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
Giric mac Dúngail (Modern Gaelic: Griogair mac Dhunghail, known in English as Giric, nicknamed Mac Rath,. The Irish annals record nothing of Giric's reign, nor do Anglo-Saxon writings add anything, the meagre information which survives is contradictory. Modern historians disagree as to whether Giric was sole king or ruled jointly with Eochaid, on his ancestry, if he should be considered a Pictish king or the first king of Alba. Although little is now known of Giric, he appears to have been regarded as an important figure in Scotland in the High Middle Ages and the Late Middle Ages. Scots chroniclers such as John of Fordun, Andrew of Wyntoun, Hector Boece and the humanist scholar George Buchanan wrote of Giric as "King Gregory the Great" and told how he had conquered half of England and Ireland too; the Chronicle of Melrose and some versions of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba say that Giric died at Dundurn in Strathearn. Giric's name is associated with that of St Cyricus, who, as a small child, was martyred along with his mother during the Diocletianic persecution in the early fourth century.
According to the Chronicles of the Kings of Scotland, St Cyricus was Giric's patron saint, not only because his name is homophonous with the Latin form of the saint's name, but because the first church dedicated to St Cyricus was established during Giric's reign at a place called Ecclesgrieg in Aberdeenshire. The saint's feast day is June 16, on that day in 885, there was a solar eclipse, which has become associated with the kingship of Giric and Eochaid, inasmuch as not long after the occasion of the eclipse, the two "were expelled from the kingdom." Various theories have been put forward regarding the relationship between Eochaid and Giric, who by all accounts was the elder of the two. The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, written in Latin, used the phrase alumnus ordinatorque to describe Giric’s relationship to Eochaid. Translator T. H. Weeks chose to translate that phrase into English as “teacher and prime minister," yet in the same section offered “foster-son” for alumnus, translating “Eochodius, cum alumno suo, expulsus est nunc de regno” as “Eochaid with his ‘foster-son,’ was thrown out of the kingdom.”
”There is a tendency in popular history books and web sites to refer to the two as “cousins” or “first cousins once removed."However, this cousin kinship is only speculation since the ancestry of Giric is obscure. Runh, the father of Eochaid, is known to have been “a king of the Britons,” but little is known of Dungal, the father of Giric, which may be the reason for the speculation that he did not have royal lineage. A writer for the popular web site Undiscovered Scotland found the best solution, referring to Giric as Eochaid’s “rather shadowy kinsman.”Two scholars have defined the two in political rather than kinship terms. A. Weeks, speculated, “Possibly Giric was not of royal blood, so he used Eochaid as a puppet.” In 1904, Sir John Rhys, professor at Oxford, reached a similar conclusion, positing that “the real relation in which Girg stood to Eochaid was that of a non Celtic king of Pictish descent wielding the power of the Pictish nation with Eochaid ruling among the Brythons of Fortrenn more or less subject to him.”
What is known of the two is that in 878 Giric killed Aed “in battle” in the town of Nrurim, north of Stirling. Giric and Eochaid, whatever their relationship, ruled jointly for eleven years; the Prophecy of Berchán, an 11th-century verse history of Scots and Irish kings presented as a prophecy, is a notably difficult source. As the Prophecy refers to kings by epithets, but never by name, linking it to other materials is not straightforward; the Prophecy is believed to refer to Giric by the epithet Mac Rath, "the Son of Fortune". The entry on Giric in the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba is corrupt, it states:And Eochaid, son of Run, the king of the Britons grandson of Kenneth by his daughter reigned for eleven years. And in second year, Áed, Niall's son, died. Eochaid with his foster-father was now expelled from the kingdom. Kenneth is Kenneth MacAlpin. By the 12th century, Giric had acquired legendary status as liberator of the Scottish church from Pictish oppression and, fantastically, as conqueror of Ireland and most of England.
