How England forgot the battlefield formed by the nation
If you ask people about the battles on British soil, I doubt they will be able to suggest a few: Hastings, Bannockburn, Bosworth Field, Edgale ճակատ Battle of Britain. They may even remember Tauton, Flodden, or Nasebi. But very few added Brunanburgh to their list, even if perhaps no one was more involved in British exploration as we know it. Some time later, in 937, Brunanburgh was a very famous battle, described in the chronicles of Christendom, mentioned in poems, songs, remembered as a terrible event marked by massive human losses. It was considered the bloodiest since the Anglo-Saxon invasions. The British opposed the Viking-led enemy alliance in a conflict in which six kings and seven wolves were believed to have been killed. Indeed, the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, usually a dry annual catalog of events, was even described to describe: “When has there been a bigger massacre? There has never been so many people on that island.” Brunanburgh was recognized as a horrific massacre, then a turning point in British history. It was a clash of consequences, like the Battle of Hastings և Norman Kucht 129 years later. Surprisingly, however, the British forgot where this decisive battle took place. Names change over time. Mameceaster became Manchester, Snotengaham became Nottingham. It is a natural process, “Brunanburgh, wherever it is, has gone through the same shift until people forget the original name”, during which time such a massacre վայրը the place of national significance. There have been many suggestions over the years as to where the battle went, from Solvay Firth to Durham. From Yorkshire to Cheshire. Only recently have archaeologists discovered broken weapons aimed at the Viral. Even these discoveries probably will not stop the controversy, but I myself, visiting the site and talking to the archaeologists there, am convinced that we have finally discovered the site of the Battle of Brunanburgh. If you happen to be driving an M53 towards Birkenhead, look to your left between four or three exits – this is a lost battlefield. Thanks to historian Michael Livingston, whose new book When When More Than a Massacre sheds fresh light on horrific scenes of conflict. We now know exactly where the conflict went and who is involved in it. On one side were the British, and on the other, an alliance of their enemies, led by Anlaf, the famous Viking lord who had carved a kingdom in Ireland and now claimed the kingdom of Northumbria. He allied himself with the other Viking King և of Scotland. They set out for the Viral with one goal: to end British rule forever. The British Isles were a political mess in the early 10th century. There were nooks and crannies, all of which had occupied British territory for the past 500 years, forcing the native British to move north to southern Scotland, west to Wales, Cornwall, and south to Brittany. This meant that there were at least a dozen leaders who all wanted more land and were willing to fight for it. Ireland was divided among the “Irish” natives. There were kings in Wales, always remembering that the Corners and the Saxons conquered their ancestral lands. There were also kings in Scotland. And all these people, the British, the Scots, the Norwegians, knew that the strongest king was Athestan of Wessex, who ruled over the vast southern region, claiming the proud title of monarch of all Britain. If Athelstan could conquer the northern lands in Northumbria, the last stronghold of the Vikings, it would become even more powerful, so the kings of the north, now in Ireland and Scotland, joined forces to stop it. If Athelstan could be defeated, Saxon rule could be broken forever. And so the allies invaded, and the two armies met in Brunanburgh. Athelstan won the battle, and Northumbria became part of his kingdom. Thus, in that terrible field, was born a country called England. And it was awful. The main idea of the battle in those days was the clash of shields,, to win the enemy shield you have to break. That is the shield wall. A long line of large iron shields of willows carried by armored warriors holding swords and spears. The attacking force threw spears and fired arrows at the wall of the opposite shield, but in order to break it, people had to come very close. Anglo-Saxon poetry describes the horrors of such battles. The shields collided with the enemy shields, and then the fighters broke and hit each other with their weapons, desperately trying to open the gap in the wall. If they had killed an enemy in the front line, there were four or five other lines of fighters behind him. all raised with shields and weapons, all had to break. It was hard work in about a quarter. If the shield wall broke, it could become even more bloody, as the defeated fighters were cut off by their pursuers while trying to escape. We know it happened in Brunanburgh, as the Anglo-Saxon chronicle tells us. Describing how Athelstan’s victorious army pursues the beaten Scots, the Vikings, mercilessly kills them. It was a truly memorable, fateful battle. So it is strange that the British, who owe their nation the victory that Athelstan won in Brunanburgh, forgot where it happened. There is no doubt that this incredible battlefield has many more secrets to give up. But after many years of searching, we can be sure that this is where the great medieval massacre took place. Dr. Michael Livingston’s “Never Greater Massacre” (RRP 99 16.99) Buy now for 99 14.99 at books.telegraph.co.uk or call 0844 871 1514.