Malcolm I of Scotland

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Malcolm I
King of Alba
Reign943–954
Predecessor Constantine II
Successor Indulf
Died954
Issue Dub, King of Alba
Kenneth II, King of Alba
House Alpin
Father Donald II, King of Alba

Máel Coluim mac Domnaill (anglicised Malcolm I) (died 954) was king of Alba (before 943 – 954), becoming king when his cousin Constantine II abdicated to become a monk. He was the son of Donald II.

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.

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Máel Coluim was probably born during his father's reign (889–900). [1] By the 940s, he was no longer a young man, and 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. [2]

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. [3]

River Tees river in northern England

The River Tees is in northern England. It rises on the eastern slope of Cross Fell in the North Pennines, and flows eastwards for 85 miles (137 km) to reach the North Sea between Hartlepool and Redcar near Middlesbrough.

Woolf suggests that the association of Constantine with the raid is a late addition, one derived from a now-lost saga or poem. [4]

He died in the shield wall next to his men.[ citation needed ] 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.

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.

In 945, Edmund I of England, having expelled Amlaíb Cuaran (Olaf Sihtricsson) from Northumbria, devastated Cumbria and blinded two sons of Domnall mac Eógain, king of Strathclyde. It is said that he then "let" or "commended" Strathclyde to Máel Coluim in return for an alliance. [5] 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. [6]

Cumbria Ceremonial (geographic) county of England

Cumbria is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local government, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's county town is Carlisle, in the north of the county, and the only other major urban area is Barrow-in-Furness on the southwestern tip of the county.

Kingdom of Strathclyde medieval kingdom in northern Britain

Strathclyde, originally Cumbric: Ystrad Clud or Alclud, was one of the early medieval kingdoms of the Britons in Hen Ogledd, the Brythonic-speaking parts of what is now southern Scotland and northern England. The kingdom developed during the post-Roman period. It is also known as Alt Clut, a Brittonic term for Dumbarton Castle, the medieval capital of the region. It may have had its origins with the Brythonic Damnonii people of Ptolemy's Geography.

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, and his identity is unknown. [7]

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, and 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. [8] The Annals of Ulster for 952 report a battle between "the men of Alba and the Britons [of Strathclyde] and the English" against the foreigners, i.e. the Northmen or the Norse-Gaels. This battle is not reported by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , and it is unclear whether it should be related to the expulsion of Amlaíb Cuaran from York or the return of Eric Bloodaxe. [9]

The Annals of Ulster report that Máel Coluim was killed in 954. Other sources place this most probably in the Mearns, either at Fetteresso following the Chronicle, or at Dunnottar following the Prophecy of Berchán . He was buried on Iona. [10] Máel Coluim's sons Dub and Cináed were later kings.

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References

  1. Woolf, Pictland to Alba, p. 177.
  2. Woolf, Pictland to Alba, p. 175; Anderson, Early Sources, pp. 444–448; Broun, "Constantine II".
  3. Anderson, Early Sources, pp. 452–453.
  4. Woolf, Pictland to Alba, pp. 178–181.
  5. Early Sources, pp. 449–450.
  6. ASC Ms. A, s.a. 946; Duncan, pp. 23–24; but see also Smyth, pp. 222–223 for an alternative reading.
  7. It may be that Cellach was related to Cuncar, Mormaer of Angus, and that this event is connected with the apparent feud that led to the death of Máel Coluim's son Cináedin 977.
  8. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ms. D, s.a. 948, Ms. B, s.a. 946; Duncan, p. 24.
  9. Early Sources, p. 451. The corresponding entry in the Annals of the Four Masters, 950, states that the Northmen were the victors, which would suggest that it should be associated with Eric.
  10. Early Sources, pp. 452–454. Some versions of the Chronicle, and the Chronicle of Melrose , are read as placing Máel Coluim's death at Blervie, near Forres.

Further reading

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Preceded by
Constantine II
King of Alba
943954
Succeeded by
Indulf