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In CE the Vikings sacked the Mercian city of London and left but they returned in CE with a fleet of ships which sailed up the Thames and attacked Canterbury and London again. Beorhtwulf raised an army to oppose them and his efforts may have been instrumental in driving them towards the south where Aethelwulf of Wessex and his sons Aethelbald and Aethelstan defeated them. Beorhtwulf was succeeded by Burgred r.
In CE, they drove Burgred from the throne and he fled to Rome where he later died. He was replaced by Ceolwulf II who was hand-picked by the Vikings as their puppet-king. Ceolwulf II ceded the eastern part of Mercia to the Vikings for colonization in CE and it became part of the Danelaw region of Britain dominated by Danish laws and customs while Ceolwulf II was allowed to govern in western Mercia by consent of the Danes.
Alfred had defeated the Vikings in Wessex in CE at the Battle of Eddington and secured his kingdom against future attacks through a system of burhs fortified towns , a more efficient military, and the construction of a navy.
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He suggested Aethelred do the same in Mercia. Alfred died in CE and his son Edward the Elder succeeded him. Edward sent his young son Aethelstan to the Mercian court in CE to be raised by Aethelflaed while he continued his offensive against the Vikings in Wessex. Aethelred fell ill about this time and Aethelflaed took charge of the government, organizing the military defense of Chester against a major Viking attack in CE. Aethelred died in CE and Aethelflaed succeeded him.
With Edward, she initiated the burh system in Mercia along all the main routes from neighboring kingdoms. Aethelflaed designed and constructed these burhs between CE, all of which would later grow into towns and cities , while also fighting off Viking raiders and governing her lands. When she died in CE, she was briefly succeeded by her daughter Aelfwynn r. In the TV series Vikings , Mercia is depicted as a chaotic kingdom from whence Queen Kwenthryth escapes to ask Ecbert of Wessex for help in regaining her throne.
In actual history, none of these events took place. A later scribe of the 12th century CE, most likely upset over her challenge to church authority, used her as the villainess in his story of the murder of St. Kenelm but there is no historical basis for that tale. The character on the show is based on this legendary version of Cwenthryth and also on two other women : Queen Cynethryth, wife of King Offa, and her daughter Eadburh, both of whom had a reputation as scheming and devious queens.
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None of these women were related to the Mercian king Burgred who, unlike his depiction in the show, was neither a rapist nor a weak-willed man easily led by others. Burgred, in fact, was strong enough to withstand Viking attacks for years and defend Mercia ably until he was defeated and deposed. The chaotic nature of the Mercian court and nobility in the show is drawn from the reigns of various monarchs, Offa among them, who tended to eliminate people who interfered with their plans.
Unlike the depiction in the TV series, Mercia was not a discordant kingdom easily taken or manipulated by other kings. At its height, it was the most powerful kingdom in Britain and, were it not for the later reign of Alfred, Offa of Mercia would most likely be remembered today for establishing the Kingdom of England.
Alfred and the kings of Wessex, as well as the rulers of Northumbria, have always been more widely known than those of Mercia. These kingdoms had something which Mercia did not, however: written records which survived to tell their story. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers.
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Mark, J. Kingdom of Mercia. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Mark, Joshua J. Last modified November 30, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 30 Nov Written by Joshua J. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Mark published on 30 November Remove Ads Advertisement. Penda, son of Pybba, was the last of the pagan kings of Mercia, who elevated the kingdom to the most powerful in the region.
Bibliography Arman, J. Amberley Publishing, It was then that the principle was put forward that people could be educated only in their own mother tongue, not in languages of other civilizations and other times, whether they were classical languages or the literary creations of other peoples who had reached a high degree of civilization.
From the end of the 18th century on, the nationalization of education and public life went hand in hand with the nationalization of states and political loyalties. Poets and scholars began to emphasize cultural nationalism first. They reformed the mother tongue, elevated it to the rank of a literary language, and delved deep into the national past. Thus, they prepared the foundations for the political claims for national statehood soon to be raised by the people in whom they had kindled the spirit.
Before the 18th century there had been evidences of national feeling among certain groups at certain periods, especially in times of stress and conflict. The rise of national feeling to major political importance was encouraged by a number of complex developments: the creation of large centralized states ruled by absolute monarchs who destroyed the old feudal allegiances; the secularization of life and of education, which fostered the vernacular languages and weakened the ties of church and sect; the growth of commerce, which demanded larger territorial units to allow scope for the dynamic spirit of the rising middle classes and their capitalistic enterprise.
This large unified territorial state, with its political and economic centralization, became imbued in the 18th century with a new spirit—an emotional fervour similar to that of religious movements in earlier periods.
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Under the influence of the new theories of the sovereignty of the people and of individual rights, the people replaced the king as the centre of the nation. State became identified with nation, as civilization became identified with national civilization. That development ran counter to the conceptions that had dominated political thought for the preceding 2, years.
