Integration, Assimilation, Annexation: Æthelstan and the Anglo-Saxon Hegemony in York

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The 927 AD conquest of Scandinavian Northumbria by the ascendant Anglo-Saxon king, Æthelstan, seems a straightforward action of military annexation. Yet Æthelstan's actions, both leading into, and subsequent to, his annexation of York, demonstrate a nuanced strategy of assimilation of which military dominance formed only a part. Examining chronicle accounts of Æthelstan's reign, alongside a key royal diploma, numismatics, and archaeology, this paper argues that the Anglo-Saxon king's intent was not to establish hegemony over Viking York through force and subsequent occupation alone. Rather, Æthelstan wielded a combination of military power and strategies of social integration to bring the Scandinavian north into his developing English kingdom as a functionally homogenised territory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-111
Number of pages23
JournalMelbourne Historical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anglo-Saxon hegemony
  • AEthelstan
  • York
  • Social integration


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