Oswiu of Northumbria

From Academic Kids

Oswiu (c.612February 15, 670), also written as Oswio, Oswy, and Osuiu was an Anglo-Saxon Bretwalda. He reigned as King of Bernicia from 642 until his death and as King of united Northumbria from c.654. He was the seventh of the great English kings enumerated by Bede.

Early reign

Oswiu was the son of Æthelfrith and brother of Oswald, whom he succeeded in Bernicia and Deira in 642 after the Battle of Maserfeld, but Oswine, a relative of Edwin, took control of Deira in c.644.

Oswiu succeeded in subjugating many of the Britons, Picts and Scots. At Gilling in 651, he plotted the murder of Oswine and a few years later took possession of Deira, thus once more reuniting Bernicia and Deira into the kingdom of Northumbria. From then onward Deira would be only a subkingdom of Northumbria.

Oswald appears to have consolidated his power by the aid of the Roman Church Church and by a series of judicious matrimonial alliances. It was probably in 642 that he married Eanfled, daughter of Edwin, thus uniting the two rival dynasties of Northumbria. His daughter Alhfled he married to Peada, son of Penda, the king of Mercia; another daughter, Osthryth, became the wife of Æthelred, Penda's third son. Oswiu was chiefly responsible for the reconversion of the East Saxons. He is said to have convinced their their king, Sigeberht II, of the truth of Christianity by his arguments, and at his request sent Cedd, a brother of Chad of Mercia (St. Chad), on a mission to Essex.

Overlord of Britain

In 655, Oswiu was attacked by Penda, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to buy him off, defeated and slew the Mercian king at the Battle of Winwaed. He then took possession of the northern part of Mercia, giving the southern portion to Penda's son Peada. As a thanksgiving offering he dedicated his daughter Rifled to the Church, and founded the monastery of Whitby. About this time he is thought by many to have obtained some footing in the kingdom of the Picts through their king Talorcan, the son of his brother Eanfrith.

At the death of Peada in 656 Oswiu took control of whole Mercia himself, but was overthrown in 658 by a revolt under the leadership of Wulfhere of Mercia, a younger brother of Peada. Still he remained the most powerful and influential king in Britain at the time.

In 660 Oswiu married his son Ecgfrith to Æthelthryth, daughter of the former East Anglian king Anna. In 664 at the synod of Whitby, Oswiu accepted the usages of the Roman Church, which led to the departure of Colman and the appointment of Wilfrid as bishop of York. Oswiu died in 670 and was succeeded by his son Ecgfrith.

Preceded by:
King of Bernicia
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
King of Deira
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
King of Mercia
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Oswald of Northumbria
Succeeded by:
Ethelbald of Mercia

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no:Oswiu av Northumbria


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