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The Reign of Æthelred II

King of the English, Emperor of all the Peoples of Britain, 978-1016

Ian Howard


King Æthelred II (978-1016), known as ‘the Unready’, is a relatively unknown English monarch. The exploration of Æthelred’s reign in this volume complements a study undertaken by the author in an earlier book about the Scandinavian invasions of England during Æthelred’s reign; a study which followed the careers of the Danish warlords Swein Forkbeard and Thorkell the Tall to explain the complex relationshA between Scandinavian armies and the English establishment. The Ætheling Æthelred, who was to reign as ‘Æthelred II, king of the English, emperor of all the peoples of Britain’ from 978 until 1016, was born c.968. Chronicle evidence suggests a date between March and July of that year.Although it is convenient to use the word ‘England’ to describe the territory ruled directly by King Æthelred and his father, Edgar, it is worth remembering that Æthelred regarded himself as the ruler of ‘peoples’; hence he was king of the English and emperor [basileus] of all the peoples of Britain.