Aethelred II 978-1016AD Silver Penny Last Small Cross Type London
Aethelred II 978-1016AD Silver Penny Last Small Cross Type London/ Eatherwine
S1154, 20mm, 1.31g
Diademed bust left, RX at end of legend ligated together as one letter form.
Æthelred II ‘The Unready’ – 978-1013/1014-1016
The eldest son of Eadgar, Æthelred became king at the mere age of 12 following the brutal murder of his half-brother Edward. Young and easy to manipulate, he came to depend on his councillors for their prudent advice – an aspect in which they badly let him down. Though his reign is noted for its economic reforms and a high standard for the English coinage, it was marred by Scandinavian raids, periods of acute social instability and famine. Initially adopting a policy of paying the invaders to go away, Æthelred abruptly U-turned in 1002 and massacred many ethnic Danes resident in England. This policy backfired spectacularly, actually causing more Scandinavians to take up arms against him. Displaced from the throne in 1013 by Swein Forkbeard, he briefly returned to rule for a second time in 1014 after the latter’s untimely death – only to die himself shortly afterwards.
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