Aethelweard's Chronicle vs. the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Aethelwulf)

a comparison of what Aethelweard wrote about his own ancestor Aethelwulf

Aethelweard wrote a long letter to his cousin Matilda in part of which, he states the history of Britian up until the year 975, which was perhaps the year in which he wrote, although we don't know this with certainly, we only know he couldn't have written any earlier than that year. He used a form of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which is no longer extant, so below I will compare his writing, with what we have from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.


Aethelweard wrote in Latin, but there is an English translation available online at this link. While a modern-English translation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is available online at this link.  I was going to use the Project Gutenberg version of the ASC, but it is so hopelessly useless for reposting that I gave that task up.  Perhaps someone at that project will get a clue and stop using the <pre> HTML directive, which simply makes the reformatting job horrendous.  Meanwhile there is a full-view version of the ASC at this link on Google books, which requires no reformatting... yeah!

In this table I want to look just at what Aethelweard wrote about his own ancestor Aethelwulf, compared to what we have from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  The purpose would be to show that Aethelweard had, at this disposal, some other source, which we no longer possess.

 Year   Aethelweard  Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
After one year a battle was fought against the Britons in the province of Defna Devonshire at a place called Camelford In the same year king Egbert fought a battle against Bernulf king of the Mercians at Ellendune and Egbert gained the victory but there was a great loss on both sides and Hun duke of the province of Somerset was there slain he lies buried in the city of Winchester Lastly king Egbert sent his son Ethelwulf with an army into Kent and with him bishop Ealstan and duke Wulfherd They defeated the Kentish army and pursued their king Baldred into the northern parts beyond the Thames To whom the men of Kent are afterwards subjected and also the provinces of Surrey and Sussex that is the midland and southern Angles
Here was a battle between the Welsh and the men of Devonshire at Galford and the same year Egbert king [of the West Saxons] and Beornwulf king [of the Mercians] fought at Ellendun and Egbert got the victory and there was great slaughter made Then he sent from the fyrd his son Ethelwulf and Ealhstan his bishop and Wulfhard his aldorman into Kent with a large force and they drove Baldred the king northwards over the Thames And the men of Kent and the men of Surrey and the South Saxons and the East Saxons submitted to him for formerly they had been wrongly forced away from his kin And the same year the king of the East Angles and the people sought king Egbert for ally and protector from dread of the Mercians and that year the East Angles slew Beornwulf king of the Mercians
 837 At the end of a year the powerful king Egbert died. After his death Athulf succeeded to the throne of his father Egbert and he delivered up the kingdom of Kent to his son Athelstan together with East Saxony South Saxony and Surrey ie the eastern southern and midland parts
Aethelwulf son of Egbert succeeded to the kingdom of the West Saxons he gave his son Aethelstan the kingdom of the Kentish men and of the East Saxons and of the men of Surrey and of the South Saxons
 840/1 Meanwhile after one year king Ethelwulf fought against the Danes at a place called Charmouth by whom he was vanquished and the victors kept possession of the ground
Here king Aethelwulf fought at Charmouth against the crews of thirty five ships and the Danish men had possession of the place of slaughter [and Louis the emperor died].
 851 After seven years Ceorl duke of Devon fought a battle against the pagans at Wembury where they slew many of the Danes and gained the victory In the course of the same year the barbarians wintered first in the isle of Thanet which lies not far from Britain and has fruitful but not large corn fields That year was not yet finished when a large fleet of pagans arrived 350 ships at the mouth of the river Thames commonly called Thames mouth and destroyed the city of Canterbury and the city of London and put to flight Berthwulf king of Mercia having defeated his army After the battle they returned beyond the river Thames towards the south through the province of Surrey and there king Ethelwulf with the Western Angles met them an immense number was slain on both sides nor have we ever heard of a more severe battle before that day these things happened near Ockley Wood
