Do the Scots love monarchy?


The term Kingdom of Alba refers to the Kingdom of Scotland between the death of Donald II in 900 and that of Alexander III in 1286, which led directly to the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Origins Edit source]

The origins of the Kingdom of Alba were viewed as either a mythological event or a historical process during the early Middle Ages.

Medieval version Edit source]

Over the centuries there has been countless speculation as to the origin of the Scots, including some very eccentric ones like that of Walter Bower [1] in his Scotichronicon[2], in which he claimed that the Scots were actually the descendants of an Egyptian pharaoh through Princess Scota, who came to Scotland after traveling via Iberia and Ireland. The legends of origin in Scotland were made by the Historia Regum Britanniae, the Lebor Gabala Erenn[3] and the Historia Brittonum influenced. Their origins, in turn, come from Virgils Aeneid[4] and the Bible, but were equally a product of medieval Scots.

in the Life of St Cathroe of Metz the author reports on the mythological origin of the people of the saint, the Gael. He reports that they are in the vicinity of Cruachan Feli[5] landed. From there they conquered Ireland after a series of battles with the Picts and then invaded Britain. They conquered Iona and other cities. After that, their commanding officer, a Spartan named Nel (Niall), the country named after his Egyptian wife Scota. This story is significant because it dates back to 980 and has Scottish sources. Indeed, the saint is a Scot of royal descent. According to his biography, he was trained in Ireland before returning to Scotland and entering the service of King Constantine II mac Aed of Scotland. Through the king, Cathroe came to the court of Donald mac Aed of Strathclyde, and from there to Viking England and finally to the continent.

Medieval Scottish family trees trace the origins of the Scots back to Fergus Mor mac Erc, the legendary founder of Dal Riata. in the Duan Albanach[6] the tradition is reinforced. The book was written during the reign of Malcolm III Canmore and tells of the early history of the Picts before it was conquered by the Picts Gaedhil celebrates. The Duan is what the Scottish Gael call them Children of Conaire and traces its ancestors back to Fergus mac Erc. The Duan Eireannach continues these pedigrees and shows the prehistory of the Gael of Scythia [7] via Egypt to Ireland.

These mythical traditions were held to be true in the early modern era, even King James VI of Scotland traced his ancestry back to Fergus.

Goths against Gael Edit source]

This theory was formed at a time of great cultural and linguistic differences, at the time of the Anglo-Scottish Union and the Jacobite uprisings in the 18th century. The theory emerged in the late Middle Ages when the Germanic-speaking ones [8] Subjects of the Scottish kings began to think of themselves as Scots, starting with an ethnic and cultural separation of Scots and Gaelic. The Reformation also had a major impact on it. The Scots adopted the English prejudices against the Irish Gael and applied it in turn to the Scottish Gael.

The Goths versus Gael debate centered on which part of Scotland would be the most important, the Germanic or the Celtic. The Germanicists, or also Gothicists, tried to differentiate the Gael from the Scottish past. An extreme example was John Pinkerton, [9] who passionately believed that the people and language of Lowland Scotland came from a Gothic dialect spoken by the Picts. He even made up ancient stories to give a background to his fictional ancient population. But belief in this theory was shattered in the 19th century when Skene and other historians viewed Scottish history through the eyes of modern scholars.

Still, this theory had a major impact on understanding medieval Scottish history. For example, it explains why some prominent historians believe that English became the language of Lowland Scotland during the reign of Malcolm III Canmore, due to the influence of his Anglo-Hungarian wife, St Margaret of Scotland, when in fact nothing of the sort happened.

Gaelic and Pictish kings Edit source]

There is no question that Pictland had Gaelic kings. One of the earliest, perhaps even the earliest, was Nechtan IV mac Derile, the son of a Gaelic lord named Dargart and the Pict princess Derile. Pictish kings may have been Gaelic-speaking poets. There is a Gaelic funeral chant for the Pictish king Bridei III mac Beli. The poem is attributed to his contemporary Adomnan von Iona. It dates from the late 7th or early 8th century. Another poem celebrates the victory of the same ruler over the Northumbrians at the Battle of Dun Nechtain on May 20, 685.

In the early 8th century the great King of the Picts was Angus I mac Fergus, conqueror of Dal Riata. It is possible, as some linguists suggest, that Oengus and Fergus are simply Gaelic versions of native Pictish names, Onuist and Urguist, which appear in one version of the Pictish King Lists.

