Poliakov S. A.

From the history of England at the turn of the early and the beginning of the classical middle ages: the confrontation between Cnut the Great and Edmund Ironside in 1016


This article presents the analysis of the confrontation between the Danish Prince Cnut and the Anglo-Saxon King Edmund Ironside in 1016. These events are an integral part of a long war of conquest, which was waged by the Kings of Denmark in England in the first decades of the 11th century. As a result of the conquest of England by Denmark, in 1013 King Sweyn Forkbeard took the throne of the Island Kingdom for a short time. King Ethelred II had to flee the country. Sudden death of the Danish ruler made it possible for the escaped sovereign to regain the power. However, in 1015 Cnut the son of Sven, later known as the Great, returned to England and continued the war. At the height of the military events in 1016 the aged King of the Anglo-Saxons died, and his son Edmund succeeded to the throne. He managed to give a decisive rebuff to the enemy and cast doubt on the success of the Danish expansion. The article also describes the main events of that time and analyzes the personality of Edmund Ironside, the King of England, whose brief reign is often forgotten in the general course of history. Nevertheless, making use of the available information we can say that he was a serious rival to Cnut because Edmund was an outstanding commander and politician. Despite his victories the outcome of the war was not in favor of Edmund Ironside as England was conquered by the Scandinavians and a peace treaty was concluded between the rulers. However, the execution of the treaty was unnecessary because of the unexpected death of Edmund. On the bases on the chronicles, we try to describe the course of events and make an attempt to characterize dis-tinctive features of Edmund Ironside as well as to determine the historical significance of his activity.

About the autors:

Sergei Arkadyevich Poliakov, Postgraduate at the Department of General History, Saratov State University

Place of employment:



e-mail: serzh.polyakov.91@inbox.ru

Key words:

England; Scandinavia; Denmark; Viking Age; conquest; Ethelred II; Cnut the Great; succession; London