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Hello, everyone, so we are now on lesson two of our four-lesson inquiry on Alfred the Great.

Last lesson, we learnt about who the Vikings were and what they did.

Bit gross.

There we go, that's history.

And today, we're going to be learning about who Alfred was.

Who was King Alfred, and how did he end up getting the title Great? Partly because he was a pretty good king by the standards of the time.

Also a little bit of image control, I would say.

We'll go into that in more detail.

So what I'd like you to do, as always, is first of all, piece of paper, your book, pen.

Write down the date of whatever day it is that you're doing with lesson on.

The title, "Alfred the Great", underline it.

Underline both, in fact.

And then, restart the video when you're ready.

Just to remind you, you can pause at any time, if I've spoken too quickly, if you've bored of my voice, that's fine.

And hide your phone.

Don't forget to hide your phone.

So if you could just make sure you've got the title in your books, "Alfred the Great", and the date of whatever day you're doing this lesson on, and then we'll restart, restart the video, and we'll get on with the lesson, so pause now, and get that down, and then we'll start the lesson.

So in the last lesson, we were looking at the Vikings, the Viking invasion of England.

The raiding started by the Vikings in 793 A.


And things got really serious in 865, under a, just under a hundred years later when the Great Heathen Army arrived.

We then looked at what the Vikings did when they got there.

So where did this army go? What did they do? Well, they caused chaos and destruction.

And the reason that we have, we are doing this inquiry about, is about Alfred, Alfred King of Wessex, was the king who stopped the Viking advance.

He stopped the Vikings, he fought back, and he successfully pushed them back.

So without Alfred, and this is one of the reasons he's called the Great, England would have been taken over by the Vikings.

Now, what's very interesting about this, this, this king is why we call him Great and no one else Great.

We, Alfred is one of the only kings to have the title as the Great.

He wasn't called this at the time.

He was called the, the Great many hundreds of years later.

And the reason we're doing this inquiry is because we need to understand why is he called the Great and why are his children, grandchildren not? And we'll look at his children and grandchildren in the next lesson, but first of all, we need to look at who this man was.

Now, here is a coin, a coin with these words written around the edge: Alfred Rex Anglo.

So Alfred Rex Anglo, so this coin was found, it's from 880.

So about 15 years after the Great Heathen Armies arrived, and we'll learn, well, you'll be reading about what happened in, that allowed him to give him this title.

So what's interesting about this, Alfred Rex, meaning king, as in Tyrannosaurus Rex being king of the lizards, Anglo is the word for English.

This is Latin.

And this tells us that Alfred in 880 was calling himself king of the English, not King of Wessex, not King of the West Saxons.

King of the English, which is a very important point that we have to, we have to think about.

So Alfred became king of Wessex in 861.

The Great Heathen Army arrived four years later in 865, and then the Great Heathen Army just devastates England and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. And it looks, it looked like Wessex was going to go the same way as well, so and it stops, and this is the really, really important thing.

Alfred manages to stop the Viking advance.

On the screen, you'll see a map of England and, and Scotland, and Wales.

And this is what Alfred did.

So having, start having, put, you'll read about this more in these lines in a moment, but Alfred stopped the Viking advance and not only that, but he then defeated the Vikings at, at, at some very important battles.

And he came, he eventually managed to sign a deal with, with the leader of the Vikings.

Guthrum was his name.

This was in 890.

And this deal, and it was a treaty, so a treaty is an agreement between two leaders of countries or armies, whatever.

The deal was to split England in half.

And what we see on the screen is that split.

So the pink area, known as the Danelaw, was the area where the Vikings were in control.

South and east of that line, that sort of the brown colour, that was where Alfred was in control.

So the two, so England was split down the middle, and this is what Alfred did to protect England from the Vikings, so Alfred didn't, didn't get rid of the Vikings.

He didn't, they, the Vikings were very, very, very much stuck in the area they were in.

But what he did was to stop the advance.

He stopped the advance.

Now on the screen, so one of the tricky things we have, as historians, is trying to work out where this border was between the Viking and the Anglo Saxon areas.

Now, something very interesting that we can do.

Why do you think, we're going to pause in a moment, why do you think there are only Viking place names in the north and east of England? So, we have the name of a town or a village in this country, typically is a very, very old name.

