MALE Áedán mac Gabráin

King of Dál Riata, ca. 573-ca. 604.

The king lists make Áedán the successor of Conall mac Comgall (d. ca. 573), and the predecessor of his son Eochu Buide, who succeeded about 604. Áedán is given a reign length of 24 years [Duan Albanach, 131] or 34 years [Poppleton MS, KKES, 253; Regnal Lists "D", "F", "I", "K", KKES, 264, 270, 281, 286]. During the reign of Áedán, the well known Convention of Druim Cett was held, involving him and the Irish king Áed mac Ainmirech [Adomnán i, 49 (p. 89); Bannerman (1974), 157-170], the purpose of which is believed to have been to decide the status of Scottish and Irish Dál Riata with respect to the Irish king [On the date, see Meckler (1997); Jaski (1998)].

Date of Birth: Unknown.
See below for two contradictory ages at death.
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: probably 17 April, ca. 604.
["Mors Aedhain m. Gabrain mc. Domangairt righ Alban, ..." AU (s.a. 605); "Bass Aedhain maic Gabrain anno .xxxuiii. regni sui, etatis uero .lxxiiii." AT 17: 167; "Mors Aedhain meic Gabrain anno xxx.uii regni sui aetatis uero lxxx. uiii. uel ui." CS 70; for 17 April, Bannerman (1974), 80-1 cites the Martyrology of Tallaght giving that date for the death of Áedán mac "Garbain" (a likely scribal slip for Áedán mac Gabráin)]
Place of Death: Unknown.

Father: Gabran mac Domangairt, d. ca. 559, king of Dál Riata, ca. 537-ca. 559.
[Senchus, 41; Adomnán i, 49; see also AT, AU, CS above]

Mother: Unknown.

Spouse: Unknown.

Children:
Senchus Fer nAlban mentions the seven sons listed here ["Secht meic la Áedán .i. dá Echduig .i. Eocho Budhe. & Eochaid Find Tuathal Bran. Báithíne. Conaing. Gartnait." Senchus, 41]. Adomnán names three sons Arturius, Echodius Find, and Domingartus, who died in battle before the death of Áedán, the first two in a battle with the Miathi, and the last in a battle in England [Adomnán, i, 9 (p. 33)]. The Annals of Ulster mention the death of Domangart along with another son Bran ["Iugulatio filiorum Aedain, .i. Brain & Domangairt." AU, s.a. 595], while the Annals of Tigernach conflate the events "Iugulacio filiorum Aedan .i. Bran & Domungort & Eochaid Fínd & Artur, i cath Chirchind in quo uictus est Aedhan, & cath Coraind." AT]. In fact, from Adomnán's account, the battle in which Artúr and Eochaid Find were killed seems somewhat earlier than the battle in which Domangart died. The main problem is that the Senchus names Artúr and Domangart as grandsons and not sons of Áedán (see below). We leave the matter unsettled here.

MALE Eochaid Find mac Áedáin, d. ca. 590?
Senchus Fer nAlban lists eight sons of Eochaid Find ["Oc[h]t meic dano la Echdaig Find .i. Báetán. Predan. Pledan Cormac. Crónán. Feradach. Fedlimid. Capléni." Senchus, 41], and then later indicates a ninth, Morgan [ibid., 42].

MALE Tuathal mac Áedáin.

MALE Bran mac Áedáin, d. ca. 594.

MALE Báithíne mac Áedáin.

MALE Conaing mac Áedáin, d. ca. 622.
["Conaing m. Aedain dimersus est. (Tonna mora morglana / grïan roda-toigsetar; / fri curach flescach fann / for- Conaing -coirsetar.)" AU (s.a. 622, with accompanying verse in parentheses); "Conaing mac Aedaín maic Gabrain dimersus est." AT] Senchus Fer nAlban makes him the father of nine sons, including Artúr and Domangart, who were listed as sons of Áedán in other sources (as above) ["Hii sunt filii Conaing meic Áedáin .i. Rígallán Ferchar. Artán. Artúr. Dondc[h]ad. Domungart. Nec[h]tan. Ném. Crumíne" Senchus 41-2].

