Alfred Kingship Analysis

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What were the distinctive conceptual and practical features of Alfred’s kingship? Alfred’s kingship was marked by a variety of distinctive features, most notably his reform of the military, his focus on the revival of learning and Christianity in England, and also his focus on the power and authority of the king. A Carolingian influence can also be seen as a distinct conceptual feature of Alfred’s kingship. It can be argued that the feature of Alfred’s kingship focussed on the revival of learning in England was based on the idea that wisdom should be sought for its own sake. However this point can be refuted by the claim that Alfred sought a revival of learning as part of wide variety of reforms which would help to restore England to its former…show more content…
Whether or not Alfred actually translated this works personally is questionable , however Alfred most likely had influence over them, and it is his voice which gives the works their shared features . A key similarity between many of these translations is that they are not always translated word for word, and often have passages shortened or new sections added, and this can potentially be seen as a reflection of Alfred’s world view. This can clearly be seen in the translation of Boethius’ ‘Consolations of Philosophy’. Alfred shortens passages on Free Will and eternity, and he adds passages on a ruler’s responsibility to their subjects, also relying more on authority and analogy in his translation, employing less formal logical and philosophy. In addition to this, unlike the original text, Alfred’s translation is explicitly Christian . The focus of many parts of this translation is on the relationship between wisdom and authority. A claim is made in one passage of the translation that “every authority is soon obsolete and passed over, if it is without wisdom” . The focus on leadership and authority is retained in the translation of the first fifty Psalms, with the focus being primarily on King David . These translations clearly points a revival of both learning and…show more content…
The common theme amongst these features is a clear focus on the maintenance of authority, and a Christian focus on Old Testament kings in his translations. Alfred’s promotion of learning cannot be seen to have been an end in itself, but it was, like his military reforms, designed to maintain or increase his own authority, and also to increase his wealth. Alfred was not however alone in his focus on wisdom and wealth, with his use of Solomon as a model for his own kingship also being seen prominently in the reign of Charles the Bald . Alfred’s kingship can therefore be seen as a focus on the revival or learning and military reforms, the end goal ultimately being an increase in his own
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