There are a number of historical figures shown in the series on both the Danish and Anglo-Saxon sides. These include Ubba and Guthrum, who were fearsome Danish warlords, and Alfred (later known as Alfred the Great), Asser the Monk, and the ealdormen of Wessex, including Odda, who are royal officials and regional leaders in Wessex who supported Alfred in war. Other figures such as Ealhswith, Alfred's wife, and Edward, the son of Alfred, were also historical figures.<ref>For more on the key historical characters from this period, see: Savage, Anne (1988). Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Papermac.</ref>
Many of the personalities and depictions of the known historical figures are accurately presented in the series. For instance, Alfred's piety, digestive problems, and his penchant for women are likely to be true based on known accounts. Ubba, a Danish warlord, was known to be fearsome in battle. However, for the Danes, as historical accounts from their point of view are far fewer, we generally know less about them,
whereas Wessex was known to keep detailed historical records, as shown in the series.
While the main character Uhtred is not historical, he is based on Uhtred the Bold who lived after the events in the series in the 10th and 11th centuries. As the name suggests, Uhtred was known to have been a brave warrior. In the series, there is a feud between him and his uncle,
while his adoptive Danish father is treacherously killed. This reflects some of the blood feud stories that did occur during and after the life of Uhtred, even though the events in the series did not outright occur.<ref>For more on Uhtred the Bold, see: James, J. (2013). An onslaught of spears: the Danish conquest of England.</ref>