King Ecbert was a difficult man to understand, so wise, but so complicated. What good and bad traits defined this character of the Vikings?

“The more complicated a person is, the more interesting he is. But at the same time, the more dangerous it is, ”Ecbert said. He couldn’t have described himself better. King Ecbert was a difficult man to understand, so wise, but so complicated.

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It was impossible to attach intentions to his actions until it was achieved, which made him one of the most interesting characters in Vikings. He was able to outwit most of his enemies and handle crises at court without losing his composure. Since his death, all the kings of England were guided by his dream until the end of the show. So what exactly made King Ecbert the smartest king of England?

10 Best: Sage

Ecbert puts Athelstan in charge of the library

When the Danes attacked England, they all screamed death at the pagans and cursed them hoping that God would just perform a miracle and the Danes would be defeated. However, Ecbert knew better. He understood that England would have to deal with the Danes for a long time and the only way to defeat them was by understanding them first.

Ecbert decided to befriend Ragnar, Lagertha, and Rollo and even used Aethelstan to better understand Vikings. He also handled English politics better than any other king, securing the future of the throne and control of Mercia without affecting his popularity.

9 Worst: treacherous

Ecbert at the trial of Ragnar in Northumbria

Ecbert knew that the 5000 acre Viking settlement in England would never survive without Ragnar’s protection. However, he still shook hands with Ragnar for the Northmen to leave him alone. People were innocent and Ecbert had every reason to protect them because he knew Ragnar would return one day.

He chose to leave them to Aethelwulf’s fate, knowing full well that he would slaughter the village. Ecbert also grabbed Mercia from under Aelle’s nose after using it to secure her.

8 Better: calculate

Ecbert shaping Alfred to be king

Ecbert always did the math and got it right most of the time, helping him avoid trouble. He was the first English king to understand that England would need more than armies to solve the problem of the Viking invasion. He also hoped to unite all the English kingdoms under one crown that later became Alfred’s ambition.

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His decision to hand over the crown Aethelwulf before the Vikings took over Wessex ensured that Wessex was safe no matter what he did under pressure from Ragnar’s sons. His choice of Alfred as King of England also gave Wessex the king he needed in times of crisis.

7 Worst: selfish

King Ecbert crowned King of Mercia and Wessex

Ecbert was smart but he was also an exploitative person who always wanted good things to be his even when he didn’t deserve them. Lagertha noticed and refused to stay because a man who only cared about himself couldn’t be her friend. He began by taking Judith, his daughter-in-law, to his bed without worrying about his son’s feelings.

Kwenthrith was the victim of years of torture by those around her in Mercia. When Ecbert offered to help her, he didn’t treat her differently. He only used it to bring Mercia under his rule before killing her. He also claimed that all credit for defeating the Danes and later putting down the rebellion in Mercia fell to him.

6 Better: compassionate

Ecbert frees Athelstan from crucifixion

Ecbert wasn’t the most reliable man, but at least he couldn’t allow anyone to suffer unnecessarily. Had he been the one to do it, he would have killed Ragnar in a more humane way than Aelle because he did not like anyone’s suffering.

He prevented determined Christians from crucifying Aethelstan for being an apostate and chose to give him a job at court. It also saved Judith from further humiliation and probably death by adultery.

5 The worst: manipulative

Vikings, Athelstan, Aethelwulf and Ecbert

Ecbert had a way of using those around him to do his dirty work. Aethelwulf was the greatest victim of his father’s evil plans. The poor prince didn’t seem to have a mind of his own as his father made him clean up the mess while enjoying his time as king. He fought the wars in Mercia and was forced to handle the stubborn Kwenthrith while his father had the best time in the world with Judith.

Ecbert also indirectly ordered Aethelwulf to destroy the Viking settlement so that the king would not be blamed for the brutal slaughter of a settlement he swore to protect. After doing his father’s dirty work, Ecbert took all the credit. Ecbert also used the Vikings to solve his problems with the Mercian rebellion only to imprison Kwenthrith and take victory for himself.

4 Best: Futuristic

Ecbert commissioning a Danish settlement

Alfred relied on Ecbert’s wisdom to rule because the old king had the most futuristic mind of any leader. He had the future of England in mind and had everything planned to perfection. He knew that his son would not be the best king, but that Alfred would be a great leader, so he sent him to Rome for the Pope to bless him.

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Ecbert also knew that Ragnar’s sons would come to avenge their father’s death and that whatever kingdom he died in would be the recipient of the bloodiest battle. His plans for Aethelstan to translate the Roman scrolls for him gave Wessex a point of reference for planning future battles that also helped improve his defenses.

3 Worst: condescending

Vikings-Aelle and Ecbert Alliance

Ecbert was cunning in the way he handled King Aelle because he never considered him his equal. He took advantage of Judith because he knew there was nothing Aelle and Aethelwulf could do about it. He also took over Mercia with impunity because he viewed everyone else as less than himself and unworthy of respect.

It’s the same habit that got her into trouble with Ragnar. He underestimated Ragnar’s ability to turn the Danes against him and used his little trick to kill him. In the end, he and Aelle were punished equally.

two Best: Curious

Ecbert discovers Ragnar's true intentions

Unlike Aethelwulf, who took everything at face value, Ecbert was an intelligent man who tried to get to the bottom of everything. He did his best to learn and understand the Danes, including Ragnar, and he even gave Lagertha the opportunity to live in Wessex.

His curiosity also allowed him to use the ignored Roman texts to his advantage. He was always willing to learn and understand before executing his plans, which made him wiser than Aelle.

1 Worst: evil

Ecbert hands Ragnar to Aelle

Ecbert never fell short on unscrupulous plans that only benefited him. On the surface, Ecbert liked to portray himself as this caring king who only wanted what was good for his kingdom, but that was a lie. He was a brutal schemer willing to kill everyone who stood in his way to become the king of all of Great Britain.

He was willing to sacrifice his own son to save himself. He always planned to take Mercia for himself, so he enjoyed when Kwenthrith died. He also helped Lagertha establish a settlement. for the Danes to earn her trust and tuck her into her bed only to turn around and order a massacre.

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