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King Alfred the Great.

  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:


For two hundred years the English people were at war with Danes who came from Denmark and the Northmen who came from Scandinavia. Youngest son of King Æthelwulf, Alfred became King of Wessex during a time of constant Viking attack. He was driven into hiding by a Viking raid into Wessex, led by the Dane, Guthorm, and took refuge in the Athelney marshes in Somerset. There, he recovered sufficient strength to be able to defeat the Danes decisively at the Battle of Eddington. As a condition of the peace treaty which followed, Guthorm received Christian baptism and withdrew his forces from Wessex, with Alfred recognizing the Danish control over East Anglia and parts of Mercia. This partition of England, called the "Danelaw", was formalized by another treaty in 886.

Alfred created a series of fortifications to surround his kingdom and provide needed security from invasion. The Anglo-Saxon word for these forts, "burh", has come down to us in the common place-name suffix, "bury." He also constructed a fleet of ships to augment his other defenses, and in so doing became known as the "Father of the English Navy."

The reign of Alfred was known for more than military success. He was a codifier of law, a promoter of education and a supporter of the arts. He, himself, was a scholar and translated Latin books into the Anglo-Saxon tongue. The definitive contemporary work on Alfred's life is an unfinished account in Latin by Asser, a Welshman, bishop of Sherbourne and Alfred's counsellor. After his death, he was buried in his capital city of Winchester, and is the only English monarch in history to carry the title, "the Great."


the Danes - датчане

Denmark - Дания

the Northmen - жители северной Европы; скандинавы

peace treaty – мирный договор

partition – деление, раздел

augment – пополнять, увеличивать, расширять


  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: Northmen, fortifications, decisively, withdrew, augment.
  3. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· The first years of Alfred’s reign were not marked by military success.

· The Danes helped Alfred fight against the Vikings.

· Alfred limited himself to the military affairs of the state.


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Brief Discussion on History of English Literature| England under foreign kings.

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