Why Did The West Saxons Find It So..

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Why did the West Saxons find it so difficult to deal with the Viking threat in the years 870-878? The years 870-878, Alfred the King of the West Saxons endured many defeats to the Viking threat which he found increasingly difficult to deal with as the years went on. This can be seen to be put down to weaknesses within the Kingdom itself, including the military, culture, religion and isolation of the Kingdom itself. However, this can also be put down to the sheer advantage and skill of the Vikings, particularly the superior leadership of Guthrum. The Viking military strength, contrasted with the Saxon’s military weakness caused a serious problem for the West Saxons which became very apparent in the later years of this period. The West Saxons did not have a standing army instead they relied on the ‘fyrd’ for the defence of their Kingdom. This placed them in a very vulnerable position as the fyrd took a very long time to assemble and simply consisted of the village people who had very little experience in fighting, very often with no armour and poor weaponry. This caused serious problems to the Kingdom as if the fyrd were called out during particular times, such as the harvest The Fyrd also only had to serve for a set period of time of 40 days. This made it increasingly difficult as the harvest would suffer which would then cause a serious lack of food within the Kingdom itself, which in turn meant that the Fyrd would have very little supplies when called out and also affected all aspects of trade, and finances within the Kingdom. The Vikings could also simply retreat once the Fyrd had been called out. This had a devastating effect on the Saxon economy and harvest, as able bodied men were taken away from their jobs, while the Vikings had a constant supply of men and food from abroad. In comparison the Viking army were very well equipped and mobile. By the
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