King Alfred the Great as One of the Greatest Rulers of English History

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King Alfred the Great as One of the Greatest Rulers of English History

King Alfred the Great can, in many ways, be considered one of the
greatest rulers of England. His defeat of the Danes, unification of
England, many successful reforms and insistence upon the restoration
of ecclesiastical culture are the result of his superior leadership
and command. The epithet, "The Great," attached to his name by writers
of the sixteenth century and given to no other English king is another
reflection of the kind of ruler he was.1 A twelfth century writer
notes the prestige that was given to Alfred when he wrote, He reigned
for twenty and eight years; there are few such men living: for he was
wise and a good
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In 853 he played his first role in
politics and diplomacy. At the age of four, Alfred was sent to Rome by
his father to represent him at a papal court. Even at such a young
age, Alfred was taking part in the politics of his country. At four
years old Alfred took part in a legal ceremony at his father's court
and at age five he was a witness to a series of charters given to
churches by his father.4 Alfred took part in many of the political
activities in his father's court. Because of Alfred's active role in
the diplomacy of his father's kingdom, he had a different education
than one would expect a future king to have. He spent his youth taking
part in his father's court and hunting. Through his hunting, he
learned the land of his father's kingdom, which would become an
advantage against the Viking invaders during his reign.5 Alfred did
not have a literate education as a young boy. He remained illiterate
in Anglo-Saxon until his teen years and in Latin until much later in
his life.6 However, his literacy made no difference in his ability to
lead a country against attack. As the fourth son of a king, it is
quite an oddity that Alfred took the throne in 871. However, with the
deaths of all of his brothers, Alfred was able to lead his kingdom to
victory over the Vikings. At a battle in 878 against the Viking leader
Guthrum Alfred was able to defeat the Vikings…