Guthrum

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Guthrum (d. 890). Viking leader, king in East Anglia, and major opponent of King Alfred. Guthrum probably first appeared in England as the leader of the ‘great summer army’ which joined the forces commanded by Halfdan at Reading in 871. When the army split up in 875, Guthrum returned with his contingent to Wessex. In 878 he was nearly successful in capturing Alfred when the latter was taken by surprise at Chippenham and received the submission of many West Saxons, but was defeated by Alfred at the battle of Edington later the same year. Guthrum was subsequently baptized with Alfred as his godfather and took the new name of Athelstan. He retired with his forces to rule East Anglia and issued coins there in his baptismal name. The text of a treaty survives which Guthrum made with Alfred at some point between 878 and his death in 890.

Barbara Yorke

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