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"Henceforth I aim to improve our lot by harmozing the average man with the order of the universe. To walk him down a quiet road, to lead him to safe and sober thoughts, to quiet his mind and cool his impassioned heart. Be he God-fearing or God-less, this new Order will encompass all and seek to improve man by aligning his needs with the ebb and flow of nature itself. This is my hope. This is my vow."
―Alfred in his commentary.[src]-[m]

Alfred the Great (Old English: Aelfrēd; c. 849 – 899), also known as Alfred of Wessex, was King of Wessex from 871 to 886 and later King of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. During his reign, he repelled the Viking invasions and laid the foundation for what became the Kingdom of England.

Secretly, he was also the Grand Maegester of the Order of the Ancients in England, a position he inherited from his late elder brother Æthelred, who in turn had adopted it after the death of their father Æthelwulf. Believing the role's required worship of the Isu to be blasphemous and defiling Christianity, Alfred worked to eliminate the Order from within, though the Viking invasion of England delayed his plans.

After the Viking and Hidden Ones ally Eivor Varinsdottir eradicated the Order's agents in England, Alfred left the Order of Ancients. Over the next years, he focused his attention on building a new order to replace it, one that was more compatible with his Christian principles and which would rapidly develop into the Templar Order.

Biography

Early life and ascension to the throne

"Grand Maegester was not a title I desired. It passed to me on the death of my brother, from my father before him. Defilers of God's majesty and grandeur. I was their master, and I loathed them."
―Alfred to Eivor, 878.[src]-[m]

Alfred was born as the youngest son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex and Osburh. As a child, Alfred accompanied his father to Rome, where he met and was blessed by Pope Leo IV. The pope recounted to Alfred his victory against Saracen pirates at the Battle of Ostia in 849, which made a lasting impression on the young boy. As the youngest of the brothers in the family, little expectations were placed on Alfred of becoming king, so he devoted himself to learning and scholarly pursuits.[1]

In the late 860s, Wessex became subjected to Viking raids from the north by the Great Heathen Army which led Alfred to fight alongside his brother Æthelred, who became king in 865. Alfred proved himself a capable commander, scoring victories at the battles of Reading and Ashdown, and although he led valiantly, the Battle of Wilton was a devastating loss.[1]

Alfred became king after Æthelred died from wounds sustained during the Battle of Merton,[1] and in turn, his brother's leadership of the Order of the Ancients. Unlike his father and brother however, Alfred did not agree with and deeply the Order's ideals and beliefs, believing them to be sacrilege to the one true God. Thus, he devised a plan to rid England of the Order and developed an alias for his war against the Order. Posing as a spy by the name of "Poor Fellow-Soldier of Christ", Alfred recruited the reeve of Wincestre Goodwin as his personal informant to scout England for information while using the study in the Old Minster. In the meantime, Alfred remained serving as the Grand Maegester of the Order, with paladin Fulke as his personal attendant.[2]

Exile and revelation

"You have saved England, whether or not that was your intent. Now, let England save you."
―Alfred to Eivor, 878.[src]-[m]

Following the Battle of Chippenham in January 878, Alfred went into exile after the Vikings led by Guthrum seemingly defeated his troops and Goodwin in Cippanhamm.[3] While in exile, Alfred lived as a commoner at the village of Athelnay in the west of Hamtunscire. After Eivor had eliminated the entirety of the Order of the Ancients in England save for the Grand Maegester, Alfred, under his Poor Fellow-Solder allias, sent a letter to Hytham and invited Eivor to the village to discuss the Order.[2]

Eivor accepted the invitation and travelled to Athelnay, meeting Alfred a while later and learning of his identity as the Poor Fellow-Soldier. As Eivor asked about the identity of Grand Maegester, Alfred showed her his medallion, revealing his identity of Grand Maegester and his motives for bringing down the Order. Thanking Eivor for her efforts, Alfred gave her a key to his study in the Old Minster, as well as telling her of his inspirations for a new order, one that would replace the Order of the Ancients and inspired by God for the betterment of man. He then proceeded to bid Eivor farewell, returning to his duties as a commoner in the village. This new order would go on to become the Order of the Knights Templar.[2]

Later life and death

Eventually, Alfred returned from his exile and was able to muster up an army, defeating Guthrum's army at the Battle of Edington. This led to the Treaty of Wedmore which saw Guthrum converting to Christianity and departure from Wessex, and the official establishment of Danelaw in eastern and northern England.[4]

Alfred remained as King and continued to defend Wessex against Viking raids in the next few decades before dying on 26 October 899. His actions laid the foundation of what eventually became the Kingdom of England, founded by his grandson Æthelstan.[4]

Behind the scenes

Alfred the Great is a historical figure and character introduced in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, where he is voiced by Tom Lewis.

According to Assassin's Creed: Valhalla's narrative director Darby McDevitt, Alfred is an antagonist in the game, but he is not be the central antagonist.[5]

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References

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