Alright, last week we finally saw the fall of AEthelfrith and the rise of Edwin of Deira and King Raedwald of East Anglia… Bretwalda! As you probably gathered, that was not the last would will hear of Edwin.
In fact, right when we left off, there was a bit of a cliff hanger. Sure, the battle had just concluded and AEthelfrith was bleeding out on the banks of the River Idle. But what now? Nearly every time we talk about the North what do we talk about? Dynastic struggles, right?
Well here we have the King AEthelfrith of Northumbria dead… but not his sons. His sons have legged it. So that’s a problem. Not only that, but while some in Deira might not be that crazy about this Bernician King ruling over them, scholars argue that AEthelfrith had been rather efficient in eliminating rivalries and solidifying his powerbase while he was in charge. If that’s the case, even in Deira this might not be seen as a liberation and a return of the rightful dynasty… the resistance could well be rather entrenched. So just winning on the battlefield might not be enough for Edwin and Raedwald to secure their position over the Northern Anglian Kingdoms.
It’s a bit of a headache, when you think about it. Sure, Edwin and Raedwald had an organized army and following that battle, it’s pretty clear that Northumbria… didn’t… They didn’t even have a King anymore, though Raedwald had some ideas about that. And so if you look at it from that direction, going up there and taking the Throne might seem like a natural decision. After all, why fight AEthelfrith if it wasn’t to take control? And what better time to take the throne than right after the King is dead and the army is scattered?
But still… what a nightmare! By all indications, this region was a powderkeg of dynastic troubles, and by taking the throne, they could find themselves spending the rest of their lives fighting an insurgency… or worse, they could end up like one of Ida’s sons. And no one wants that.