The Britons, also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages, at which point their culture and language diverged into the modern Welsh, Cornish and Bretons. They spoke the Common Brittonic language, the ancestor to the modern Brittonic languages.
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.
Giric mac Dúngail (Modern Gaelic: Griogair mac Dhunghail, known in English simply as Giric, and nicknamed Mac Rath, ; was a king of the Picts or the king of Alba. The Irish annals record nothing of Giric's reign, nor do Anglo-Saxon writings add anything, and 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, and if he should be considered a Pictish king or the first king of Alba.
It is uncertain if Eochaid and Giric were relatives, unrelated allies, or even rivals. Whilst it is possible that they held the Pictish kingship concurrently as allies, it is also conceivable that they ruled successively as opponents. Another possibility is that, whilst Giric reigned as King of the Picts, Eochaid reigned as King of Strathclyde. Eochaid's floruit dates about the time when the Kingdom of Strathclyde seems to have expanded southwards into lands formerly possessed by the Kingdom of Northumbria. The catalyst for this extension of British influence appears to have been the Viking conquest of this northern English realm.
Floruit, abbreviated fl., Latin for "he/she flourished", denotes a date or period during which a person was known to have been alive or active. In English, the word may also be used as a noun indicating the time when someone flourished.
The Kingdom of Northumbria was a medieval Anglian kingdom in what is now Northern England and south-east Scotland. The name derives from the Old English Norþan-hymbre meaning "the people or province north of the Humber", which reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary. Northumbria started to consolidate into one kingdom in the early seventh century, when the two earlier core territories of Deira and Bernicia entered into a dynastic union. At its height, the kingdom extended from the Humber, Peak District and the River Mersey on the south to the Firth of Forth on the north. Northumbria ceased to be an independent kingdom in the mid-tenth century, though a rump Earldom of Bamburgh survived around Bernicia in the north, later to be absorbed into the mediaeval kingdoms of Scotland and England.
According to various sources, Eochaid and Giric were driven from the kingship in 889. The succeeding king, Domnall mac Custantín, was an Alpínid, and could well have been responsible for the forced regime change. The terminology employed by various sources suggests that during the reigns of Eochaid and Giric, or during that of Domnall and his successors, the wavering Pictish kingdom—weakened by political upheaval and Viking invasions—redefined itself as a Gaelic realm: the Kingdom of Alba.
The Gaels are an ethnolinguistic group native to northwestern Europe. They are associated with the Gaelic languages: a branch of the Celtic languages comprising Irish, Manx and Scottish Gaelic. Historically, the ethnonyms Irish and Scots referred to the Gaels in general, but the scope of those nationalities is today more complex.
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.
Eochaid is not attested after 889. Likewise, nothing is recorded of the Kingdom of Strathclyde until the first quarter of the next century, when a certain Dyfnwal, King of Strathclyde is reported to have died. Whilst the parentage of this man is unknown, it is probable that he was a member of Eochaid's kindred, and possibly a descendant of him. A daughter of Eochaid may have been Lann, a woman recorded to have been the mother of Muirchertach mac Néill, King of Ailech.
Dyfnwal was King of Strathclyde. Although his parentage is unknown, he was probably a member of the Cumbrian dynasty that is recorded to have ruled the Kingdom of Strathclyde immediately before him. Dyfnwal is attested by only one source, a mediaeval chronicle that places his death between the years 908 and 915.
Simplified pedigree illustrating the kinship between Eochaid's family and the Pictish Alpínid dynasty. The latter kindred is highlighted, and women are italicised.
The Harleian genealogies are a collection of Old Welsh genealogies preserved in British Library, Harleian MS 3859. Part of the Harleian Library, the manuscript, which also contains the Annales Cambriae and a version of the Historia Brittonum, has been dated to c. 1100, although a date of c.1200 is also possible. Since the genealogies begin with the paternal and maternal pedigrees of Owain ap Hywel Dda, the material was probably compiled during his reign. The collection also traces the lineages of less prominent rulers of Wales and the Hen Ogledd. Some of the genealogies reappear in the genealogies from Jesus College MS 20.
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.
Pictish is the extinct language spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from the late Iron Age to the Early Middle Ages. Virtually no direct attestations of Pictish remain, short of a limited number of geographical and personal names found on monuments and the contemporary records in the area controlled by the Kingdom of the Picts. Such evidence, however, points to the language being related to the Brittonic language spoken prior to Anglo-Saxon settlement in what is now southern Scotland, England, and Wales.
