Constantine mac Aed, King
of Alba 900-943
mac Aed (Constantine II), the grandson of Kenneth MacAlpine, began
his life as an exile. In 878 AD his father, Aed, had been slain
by a Giric, son of Dungal, and Constantine, a young boy at the time,
fled to Ireland where he was brought up by monks surrounded in Gaelic
889 AD he returned with his cousin Domnall to wreak revenge on Giric.
Domnall took the kingship of the Picts initially, but shortly afterwards
was slain by the Vikings - Dark Age kingships were often painfully
it was that in his early twenties, Constantine mac Aed became King
the defeat of the Vikings, regeneration of the kingdom was Constantines
top priority. He remodelled the church along Gaelic lines and brought
in a system of mormaers (earls) to defend the kingdom more efficiently.
He also renamed the territory, Alba, which is actually means Britain
in Gaelic. Pictland was remade in a Gaelic image and the Scottish
nation was launched.
The kingdom had been nearly destroyed by the Vikings, but its peoples,
Picts and Gael, faced with the prospect of Viking conquest, had
drawn together. In 902 AD, the Vikings, under Ivar the Younger of
Dublin, returned to seize Dunkeld, where St Columbas relics
were kept, and the rich farmlands around the River Tay. Constantine
caught up with Ivar at Strathcarron in 904 AD, and, in a bitter
struggle, Ivar and his Viking army were massacred.
continued to extend Albas influence across Scotland.
The east coast, south of the river Forth and modern-day
Edinburgh, was Angle territory and often very hostile
at that, until 918 AD, when Constantine led his army into
Northumbria. At the Battle of Corbridge, he forced Ragnall,
the Viking King of York, to withdraw from the Angle earldom
of Northumbria that stretched from Lothian to the Tyne.
In return the restored earl, Eadred, recognised Constantine
as his overlord. For the first time much of the land in
modern-day Scotland was either under the direct kingship
of the King of Alba or was under his rule as overlord.
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