Helga Moddansdóttir was the mistress of Haakon Paulsson, Earl of Orkney from 1105–1123. The Orkneyinga saga states that she was the daughter of Moddan - described as a rich and well-born farmer - and that she and the earl had three children, she was a member of a powerful dynasty in northern Scotland, sometimes referred to as "Clan Moddan" by modern historians, whose power base was "Dale" near the modern-day Helmsdale in Sutherland. Although little is known about her own activities save a fabulous story about a poisoned shirt that killed her son Harald it is clear that she, her sister Frakkök and her children had a significant impact on the politics of early 12th century Orkney and Sutherland. After the death of earl Magnus Erlendsson c. 1115 at the hands of his cousin Haakon Paulsson, the family of Moddan of Dale played a significant part in the affairs of the Earldom of Orkney. However, their origins are obscure. For a date in the mid-11th century the Orkneyinga saga mentions that "Muddan", a nephew of a King of Scots the saga calls Karl Hundason, became jarl of Caithness.
He had not held this position long when he was killed by Thorkel "the Fosterer" Sumarlidason, an ally of Earl of Orkney Thorfinn Sigurdsson. Thorkel was able to approach Muddan's base in Thurso because "all the people of Caithness were faithful and loyal to him", it is far from certain that Helga's father Moddan was a descendant of this earlier namesake, there is no suggestion that Moddan was a jarl, but his son Ótarr was. Furthermore, Ótarr had his base at Thurso. Whatever their origins, in addition to the titled Ótarr, Helga's siblings were, Angus "the Generous" and her sisters Frakkök and Þorleif; these children had both Norse and Gaelic names, whereas Orcadian families tended to have Norse names. It is thus that Helga's ancestors were of mixed heritage with her father being of Celtic origin and her mother having a Norse background and related to the jarl Óttar, killed in 1098 fighting in Man; the saga describes Helga as the mistress or concubine of Earl Haakon, but has nothing to say about the mother of Haakon's other named child, Páll.
Sellar suggests that a degree of polygamy appears to have been acceptable among high-status families in Norse Scotland and that the distinction between wives and concubines may not have been rigid. Helga and Harald's children had diverse fortunes. Harald "Smooth-tongue" became earl on the death of his father and ruled jointly with his half-brother Páll "the Silent" until his death in 1130, his demise came about because of a plot involving Helga and her sister Frakkök. Ingibjörg married Olaf Morsel, King of the Isles, their daughter Ragnhild married Somerled and from them descended the 13th-century Lords of Argyll, Clan MacDougall, the Lords of the Isles, Clan Donald, Clan MacRory, Clan MacAlister. Their third child Margaret married Matad, Earl of Atholl, whose son Harald Maddadsson was earl of Orkney from 1138 until 1206 and whom the Orkneyinga Saga describes one of the three most powerful Earls of Orkney along with Sigurd Eysteinsson and Thorfinn Sigurdsson. After the death of Earl Haakon c. 1123 Harald and Páll inherited their father's title "and the farmers had grave doubts about how the brothers... would get on together."When Frakkök's husband Ljot "the Renegade" died she journeyed from her home in Sutherland to Orkney in the company of Sigurd "Fake-Deacon" and other members of her clan.
Frakkök and Helga "had a lot to say in the government of Earl Harald" and soon two factions emerged, each supporting one of the joint earls. These political troubles involved Thorkel Fosterer, a close ally of Earl Magnus and who had suffered under the rule of Earl Haakon. Earl Harald and Sigurd Fake-Deacon attacked and killed the by now elderly Thorkel, which infuriated Earl Páll and led to a political crisis. Fearing war, the Orcadian farmers clamoured for a settlement and Sigurd was banished from the islands and Harald had to pay compensation for the death of Thorkel; as was the case with Icelandic language writing of this period, the aims of the Orkneyinga saga were to provide a sense of social continuity through the telling of history combined with an entertaining narrative drive. The tales are thought to have been compiled from a number of sources, combining family pedigrees, praise poetry and oral legends with historical facts. However, there are examples of fictional elements such as the effects of the poisoned shirt that killed jarl Harald Haakonsson.