The Siege of Dumbarton took place in 870, where the British fortress at Dumbarton Rock was besieged by a Viking force from Ireland. The Britons were defeated after four months when they ran out of water, and the attackers returned to Ireland a year later with a great deal of slaves and plunder. The event forced the Britons to move their capital to the vicinity of Partick and Govan, which resulted in the transformation of the Kingdom of Alt Clut into the Kingdom of Strathclyde.
Amlaíb Conung was a Viking leader in Ireland and Scotland in the mid-late ninth century. He was the son of the king of Lochlann, identified in the non-contemporary Fragmentary Annals of Ireland as Gofraid, and brother of Auisle and Ímar, the latter of whom founded the Uí Ímair dynasty, and whose descendants would go on to dominate the Irish Sea region for several centuries. Another Viking leader, Halfdan Ragnarsson, is considered by some scholars to be another brother. The Irish Annals title Amlaíb, Ímar and Auisle "kings of the foreigners". Modern scholars use the title "kings of Dublin" after the Viking settlement which formed the base of their power. The epithet "Conung" is derived from the Old Norse konungr and simply means "king". Some scholars consider Amlaíb to be identical to Olaf the White, a Viking sea-king who features in the Landnámabók and other Icelandic sagas.
Ímar was a Viking leader in Ireland and Scotland in the mid-late ninth century who founded the Uí Ímair dynasty, and whose descendants would go on to dominate the Irish Sea region for several centuries. He was the son of the king of Lochlann, identified in the non-contemporary Fragmentary Annals of Ireland as Gofraid. The Fragmentary Annals name Auisle and Amlaíb Conung as his brothers. Another Viking leader, Halfdan Ragnarsson, is considered by some scholars to be another brother. The Irish Annals title Amlaíb, Ímar and Auisle "kings of the foreigners". Modern scholars use the title "kings of Dublin" after the Viking settlement which formed the base of their power. Some scholars consider Ímar to be identical to Ivar the Boneless, a Viking commander of the Great Heathen Army named in contemporary English sources who also appears in the Icelandic sagas as a son of the legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrok.
Prior to its fall, the fortress of Al Clud served as the capital of Arthgal's Kingdom of Al Clud, and afterwards the capital appears to have relocated up the River Clyde to the vicinity of Govan and Partick.[note 6] The relocation is partly exemplified by a shift in royal terminology. Until the fall of Al Clud, for example, the rulers of the realm were styled after the fortress; whereas following the loss of the site, the Kingdom of Al Clud came to be known as the Kingdom of Strathclyde in consequence to its reorientation towards Ystrad Clud (Strathclyde), the valley of the River Clyde. Either Arthgal or Rhun could have been the first monarch to rule to the reconstructed realm of Strathclyde.
It is uncertain when Rhun's reign and life ended. One possibility is that Rhun died in 876, when Custantín seems to have been slain by Vikings. Custantín's death is dated to 876 by the Annals of Ulster. The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba appears to locate his fall in Atholl, whilst several king-lists locate his demise to a place variously called Inverdufat, an otherwise uncertain location that might refer to Inverdovat in Fife.[note 7]
Sources of the royal succession
It is uncertain who assumed the kingship of Strathclyde after Rhun. If Rhun and Custantín both died in 876, Eochaid could well have succeeded his father. Certainly, Custantín's brother, Áed mac Cináeda, succeeded as King of the Picts, and ruled as such upon his death two years later. Whilst the Annals of Ulster reports that Áed was killed by his own companions, several mediaeval king-lists state that he was slain by a certain Giric. Quite who reigned as king after Áed is uncertain, although there are several plausible possibilities.
According to the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, Eochaid succeeded Áed, and held the kingship for eleven years. The chronicle adds that it was further said that Giric also reigned during this period on account of the fact that he was Eochaid's alumnus ("foster father", "guardian") and ordinator ("guardian", "governor", or "king-maker"). A solar eclipse is also noted during their reigns—an event dated to the feast of St Ciricius—and the two are stated to have been ejected from the kingdom.
