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Æthelbald depicted in a 14th-century royal genealogy
Æthelbald depicted in a
14th-century royal genealogy

Æthelbald, King of Wessex (died 860) was the second of five sons of King Æthelwulf of Wessex. Æthelbald's elder brother Æthelstan defeated the Vikings in 850 in the first recorded sea battle in English history, and probably died in the early 850s. The next year Æthelwulf and Æthelbald inflicted another defeat on the Vikings at the Battle of Aclea. In 855 Æthelwulf went on pilgrimage to Rome and appointed Æthelbald king of Wessex, while Æthelberht, the next oldest son, became king of Kent, which had been conquered by Wessex thirty years earlier. Æthelbald refused to give up his throne when his father returned to England in 856, and continued as king either of west Wessex or the whole territory until his father died in 858. Æthelbald then married his father's widow, Judith, a great-granddaughter of Charlemagne, to the scandal of later monastic chroniclers, and ruled Wessex until his own death. Æthelberht now re-united Wessex and Kent under his sole rule and they were never again divided. (Full article...)

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