The saga relates how at Christmas Frakökk and Helga were staying on Earl Harald's estate at Orphir prior to a Yule feast to which Harald had invited his half-brother Páll. The sisters were sewing a snow-white garment embroidered with gold; this garment was enchanted, the two sisters had intended it for Earl Páll. For the sisters, Earl Harald noticed the beautiful garment and, despite their protestations, put the garment on, his body gave a great shiver, followed by a burning pain and soon after he died. The saga states that Earl Páll took control of his deceased half-brother's possessions, that he was suspicious of the two sisters thereafter. After the death of Harald and Frakkök were banished from Orkney and returned to Dale, where Frakkök was killed by Sweyn Asleifsson after an ill-judged attack against Earl Páll using troops she and her grandson Olvir "Brawl" had gathered in the Hebrides. After the "sinister" Frakkök's death her holdings in Sutherland were inherited by Eirik Stay-Brails, grandson of Þorleif Moddansdottir.
The saga is silent regarding Helga's fate although it does relate that in the complex battle fo
Kingdom of the Isles
The Kingdom of the Isles comprised the Hebrides, the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man from the 9th to the 13th centuries AD. The islands were known to the Norse as the Suðreyjar, or "Southern Isles" as distinct from the Norðreyjar or Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. In Scottish Gaelic, the kingdom is known as Rìoghachd nan Eilean; the historical record is incomplete, the kingdom was not a continuous entity throughout the entire period. The islands concerned are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, although only some of the rulers claimed that title. At times the rulers were independent of external control, although for much of the period they had overlords in Norway, England, Scotland or Orkney. At times there appear to have been competing claims for all or parts of the territory; the islands involved have a total land area of over 8,300 square kilometres and extend for more than 500 kilometres from north to south. Viking influence in the area commenced in the late 8th century, whilst there is no doubt that the Uí Ímair dynasty played a prominent role in this early period, the records for the dates and details of the rulers are speculative until the mid-10th century.
Hostility between the Kings of the Isles and the rulers of Ireland, intervention by the crown of Norway were recurring themes. The Laxdaela Saga contains mention of several persons who are said to have come to Iceland from Sodor, which appears to be these Suðreyjar, before or around the middle of the 10th century. An invasion by Magnus Barefoot in the late 11th century resulted in a brief period of direct Norwegian rule over the kingdom, but soon the descendants of Godred Crovan re-asserted a further period of independent overlordship; this came to an end with the emergence of Somerled, on whose death in 1164 the kingdom was split in two. Just over a century the islands became part of the Kingdom of Scotland, following the 1266 Treaty of Perth; the principal islands under consideration are as follows: The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea equidistant from modern England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The islands of the Firth of Clyde some 140 kilometres to the north, the largest of which are Bute and Arran.
The southern Inner Hebrides to the west and north of the Kintyre peninsula, including Islay, Jura and Iona. The Inner Hebrides to the north of Ardnamurchan, made up of the Small Isles, Skye and their outliers; the Outer Hebrides, aka the "Long Island" to the west, separated from the northern Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch. These islands referred to as the Sudreys, have a total land area of 8,374 square kilometres of which: the Isle of Man is 572 square kilometres, 7% of the total the Islands of the Clyde 574 square kilometres, 7% of the total the Inner Hebrides 4,158 square kilometres, 50% of the total and the Outer Hebrides 3,070 square kilometres, 36% of the total. Anglesey in modern Wales may have been part of the insular Viking world from an early stage. Orkney is some 180 kilometres east-northeast of the Outer Hebrides, Shetland is a further 80 kilometres further northeast and Norway some 300 kilometres due east of Shetland; the total distance from the southern tip of the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis, the northern extremity of the Outer Hebrides, is 515 kilometres.
The presence of the monastery on Iona led to this part of Scotland being well documented from the mid-6th to the mid-9th centuries. However, from 849 on, when Columba's relics were removed in the face of Viking incursions, written evidence from local sources all but vanishes for three hundred years; the sources for information about the Hebrides and indeed much of northern Scotland from the 8th to the 11th century are thus exclusively Irish, English or Norse. The main Norse text is the Orkneyinga Saga, which should be treated with care as it was based on oral traditions and not written down by an Icelandic scribe until the early 13th century; the English and Irish sources are more contemporary, but may have "led to a southern bias in the story" as much of the Hebridean archipelago became Norse-speaking during the period under consideration. The archaeological record for this period is scant in comparison to the numerous Neolithic and Iron Age finds in the area. Scholarly interpretations of the period "have led to divergent reconstructions of Viking Age Scotland" and Barrett has identified four competing theories, none of which he regards as proven.