Most, most towns and villages have been there in some form for over a 1,000 years.

And so, the names that are given to places tell us a lot about who lived there.

Interestingly, if you look at the screen on the right, the blue dots represent places where there are Viking words in those place names.

The question is, what do you think is, what is this map telling us? How do we know where the back, where the line was between the Danelaw, the Viking area, and the area controlled by Alfred? Just pause now and have a look.

It's hopefully, hopefully pretty clear what's, what's going on.

Very simply, if you've restarted the video, very simply, the line drawn by Alfred and Guthrum in 890, can be seen in the location of places with Viking names today.

That's pretty cool, I think actually, that you can, we can basically, an event that happened over 1,000 years ago, a deal made between the king, Alfred, King Alfred and Guthrum, still to this day, we see or we hear in the place names of northern and eastern England.

And you can see the two maps.

They kind of match up.

And the other interesting thing, actually unrelated to that, if you look, you can also see blue dots all around the coast of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.

It's not a coincidence that the Vikings liked to be on the coast.

Think about how the Vikings travelled.

They've they, they, the best what their, they, they, they wanted to be able to travel by sea 'cause that was, that was their, that was their, their main way of travelling.

So what did, so just join here, so what did Alfred do? So he's made this deal between, he's made this deal with Guthrum, He stopped the Viking advance.

He doesn't just sit back and relax.

He doesn't just sit back and relax.

Now, just bear in mind, so the, on the screen, we have a, another map, and all these dots represent places where burhs were built.

Now, a burh is, it's not the same as a castle, but it's, it's, we, the way to describe it, so imagine you have a village or a town.

A burh would be a fortified village or town.

So what Alfred did, he's taken control.

He's pushed the Vikings back out of, out of Wessex, out of east, western Mercia, and therefore he decides to build.

He wants to protect his people.

He wants to protect Wessex.

So what he does, he, he, he, he finds these different towns, and towns and villages, and he surrounds them with wooden fences and, and heaps.

And in these, in these burhs, he then puts soldiers, and you'll see that they're quite, then, they're all about the same distance from each other.

This was, this was, he meant to do this.

So, he meant, if the Vikings were attacking one burh, then reinforcements or extra soldiers could be sent from another burh to protect them.

So this is part of how Alfred, and then when we think about why he then became known a Great, well, he didn't just stop the Viking advance.

He then started to strengthen Wessex when he left, when, when that had happened.

So I'd like you to do very quickly, which of the following did Alfred not do? I actually, my apologies, there's something up here, as well as, as well as building the burhs, he also sets up a Navy to, to rival the Vikings.

So pause here, which of the following did Alfred not do to protect Wessex from the Vikings? There's four things that he did.

Sorry, three things that he did.

One thing that he didn't do.

Which of the things did he not do? And, of course, it is gave his daughter to the Viking King.

We'll be learning about his daughter in the next lesson, really interesting character, but he didn't make her, he didn't marry her to a Viking King.

That had, that did happen, but it wasn't Alfred.

Now Alfred is also remembered as, as pretty Great by some, because he also thought it was really important that people learned, that they could read, and they could write.

So, because the Vikings had been causing so much chaos for so long, England, and typically they were attacking the monasteries and churches, it was in the monasteries and churches where reading and writing and learning happened.

So of course, when Alfred became King, this had, this, there was a big problem, 'cause people had stopped being able to do what they'd been doing before.

Therefore he decided to, to sort that out.

So we, he, he sets up, he set up a school at, at his court.

He encouraged any, he himself, he himself translated these very, very important books from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire and the language of the church into English, because he wanted English people to be able to understand these, these, these works.

Not only that, but he also encouraged the creation of beautiful art.

So on the screen is something called the Alfred Jewel.

You might actually be to see, you might be able to see his name, Alfred, on the side.

So this was an example of, I mean, to make this took a lot of time, energy, skill, and money.

So then, and this would have actually been on the end of a staff, on the end of a, the end of a pole.

So he would have, he may well, we can't obviously, can't be sure, but he may well have been holding this when he was on his throne.

So again, we have another example of how Alfred was, one of the reasons why he's remembered as Great.

