According to the Scottish king-lists, Kenneth succeeded his kinsman Cuilén mac Illuilb as king in 971, but he does not appear to have established himself as sole king until he killed Cuilén's brother Amlaíb mac Illuilb in 977 [AU, AT, which call Amlaíb "rí Alban" (as a marginal addition in AU)]. Kenneth is said to have been killed by his own men at Fettercairn, through the treachery of Finuele/Finella, daughter of Cunthar/Cuncar, earl of Angus ["Kynnath macMalcolm xxiiii a. reg. ii mensibus et interfectus est a suis hominibus in Fetherkern per perfidias Finuele filie filie [sic] Cunchar comitis de Anguss cuius Finnele unicum filium predictus Kynnet interfecit." Regnal List "D", KKES 267; "Kinath Mac-Malcolm 24 an. et 2 mens. Interfectus in Fotherkern a usis per perfidiam Finellæ filiæ Cunechat comitis de Angus; cujus Finellæ filium unicum prædictus Kinath interfecit apud Dunfinoen." List "F", and similarly in List "I", ibid., 275, 283-4; see also ESSH 1: 511-6].
Date of Birth: Unknown
Place of Birth: Unknown
Date of Death: 995.
["Cinaedh m. Mael Cholaim, ri Alban, do marbad per dolum." AU, s.a. 995]
Place of Death: Fettercairn, Scotland.
Máel Coluim mac
Domnaill (Malcolm I), d. 954,
king of Scotland.
["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]
[See ESSH 1: 511-6; KKES 252ff.]
Spouse: NN of Leinster. According to Berchan's Prophecy, a cryptic Scottish king list posing as verse prophecy, the mother of Malcolm II was a women from Leinster, a statement not supported elsewhere, but which there is no good reason to doubt [ESSH 1: 573-4]. She was presumably a member of one of the local dynasties ruling in Leinster at the time, but no known evidence would tell us to which of these dynasties she belonged (if any).
NN, killed at Dunsinnan, ca. 995 or
He was killed by Finuele/Finella, the same woman whose treachery was responsible for the death of Cináed [Regnal Lists "D", "F", "I"; see above].
Máel Coluim mac
Cináeda (Malcolm II), d. 25
November 1034, king of Scotland.
[See the genealogy quoted above.]
See Commentary for possible additional children
Possible additional children: Because Kenneth II had a nephew of the same name (i.e., Kenneth III) who also ruled at about the same time, it is difficult to place certain individuals having patronymics ("mac Cináeda") which show them to be a son of some man named Cináed (Kenneth), but do not tell us unambiguously which Kenneth is intended.
Suibne mac Cináeda, d. 1034,
presumably king of Galloway [AU].
AU calls him ri Gallgaidhel, usually translated as king of the Galwegians. The title has sometimes been (mis)interpreted as king of Man and the Isles, in an imaginative theory in which Suibne is falsely turned into a Norseman named "Svennir, Svenn, Sweiyn, Suibhne Kennethson" [sic] who was supposedly a grandson of the Gofraid mac Arailt who died as king of the Isles in 989 [See, e.g., Morrison (1993-4), 450-2, for a recent version of this very dubious theory]. There is no good reason to believe that Suibne was Norse (Suibne being a perfectly good Irish name which is in no way related to the Old Norse name Sveinn). The assignment of Suibne as a son of Kenneth II (or, less likely, Kenneth III) is plausible enough, but there is no evidence for it beyond Suibne's patronymic.
Boete mac Cináeda [relationship unlikely] (father of Gruoch, the "Lady Macbeth" of Shakespeare), more likely to have been a son of Kenneth III than Kenneth II [See AU 1033, where a grandson of his was killed by Malcolm III of Scotland].
NN (mother of Mac Bethad, i.e., "Macbeth") [relationship very unlikely]. The Chronicle of Huntingdon (late thirteenth century), under the year 1054, states that Macbeth was the nepos (ordinarily nephew or grandson) of Malcolm [ESSH 1: 593, note 3]. If nepos is interpreted as meaning nephew, and Malcolm is assumed to be Malcolm II, then that would apparently make Macbeth a maternal grandson of Kenneth II (since Macbeth's paternal ancestry is well documented for a couple of generations). However, since the Chronicle of Huntingdon is not a contemporary source, and the Malcolm in question appears from context to be Malcolm III (not a chronologically suitable uncle or grandfather for Macbeth) rather than Malcom II, it is likely that the statement of the chronicle is an error.
Falsely attributed son:
Gilla Cáemgein mac Cináeda, living
The Annals of the Four Masters for the year 998 [recte 999] state that Dúngal mac Cináeda was killed by Gilla Cáemgein mac Cináeda. These individuals are not referred to as members of the Scottish dynasty, but their patronymics (mac Cináeda, i.e., son of Cináed/Kenneth) have sometimes caused them to be assigned as sons of either Kenneth II or Kenneth III of Scotland [e.g., the genealogical table in ESSH 1: 580, which assigns Dúngal to Kenneth II and Gilla Cáemgein to Kenneth III, both with question marks attached]. However, Seán Duffy has shown that Gilla Cáemgein and Dúngal were not of the Scottish royal dynasty at all, but were Irish, members of the Leinster sept of Uí Briúin Cualann whose genealogies are recorded in the Book of Lecan [Duffy (2000), 353; Lec. 91vc10,27]
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, The Annals of Ulster (Dublin, 1983). See also the CELT website.
Bannerman (1974) = John Bannerman, Studies in the History of Dalriada (Edinburgh & London, 1974).
Duffy (2000) = Seán Duffy, 'Ireland and Scotland, 1014-1169: contacts and caveats', in A. P. Smyth, ed., Seanchas (Four Courts Press, 2000), 348-356.
ESSH = Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1922, reprinted Stamford, 1990). [Contains English translations of many of the primary records]
KKES = Marjorie Ogilvy Anderson, Kings and Kingship in Early Scotland (Edinburgh, Totowa, NJ, 1973).
Lec. = Kathleen Mulchrone, ed., The Book of Lecan (Facsimile, Dublin, 1937).
Morrison (1993-4) = Alick Morrison, 'The Kingdom of Man and the Isles: 839-1266', Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness 58 (1993-4): 425-481.
Compiled by Stewart Baldwin
Originally uploaded 5 August 2001.
Minor revision uploaded 26 April 2007.
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