History's HEROES? 872 - 918

Æthelflæd

Should Æthelflæd be considered a hero?

Below are some of the main arguments that have been put forward about whether Æthelflæd should be regarded as a heroor not. Drop and drag the ones you agree with onto the scales. You can also add some of your own arguments.

Arguments for
  • She was an extraordinary and determined woman.
    Her role as leader of the Mercians is undisputed. Five different sources name her as ‘Queen’, two as ‘governor’ and one as ‘monarch’.
  • She was a great military leader and very brave.
    She personally led expeditions against the Vikings. The threat that the Danes would take over all of Mercia and Wessex was very real and without her input, all could have been lost. The military alliance between Edward and Æthelflæd was an outstanding success.
  • She was just and fair.
    She won the admiration and respect of the people of Wessex and Mercia and both English and Danes mourned her death.
  • She was an important tactician.
    The Annals of Ulster, for example, state that her military success was ‘through her own cleverness’.
  • She was a great negotiator forming alliances, at crucial times.
    She made alliances with the Northumbrians, Scots, Welsh and disaffected factions amongst the Danes and Norwegians themselves. She was trusted and respected by the Vikings of the North, in a way that her brother Edward never was.
Arguments against
  • She could be ruthless in securing her vision of a united England.
    She ensured that her daughter did not marry and produce an heir that Mercians could unite around.

Arguments for:

    Arguments against:



      Now that you have seen the arguments for and against, you can

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