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From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795$
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James Fraser

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612314

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612314.001.0001

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Emperor of All Britain: Oswy and his Hegemony (642–70)

Emperor of All Britain: Oswy and his Hegemony (642–70)

(p.175) Chapter 7 Emperor of All Britain: Oswy and his Hegemony (642–70)
From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795

James E. Fraser

Edinburgh University Press

Oswy son of Aeðilfrith became king of the Bernician superpower after his brother Oswald was slain by the forces of the pagan Mercian king Penda on 5 August 642. Like his brother, Oswy was thirty when the kingship passed to him. Unlike Oswald, he held it for more than twenty-seven years, dying peacefully at the age of just fifty-eight in February 670. Both the length of his reign and the non-violence of his death are remarkable for a seventh-century king of the Northumbrian English. In fact Oswy was one of the most successful kings in all of British history. It seems to have been he, and not his brother as Bede later wrote, who brought the four nationes of Britain under his sway in any meaningful sense. It was also he who established the Aeðilfrithing dynasty as permanent overlords of the Deirans, paving the way for the union of the regnum Nordanhymbrorum, the superpower kingdom of the Northumbrians.

Keywords:   Bernician king, Northumbria, Britain, Aeðilfrithing dynasty, regnum Nordanhymbrorum

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