The chronicle reports that Áed Findliath mac Néill died in the second year of Eochaid's reign. Since Áed indeed expired in 879, the chronicle's chronology is evidently accurate for the outset of Eochaid's reign. As for the eclipse, the chronicle appears to place it in the context of the final year of Eochaid's kingship. Nevertheless, it is clear that the eclipse is identical to that which took place on 16 June 885, as 16 June is certainly the feast day of at least one saint named Ciricius.[note 8] Since the dates given by the chronicle and the Annals of Ulster show that there was an eleven-year gap between the previous reign and the next, it is evident that the eclipse indeed occurred in the midst of Eochaid's reign. The chronicle's inconsistency in regard to the eclipse may owe itself to an attempt to increase the dramatic effect of the regime change by associating a remarkable astronomical event with Eochaid's expulsion.
Other than the chronicle, the only source to associate both Eochaid and Giric as kings is the twelfth-century Prophecy of Berchán. According to the latter, Eochaid ruled as king for thirteen years until he was expelled and succeeded by Giric (described as "the son of fortune"). It is possible that the discrepancies between the two sources may partly stem from an ethnic bias. Certainly, the Prophecy of Berchán is critical of Eochaid's British heritage whilst Giric is celebrated as a Scot.
Relationship with Giric
Giric's familial origins are uncertain. According to several versions of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba his father's name was Dúngal, whereas certain versions of the Verse Chronicle equate his father's name to Domnall. Although it is possible that Giric's association with kingship stems from an ancestral claim, the evidence for this is uncertain. Giric need not have possessed any claim of his own, and could have merely played the role of kingmaker, by orchestrating the removal of Áed, and installing Eochaid in his place.
Nevertheless, there is also reason to suspect that Giric's patronym, "son of Dúngal", may actually refer to an early form of the Welsh Dyfnwal rather than the Gaelic Dúngal.[note 9] If correct, Giric's patronym could be evidence that his father was Dyfnwal ap Rhydderch, King of Al Clud, and that Giric was a brother of Arthgal. Such a relationship could indicate that Giric's apparent killing of Áed was undertaken in the context of avenging Arthgal's demise at Custantín behest. If Giric and Eochaid were indeed both descendants of Dyfnwal, Eochaid could well have ruled as king under the tutelage of Giric, his granduncle.[note 10]
Giric's patronym may instead identify him as a son of Domnall mac Ailpín. If such a parentage is correct, it would certainly mean that Giric possessed strong claim to the Pictish throne. The fact that Áed seems to have succeeded Custantín could indicate that Giric had been denied the kingship. Such a possibility could account for Giric's apparent killing of Áed. It could also reveal that Giric received or was reliant upon significant assistance from Eochaid—in this case his maternal kinsman—which would in turn account for the evidence that Giric and Eochaid shared the Pictish kingship in some manner.
Conversely, it could have been Eochaid who claimed the kingship by right of his maternal Alpínid ancestry. If this was indeed the case, one possibility is that Eochaid was only able to hold authority in conjunction with Giric—either as an ally or client, or perhaps as a youthful ward under Giric's guardianship. In the ninth century, the term ordinator was used to describe the relationship between a powerful ruler and a satellite. One such example is the establishment of Bran mac Fáeláin as King of Leinster by Niall Caille mac Áeda, King of Tara. As such, the terminology employed by the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba could reveal that Giric—as ordinator—similarly established Eochaid as king.
It is conceivable that Eochaid ruled over both the Strathclyde Britons and Picts. If so, he could have initiated his royal career as King of Strathclyde before succeeding as King of the Picts. In fact, the evidence of shared kingship may merely mean that Eochaid ruled the British kingdom whilst Giric ruled the Pictish realm. As such, it is possible that Giric was successful in imposing some form of authority over the Kingdom of Strathclyde during Eochaid's floruit.[note 11] If correct, the price for Eochaid's assistance may have been the preservation of the British realm from other descendants of Cináed. The fact that Eochaid's grandfather died in 872 could indicate that, if his father died soon after, Eochaid may have succeeded to the kingship of Strathclyde as a youth.[note 12]
The remarkable uncertainty surrounding the Pictish kingship during this period means that it is also possible that Eochaid and Giric were rivals rather allies. An adversarial relationship between the two may well be evidenced by the Prophecy of Berchán which gives a negative account of the Britons during Giric's tenure.
