Ethelfirth (Aethelfirth) (d. 616).
Northumbrian ruler. Principal wars: wars with the Britons (c. 595-605, 613-615) and the Scots (603); war with East Anglia (616). Principal battles: Daegsastan (Roxborougshire) (603); Chester (615); the Idle (near Bawtry) (616).
The son of King Ethelric of Bernicia, he followed his father to the throne (593); expanded his kingdom at the expense of neighboring Briton chieftains, and acquired lordship of Deira (eastern Yorkshire) through marriage; his attacks on the Britons resulted in war with King Aidan of Dalriada (west central Scotland), whom he defeated at the battle of Daegsastan (603); pushed his control southwestward toward Wales; defeated a major confederation of Britons at Chester (615); tried to persuade King Raedwald of East Anglia to surrender Edwin, refugee heir to the Deiran throne; took the field when Raedwald attempted to restore Edwin, and was killed at the battle of the Idle (616).
A vigorous monarch and a notable warrior, he was the last pagan king of Northumbria. <BL>
Sources: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, New York, 1961. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Stenton, F. M., Anglo-Saxon England, 3d ed. Oxford, 1971.
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|Author:||Bongard, David L.|
|Publication:||The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography|
|Article Type:||Reference Source|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1992|
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