Now our inquiry is why does, is about, why Alfred is known as Alfred the Great.

Now there's an interesting thing here, because well, as historians, we rely on, we can only, we only know what happened if we have things surviving from the time that we're writing about.

So we've looked at the archaeology.

We've looked at the written sources, we've, written books made at the time.

One of the reasons that Alfred gets such a good, has such a, he, he's seen so positively is because there's a lot of things that he wrote or written about him.

On the screen, this is what Alfred himself wrote in a translation of a book, a lesson book, a Roman book.

And it says this, "I wanted to live well as long as I lived, "and after my life, to leave a good impression to people "who came after me." So Alfred, when he was alive, he wanted to live well.

And then when he, this is, this was his plan, after, "after my life", so after he passed away, he wanted "to leave a good impression "to people who came after me." He knew exactly what he was doing.

He was very, very good at managing his appearance, his image.

He was selling himself.

So in many ways, when we call it, the reason he's called Alfred the Great, he wasn't called Alfred the Great at the time.

The Great was added later on.

Alfred, himself, he wanted to be remembered as great.

So this is him, he himself, writing in this translation of this book.

Another really important source that we have for Alfred, so Asser, Asser was a monk who worked for Alfred.

Alfred gave him a job, and Asser then wrote a book called "The Life of King Alfred," not "The Life of King Alfred the Great," the Great came after the life of King Alfred.

Now this is what Asser says.

Asser says, this is him describing Alfred, "Now he," Alfred "was greatly loved more "than all his brothers, by his father and mother, "indeed, by everybody, with a universal and deep love.

"He was seen to be better looking than his brothers, "and more pleasing in manner, speech, and behaviour.

"Despite all the demands of the present life, "it has been his desire for wisdom, "more than anything else, which has shaped his noble mind." Now, I don't know about you, but I'm a little bit suspicious about this.

Remember Asser had been given a job by Alfred.

Asser cared a lot about the church.

He cared a lot about learning, and Alfred had been focusing on this, as well.

So I, and I certainly, I mean, I, I think the way it's written, and Asser, by the way, wrote this when King Alfred was still alive.

So Asser was in one room; Alfred was in the other room.

Of course, Asser is not going to say, he's not going to say anything other than this really, is he? Now this doesn't mean "The Life of King Alfred" isn't useful; it's very useful.

It's one of the various ways, it gives us a detailed story of who Alfred was.

But the problem we have is that Asser was writing to impress.

Also Asser had, Asser wanted to give a positive view of Alfred, probably because Alfred was sat next door, reading what he was writing.

So when we think about whether Alfred deserved his title, the Great, and actually it was because of the life of King Alfred that people reading this life many hundreds of years later, they decided, "Yeah, he was pretty great." Now the facts are true.

The facts, the facts are, I'm sorry, the facts are that Alfred did stop the Viking advance.

He did build these burhs everywhere.

He did set up a Navy.

He did agree a treaty with Guthrum, the leader of the Vikings.

He did fight back.

He did encourage learning.

He did translate all these things.

However, however, and we need to be, we just need to be careful when we think about where that, about that, the, the title Alfred the Great, because the problem is, and this will become much clearer in the next two lessons that we do, there were other kings and, indeed, a lady who were very, very, very impressive, as well, in terms of what they achieved.

So just do bear this in mind.

Now, another thing, this is one of my favourite things to, that I teach my, teach my students normally, so the coin on the right, on the, this is the same coin, one side is Alfred, and then on the other side, we have another image.

So we have Alfred, this, I showed you this coin.

Oop, I showed you this coin at the start of the lesson.

It says, "Alfred Rex Anglo." So that's great, isn't it? Like, he's this, he's the boss; he's in charge.

We have this, this really important figure.

Now what's really interesting about this is that if you flip the coin, you see two kings, two kings.

Now, this is, this is one of the most interesting coins that's been found for a long, long time.

This, this coin was found about, I think it was 2013, so seven years ago, roughly.

This coin has confused, or not confused, but it's changed the view of what was going on.

So the story that we are told in "The Life of King Alfred" by Asser in the "Anglo Saxon Chronicle", this diary entry for each, each year, written by people working for the king is that it was Alfred that got rid of the Vikings.

It was Alfred that fought back against the Vikings.

