The Formation of the English Kingdom and the ‘Anglo-Saxon State’
The concluding chapter argues that the English kingdom owed its formation not only to the campaigns of Alfred the Great and his successors, but also to administrative reforms that were probably implemented around the time of Edgar. This qualifies, but does not overturn, the view that there was an ‘Anglo-Saxon state’, although debates about the word ‘state’ itself are an avoidable distraction. The formation of the English kingdom contrasts with the contemporaneous fragmentation of royal power in West Frankia, but the pattern of change there was not typical of Europe as a whole. The ninth to eleventh centuries should therefore not be interpreted in terms of ‘English exceptionalism’. The Cerdicings were one of several ruling dynasties in ‘Outer Europe’ (the peripheries of Latin Europe) for which this was a period of territorial expansion and consolidation, and Hungary and Asturias-León-Castile present striking parallels to the English kingdom.
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