Malcolm I of Scotland
Máel Coluim mac Domnaill was king of Alba, becoming king when his cousin Constantine II abdicated to become a monk. He was the son of Donald II. Máel Coluim was born during his father's reign. By the 940s, he was no longer a young man, may have become impatient in awaiting the throne. Willingly or not—the 11th-century Prophecy of Berchán, a verse history in the form of a supposed prophecy, states that it was not a voluntary decision that Constantine II abdicated in 943 and entered a monastery, leaving the kingdom to Máel Coluim. Seven years the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says: plundered the English as far as the River Tees, he seized a multitude of people and many herds of cattle: and the Scots called this the raid of Albidosorum, that is, Nainndisi, but others say that Constantine made this raid, asking of the king, that the kingship should be given to him for a week's time, so that he could visit the English. In fact, it was Malcolm who made the raid. Woolf suggests that the association of Constantine with the raid is a late addition, one derived from a now-lost saga or poem.
He died in the shield wall next to his men. Máel Coluim would be the third in his immediate family to die violently, his father Donald II and grandfather Constantine I both having met similar fates 54 years earlier in 900 and 77 years earlier in 877 respectively. In 945, Edmund I of England, having expelled Amlaíb Cuaran from Northumbria, devastated Cumbria and blinded two sons of Domnall mac Eógain, king of Strathclyde, it is said that he "let" or "commended" Strathclyde to Máel Coluim in return for an alliance. What is to be understood by "let" or "commended" is unclear, but it may well mean that Máel Coluim had been the overlord of Strathclyde and that Edmund recognised this while taking lands in southern Cumbria for himself; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says that Máel Coluim took an army into Moray "and slew Cellach". Cellach is not named in the surviving genealogies of the rulers of Moray, his identity is unknown. Máel Coluim appears to have kept his agreement with the late English king, which may have been renewed with the new king, Edmund having been murdered in 946 and succeeded by his brother Edred.
Eric Bloodaxe, son to King Harald Hairfair of Norway, took York in 948, before being driven out by Edred, when Amlaíb Cuaran again took York in 949–950, Máel Coluim raided Northumbria as far south as the Tees taking "a multitude of people and many herds of cattle" according to the Chronicle. The Annals of Ulster for 952 report a battle between "the men of Alba and the Britons and the English" against the foreigners, i.e. the Northmen or the Norse-Gaels. This battle is not reported by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it is unclear whether it should be related to the expulsion of Amlaíb Cuaran from York or the return of Eric Bloodaxe; the Annals of Ulster report that Máel Coluim was killed in 954. Other sources place this most in the Mearns, either at Fetteresso following the Chronicle, or at Dunnottar following the Prophecy of Berchán, he was buried on Iona. Máel Coluim's sons Dub and Cináed were kings. For primary sources see External links below. Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History A.
D 500–1286, volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8 Duncan, A. A. M; the Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8 Smyth, Alfred P. Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000. Reprinted, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1998. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7 CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts at University College Cork includes the Annals of Ulster, the Four Masters and Innisfallen, the Chronicon Scotorum, the Lebor Bretnach and various Saints' Lives. Most are translated into English; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle XML Edition by Tony Jebson and translated at the Medieval and Classical Literature Library
Constantine II of Scotland
Constantine, son of Áed was an early King of Scotland, known by the Gaelic name Alba. The Kingdom of Alba, a name which first appears in Constantine's lifetime, was situated in modern-day Scotland; the core of the kingdom was formed by the lands around the River Tay. Its southern limit was the River Forth, northwards it extended towards the Moray Firth and to Caithness, while its western limits are uncertain. Constantine's grandfather Kenneth I of Scotland was the first of the family recorded as a king, but as king of the Picts; this change of title, from king of the Picts to king of Alba, is part of a broader transformation of Pictland and the origins of the Kingdom of Alba are traced to Constantine's lifetime. His reign, like those of his predecessors, was dominated by the actions of Viking rulers in the British Isles the Uí Ímair. During Constantine's reign the rulers of the southern kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia the Kingdom of England, extended their authority northwards into the disputed kingdoms of Northumbria.
