The Second Viking War dominated and doomed the reign of King Æthelred II “the Unready.”
This is lecture one.
A prosperous and militarily ill-prepared England proved an irresistible attraction for rival Scandinavian warlords striving to consolidate power in Denmark and Norway.
Æthelred and his councilors tried various means to oppose the raiders, sometimes fighting them, sometimes paying them, while undertaking ambitious and costly military programs reminiscent of Alfred. Nothing worked, and raiding once again gave way to invasion.
Between 1013 and 1016 England was conquered twice, first by the Danish king Swein Forkbeard and then by his son Cnut. Cnut, however, chose not to rule England as a conqueror. A
ppreciating the power to be had by maintaining England’s administrative institutions and theocratic political ideology, Cnut reinvented himself as a pious English king. Cnut conquered England, but in a sense, it also conquered him.
In this lecture series Dr. Abels will guide us through the reigns of Alfred the Great and into the reign of Æthelred II and into the rise and rule of Cnut. From the revolution of the Anglo Saxon Economy and Class System into the decline of the Anglo Saxon Military and the return of the Vikings we will see a complicated world and the complicated life and policies of Æthelred II and we will discuss was Æthelred II truly the "unready" or have we misrepresented him, those around him and his reign?
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Music Attribution: Viking Music - Berserker
Song Link: https://youtu.be/L8c_lsJoF_0
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