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Posted on April 16th, 2014, by

It has been found that Alfred the Great contributed to the development of the country’s economy, culture, politics and social life. Alfred not only put his kingdom in the state of defense and provided security of his people, but also he developed the appropriate laws “for the ordering and governing of their lives”ť, according to Thomas Hughes (1871, p. 156). Alfred the Great established a new legal code, which formed the basis of Saxon law. The legal code included the laws of Offa of Mercia, “which limited the practice of blood feuding and imposed heavy penalties on those in breach of sworn oath”ť (Alfred the Great, 871-899, 2012, para.4). In addition, King Alfred paid special attention to judicial matters and judicial fairness. He travelled across the country to ensure that justice was served in all parts of England.

Moreover, Alfred contributed to the development of the English navy. In 896, he constructed a fleet that consisted of new warships which were much better than the warships of Vikings. Alfred the Great reorganized his army and built many well-defended settlements in the south of the country. Besides the above mentioned facts, King Alfred was engaged in scientific work: he translated about five Latin literary works into English, such as Pope Gregory the Great’s Cura Pastoralis, the Universal History of Orosius, Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica, and some other works (Grossman, 2007, p. 14). In addition, he wrote a history of his country from Roman times to his days, well-known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The copy of this book could be found in each cathedral and monastery across England, and King Alfred ordered to record every important event that took place in the country. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was maintained for 250 years after King Alfred’s death.  It is also known that Alfred “invited scholars from Europe to reinvigorate the culture of his country and promote education in England after the long years of war with the Danes”ť (Abbott, 2005, p. 39). He wanted more people in England to be educated. King Alfred reestablished a number of monasteries as the centers of learning for the poor, founded several schools in Oxford and other cities.

PERSONAL SKILLS OF ALFRED THE GREAT

Alfred the Great was brave and energetic man. According to the historical data, “Alfred the Great believed that king’s instruments of rule included men of prayer, men of war and men of work. Without these three classes properly trained, the king could not properly perform his tasks”ť (Thomas, 2009, p. 303). As a person of strong character, he made everything possible to protect his country from enemies and expand his territories. Alfred the Great was honest and open-hearted person, who protected the weak and the vulnerable, secured the church and banned pagan practices. He was a religious man and he included the clergy into his council. In addition, “his law code began with an introduction containing a translation of the Ten Commandments into English”ť (Thomas, 2009, p. 303). Moreover, King Alfred was a well-educated man, and he promoted education reforms in the country throughout his reign. According to the historian John Peddie, “afflicted by poor health for most of his life, Alfred nonetheless showed unflagging energy as a warrior, administrator, scholar and educator”ť(Grossman, 2007, p. 14).

ALFRED THE GREAT AS A MILITARY LEADER

As a military leader, Alfred the Great paid special attention to his soldiers. He often made an address to his men. He often “reminded them that they were to contend, to rescue themselves and their country from the intolerable oppression of a horde of pagan idolates, that God was on their side, and had promised them the victory, ”ť according to Jacob Abbott (2005, p. 162).

It has been found that King Alfred ascended to power at the age of 21, but he had been an experienced military leader by that time. According to Grossman, “Alfred demonstrated his great talent of a military leader from his early years”ť (2007, p. 12). When he inherited the throne from his elder brother, he managed to make serious changes in the structure of the army. He used much time to develop a better army which helped him to succeed. He was a good military strategist – he decided to build several forts at strategic points and constructed a strong Royal Navy. Due to the defeat of the Danes, King Alfred was recognized as a national hero and king.

            CONCLUSION

            In conclusion, it is necessary to say that in history, Alfred the Great is well-known for his lifelong struggle against the Danes and for his efforts to create an English nation. He showed his best qualities of a military leader in the numerous battles against the Danes. With the help of his navy, King Alfred managed to defeat the enemy and preserve Anglo-Saxon hegemony. King Alfred contributed to the development of education, religion, political and social life of the country. The church and state had a common goal ”“ to administer law in the country. Alfred the Great was not only a brilliant general, but also the protector of the poor.

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