Anglo-Saxon England
Gewissan Unrest

Gewissan Unrest

September 28, 2022

The period between Cynegil’s baptism in 636 and the rise of Cædwalla in 685 is one in which the political history of the Gewisse becomes extremely complicated. This is because the political structure of the Gewisse that had developed by this time was one in which any male heir of Cerdic was entitled to claim the throne. Thus while the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is committed to presenting a unified dynasty linking King Alfred to Cerdic, it cannot totally hide the fact that the political situation among the Gewisse was extremely fraught, particularly on occasions when internal power politics spilled over into the realm of international relations.

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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The People of Gewisse

The People of Gewisse

September 19, 2022

Our first secure historical date for the people who became the West Saxons occurred at some point in the 630s when a missionary called Birinus baptised their king, Cynegils, at his royal palace near Dorchester on Thames. According to traditions which circulated among later generations of West Saxons they already had a century of history prior to this date, but this history as it has come down to us is often vague and contradictory. In this episode I will go over that history. 

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

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The End of Mercia

The End of Mercia

September 19, 2022

Following the Battle of Ellendun, Mercia entered an uncertain new phase in its history. No longer the supreme power in England, it was forced to regroup and rebuild amid dynastic strife and encroaching threats from without. It would survive for only a further half century after Beornwulf's death, but rather than being solely a time of decline, that last fifty years saw the emergence of something new which was brutally snuffed out before its time.

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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The Collapse of the Mercian Supremacy

The Collapse of the Mercian Supremacy

September 19, 2022

The Mercian Supremacy collapsed within just five years of Coenwulf's death, a dramatic reversal of fortune. Why did this happen and what role did the political instability which gripped Mercia at this time play in the course of events? This episode, follow me as we look at how something as successful as Mercia could come crashing down in such a short span of time.

 

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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Coenwulf: The Last Mercian Overlord

Coenwulf: The Last Mercian Overlord

August 2, 2022

In this episode we look at the reign of the last king of the Mercian Supremacy: Coenwulf. We look at how he rebuilt a fractured Mercian dominion in the wake of Offa's death, how he struggled to incorporate the Church into his overlordship, and how a 10th C legend about his son's death was used to explain the whole collapse of the Mercian supremacy that had been a fact of Anglo-Saxon politics for almost 200 years at the time of his death.

 

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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Tamworth: Aachen-on-Tame

Tamworth: Aachen-on-Tame

July 19, 2022

Tamworth in Staffordshire proudly announces it's history as 'capital of the kingdom of Mercia' to all who visit. In this episode we look at the history of the town and how it's origins as a major royal site rest decisively with King Offa, who cemented its place in history as the heart of Mercia.

 

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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Offa and the Dream of Empire

Offa and the Dream of Empire

July 5, 2022

Offa of Mercia is one of the great figures of Anglo-Saxon history. Casually known in English textbooks, his true greatness is often only alluded to. He was a great visionary king who aspired to remake the political system of Mercia, to centralise it, and even to found an empire in Britain.

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

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Athelbald the State Builder

Athelbald the State Builder

June 22, 2022

Athelbald of Mercia was yet another Anglo-Saxon king to return from exile and rejuvenate a stagnating kingdom. More than any king we've discussed so far, he fundamentally altered the way politics in his kingdom worked through daring use of royal power to cement the position of the king of Mercia as a legal warrior diplomat at the head of an economic powerhouse. It ended in betrayal from within, but at its peak he ruled gloriously as the de facto overlord of southern England.

 

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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The Heirs of Penda

The Heirs of Penda

June 9, 2022

After Penda's death in 655, Mercia faced a grim future. Cowed by a dominant Northumbria and ruled by a puppet king there seemed to be little hope for the people of march. But, in the shadows, nobles plotted with Penda's second-born. The puppet was killed and when Oswiu's attention was elsewhere, they raised their banner in rebellion to expel the Northumbrian officials and set Wulfhere on the throne to rule them as a free people. Wulfhere would rebuild his father's supremacy and use the tools open to him as a Christian to parley simple military dominance into permanent overlordship. But prestige is fleeting and when the energy that set Wulfhere on the throne dissipated, the heirs of Penda began to lose authority until finally a new dynasty stepped in to take up the mantle of kingship. 

 

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

 

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King Penda

King Penda

May 25, 2022

Penda's career is one of the most dramatic in Anglo-Saxon history yet very little is known about him apart from what others tell us about him. In this episode I cut through the uncertainty to give you a glimpse of this man, what he accomplished, and how he not only helped forge a singular Mercian identity but also set the stage for future Mercian supremacy.

Credits – 

Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQfdqIyqJ4g&list=LL&index=5&ab_channel=Hr%C5%8D%C3%B0mundW%C5%8Ddening

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/anglosaxonengland

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