|King of Alba|
|Issue|| Indulf, King of Alba|
one or more daughters
|Father||Áed, King of the Picts|
Constantine, son of Áed (Medieval Gaelic: Causantín mac Áeda; Modern Gaelic: Còiseam mac Aoidh, known in most modern regnal lists as Constantine II; born no later than 879; died 952) was an early King of Scotland, known then by the Gaelic name Alba. The Kingdom of Alba, a name which first appears in Constantine's lifetime, was situated in modern-day Scotland.
Áed mac Cináeda was a son of Cináed mac Ailpín. He became king of the Picts in 877, when he succeeded his brother Constantín mac Cináeda. He was nicknamed Áed of the White Flowers, the wing-footed or the white-foot.
Middle Irish is the Goidelic language which was spoken in Ireland, most of Scotland and the Isle of Man from circa 900–1200 AD; it is therefore a contemporary of late Old English and early Middle English. The modern Goidelic languages—Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx—are all descendants of Middle Irish.
The Kingdom of Alba refers to the Kingdom of Scotland between the deaths of Donald II in 900 and of Alexander III in 1286, which then led indirectly to the Scottish Wars of Independence. The name is one of convenience, as throughout this period the elite and populace of the Kingdom were predominantly Pictish-Gaels or later Pictish-Gaels and Scoto-Norman, and differs markedly from the period of the Stuarts, in which the elite of the kingdom were speakers of Middle English, which later evolved and came to be called Lowland Scots. There is no precise Gaelic equivalent for the English terminology "Kingdom of Alba", as the Gaelic term Rìoghachd na h-Alba means 'Kingdom of Scotland'. English-speaking scholars adapted the Gaelic name for Scotland to apply to a particular political period in Scottish history during the High Middle Ages.
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 perhaps to Caithness, while its western limits are uncertain. Constantine's grandfather Kenneth I of Scotland (Cináed mac Ailpín, died 858) 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.
The River Tay is the longest river in Scotland and the seventh-longest in the United Kingdom. The Tay originates in western Scotland on the slopes of Ben Lui, then flows easterly across the Highlands, through Loch Dochart, Loch Iubhair and Loch Tay, then continues east through Strathtay, in the centre of Scotland, then southeasterly through Perth, where it becomes tidal, to its mouth at the Firth of Tay, south of Dundee. It is the largest river in the UK by measured discharge. Its catchment is approximately 2,000 square miles (5,200 km2), the Tweed's is 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2) and the Spey's is 1,097 square miles (2,840 km2).
The River Forth is a major river, 47 km (29 mi) long, whose drainage basin covers much of Stirlingshire in Scotland's Central Belt. The Gaelic name is Abhainn Dubh, meaning "black river", in the upper reach above Stirling. Below the tidal reach, its name is Uisge For.
The Moray Firth is a roughly triangular inlet of the North Sea, north and east of Inverness, which is in the Highland council area of north of Scotland. It is the largest firth in Scotland, stretching from Duncansby Head in the north, in the Highland council area, and Fraserburgh in the east, in the Aberdeenshire council area, to Inverness and the Beauly Firth in the west. Therefore, three council areas have Moray Firth coastline: Highland to the west and north of the Moray Firth and Highland, Moray and Aberdeenshire to the south. The firth has more than 800 kilometres of coastline, much of which is cliff.
His reign, like those of his predecessors, was dominated by the actions of Viking rulers in the British Isles, particularly the Uí Ímair ("the grandsons of Ímar", or Ivar the Boneless). During Constantine's reign the rulers of the southern kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia, later 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 (Culdee) monastery of St Andrews where he died in 952. He was succeeded by his predecessor's son Malcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill).
The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe that consist of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Hebrides and over six thousand smaller isles. They have a total area of about 315,159 km2 and a combined population of almost 72 million, and include two sovereign states, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The islands of Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark, and their neighbouring smaller islands, are sometimes also taken to be part of the British Isles, even though, as islands off the coast of France, they do not form part of the archipelago.
The Uí (h)Ímair[iː ˈiːvˠaɾʲ](
Ivar the Boneless, also known as Ivar Ragnarsson, was a Viking leader who invaded Anglo-Saxon England. According to Tale of Ragnar Lodbrok, he was the oldest son of Ragnar Loðbrok and third wife Aslaug. His younger half-brothers and brothers included Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Hvitserk, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye and Ubba.
