Guthrum (died c. 890), christened Æthelstan, was king of the Danish
Vikings in the Danelaw. He is mainly known for his conflict with Alfred the Great.
Guthrum, founder of the Danelaw
Although how Guthrum consolidated his rule as king over the other Danish chieftains of the
Danelaw(Danish ruled territory of England) is unknown, what is known is that by 874 he was able to wage an extensive war against Wessexand its kings, most notably Alfred. By 876, Guthrum had been able to acquire various parts of the kingdoms of Merciaand Northumbriaand then turn his attention to acquiring Wessex, where his first confrontation with Alfred took place near the Welsh border. Guthrum sailed his army around Poole Harbourand linked up with another Viking army that was invading the area between the Frome and Trent rivers which was ruled by Alfred. [Collingwood, M. A. and Powell, F. Y. "Scandinavian Britain" "New York. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge: 1908" p. 94.] According to the historian Asser, Guthrum’s initial battle with Alfred resulted in a victory, as he was able to capture “the castellum” as well as the ancient square earthworks known as the “Wareham” where a convent of nuns existed. Alfred was able to broker a peace settlement, but by 877 this peace was broken as Guthrum led his army raiding further into Wessex, thus forcing Alfred to confront him in a series of skirmishes that Guthrum continued to win.
Defeat by Alfred
Guthrum may have succeeded in conquering all of Wessex if he had not suffered a defeat at the hands of Alfred at the
Battle of Edingtonin 878. At the Battle of Edington, Guthrum’s entire army was routed by Alfred's and fled to their encampment where they were besieged by Alfred's fyrdfor two weeks. According to the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Guthrum’s army was able to negotiate a peace treaty known as the Treaty of Wedmore."Anglo Saxon Chronicle" Trans. by M. J. Swanton (New York, Routledge: 1996).] The Anglo Saxon Chronicle recorded the event, “Then the raiding army granted him (Alfred) hostages and great oaths that they would leave his kingdom and also promised him that their king (Guthrum) would receive baptism; and they fulfilled it. And three weeks later the king Guthrum came to him, one of thirty of the most honourable men who were in the raiding army, at Aller - and that is near Athelney- and the king received him at baptism; and his chrism losing was at Wedmore.” He planned a surprise attack and was defeated.
Conversion to Christianity and peace
Treaty of Wedmorethe borders dividing the lands of Alfred and Guthrum were established, [Davis, R. H. C. "From Alfred the Great to Stephen" (London, The Manbledon Press: 1991) p. 48.] and perhaps more importantly, Guthrum converted to Christianity and took on the Christian name Æthelstan with Alfred as his godfather. Guthrum's conversion to Christianity served as an oath or legal binding to the treaty, making its significance more political than religious.
Politically, Guthrum’s conversion to Christianity did nothing to loosen the Danish hold on the lands that Guthrum had already acquired via conquest.Loyn, H. R. "The Vikings in Britain" (New York, St. Martin’s Press: 1977) p. 59.] Instead it not only garnered Guthrum recognition among Christian communities he ruled, but also legitimized his own authority and claims. By adopting the Christian name of
Æthelstan, which was also the name of Alfred’s eldest brother, Guthrum’s conversion reassured his newly acquired subjects that they would continue to be ruled by a Christian king rather than a heathen chieftain.
Guthrum upheld his end of the treaty and left the boundary that separated the Danelaw from English England unmolested. Guthrum, although failing to conquer Wessex, turned towards the lands to the east that the treaty had allotted under his control free of interference by Alfred. Guthrum withdrew his army from the western borders facing Alfred's territory and moved eastward before eventually settling in the Kingdom of
Guthrumin East Anglia in 879. He lived out the remainder of his life there until his death in 890. According to the Annals of St. Neots (ed. D. Dumville and M. Lapidge, Cambridge 1984), a Bury St Edmundscompilation, Guthrum was buried at "Headleage," usually identified as Hadleigh, Suffolk.
Guthrum appears in a several works of fiction, including:
Bernard Cornwell's series of historical novels, " The Saxon Stories": " The Last Kingdom", " The Pale Horseman", " The Lords of the North" and "Sword Song".
G. K. Chesterton's poem " The Ballad of the White Horse".
C. Walter Hodges' juvenile historical novels "The Namesake" and "The Marsh King".
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Guthrum — der Ältere († um 890), auch bekannt als Gorm der Ältere, getauft auf Æthelstan, König der dänischen Wikinger im Danelag. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Guthrums Einnahme des Danelag 1.2 Der Kampf um Wessex … Deutsch Wikipedia
Guthrum — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Guthrum el Viejo († c.890), bautizado con el nombre de Aethelstan, fue Rey de los vikingos daneses en la zona llamada Danelaw. Contenido 1 Guthrum, Fundador de Danelaw 2 Derrotado por Alfredo el Grande … Wikipedia Español
Guthrum II — was, according to some reconstructions, a King of East Anglia in the early tenth century.BackgroundThe only Viking ruler of the former Anglo Saxon kingdom in East Anglia whose existence is beyond doubt is Guthrum, whose activities are recorded in … Wikipedia
Guthrum — l Ancien Monnaie de Guthrum (Æthelstan), roi d Est Anglie Guthrum l Ancien († v. 890), également connu sous son nom de baptême, Æthelstan, fut un roi viking du Danelaw. L adjectif « ancien » vient de ce qu il existe un Guthrum postéri … Wikipédia en Français
Guthrum II — serait, d après certaines reconstructions, un roi d Est Anglie du Xe siècle, qui aurait succédé à Eohric. En réalité, l histoire de l Est Anglie après sa conquête par les Danois, en 870, est très mal connue, et le seul souverain connu de… … Wikipédia en Français
Guthrum — ▪ king of Denmark also spelled Godrum , or Guthorm , also called Aethelstan, Athelstan , or Ethelstan died 890 leader of a major Danish invasion of Anglo Saxon England who waged war against the West Saxon king Alfred the Great… … Universalium
Guthrum — This interesting surname of English origin is derived from the old Norse personal name Gudormr, meaning battle snake . Gudrum, Gudram, the name of the first Danish King of East Anglia, is preserved in the York street name Googramgate. The surname … Surnames reference
Guthrum I de Estanglia — Guthrum el Viejo († c.890), bautizado con el nombre de Aethelstan, fue Rey de los vikingos daneses en la zona llamada Danelaw. Contenido 1 Guthrum, Fundador de Danelaw 2 Derrotado por Alfredo el Grande 3 Conversión al Cristianismo y Paz … Wikipedia Español
Guthrum l'Ancien — Monnaie de Guthrum (Æthelstan), roi d Est Anglie Guthrum l Ancien († v. 890), également connu sous son nom de baptême, Æthelstan, est un roi viking du Danelaw au IXe siècle. L adjectif « ancien » vient de ce … Wikipédia en Français
Guthrum (disambiguation) — The name Guthrum corresponds to Norwegian Guttom and to Danish Gorm . The name Guthrum may refer to these kings:* Guthrum, who fought against Alfred the Great, * Gorm the Old of Denmark and Norway, * Guthrum II, a king of doubtful historicity … Wikipedia