Expansion of the British realm
It is not until the turn of the tenth century before sources cast light upon the history of the Kingdom of Strathclyde.[note 13] At some point after the loss of Al Clud, the Kingdom of Strathclyde appears to have undergone a period of expansion. Although the precise chronology is uncertain, by 927 the southern frontier appears to have reached the River Eamont, close to Penrith.[note 14] The catalyst for this southern extension may have been the dramatic decline of the Kingdom of Northumbria at the hands of conquering Scandinavians, and the expansion may have been facilitated by cooperation between the Cumbrians and insular Scandinavians in the late ninth- and early tenth century.[note 15] Amiable relations between these powers may be evidenced by the remarkable collection of contemporary Scandinavian-influenced sculpture at Govan. There is reason to suspect that Eochaid reigned during this expansion of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. The Pictish and British realms are certainly not recorded to have been assailed by Vikings during Eochaid's floruit. Furthermore, a union of the Pictish and British kingdoms could well have allowed him to extend British authority southward.
Transformation of the Pictish realm
As for the Scottish kingdom, the succeeding king is identified as Domnall mac Custantín by the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba. Domnall's kingship is corroborated by the Annals of Ulster and Chronicon Scotorum which report his death in 900. The fact the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba accords Domnall an eleven-year reign places the inception of his rule in 889, and therefore corroborates the eleven-year reign accorded to Eochaid. Domnall is the first monarch to be styled King of Alba by a contemporary annalistic source. Prior to about this period, the Gaelic Alba stood for "Britain". In fact, the shifting terminology employed by various English, Irish, and Scottish sources may be evidence that the Pictish realm underwent a radical transformation during this period in history.
For example, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle identifies the Irish as Scottas up until the 890s. By the 920s, this term came to be accorded to the people formerly regarded as Pictish (and last recorded as such in the 870s).[note 16] As for the Irish annals—specifically the hypothesised Chronicle of Ireland—the terms Picti and rex Pictorum ("king of the Picts") are last accorded to the Picts and their kings in the 870s. In fact, the last Pictish king to be styled thus was Domnall's uncle, Áed. By the 900s, the terms fir Alban ("men of Alba") and rí Alban ("king of Alba") are utlilised for these people. The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba last utilises the term Pictavia in the midst of Domnall's reign. Thereafter, the realm is called Albania.
There is reason to suspect that the political and dynastic upheaval endured by the Pictish realm in the last quarter of the ninth century was the catalyst for a radical new political order based upon the reestablishment of the Alpínids in the kingship. Alternately, the transformation could have taken place specifically during the floruit of Giric and Eochaid. For instance, it is conceivable that Giric gained the throne by seizing upon the upheaval caused by the incessant Viking depredations that assailed Pictavia. At an earlier date, the Gaelic realm of Dál Riata appears to have crumbled under such pressures, and it is possible that Giric drew military power from this broken polity to forcefully seize the Pictish throne. In any case, the accommodation of significant Gaelic aristocratic power in the wavering Pictish realm could account for the eventual transformation of Pictavia into Alba.[note 17]
The temporary exclusion of the Alpínids from the Pictish throne could well have meant that they endured exile in Ireland. Certainly, Domnall's paternal aunt, Máel Muire ingen Cináeda, possessed significant Irish connections as the wife of two successive kings of Tara—Áed Findliath and Flann Sinna mac Maíl Shechnaill—and the mother of another—Niall Glúndub mac Áeda. If Domnall and his succeeding first cousin, Custantín mac Áeda, indeed spent their youth in Ireland prior to assuming the kingship of Alba, their Gaelic upbringing could well have ensured the continuation of Pictavia's Gaelicisation. If the eventual Alpínid successors of Eochaid and Giric were indeed sheltered in Ireland, this could account for the fact that the Chronicle of Ireland fails to acknowledge their usurpation.