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" (Old English :Scottas, 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 also appears at this time.
William the Lion, sometimes styled William I, also known by the nickname Garbh, "the Rough", reigned as King of Scotland from 1165 to 1214. He had the second-longest reign in Scottish history before the Act of Union with England in 1707. James VI would have the longest.
The Union of the Crowns was the accession of James VI of Scotland to the thrones of England and Ireland as James I, and the consequential unification for some purposes of the three realms under a single monarch on 24 March 1603. The Union of Crowns followed the death of Elizabeth I of England, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, who was James's unmarried and childless first cousin twice removed.
Gaelicisation, or Gaelicization, is the act or process of making something Gaelic, or gaining characteristics of the Gaels. The Gaels are an ethno-linguistic group, traditionally viewed as having spread from Ireland to Scotland and the Isle of Man.
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 (died 858) to Kenneth II (Cináed mac Maíl Coluim, died 995). The list survives in the Poppleton Manuscript, a 13th-century compilation. Originally simply 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, later 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, and the information they provide about the interests of those for whom they were compiled, than in the unreliable claims they contain.
The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, or Scottish Chronicle, is a short written chronicle of the Kings of Alba, covering the period from the time of Kenneth MacAlpin until the reign of Kenneth II. W.F. Skene called it the Chronicle of the Kings of Scots, and some have called it the Older Scottish Chronicle, but Chronicle of the Kings of Alba is emerging as the standard scholarly name.
Cináed mac Maíl Coluim was King of Scots (Alba). The son of Malcolm I, he succeeded King Cuilén on the latter's death at the hands of Rhydderch ap Dyfnwal in 971.
For narrative history the principal sources are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and 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 rarely concern themselves with affairs in Britain, and even less commonly 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.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Multiple copies were made of that one original and then distributed to monasteries across England, where they were independently updated. In one case, the Chronicle was still being actively updated in 1154.
A number of Irish annals, of which the earliest was the Chronicle of Ireland, were compiled up to and shortly after the end of the 17th century.
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority, and that the recipient admits a limited status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and that sense is retained in modern usage of the term.
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, and 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 (Dalriada) were subject to the kings of Fortriu of the family of Constantín mac Fergusa (Constantine son of Fergus). Constantín's family dominated Fortriu after 789 and perhaps, if Constantín was a kinsman of Óengus I of the Picts (Óengus son of Fergus), 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 almost 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.
Later national myth made Kenneth MacAlpin the creator of the kingdom of Scotland, the founding of which was 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, and call him "king of the Picts" at his death. The same style is used of Kenneth's brother Donald I (Domnall mac Ailpín) and sons Constantine I (Constantín mac Cináeda) and Áed (Áed mac Cináeda).
The kingdom ruled by Kenneth's descendants—older works used the name House of Alpin to describe them but descent from Kenneth was the defining factor, Irish sources referring to Clann Cináeda meic Ailpín ("the Clan of Kenneth MacAlpin")—lay to the south of the previously dominant kingdom of Fortriu, centred in the lands around the River Tay. The extent of Kenneth's nameless kingdom is uncertain, but it certainly extended from the Firth of Forth in the south to the Mounth in the north. Whether it extended beyond the mountainous spine of north Britain—Druim Alban—is unclear. The core of the kingdom was similar to the old counties of Mearns, Forfar, Perth, Fife, and Kinross. Among the chief ecclesiastical centres named in the records are Dunkeld, probably seat of the bishop of the kingdom, and Cell Rígmonaid (modern St Andrews).
Kenneth's son Constantine died in 876, probably killed fighting against a Viking army which had come north from Northumbria in 874. According to the king lists, he was counted the 70th and last king of the Picts in later times.
In 899 Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, died leaving his son Edward the Elder as ruler of Britain south of the River Thames and his daughter Æthelflæd and son-in-law Æthelred ruling the western, English part of Mercia. The situation in the Danish kingdoms of eastern Britain is less clear. King Eohric was probably ruling in East Anglia, but no dates can reliably be assigned to the successors of Guthfrith of York in Northumbria. It is known that Guthfrith was succeeded by Sigurd and Cnut, although whether these men ruled jointly or one after the other is uncertain. Northumbria may have been divided by this time between the Viking kings in York and the local rulers, perhaps represented by Eadulf, based at Bamburgh who controlled the lands from the River Tyne or River Tees to the Forth in the north.