Here Ceorl aldorman with the men of Devonshire fought against the heathen men at Wicganbeorg and there made great slaughter and got the victory And the same year king Ethelstan and Ealhere dux slew a great host of the enemy at Sandwich in Kent and took nine ships and put the others to flight And the heathen men for the first time settled over winter in Thanet And the same year came three hundred and fifty ships to the mouth of the Thames and the crews stormed Canterbury and London and put to flight Berhtwulf king of the Mercians with his fyrd and then fared south over the Thames into Surrey and there king Aethelwulf and his son Aethelbald with the fyrd of the West Saxons fought against them at Ockley and there made the greatest slaughter among the heathen host that we have heard tell of to this present day and there got the victory
 853/4 After three years king Burhred asked assistance from king Ethelwulf to subdue the Northern Britons he granted it and having collected his army passed through the Mercian kingdom to go against the Britons whom he subdued and made tributary In the same year king Ethelwulf sent his son Alfred to Rorne in the days of our lord pope Leo who consecrated him king and named him his son in baptism when we are accustomed to name little children when we receive them from the bishop's hand In the same year where fought battles in the isle of Thanet against the pagans and there was a great slaughter made on both sides and many were drowned in the sea The same year also after Easter king Ethelwulf gave his daughter in marriage to king Burhred
Here Burgred king of the Mercians and his witan begged of king Ethelwulf that he would assist him to reduce the North Welsh to obedience Then he did so and fared with a fyrd across Mercia among the North Welsh and made them all obedient to him And the same year king Ethelwulf sent his son Alfred to Rome Leo was pope in Rome at the time and he consecrated him king and took him for his godson at confirmation Then in the same year Ealhere with the men of Kent and Huda with the men of Surrey fought in Thanet against a heathen host and at first were victorious and many there were slain and drowned on each side And after Easter king Ethelwulf gave his daughter to king Burgred from Wessex into Mercia
 855/7 After a year the pagans wintered in Sheppey In the same year king Ethelwulf gave the tenth of all his possessions to be the Lord's portion and so appointed it to be in all the government of his kingdom In the same year he set out to Rome with great dignity and stayed there twelve months As he returned home therefore to his country Charles king of the Franks gave him his daughter in marriage and he took her home with him to his own country country Lastly after a year king Ethelwulf died and body reposes in the city of Winchester Now the aforesaid king was son of king Egbert and his grandfather Elmund his great grandfather Eafa his great grandfather's father was Eoppa and his great grandfather's was Ingild brother of Ina king of the Western Angles who ended his life at Rome and the above named kings derived their origin from king Kenred Kenred was the son Ceolwald son of Cuthwin son of Ceawlin son of Cynric son of Cerdic who also was the first possessor of the western parts of Britain after he had defeated the armies the Britons his father was Elesa son of Esla son of Gewis son of Wig son of Freawin son of Frithogar son of Brond son of Beldeg son of Woden son of Frithowald son Frealaf son of Frithuwulf son of Finn son of Godwulf son of Geat son of Taetwa son of Beaw son of Sceldi son Sceaf This Sceaf came with one ship to an island of the ocean named Scani sheathed in arms and he was a young boy and unknown to the people of that land but he was received by them and they guarded him as their own with much care and afterwards chose him for their king It is from him that king Ethelwulf derives his descent And then was completed the fiftieth year from the beginning king Egbert's reign
Here the heathen men for the first time settled over winter in Sheppey and the same year king Aethelwulf gave by charter the tenth part of his land throughout all his realm for the glory of God and his own eternal salvation And the same year he fared to Rome in great state and was dwelling there twelve months and then turned homewards And then Charles king of the Franks gave him his daughter for queen and after that he came to his people and they were fain of it And about two years after he came from France he died and his body lies in Winchester and he reigned eighteen years and a half And this Ethelwulf was son of Egbert Egbert of Ealhmund Ealhmund of Eafa Eafa of Eoppa Eoppa of Ingild Ingild was brother of Ine king of the West Saxons he who fared to St Peter's and gave up his life there they were sons of Coenred Coenred of Ceolwald Ceolwald of Cutha Cutha of Cuthwin Cuthwin of Ceawlin Ceawlin of Cynric Cynric of Cerdic Cerdic of Elesa Elesa of Esla Esla of Gewis Gewis of Wig Wig of Freawin Freawin of Frithogar Frithogar of Brand Brand of Baeldaeg Baeldaeg of Woden Woden of Frithowald Frithowald of Freawin Frealaf of Fritho wulf Frithowulf of Finn Finn of Godwulf Godwulf of Geat Geat of Taetwa Taetwa of Beaw Beaw of Sceldwea Sceldwea of Heremod Heremod of Itermon Itermon of Hathra who was born in the ark Noah Lamech Methusalem Enoh Jared Malalahel Cainion Enos Seth Adam primus homo et pater noster est Christ Amen

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