MALE Gartnait mac Áedáin.
It has been suggested that he was the "Gartnait mac "Accidán" who appears in the Annals of Ulster about 649, with Accidán being a scribal mistake for Áedán ["Cocath h-uae n-Aedhain & Gartnaith mc. Accidain." AU (s.a. 648)]. Bannerman's attempt to identify him with the Pictish king Gartnait, son of Domelch (identifying the latter with Gartnait's mother) is unconvincing. Senchus Fer nAlban states that Gartnait had four sons, but they are not named due to an apparent lacuna in the manuscript tradition. Gartnait's son Cano, mentioned in Genelaig Albanensium, was possibly the the historical prototype of the story, Scéla Cano meic Gartnáin, which, however, is more legendary saga than history ["Conn (or Congus) mc Consamla mc C[h]anai Gairb mc Gartnait mc Áedáin mc Gabráin." Genelaig Albanensium, Bannerman (1974), 66, 92, 109]. See Ó Coleáin (1981) for a discussion of the historical background of Cano mac Gartnait.]

MALE Eochu Buide mac Áedáin, d. ca. 632, king of Dál Riata, ca. 604-ca. 632.
[Adomnán, i, 9 (p. 33), indicates that he was one of Áedán's younger sons.]

Sons or grandsons:
Sons according to Adomnán and AT/AU (as indicated above), grandsons according to Senchus Fer nAlban.

Artúr, d. ca. 590?
As one of a handful of historical individuals named Arthur during the early medieval period, there have been inevitable attempts to connect him to the Arthur of legend. There does not appear to be any good basis behind such attempts.

Domangart, d. ca. 594.



Commentary

Supposed daughters:

FEMALE Gemma, mother of St. Lasrén.
[Bannerman (1974), 89, citing Vita Sancti Lasriani, in Heist, Vita Sanctorum Hiberniae, 340 (not seen by me)]

FEMALE Maithgemm (same as Gemma?), m. Cairell, of Dál Fiatach.
[Bannerman (1974), 89, citing Stokes, ed., Martyrology of Oengus the Culdee, 116-7 (not seen by me)]

FEMALE Conchenn.
[Amra Choluimb Chille, 284-5]

Conjectured daughter (doubtful):

FEMALE NN, m. Ælfred.
The Irish annals record the Battle of Fid Éoin fought ca. 632, in which Connad Cerr, king of Dál Riata was slain, and in which the Annals of Tigernach and the Chronicon Scotorum list a certain Osric son of Ælfred among the slain ["..., et nepotes Aedan ceciderunt, id est Rigullan mac Conaing & Failbe mac Eachach & Oisiricc mac Albruit rigdomna Saxan cum strage maxima suorum." AT 631.1; similarly in CS s.a. 629]. Hermann Moisl would include Osric among the "nepotes" of Áedán in this entry, making the otherwise unknown Ælfred a son-in-law of Áedán [Moisl (1983), 115]. However, the syntax of the sentence does not seem to require this, and it looks like only Rigullán and Failbe were intended to be listed as Áedán's grandsons in this entry, as seems to be confirmed by the Annals of Ulster ["... ubi ceciderunt nepotes Aedain, Rigullon, Faelbe." AU s.a. 628]. These entries undoubtedly go back to annals at Iona which are generally believed to be one of the main underlying sources for all of these annals [see, e.g., KKES, passim]. If the entry in AT and CS is an expansion of a shorter original entry in the Iona annals, then this would indicate that Osric was not a grandson of Áedán, while if the AU entry was an abbreviation of an originally longer entry, this would at least indicate that Osric was not interpreted by the abbreviator to one of the nepotes. In either case, the suggestion that Osric was a grandson of Áedán seems doubtful.

Supposed mother (improbable): Lluan verch Brychan.
["Luan filia Brachan, mater Haidani bradouc." De Situ Brecheniauc 12(12), EWGT 15; "Lluan, mater Aidan grutauc et uxir Gafran vradavc" Cognatio Brychan 15(12), in a list of the 24 daughters of Brychan, EWGT 18; see also EWGT 43, 82] The large number of daughters assigned to Brychan is suspicious in itself, and as Bartrum pointed out, the chronological range of the alleged sons-in-law of Brychan is too wide to be believable [EWGT 130].