In Ireland, Flann Sinna, married to Constantine's aunt Máel Muire, was dominant. The years around 900 represented a period of weakness among the Vikings and Norse-Gaels of Dublin. They are reported to have been divided between two rival leaders. In 894 one group left Dublin, perhaps settling on the Irish Sea coast of Britain between the River Mersey and the Firth of Clyde. The remaining Dubliners were expelled in 902 by Flann Sinna's son-in-law Cerball mac Muirecáin, and soon afterwards appeared in western and northern Britain.
To the south-west of Constantine's lands lay the kingdom of Strathclyde. This extended north into the Lennox, east to the River Forth, and south into the Southern Uplands. In 900 it was probably ruled by King Dyfnwal.
The situation of the Gaelic kingdoms of Dál Riata in western Scotland is uncertain. No kings are known by name after Áed mac Boanta. The Frankish Annales Bertiniani may record the conquest of the Inner Hebrides, the seaward part of Dál Riata, by Northmen in 849.In addition to these, the arrival of new groups of Vikings from northern and western Europe was still commonplace. Whether there were Viking or Norse-Gael kingdoms in the Western Isles or the Northern Isles at this time is debated.
Áed, Constantine's father, succeeded Constantine's uncle and namesake Constantine I in 876 but was killed in 878. Áed's short reign is glossed as being of no importance by most king lists. Although the date of his birth is nowhere recorded, Constantine II cannot have been born any later than the year after his father's death, that is 879. His name may suggest that he was born a few years earlier, during the reign of his uncle Constantine I.
After Áed's death, there is a two-decade gap until the death of Donald II (Domnall mac Constantín) in 900 during which nothing is reported in the Irish annals. The entry for the reign between Áed and Donald II is corrupt in the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, and in this case the Chronicle is at variance with every other king list. According to the Chronicle, Áed was followed by Eochaid, a grandson of Kenneth MacAlpin, who is somehow connected with Giric, but all other lists say that Giric ruled after Áed and make great claims for him. Giric is not known to have been a kinsman of Kenneth's, although it has been suggested that he was related to him by marriage. The major changes in Pictland which began at about this time have been associated by Alex Woolf and Archie Duncan with Giric's reign.
Woolf suggests that Constantine and his cousin Donald may have passed Giric's reign in exile in Ireland where their aunt Máel Muire was wife of two successive High Kings of Ireland, Áed Findliath and Flann Sinna. II became king. Donald's reputation is suggested by the epithet dasachtach, a word used of violent madmen and mad bulls, attached to him in the 11th-century writings of Flann Mainistrech, echoed by his description in the Prophecy of Berchan as "the rough one who will think relics and psalms of little worth". Wars with the Viking kings in Britain and Ireland continued during Donald's reign and he was probably killed fighting yet more Vikings at Dunnottar in the Mearns in 900. Constantine succeeded him as king.Giric died in 889. If he had been in exile, Constantine may have returned to Pictland where his cousin Donald
The earliest event recorded in the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba in Constantine's reign is an attack by Vikings and the plundering of Dunkeld "and all Albania" in his third year. This is the first use of the word Albania, the Latin form of the Old Irish Alba, in the Chronicle which until then describes the lands ruled by the descendants of Cináed as Pictavia.
These Norsemen could have been some of those who were driven out of Dublin in 902, or were the same group who had defeated Domnall in 900. The Chronicle states that the Northmen were killed in Srath Erenn, which is confirmed by the Annals of Ulster which records the death of Ímar grandson of Ímar and many others at the hands of the men of Fortriu in 904. This Ímar was the first of the Uí Ímair, that is the grandsons of Ímar, to be reported; three more grandsons of Ímar appear later in Constantín's reign. The Fragmentary Annals of Ireland contain an account of the battle, and this attributes the defeat of the Norsemen to the intercession of Saint Columba following fasting and prayer. An entry in the Chronicon Scotorum under the year 904 may possibly contain a corrupted reference to this battle.
The next event reported by the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba is dated to 906. This records that:
King Constantine and Bishop Cellach met at the Hill of Belief near the royal city of Scone and pledged themselves that the laws and disciplines of the faith, and the laws of churches and gospels, should be kept pariter cum Scottis.
