Offa, Anglo-Saxon King of Mercia

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Offa, King of Mercia silver penny Offa, King of Mercia silver penny

The eighth century Anglo-Saxon king Offa of Mercia must have been an impressive and powerful king to his contemporaries. Offa could make the claim of being the first “king of the English”. While he consolidated quite a bit of the kingdom, he did have some trouble holding on to all the parts of it. But his true ambition was power and power alone, not necessarily the unification of England.

Offa was named for an earlier Offa, king of Angeln, one of the fabled ancestors of the Mercian royal dynasty. He was the son of Thingfrith and claimed to be a descendant of Eowa, a mid-seventh century Mercian king and brother of the celebrated King Penda of Mercia. Offa was a cousin of King Aethelbald of Mercia who reigned from 716 to 757. During Aethelbald’s reign, Mercia was restored as the dominant Anglo-Saxon kingdom in…

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