Talk:Æthelred the Unready
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- 1 Untitled
- 2 Cleanup tag
- 3 Character
- 4 Start Class
- 5 Marriages
- 6 Ethelred II vs. Ethelred
- 7 Citation problems
- 8 Laws
- 9 The jury
- 10 New Section?
- 11 Copy Editing
- 12 To Be Done:
- 13 Marriages again
- 14 Aethelred vs. Ethelred
- 15 Aethelreda, daughter of Ethelred?
- 16 List of English monarchs
- 17 New file File:Ethelred the Unready.jpg
- 18 Requested move
- 19 A famous battle ?
- 20 Old English
- 21 Unrǣd
- 22 Where can I find the written (and translated) restoration laws?
- 23 This article links to the Corfe Castle article in the Early Life section.
According to Eilert Ekwall, Ethel means 'protection' rather than the broader 'noble'. So keep the semiotic ring-a-ding-ding-ding, but the name means 'protection advice uncounselled,' apt for his era. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 21:22, 13 June 2010 (UTC) ==Untitled== OK, so why was he called "The Uncounselled", then? Bad habit of holding his hands over his ears and singing "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" when his advisors spoke? -- Paul Drye
- Not a million miles away from what happened, as it transpires... Except his advisors were as twisty as a New Labour focus group.... sjc
According to , it means "unwise". -- DrBob
- - and if you believe much of that particular take on history, you'll also believe that England is a South Sea island paradise where the trains run on time and the streets are paved with gold. sjc
There are potentially n different translations out there, and n-1 of them are historically inaccurate if not actually wrong from a linguistic point of view. However, and I was hoping not to have to go into this, it's actually a longer article than most in the Wikipedia in itself, the word in AS is unraede, "without counsel" meaning that (to paraphrase Monty Python) in the ultimate balance, when all was said and done, at the final whistle, at a time of major national crisis he had absolutely no answers whatsoever for the problems which confronted him, and, moreover, as those who gave hime the nickname would have been fully aware, nobody on which he could rely to turn to for those answers. It is an Anglo-Saxon form of joke, an ironic pun, and is a) exceptionally cruel and b) searingly accurate. It doesn't just mean he was unprepared, it means he didn't have a fecking clue.
- In fact it is not an Anglo-Saxon joke - the epithet unraede is of uncertain provenance and first appears in the Middle English period. A pun certainly, but not one likely to have been coined by his contemporary.
PS: DrBob: you don't think that the chinless wonders might be being somewhat diplomatic about their forebears in their website do you, by any chance?sjc
mmmmm, royal nomenclature. My favorite English mistranslation is Philip the Fair of France. He's Philip-the-Goodlooking-who-EVERYONE-hated. Traditional nomenclature is a snare and a delusion, but how else are we going to keep Ethelred the U. separate from the other Ethelred(s)? --MichaelTinkler
My sentiments entirely. I was going to bang him in as Ethelred II but no-one would have the foggiest who Ethelred II was (I had to figure it myself). sjc
- Go Cognomina! Unless anyone writes an article on "England's Rose," in which case I'll have to rethink! JHK
Best def I've seen is "poorly advised", tho I doubt "unready" will unstick... Trekphiler 11:04, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
Adraeus, what is it about the article that needs to be cleaned up? Adam Bishop 8 July 2005 15:13 (UTC)
- Minor issues: organize the article into sections, convert non-English letterforms into HTML entities. For exampel, Æ. See also: Manual of Style for Biographies. Adraeus July 8, 2005 20:48 (UTC)
- Well it's not really long enough to have sections yet. And if you know how to convert those letters into HTML entities, please do - surely that would have been easier than slapping a cleanup tag on it and discussing it here :) Adam Bishop 8 July 2005 21:27 (UTC)
Well it's cleaned up now, I hope. Adam Bishop 20:21, 13 July 2005 (UTC)
What is omitted in this article is an examination of the serious character flaws that caused his reign to be one of the most disastrous in English history. He seemed unable to retain the loyalty of almost any of his subjects and was continually betrayed by various of his commanders. He was inconsistent and forgave those who betrayed him only to have them betray him again. He often rewarded his enemies and punished his followers. Instead of having his rivals executed by royal decree he had them assassinated in underhand ways so they never knew where they stood. He made war on civilians and ran away from battle with proper armies.
