals of Flodoard contain several references to Athelstan's dealings with the rulers of west and east Francia, as does the Chronicle of Nantes. William of Malmesbury, however, writing in the early 12th century, provides the greatest detail. His work might even draw on a (now lost) Vita Æthelstani, as Michael Wood argues, but caution is called for as this case has yet to be proven and William's account can rarely be verified. Another difficult source is chapters 50-55 of Egil's Saga, attributed to Snorri Sturluson c. 1220-1240.

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