At first allied with the southern rulers against the Vikings, Constantine in time came into conflict with them. King Æthelstan was successful in securing Constantine's submission in 927 and 934, but the two again fought when Constantine, allied with the Strathclyde Britons and the Viking king of Dublin, invaded Æthelstan's kingdom in 937, only to be defeated at the great battle of Brunanburh. In 943 Constantine abdicated the throne and retired to the Céli Dé monastery of St Andrews where he died in 952, he was succeeded by his predecessor's son Malcolm I. Constantine's reign of 43 years, exceeded in Scotland only by that of King William the Lion before the Union of the Crowns in 1603, is believed to have played a defining part in the gaelicisation of Pictland, in which his patronage of the Irish Céli Dé monastic reformers was a significant factor. During his reign the words "Scots" and "Scotland" are first used to mean part of what is now Scotland; the earliest evidence for the ecclesiastical and administrative institutions which would last until the Davidian Revolution appears at this time.
Compared to neighbouring Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England, few records of 9th- and 10th-century events in Scotland survive. The main local source from the period is the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, a list of kings from Kenneth MacAlpin to Kenneth II; the list survives in a 13th-century compilation. A list of kings with reign lengths, the other details contained in the Poppleton Manuscript version were added in the 10th and 12th centuries. In addition to this king lists survive; the earliest genealogical records of the descendants of Kenneth MacAlpin may date from the end of the 10th century, but their value lies more in their context, the information they provide about the interests of those for whom they were compiled, than in the unreliable claims they contain. For narrative history the principal sources are the Irish annals; the evidence from charters created in the Kingdom of England provides occasional insight into events in northern Britain. While Scandinavian sagas describe events in 10th-century Britain, their value as sources of historical narrative, rather than documents of social history, is disputed.
Mainland European sources concern themselves with affairs in Britain, less with events in northern Britain, but the life of Saint Cathróe of Metz, a work of hagiography written in Germany at the end of the 10th century, provides plausible details of the saint's early life in north Britain. While the sources for north-eastern Britain, the lands of the kingdom of Northumbria and the former Pictland, are limited and late, those for the areas on the Irish Sea and Atlantic coasts—the modern regions of north-west England and all of northern and western Scotland—are non-existent, archaeology and toponymy are of primary importance; the dominant kingdom in eastern Scotland before the Viking Age was the northern Pictish kingdom of Fortriu on the shores of the Moray Firth. By the 9th century, the Gaels of Dál Riata were subject to the kings of Fortriu of the family of Constantín mac Fergusa. Constantín's family dominated Fortriu after 789 and if Constantín was a kinsman of Óengus I of the Picts, from around 730.
The dominance of Fortriu came to an end in 839 with a defeat by Viking armies reported by the Annals of Ulster in which King Uen of Fortriu and his brother Bran, Constantín's nephews, together with the king of Dál Riata, Áed mac Boanta, "and others innumerable" were killed. These deaths led to a period of instability lasting a decade as several families attempted to establish their dominance in Pictland. By around 848 Kenneth MacAlpin had emerged as the winner. National myth made Kenneth MacAlpin the creator of the kingdom of Scotland, the founding of, dated from 843, the year in which he was said to have destroyed the Picts and inaugurated a new era; the historical record for 9th-century Scotland is meagre, but the Irish annals and the 10th-century Chronicle of the Kings of Alba agree that Kenneth was a Pictish king, call him "king of the Picts" at his death. The same style is used of sons Constantine I and Áed; the kingdom ruled by Kenneth's descendants—older works used the name House of Alpin to d
Bridei I known as Bridei, son of Maelchon, was king of the Picts from 554 to 584. Sources are vague or contradictory regarding him, but it is believed that his court was near Loch Ness and that he may have been a Christian. There were contemporaries claiming the title "king of the Picts", he died in the mid-580s in battle, was succeeded by Gartnait son of Domelch. Bridei son of Maelchon, was king of the Picts until his death around 584–586. Other forms of his name include Brude son of Melcho and, in Irish sources, Bruide son of Maelchú and Bruidhe son of Maelchon, he was first mentioned in the Irish annals from 558–560, where the Annals of Ulster report "the migration before Máelchú's son, king Bruide". An earlier entry, reporting the death of "Bruide son of Máelchú" in the Annals of Ulster for 505 is presumed to be an error; the Ulster annalist does not say who fled, but the Annals of Tigernach refers to "the flight of the Scots before Bruide son of Máelchú" in 558. This uncertainty has provoked considerable speculation.
