King of Wessex, scholar, and renowned Christian monarch. Alfred was born in 849, the fifth son of the Wessex king. During a journey to Rome in 853, he was accepted as a godson by Pope Leo IV . He was a great scholar, translating classics for his people, and early on seemed destined for a career in the Church. Instead, he became king and was forced to spend most of his reign in conflict with the Danes who were then threatening England. His work as a patron of the arts, literature, and especially the Church made him a beloved figure in England.