The orthodox history represents Kenneth as the person who united the Scots and the Picts, thus founding the kingdom of Scotland. The reality, undoubtedly more complicated, is shrouded in obscurity. Kenneth is called king of the Picts (rex Pictorum) in a probably contemporary obituary (see below), but the rapid disappearance of Pictish national identity makes it more likely that there was a conquest of the Picts by the Scots. The Old Scottish Chronicle states that he reigned over the Picts for sixteen years ["Kínadíus igitur filius Alpíní primus Scottorum rexit feliciter istam annis xvi. Pictauiam." KKES, 249] and that he had become king of Scottish Dál Riata two years earlier ["Ist[e] uero biennío antequam ueníret Pictauíam Dalríete regnum suscepit." KKES 249-250]. Judging from the Pictish king lists, he evidently ruled only over part of the Picts at that time, and he probably became king of all of the Picts about 848, at the end of the reign of Drest son of Uurad, the last Pictish king to appear in the Pictish king lists [see, e.g., Anderson (1982), Bannerman (1997)]. He was succeeded at his death by his brother Domnall (Donald).
Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.
Date of Death: 8 February 858.
Place of Death: Palace of Forteviot, Perthshire.
["Cinaedh m. Ailpin rex Pictorum, Adulf rex Saxan, mortui sunt." AU 858.2; "Mortuus est tandem tumore an. idus Feb', feria .iij. in palacio Fothiurtabaicht." Old Scottish Chronicle, KKES 250] The day of the month is based on interpreting this statement as saying that Kenneth died the Tuesday before the ides of February (reading the abbreviated an. as ante).
Alpín mac Echach, king of Dál Riata, ca. 840?
["Causantín mc Culiuin mc Ilduib mc C[h]ausantín mc Áeda mc C[h]ináeda mc Alpín m Echach mc Áeda F[h]ind mc Echach ..." Genelaig Albanensium, Bannerman (1974), 65]
Cináeda (Constantine I), d.
876, king of the Scots and Picts, 862-876.
["Máel coluim mc Cináeda mc Máel C[h]olum mc Domnaill mc C[h]usantín mc C[h]ináeda mc Alpín." Genelaig Albanensium, Bannerman (1974), 66]
Áed mac Cináeda, d. 878, king of the
Scots and the Picts, 876-8.
["Aedh m. Cinadan, rex Pictorum a sociis suis occisus est." AU 878 (s.a. 877); See also the genealogy quoted above.]
Máel Muire ingen Cináeda, d. 913 ["Mael Muire ingen Cinaedha m. Ailpin,
Etulbb ri Saxan Tuaiscirt, moriuntur."
AU 913 (s.a. 912)];
m. (1) Áed Findliath, d. 20 November 879, king of Ireland ["Mael Muru ingen Chinaetha m. Ailpin rig Alban, bean Aeda Findleith mathair Neill Glunduib & Domnaill hUi Mail Eachlaind." BS 186; see also BS 225];
m. (2) Flann Sinna, d. 25 May 916, king of Ireland ["Ligach ingen Flaind m. Mail Eachlaind (& Mail MUiru ingine Cinaeth m. Ailpin reg Alban), mathair Congalaig m. Mail Mithig rig Erind & Aeda m. Mail Mithig ri Midi." BS 187-8]. [See also the metrical Ban-Shenchus, BS 311, 335]
NN, m. Run map Arthgal,
king of Strathclyde.
According to the Old Scottish Chronicle, they were the parents of a king Eochaid, who is placed by that source as king between the reigns of Áed mac Cináeda and Domnall mac Causaintín (Donald II, son of Constantine I) ["Eochodius autem filius Run|regis Brittanorum nepos Cinadei ex filia regnavit annnis .xi." KKES 250]. The genealogy of Run map Arthgal is given in early Welsh Harleian genealogies [EWGT, 10]. Molly Miller would make this daughter the same person as Máel Muire [Miller (1979), 49, 63-4, n. 25], but she questioned the marriage to Áed Findliath, apparently unaware of the reference in the Ban Shenchus. Benjamin Hudson suggests an earlier marriage for this daughter to a Northumbrian noble, based on the cryptic reference from the Prophesy of Berchan that appears to make Eochaid (not explicitly named, as usual for this source) a son of a woman from Dun Guaire (Bamburgh) [Hudson (1994), 55, 169].
Conjectured spouse (no
good evidence): NN,
Pictish princess, sister of Bridei
VI, Ciniod II, and Drest X,
kings of the Picts.
This conjecture was based on the assumption that the succession of Kenneth's grandson Eochaid son of Run was based on a late survival of the matrilineal succession which has often been hypothesized for the Pictish kings, from which it would evidently follow that Kenneth's wife was of such a matrilineage [Miller (1979), 49-50, 55 (the numbering of the Pictish kings is as in Miller); see Anderson (1982), 124, for a similar conjecture, minus the speculation of the exact link]. Although intermarriage between the royal houses of the Picts and the Dál Riata at some point seems likely, this attempt to conjecture the exact link involves an unlikely multiplication of hypotheses.
Conjectured daughter (argument unconvincing):
NN, m. Dúngal, supposedly parents of Giric mac Dúngaile,
king of Scotland.
Duncan has suggested that the words "nepos Cinadei ex filia" which appear after "Eochodius autem filius Run regis Brittanorum" in the Old Scottish Chronicle (see above) should instead be placed after the appearance of Giric's name a bit later in the same passage. The conjectured misplacement supposedly occurred when a marginal note in a previous copy of the chronicle was misplaced by a copyist [Duncan (2002), 11-12]. If true, this conjectured daughter would replace the daughter who married Run. This argument is not convincing. A gloss such as "nepos Cinadei ex filia" seems much more appropriate for the son of a king of Strathclyde than for a person with a Gaelic name, and there is no good evidence that the chronicle is wrong as it stands.
Conjectured daughter (no good evidence):
NN, m. Goffraid mac Fergusa.
[Moncreiffe (1967), inside back cover]
Anderson (1982) = Marjorie O. Anderson, "Dalriada and the creation of the kingdom of the Scots", in Whitelock, McKitterick & Dumville, eds., Ireland and Early Medieval Europe (Cambridge, 1982).
AU = Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, The Annals of Ulster (Dublin, 1983). See also the CELT website.
Bannerman (1974) = John Bannerman, Studies in the History of Dalriada (Edinburgh & London, 1974).
Bannerman (1997) = John Bannerman, "The Scottish takeover of Pictland and the relics of Columba", Innes Review 48 (1997), 27-44.
BS = Margaret Dobbs, "The Ban Shenchus", Revue Celtique 47 (1930): 282-339; 48 (1931): 163-234; 49 (1932): 437-489 (an index to the other two parts); citations are by page number.
Duncan (2002) = A. A. M. Duncan, The Kingship of the Scots, 842-1292 (Edinburgh, 2002).
EWGT = Peter C. Bartrum, ed. Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (Cardiff, 1966).
Hudson (1994) = Benjamin T. Hudson, Kings of Celtic Scotland (Westport, CT, 1994).
Miller (1979) = Molly Miller, "The Last Century of Pictish Succession", Scottish Studies 23 (1979): 39-67.
Moncreiffe (1967) = Iain Moncreiffe, The Highland Clans (London, 1967).
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
First uploaded 26 April 2007.
Minor revision uploaded 20 June 2010 (added conjecture on Giric's mother).
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