The forces of Guthrum wins at Edington (878)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Eivind, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. Eivind Well-Known Member

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    What could be some short- and long-term scenarios for South-Britain following a Danish victory at the battle of Edington?
     
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  2. Zen9 Banned

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    How big a victory?
     
  3. Eivind Well-Known Member

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    How big a victory would be realistic? Could it be the end of the kingdom of Wessex?
     
  4. Zen9 Banned

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    No Guthrim failed to stop the leading figures assembling to Alfred's summons.
    Alfred chased him after and threatened a siege/blockade.
    Guthrim folded.
    This doesn't speak of having a wide loyal base in Wessex to call on.
    It doesn't speak of a popular rule or one able to police leading figures.

    So killing Alfred doesn't stop the uprising though it deprives them of the deeper strategic thinking.
    In fact even in victory Guthrim could be seriously weakened.
     
  5. Tyler96 Well-Known Member

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    The succession in Wessex in such a scenario would presumably be messy though- Edward the Elder and his cousins Ethelhelm and Ethelwold are all kids at this point.
     
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  6. Zen9 Banned

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    Yeap.
    Factor in the senior figures who might throw their hat in the ring as well. The Witanagemót had quite a choice.
    Then factor in Mercia as well.

    Meanwhile Guthrim is depleted by his victory. After all Alfred drew to himself quite some loyalty and his retinue are likely to fight to the death. Edington could end up a Maldon type situation.
     
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  7. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

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    As an aside the Old Norse name Guðþormr is Guþrum or Guðrum in Old English, which is Guthrum in English, Gorm in Danish, Guhtur and Guttorm in Norwegian.
    It means Godsparing or Mercy of God(s).
    I think Jeremiah is the equivalent biblical version.
     
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  8. Zen9 Banned

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    What was the term for a victory at too great a cost? Pyrrhic?
     
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  9. Kerney defender of low probability atls everywhere

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    Playing devil's advocate here.

    One thing about Guthrum is he seems to have had some incredibly bad luck. For example having a large part of his forces ships wrecked in a storm, and one other defeat of reinforcements before they could link up that, on paper, seemed improbable.
    The Christmas raid seemed well planned, and Alfred escaped by the skin of his teeth and remained an alternate source of authority.

    So if the PoD is more reinforcements linking up, and most of the Saxon nobles dead and the children captured, things aren't necissarilly prryhic. Keep in mind that many who in otl settled Normandy, Iceland, and other places would come to reinforce Guthrum if they thought there was a farm and thralls for them in a much more secure England rather than otl England were the conquests of years prior are being steadily reversed by a resurgent Wessex. Even if not fully pacified, it might look like a better bet than Normandy or Ireland to a rank and file Viking raider.
     
  10. Eivind Well-Known Member

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    Could this butterfly the duchy of Normandy? Your comments made me think, what if Alfred was killed already at the Christmas raid? Would this create even more chaos on the Saxon side?
     
  11. Zen9 Banned

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    Sven let's go fight for Wessex for the glory of Guthrim instead of taking land and slaves in Northumbria!

    But Olaf....Wessex keeps fighting back and we have friends and family already settled in Northumbria.
     
  12. Kerney defender of low probability atls everywhere

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    If Wessex's leadership is removed, even temporarily, it's not so much the otl leaders who somehow decide helping Guthrum is a good idea, it's the rank and file Viking 'middle class' who quietly get on their long ships and joining the next great endeavor, be it settling or slaughter.

    It happened otl with Norse from the Kingdom of Dublin quietly joining the Great Heathen Army or settling Iceland and with the sons of Great Heathen Army vertrens raiding and eventually setting up Normandy after it became clear England would remain England.

    If England is conquered or even Wessex is in an apparent death spiral without Alfred's leadership, Guthrum gets reinforced, one longship at a time.

    Long term, the kids who found atl Normandy or Iceland are more often the kids of Norse fathers and Saxon widows. I suspect there are more of them than otl.