Alfred the Great ruled from 871 to 899 and was the English Monarch. By the age of four, Alfred was anointed king by the pope in Rome. That seemed very odd because Alfred had three brothers who were older than him. But over time, Alfred’s older brothers died and he became king. Alfred’s reign got off to a very shaky start as the Danes invaded Wessex.
This was before Canute, when the Danes were still very strong in North Umbria. Alfred eventually defeated the Danes in battle. The Danish king, Gurthrum converted to Christianity at the peace treaty which strengthened ties between the two territories. In 886, Alfred marched on London and reclaimed the Danish territories. He unified Southern England.
In 936, Otto I became Duke of Saxony and king of Germany. He quickly united the other dukes and made him his vassals. Despite threats to his own life, Otto remained in control and asserted his power as king. In 951, Otto heard of another way he could increase his kingdom. He rescued the widowed queen of Italy, Adelaide, from her oppressors and then crowned himself king. In 955, Otto was invaded by the Magyars.
The Magyars were thoroughly defeated, but three important people of Otto’s family were killed, including his heir. Otto named his young son as the new heir. The defeat of the Magyars let Christianity spread deeper into Eastern Europe. Pope John XII got into some trouble and much like the other Popes and called on the strongest ruler in Europe to help him. Otto said he would help him as long as if he crowned him Holy Roman Emperor. Otto destroyed the rebellion of the Papal states and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor on 962.
In 1054, matters came to a head, and the church was split between east and west. Because of the invasions in the Balkan, the two were already somewhat separated. The two different churches spoke different languages so it was difficult to communicate. Michael Cerularius instigated the schism by trying to shut down the Latin church. Pope Leo IX, countered this by sending one of his cardinals to insist that Constantinople submit to Rome.
Cerularius, head of the Eastern church, refused to do so. Both church leaders excommunicated each other in reaction to that confrontation. The schism didn’t just occur because of two tempered church leaders. There were a lot of disagreements that led to it. One was in church government. The west saw the pope as the last Apostolic see while the east saw the Pope as first among the equals. The Pope was free to run the church in the west but his position wasn’t supposed to govern the church in the east.
The English nation was ruled by the Saxons, Danes, Angles, and Romans through the early middle ages. It was not until 1066 that a major European power added England to its domain. William of Normandy made such an attempt at the Battle of Hastings. The Battle of Hastings lasted one day. It was fought between King Harold of England and William of Normandy. He earned the name, William the Conqueror after his successful invasion.
King Edward of England died without a clear heir. Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex, was elected to take up the position. William of Normandy was furious, he thought he had more right to the throne than Harold. William immediately began rounding up an army. At the same time William was moving to invade England, Harald of Norway was also invading from the North. King Harolds Saxons met King Haralds Norwegians at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. It was a very gruesome battle and it marked the end of the Viking Age.