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FABIUS ETHELWERD THE CHRONICLE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO A.D. 975

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FABIUS ETHELWERD
THE CHRONICLE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO A.D. 975
page 27



A.D. 871. J DUKE BTHELWULF SLA1K. But duke Ethelwulf met them, and though his troops were few, their hearts resided in brave dwellings : they point their darts, they rout the enemy, and triumph in abundant spoils. At length four days after their meeting, Ethelred arrives, with his army ; an indescribable battle is fought, now these, now those urge on the fight with spears immoveable ; duke Ethelwulf falls, who a short time before had obtained the victory : the barbarians at last triumph. The body of the above-named duke is privately withdrawn, and carried into the province of the Mercians, to a place called Northworthig, but Derby in the language of the Danes. Four days after king Ethelred with his brother Alfred fought again with all the army of the Danes at JEscesdune ;* and there was great slaughter on both sides : but at last king Ethelred obtained the victory. But it is proper that I should declare the names of those chiefs who fell there : Bagsac king, the veteran Sidrac their consul, the younger Sidrac also, the consul Osbern, the consul Frene, the consul Harold ; and, so to speak, all the flower of the barbarian youth was there slain, so that neither before nor since was ever such destruction known since the Saxons first gained Britain by their arms. Fourteen days after, they again took courage and a second battle was fought at a place called Basing : the barbarians came and took part over against them ; the fight began, and hope passed from the one side to the other ; the royal army was deceived, the enemy had the victory, but gained no spoils. Furthermore after two months the aforesaid king Ethelred renewed the battle, and with him was his brother Alfred, at Merton, against all the army of the barbarians, and a large number was slain on both sides. The barbarians obtained the victory ; bishop Heahmund there fell by the sword, and his body lies buried at Ca3gineshamme.t Many others also fell or fled in that battle, concerning whom it seems, to be a loss of time to speak more minutely at present. Lastly, after the above-mentioned battle, and after the Easter of the same year, died king Ethelred, from whose family I derive my origin. * See William of Malmeebmy, b. ii. c. 3, p. Ill, note. f Keynsham.


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