The meaning of this entry, and its significance, have been the subject of debate.
The phrase pariter cum Scottis in the Latin text of the Chronicle has been translated in several ways. William Forbes Skene and Alan Orr Anderson proposed that it should be read as "in conformity with the customs of the Gaels", relating it to the claims in the king lists that Giric liberated the church from secular oppression and adopted Irish customs.It has been read as "together with the Gaels", suggesting either public participation or the presence of Gaels from the western coasts as well as the people of the east coast. Finally, it is suggested that it was the ceremony which followed "the custom of the Gaels" and not the agreements.
The idea that this gathering agreed to uphold Irish laws governing the church has suggested that it was an important step in the gaelicisation of the lands east of Druim Alban.Others have proposed that the ceremony in some way endorsed Constantine's kingship, prefiguring later royal inaugurations at Scone. Alternatively, if Bishop Cellach was appointed by Giric, it may be that the gathering was intended to heal a rift between king and church.
Following the events at Scone, there is little of substance reported for a decade. A story in the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland, perhaps referring to events some time after 911, claims that Queen Æthelflæd, who ruled in Mercia, allied with the Irish and northern rulers against the Norsemen on the Irish sea coasts of Northumbria. The Annals of Ulster record the defeat of an Irish fleet from the kingdom of Ulaid by Vikings "on the coast of England" at about this time.
In this period the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports the death of Cormac mac Cuilennáin, king of Munster, in the eighth year of Constantine's reign. 21 March 915. Finally, the deaths of Flann Sinna and Niall Glúndub are recorded.This is followed by an undated entry which was formerly read as "In his time Domnall [i.e. Dyfnwal], king of the [Strathclyde] Britons died, and Domnall son of Áed was elected". This was thought to record the election of a brother of Constantine named Domnall to the kingship of the Britons of Strathclyde and was seen as early evidence of the domination of Strathclyde by the kings of Alba. The entry in question is now read as "...Dynfwal... and Domnall son Áed king of Ailech died", this Domnall being a son of Áed Findliath who died on
There are more reports of Viking fleets in the Irish Sea from 914 onwards. By 916 fleets under Sihtric Cáech and Ragnall, said to be grandsons of Ímar (that is, they belonged to the same Uí Ímair kindred as the Ímar who was killed in 904), were very active in Ireland. Sihtric inflicted a heavy defeat on the armies of Leinster and retook Dublin in 917. 12 June 918 at Tamworth, Staffordshire. Æthelflæd had been negotiating with the Northumbrians to obtain their submission, but her death put an end to this and her successor, her brother Edward the Elder, was occupied with securing control of Mercia.The following year Ragnall appears to have returned across the Irish sea intent on establishing himself as king at York. The only precisely dated event in the summer of 918 is the death of Queen Æthelflæd on
The northern part of Northumbria, and perhaps the whole kingdom, had probably been ruled by Ealdred son of Eadulf since 913.Faced with Ragnall's invasion, Ealdred came north seeking assistance from Constantine. The two advanced south to face Ragnall, and this led to a battle somewhere on the banks of the River Tyne, probably at Corbridge where Dere Street crosses the river. The Battle of Corbridge appears to have been indecisive; the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba is alone in giving Constantine the victory.
The report of the battle in the Annals of Ulster says that none of the kings or mormaers among the men of Alba were killed. This is the first surviving use of the word mormaer; other than the knowledge that Constantine's kingdom had its own bishop or bishops and royal villas, this is the only hint to the institutions of the kingdom.
After Corbridge, Ragnall enjoyed only a short respite. In the south, Alfred's son Edward had rapidly secured control of Mercia and had a burh constructed at Bakewell in the Peak District from which his armies could easily strike north. An army from Dublin led by Ragnall's kinsman Sihtric struck at north-western Mercia in 919, but in 920 or 921 Edward met with Ragnall and other kings. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that these king "chose Edward as father and lord". Among the other kings present were Constantine, Ealdred son of Eadwulf, and the king of Strathclyde, Owain ap Dyfnwal. Here, again, a new term appears in the record, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the first time using the word scottas, from which Scots derives, to describe the inhabitants of Constantine's kingdom in its report of these events.
Edward died in 924. His realms appear to have been divided with the West Saxons recognising Ælfweard while the Mercians chose Æthelstan who had been raised at Æthelflæd's court. Ælfweard died within weeks of his father and Æthelstan was inaugurated as king of all of Edward's lands in 925.