It is clear that the word "king", as used by and of the rulers of Norwegian descent in the isles, was not intended to convey sovereign rule. This is different from the way, it should be borne in mind that different kings may have ruled over different areas and that few of them can be seen as exerting any kind of close control over this "far-flung sea kingdom". Precise dates are sometimes a matter of debate amongst historians. Prior to the Viking incursions the southern Hebrides formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata. North of Dál Riata, the Inner and Outer Hebrides were nominally under Pictish control although the historical record is sparse. According to Ó Corráin "when and how the Vikings conquered and occupied the Isles is unknown unknowable", although from 793 onwards repeated raids by Vikings on the British Isles are recorded. "All the islands of Britain" were devastated in 794 with Iona being sacked in 802 and 806
The Crovan dynasty, from the late 11th century to the mid 13th century, was the ruling family of an insular kingdom known variously in secondary sources as the Kingdom of Mann, the Kingdom of the Isles, the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. The eponymous founder of the dynasty was Godred Crovan, who appeared from obscurity in the late 11th century, before his takeover of the Isle of Man and Dublin; the dynasty was of Gaelic-Scandinavian origin descending from a branch of the Uí Ímair, a dominant kindred in the Irish Sea region which first appears on record in the late 9th century. Leading members of the Crovan dynasty formed marriage-alliances with the Irish and Norwegian Kings, as well as Hebridean and Anglo-Norman lords, Welsh Princes as well. Surrounded by sometimes threatening English and Scottish monarchs, various warlords from the western seaboard of Scotland, the leading members of the dynasty at times tactfully recognised the overlordship of certain kings of Norway and England, the Papacy.
The military might of the dynasty were their fleets of galleys, their forces battled in Ireland, the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. The importance of the galley to the sea-Kings of the Crovan dynasty is illustrated in its implementation upon seals that certain members are known to have used. Alex Woolf believes the Clann Somhairle can be regarded as a female line cadet branch of the Crovan dynasty. After Somerled's coup, the Crovan dynasty were temporarily deposed from all except the Isle of Man, Dublin. On Somerled's death, they were allowed to inherit part of the realm: Lewis and Skye. Godred Crovan, died 1095 Logmann, d. 1103, son of Godfred Olaf, d. 1153, son of Godfred Godred, d. 1187, son of Olaf, who lost most of the Kingdom to Somerled's family Reginald, fl. 1164, son of Olaf, half-brother of Godred, he and successors ruled only in Northern Isles Godred, restored Reginald, d. 1229, son of Godred Olaf the Black, s. 1237, son of Godred, half-brother of Reginald Godred, d. 1231, son of Reginald Harald, d.
1248, son of Olaf Reginald, d. 1249, son of Olaf Harald, fl. 1249, son of Godred Magnus, died 1265, son of OlafIn Magnus' lifetime, Ewan MacDougall, a descendant of Somerled, was appointed king of the Hebrides by Haakon, the Norwegian king. Magnus remained titular king of Man. In the year after Magnus died, in 1266, the Treaty of Perth was signed, transferring overlordship of the Isles and Man to the Scottish king. Bibliography
In the modern Gaelic languages, Lochlann signifies Scandinavia or, more Norway. As such it is cognate with the Welsh name for Llychlyn. In both old Gaelic and old Welsh, such names mean "land of lakes" or "land of swamps". Classical Gaelic literature and other sources from early medieval Ireland first featured the name, in earlier forms like Laithlind and Lothlend. In Irish, the adjectival noun Lochlannach has an additional sense of "raider" or, more a viking. All uses of the word "Lochlann" relate it to Nordic realms of Europe. While the traditional view has identified Laithlind with Norway, some have preferred to locate it in a Norse-dominated part of Scotland the Hebrides or the Northern Isles. Donnchadh Ó Corráin states that Laithlinn was the name of Viking Scotland, that a substantial part of Scotland—the Northern and Western Isles and large areas of the coastal mainland from Caithness and Sutherland to Argyll—was conquered by the Vikings in the first quarter of the ninth century and a Viking kingdom was set up there earlier than the middle of the century.
