Aethelwulf of Wessex


Aethelwulf (r. 839-858 CE) was King of Wessex, a region in modern-day Britain, son and successor to Egbert of Wessex (r. 802-839 CE) who had unified and expanded his kingdom with Aethelwulf's assistance. Aethelwulf fought at the Battle of Ellandun in 825 CE, defeating the Kingdom of Mercia and taking significant territories which he then ruled as sub-king under Egbert's supervision. He was married to the princess Osburh (c. 839-c.854 CE), daughter of Oslac (Aethelwulf's butler and confidante), with whom he had a daughter and five sons, the youngest of which was Alfred the Great (r. 871-899 CE). Osburh exerted significant influence over her children in religion and literacy, most notably in Alfred's case, but there is ample evidence that Aethelwulf also influenced his son just as much. Aethelwulf is remembered as a pious king whose defining characteristic was the care he showed to his people as a reflection of his devotion to the church. He is featured in the TV series Vikings (played by actor Moe Dunford) but the character significantly departs from his historical counterpart in a number of ways.

More about: Aethelwulf of Wessex


  • 825
    The Battle of Ellandun; Aethelwulf participates under his father King Egbert of Wessex; Mercia is defeated.
  • c. 826 - 839
    Aethelwulf serves as sub-king of Kent, Essex, Sussex, and Surrey under Egbert of Wessex.
  • 839 - 858
    Reign of Aethelwulf, King of Wessex.
  • 843
    Aethelwulf is defeated by Viking armies at Carmouth.
  • 844 - 855
    Aethelwulf issues his Decimation Charters.
  • 851
    Aethelwulf defeats Viking invasion of Wessex.
  • c. 854
    Aethelwulf goes on pilgrimage to Rome with young Alfred the Great.
  • c. 856
    Alfred marries Judith, daughter of Charles the Bald of the Kingdom of West Francia.
  • 858
    Aethelwulf dies; Kingdom is divided between his sons Aethelbald and Aethelberht.