The reign of King Alfred the Great (871-99) is among the most stirring periods of English history. As king of Wessex, he strove to emulate those kings of the past who, in his own words, had 'succeeded both in warfare and in wisdom.' He led the battle against the Viking invaders of England, and presided over the revival of religion and learning among his people: his reputation is a measure of his success.
Asser was a monk of St. David's, in Ales, who entered King Alfred's service and eventually became Bishop of Sherborne. His Life of King Alfred, written in 893, is a remarkable account of the king's activities in peace and war, and testifies to the admiraction that Alfred inspired in those around him.