MALE Eochu (Echu, Euchu) ua Domnaill

King of Dál Riata, ca. 697.

In the king lists of Dál Riata, Eochu is placed with an epithet "Rianamhail" (or variants) between the two Cenél Loairn kings Ferchar Fota (d. ca. 697 [AU, s.a. 696]) and Ainbcellach mac Ferchair (expelled and captured ca. 698 [AU, s.a. 697], d. 8 September 719 [AU, s.a. 718]) [e.g., "... & Fercar Foda & Eocho Rianamhail & Anbcellach mac Ferchair & ..." in the shorter version of the Synchronisms, Boyle (1971), 175]. As pointed out by Marjorie Anderson, the supposed epithet of Eochu is in fact a mistake for another king of Dál Riata, Fiannamail ua Dúnchada (d. 700 [AU (s.a. 699)]), confirmed by the annals, but whose name had gone missing from the lists through corruption [KKES, 46, 68, 105]. Eochu was killed in about 697 ["Echu nepos Domnaill iugulatus." AU, s.a. 696]. He is given a reign of two years by the Duan Albanach [as Eochaidh, Duan Albanach 130-1] and 3 years in most of the "Latin Lists" of the kings of Dál Riata [KKES, 253 (Poppleton MS), 270 (List F), 282 (List I), 286 (List K), 290 (List N); the exception is List D, which gives 22 years, ibid. 265]. The confusion in the king lists is probably due partly to overlapping reigns which are clearly indicated in the annals, due in part to the rivalry between the septs of Cenél nGabráin in the south (of which Eochu was a member) and Cenél Loairn in the north. Eochu appears eighty-fifth in the list of guarantors of the Cáin Adomnáin, the "Law of the Innocents" proclaimed in 697 by Adomnán, abbot of Iona, for the purpose of protecting non-combatants in battles ["Euchu ua Domnaill ri", Ní Dhonnchadha (1982), 181, 212]. The names Eochu (genitive Echach, Eachach) and Eochaid (genitive Echdach, later Eochada) were often confused (in medieval as well as modern times), but the former seems better attested in this case [e.g., AU and the guarantor list, above].

Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: ca. 697.
[AU, see above]
Place of Death: Unknown.

Father: Domangart mac Domnaill, d. ca. 673, king of Dál Riata.
See the page of Eochaid mac Echach for a discussion of these generations of the pedigree of Dál Riata.

Mother: Unknown.

Spouse: Unknown.
See the Commentary section below for a conjectured wife.

Child:

MALE Eochaid mac Echach, d. 733, king of Dál Riata, 726-733, and probably also of Dál nAraide, 727-733.
See the discussion of this portion of the genealogy of the kings of Dál Riata which appears on the page of Eochaid mac Echach.



Commentary

Supposed wife (very uncertain): Spontana, daughter of Gartnait, king of the Picts.
This statement, which is not supported by any good authority, is given by Boece ["Sone eftir þe twa kingis war confideratt be affinite, for Spontana, þe dochter of Garnard, King of the Pichtis, was gevin in mariage to king Eugenius. The next yere twa brethir of Athoill, quhilkis were conspirit in þe Kingis deth for slauchter of þair fader, slew this lady in stede of Eugenius, liand in his bede, grete with childe, quhen he happynnit to be away." Boece 1: 410].

Conjectured wife (very uncertain): NN, Pictish princess.
This conjecture is unrelated to Boece's statement. It is based on three assumptions. First, the assumption that Eochu was the father of Alpín, king of the Dál Riata who appears only in some of the king lists (see below); second, the assumption that this Alpín was the same person as the Pictish king of the same name; and third, on the assumption that Alpín's claim to the Pictish throne would be through his mother. [See KKES, 183]

Possible son: MALE Alpín, king of Dál Riata, ca. 733?-ca. 737?, [also king of the Picts, 726-8?].
Alpín appears in the Synchronisms and in Duan Albanach as the successor of Dúngal mac Selbaig [Thurneysen (1933), 90; Boyle (1971), 177; Duan Albanach 131], the latter of which gives him a reign of 4 years. The longer version of the Synchronisms makes him the son of an Eochu ["Alpin mac Echach" Thurneysen (1933), 90; see also KKES, 182-3]. The succession to Dál Riata is very confused during this period, and the dates shown here are conjectural. It has also been suggested that he was the same man as the Alpín who was king of the Picts from 726, when he replaced Drest as king ["Dungal de reghno iectus est, et Druist de reghno Pictorum iectus et Elphin pro eo regnat." AT 17: 232], and fled from a battle in 728 ["Bellum Mónidchroibh inter Pictores inuicem, ubi Oenghus uictor fuit & multi ex parte Eilpini regis perempti sunt. Bellum lacrimabile inter eosdem gestum est iuxta Castellum Credi, ubi Elpinus efugit." AU (s.a. 727); "Cath Monaidh Craebi iter Picardachaib fein .i. Aengus & Alpine, is siat tuc in cath, & ro memaidh ria n-Aengus, & ro marbad mac Ailpin and, & ro gab Aengus nert." AT 17: 234; KKES, 183].

Conjectured son (evidence unclear): MALE Drest, d. 729 [AU], king of the Picts.
Marjorie Anderson suggested that Drest was a brother of king Alpín of the Picts, for reasons that are not clear [KKES, 177, 183 (& conjectural genealogical table on p. 169)].


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

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

Boece = Hector Boece, The Chronicles of Scotland. Translated into Scots by John Bellended, 1531 2 vols., (Scottish Texts Society, 3rd ser., vols. 10, 15, 1938-41).

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

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

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.

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", PRIA 98C (1998), 203-255 [.pdf available at http://www.ria.ie/publications/journals/ProcCI/1998/PC98/PC98.html]

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

Ní Dhonnchadha (1982) = Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha, "The guarantor list of Cáin Adomnáin", Peritia 1 (1982): 178-215.

Thurneysen (1933) = R. Thurneysen, "Synchronismen der irischen Könige", Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 19 (1933): 81-99.


Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 26 April 2007.

Minor revision 30 April 2007 (added information from Boece).

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