At the start of the ninth century, Britain had enjoyed two centuries of peace from foreign attacks. ‘The Viking Invasions and the Rise of the House of Wessex’ explains the sudden rise of Wessex to the position of a leading player at the start of the ninth century and the impact of the arrival of the Vikings. The dramatic expansion of the Norwegians and Danes is a European phenomenon, of which the raids on England and Ireland were a small part. Alfred the Great (871–99) is well-known as the king who apparently saved England. However, his success was achieved through a mixture of military success, tactful diplomacy, and good luck.