Saturday, 11 July 2009

Egbert/Ecgberht: Characters in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series


Ecgberht (died 873) was king of Northumbria in the middle of the 9th century. This period of Northumbrian history is poorly recorded, and very little is known of Ecgberht.
He first appears following the death of kings Ælla and Osberht in battle against the Vikings of the Great Heathen Army at York on 21 March 867. Symeon of Durham records:
Nearly all the Northumbrians were routed and destroyed, the two kings being slain; the survivors made peace with the pagans. After these events, the pagans appointed Egbert king under their own dominion; Egbert reigned for six years, over the Northumbrians beyond the Tyne.
Historians presume that Ecgberht ruled as the Great Army's tax collector and that he belonged to one of the several competing royal families in Northumbria.
The next report of Ecgberht is in 872: "The Northumbrians expelled their king Egbert, and their Archbishop Wulfhere". Finally, Ecgberht's death is reported in 873, and it is said that Ricsige succeeded him.

References
Kirby, D.P., The Earliest English Kings. London: Unwin, 1991. ISBN 0-04-445692-1
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Symeon of Durham; J. Stevenson translator (1855). "The Historical Works of Simeon of Durham". Church Historians of England, volume III, part II. Seeley's. http://books.google.com/books?vid=0J1NaXOPJH0SKmWD&id=VSADAAAAQAAJ. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.

The term puppet state (also puppet government, marionette government) describes a nominal sovereignty controlled effectively by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette. A puppet state has also been described as an entity which in fact lacks independence, preserves all the external paraphernalia of independence, but in reality is only an organ of another state who has set it up and whose satellite it is

Ecgberht was a king in Northumbria in the later Ninth century. Very little is known of his reign. Unlike his predecessor King Ricsige, who may have ruled most of the kingdom of Northumbria following the expulsion of the first King Ecgberht in 872, this Ecgberht ruled only the northern part of Northumbria, the lands beyond the Tyne in northern England and southern Scotland. The northern frontier of Ecgberht's kingdom is uncertain.
Ricsige's death and Ecgberht's coming to power is recorded by Symeon of Durham, who writes, that in 876:
The pagan king Halfdene divided between himself and his followers the country of the Northumbrians. Ricsig, king of the Northumbrians, died, and Egbert the second reigned over the Northumbrians beyond the river Tyne.
In 883, recording the election of a king of the Vikings in York and southern Northumbria on the death of their leader Halfdene, Symeon states:
Then St. Cuthbert, aiding by a vision, ordered abbot Eadred (who because he lived in Luel was surnamed Lulisc) to tell the bishop and the whole army of Angles and Danes, that by paying a ransom, they should redeem Guthred, the son of Hardicnut, whom the Danes had sold as a slave to a certain widow at Whittingham, and should raise him, then redeemed, to be king; and he reigned over York, but Egbert over the Northumbrians.
However, elsewhere it said that the second Ecgberht reigned two years, but this may refer to his claims to all Northumbria. Nick Higham sees Symeon's account of Guthred's election as an unhistorical record of a settlement between the York Vikings in southern Northumbria, and Ecgberht in northern, English Northumbria.
Ecgberht was succeeded by Eadulf I of Bernicia.

References
Higham, N.J., The Kingdom of Northumbria AD 350-1100. Stroud: Sutton, 1993. ISBN 0-86299-730-5
Kirby, D.P., The Earliest English Kings. London: Unwin Hyman, 1991. ISBN 0-04-445691-3 Symeon of Durham; J. Stevenson translator (1855). "The Historical Works of Simeon of Durham". Church Historians of England, volume III, part II. Seeley's. http://books.google.com/books?vid=0J1NaXOPJH0SKmWD&id=VSADAAAAQAAJ. Retrieved on 2007-01-27.

other
Several Anglo-Saxon persons were named Ecgberht (or Ecgbert or Egbert). The name itself means "Bright Edge," such as that of a blade.
Ecgberht of Kent (ruled 664–673)
Saint Egbert (died 729), hermit and missionary
Ecgbert, archbishop of York (died 766)
Egbert II of Kent (died c. 784)
Egbert of Lindisfarne (died 821)
Egbert of Wessex (ruled 802–839)

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