By 926 Sihtric had evidently acknowledged Æthelstan as overlord, adopting Christianity and marrying a sister of Æthelstan at Tamworth. Within the year he appears to have forsaken his new faith and repudiated his wife, but before Æthelstan could respond, Sihtric died suddenly in 927. His kinsman, perhaps brother, Gofraid, who had remained as his deputy in Dublin, came from Ireland to take power in York, but failed. Æthelstan moved quickly, seizing much of Northumbria. In less than a decade, the kingdom of the English had become by far the greatest power in Britain and Ireland, perhaps stretching as far north as the Firth of Forth.
John of Worcester's chronicle suggests that Æthelstan faced opposition from Constantine, from Owain, and from the Welsh kings. William of Malmesbury writes that Gofraid, together with Sihtric's young son Olaf Cuaran fled north and received refuge from Constantine, which led to war with Æthelstan. A meeting at Eamont Bridge on 12 July 927 was sealed by an agreement that Constantine, Owain, Hywel Dda, and Ealdred would "renounce all idolatry": that is, they would not ally with the Viking kings. William states that Æthelstan stood godfather to a son of Constantine, probably Indulf (Ildulb mac Constantín), during the conference.
Æthelstan followed up his advances in the north by securing the recognition of the Welsh kings.For the next seven years, the record of events in the north is blank. Æthelstan's court was attended by the Welsh kings, but not by Constantine or Owain. This absence of record means that Æthelstan's reasons for marching north against Constantine in 934 are unclear.
Æthelstan's campaign is reported in brief by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and later chroniclers such as John of Worcester, William of Malmesbury, Henry of Huntingdon, and Symeon of Durham add detail to that bald account. Æthelstan's army began gathering at Winchester by 28 May 934, and travelled north to Nottingham by 7 June. He was accompanied by many leaders, including the Welsh kings Hywel Dda, Idwal Foel, and Morgan ab Owain. From Mercia the army continued to Chester-le-Street, before resuming the march accompanied by a fleet of ships. Owain was defeated and Symeon states that the army went as far north as Dunnottar and Fortriu, while the fleet is said to have raided Caithness, by which a much larger area, including Sutherland, is probably intended. It is unlikely that Constantine's personal authority extended so far north, so the attacks were probably directed at his allies, comprising simple looting expeditions.
The Annals of Clonmacnoise state that "the Scottish men compelled [Æthelstan] to return without any great victory", while Henry of Huntingdon claims that the English faced no opposition. A negotiated settlement might have ended matters: according to John of Worcester, a son of Constantine was given as a hostage to Æthelstan and Constantine himself accompanied the English king on his return south. He witnessed a charter with Æthelstan at Buckingham on 13 September 934 in which he is described as subregulus, that is a king acknowledging Æthelstan's overlordship. The following year, Constantine was again in England at Æthelstan's court, this time at Cirencester where he appears as a witness, as the first of several subject kings, followed by Owain and Hywel Dda, who subscribed to the diploma. At Christmas of 935, Owain was once more at Æthelstan's court along with the Welsh kings, but Constantine was not. His return to England less than two years later would be in very different circumstances.
Following his departure from Æthelstan's court after 935, there is no further report of Constantine until 937. In that year, together with Owain and Olaf Guthfrithson of Dublin, Constantine invaded England. The resulting battle of Brunanburh—Dún Brunde—is reported in the Annals of Ulster as follows:
a great battle, lamentable and terrible was cruelly fought... in which fell uncounted thousands of the Northmen. ...And on the other side, a multitude of Saxons fell; but Æthelstan, the king of the Saxons, obtained a great victory.
The battle was remembered in England a generation later as "the Great Battle". When reporting the battle, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle abandons its usual terse style in favour of a heroic poem vaunting the great victory. In this the "hoary" Constantine, by now around 60 years of age, is said to have lost a son in the battle, a claim which the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba confirms. The Annals of Clonmacnoise give his name as Cellach. For all its fame, the site of the battle is uncertain and several sites have been advanced, with Bromborough on the Wirral the most favoured location.
