The Life of Alfred the Great

Read by R. S. Steinberg

(4.3 stars; 32 reviews)

A life of King Alfred of England originally composed in Latin, possibly sometime around 888 A.D. by the Monk and Bishop Asser, although some scholars contend that the work was actually composed much later by an unknown hand. (Summary by Douglas B. Killings) (2 hr 17 min)


Introduction 2:45 Read by R. S. Steinberg
Part I, Section 1 20:00 Read by R. S. Steinberg
Part I, Section 2 22:56 Read by R. S. Steinberg
Part I, Section 3 25:09 Read by R. S. Steinberg
Part II, Section 1 22:15 Read by R. S. Steinberg
Part II, Section 2 21:15 Read by R. S. Steinberg
Part II, Section 3 22:51 Read by R. S. Steinberg


Ninth Century History from an Eyewitness

(3 stars)

Alfred was a renowned hunter and warrior. The narrative is more about wars than hunting though—many, many wars. The king’s contributions include the rebuilding of London and the erection of monasteries. When souls could not be convinced to fill the monasteries, children were forced into them. It must be remembered that this is written by a bishop who does not want to embarrass his church nor his king. There is much written between the lines of this anecdote. We should especially consider the allusions to wickedness that are made by this bishop relative to these monasteries that he feels obligated to mention. I was surprised that a king, even in a century known more for darkness than light, was illiterate until the age of twelve and that polished readers could not easily be found in the whole of his kingdom. The Life of King Alfred is a document from the ninth century by a bishop about a leading king of that time; as such, it is an essential register from that era to consult. As literature, it is not remarkable. There is a comment about someone working like a bee in a hive to gather knowledge for the cells of his mind. That is a colorful word picture. The best thought is a quote from Pope Gregory on the rule for giving that King Alfred is alleged to have put into practice: “Give not much to whom you should give little, nor little to whom much, nor something to whom nothing, nor nothing to whom something.” The reader makes no slips, and reads even the difficult Latin notes well.

(4.5 stars)

Thank you for the additional clarity regarding the life of this great Saxon King.

Amazing book.

(5 stars)

Yet another proof that the Europeans are the Israelites of the Bible.alfred could trace his lineage all the way back to Adam!

Losses steam toward the end

(3 stars)

The writing fo the book seems to taper off toward the end. The reading is good, however.


(3 stars)

There weren't really any new insights into medieval Britain. Nevertheless, enjoyed it.