A legendary switched-at-birth story:
Falsely attributed father: Eochu mac Muiredaig, king of Leinster.
Falsely attributed mother: Feidelm ingen Feidlimthe.
Falsely attributed twin brother: Brandub mac Echach, d. ca. 603, king of Leinster.
This attribution goes back to a legendary tale entitled Gein Brandub maic Echach ocus Aedain maic Gabrain, in which twin boys are born to Eochu and Feidelm while they are in exile in Dál Riata, at the same time that Gabrán's wife had twin daughters. In this story, Gabrán's wife persuades Feidelm to exchange one of her boys for one of the girls [see Bannerman (1974), 89-90]. Although it makes an interesting story, there is no good reason to accept this tale.

Conjectured wife (improbable): Domelch.
King Gartnait of the Picts (d. ca. 597 [AT]) was son of a Domelch, which could very well be the name of his father and not his mother [see KKES, 231]. There is no good reason to identify the king of the Picts with Gartnait mac Áedáin. See above under Áedán's son Gartnait.


Chronological note

What is the chronological convention on these pages?

For events dated from 700 to 1012 in the manuscript of AU, the conventional "corrected" chronology is used, obtained by adding one year to the manuscript date of AU. All dates on this page prior to 700 and qualified by "about" or "ca." are from McCarthy's tables [McCarthy (2005)] unless otherwise stated. All bibliographical references given here in the form "AU (s.a., year)" are given with respect to the "uncorrected" chronology. References from other annals, such as the so-called Annals of Tigernach (AT) and Chronicon Scotorum (CS), are given by page number of the published version, with the "corrected" chronology of AU used as a guide for the date after 700, and McCarthy's tables before 700. A more detailed discussion is given on the page of Eochu Buide.


Bibliography

Adomnán = Alan Orr Anderson & Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson, eds., Adomnán's Life of Columba (revised edition, Oxford, 1991).

Amra Choluimb Chille = Whitley Stokes, ed., "The Bodleian Amra Choluimb Chille", Revue Cetique 20 (1899): 30-55, 132-183, 248-287, 400-437.

AT = Whitley Stokes, ed. & trans., ‘The Annals of Tigernach’, Revue Celtique16 (1895), 374-419; 17 (1896), 6-33, 116-263, 337-420; 18 (1897), 9-59, 150-303, 374-91. See also the CELT website.

AU = Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, eds., The Annals of Ulster (Dublin, 1983). See also the CELT website.

Bannerman (1974) = John Bannerman, Studies in the History of Dalriada (Edinburgh & London, 1974).

Boyle (1971) = A. Boyle, "The Edinburgh Synchronisms of Irish Kings", Celtica 9 (1971): 169-179.

CS = W. M. Hennessy, ed. & trans., Chronicum Scotorum (Rolls Series 46, London, 1866).

Duan Albanach = Jackson (1956) [critical edition], Jackson (1957) [parallel text and translation]; unless otherwise specified, citations are to the latter.

EWGT = Peter C. Bartrum, ed. Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (Cardiff, 1966).

Jackson (1956) = Kenneth Jackson, "The Poem A eolcha Alban uile", Celtica 3 (1956): 149-167.

Jackson (1957) = Kenneth Jackson, "The Duan Albanach", Scottish Historical Review 36 (1957): 125-137.

Jaski (1998) = Bart Jaski, "Druim Cett Revisited", Peritia 12 (1998): 340-350.

KKES = Marjorie Ogilvy Anderson, Kings and Kingship in Early Scotland (Edinburgh, Totowa, NJ, 1973).

McCarthy (1998) = Daniel P. McCarthy, "The Chronology of the Irish Annals", Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 98C (1998), 203-255 [.pdf available at http://www.ria.ie/publications/journals/ProcCI/1998/PC98/PC98.html]

McCarthy (2005) = Daniel P. McCarthy, "Chronological synchronisation of the Irish annals", available at http://www.cs.tcd.ie/Dan.McCarthy/chronology/synchronisms/annals-chron.htm.

Meckler (1997) = Michael Meckler, "The Annals of Ulster and the date of the meeting at Druim Cett", Peritia 11 (1997): 44-52.

Moisl (1983) = Hermann Moisl, "The Bernician Royal Dynasty and the Irish in the seventh century", Peritia 2 (1983): 103-26.

Ó Coleáin (1981) = Seán Ó Coleáin, "Some Problems of Story and History", Ériu 32 (1981): 115-136.

Senchus = John Bannerman, ed., Senchus Fer nAlban, in Bannerman (1974), 27-156 (text at 41-7, translation 47-9).


Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 26 April 2007.

Minor revision uploaded 31 May 2010 (added conjectured daughter said to have married Ælfred).

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