Much of this can be understood- though not forgiven- by reference to his childhood. He appears to have witnessed the brutal assassination of his half-brother King Edward the Martyr by his own mother when aged 10. He is reported to have cried inconsolably so his mother beat him with candles. This gave him a lifelong aversion to candles and might be expected to lead to a borderline personality disorder, which is borne out by his later behaviour. It also meant that he could not stand candles in his presence- so what did he do when it got dark? He is said to have been very lazy and slept a lot, but he also had a vast number of children. —Streona 21:58, 14 October 2007 (UTC)
- The hyperlink for first wife is incorrect; currently points to wife of Canute
Good work on a basic outline of his life, but the article is mostly unsourced and could certainly contain more details in most facets of his life. Perhaps most lacking is any discussion of where "Unready" came from. Even though the translation of "Unraede" is in question, there should still be some description of the term and why he was not, in fact, Unready. —Cuiviénen 15:09, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I think this page is pretty good. In modern Dutch, a sister language of Old English, the naming pun still works: Edelraad Onraad. And so in German: Adelrat Unrat. I guess you have to viscerally "get" the joke to appreciate that the explanations offered by page writer and above posters are correct.
- I have to agree with Cuiviénen, it's a good start but it needs a lot of work. Æthelred deserves much better than this, as it stands: for example, so that his government can no longer be described as a 'total failure... in the face of the Danish threat' (he continued to rule for over 30 years after the new Danish attacks started!), and so that it is adequately provided with decent citations (I'm sorry, but as if citing a Florida Supreme Court handout as a reference for Æthelred's legal reforms weren't already a bad idea, the fact that it describes Æthelred as a 'Danish' king makes it laughable!). It might take a while, but I'll try to make up for these rather negative comments by making some contributions of my own. Nortonius (talk) 19:09, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
As pointed out above, there is some confusion about Ethelred's wives. The text gives three, Elflaed with a broken link, Elgifu with a link to a woman born born in 997 and had two children, and yet by 1002 he is married to Emma of Normandy. The summary box lists only the last two wives with the same wrong link for Elgifu. Dudleymiles 17:12, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
- This link should clear up the confusion of which children were born from Aelflaed and Emma of Normandy under marriage with Ethelred the Unready. Sundehul 1 Dec 2007
Please correct the name of Aelgifu to Aelflaed, per this link showing her marriage to Ethelred the Unready. On the other hand, Emma of Normandy adopted the name of Aelgifu when she married Ethelred. On the sidebar of Ethelred's article, please separate the children - firstly to Aelflaed, then secondly to Emma (she had Alfred, Edward and Goda), all other children from Aelflaed under Ethelred. Sundehul 1 Dec 2007.
- Barlow's Edward the Confessor says Æthelred's first wife was Ælfgifu. Higham's Death of Anglo-Saxon England says Ælfgifu. Pauline Stafford's Unification and Conquest says Ælfgifu. Sean Miller's "Æthelred the Unready" in the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England says Ælfgifu. I think we should stick with Ælfgifu. Angus McLellan (Talk) 17:10, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Ethelred II vs. Ethelred
In the last few hours, the 'II' in Ethelred II has been removed, with some insistence. The editor in question argues that this enumeration is spurious and incorrect, and adduces the examples of the three pre-Conquest kings of England called 'Edward'. I have countered that this enumeration is in fact found in fundamental historiography outside the confines of Wikipedia, e.g. in Stafford, P., Unification and Conquest, Edward Arnold, 1989, index, and so is not spurious; and would argue that, within the context of Anglo-Saxon kingship, it is both correct and useful. Also, I would say that the argument regarding kings called 'Edward' does not apply, since there are no post-Conquest kings called 'Æthelred' (or however you want to spell it). I have also indicated that, as this enumeration has been present on Ethelred's page since 2001, through a large number of edits, the consensus appears already to be in favour of its inclusion. At the moment, I don't want to pursue this any further with the editor in question, but I invite interested comments here. Nortonius (talk) 11:02, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
- Surely this is a nobrainer? How many scholarly articles do we need to show that it is common to use the 'II'? eg Archbishop Wulfstan and the Homiletic Element in the Laws of Æthelred II and Cnut M. K. LawsonT he English Historical Review, Vol. 107, No. 424 (Jul., 1992), pp. 565-586, a review by Barbara Yorke of King Alfred's College Winchester where she writes "where the case is made for Alfred anticipating his descendant /Ethelred II in having to buy off his enemies through the payment of tribute." Doug Weller (talk) 11:14, 27 April 2008 (UTC)
Given the wealth of works published in the last 30 years which treat of Ethelred and his reign, it is rather embarassing that the reference list for this article is so sparse. Many of the articles from the Millenary Conference book altered the way historians perceive his reign; most of these articles should show up in the Wiki entry. Above all, the following work could not be referenced enough, I think: Simon Keynes, The Diplomas of King Æthelred ‘The Unready’, 978-1016: A Study in their Use as Historical Evidence, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought 3, vol. 13 (Cambridge, 1980). Also, the method of reference is uneven and unstandardized. I intend to contribute what I can to the bibliography, though help would be appreciated.