From Fortriu to Moray Edit source]

Historian Woolf recently published facts that place the Kingdom of Fortriu north of the Grampian Mountains. It was originally believed to have been in the Strathearn area, but this was based on a sentence in a source that said the men of Fortriu fought in a battle in Strathearn. This reason is not convincing, however, because there were two Strathearns, one in the south and one in the north, and of course one of the opponents had to fight outside of his own territory. In contrast, it does the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle clearly that Fortriu north of the Grampian Mountains (here as Mounth) was in an area visited by St. Columba. It must therefore be accepted that the heartland of Fortriu was north of the mountain range.

From Pictland to Alba Edit source]

The possibility remains that Alba is simply a Gaelic translation of the Pictish name for Pictland. Both the Welsh and Irish use antiquated terms for Britons to describe the Picts. It is very likely, therefore, that the Picts did too, or, if not, they started at some point. If the latter, the Pictish word for Pictland would either be the same as their word for Britain, or an outdated term. Alba was exactly that kind of word in Old Irish. Therefore, it is likely that Alba is simply a Gaelic translation.

The name change was first noticed at the beginning of the 10th century, not long before Constantine II mac Aed of Scotland reformed the "Pictish" church to Scottish at the height of the Viking raids. Later reports, especially those Chronicle of the kings of Alba, [10] tell us that the Picts were simply conquered and wiped out by King Kenneth I mac Alpin. This is the traditional explanation believed by many historians. However, the only thing that is really certain is that before 900 that Cruithentuath (Gaelic for Pictland) and possibly also Fortriu, became the Gaelic-speaking Alba.

History [edit | Edit source]

Donald II and Constantine II Edit source]

King Donald II mac Causantin was the first man who rí Alban was called King of Alba when he died in Dunnottar in 900 AD. The name meant here, King of Caledonia and Scotland. All of his predecessors still carried the title King of the Picts or King of Fortriu. This innovation in the Gaelic Chronicles has often been taken as a reference to the birth of Scotland, but there is nothing in particular during Donald's reign to confirm this.

Donald had the nickname dásachtach, which simply means madman, or - based on the old Irish law - a man who has no control over his functions and is therefore without legal punishment. The reason was possibly the restlessness of his government, which was marked by constant fighting against the Vikings. It is possible that he got his unpopularity from violating Church rights or from high taxes, but none of that is certain. In any case, his very negative nickname makes him an unlikely founder of Scotland.

Donald's successor, Constantine II mac Aed, is more often seen as a key figure in the formation of Alba. He ruled for nearly half a century and fought many battles. When he lost the Battle of Brunanburh, he was heavily doubted and retired to St. Andrews as a monk. Still that is Prophecy of Berchán[11] full of praise for the king, and respect for him is repeated in other sources as well. There had been Gaelic bishops in St. Andrews for two centuries, and Gaelic churchmen were among the oldest features of Caledonian Christianity. The reform could have been organizational, or some sort of erasure of certain unknown and perhaps unpopular legacies of Pictish church traditions. Still, it is difficult to fully appreciate the importance of Constantine's government.

From Malcolm I to Malcolm II Edit source]

The period between the accession to the throne of Malcolm I mac Domnall and Malcolm II mac Kenneth was marked by good relations with the rulers of Wessex, intense internal dynastic disagreements and, nevertheless, quite successful expansion policies. Some time after the English invasion of cumbra land (either Strathclyde or Cumbria, maybe both) by King Edmund I of England In 945 the English king surrendered the province to King Malcolm I on the condition of an ongoing alliance. Some time after the reign of King Indulf mac Causantin (954-962), the Scots conquered the fortress oppidum Eden, most likely Edinburgh. This was the first Scottish fortress in Lothian. The Scots may have had some authority in Strathclyde since the late 9th century, but the empire retained its own rulers and it is not clear whether the Scots have always been strong enough to enforce their authority. Indeed, one of Indul's successors, Cuilen mac Ildulb, died at the hands of the men of Strachclyde, possibly while trying to assert his authority.

Kenneth II mac Mael Coluim of Scotland (971-95) began his reign with a raid on Britannia (possibly Strathclyde), perhaps as an early attempt to gain control there, and perhaps also as traditional Gaelic crechríghe ("royal booty"), the ritual in which a king secures the succession of his rule by carrying out an attack on the traditional enemy when he takes office.

The reign of Malcolm I (942-954) also marked the first known hostilities between the Kingdom of Scotland and Moray, the ancient heartland of the Pictish kingdom of Fortriu. The Chronicle of the kings of Alba reports that King Malcolm "went to Moray and slew Ceallach". She also tells us that Malcolm was killed by the people of Moray. This is the first clear sign of hostility between the Cenel nGabrain and the Cenel Loairn, two related groups that claim to be descended from different ancestors of Erc mac Eochaid (✝ 474). During the reign of Macbeth and his successor Lulach, the Moray-based Cenel Loairn ruled all of Scotland.

