MALE Máel Coluim mac Cináeda (Malcolm II)

King of Scotland (Alba), 1005-1034.

Máel Coluim mac Cináeda (Malcolm II) succeeded to the kingship of Scotland on the death of his kinsman Cináed mac Duib (Kenneth III) in 1005 according to the official lists of kings [ESSH 1: 573; KKES 254ff.], but he appears to have ruled only part of Scotland during most of his reign, in opposition to leaders from Moray such as Findláech mac Ruadrí (d. 1020, father of the famous "Macbeth"), and Máel Coluim mac Máel Brigte (d. 1029), both of whom are also called kings of Alba (i.e., Scotland) in the Irish annals.

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

Date of Death: 25 November 1034.
["Mael Coluim m. Cinaedha, ri Alban, obiit." AU, s.a. 1034; "Moelcoluim rex Scotiae obiit 7. Kal. Decembr. Donchad filius filiae eius, sibi successit annis 5, mensibus 9." Marianus Scottus, Chronicon, MGH SS 5: 556]
Place of Death: Glamis (buried at Iona).
["Malcolm mac Kynnat Rex victoriosissimus xxx a. reg. et mortuus est in Glamuernes et sepultus in Yona." Regnal List "D", KKES 267; similarly in Lists "F" and "I", ibid., 276, 284; see also ESSH 1: 573]

Father: Cináed mac Máel Coluim (Kenneth II), d. 995, king of Scotland, 971?-995.
["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]

Mother: NN of Leinster. According to Berchan's Prophesy, a cryptic Scottish king list posing as verse prophesy, 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).

Spouse: Unknown.
See the Commentary section below.


FEMALE Bethóc, m. Crínán, abbot of Dunkeld.
["... Bethok filia[e] Malcalm macKynnet ...", Regnal List "D", similarly in Lists "F" and "I", KKES 268, 276, 284; see also ESSH 1: 576, 581]

See Commentary for possible additional children


Supposed wife (probably falsely attributed): .

FEMALE NN, supposedly a daughter of Brian Bóruma, king of Ireland. There does not appear to be any good evidence that Malcolm married a daughter of Brian. Consult the page on Brian for further details.

Possible additional children:

FEMALE NN, m. Sigurðr, jarl of Orkney, d. 23 April 1014. Sigurðr (Sigurd) is stated to have married a daughter of king Malcolm of Scotland [OrkS 12 (p. 39)]. Unfortunately, it is not clear whether the mother of Sigurd's wife was Malcolm II [e.g., Duncan 100, 118; ESSH 1: 510] or his rival Malcolm mac Máel Brigte (d. 1029) [Hudson (1994), 135], who is also called king of Scotland (rí Alban) in his obituary in the Annals of Tigernach [AT]. Chronologically, Malcolm II would seem like the more likely father.

The French historian Rodulfus Glaber, in a passage mentioning Cnut's invasion of Scotland, states that after peace was made, a son of Malcolm was received at the baptismal font by Cnut ["Insuper et Scotorum regem amiciciæ gratia diligens illiusque filium de sacro baptismatis fonte excepit." Rodulfus Glaber, ii, 2 (p. 29)]. This son, if he existed and was still alive at the time of Malcolm's death, would presumably have been quite young. There is no further trace of him.

Supposed child (very unlikely)

FEMALE NN (mother of Mac Bethad, i.e., "Macbeth"). 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 grandson, and Malcolm is assumed to be Malcolm II, then that would apparently make Macbeth a maternal grandson of Malcolm 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.


AT = Whitley Stokes, ed. & trans., ‘The Annals of Tigernach’, Revue Celtique 16 (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).

Duncan (1975) = Archibald A. M. Duncan, Scotland - The Making of a Kingdom (Edinburgh, 1975).

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]

Hudson (1994) = Benjamin T. Hudson, Kings of Celtic Scotland (Westport, CT, 1994).

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

OrkS = Hermann Pálsson and Paul Edwards, ed. & trans., Orkneyinga Saga (London, 1978). Citation is by chapter, with the page number in parentheses.

Rodulfus Glaber = Maurice Prou, ed., Raoul Glaber - les cinq livres de ses histoires (900-1044) (Paris, 1886).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 5 August 2001.

Revision uploaded 9 September 2001.

Minor revision uploaded 26 April 2007.

Minor revision uploaded 20 June 2010 (added possible son from Rodulfus Glaber, plus other minor revisions).

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