However, we have a coin that Alfred made that shows not, not just him, but another King, another King.

Now what this tells us is that there was clearly a relationship between Alfred and another king.

It was so important that he made a coin showing this.

Now this king was the King of Mercia, the Mercian King Ceolwulf.

Now Ceowulf, if we read the "Anglo Saxon Chronicle", if we read other sources from the time, he gets a real pretty bad rap.

He failed to fight back.

He, he, he lost the fight.

It was Alfred that fought back against the Vikings, not Ceolwulf.

This coin, however, tells us that there was something else going on that actually Alfred, yes, he was Rex Anglo, yes, he was the boss, however, clearly he didn't do this fighting alone.

Now the problem with the, what's really interesting about this coin, this coin, there weren't many of them made and after, and then the, then after sort of the 880s, when this was made, it's only Alfred.

There's, there, there are no, no longer two kings.

So what this tells us is that Alfred wanted to get rid, or he wanted to reduce the importance of this other king.

He wanted to be the star of the show.

Ceolwulf has faded from history because the things that have survived, that tell us about the Mercian King Ceolwulf do not make him look good.

So again, when we think about was Alfred, how great was Alfred? Why, why is Alfred remembered as Great? We need to, we need to just be careful.

We need to be careful not to, not to believe necessarily exactly what we read.

We have to check, we have to analyse, we have to look at the archaeology, we have to question, and that is what historians do.

So just quickly, just to pause here, what does the two emperor, this is what it's called, the "two emperor coin" suggest about Alfred's relationship with Ceolwulf? This is the Mercian king.

So pause here and just have a quick go of that.

So you've done this before, hopefully.

Five questions, and, and all you're going to do is pause the video, read the slides on the next page, and answer the comprehension questions at the end of those slides.

When you've done that, simply restart the video, and we'll go through the answer, the answers together.

So pause the video.

Go to the next part of the lesson by clicking next in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Read through the slides, and then answer the comprehension questions.

And then resume once you're finished.

So first question, "Where did Alfred go after Wessex was invaded by the Vikings?" Acceptable answer: "He hid in a marsh." Good answer: " After the Vikings invaded Wessex, Alfred fled to an island in a marsh to get ready to fight back.

So this really was the moment that Alfred, that, it looked like Wessex was about to fall in the same way Mercia had, and the same way Northumbria had, and so East Anglia had.

Alfred lost the battle.

He went and hid in a marsh to then rally his, rally, this rally his troops.

Two, "What did Alfred build all over Wessex and why?" Acceptable answer: "Burhs." That's just not acceptable because it's not, it's just, it, it's not, it does not explain what they were for.

The Good Answer: "Alfred built fortified towns called burhs "all over Wessex.

"This made it harder for the Vikings to attack them, "and also meant that help could be sent "when the Vikings were spotted." So he's agreed this, he's agreed this deal, that he's agreed this treaty with, with Guthrum, and then having done that, he then doesn't just sit back and relax.

He then protect, he strengthens his Wessex.

He gets Wessex ready.

He also sets up this Navy, and he sets up an army, which is question three, "How many soldiers were there in Alfred's army?" The estimation, so we can't be sure of course, but the estimation is 27,000 soldiers.

And simply the good answer turns that into a full sentence: "In Alfred's army, "there were 27,000 soldiers." Now the important thing, there were armies in England before Alfred, but Alfred organises them.

He makes them better, better organised, so they can respond more quickly.

Four, "What did, what deal did Alfred make with Guthrum?" Acceptable answer: "To divide England." The good answer, this is a clear, you can clearly see the difference between the acceptable answer and the good answer.

"In 890, Alfred signed the Treaty of Wedmore with Guthrum, king of the Vikings.

The deal divided England in two: Alfred was in charge of one-half, the Vikings controlled the other" heart, "the other half." So Alfred clearly, he saw that he could not get all of England.

He calls himself Rex Anglo, King of English, but he recognises, he sees that it's not realistic for him to think that he can take over the whole of the country.

So he makes this deal which shows that he was quite, and indeed, we use clever.

He, he knew what he was doing.