The reign of Malcolm II mac Kenneth brought the final annexation of these areas. The critical year was perhaps 1018 when Malcolm II defeated the Northumbrians at the Battle of Carham. In the same year King Owain Foel died and left his kingdom to his liege, Malcolm. A meeting with King Canute the Great of Denmark and England, possibly 1031, seems to have further secured these conquests, although the exact nature of the Scottish rule over Lothian and the Scottish border areas only came about during the conquest and annexation of this province during the Scottish Wars of Independence.

From Duncan I to Alexander I Edit source]

The time between Duncan I mac Crinain's accession (1034) and the death of Alexander I (1124) was the last before the Normans came to Scotland. In some ways, the reign of Malcolm III Canmore heralded the changes that took place during the reign of French-speaking Kings David I and William I the Lion of, although local reaction to the manner of Duncan II's accession partially reversed this .

Duncan I's reign was a military failure. He was defeated by the English at the Battle of Durham in 1040 and overthrown afterwards. He was related to the previous rulers only through his mother Bethoc ingen Mael Coluim; she was the daughter of Malcolm II mac Kenneth, who had married Crinan of Dunkeld, the lay abbess of Dunkelt. Duncan was killed by Macbeth, who was Mormaer of Moray at the time, and then claimed the throne.

According to Macbeth's successor, Lulach, a man from Moray, all the kings of Scotland were descendants of Duncan. Therefore, the reign of Duncan is often positively remembered while Macbeth was made the villain. Ultimately, William Shakespeare brought them immortal fame by having both men in his play Macbeth perpetuated. In any case, Macbeth's reign was successful enough that he felt safe enough to go on a pilgrimage to Rome.

It was Malcolm III Canmore who was nicknamed Canmore (Ceann Mor, Great Leader), not his father Duncan, as he did more to create a successful dynasty that ruled Scotland for the next two centuries. Part of that success was the large number of children he had. Through two marriages, first to the Norwegian Ingibiorg Finnsdottir and then to the English Princess Margaret of Wessex, Malcolm had possibly a dozen children. Malcolm and - according to later biographies - his wife introduced the first Benedictine monks to Scotland. Yet despite his Anglo-Saxon wife, Malcoln spent much of his reign launching raids on the English who had previously suffered from the Norman Conquest of England and the Harrying of the North.

Malcolm died in one of these raids in 1093. After his death, the Norman rulers of England began to interfere in the Scottish kingdom, influenced by Malcolm's raids and his attempt to secure a claim to the English throne for his successors. He had married the sister of a native English heir to the throne, Edgar Aetheling, and had given most of the children from that marriage Anglo-Saxon names. He had also supported many English nobles, including Edgars himself, and supported the English revolts against Norman rule. In 1080 William I the Conqueror sent his son to invade Scotland. The troops reached Falkirk, on the border between Scotland and Lothian, and Malcolm submitted to the king's authority, handing his eldest son Duncan hostage. This submission may be why Malcolm did not give royal Anglo-Saxon names to his last two sons, Alexander III and David I.

Malcolm's successor was his brother Donald III Bane, because Malcolm's sons were young. But the Normans sent Malcolm's son Duncan to take the throne. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports:

  • Thursday went to Scotland with the help he could get from the English and French, and stripped his kinsman Domhnall of the kingdom, and was received as king. But afterwards some of the Scots gathered and killed almost all of his followers; and he himself escaped with a few. After that they were reunited on the condition that he never again brought English or French into the country.

Duncan was killed that same year, 1094, and Donalbane took control. The Normans sent another of Malcolm's sons, Edgar, to become king.The Anglo-Norman policy worked, because after that all Scottish kings followed - but not without resistance - according to a system very similar to the primogenitur (firstborn succession) used in the French-speaking world. The rule of Edgar and his brother and successor Alexander are equally opaque. Edgar's most notable act was to send a camel (or perhaps an elephant) to Muirchertach Ua Briain, High King of Ireland. When Edgar died, Alexander took over the rule, while his youngest brother David became Prince of Cumbria and ruler of Lothian.

Norman kings: from David I to Alexander III Edit source]

The time between the accession of David I and the death of Alexander III was marked by dependence on and quite good relations with the English kings. It was also a period of expansion for the Scottish Kingdom and marked a successful establishment of royal authority over most of what is now Scotland. It was a time of great historical change, which many books have been written about, and which is part of a more fundamental phenomenon called the "Europeanization of Europe". Recent works, however, while admitting that great changes took place, suggest that it was also a period of great continuity. In fact, it is a period of much misunderstanding. For example, the English did not spread all over the Lowlands, and neither did English names. Even in 1300 most of the native counties remained in Gaelic hands, only a small part had gone to men of French or Anglo-French origin. the Normanization and establishment of royal authority in Scotland was not a peaceful process, but far more violent than the Norman conquest of England. In addition, the Scottish kings were not independent monarchs, but vassals of the English king.

