The Viking Invasion of Wessex 878 AD is the second DVD in this sensational new series, The Dark Ages, which delves into a war-torn and obscure period of Britain’s past to focus on some of the pivotal events that completely altered the history, culture and politics of the British Isles.
In the year 878 AD, Alfred King of Wessex faced the fourth and most serious attempt by the devious Viking chieftain Guthrum to seize the last remaining Saxon kingdom.
Thwarted in their conventional attempts in 871, 876 and 878, the Vikings ‘stole away’ from their base in Gloucester and descended on Alfred’s court while they were celebrating Twelfth Night on the borders of wintery Wessex at Chippenham.
Alfred escaped but was driven into hiding in the Somerset Marshes, while the Vikings fanned across Wessex. All seemed to be over for Alfred and the Saxons.
In a spectacular show of military leadership, the King of Wessex then staged one of the most unlikely recoveries to be found in all military history.
It is, however, one full of historical controversies, with historians from many backgrounds bending the slim Dark Ages body of facts to breaking point and beyond to support their own theories.
Tim Saunders and Andrew Duff apply the enduring principals of war and inherent military probability to take a fresh look at the campaign and its hotly debated locations using high quality maps, re-enactment footage and diagrams.
Together they tell a story that is as compelling as any in this Island’s long history, as they range from the first recorded Viking raid at Portland to Chippenham and on to the Isle of Athelney.
Exploring the remains of the mighty and mysterious Selwood Forest, they peel back a mix of legend, Saxon allegory and dubious historical analysis to reveal the likely location of the gathering of the Saxon Army and the decisive battle.
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