‘Thought shall be the harder, heart the keener, courage the greater’

A classic tale of Saxons versus Vikings, The Battle of Maldon commemorates a decisive clash of the same name which took place in the Essex marshes in 991 CE. It recounts the valiant, though ultimately doomed, efforts of the East Anglian hero Ealdorman Byrhtnoth to repel the invading Norsemen. We will explore the story in its historical context, and the literary merits of the poem, as well as the fascinating history of the single manuscript copy, destroyed in a fire in 1731.