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Limen, crossed the sea with-
themselves ships there, and went southwards over sea to the Seine. Thanks be to God the army had not utterly broken down the English nation; but during the three years was it much more broken down by the mortality which broke out among cattle and among men, and most of all by this, that many of the most eminent king's-thanes in the land died during the three years: some of whom were, Swithulf bishop of Rochester, and Ceolmund alderman of Kent, and Beorhtulf alderman of Essex, and Wulfred alderman of Hamtunshire, and Ealheard bishop of Dorchester, and Eadulf the king's-thane in Sussex, and Beornwulf the 'wic-reeve' at Winchester, and Ecgulf the king's horse-thane, and many also besides these, though I have named the most famous. That same year the armies from among the East-Anglians and from among the North-humbrians harassed the land of the West-Saxons, chiefly on the south coast, by predatory bands; most of all by their æscs,' which they had built many years before. Then king Alfred commanded long ships to be built to oppose the æscs; they were full-nigh twice as long as the others; some had sixty oars, and some had more they were both swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others. They were shapen neither like the Frisian nor the Danish, but SO as it seemed to him that they would be most efficient. Then some time in the same year, there came six ships to Wight, and there did much harm, as well as in Devon, and elsewhere along the seacoast. Then the king commanded nine of the new ships to go thither, and they obstructed their passage from the port towards the outer sea. Then went they with three of their ships out against them; and three lay in the upper part of the port in the dry; the men were gone from them ashore. Then took they two of the three ships at the outer part of the port, and killed the men, and the other ship escaped; in that also the men were killed except five: they got away because the other ships were aground. They also were aground very disadvantageously three lay aground on that side of the deep on which the Danish ships were aground, and all the rest upon the other side, so that no one of them could get to the others. But when the water had ebbed many furlongs from the ships, then the Danish-men went from their three ships to the other three which were left by the tide on their side, and then they there fought against them. There was slain Lucumon the king's reeve, and Wulfheard the Frisian, and Ebbe the Frisian, and Æthelhere the Frisian, and Æthelferth the king's geneat, and of all the men, Frisians and English, seventy-two; and of the Danish-men one hundred and twenty. Then, however, the flood-tide came to the Danish ships before the Christians could shove theirs off, and they therefore rowed them out nevertheless, they were damaged to such a degree that they could not row round the Sussex land; and there the sea cast two of them on shore, and the men were led to the king at Winchester; and he commanded them to be there hanged and the men who were in the single ship came to East-Anglia, sorely wounded. That same summer no less than twenty ships, with their crews, wholly perished upon the south coast. That same year died Wulfric, the king's horse-thane; he was also 'Wealh-reeve.'
In this year died Ethelm, alderman of Wiltshire, nine days before midsummer [June 15] and this year died Heahstan, who was
bishop of London.
CHARTERS IN 898. 1. King ALFRED, subscribed also "Eadweard rex hanc regis donationem stabilito" and by others. II, 128.
CHARTERS IN 899. 1.
The emperor Arnulf died,
Meanwhile, after four years from the time that the abovenamed king died, there was a great discord among the English, because the foul bands of the Danes still remained throughout Northumberland.
to be king. In the same year Rollo with his army besieged the city of Chartres, but the bishop of that same city, named Walthelm, a most religious man, called Richard duke of Burgundy and Ebal count of Poictiers to his help, and bearing in his hands the shift of the blessed Virgin Mary, he drove back duke Rollo by the divine will, and freed the city.
129. 2. Another of WERFRITH,
scribed "SignumÆdwardi filii regis," at II, 130, has no date, but must belong to some year about this time.
In the summer-time; the army of the pagans, which had wintered at Quatbricge, went partly to East-Anglia, partly to Northumberland. Some of them remained there but others, getting possession of some ships, went to the river Seine before-mentioned. O with what frequent vexations, with how severe sufferings, in what a dreadful and lamentable manner, was all England annoyed, not only by the Danes, who had then occupied the parts of England, but also by those children of Satan. But it suffered much more, for three years, by a murrain among the cattle, and the death of noble men, who about that time departed this life. Among whom was Suithulf prelate of the church of Rochester, Ealheard bishop of Dorchester, Ceolmund duke of Kent, Beorhtulf duke of Essex, Eadulf the king's officer in Sussex, Beornulf provost of Winches ter, Ecgulf the king's strator, and many others, but these were the most noble.
Thus, during the three years
But afterwards, some ships of the Danes came near the
In the same year, the army
In that same year, 20 ships with their crews were cast away round the northern coasts.