Brunanburh, for all that it had been a famous and bloody battle, settled nothing. On 27 October 939 Æthelstan, the "pillar of the dignity of the western world" in the words of the Annals of Ulster, died at Malmesbury. He was succeeded by his brother Edmund, then aged 18. Æthelstan's realm, seemingly made safe by the victory of Brunanburh, collapsed in little more than a year from his death when Amlaíb returned from Ireland and seized Northumbria and the Mercian Danelaw. Edmund spent the remainder of Constantín's reign rebuilding his kingdom.
For Constantine's last years as king there is only the meagre record of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba. The death of Æthelstan is reported, as are two others. The first of these, in 938, is that of Dubacan, mormaer of Angus or son of the mormaer. Unlike the report of 918, on this occasion the title mormaer is attached to a geographical area, but it is unknown whether the Angus of 938 was in any way similar to the later mormaerdom or earldom.The second death, entered with that of Æthelstan, is that of Eochaid mac Ailpín, who might, from his name, have been a kinsman of Constantín.
By the early 940s Constantine was an old man in his late sixties or seventies. The kingdom of Alba was too new to be said to have a customary rule of succession, but Pictish and Irish precedents favoured an adult successor descended from Kenneth MacAlpin. Constantine's surviving son Indulf, probably baptised in 927, would have been too young to be a serious candidate for the kingship in the early 940s, and the obvious heir was Constantine's nephew, Malcolm I. As Malcolm was born no later than 901, by the 940s he was no longer a young man, and may have been impatient. 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—Constantine abdicated in 943 and entered a monastery, leaving the kingdom to Malcolm.
Although his retirement might have been involuntary, the Life of Cathróe of Metz and the Prophecy of Berchán portray Constantine as a devout king. The monastery which Constantine retired to, and where he is said to have been abbot, was probably that of St Andrews. This had been refounded in his reign and given to the reforming Céli Dé (Culdee) movement. The Céli Dé were subsequently to be entrusted with many monasteries throughout the kingdom of Alba until replaced in the 12th century by new orders imported from France.
Seven years later the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says:
[Malcolm I] plundered the English as far as the river Tees, and 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, Malcolm, 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, but Constantine incited him, as I have said.
Woolf suggests that the association of Constantine with the raid is a late addition, one derived from a now-lost saga or poem.
Constantine's death in 952 is recorded by the Irish annals, who enter it among ecclesiastics. His son Indulf would become king on Malcolm's death. The last of Constantine's certain descendants to be king in Alba was a great-grandson, Constantine III (Constantín mac Cuiléin). Another son had died at Brunanburh, and, according to John of Worcester, Amlaíb mac Gofraid was married to a daughter of Constantine. It is possible that Constantine had other children, but like the name of his wife, or wives, this has not been recorded.
The form of kingdom which appeared in Constantine's reign continued in much the same way until the Davidian Revolution in the 12th century. As with his ecclesiastical reforms, his political legacy was the creation of a new form of Scottish kingship that lasted for two centuries after his death.
Causantín or Constantín mac Cináeda was a king of the Picts. He is often known as Constantine I in reference to his place in modern lists of kings of Scots, but contemporary sources described Causantín only as a Pictish king. A son of Cináed mac Ailpín, he succeeded his uncle Domnall mac Ailpín as Pictish king following the latter's death on 13 April 862. It is likely that Causantín's reign witnessed increased activity by Vikings, based in Ireland, Northumbria and northern Britain. He died fighting one such invasion.
Kenneth MacAlpin, known in most modern regnal lists as Kenneth I, was a king of the Picts who, according to national myth, was the first king of Scots. He was thus later known by the posthumous nickname of An Ferbasach, "The Conqueror". He became the apex and eponym of a dynasty—sometimes called Clann Chináeda—that ruled Scotland from the ninth- to the early eleventh-century.
Macbeth was King of Scots from 1040 until his death. He was titled King of Alba during his life, and ruled over only a portion of present-day 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.
The Picts were a confederation of Celtic language speaking peoples who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late British Iron Age and Early Medieval periods. Where they lived and what their culture was like can be inferred from early medieval texts and Pictish stones. Their Latin name, Picti, appears in written records from Late Antiquity to the 10th century. They lived to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde. Early medieval sources report the existence of a distinct Pictish language, which today is believed to have been an Insular Celtic language, closely related to the Brittonic spoken by the Britons who lived to the south.
