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Roger De Hoveden The Annals vol.1., From A.D. 732 To A.D. 1180.

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Roger De Hoveden
The Annals vol.1., From A.D. 732 To A.D. 1180.
page 57



again uniting all the strength of their forces, went out to fight against the above-mentioned army, with all their might and a hearty good-will, at a place called Eschedun,69 which means "the hill of the ash." But the pagans divided themselves into two bodies, with equal close columns, and prepared for battle. For on that occasion they had two kings and many earls ; the centre of the army they gave to the two kings, and the other part to all the earls. On seeing this, the Christians also, dividing their army into two bodies, with no less alacrity, ranged them front to front ; after which Alfred more speedily and promptly moved onward to give them battle ; whereas, just then, his brother Ethelred was in his tent at prayer, hearing mass, and resolutely declared that he would not move from there before the priest had finished the mass, and that he would not forsake the service of God for that of men. This faith on the part of the Christian king greatly prevailed with God, as we shall show in the sequel. Now the Christians had determined that king Ethelred, with his troops, should engage with the two pagan kings ; and that his brother Alfred, with his men, should take the chance of war against all the nobles of the pagan army. Matters being thus arranged, while the king, still at his prayers, was prolonging the delay, the pagans, fully prepared, advanced rapidly towards the place of combat ; on which, ABred, who then held but a subordinate authority, being unable any longer to cope with the forces of the enemy, unless he either retreated, or made the charge before his brother came up, at length, with the courage of a wild boar, manfuUy led on the Christian troops against the army of the enemy, and, relying on the divine aid, his ranks being drawn up in close order, immediately moved on his standards against the foe. At last, king Ethelred having finished his prayers, on which he had been engaged, eame up, and having invoked the great Ruler of the world, immediately commenced the battle. But at this point, I must inform those who are not aware of the fact, that the field of battle was not equally advantageous to those engaged. For the pagans had previously taken possession of the higher ground, while the Christians drew up their forces on the lower. There was also on that spot a thorn 69 Now Aston, in Berkshire ; some, however, think that Ashendon in Buckinghamshire is meant. 46 ANNALS OF J3.0GEE DE HOVEDEN. A.D. 871.


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