Last, has anyone checked the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (under “Æthelred II [Ethelred; known as Ethelred the Unready] (c.966x8–1016)”)? Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 14:39, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I am fascinated by the legislative achievements during Ethelred's reign, particularly in how the king collaborated with Wulfstan II, Archbishop of York, in the promotion of secular and ecclesiastical law. We remember that Wulfstan is famed for composing one of the most interesting 'documents' from this period, the Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, which (in one of the versions) alludes to and strongly condemns Ethelred's brief expulsion from the kingdom. The fact that Wulfstan, who seems to have had ambiguous feelings about Ethelred as king, nevertheless upheld his right to rule, and supposedly helped arrange to have him re-instated after his brief exile, suggests that not everyone was quick to condemn the King as an utterly deperate case.
The laws that Wulfstan drew up for Ethelred are like few other Anglo-Saxon legal codes. They are highly rhetorical and call for a sort of pan-English devotion to correct practice of the Christian faith as a method of opposing the Danish 'scourge' (sent, Wulfstan says, as retribution from God for the wicked contemporary customs of the English). Yet they are also innovative in terms of their more standard legal pronouncements, like coinage, defence, etc. (these I think are already mentioned briefly in the Wiki entry - they could be expanded upon). That a reign supposedly filled with governmental incompetance was able to see through such legislatiove reforms (albeit only with aid of a remarkable Archbishop's) speaks to our overly-simplified view of the situation.
Further, how does St. Brice's day get only cursory mention in this article? Whatever our feelings about it, it was a major event in the reign of Ethelred. That something this drastic, momentous, and (presumably) far-reaching could be pulled off surreptitiously by the King and his witan again suggests a different picture of Ethelred than as a king who held the reins of government by a thread. and, agains, it seems relevant that Wulfstan was promoted to the archbishopric of YORK in this year (Jon Wilcox has an article exploring this connection). Last, with Wulfstan as (probably) the most important political figure in the north of England 1002-16, a region which was thoroughly populated with Danes and Norwegians, surely more can be said of his role in Ethelred's conflict with the Danish invasions.Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 15:03, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
I have forgotten where I read it (it may have been Keynes' book on the Diplomas, or Patrcik Wormald's on Making English Law), but I believe that the notion that the jury had its origins in the juridical practices of the Anglo-Saxons is now out of fashion. Also, as has been mentioned above, the fact that the "Grand Jury Handbook" is cited here is laughable.Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 15:09, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
- Haha, I'm still laughing about that one! (apologies to the editor responsible, but it is funny!) I suspect you're right about the jury issue - I've got Ann Williams' recent(ish) book right here, but the index is a bit too opaque for me to look it up right now. But I think the jury thing probably belongs in the same skip as the idea that King Alfred founded the royal navy... Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 16:54, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
- Might be worth having a proper look at Williams, Ann, Æthelred The Unready The Ill-Counselled King, Hambledon & London, 2003: a quick glance (p.57) found me "Edgar's Wihtbordesstan code ... ordered the establishment of ... panels of jurors' - not even Æthelred... But I've looked no further, so there might be something for or against - as I say it's got one of those annoyingly opaque indexes, where you have to check every page number listed to find what you want. Common practice, but tedious in the extreme. Though you can occasionally find interesting stuff that you weren't looking for that way... Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 00:54, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- I should still prefer to give Wormald the last word in this. I will check his Making English Law next week. For now, this note in Williams' book is interesting, but I wonder if she isn't being uncareful with her terms: the word 'juror' is a vague term and has been used rather recklessly in the past in an attempt to equate Anglo-Saxon reeves and compurgators to Anglo-Norman juratores and jurati. I believe Maitland thought the jury stemmed from Frankish practices, while Jollife, in his The Constitutional History of Medieval England (3rd ed., 1954, p. 209), doesn't mention anything about forerunners to the Grand jury until his discussion of Henry II's Norman reforms of English law (suggesting 1166 as the very earliest date for such an (proto-)institution). I'll go read the Edgar code, and review the relevant part of the Ethelred code as well. I can probably dig up some recent articles on JSTOR too.Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 22:52, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Not sure Williams would be "uncareful" about anything, exactly - is she just reflecting current thinking? But you're the one digging into it, not me! ;o) Maybe a good idea for a new section for legal history, as it seems to be an issue - I'd just be careful not to make it unwieldy, & check that it isn't covered more fully under some more "legal" article - maybe you have? Admittedly I haven't thought about it for more than a millisecond, but isn't there at least a conceptual link between A-S jurors, & juries...? There's lots of subcutaneous continuity between A-S & A-N institutions, e.g. Domesday Book couldn't have been written w/o pre-existing A-S admin... Just thinking out loud, really, in case it helps. And, I'd be surprised if those Old English law codes aren't available in good, modern English translation somewhere...? EHD I...? Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 23:50, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- You're right. Shouldn't have said "uncareful". Perhaps she means 'jurors' in the basic sense 'people who have sworn an oath', in which case she would be perfectly accurate.Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 00:54, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
- Juries in some form probably go back to Roman times: it would be interesting to have an expert describe ordinary civil and criminal trial procedure in Roman 5th century. Certainly the Bretons had juries in the early middle ages. Work by Julia M. H. Harris and others presents the results of studying hundreds of legal documents from the reigns of Erispoe (849-857) and Salomon (857-874). It was standard practice for disputes to be taken to court - interesting examples include several of a peasant taking a local lord to task for trespass - the peasant won in each case. Sometimes cases were escalated to a higher court. In those that went to the Prince, he would choose an eminent panel who were sent to the place where the case originated to select a jury comprising peers to the disputants to try the case. Zoetropo (talk) 01:57, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
I propose making a new section for discussion of legal matters pertaining to Ethelred's reign. It's beginning to look like much of the matter in the "Lagacy" section is legal-ish. To clean things up a bit, I think we should separate all the discussion of legal matters (except perhaps the jury section) to its own section.Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 23:26, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- I've mentioned something about this is my comment for The Jury section above... Nortonius (talk) 23:51, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- That seems good, especially if you can have access to Wormald's magnum opus [which is, as I understand things, the last word on the matter]. Something on the mini-renaissance of the age - not just Wulfstan but also Byrhtferth and Ælfric the Homilist - would be good. I did do some doodling on the structure of the article at User:Angusmclellan/Ethelred. If there's anything useful there, help yourself, if not, ignore it. The article is looking much better! Angus McLellan (Talk) 00:08, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
To Be Done:
- The introduction may need an overhaul.
- 'Marriage and Reissue' needs the support of references.
- 'Legislation' is still basically a stub
- 'Conflict with the Danes' needs to cover the final years of his reign more fully.Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 12:57, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
When (?and where) did Ethelered marry his respective wives? Why did his first marriage end (death; divorce)? How did he manage to snag a girl like Emma (i.e. what arrangements were made with Normandy)?Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 12:52, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
- Differentiated this "Marriages" section from the earlier one, so clicking on a link actually brings you here! ;o) Nortonius (talk) 21:56, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Speaking of marriages under Ethelred he is said to have had a daughter Aelfgifu who married Uchtred the Bold, yet under the Uchtred heading there is no mention of Aelfgifu only an Ecgfrida whom he put aside so he could marry Sige. Have no idea where else to put this question. So who did Uchtred the Bold marry? was it a daughter of Ethelred? Is this an incorrect entry?Strathbrook (talk) 23:56, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Aethelred vs. Ethelred
Shouldn't this article be called Aethelred the Unready? As it is an article primarily concerning England, surely British English should be used, which leaves in ligatures (eg. Archaeology vs. Archeology, Manoeuver vs. Maneuver) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 19:17, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
- I've never seen the spelling 'Aethelred' that I can remember. It's always either 'Æthelred' or 'Ethelred'. Eltheodigraeardgesece (talk) 22:06, 14 September 2008 (UTC)
Aethelreda, daughter of Ethelred?