Furthermore, if the Pictish transformation indeed stems from the floruit of Giric and Eochaid, the new terminology could indicate that the Kingdom of Alba was envisioned to include Pictish, Gaelic, British, and English inhabitants. Several king-lists allege that Giric subjugated Ireland and England during his reign, an outlandish claim that could instead evince a multi-ethnic northern alliance under his authority. As such, there is reason to suspect that Alba—a term previously used for Britain—may have been meant to encapsulate a new political construction, a polity of "North Britain".[note 18]
Although the apparent reigns of Eochaid and Giric are obscure and uncertain, Giric eventually came to remembered as a legendary figure, credited as the liberator of the Gaelic Church from the Picts, and the architect of military conquests of Ireland and England.[note 19] Eochaid, on the other hand, is only attested by the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba and the Prophecy of Berchán. Unlike Giric, later mediaeval king-lists and chronicles fail to include Eochaid within their accounts of Scottish history. In fact, Eochaid, and the later Alpínid Amlaíb mac Illuilb, King of Alba, are the only Scottish kings not noted by the king-lists. The window within which Eochaid and Giric appear to have reigned marks the only point between the careers of Cináed and Máel Coluim mac Cináeda, King of Alba that a patrilineal Alpínid is not known to have ruled the Pictish/Alban realm.
Eochaid is unattested after his apparent expulsion in 889, and the date of his death is unrecorded and unknown. According to various king-lists, Giric was slain at Dundurn.[note 20] Evidence of extensive burning at the site may relate to this event, and may mark the end of the fort's use.[note 21] If the accounts of Giric's downfall are to be believed, and if both he and Eochaid were allied together at the time, it is conceivable that both Eochaid and Giric fell together. Alternately, Giric's killing could have contributed to Eochaid's ejection from the kingship. Although it is unknown who was responsible for Giric's reported demise, one candidate is the succeeding Domnall. Alternately, Domnall's path to throne could have been paved by magnates who afterwards sent for him.
Certainly, nothing is recorded concerning the kingship of Strathclyde until the turn of the tenth century, when the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba notes the passing of a certain Dyfnwal, King of Strathclyde. Dyfnwal's parentage is uncertain. On one hand, he could have been another son of Rhun. On the other hand, he could have been descended from Eochaid: either as a son or grandson. Alternately, Dyfnwal could have represented a more distant branch of the same dynasty. Eochaid may have also had a daughter, Lann, the wife of Niall Glúndub attested by the Great Book of Lecan version of the twelfth-century Banshenchas. As such, if the Banshenchas is to be believed, a maternal grandson of Eochaid was Lann's son, Muirchertach mac Néill.[note 22]
↑ Since the 1990s, academics have accorded Eochaid various names in English secondary sources: Eochaid, and Eochod, Since the 1990s, academics have accorded Eochaid various patronyms in English secondary sources: Eochaid ap Rhun, and Eochaid map Rhun.
↑ Eochaid is not the only British contemporary known to have possessed a genealogical connection with the Pictish elite. For example, the tenth-century Life of St Cathróe reports that Cathróe was related to both the kings of Alba and Strathclyde.
↑ The personal name Eochaid is Celtic in origin, based upon an element meaning "horse" (for example, the Old Irishech is derived from the Proto-Celtic*ekʷos). It was a very common Gaelic name. In Dál Riata, the name may be associated with the Epidii. The name of this population group is derived from Proto-Celtic *Ekʷodii, meaning "horsemen". According to the early mediaeval genealogical tracts Cethri prímchenéla and Míniugud senchasa fher nAlban, the ultimate ancestor of the leading kindreds of Dál Riata was a man named Eochaid.
↑ This site—identified in local tradition as "Doomster Hill"—was destroyed in the nineteenth century. The stepped sides of the hill are similar to those of some Scandinavian assembly sites in Britain and Ireland.
↑ Al Clud had evidently been the principal stronghold of the Strathclyde Britons since the fifth century.
↑ The feast day is that of St Cyricus, a fourth-century child martyr who was executed with his mother, Julitta, in Tarsus. This saint's name likely lies behind the historic Scottish place name of Lungyrg, now Kinneff and Catterline; and of Ecclesgrieg, now known as St Cyrus. The handful of known dedications to St Cyricus in England, Scotland, and Wales probably date to the eighth century. It is possible that Giric regarded him as his patron saint.
↑ The Gaelic personal names Dúngal and Domnall are unrelated. The latter is a cognate of the WelshDyfnwal, which in turn corresponds to the Old Welsh/CumbricDumnagual, and Dumngual.
↑ Alternately, if Giric's father was indeed named Dúngal, it could be evidence that he was a member of Cenél Loairn, a Gaelic kindred which was ruled by a like-named king in the eighth century, Dúngal mac Selbaig. If this relationship is correct, Giric's actions could have been conducted in the context of a continuous rivalry between Cenél Loairn and Cenél nGabráin, a Gaelic kindred which later Alpínids were alleged to have descended from.