The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland contain numerous reference to the "Lochlanns", who are Vikings and feared and distrusted by the writers. However few named individuals are identified from amongst their number and their relationships with one another are obscure. Jarl Tomrair, described as the "tanist of the king of Lochlann" fell in the Battle of Sciath Nechtain in 848. In 851 Zain identified as the "half-king of the Lochlanns" and Iargna "the two chiefs of the fleet of the Lochlanns" are recorded as fighting against the Danes in Carlingford Lough; the same source notes that in the sixth year of the reign of Maelsechlainn, circa 852 Amlaíb "the son of the King of Lochlann, came to Erin, he brought with him commands from his father for many rents and tributes, but he left suddenly. Imhar, his younger brother, came after him to levy the same rents." Amlaíb is called the "son of the king of Laithlind" by the Annals of Ulster in 853. While of Scandinavian origin – Amlaíb is the Old Irish representation of the Old Norse name Oláfr – the question of Amlaíb's immediate origins is debated.
In 871 he "went from Erin to Lochlann to wage war on the Lochlanns" to assist his father Goffridh who had "come for him". Hona, who the annalists believed was a druid and Tomrir Torra were "two noble chiefs", "of great fame among their own people", "of the best race of the Lochlanns", although their careers appear to have been otherwise unrecorded, they died whilst fighting the men of Munster in 860. Gnimbeolu, chief of the Galls of Cork, was killed in 865 the same person as Gnim Cinnsiolla, chief of the Lochlanns, recorded as dying in similar circumstances. In 869 Tomrark the Earl is described as a "fierce, cruel man of the Lochlanns" and the annalist notes with some satisfaction, that this "enemy of Brenann" died of madness at Port-Mannan in the same year. In 869 the Picts were attacked by the Lochlanns and internal strife in Lochlann was recorded because: the sons of Albdan, King of Lochlann, expelled the eldest son, son of Albdan, because they feared that he would take the kingdom of Lochlann after their father.
But his elder sons, with a great host, which they collected from every quarter, came on to the British Isles, being elated with pride and ambition, to attack the Franks and Saxons. They thought that their father had returned to Lochlann after setting out; this entry provides a number of problems. The demise of Gofraid, King of Lochlann and father of Amlaíb and Imhar and Auisle seems to be recorded in the Fragmentary Annals in 873:Ég righ Lochlainne.i. Gothfraid do. Sic quod placuit Deo. O' Corrain concludes that: "this much-emended entry appears to be the death notice of Gøðrøðr, king of the Vikings in Scotland" and although other interpreters believed this entry referred to the death of his son Ímar it is about one of the other. Who is "Albdan"? The name is a corruption of the Norse Halden, or Halfdane, this may be a reference to Halfdan the Black; this would make Raghnall Rognvald Eysteinsson of the brother of Harald Finehair. The "Lochlanns" may thus have been a generic description for both Norwegian-based warriors and insular forces of Norse descent based in the Norðreyjar or Suðreyjar.
Other Lochlannachs mentioned in the texts for dates during the early 10th century are Hingamund and Otter, son of Iargna, killed by the Scots. Whatever the meaning of Laithlind and Lochlann in Ireland in the ninth and tenth centuries, it may have referred to Norway later. In 1058 Magnus Haraldsson is called "the son of the king of Lochlann", his nephew Magnus Barefoot is the "king of Lochlann" in the Irish πreports of the great western expedition four decades later; the Irish Lochlann has a cognate in the Welsh language Llychlyn, which appears as a name for Scandinavia in the prose tales Culhwch and Olwen and The Dream of Rhonabwy, in some versions of Welsh Triad 35. In these versions of Triad 35 Llychlyn is the destination of the otherwise unattested Yrp of the Hosts, who depleted Britain's armies by demanding that each of the island's chief fortresses provide him with twice the men he brought; the same versions give
History of Shetland
The History of Shetland concerns the subarctic archipelago of Shetland in Scotland. The early history of the islands is dominated by the influence of the Vikings. From the 14th century it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Scotland, into the United Kingdom. Due to building in stone on treeless islands—a practice dating to at least the early Neolithic Period—Shetland is rich in physical remains of the prehistoric era, there are over 5,000 archaeological sites. A midden site at West Voe on the south coast of Mainland, dated to 4320–4030 BC, has provided the first evidence of Mesolithic human activity on Shetland; the same site provides dates for early Neolithic activity, finds at Scourd of Brouster in Walls have been dated to 3400 BC. "Shetland knives" are stone tools. By the end of the 9th century the Scandinavians shifted their attention from plundering to invasion due to the overpopulation of Scandinavia in comparison to resources and arable land available there. Shetland was colonised by Norsemen in the 9th century, the fate of the existing indigenous population being uncertain.
