Kings of Wessex Aethelred I AD 865-871 Silver Penny


Code: CS657

Kings of Wessex Aethelred I AD 865-871 Silver Penny

Bust / Lunettes


S1055, 19mm, 1.16g

Comes with previous handwritten label

Æthelred I (865-871) – The fourth son of Æthelwulf, Æthelred’s reign coincided with one of the worst crises to ever befall Anglo-Saxon England – the arrival of the so-called ‘Great Heathen Army’ in East Anglia. Unlike most previous Scandinavian incursions, this was a highly organised invasion involving thousands of people hell-bent on permanent settlement. Although their initial efforts were focused on destroying the kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia – their sights soon turned to Wessex. Occupying the town of Reading in 870, an attempt by Æthelred and his younger brother Alfred to re-take the town turned into a rout for the forces of Wessex. Despite a victory several weeks later at the Battle of Ashdown, the Vikings inflicted further defeats on Æthelred at Basing and Meretun. Perhaps broken by these disastrous setbacks, Æthelred would die shortly after. From a numismatic point of view, his reign is extremely important in that he issued a ‘lunettes’ type coinage identical to those struck by Burgred of Mercia. This event marks the first time that coins struck across the entirety of Southern England corresponded to a standardised design, weight and metal content.

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