Offa of Mercia
Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796. He came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald. He extended Mercian Supremacy over most of southern England, allying with Beorhtric of Wessex.
About Offa of Mercia in brief
Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796. He came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald. In the 780s he extended Mercian Supremacy over most of southern England, allying with Beorhtric of Wessex, who married Offa’s daughter Eadburh. He also became the overlord of East Anglia and had King Æthelberht II beheaded in 794. Offa was a Christian king who came into conflict with the Church, particularly with Jænberht, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He died in 796; his son, Ecgfrith, succeeded him, but reigned for less than five months before Coenwulf ofMercia became king. The power and prestige that Offa attained made him one of the most significant rulers in Early Medieval Britain, though no contemporary biography of him survives. Many historians regard Offa as the most powerful Anglo- Saxon king before Alfred the Great. His dominance never extended to Northumbria, though he gave his daughter Ælfflæd in marriage to the Northumbrian king Æthelred I in 792. Historians once saw his reign as part of a process leading to a unified England, but this is no longer the majority view: in the words of a recent historian, “Offa was driven by a lust for power, not a vision of English unity; and what he left was a reputation, not an legacy.’“ Only three gold coins of Offa’s have survived: one is a copy of an Abbasid dinar of 774 and carries Arabic text on one side, with ‘Offa Rex’ on the other.
The gold coins are of uncertain use but may have been struck to be used as alms or for gifts to Rome.” “The artistic quality of these images exceeds that of the contemporary Frankish coinage. Some of his coins carry images of his wife, Cynethryth—the only Anglo-sacred queen ever depicted on a coin. “He is described as a subregulus, or subking of the Hwicce,” wrote a monk and chronicler of the eighth-century monk Bedenere Venerable. “I am the king of Oshere, the son of king Oshereric, and I am the lord of the Osherewicce.‚ “” ”“The king of Hwicere,’ said Bedener, ‘is the king and his overlord on the list appended to the list of witnesses to the grant of land to the king’ ”. “I am the king of Oshere’, said Bedler, where a list of names can be seen on the Ismere Diploma, where the names of both king and overlord are appended’.