Bridei is suggested to have been the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd by John Morris in his Age of Arthur, where he is referred to in passing as "... Bridei, son of Maelgwn, the mighty king of north Wales...". Though the book has been a commercial success, it is disparaged by historians as an unreliable source of "misleading and misguided" information. Bridei's death was reported in the 580's in battle against Pictish rivals in Circinn, an area thought to correspond with the Mearns; the lists of kings in the Pictish Chronicle agree that Bridei was followed by Gartnait son of Domelch. Bridei appears in Adomnán's Life of Saint Columba as a contemporary, as one of the chief kings in Scotland. Adomnán's account of Bridei is problematic as it does not mention whether Bridei was a Christian, if not, whether Columba converted him; the archaeological discoveries at Portmahomack, showing that there was a monastic community there from around 550, provide some support for the idea that Bridei was either a Christian, at least in name, or was converted by Columba.
Bridei was not the only "king of the Picts" during his lifetime. The death of Galam — called "Cennalath, king of the Picts" — is recorded in 580 in the Annals of Ulster, four years before Bridei's death. In addition, Adomnán mentions the presence of the "under-king of Orkney" at Bridei's court; the Annals of Ulster report two expeditions to Orkney during Bridei's reign, in 580 and 581. The location of the court of Bridei's kingdom is not certain. Adomnán's account states that after leaving the royal court, Columba came to the River Ness and that the court was located atop a steep rock. Accordingly, it is supposed that Bridei's chief residence was at Craig Phadrig, to the west of the modern city of Inverness and overlooks the Beauly Firth. Bridei’s kingdom may have corresponded with what would become Fortriu. Juliet Marillier's trilogy The Bridei Chronicles is written as a combination of history and informed guesswork regarding this king's rise to power and rule, her novels describe events in the life of Bridei III.
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts at University College Cork includes the Annals of Ulster, the Four Masters and Innisfallen, the Chronicon Scotorum, the Lebor Bretnach and various Saints' Lives. Most are translated into English. Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Continuation of Bede, at CCEL, translated by A. M. Sellar. Tarbat Discovery Programme with reports on excavations at Portmahomack. List of Kings of the Picts
Donald II of Scotland
Domnall mac Causantín, anglicised as Donald II was King of the Picts or King of Alba in the late 9th century. He was the son of Constantine I. Donald is given the epithet Dásachtach, "the Madman", by The Prophecy of Berchán. Donald became king on the death or deposition of Giric, the date of, not known but placed in 889; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports: Doniualdus son of Constantini held the kingdom for 11 years. The Northmen wasted Pictland at this time. In his reign a battle occurred between Scots at Innisibsolian where the Scots had victory, he was killed at Opidum Fother by the Gentiles. It has been suggested that the attack on Dunnottar, rather than being a small raid by a handful of pirates, may be associated with the ravaging of Scotland attributed to Harald Fairhair in the Heimskringla; the Prophecy of Berchán places Donald's death at Dunnottar, but appears to attribute it to Gaels rather than Norsemen. Donald's death is dated to 900 by the Annals of Ulster and the Chronicon Scotorum, where he is called king of Alba, rather than king of the Picts.
