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In Life of Alfred, Bishop Asser was supposedly trying to explain why kings of Wessex didn’t bestow their wives with the status of queen. Then he went on to recount a queen who lived decades earlier: Eadburh, who conveniently came from a family that had competed with Alfred’s grandfather for power.

Objective reporting of known facts is a relatively modern concept. Using the pen to trash your (or your master’s) rival isn’t, and medieval readers would have known that Asser had a definite point of view.

Asser tells a story of murder and justice, but I simply cannot believe him. His tale did inspire a post about Eadburh. See English Historical Fiction Authors for more.

Life of Alfred

Facsimile of Asser’s Life of Alfred (public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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