Books Reviews

Offa and the Mercian Wars Book Review

By Angela Youngman Oct 29, 2012, 22:09 GMT

Offa and the Mercian Wars  Book Review

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 neighboring kingdoms of Northumbria and Wessex and against ...more

A very readable book which brings this forgotten world to life.  Even today, it is possible to walk the length of Offa's Dyke between England and Wales but few people know of the king who created it. 

In the eighth century, Offa ruled Mercia, one of the strongest Anglo Saxon kingdoms. He was extremely powerful. Yet Mercia's strength did not survive long after his death. So what was the secret of Offa's power? Who was Offa? What made him so successful? And what was his world like?

A world of warfare and conflict between kingdoms and the Welsh tribes is carefully identified.  Peers shows how Offa was in the right place at the right time, and able to build upon the work of his predecessors - Penda, Wulfhere, Aethelred and Aethelbald. 

It makes fascinating reading.  Links too are highlighted with recent discoveries such as the Staffordshire Hoard and what those tell us of this period in history.

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