A friend kindly drew my attention to the report on The Times about the discovery a couple of months ago of the Watlington hoard and the new light it has shed on the politics and warfare of the 870s.
Image Daily Telegraph
There are articles about this important discovery in The Daily Telegraph at Viking hoard discovery reveals little-known king 'airbrushed from history' , in The Guardian at Watlington hoard of Viking silver casts light on Alfred the Great era , in The Daily Mail at Hoard of silver Viking coins, ingots and jewellery ..., and in The Independent atWatlington Hoard reveals Alfred the Great's 'Stalin-style ..., as well as a piece on the BBC News website at Watlington 'rare' Viking hoard found by metal detectorist ...
It apperas to be the hope that the hoard will eventually go on display at the Ashmolean here in Oxford.
This is clearly a very interesting discovery but the reports are a bit hyped with all this talk of airbrushing Ceolwulf out of history and memory. As he appears to have died in 879 or soon after, and presumably by 883, almost twenty years before Alfred, so it is perhaps not surprising he came to be forgotten or sidelined.
In the circumstances of the Danish invasion I bet any surviving English rulers would cling to one another for support after the destruction of Northumbria and its kings and the fate of St Edmund. Was the depiction of the two Kings side by side not only influenced by Byzantine models - and those were often tortuous duopolies - but also an anticipation of the proposed Anglo-French union in the crisis of spring 1940?
By the 890s King Coelwulf might well be partly forgotten, though there was doubtless a tendency to celebrate Alfred and his achievements as unique by biographers and chroniclers - not so much air brushing Coelwulf out as forgetting him as time and events moved on, especially if he left no successors or heirs.