Journal Article

The Origins of the Line of Egbert, King of the West Saxons, 802–839

Rory Naismith

in The English Historical Review

Volume CXXVI, issue 518, pages 1-16
Published in print February 2011 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/ceq377
The Origins of the Line of Egbert, King of the West Saxons, 802–839

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Manuscript F of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (the ‘Domitian bilingual’) contains a laconic but tantalising addition to the annal for the year 784, stating that an obscure king named Ealhmund who ruled in Kent at that time was father of Egbert, king of the West Saxons. The claim of Kentish ancestry built primarily on this annal has provided fuel for considerable debate on the emergence and antecedents of Egbert's dynasty. This article critically re-examines the authority of this Kentish connection, and suggests that it is based on later extrapolation rather than any authentic ninth-century tradition. Other evidence for Egbert's ancestry and background is thin, but points more towards Wessex and its line of kings, especially from the time of Ine (688–726) and before.

Journal Article.  8715 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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