As a result, Giric was known as Gregory the Great. This tale appears in the variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, interpolated in Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland. Here Giric, or Grig, is named "Makdougall", son of Dúngal. Giric, Eochaid, are omitted from the Duan Albanach, but they are not unique in this; this account, found in the Poppleton Manuscript, is not matched by other regnal lists. The lists known as "D", "F", "I", "K", "N", contain a different version, copied by the Chronicle of Melrose. List "D", which may be taken as typical, contains this account of Giric:Giric, Dungal's son, reigned for twelve years, he subdued to himself all Ireland, nearly England. Giric's conquests appear as Bernicia, rather than Ireland, in some versions. Wil
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
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
The Picts were a confederation of peoples who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods. Where they lived and what their culture was like can be inferred from the geographical distribution of Brittonic place name elements and Pictish stones; the name Picts appears in written records from Late Antiquity to the 10th century, when they are thought to have merged with the Gaels. They lived to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde, spoke the Pictish language, related to the Celtic Brittonic language spoken by the Britons who lived to the south of them. Picts are assumed to have been the descendants of the Caledonii and other tribes that were mentioned by Roman historians or on the world map of Ptolemy. Pictland called Pictavia by some sources merged with the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata to form the Kingdom of Alba. Alba expanded, absorbing the Brittonic kingdom of Strathclyde and Northumbrian Lothian, by the 11th century the Pictish identity had been subsumed into the "Scots" amalgamation of peoples.
Pictish society was typical of many Iron Age societies in northern Europe, having "wide connections and parallels" with neighbouring groups. Archaeology gives some impression of the society of the Picts. While little in the way of Pictish writing has survived, Pictish history since the late 6th century is known from a variety of sources, including Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, saints' lives such as that of Columba by Adomnán, various Irish annals; the term Pict is thought to have originated as a generic exonym used by the Romans in relation to people living north of the Forth–Clyde isthmus. The Latin word Picti first occurs in a panegyric written by Eumenius in AD 297 and is taken to mean "painted or tattooed people". Pict is Peohta in Old English, Pecht in Scots and Peithwyr in Welsh; some think. In writings from Ireland, the name Cruthin, Cruthni, Cruithni or Cruithini was used to refer both to the Picts and to another group of people who lived alongside the Ulaid in eastern Ulster.
It is accepted that this is derived from *Qritani, the Goidelic/Q-Celtic version of the Britonnic/P-Celtic *Pritani. From this came Britanni, the Roman name for those now called the Britons. What the Picts called themselves is unknown, it has been proposed that they called themselves Albidosi, a name found in the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba during the reign of Máel Coluim mac Domnaill, but this idea has been disputed. A unified "Pictish" identity may have consolidated with the Verturian hegemony established following the Battle of Dun Nechtain in 685 AD. A Pictish confederation was formed in Late Antiquity from a number of tribes—how and why is not known; some scholars have speculated that it was in response to the growth of the Roman Empire. The Chronicon Pictum, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the early histographers such as Isidore of Seville, Bede, Geoffrey of Monmouth, etc. all present the Picts as conquerors of Alba from Scythia. However, little credence is now given to that view. Pictland had been described by Roman writers and geographers as the home of the Caledonii.
These Romans used other names to refer to tribes living in that area, including Verturiones and Venicones. But they may have heard these other names only second- or third-hand, from speakers of Brittonic or Gaulish languages, who may have used different names for the same group or groups. Pictish recorded history begins in the Dark Ages. At that time, the Gaels of Dál Riata controlled what is now Argyll, as part of a kingdom straddling the sea between Britain and Ireland; the Angles of Bernicia, which merged with Deira to form Northumbria, overwhelmed the adjacent British kingdoms, for much of the 7th century Northumbria was the most powerful kingdom in Britain. The Picts were tributary to Northumbria until the reign of Bridei mac Beli, when, in 685, the Anglians suffered a defeat at the Battle of Dun Nechtain that halted their northward expansion; the Northumbrians continued to dominate southern Scotland for the remainder of the Pictish period. Dál Riata was subject to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fergusa during his reign, though it had its own kings beginning in the 760s, does not appear to have recovered its political independence from the Picts.
A Pictish king, Caustantín mac Fergusa, placed his son Domnall on the throne of Dál Riata. Pictish attempts to achieve a similar dominance over the Britons of Alt Clut were not successful; the Viking Age brought great changes in Britain and Ireland, no less in Scotland than elsewhere, with the Vikings conquering and settling the islands and various mainland areas, including Caithness and Galloway. In the middle of the 9th century Ketil Flatnose is said to have founded the Kingdom of the Isles, governing many of these territories, by the end of that century the Vikings had destroyed the Kingdom of Northumbria weakened the Kingdom of Strathclyde, founded the Kingdom of York. In a major battle in 839, the Vikings killed the King of Fortriu, Eógan mac Óengusa, the King of Dál Riata Áed mac Boanta, many others. In the aftermath, in the 840s, Cínaed mac Ailpín became king of the Picts. During the reign of Cínaed's grandson, Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the Kingdom of Alba rather than the Kingdom of the Picts, but it is not known whether this was because a new kingdom was established or Alba was a closer