"The emperor of Rome, on discovering that Sebastian had found God, ordered him to renounce his faith, he refused. So then the Emperor ordered that he'd be filled full of arrows and yet... he lived."
—Edmund telling the story of Saint Sebastian to Ubba and Guthrum[src]

Edmund of East Anglia was a minor character in both The Saxon Stories novel series, and The Last Kingdom television series. He was the former Saxon king of East Anglia.

Biography[edit | edit source]

The Saxon Stories[edit | edit source]

In "The Last Kingdom", after East Anglia was overrun by the Danish armies of Ubba and Ivar the Boneless, they offered to let Edmund remain in "power" as a Danish puppet. Edmund agreed, but only on condition that the Danish warlords, and their men, all accept Christian baptism. As proof that "his" God was superior to the Danes', Edmund told them the story of Saint Sebastian, whom God saved from being killed by Roman arrows - though this story made little sense to Ubba and Ivar, since Edmund was forced to admit that God did not save Sebastian from being clubbed to death later.

The Danes proposed that they would shoot arrows at Edmund, and agree to accept baptism if God saved him. In terror for his life, Edmund quickly rescinded his demand that the Danes be baptised, but Ubba and Ivar had him tied to a tree outside his church and shot with multiple volleys of arrows. Uhtred, watching the execution, remarked that, by the time of the fourth or fifth volley, the archers' aim was shaky, because they were laughing so hard.

In his memoirs, Uhtred mentioned that Edmund was later canonised as a saint by the church, for choosing to die instead of renounce his Christian faith. Uhtred found this ridiculous, since he knew, firsthand, that Edmund died pathetically, and it was his decision to put his faith in God instead of armies that lost him his kingdom.

The Last Kingdom[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

East Anglia; Edmund is taken prisoner in his capital's own church and agrees to submit to Ubba and Guthrum, but only if they accept baptism. After he tells them the story of Saint Sebastian, Ubba proposes to test "his" God's power by shooting him with arrows. Edmund tries to rescind his condition, but it is too late, and he is impaled by a single volley of four arrows. Over his dying body, Ubba jokingly asks if Edmund would now like to be clubbed to death, or if the arrows were enough to kill him. ("Episode 1.2")

Battle Participation[edit | edit source]

This list shows the battles Edmund has participated in:

  • Battle of the Wash

Appearances[edit | edit source]

The Saxon Stories[edit | edit source]

Books 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
The Saxon Stories                        

The Last Kingdom[edit | edit source]

Episodes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Season 1              
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Edmund is known to history as Edmund the Martyr. Reports of his death vary, but the version which supported his canonisation by the Catholic Church is that he was executed by the Danes after refusing to renounce Christianity. At least one version has him being tied to a tree and shot with arrows, in parallel with the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian.
  • Edmund was born c.841 and died in c.869, at roughly 28 years of age. If the book series followed factual date of Edmund's birth then these are his ages throughout the books:
    • In "The Last Kingdom", at the start of this book, it is 867 and Edmund is 26 years old. At the end of the book, it is 874-876, which would of made him 33-35 years old.
  • The name Edmund comes from Old English. The name is made up of the words ead, which means "wealth, fortune, prosperity", and mund, which means "protector".
  • Edmund was a noble; he was a king of East Anglia.
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