The colonists established their laws and language. That language evolved into the West Nordic language Norn. After Harald Finehair took control of all Norway, many of his opponents fled, some to Orkney and Shetland. From the Northern Isles they continued to raid Scotland and Norway, prompting Harald Hårfagre to raise a large fleet which he sailed to the islands. In about 875 he and his forces took control of Orkney. Ragnvald, Earl of Møre received Orkney and Shetland as an earldom from the king as reparation for his son's being killed in battle in Scotland. Ragnvald gave the earldom to his brother Sigurd the Mighty. Shetland was Christianised in the 10th century. In 1194 when king Sverre Sigurdsson ruled Norway and Harald Maddadsson was Earl of Orkney and Shetland, the Lendmann Hallkjell Jonsson and the Earl's brother-in-law Olav raised an army called the eyjarskeggjar on Orkney and sailed for Norway, their pretender king was son of king Magnus Erlingsson. The eyjarskeggjar were beaten in the Battle of Florvåg near Bergen.
The body of Sigurd Magnusson was displayed for the king in Bergen in order for him to be sure of the death of his enemy, but he demanded that Harald Maddadsson answer for his part in the uprising. In 1195 the earl sailed to Norway to reconcile with King Sverre; as a punishment the king placed the earldom of Shetland under the direct rule of the king, from which it was never returned. When Alexander III of Scotland turned twenty-one in 1262 and became of age he declared his intention of continuing the aggressive policy his father had begun towards the western and northern isles; this had been put on hold. Alexander sent a formal demand to the Norwegian King Håkon Håkonsson. After decades of civil war, Norway had achieved stability and grown to be a substantial nation with influence in Europe and the potential to be a powerful force in war. With this as a background, King Håkon rejected all demands from the Scots; the Norwegians regarded all the islands in the North Sea as part of the Norwegian realm.
To add weight to his answer, King Håkon activated the leidang and set off from Norway in a fleet, said to have been the largest assembled in Norway. The fleet met up in Breideyarsund in Shetland before the king and his men sailed for Scotland and made landfall on Arran; the aim was to conduct negotiations with the army as a backup. Alexander III drew out the negotiations. After tiresome diplomatic talks, King Håkon lost his patience and decided to attack. At the same time a large storm set in which destroyed several of his ships and kept others from making landfall; the Battle of Largs in October 1263 was not decisive and both parties claimed victory, but King Håkon Håkonsson's position was hopeless. On 5 October, he returned to Orkney with a discontented army, there he died of a fever on 17 December 1263, his death halted any further Norwegian expansion in Scotland. King Magnus Lagabøte broke with his father's expansion policy and started negotiations with Alexander III. In the Treaty of Perth of 1266 he surrendered his furthest Norwegian possessions including Man and the Sudreyar to Scotland in return for 4,000 marks sterling and an annuity of 100 marks.
The Scots recognised Norwegian sovereignty over Orkney and Shetland. One of the main reasons behind the Norwegian desire for peace with Scotland was that trade with England was suffering from the constant state of war. In the new trade agreement between England and Norway in 1223 the English demanded Norway make peace with Scotland. In 1269, this agreement was expanded to include mutual free trade. In the 14th century Norway still treated Orkney and Shetland as a Norwegian province, but Scottish influence was growing, in 1379 the Scottish earl Henry Sinclair took control of Orkney on behalf of the Norwegian king Håkon VI Magnusson. In 1348 Norway was weakened by the Black Plague and in 1397 it entered the Kalmar Union. With time Norway came under Danish control. King Christian I of Denmark and Norway was in financial trouble and, when his daughter Margaret became engaged to James III of Scotland in 1468, he needed money to pay her dowry. Under Norse udal law, the king had no overall ownership of the land in the realm as in the Scottish feudal system.
He was king of his people, rather than king of the land. What the king did not own was owned by others; the King's lands
History of Scotland
The recorded history of Scotland begins with the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 1st century, when the province of Britannia reached as far north as the Antonine Wall. North of this was Caledonia, inhabited by the Picti, whose uprisings forced Rome's legions back to Hadrian's Wall; as Rome withdrew from Britain, Gaelic raiders called the Scoti began colonising Western Scotland and Wales. Prior to Roman times, prehistoric Scotland entered the Neolithic Era about 4000 BC, the Bronze Age about 2000 BC, the Iron Age around 700 BC; the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata was founded on the west coast of Scotland in the 6th century. In the following century, Irish missionaries introduced the pagan Picts to Celtic Christianity. Following England's Gregorian mission, the Pictish king Nechtan chose to abolish most Celtic practices in favour of the Roman rite, restricting Gaelic influence on his kingdom and avoiding war with Anglian Northumbria. Towards the end of the 8th century, the Viking invasions began, forcing the Picts and Gaels to cease their historic hostility to each other and to unite in the 9th century, forming the Kingdom of Scotland.