In the year 899
That famous, warlike, victorious [KING]; the zealous protector of widows, pupils, orphans, and poor; skilled in the Saxon poets; dear to his own race, affable and liberal to all; endued with prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance; most patient under the infirmity, which he daily suffered; a most discreet inquisitor in executing justice; vigilant and devoted in the service of God; Alfred king of the Angul-Saxons, son of the pious king Atheluulf; having reigned 29 years and 6 months, died, in the 4th Indiction, on Wednesday the 6th before the calends of November, [OCT. 27], and was buried at Winchester in the New Minster, where with the just he awaits a glorious
Alfred, truly so called, a man
CHARTERS IN 900. None.
CHARTERS IN 901. 1. ETHEL-
The first of these, if given after Oct.
the reign of his son Edward the Elder.
The latter furnishes no clue to its
King Alfred, having reigned
speak in versification:
Lastly, in the same year,
that immoveable pillar of
For he had translated into
brought to life again. The monarch died on the seventh day before the feast of All Saints [OCT. 25], and his body rests in peace in the city of Winton. Pray, O reader, to Christ our Redeemer, that he will save his soul!
Innate nobility hath given thee honour,
Some of the MSS. of Asser re-
Thy robes dropp'd sweat, thy sword dropp'd blood, and shewed,
Through all earth's climes none but thyself e'er lived,
THE ANGLO-SAXON MINT.
Although the researches of English and Continental Antiquaries prove the very close resemblance in many respects between the manners and customs of the Franks and the Anglo-Saxons, one vast difference is clearly apparent; namely, the constitution of their mints. While the coinage of the Franks consisted, for the far greater part, of gold, that of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, with the exception of the styca of copper, struck in the mints of Northumbria only, consisted almost exclusively of silver, of which the sole denominations that have come down to us, are the penny and the half-penny, very few specimens, however, of the latter being known.
Ruding, in his Annals of the coinage of Great Britain, has the following remarks: "Those, who deny that the Saxons possessed any knowledge of the art of coinage before they landed in Britain, will find it extremely difficult to point out the source from whence they derived it after their arrival; for the Anglo-Saxon money bears not, either in form, type or weight, the least resemblance to those coins which at that time were the current specie of this Island."
After observing that "the barbarous workmanship of the British coins could not have excited their attention," he expresses his surprise that the Britons should have continued their own rude method of coining "in preference to the beautiful specimens of Roman art, which were constantly before their eyes." 17
It is very clear from this that the laborious author of the Annals had but slight practical acquaintance with the subject, however valuable his work may be regarded as a compilation from written documents. To the general reader a detailed description of the various rude coins which must have been struck and circulated in this country after the departure of the Romans, would be tedious, and, without the assistance of illustrations, wholly impracticable. Long ere the once masters of the world withdrew for ever from their Island possession, their coins had ceased to be "beautiful specimens of art," and long previous to the introduction of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons, they attempted to copy the degenerate types of the Roman money.
Nor was the desire to imitate better examples abandoned on the introduction of Christianity, as we may perceive in some of the pennies of Edweard the first, on which is an evident attempt to copy the representation of the gate of the prætorian camp as found on the coins of Rome, from the reign of Diocletian to that of Theodosius. A coin of Ciolwulf, found at Preston, furnishes still stronger evidence, since the reverse is a palpable copy of the common reverse of the gold coins of Valentinian, on which are represented the two sitting figures of the emperors crowned by Victory hovering above them.'
It is thus evident that the Anglo-Saxons did not disdain the best models of coinage then existing, and that the rudeness of their own money is not attributable to an unwillingness to copy but rather to a want of ability to execute coins equal to the rude examples of the Roman currency at its worst period.
As regards the weight of the Anglo-Saxon penny, it was originally of 24 grains, hence the term " penny weight." Now the Quinarius or half denarius of the Roman Empire, from the time of Arcadius and Honorius to the reign of Justin, is of very common occurrence even at this day, and no doubt circulated abundantly throughout the Roman dominions. It weighs on an average 24 grains, a fact which leads to the inference that the Saxon penny was accommodated in weight to the Roman coins which must have continued in circulation long after they were minted, and were pro
(1) This coin is engraved in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. v, p. 10. It is not unlikely that the Victory here represented is intended by the Anglo-Saxon artist to represent the third personage of the Trinity: see on this subject a note by the writer in the Numismatic Chronicle, vol. xii, p. 79.