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Alfred, 849-99, king of WESSEX (871-99), sometimes called Alfred the Great. The son of ÆTHELWULF, he shared his father's piety. When his brother ÆTHELRED took the Wessex throne (865), Alfred aided him in battles against the Danes, who threatened to overrun England.

Unable to establish a clear victory, Alfred rid Wessex of the Danes by paying the DANEGELD when he became king in 871. In 878, however, the Danes returned, and Alfred's flight to Somerset at that time is the basis for the legend about the king and a peasant woman's burned cakes. In May 878, Alfred triumphed over the Danes at Edington. This victory produced relative security, and Alfred began to institute reforms, including a code of laws combining Christian doctrine with a strong, centralized monarchy.

His greatest achievements were the creation of a navy, the revival of learning among the clergy, the education of youths and nobles at court, the establishment of Old English literary prose, his own English translation of Latin works, and his influence on the extant form of the ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE.

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