↑ The Prophecy of Berchán certainly hints that the Britons endured subordination during Giric's reign.
↑ Although the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba identifies Eochaid as a maternal grandson of Cináed, and numbers the years of his reign to eleven, the source abruptly ends Giric's patronym without actually naming a father ("Ciricium filium"). This could be evidence that the chronicle has erroneously attributed an Alpínid ancestral connection to Eochaid instead of Giric.
↑ Although it is sometimes claimed that Brut y Tywysogyon contains a passage dictating that the Strathclyde Britons were forced to relocate to Gwynedd in about 890, the passage is actually derived from an early nineteenth-century forgery perpetrated by Iolo Morganwg. The claim is otherwise not attested by any historical source.
↑ On one hand, it is possible that the southern expansion of the realm accounts for the evidence of the mediaeval cults of St Constantine, St Patrick, and St Kentigern, stretching south from the Clyde down into England. On the other hand, there is also reason to suspect that this swathe of church dedications stems from a much later period, in the twelfth century.
↑ The expansion of the Cumbrian kingdom may be perceptible in some of the place names of southern Scotland and northern England.
↑ One version of the eleventh-century Lebor Bretnach alleges that the last Pictish king was a certain Custantín. This man appears to be identical to Custantín mac Cináeda, and the record itself appears to reveal that—by the eleventh-century at least—this monarch's demise marked the end of the Pictish realm. In fact, the Picts' final attestation by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to the Viking campaigning that evidently brought about Custantín's destruction.
↑ The last notice of the Dál Riata by a contemporary secular source is the Annals of Ulster's report of Conall mac Taidg's slaying in 807.
↑ There is reason to suspect that the new terminology is related to similar recently-adopted terminology employed in Ireland—such as rí Érenn and fir Érenn—which may have been employed to represent a territorial-based multi-ethnic authority. Alternately, another possibility is that the recorded shift in terminology—from rex Pictorum and Picti to rí Alban and fir Alban—may merely be a translational shift from Latin to Gaelic.
↑ The fortress of Dundurn sits near Loch Earn. The name of this body of water is derived from the Gaelic Éire or Éireann, which refer to Ireland. This derivation could indicate that the claims of Giric's military conquest of Ireland actually refer to the region of Strathearn. Another source that may cast light upon this era is the Dunkeld Litany. Although parts of this liturgical text date to the post-mediaeval period, it is possible that others preserve an authentic contemporary core. At one point, the litany implores God to protect Giric from his enemies and grant him a long life.
↑ The Prophecy of Berchán associates Giric with a "strong house" on the banks of the Earn. This might also refer to the fortress of Dundurn. If the association of Giric with Dundurn is accurate, it would appear to demonstrate that the fortress was Giric's power base, and served as a royal site.
↑ The destruction of Al Clud in the 870s marks the last time that this fortress appears on record until the thirteenth century. One possibility is that the site was discredited by its fall, and came to be regarded as unsuitable to the ruling dynasty thereafter. Such degradation may explain the apparent abandonment of Dundurn.
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.
Constantine, son of Áed 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. 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 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.
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.
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.
Echmarcach mac Ragnaill was a dominant figure in the eleventh-century Irish Sea region. At his height, he reigned as king over Dublin, the Isles, and perhaps the Rhinns of Galloway. The precise identity of Echmarcach's father, Ragnall, is uncertain. One possibility is that this man was one of two eleventh-century rulers of Waterford. Another possibility is that Echmarcach's father was an early eleventh-century ruler of the Isles. If any of these identifications are correct, Echmarcach may have been a member of the Uí Ímair kindred.
Suibne mac Cináeda was an eleventh-century ruler of the Gall Gaidheil, a population of mixed Scandinavian and Gaelic ethnicity. There is little known of Suibne as he is only attested in three sources that record the year of his death. He seems to have ruled in a region where Gall Gaidheil are known to have dwelt: either the Hebrides, the Firth of Clyde region, or somewhere along the south-western coast of Scotland from the Firth of Clyde southwards into Galloway.
