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Offa and the Mercian Wars (Paperback)

The Rise and Fall of the First Great English Kingdom

British History Ancient History

By Chris Peers
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 198
ISBN: 9781526711502
Published: 15th May 2017

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In England in the eighth century, in the midst of the so-called Dark Ages, Offa ruled Mercia, one of the strongest Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. For over 30 years he was the dominant warlord in the territory south of the Humber and the driving force behind the expansion of Mercia’s power. During that turbulent period he commanded Mercian armies in their struggle against the neighbouring kingdoms of Northumbria and Wessex and against the Welsh tribes. Yet the true story of Offa’s long reign and of the rise and fall of Mercia are little known although this is one of the most intriguing episodes in this little-recorded phase of England’s past. It is Chris Peers’s task in this new study to uncover the facts about Offa and the other Mercian kings and to set them in the context of English history before the coming of the Danes.

Where we live was once the northern boundary of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia. Today history neglects the fact that its powerful kings from Penda to Offa (he of Offa’s Dyke) wielded an influence over all the country, well before the ascendance of the kingdom of Wessex and the selective records of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.

In a new book, Offa and the Mercian Wars, author Chris Peers sets out to uncover the facts about Offa and the other Mercian kings and to set them in the context of English history before the coming of the Danes. In doing so he provides an interesting window into a largely forgotten and misunderstood world and a kingdom stretching from the Humber to the Thames and from the Welsh border to the Fens. We learn that for over 30 years Offa was the dominant warlord in the territory south of the Humber and the driving force behind the expansion of Mercia’s power. During this turbulent period he commanded Mercian armies in their struggle against the neighbouring kingdoms of Northumbria and Wessex
and against the Welsh tribes. Yet the true story of Offa’s long reign and of the rise
and fall of Mercia are little known although this is one of the most intriguing episodes in this little-recorded phase of England’s past.

Ironically, were it not for the genealogical accident of Mercia’s later rulers not leaving strong heirs, the real and written history of England’s birth might well have been radically different.

Village Publications

This account of Offa of Mercia and his battles against the other kingdoms of ancient Britain is as thrilling as a Bernard Cornwell novel...


Read the full review here.

Books Monthly
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