Judging from the opulence of his tomb, he was a revered Viking warrior destined to take his place in Valhalla among the honoured dead.
Laid to rest in a 17ft boat with his sword, axe and bronze drinking horn, the powerful Norseman’s burial site has been discovered by archaeologists in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands.
The grave, unearthed in Ardnamurchan, is the first of its kind to be found intact on the British mainland and is thought to date from 1,000AD – the height of the ‘Second Viking Age’.
But in the 870s, Alfred – and later his descendants – united England against the Viking invaders, driving them out of their English strongholds and back to Scandinavia.
They did not return for more than a century, and when they did, peace was shattered.
The Anglo-Saxons, by now ruled by the hapless Aethelred the Unready, were once again put to the sword, and huge amounts of money and goods were extorted from the native population in the form of Danegeld – a tax raised by the Vikings.
By 1016, the conquest was completed when Canute became the first Danish king of all England.
It is from this period that the tomb dates, and its elaborate contents show how wealthy the Vikings had become. Many were converting to Christianity at the time, but from the artefacts laid to rest alongside him, it is clear this nobleman had been firmly committed to the old Norse religion.