Olaf the Glorious : A Story of the Viking Age by Robert Leighton

Olaf the Glorious : A Story of the Viking Age by Robert Leighton

Author:Robert Leighton [Leighton, Robert]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Mythology
Publisher: http://c3jemx2ube5v5zpg.onion
Published: 1895-07-16T16:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER XII: THE BATTLE OF MALDON.

Now this sacking of the town of Ipswich brought terror into the hearts of the men of East Anglia, who well knew how useless it would be for them to appeal for help to King Ethelred. There were brave men in that part of the country, however, who, at the first alarm of the landing of the Norsemen, made themselves ready to defend their homes and the homes of their neighbours. Chief among these was a certain holy and valiant man named Brihtnoth. He was at this time Earldorman of East Anglia. He had already done great work in spreading the Christian faith among the poor and ignorant people over whom he stood in authority, and his beneficent gifts to the monasteries of Ely and Ramsey had won for him the reputation almost of a saint. The monks regarded him as a man of quiet and thoughtful life, absorbed in acts of charity; but he proved that he could be a man of action also, for he was soon to become the hero of one of the most famous and disastrous battles ever fought on English soil.

When Brihtnoth heard that the vikings had taken possession of Ipswich he put aside his books, and, taking down his sword, rode about the country side gathering men about him. He assembled a goodly army of soldiers, both archers and swordmen, and marched towards the coast. It is told that during this march he came to a certain monastery and asked for food for his army. The abbot declared that he would willingly entertain the Earldorman and such well born men as were with him, but would not undertake to feed the whole host. Brihtnoth answered that he would take nothing in which all his soldiers could not share, so he marched on to the next monastery, where he fared with more success.

Now it speedily came to the ears of Olaf Triggvison that this army was being assembled against him, and he sent out spies, who in time came back with the news that Brihtnoth was encamped upon a hillside near the town of Maldon, in Essex.

Olaf at once weighed anchor, and took his fleet southward past the Naze until he came to the mouth of the river Panta (now called the Blackwater). He led his ships inward on the top of the tide. Two hours' rowing brought him within sight of the houses of Maldon. The town stood upon a hill overlooking the river, which at this point branched off in two separate streams, one stream passing by the foot of the hill, the other flowing at a little distance to the north and passing under a strong stone built bridge. Olaf brought his ships into the branch nearest to the town, and his men, on landing, gathered in a confused crowd in occupation of the space between the two streams.

Brihtnoth had already taken up a position of vantage to the north of the bridge, having both streams between his army and the town.



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