And five, "What evidence is there "that the Vikings settled in the Danelaw?" Acceptable answer: "Place names." Good answer: "The evidence that shows the Vikings settled in the Danelaw," see reusing the words in the question, "is the presence of place names with Viking words in them.

"These names do not appear in the area "controlled by Alfred." Archaeologists struggle to find Viking archaeology in the ground because the period of time that they were there, not, it wasn't as long as perhaps other, other groups who lived there, but place names tell us that there was clearly something big happened in the Viking area, known as the Danelaw, because the place names changed.

The names of where people, places where people lived changed.

And you don't change the name of the place unless there's been a big change.

So last bit, "Why has King Alfred been described as great?" So we've talked a bit about who Alfred was, what he did.

And we've also talked about the sources, the sources that tell him, tell us about King Alfred, and why we need to be a little bit careful when we're using these sources to understand who King Alfred was.

So have a go, pause here, write down as many reasons as you can why you think Alfred is known as great.

So we've looked at this lesson.

We've covered lots of different bits of information, bits of knowledge.

Get them all down; see what you can get down from memory.

Don't worry if you find this hard.

We have covered a lot, but see what, see what, see what comes to mind, and see what you've, and see what you've learned.

So I've got seven points and, and seven, seven points that I think would be useful if we're, when we're talking about why, why Alfred is remembered as great.

So first one, he stopped the Vikings from defeating Wessex in 865.

True, that is absolutely true.

Actually, yeah, so that is true.

I thought I got the date wrong for a moment.

Two, he built burhs all over Wessex.

Three, he encouraged learning and translated books.

Four, he signed a deal with Guthrum in 890.

Five, he built a Navy and organised an army.

Six, and actually those first five, they are, they do make him sound pretty great.

Those are great things.

However, the last two points I put down, this is why we need to be cautious.

Six, the people who wrote about him, like Asser for example, made him sound greater than he actually was.

I think it's pretty clear, remember him describing how good looking Alfred was.

That's probably a little bit suspicious.

Seven, the situation in England was so bad that any king would have seemed great.

So again, we have to think about, was it Alfred himself being really that great, or was it just the fact that any king who had any success would have seemed great at the time? So make sure you've gotten those, those points down.

Don't worry if you, if you've not got all of them.

That's absolutely fine, but just make sure, pause here if you need to, to get down as many of these points as you can.

So why has King Alfred been described as great? So first sentence clearly answering the question.

King Alfred has been described as great because, now just simply complete that.

Why is he being described as great? And then, as I said in the last lesson, when we're writing historically, we need to, if we've got an opinion or we've, we've, we're making, we're claiming something by saying, "this is what I think," you can't just leave it at that.

You have to prove that your, what your opinion is, is based on fact, based on evidence, because otherwise it's just, it's just an opinion.

And so this is one of the things we do in history.

We, we practise how to support our arguments, using evidence.

What I've put on the screen, we've got four more sentence starters.

This is shown by, this is because, this mattered because, that is why, so don't, you don't have to do it in those, in that order; these are just to give you some suggestions for how you might want to start sentences in the rest of your paragraph.

Don't take more, it shouldn't be more than five or six sentences, and I don't want you to be doing more than five or 10 minutes.

As I said in the last lesson, if you find this difficult, that is absolutely fine.

It is okay to find history difficult.

The most important thing is to have a go, and to practise because you will get better.

I have definitely got better at writing in the last few years and that's because I practise.

We never stopped practising , and we never stopped getting better and better.

So have a go, and when you're done, when you've had a go, restart the video, and I will take us to the end of the lesson.

So if you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

Not compulsory; I would just love to see the work that you're producing.

So that brings us to the end of lesson two on Alfred and why he, what he did that got him, got him the title, Great.

So I hope you found it interesting.

It's a pretty good story, as well as it being history.

I mean, this is why I like history so much actually, 'cause it just lots of really good stories.

So if you could, do the quiz.

Don't forget the quiz.

It won't take you long, multiple choice, and it's just to make sure in your head is stuck the knowledge that we need you to know in order to be able to answer this big question that we're looking at, which is why Alfred got the title, Great.

And when you've done that, have a lovely day wherever you are, and if you don't many lessons, go out and enjoy the weather, unless it's raining when you watch this, then don't do that maybe.

Anyway, see you, see you for the next lesson.