He was buried on Iona. Like his father, Constantine, he died a violent death at a premature age; the change from king of the Picts to king of Alba is seen as indicating a step towards the kingdom of the Scots, but historians, while divided as to when this change should be placed, do not attribute it to Donald in view of his epithet. The consensus view is that the key changes occurred in the reign of Constantine II, but the reign of Giric has been proposed; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba has Donald succeeded by his cousin Constantine II. Donald's son Malcolm was king as Malcolm I; the Prophecy of Berchán appears to suggest that another king reigned for a short while between Donald II and Constantine II, saying "half a day will he take sovereignty". Possible confirmation of this exists in the Chronicon Scotorum, where the death of "Ead, king of the Picts" in battle against the Uí Ímair is reported in 904. This, however, is thought to be an error, referring to Ædwulf, the ruler of Bernicia, whose death is reported in 913 by the other Irish annals.
Kingdom of Alba Origins of the Kingdom of Alba CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts at University College Cork includes the Annals of Ulster, the Four Masters and Innisfallen, the Chronicon Scotorum, the Lebor Bretnach and various Saints' Lives. Most are translated into English; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba
Dub, King of Scotland
Dub mac Maíl Coluim, sometimes anglicised as Duff MacMalcolm, called Dén, "the Vehement" and Niger, "the Black" was king of Alba. He was son of Malcolm I and succeeded to the throne when Indulf was killed in 962. While chroniclers such as John of Fordun supplied a great deal of information on Dub's life and reign, including tales of witchcraft and treason all of them are rejected by modern historians. There are few sources for the reign of Dub, of which the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba and a single entry in the Annals of Ulster are the closest to contemporary; the Chronicle records that during Dub's reign bishop Fothach, most bishop of St Andrews or of Dunkeld, died. The remaining report is of son of king Ildulb. Dub won the battle, fought "upon the ridge of Crup", in which Duchad, abbot of Dunkeld, sometimes supposed to be an ancestor of Crínán of Dunkeld, Dubdon, the mormaer of Atholl, died; the various accounts differ on. The Chronicle claims; the Latin material interpolated in Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykl states that he was murdered at Forres, links this to an eclipse of the sun which can be dated to 20 July 966.
The Annals of Ulster report only: "Dub mac Maíl Coluim, king of Alba, was killed by the Scots themselves". It has been suggested that Sueno's Stone, near Forres, may be a monument to Dub, erected by his brother Kenneth II, it is presumed that Dub was killed or driven out by Cuilén, who became king after Dub's death, or by his supporters. It is related that his body was hidden under the bridge of Kinloss, the sun did not shine till it was found and buried. An eclipse on 10 July 967 may have confirmed this story. Dub left at least one son, Kenneth III. Although his descendants did not compete for the kingship of Alba after Cináed was killed in 1005, they did hold the mormaerdom of Fife; the MacDuib held the mormaerdom, earldom, until 1371. Duncan, A. A. M; the Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8 Smyth, Alfred P. Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80–1000. Edinburgh UP, Edinburgh, 1984. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7 Annals of Ulster, part 1, at CELT The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba
Cuilén was an early King of Alba. He was a son of Illulb mac Custantín, King of Alba, after whom he is known by the patronymic mac Illuilb of Clann Áeda meic Cináeda, a branch of the Alpínid dynasty. During the 10th century, the Alpínids rotated the kingship of Alba between two main dynastic branches. Dub mac Maíl Choluim, a member of a rival branch of the kindred, seems to have succeeded after Illulb's death in 962. Cuilén soon after challenged him but was defeated in 965. Dub was expelled and slain in 966/967. Whether Cuilén was responsible for his death is uncertain. Following Dub's fall, Cuilén appears to have ruled as undisputed king from 966–971. Little is known of Cuilén's short reign other than his own death in 971. According to various sources, he and his brother, were slain by Britons; some sources identify Cuilén's killer as Rhydderch ap Dyfnwal, a man whose daughter had been abducted and raped by the king. Rhydderch was evidently a man of eminent standing, seems to have been a son of Dyfnwal ab Owain, King of Strathclyde, could have ruled the Cumbrian Kingdom of Strathclyde at the time of Cuilén's death.
