iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Athelstan

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Athelstan

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 01 July 2010

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the reign of King Athelstan.

Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great, came to the throne of Wessex in 925. A few years later he unified the kingdoms of England, and a decade after that defeated the Scots and styled himself King of all Britain.

As well as being a brilliant military commander, Athelstan was a legal reformer whose new laws forever changed the way crime was dealt with in England. Unlike his predecessors, he pursued a foreign policy, seeking alliances with powerful rulers abroad. And unusually for an Anglo-Saxon king, we know what he looked like: he's the earliest English monarch whose portrait survives.

With:

Sarah Foot
Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Christ Church, Oxford

John Hines
Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University

Richard Gameson
Professor of the History of the Book at Durham University

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Dumville, David, ‘Wessex and England from Alfred to Edgar: Six Essays on Political, Cultural and Ecclesiastical Revival’ (Woodbridge, 1992)

    Foot, Sarah, ‘Where English becomes British: Rethinking Contexts for Brunanburh’, in ‘Myth, Rulership, Church and Charters: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Brooks’, ed. Julia Barrow and Andrew Wareham (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2008), 127-44

    Foot, Sarah, ‘Æthelstan’ (Yale University Press: New Haven and London, forthcoming, 2011)

    Hill, Paul, ‘The Age of Æthelstan: Britain’s Forgotten History’ (Tempus: Stroud, 2004)

    Keynes, Simon, ‘King Æthelstan’s Books’ in ‘Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England’, ed. Michael Lapidge and Helmut Gneuss (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1985), pp. 143-201

    Wood, Michael, ‘The Making of King Æthelstan’s Empire: an English Charlemagne?’ in ‘Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society’, ed. Patrick Wormald et al. (Blackwell, Oxford, 1983), 250-72

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • Dark Ages

    Browse the Dark Ages era within the In Our Time archive.

  • History archive

    Historical themes, events and key individuals from Akhenaten to Xenophon.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Free downloads

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss