Talk:Ecgberht, King of Wessex

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Featured articleEcgberht, King of Wessex is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on December 19, 2011.
September 17, 2007Featured article candidatePromoted

First King of England[edit]

Yes, I know, he really wasn't the first king of England, but in the High Middle Ages he was often considered the first (he or Alfred). By the modern era, I believe, Egbert was indisputably treated as the first king of England. It might be worth mentioning this and clarifying why it was so. 98.143.78.114 (talk) 15:58, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Can you give a source for this? I didn't see anything like that in the sources I list in the article; I don't think it's the sort of thing that modern historians pay a lot of attention to, to be honest. But if you have a good secondary source for this we can discuss it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:14, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
Olivier de Laborderie, "The First King of England? Egbert and the Foundations of Royal Legitimacy in Thirteenth-Century Historiography". I have not read this (beyond a few snippets), but it seems to exactly fit the bill. My childhood almanac treated Egbert as first king of England and I was surprised that this article nowhere mentions this once common view. 98.143.78.114 (talk) 17:30, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
That's an academic paper, not really an ideal source for this sort of thing, but I don't have access to it either, so can't comment. I'm pinging Ealdgyth, a user who's much more knowledgeable than I am about this sort of discussion. Personally I'd like to see a statement in a secondary source such as "Egbert is often considered the first king of England", or something along those lines. Ealdgyth, what do you think? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 18:08, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
I think we're both well before my main period of interest and well after it .. weirdly enough. 13th century historiography is a bit past me... and Egbert's a bit before. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:30, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
I think it is true that Egbert used to be regarded as the first king of England and the belief survived in popular sources until quite recently. There is probably an article somewhere discussing the subject but I cannot trace one. A few sources: 1. Marie Elizabeth Budden True Stories from Modern History, 1834, heads Chapter 1 "EGBERT, THE FIRST KING OF ENGLAND". 2. R. H. Hodgkin, A History of the Anglo-Saxons, OUP, 1935, vol 2 p. 398: "We are often told nowadays that too much has been made of Egbert's victories. It is true that some nonsense has been written about the reign of Egbert marking the unification of England,..." 3. Whitaker's Almanac 1984, p. 210, starts its list of English kings and queens with "Egbert, King of Wessex and all England" 827-839. 4. Pears Cyclopedia, 90th ed, 1981, p. N3, starts its list of English monarchs with Egbert 827-839. It is curious that both Whitaker and Pears date his accession to 827. Any ideas why? Dudley Miles (talk) 19:46, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
No idea on the reason they use 827. If the belief that he was the first king of England was ridiculed in 1935, then I suspect that any modern source would be a popular history book. For now I'd oppose including anything along the lines the original poster suggested, unless we can see a source to support it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:21, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Sir William Blackstone called Egbert the first some king of England: [1]. Blackstone is a prestigious source, but his view is not universally held, and he wasn't a historian. Richard75 (talk) 22:50, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Popular culture section re-added[edit]

An editor has re-added the popular culture section that I removed last year, with a sentence about Egbert's characterization in a TV program. Currently it's uncited, though no doubt a cite could be added. My preference would be to only include popular culture mentions of Egbert if they are mentioned in secondary sources that are primarily about Egbert. This might be possible for Alfred the Great, for example, since there might be depictions of Alfred that have been discussed in the literature in the context of the popular image of Alfred over the last couple of centuries. I don't think it's likely to be true for Egbert. Any other opinions on whether this section should stay? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:00, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

I've removed it again. The TV show is notoriously inaccurate (Making Rollo the sibling of Ragnar Lodbrok is the most glaring example - since Rollo is circa 900 and Ragnar is circa 820 or so). It's trivia and we don't include that unless it tells us something about the historical person the article is about OR about how the wider culture sees the person - which would need to be based on secondary sources that discuss the depictions and how they fit into the wider view of history. This section does neither. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:23, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree. It tells readers nothing about Egbert. Dudley Miles (talk) 12:55, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Me too. IMHO this is the best approach, and not only for historical people, which I believe is covered by WP:TRIVIA. Here, the TV show is not a reliable source for Egbert. It would be perfectly sensible to link an article on the TV show to Egbert, but I don't believe the reverse to be true. Nortonius (talk) 10:58, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

I think you're all wrong, but it looks like I'm outvoted.

Sardaka (talk) 09:00, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 11 April 2017[edit]

Hoever, Redburga or Raedburh (788c-839) may have been the wife of king Egbert of Wessex and may have been the sister-in-law of Charlemagne as the sister of his fourth wife, Luitgard; other sources describe her as his sister (although Charlemagne's only sister was named Gisela) or his great-granddaughter (which would be difficult to accomplish in the forty-six years after Charlemagne's birth) or the daughter of his sister-in-law or his niece. Some genealogies identify her as the granddaughter of Pepin the Short and great-granddaughter of Charles Martel; other scholars doubt that she existed at all, other than as a name in a much later manuscript, her existence might been forged to link the early Kings of England to the great West Emperor.

She appears in a medieval manuscript from Oxford and is described as "regis Francorum sororia" which translates as "sister to the King of the Franks". More specifically, sororia means "pertaining to someone's sister", hence sister-in-law. Pwhiteco (talk) 12:24, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

On Wikipedia, we follow reliable sources, so any suggested edit needs to be accompanied by the sources that support the information. We also follow secondary sources, not primary sources such as medieval manuscripts. So the sources ideally will be modern historical works. Because this is a featured article, the sources also need to be high quality - so newspaper accounts or older historical works are less useful. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:31, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 11 April 2017[edit]

However, Redburga or Raedburh (788c-839) may have been the wife of king Egbert of Wessex and may have been the sister-in-law of Charlemagne as the sister of his fourth wife, Luitgard; other sources describe her as his sister (although Charlemagne's only sister was named Gisela) or his great-granddaughter (which would be difficult to accomplish in the forty-six years after Charlemagne's birth) or the daughter of his sister-in-law or his niece. Some genealogies identify her as the granddaughter of Pepin the Short and great-granddaughter of Charles Martel; other scholars doubt that she existed at all, other than as a name in a much later manuscript. Her existence might have been forged to link the early Kings of England to the great West Emperor.

She appears in a medieval manuscript from Oxford and is described as "regis Francorum sororia" which translates as "sister to the King of the Franks". More specifically, sororia means "pertaining to someone's sister", hence sister-in-law. Pwhiteco (talk) 12:33, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

You've just had this answered already. Richard75 (talk) 13:26, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Name of article[edit]

Academic works are increasingly spelling his name Ecgberht, and I think the time may have come for us to follow suit. Stenton Anglo-Saxon England 1971, Abels, Alfred the Great 1998, and New Cambridge Medieval History II 1995 have Egbert, but Foot, Æthelstan 2011, Charles-Edwards, Wales and the Britons 2013, Blair, The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society 2005, Hart, The Danelaw 1992, Smyth, King Alfred the Great 1995, Pratt, The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great 2007, Handbook of British Chronology 3rd ed 1986, Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia 1999 and 2014 eds, Higham and Ryan, The Anglo-Saxon World, have Ecgberht. I suggest changing to "Ecgberht of Wessex", or better still "Ecgberht, King of Wessex". Dudley Miles (talk) 10:50, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I'm not opposed, but I'd like to see what happens if we add a few more sources to the list. Sorting the ones you list, and splitting by line so we can sort by date or reliability if we want to, and also so we can see if an individual author has changed practice over time:

  • Egbert
    • The Age of Bede 1965 (1988 revision) (only Egbert of Kent)
    • Stenton Anglo-Saxon England 1971
    • Anglo-Saxon England 5 1976 (uses Egbert for the king of Wessex and Ecgberht for others of that name)
    • Wood In Search of the Dark Ages 1981
    • Campbell The Anglo-Saxons 1982 (1991 edition)
    • Wormald et al ed. Ideal & Reality in Frankish & Anglo-Saxon Society 1983
    • Loyn The Governance of Anglo-Saxon England 1984
    • Yorke, Kings and Kingdoms 1990
    • New Cambridge Medieval History II 1995
    • Williams Wessex in the Early Middle Ages 1995
    • Abels, Alfred the Great 1998
    • Campbell The Anglo-Saxon State 2000
    • Walker Mercia 2000 (uses Egbert for the king of Wessex and Ecgberht for others of that name)
    • Keynes/Lapidge (Asser) Alfred the Great 1983, 2004 printing
  • Ecgberht
    • Handbook of British Chronology 3rd ed 1986
    • Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain 1991
    • Hart, The Danelaw 1992
    • Kirby, Earliest English Kings 1992
    • Smyth, King Alfred the Great 1995
    • John, Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England 1996
    • Wormald The Making of English Law 1999
    • Williams Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England 1999
    • Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia 1999 and 2014 eds,
    • Edwards, Dictionary of National Biography, 2004
    • Blair, The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society 2005
    • Pratt, The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great 2007
    • A Companion to the Early Middle Ages 2009
    • Foot, Æthelstan 2011
    • Roach, Kingship and Consent in Anglo-Saxon England 2013
    • Charles-Edwards, Wales and the Britons 2013
    • Higham and Ryan The Anglo-Saxon World 2013
    • Molyneux, The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century 2015
  • Ecgbert
    • Yorke, The Conversion of Britain, 2006
    • Woolf From Pictland to Alba 2007

I'll go through my refs and add some more, probably in a couple of days. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:21, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

Williams used Ecgberht in the Biographical Dictionary 1991, Egbert in Wessex in the Early Middle Ages 1995, and Ecgberht in Kingship and Government in Pre-Conquest England 1999. Dudley Miles (talk) 12:16, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Added some more above. Zaluckyj Mercia 2001 doesn't mention our guy, but uses both spellings for others of that name; Higham, An English Empire, 1995 uses Egbert but only for others of that name. I don't think these can be counted as evidence in either direction. Overall it does like the tide is turning. Is this enough for a move of the title or should we wait a few more years? We're not an academic publication, and the redirects are there, after all. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:05, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
As Egbert isn't actually wrong I'd just leave it as it is. Richard75 (talk) 23:08, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I favour a change, but as there is no consensus, I will start a formal reqested move. Dudley Miles (talk) 09:02, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

Requested move 6 August 2017[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved to Ecgberht, King of Wessex per nom. No such user (talk) 09:59, 15 August 2017 (UTC)



Egbert of WessexEcgberht, King of Wessex – Wikipedia policy is that titles should reflect reliable sources, and the list of works above shows that, apart from one reprint, the spelling 'Egbert' has not been used in academic works since 2000. This is long enough to establish an academic consensus against the spelling, and Ecgberht is now much the most common spelling. This case is similar to the change from Canute to Cnut at [2]. Adding "KIng of Wessex" is more informative than "of Wessex" for readers, as with Stephen, King of England, John, King of England and many others. Dudley Miles (talk) 09:17, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

I'd like to propose a move to Egbert, King of Wessex, as King of Wessex is obviously better, but Egbert isn't the wrong spelling (see discussion in above section). Richard75 (talk) 10:24, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Support as nominator. For an example of the suggested spelling, see Ecgberht of Kent. Dudley Miles (talk) 16:48, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Weak support for the change to "Ecgberht"; I think it's clearly going that way and is likely to have to move eventually, if not now. For the "King of Wessex" part I'd like to see more evidence -- I think I've seen both. And would it better to make that part of the move a more global change to the whole set of AS kings? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 16:51, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Pre-Conquest kings are usually shown without their title. Two exceptions are Æthelberht, King of Wessex and Æthelbald, King of Wessex, both changed after moves I proposed, the latter with Mike Christie's support. Post-Conquest monarchs are generally shown without their title if they have a number, such as Elizabeth I of England, but with their title if they are unnumbered, as Anne, Queen of Great Britain. This seems reasonable as the number signals to the reader that the article is about a monarch, but x of y does not, and I would support a global proposal to bring pre-Conquest monarchs' titles in line with post-Conquest ones.
  • The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia and the Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain both have 'Ecgberht, king of Wessex', whereas DNB has 'Ecgberht, king of the West Saxons'. These sources use lower case 'king', but I do not think we should go against the Wikipedia practice of capitalising titles. Dudley Miles (talk) 19:06, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
    I would support a global proposal to change the pre-Conquest names to include the title. I'm neutral on moving this one; there doesn't seem to be much point unless we do a global proposal. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 20:49, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.