His two older brothers died before his father, so he was elected king bythe Witan and crowne
d in London. He was known as "Ironside" for hiscourage.
He devoted his short reign to defending his inheritence against theravages of the Viking
, Cnut. In this he was severly hampered by theignoble behavior of one of his father's favorit
es, Edric Streona,"Grasper". On one battlefield Edric mounted a hill and held up a severedhea
d, saying it was Edmund's. The King removed his helmet to show himselfalive, and then violent
ly hurled his spear at Edric, which, glancing offEdric's shield, pierced two soldiers standin
g beside him.
Defeat at the Battle of Ashington, Essex, forced him to make termswith Cnut and they agr
eed to divide the kingdom between them, Cnut takingthe north and Edmund the south.
He was treasonably slain a few days later. He had gone to theouthouse in the middle of t
he night, where Edric's son, on his father'sorders, had concealed himself in the pit. He stab
bed the King twice frombeneath, with a sharp dagger, and, leaving the weapon fixed in hisbowe
ls, made his escape. Thus the King perished after a reign of oneyear, and he was buried at Gl
astenbury, near his Grandfather Edgar.
Edric then presented himself to Cnut, and saluted him , and said,"Hail, thou who art sol
e King of England!" and explained to him what hadtaken place. Cnut replied, "For this dee
d I will exalt you, as it merits,higher than all the nobles of England!" He then commanded th
at Edricshould be beheaded and his head placed upon a pole on the highestbattlement of the To
wer of London.