Offa's line descends through Pybba's son Eowa and then through three more generations: Osmod, Eanwulf and Offa's father, Thingfrith.
Æthelbald, who ruled Mercia for most of the forty years before Offa, was also descended from Eowa according to the genealogies: Offa's grandfather, Eanwulf, was Æthelbald's first cousin.
A key source for the period is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of annals in Old English narrating the history of the Anglo-Saxons.
The Chronicle was a West Saxon production, however, and is sometimes thought to be biased in favour of Wessex; hence it may not accurately convey the extent of power achieved by Offa, a Mercian.
Æthelbald granted land to Eanwulf in the territory of the Hwicce, and it is possible that Offa and Æthelbald were from the same branch of the family.
In one charter Offa refers to Æthelbald as his kinsman, and Headbert, Æthelbald's brother, continued to witness charters after Offa rose to power.
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Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796.Æthelbald, who had ruled Mercia since 716, was assassinated in 757.According to a later continuation of Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica (written anonymously after Bede's death) the king was "treacherously murdered at night by his own bodyguards," though the reason why is unrecorded.Æthelbald was initially succeeded by Beornred, about whom little is known.The continuation of Bede comments that Beornred "ruled for a little while, and unhappily", and adds that "the same year, Offa, having put Beornred to flight, sought to gain the kingdom of the Mercians by bloodshed." The conflict over the succession suggests that Offa needed to re-establish control over Mercia's traditional dependencies, such as the Hwicce and the Magonsæte.Offa was a Christian king who came into conflict with the Church, particularly with Jaenberht, the Archbishop of Canterbury.