"and was called on to translate a bit of King Alfred"
Statue of King Alfred at Winchester, Hampshire, England
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStatue of King Alfred at Winchester, Hampshire, England - Credit: Stephen McKay

 King Alfred (849-899), also known as Alfred the Great, was King of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899. He has a reputation as a cultured and humane man who improved his kingdom's legal and military structure, and encouraged learning and education.

Although King Alfred himself is believed to have been illiterate until his late 30s, he is credited with the translation of various works from Latin into Old English, including Pope Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care and Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Various other writings have also been attributed to him, although it is not always clear to what extent Alfred actually did the writing himself as opposed to commisioning others (Click here for a detailed discussion of this issue).

The first chapter of King Alfred's Old English translation of Boethius's De Consolatio Philosophiae may be seen in the e-book below. Its translation into modern English may be seen by scrolling down.