9th century 800-899 CE
Winston Churchill said of Alfred the Great;
‘We discern across the centuries a commanding and versatile intelligence wielding with equal force the sword of war and the sword of justice’
The 9th century gave England one of her greatest leaders, King Alfred the Great, who ascended to the throne of the Kingdom of Wessex in 871.
He came from a line of powerful rulers whose rule in the Kingdom of Wessex was shadowed by the Viking raiders from the north. It was the century when the Vikings raided Ireland, sacked London and captured York.
The Vikings were not only expanding their territories, they continued to expand their art and culture and this became a unifying aspect of this period.
The great Charlemagne died in 814 and the division of his empire continued across the century resulting in the complete division of the Frankish Empire.
Islamic science and mathematical and literary advancements were immense. Without it, many great works would have been lost to the world including Ptolemy’s work on cosmology.
The 9th century was a century of literature
The Islamic House of Wisdom with it’s 400,000 books, the development of the Cyrillic script, translating the Bible into Slavic (later Cyrillic) and the oldest surviving printed book from China, the Diamond Sutra.
In Britain the Anglo Saxon Chronicle was begun that today still gives us the best and sometimes only insight into the history of this dark period of British history. King Alfred encouraged scholars to read and translate great works. In his reign the scriptorium at Winchester is thought to have been established.