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(born 849died 899) King of Wessex (871–99) in southwestern England. He joined his brother Ethelred I in confronting a Danish army in Mercia (868). Succeeding his brother as king, Alfred fought the Danes in Wessex in 871 and again in 878, when he was the only West Saxon leader to refuse to submit to their authority and was driven from the kingdom to the island of Athelney. He defeated the Danes at the Battle of Edington (878) and saved Kent from another Danish invasion in 885. The next year he took the offensive and captured London, a success that brought all the English not under Danish rule to accept him as king. The conquest of the Danelaw by his successors was enabled by his strategy, which included the construction of forts and a naval fleet and the reformation of the army. Alfred drew up an important code of laws (seeAnglo-Saxon law) and promoted literacy and learning, personally translating Latin works by Boethius, Pope Gregory I, and St. Augustine of Hippo into Anglo-Saxon. The compilation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was begun under his reign.
Variants of ALFRED
Alfred known as Alfred the Great
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Alfred, visit Britannica.com.