The main changes took place in the broad building of Burghs, in many ways Scotland's first urban facility; the Frenchization of aristocratic warlike and social customs and inheritance matters; the de-schottification of church institutions; the establishment of royal authority over much of what is now Scotland; and the drastic divide at the top from traditional Gaelic culture so that, according to David I, the Scots' kingship was more like that of the English and French.

After David I, and especially during the reign of William I the Lion, Scotland's kings felt ambivalent, almost hostile, to the culture of most of their subjects. As Walter of Coventry said: The present-day kings of Scotia consider themselves French in race, manners, language, and culture; they keep only French in their household and among their followers, and have reduced the Scots [= Gael north of the Forth] to mere servitude.

The ambivalence of the kings was to a certain extent like that of their subjects. After the capture of William I in Alnwick in 1174, the Scots turned against the English- and French-speaking subjects of their king.

The resistance to the Scottish kings of that time was indeed strong. The first event was probably the uprising of Angus macHeth, Mormaer of Moray, the suppression of which led to the colonization of Moray by Franco-Flemish and Anglo-French nobles. The rebellions continued throughout the 12th to the 13th centuries. The main resistance fighters were Somhairle Mac Gillie Brighdhe, Fergus of Galloway, Gille Brigte of Galloway and Harald Maddadsson, along with two related groups now known as the MacHeths and Meic Uilleim are known. The latter claimed to be descended from King Duncan II, through his son William, and rebelled to claim the Scottish throne for themselves. So great was the threat that after defeating the MacWilliams in 1230, the Scottish Crown ordered the public execution of the newborn girl who was the last MacWilliam.

Many of these resistance fighters worked together and received support from regions as far away as Ireland and the Isle of Man. By the end of the 12th century, the Scottish kings had gained the authority and ability to control Gaelic nobles outside of their previous domain.

These successes helped the expansion into the Scandinavian-ruled areas in the west, such as the Hebrides. During the reign of Alexander III, the Scots were in a strong position that allowed them to annex the remains in the western seas, which they did with the Treaty of Perth in 1266. The conquest of the west and the annexation of County Galloway meant that during the so-called Norman period the number of Gaelic speakers increased, possibly even doubled, under the rule of the Scottish king. It was the Gaelic and Gaelicized warriors of the new west, and the power they offered, that enabled King Robert I the Bruce to emerge victorious after the Scottish Wars of Independence that began soon after the death of Alexander III.

Notes [edit source]

  1. ↑ Scottish abbot and chronicler of his era. approx. 1385-1449
  2. ↑ Chronicle from the 15th century, to be regarded more as a legendary report. Continuation of the Chronica Gentis Scotorum by John of Fordun, beginning with the founding of Ireland and Scotland by the Egyptian princess Scota with Goidel glass.
  3. ↑ A collection of poetry and prose that claims to be a story of Ireland and the Irish from the creation of the world through the Middle Ages.
  4. ↑ The story of the Trojan Aeneas, who emigrated to Italy after the Trojan War and there became the progenitor of the Romans. - Aeneid
  5. Jump up ↑ A castle in Ireland, too The mountain of Ireland called.
  6. ↑ A Gaelic poem published in Lebor Bretnach was found. The Lebor Bretnach turn is a Gaelic version of the Historia Brittonum from Nennius.
  7. ^ Region in Central Eurasia - includes Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe - and was founded from the 11th century BC. Inhabited from the Skyten, a nomandic people, to the 2nd century AD.
  8. ↑ This refers to the West Germanic languages, a subgroup of the Germanic languages. These include English, Standard German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Low German, Frisian and Yiddish.
  9. ^ Scottish antiquarian and scholar, 1758-1826. Formerly proponent of the Germanic racial superiority theory
  10. ↑ Also Scottish Chronicle. It covers the time from Kenneth MacAlpin (✝ 858) to the reign of Kenneth II (ruled 971-995)
  11. ↑ A rather long historical poem from the early Middle Ages. It consists of two parts; the second part is an anonymous prophecy made at the time of the death of St. Patrick in the 5th century and the lives of Columba, Aedan mac Gabrain and 24 Scottish kings from Kenneth I mac Alpin (✝ 858) to Domnall Ban (Donald III Bane) (✝ 1097) predicts.