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Ælnoth
Æsc
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entering the city. But the Danes rallied, and after a fierce battle the Northumbrians were defeated with great slaughter. Both Ælla and Osberht were slain. This victory established the Danish power in Northumbria. This is all that is really known of Ælla. Different stories are told of him and of the cause of the Danish invasion. It is said that he caused the sea-king, Ragnar Lodbrog, to be bitten to death by serpents; that the sons of the hero came to avenge their father's death; that they took Ælla alive, and slew him in the barbarous manner described as carving an eagle on him. Another story makes Ælla violate the wife of a rich merchant of York, who avenged the wrong by calling in the invaders. This story may be compared with many others which attribute successful invasions to vengeance taken for personal wrong, and especially with the famous story of Count Julian.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron.; Asser, de rebus gestis Ælfredi; Simeon of Durham; Henry of Huntingdon, lib. v.; Saxo Gramm. ix. 176, 177; Peter Olafsson, in Langebek, Scriptores Rer. Dan. i. 111; Gaimar, 2598–2830; Mon. Hist. Brit. pp. 795–798.]

W. H.

ÆLNOTH (fl. 1085–1109), monk and biographer, was born at Canterbury, spent his prime in Denmark, and was, perhaps, prior of the convent of St. Canute in Odense. His life of St. Canute the Martyr is dedicated to King Nicholas (1105–1134), but appears to have been written in the reign of Eric, his predecessor. Langebek agrees with Bartholinus in fixing 1109 as the date of the dedication. He there speaks of having lived twenty-four years in Denmark, which would make 1085 the year of his removal from England. This is about the date at which he places the removal to Denmark of relics of St. Alban, and the probability is that he accompanied them. His sole work is the ‘Historia Ortus, Vitæ et Passionis S. Canuti.’ It was first published at Copenhagen in 1602; was republished in 1631; formed a supplement to Jo. Meursii ‘Hist. Danica,’ Florence, 1746; and was first accurately edited in the Bollandist ‘Acta Sanctorum’ (10 July), by J. B. Sollerius.

[Bircherod in Westphalen's Monumenta Inedita Rer. Germ. præcip. Cimbric. et Megapol., Leipzig, 1739–45; Langebek and Suhm's Scriptores Rer. Danic. Med. Æv., Copenhagen, 1772 ff.]

A. G.

ÆLSINUS (10th cent.), Anglo-Saxon miniaturist, was a monk of New Minster, or Hyde Abbey, Winchester. In a Miscellany among the Cotton MSS. in the British Museum (Titus, D. xxvii.) there is an ‘Office of the Holy Cross,’ written by Ælsinus for Ælfwine, afterwards abbot of Hyde. It is ornamented with miniatures of the Crucifixion and the Blessed Trinity. The miniatures are in outline of a greenish tint, and the composition of both is very pleasing. Prefixed to the ‘Office’ is a calendar commencing in 978, which is probably the date of the ‘Office.’

[Paper by Gage in Archæologia, xxiv. 40.]

C. M.

ÆSC, or OISC [Ash] (d. 512?), the son of Hengist, ealdorman of the Jutes, landed with his father at Ebbsfleet in 449. War broke out between the new settlers and the natives in 455. The Jutes met the Britons at Aylesford. Horsa, the brother of Hengist, fell in the fight, but the Jutes gained the day. The consequence of this victory was that Hengist and Æsc were made kings of their people. In this change of title from ealdorman to king is contained the first institution of the English kingship. Hereditary succession was secured by the association of Æsc with his father in the new dignity. Æsc took part with Hengist in the battle of Crayford in 457, and the two kings inflicted so decisive a defeat upon the Britons that they ‘forsook Kentland, and with much fear fled to London.’ After this, however, the energy of Aurelius Ambrosianus infused new spirit into the natives, and the tide of Jutish conquest received a sharp check. By 465 the fortune of the war had again changed, and Hengist and Æsc won a great battle at Wippedsfleet, where twelve of the Welsh leaders were slain. The conquest of Kent was secured by another victory of the Jutish kings in 473, and ‘the Welsh fled from the Angles like fire.’ During the lifetime of his father, Æsc probably reigned as under-king over a division of the Kentish men, and his kingship may perhaps indicate the existence of a tribal division, which is said to be marked by the later kingdoms of the East and West Kentings of the eighth century, and to be preserved in the ecclesiastical arrangement which fixed the two sees of Canterbury and Rochester in the two divisions of the shire. In 488 Hengist died. Æsc succeeded to the kingdom, and reigned for twenty-four years. Henry of Huntingdon says that his reign was glorious, and the assertion is confirmed by the fact that Æsc's successors, the kings of the Kentish men, took the patronymic of Oiscingas or Æscingas.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron.; Bede, Hist. Ecc. lib. ii. cap. 5; Guest, Early English Settlements; Green, Making of England, c. 1.]

W. H.