Alfred has taken on the top job just at a time when the pressure is really on. And things are going pear shaped rapidly. No sign of any hashtag the Great in this episode – Alfred is down to his last burnt cake and in deep excrement.
The Big Guy is front and centre this week. A recap on his early years, getting to be a Consul of Rome; he proves he is a tough guy in battle, handsome, smart and charming. But he is our underdog against the relentless onslaught of the Danes. So to complete the title, if he can’t do it no-one can.
Wahoo! We get to talk about the marvelous TV series Vikings – regrettably as historically accurate as D. Trumps record breaking inauguration crowd – AND The Last Kingdom book and TV series much better historically – BUT WAIT! There’s more – we have Bishop Asser with his biography of Alf! OMG! What more could we want.
Why oh why I hear you cry. This podcast is supposed to be a history so what’s this legendary guy doing in it. Well, just like religion and magic stuff, our olde monarchs believed in Arthur. Ted 3 believed and wanted his guys to be just like Arthurs mates. Betty 1 even tried Ancestry.com to prove she was descended from Arthur. So we had a squiz at what we could get out of real history which turns out to be bugger all. We then checked out the more legendary tales and saw how they changed through history to suit the times.
Tintagel Castle Cornwall
We then had a go at a history of Christianity up to the Great Schism. That should keep us going for a while
This weeks episode dumps us in the Dark Ages. Rome is gone and the Barbarian Picts and Scotti are hoping into the place. King Vortigen hires a couple of Saxon Mercenaries to help out and they decide to stay. Eastern Britain gets Anglo -Saxonised and the Britons are pushed back to Cornwall, Wales and North West Britain.
Augustine turns up, sent by Pope Gregory, to bring light to our pagan Saxons. We skip a ton of Anglo-Saxon history to get up to the heptarchy or 7 kindoms – which is kind of 5 kingdoms (it’s complicated). We visit a few of the kings of Northumbria (Bernicia and Deira) as well as a Briton king Cadwollan, the rather nasty Mercian Penda and finish up with the death of Ecgbert of Wessex in 839. The scene is set for us to finally get an England. Here’s a map of the heptarchy.
This week we join the brave Claudius as he successfully invades and captures Britannia amazingly quickly. Then he nicks off back to Rome and lets the legions get with a rather lengthy mopping up process. Just as we are all getting quite accustomed to having the Romans running the place, they nick off! Oh dear, this can’t go well.
Episode 1 takes us from pre-history Britain through to Caesars couple of visits and his death in 54BCE. Along the way, we find out that indigenous Britons turned up about 15,000 years ago but soon found themselves sharing with Celts and Saxons. The area that is now England had 2-5 cultures and languages and was divided into around 20 kingdoms.