The Kingdom of Scotland was united under the House of Alpin, whose members fought among each other during frequent disputed successions. The last Alpin king, Malcolm II, died without issue in the early 11th century and the kingdom passed through his daughter's son to the House of Dunkeld or Canmore; the last Dunkeld king, Alexander III, died in 1286. He left only his infant granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway as heir, who died herself four years later. England, under Edward I, would take advantage of this questioned succession to launch a series of conquests, resulting in the Wars of Scottish Independence, as Scotland passed back and forth between the House of Balliol and the House of Bruce. Scotland's ultimate victory confirmed Scotland as a independent and sovereign kingdom; when King David II died without issue, his nephew Robert II established the House of Stuart, which would rule Scotland uncontested for the next three centuries. James VI, Stuart king of Scotland inherited the throne of England in 1603, the Stuart kings and queens ruled both independent kingdoms until the Act of Union in 1707 merged the two kingdoms into a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Ruling until 1714, Queen Anne was the last Stuart monarch. Since 1714, the succession of the British monarchs of the houses of Hanover and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha has been due to their descent from James VI and I of the House of Stuart. During the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, Scotland became one of the commercial and industrial powerhouses of Europe, its industrial decline following the Second World War was acute. In recent decades Scotland has enjoyed something of a cultural and economic renaissance, fuelled in part by a resurgent financial services sector and the proceeds of North Sea oil and gas. Since the 1950s, nationalism has become a strong political topic, with serious debates on Scottish independence, a referendum in 2014 about leaving the British Union. People lived in Scotland for at least 8,500 years before Britain's recorded history. At times during the last interglacial period Europe had a climate warmer than today's, early humans may have made their way to Scotland, with the possible discovery of pre-Ice Age axes on Orkney and mainland Scotland.
Glaciers scoured their way across most of Britain, only after the ice retreated did Scotland again become habitable, around 9600 BC. Upper Paleolithic hunter-gatherer encampments formed the first known settlements, archaeologists have dated an encampment near Biggar to around 12000 BC. Numerous other sites found around Scotland build up a picture of mobile boat-using people making tools from bone and antlers; the oldest house for which there is evidence in Britain is the oval structure of wooden posts found at South Queensferry near the Firth of Forth, dating from the Mesolithic period, about 8240 BC. The earliest stone structures are the three hearths found at Jura, dated to about 6000 BC. Neolithic farming brought permanent settlements. Evidence of these includes the well-preserved stone house at Knap of Howar on Papa Westray, dating from around 3500 BC and the village of similar houses at Skara Brae on West Mainland, Orkney from about 500 years later; the settlers introduced chambered cairn tombs from around 3500 BC, as at Maeshowe, from about 3000 BC the many standing stones and circles such as those at Stenness on the mainland of Orkney, which date from about 3100 BC, of four stones, the tallest of, 16 feet in height.
These were part of a pattern. The creation of cairns and Megalithic monuments continued into the Bronze Age, which began in Scotland about 2000 BC; as elsewhere in Europe, hill forts were first introduced in this period, including the occupation of Eildon Hill near Melrose in the Scottish Borders, from around 1000 BC, which accommodated several hundred houses on a fortified hilltop. From the Early and Middle Bronze Age there is evidence of cellular round houses of stone, as at Jarlshof and Sumburgh on Shetland. There is evidence of the occupation of crannogs, roundhouses or built on artificial islands in lakes and estuarine waters. In the early Iron Age, from the seventh century BC, cellular houses began to be replaced on the northern isles by simple Atlantic roundhouses, substantial circular buildings with a dry stone construction. From about 400 BC, more complex Atlantic roundhouses began to be built, as at Howe and Crosskirk, Caithness; the most massive constructions that date from this era are the circular broch towers, p
Assassination of Ingimundr
Ingimundr known as Ingimund, Ingemund, was an eleventh-century delegate of Magnús Óláfsson, King of Norway. In the last decade of the eleventh century, Ingimundr was tasked by Magnús to take control of the Kingdom of the Isles; the realm had descended into utter chaos after the death of Guðrøðr Crovan, King of the Isles in 1095, followed by kin-strife amongst Guðrøðr's descendants, the encroachment of Irish authority into the region. Ingimundr and his followers were slain in Lewis by the leading Islesmen whilst he was in the midst of securing the kingship; the following year, Magnús took matters into his own hands, oversaw the conquest of the Isles himself. In the 1070s, Guðrøðr Crovan secured the kingship of the Isles through his conquest of Mann, forcefully added Dublin to his realm in about 1091. Guðrøðr's undoing came in 1094, when he was driven out of Ireland by the Uí Briain, died the following year in the Hebrides. There is uncertainty concerning the political situation in the Isles in the last decade of the eleventh century.