The previous version of this article lists an additional possible daughter, Aethelreda, married to Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria, and the article on Gospatrick states this as definite. However, she is not shown in Barlow's family tree, and the DNB article on Gospatrick at http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/11110/?back=,50322 says that the name of his wife is unknown. I have therefore deleted her from both articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dudley Miles (talk • contribs) 23:49, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
List of English monarchs
Ælfweard is listed as an undoubted monarch and Harold Godwinson as a disputed one. This is surely the wrong way round, as the Wikipedia entries for both make clear. Dudley Miles (talk) 23:20, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
New file File:Ethelred the Unready.jpg
Recently the file File:Ethelred the Unready.jpg (right) was uploaded and it appears to be relevant to this article and not currently used by it. If you're interested and think it would be a useful addition, please feel free to include it. This is the full image that the current lead image is a detail of. Dcoetzee 18:49, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
A famous battle ?
In the section Conflict with the Danes the article currently says, "A period of six years then passed before, in 988, another coastal attack is recorded as having taken place to the south-west, though here a famous battle was fought between the invaders and the thegns of Devon" (my emphasis).
This is not encyclopedic. We shouldn't be saying, "a famous battle" without saying which battle it was, and if it is that famous why is there not a link to the Wikipedia article about it? I "think" the battle referred to was at Watchet, but that page says the raids took place in 987 and 997 not, as this article suggests in 988 so I'm not sure.
I found a link but I can't post it because the website is blacklisted, that seems to be the source of the above editor's information. It says the "huge battle" was in 988, that several Devon nobles were killed. Meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says for the year 987, "This year was the port of Watchet plundered" and for the year 997, "Then went they up at Watchet, and there much evil wrought in burning and manslaughter" which would seem to suggest that if any "Devon nobles" were murdered (Watchet is not in Devon, but in Somerset) it would have been in 997 not in 987 or 988. Anglo-Saxon history is not my specialist subject so I might be wrong about which one it is but either way we can't just say, "a famous battle" and leave it at that. Cottonshirtτ 07:10, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
"...because the present-day meaning of "unready" no longer resembles its ancient counterpart, this translation disguises the meaning of the Old English term."
It's a minor point, but unrǣd would be 'unrede'/'unredy' in Modern English, not 'unready'. The word rǣd(e), n. "counsel, advice", adj. "advised, decided", is etymologically distinct from rǣde, "ready, prepared", the former going back to Proto-Germanic *rēdaz/*rēdiz, "counsel"/"deciding", and the latter to *raidijaz, "arranged, prepared".
- That's the point. Most older writers either intentionally or unknowingly mistranslated the name, and it easily caught on. It helped ruin his reputation that his new title labeled him "unready" or "unfit" to rule. In the past this ambiguity may have been commonly understood and played with. But when nowadays someone sees "Unready" there is but one possible (though wrong) meaning. Bataaf van Oranje (talk) 16:13, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Where can I find the written (and translated) restoration laws?
That the nobles forced upon King Ethelred to support his return in 1014? I can't find them anywhere on the net. Seeing how constitutionally important they are, this surprises me. Solri89 (talk) 15:32, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
- You could try the sources to the DNB article on Æthelred at . You need a British public library card to access it. Whitelock's English Historical Documents is a possibility, but they are probably not on the web. Dudley Miles (talk) 15:57, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
- That the article links to the castle is surely wrong, I believe the most useful link would be to the village – which is also called Corfe Castle – confusing, but that's life! That the article for the village doesn't mention the subject of this article is no more than proof that there's no rush, i.e. Wikipedia isn't finished yet. You can help! Nortonius (talk) 19:34, 1 December 2016 (UTC)