Thitherto, the general and the universal had been commonly stressed, and unity had been regarded as the desirable goal. Nationalism emphasized the particular and parochial , the differences, and the national individualities. Those tendencies became more pronounced as nationalism developed. Its less attractive characteristics were not at first apparent. In the 17th and 18th centuries the common standards of Western civilization, the regard for the universally human, the faith in reason one and the same everywhere as well as in common sense, the survival of Christian and Stoic traditions—all of these were still too strong to allow nationalism to develop fully and to disrupt society.
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Thus, nationalism in its beginning was thought to be compatible with cosmopolitan convictions and with a general love of humankind, especially in western Europe and North America. The first full manifestation of modern nationalism occurred in 17th-century England , in the Puritan revolution. England had become the leading nation in scientific spirit, in commercial enterprise , and in political thought and activity.
Swelled by an immense confidence in the new age, the English people felt upon their shoulders the mission of history, a sense that they were at a great turning point from which a new true reformation and a new liberty would start. In the English revolution an optimistic humanism merged with Calvinist ethics , and the influence of the Bible gave form to the new nationalism by identifying the English people with ancient Israel. Surrounded by congregated multitudes, I now imagine that…I behold the nations of the earth recovering that liberty which they so long had lost; and that the people of this island are…disseminating the blessings of civilization and freedom among cities, kingdoms and nations.
English nationalism, then, was thus much nearer to its religious matrix than later nationalisms that rose after secularization had made greater progress. The nationalism of the 18th century shared with it, however, its enthusiasm for liberty, its humanitarian character, its emphasis upon individual rights and upon the human community as above all national divisions.
The rise of English nationalism coincided with the rise of the English trading middle classes. American nationalism was a typical product of the 18th century. British settlers in North America were influenced partly by the traditions of the Puritan revolution and the ideas of Locke and partly by the new rational interpretation given to English liberty by contemporary French philosophers. American settlers became a nation engaged in a fight for liberty and individual rights. They based that fight on current political thought, especially as expressed by Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.
It was a liberal and humanitarian nationalism that regarded America as in the vanguard of humankind on its march to greater liberty, equality, and happiness for all. The ideas of the 18th century found their first political realization in the Declaration of Independence and in the birth of the American nation. Their deep influence was felt in the French Revolution.
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The nationalism of the French Revolution was more than that: it was the triumphant expression of a rational faith in common humanity and liberal progress. Individual liberty, human equality, fraternity of all peoples—these were the common cornerstones of all liberal and democratic nationalism.
Under their inspiration new rituals were developed that partly took the place of the old religious feast days, rites , and ceremonies: festivals and flags, music and poetry, national holidays and patriotic sermons. In the most varied forms, nationalism permeated all manifestations of life. As in America, the rise of French nationalism produced a new phenomenon in the art of warfare: the nation in arms. In America and in France , citizen armies, untrained but filled with a new fervour, proved superior to highly trained professional armies that fought without the incentive of nationalism. The revolutionary French nationalism stressed free individual decision in the formation of nations.
Nations were constituted by an act of self-determination of their members. The plebiscite became the instrument whereby the will of the nation was expressed.
In America as well as in revolutionary France, nationalism meant the adherence to a universal progressive idea, looking toward a common future of freedom and equality, not toward a past characterized by authoritarianism and inequality. That invention of the political what Meier calls The Greek Discovery of Politics was the hallmark of the classical Greek world.
Citizens, whether the few usually the rich or the many including the poorer and perhaps the poorest free adult men , gathered together to conduct public affairs, sharing either by custom, by election, or by lot—the latter seen in Athens as the most democratic, though it was never the sole mechanism used in any Greek democracy—in holding, or holding accountable, the offices for carrying them out. Rhetoric played an important role in shaping those decisions, especially, though not only, in democracies, where discursive norms shaped by the poor majority were hegemonic in public even over the rich Ober At the same time, politics was shaped by the legacy of archaic poetry and its heroic ethos and by the religious cults which included, alongside pan-Hellenic and familial rites, important practices distinct to each city-state.
This was a polytheistic, rather than monotheistic, setting, in which religion was at least in large part a function of civic identity. This broadest sense was initially most evident to the Athenians when they looked at the peculiar customs of Sparta, but Plato taught them to recognize that democratic Athens was as distinctive a regime Schofield 31—43 , one embodying a particular set of ethical goals and practices in its political arrangements. Justice was widely, if not universally, treated as a fundamental constituent of cosmic order. Some of the physikoi influenced political life, notably a number of the Pythagoreans in southern Italy.
Others held themselves aloof from political action while still identifying commonalities or consonances between nature and politics, for example, Democritus of Abdera, whose atomist philosophy comported with a defense of political life, and so of the justice that it required individuals to enact, as being necessary for individual flourishing see e.
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