What is known for sure is that, before the end of the century, Magnús Óláfsson, King of Norway led a marauding fleet from Scandinavia into the Isles, seized control of the kingdom, held power in the Irish Sea region until his death in 1103. According to the thirteenth–fourteenth-century Chronicle of Mann, when Guðrøðr died in 1095, Lǫgmaðr succeeded him as his eldest son, went on to reign for seven years; the numerical calculations and chronology of this source are suspect, it is uncertain if Lǫgmaðr's reign began before Magnús' arrival, during Magnús' overlordship, or after Magnús' death. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the inception of his reign, the chronicle reveals that Lǫgmaðr faced continued opposition from within his own family, in the form of an ongoing rebellion by his brother, Haraldr. Although the Chronicle of Man maintains that Lǫgmaðr voluntarily vacated his throne, there is reason to suspect that he was forced from power. In about 1096 the chronicle claims that the leading Islesmen sought assistance of Muirchertach Ua Briain, King of Munster, petitioned him to provide a regent from his own kin to govern the kingdom until Lǫgmaðr's younger brother, Óláfr, was old enough to assume control.
The chronicle's account could be evidence that, by about 1096, Lǫgmaðr faced a faction formed around Óláfr. In any case, the chronicle reveals that Muirchertach installed Domnall mac Taidc upon the throne; the slaying of Domnall's brother, Amlaíb, as recorded by the seventeenth-century Annals of the Four Masters in 1096, suggests that Domnall and his immediate family faced significant opposition in the Isles in the form of Lǫgmaðr's adherents. The chronicle credits Domnall with an oppressive three-year reign that ended when the leading Islesmen revolted against him, drove him from the kingdom back to Ireland; the extent of Domnall's rule in the kingdom is unknown, it is questionable whether he had any real authority in the northern Hebrides, the islands furthest from Mann. In about 1097, Magnús sent Ingimundr to the Isles to take possession of the kingdom. After installing himself in Lewis, the chronicle reveals that Ingimundr was overthrown and killed whilst in the midst of securing the kingship.
And when he had arrived in the island of Lewis, he sent messengers to all the chieftains of the islands. But meanwhile he with his associates abandoned himself to banquetting, and when this had been reported to the chieftains of the islands, when they had assembled together to appoint him king, they were fired with excessive rage, hastened towards him. Ingimundr's rationale for seating himself upon an island on the edge of the kingdom may have been due to his inability to gain any authority on Mann itself; the chronicle reveals that civil war erupted there the following year, the twelfth-century Historia ecclesiastica indicates that Mann was devastated to point of being a virtual desert by the time Magnús appeared on the scene. The warring itself may have been related to the factional struggles between Guðrøðr's sons. Although it is possible that it was Magnús who forced Domnall from the Isles, the fact the chronicle makes no mention of Domnall during the recorded conflict on Mann may be evidence that he had lost control of the island by then.
Within the year, the same source records the arrival of Magnús, which could suggest that it was Ingimundr's slaying, at the hands of the Islesmen, that had incited Magnús to take matters into his own hands. There is little known of the inauguration of kings in the Isles. What is apparent, however, is that the so-called chieftains of the Isles—or principes Insularum—played a significant role in king-making. Although Guðrøðr had gained the kingship through conquest, the chronicle reveals that his descendants relied upon legitimisation from the chieftains. For example, this source notes that it was the "noblemen of the Isles" who had approached Muirchertach to intervene in the Isles following the strife between Guðrøðr's sons, it was "all the chieftains of the Isles" who drove Domnall from the Isles not long afterwards. Furthermore, following Magnús' eventual death in 1103, the chronicle records that it was the "chief