After Cuilén's assassination, the kingship of Alba may have been assumed by another member of Clann Áeda meic Cináeda, Cináed mac Maíl Choluim, a man who appears to have launched a retaliatory raid against the Cumbrians. There is evidence indicating that Cináed faced considerable opposition from Cuilén's brother, Amlaíb, a man, accorded the title King of Alba in Irish sources recording his death at Cináed's hands in 977. Cuilén's son, Custantín succeeded Cináed as king. There is evidence to suggest that Cuilén had Máel Coluim. Cuilén was one of three sons of King of Alba; the two other sons were Amlaíb. Illulb was in turn a son of Custantín mac Áeda, King of Alba, a man who possessed strong connections with the Scandinavian dynasty of Dublin. There is evidence to suggest. For instance, Illulb's name could be either a Gaelicised form of the Old English personal name Eadwulf, or a Gaelicised form of the Old Norse personal name Hildulfr. If the latter possibility is indeed correct, Illulb's name could indicate that his mother was a member of a Scandinavian kindred.
Amlaíb's name could represent a form of the Gaelic personal name Amalgaid, or else a Gaelicised form of an Old Norse personal name Óláfr. Therefore, Amlaíb's name could indicate that his mother was a member of a Scandinavian kindred as well, a descendant of Amlaíb Cúarán or Amlaíb mac Gofraid. Further evidence of Scandinavian influence on the contemporary Scottish court may be a possible epithet accorded to Cuilén by the ninth–twelfth-century Chronicle of the Kings of Alba. In one instance, this source records Cuilén's name as "Culenrig". Whilst it is possible that this word represents the Old Norse hringr, meaning "ring" or "ring-giver", the name instead may be corrupted from a scribal error, the word itself might refer to something else. Cuilén and his immediate family were members of the ruling Alpínid dynasty, the patrilineal descendants of Cináed mac Ailpín, King of the Picts; the root of this kindred's remarkable early success laid in its ability to rotate the royal succession amongst its members.
For example, Illulb's father—a member of the Clann Áeda meic Cináeda branch of the dynasty—succeeded Domnall mac Causantín —a member of the Clann Custantín meic Cináeda branch—and following a remarkable reign of forty years resigned the kingship to this man's son, Máel Coluim mac Domnaill. Cuilén's father succeeded to the kingship following Máel Coluim's demise, ruled as king until his own death in 962; the record of Illulb's fall at the hands of an invading Scandinavian host is the last time Irish and Scottish sources note Viking encroachment into the kingdom. The Scandinavian Kingdom of York had collapsed by the 950s, the warbands of the kings of Dublin seem to have ceased their overseas adventures during this period as well. Unlike English monarchs who had to endure Viking depredations from the 980s to the 1010s, the kings of Alba were left in relative peace from about the time of Illulb's fall. Free from such outside threats, the Alpínids seem to have struggled amongst themselves. There is some uncertainty regarding the succession after Illulb's demise.
On one hand, he may well have been succeeded by Dub. Such a chronology is evinced by the fourteenth-century Chronica gentis Scotorum and various king lists; the twelfth-century Prophecy of Berchán, on the other hand, states that the kingship was temporarily shared by Dub and Cuilén. If correct, this source could indicate that neither man had been strong enough to displace the other in the immediate aftermath of Illulb's passing. Although the Alpínid branches represented by Illulb and Dub seem to have maintained peace throughout Illulb's reign, inter-dynastic conflict erupted in the years that followed; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba may indicate that Dub spent much of his reign contending with Cuilén. This source states that the two battled each other on Dorsum Crup, where Dúnchad, Abbot of Dunkeld, Dubdon, satrap of Atholl were slain; the battle seems to have taken place at Duncrub the same site as first-century Battle of Mons Graupius. The conflict itself is attested by the fifteenth–sixteenth-century Annals of Ulster in 965, in an entry recording Dúnchad's fall in a clash between the men of Alba.
Although the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba state