Guthrum started out as a war leader when he came over from Denmark in the 9th Century. He would strike fear into the Saxons as he hunted down Aelfred, the king of the West Saxons, almost catching him out in a midwinter attack on Chippenham when the Saxons celebrated Christmas. Even when he only achieved stalemate, Guthrum achieved recognition by Aelfred as king of East Anglia and overlord over half the Anglian kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria south of the Tees. He outlived Aelfred himself, a 'free agent', too powerful for any West Saxon king after his old nemesis to be removed, too wily even for fellow Danes to outwit in their bid for power, not so foolish as to be drawn into open conflict with Wessex. His 'day' dawned in AD879, and the sun only set on him in AD890 on his deathbed.