Arthgal ap Dyfnwal was a ninth-century King of Alt Clut. He descended from a long line of rulers of the British Kingdom of Alt Clut. Either he or his father, Dyfnwal ap Rhydderch, King of Alt Clut, may have reigned when the Britons are recorded to have burned Pictish ecclesiastical site of Dunblane in 849.
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.
Dyfnwal ab Owain was a tenth-century King of Strathclyde. He was a son of Owain ap Dyfnwal, King of Strathclyde, and seems to have been a member of the royal dynasty of Strathclyde. At some point in the ninth- or tenth century, the Kingdom of Strathclyde expanded substantially southwards. As a result of this extension far beyond the valley of the River Clyde, the realm became known as the Kingdom of Cumbria. By 927, the kingdom seems to have reached as far south as the River Eamont.
Rhydderch ap Dyfnwal was an eminent tenth-century Cumbrian who slew Cuilén mac Illuilb, King of Alba in 971. Rhydderch was possibly a son of Dyfnwal ab Owain, King of Strathclyde, and could have ruled as King of Strathclyde. Rhydderch appears on record in about 971, when he is said to have killed Cuilén mac Illuilb, King of Alba, a man said to have abducted and raped Rhydderch's daughter. Following Cuilén's death, the Cumbrian Kingdom of Strathclyde endured an invasion by Cuilén's successor, Cináed mac Maíl Choluim, King of Alba. This Scottish attack could have been a retaliatory raid for Rhydderch's actions, and may have been undertaken in the context of restoring Scottish authority over the Cumbrian realm. If Rhydderch ever ruled as king it must have been before 973, when Dyfnwal's son, Máel Coluim, is accorded the title king.
Máel Coluim was a tenth-century King of Strathclyde. He was a younger son of Dyfnwal ab Owain, King of Strathclyde, and thus a member of the Cumbrian dynasty that had ruled the kingdom for generations. Máel Coluim's Gaelic name could indicate that he was born during either an era of amiable relations with the Scots, or else during a period of Scottish overlordship. In 945, the Edmund I, King of the English invaded the kingdom, and appears to have granted the Scots permission to dominate the Cumbrians. The English king is further reported to have blinded several of Máel Coluim's brothers in an act that could have been an attempt to deprive Dyfnwal of an heir.
Owain Foel, also known as Owain Moel, Owain the Bald, Owen the Bald, and Eugenius Calvus, was an eleventh-century King of Strathclyde. He may have been a son of Máel Coluim, son of Dyfnwal ab Owain, two other rulers of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Owain Foel is recorded to have supported the Scots at the Battle of Carham in 1018. Although it is possible that he died in the conflict, no source states as much, and it is uncertain when he died. Owain Foel may be an ancestor—perhaps the father—of a certain Máel Coluim who is described as the "son of the king of the Cumbrians" in the 1050s.
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.
Ragnall mac Gofraid was King of the Isles and likely a member of the Uí Ímair kindred. He was a son of Gofraid mac Arailt, King of the Isles. Ragnall and Gofraid flourished at a time when the Kingdom of the Isles seems to have suffered from Orcadian encroachment at the hands of Sigurðr Hlǫðvisson, Earl of Orkney. Gofraid died in 989. Although Ragnall is accorded the kingship upon his own death in 1004 or 1005, the succession after his father's death is uncertain.
Owain ap Dyfnwal may have been an eleventh-century ruler of the Kingdom of Strathclyde. He seems to have been a son of Dyfnwal ab Owain, King of Strathclyde, and may well have succeeded Dyfnwal's son, Máel Coluim, King of Strathclyde. During Owain's reign, he would have faced a massive invasion by Æthelræd II, King of the English. Owain's death is recorded in 1015, and seems to have been succeeded by Owain Foel, a man who may have been his nephew.
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.
Máel Coluim was an eleventh-century magnate who seems to have been established as either King of Alba or King of Strathclyde. In 1055, Siward, Earl of Northumbria defeated Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, the reigning ruler of the Kingdom of Alba. As a result of this military success against the Scots, several sources assert that Siward established Máel Coluim as king. It is uncertain whether this concerned the kingship of Alba or the kingship of Strathclyde.
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1. It is unknown if Eochaid ruled as King of Strathclyde. It is unknown when Rhun's reigned concluded and Dyfnwal's began. 2. It is uncertain if Eochaid ruled as King of the Picts. If he did, it is uncertain if he reigned concurrently or successively with Giric.