Dál Riata or Dál Riada was a Gaelic overkingdom that included parts of western Scotland and northeastern Ireland, on each side of the North Channel. At its height in the late 6th and early 7th centuries, it encompassed roughly what is now Argyll in Scotland and part of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. Both are now part of the United Kingdom.
Cuilén was an early King of Alba (Scotland). 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 eventually expelled and slain in 966/967. Whether Cuilén was responsible for his death is uncertain.
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.
Eochaid was a ninth-century Briton who may have ruled as King of Strathclyde and/or King of the Picts. He was a son of Rhun ab Arthgal, King of Strathclyde, and descended from a long line of British kings. Eochaid's mother is recorded to have been a daughter of Cináed mac Ailpín, King of the Picts. This maternal descent from the royal Alpínid dynasty may well account for the record of Eochaid reigning over the Pictish realm after the death of Cináed's son, Áed, in 878. According to various sources, Áed was slain by Giric, a man of uncertain ancestry, who is also accorded kingship after Áed's demise.
Amlaíb mac Sitric, commonly called Amlaíb Cuarán, in Old Norse: Óláfr kváran, was a 10th-century Norse-Gael who was King of Northumbria and Dublin. His byname, cuarán, is usually translated as "sandal". His name appears in a variety of anglicized forms, including Olaf Cuaran and Olaf Sihtricson, particularly in relation to his short-lived rule in York. He was the last of the Uí Ímair to play a major part in the politics of the British Isles.
Áed Find, or Áed mac Echdach, was king of Dál Riata. Áed was the son of Eochaid mac Echdach, a descendant of Domnall Brecc in the main line of Cenél nGabráin kings.
The House of Alpin, also known as the Alpínid dynasty, Clann Chináeda, and Clann Chinaeda meic Ailpín, was the kin-group which ruled in Pictland and then the kingdom of Alba from the advent of Kenneth MacAlpin in the 840s until the death of Malcolm II in 1034.
Óengus son of Fergus, was king of Picts from 732 until his death in 761. His reign can be reconstructed in some detail from a variety of sources. The unprecedented gains he made and the legacy he left, mean Óengus can be considered the first king of what would become Scotland.
Ealdred was the son of Eadwulf. He was a ruler of at least part of the former kingdom of Bernicia in northern Northumbria in the early tenth century.
The origins of the Kingdom of Alba pertain to the origins of the Kingdom of Alba, or the Gaelic Kingdom of Scotland, either as a mythological event or a historical process, during the Early Middle Ages.
Rhun ab Arthgal was a ninth-century King of Strathclyde. He is the only known son of Arthgal ap Dyfnwal, King of Alt Clut. In 870, during the latter's reign, the fortress of Alt Clut was captured by Vikings, after which the Arthgal and his family may have been amongst the mass of prisoners taken back to Ireland. Two years later Arthgal is recorded to have been slain at the behest of Causantín mac Cináeda, King of the Picts. The circumstances surrounding this regicide are unknown. The fact that Rhun seems to have been Causantín's brother-in-law could account for Causantín's interference in the kingship of Alt Clut.
Owain ap Dyfnwal was an early tenth-century King of Strathclyde. He was probably a son of Dyfnwal, King of Strathclyde, who may have been related to previous rulers of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Originally centred in the valley of the River Clyde, this realm appears to have undergone considerable southward expansion in the ninth or tenth century, after which it increasing came to be known as the Kingdom of Cumbria.
Amlaíb mac Illuilb was a tenth-century King of Alba. He was one of three sons of Illulb mac Custantín, King of Alba, and a member of Clann Áeda meic Cináeda, a branch of the Alpínid dynasty. Amlaíb's paternal grandfather possessed strong connections with the Scandinavian dynasty of Dublin, and there is evidence to suggest that Illulb and Amlaíb bore names of Old Norse origin. If Amlaíb's name indeed represents a Gaelicised Scandinavian name, it could indicate that his mother was a member of the Uí Ímair, and possibly a granddaughter of Amlaíb Cúarán or Amlaíb mac Gofraid.
Domnall mac Áeda, also known as Domnall Dabaill, was a King of Ailech. He was a son of Áed Findliath mac Néill, High King of Ireland. Domnall was a half-brother of Niall Glúndub mac Áeda, a man with whom he shared the kingship of Ailech.
Constantine II of ScotlandBorn: ×879 Died: 952
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