The often-anthologized story of Cynewulf and Cyneheard is typically regarded as the earliest example of heroic English prose, perhaps a summary of an earlier oral tale. Until recently, relatively little attention has been paid to its context within the A MS of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Given this text's association with King Alfred, this article locates the tale within the broader context of Alfredian writing on the morality of rule and, in particular, royal wisdom. Rather than simply endorsing the loyalty of fighting men to their lord, the tale also warns of the dangers of royal folly and the consequences of unrighteous rule.
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