Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Athelstan of England
|Ruled:||August 2, 924–October 27, 939|
|Date of Birth:||895|
|Place of Birth:||Wessex, England|
|Date of Death:||October 27, 939|
|Parents:||Edward the Elder and Egwina|
Athelstan (c. 895–October 27, 939) was the King of England from 924 to 939. He was the son of King Edward the Elder, whom he succeeded as the ruler of all England on August 2, 924. There is a question of his legitimacy, as his mother was first known as a poor shepherd's daughter with whom Edward fell in love. She was later described as "a noblewoman".
Political and military life
Athelstan is generally regarded as the first proper English king. He achieved considerable military successes over his rivals, including the Vikings, and extended his rule to parts of Wales and Cornwall. His greatest victory, over an enemy alliance that included Constantine II of Scotland, was the Battle of Brunanburh in 937.
Athelstan's court was in contact with the rest of Europe; his half sisters married into European noble families, and foreign visitors sought it out. Among them was Egill Skallagrímsson, the subject of the Icelandic Egils Saga.
Athelstan was religious and gave generously to the church in Wessex, when he died in 939 at Gloucester he was buried at his favourite abbey rather than with his family at Winchester. He was succeeded by his younger half-brother, King Edmund I of England.
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