Constantine II (MacAlpin) of Scotland

Constantine (MacAlpin) of Scotland (abt. 0874 - 0952)

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Constantine (Constantine II) "Còiseam mac Aoidh" of Scotland formerly MacAlpin aka mac Áeda, Alba
Born about in Scotlandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Céli Dé (Culdee) monastery of St Andrewsmap
Profile last modified | Created 6 Apr 2013 | Last significant change: 14 Nov 2018
16:38: Michael Thomas edited the Biography for Constantine II (MacAlpin) of Scotland. [Thank Michael for this]
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Categories: House of Alpin | Battle of Brunanburh | Estimated Birth Date.

House of Alpin tartan.
Constantine II (MacAlpin) of Scotland is a member of House of Alpin.
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Caution: Relationships between historical figures could have been simplified or even fabricated in some sources to give the impression that succession remained within the same family. In this period in Scotland succession was determined by Tanistry and not primogeniture. Please take care with source material.

The Birth Date is a rough estimate. See the text for details.

Preceded by
Donald II
King of Alba
900 - 943
Succeeded by
Malcolm I



Constantín mac Áeda (Constanine son of Aedh) was the son of Aedh MacAlpin. The name of his mother is not provided in source.[1] His date of birth is not provided in source although he is stated to have been a young boy when his father was killed in 878.

When his father, Aedh, was murdered, Constantine and his brother, Donald, fled to Ireland where he was brought up by monks surrounded in Gaelic culture. [2]

There is considerable conjecture regarding the events of his life. Much of this is discussed in Medlands[3] It is generally accepted that he succeeded his cousin, Donald mac Constantin as King in 900 and is thought to have reigned 43 years. Genealogists should note that succession in Scotland in the period was based on the laws of Tanistry and not primogeniture.[4]

His reign, likely based on his experiences as a child in Ireland, is responsible for the gaelicisation of Pictland, including his patronage of the Irish Céli Dé (Culdee) monastic reformation. During his reign the words "Scots" and "Scotland" (Old English: Scottas, Scotland) are first used to mean part of what is now Scotland. The earliest evidence for the ecclesiastical and administrative institutions which would last until the Davidian Revolution also appears at this time. He is also the one thought to be responsible for the division of Alban, or Albania, into seven provinces, or mormaerdoms.[5]

The Battle of Brunanburh. King Æthelstan was successful in securing Constantine's submission in 927 and 934. However Constantine formed an alliance with the Strathclyde Britons and the Viking king of Dublin in 937 and invaded Northumbria. The northern alliance was defeated by Æthelstan at the battle of Brunanburh. An account of the battle is provided in Celtic Scotland.[6]

Following this defeat he was persuaded to abdicate by Malcolm, son of Donald, and retired to the Céli Dé (Culdee) monastery of St Andrews where he died in 952. He was succeeded by his predecessor's son Malcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill). As mentioned by Skene: "Five years after this great defeat, Constantin, worn out with age and disappointment, resigned the throne for the pilgrim's staff, and committed the kingdom to Malcolm, the son of his predecessor Donald, who was entitled under the Tanistic law to succeed him."[7]

He is buried on the Isle of Iona.[8]


The name of Constantine's wife is not known. They had children:[9]

  • A son, unnamed in source. Killed in battle 936/937. The date appears to coincide with the battle of Brunanburh, although it is not certain that "Duinbrunde" refers to the same battle. There is no mention of any marriage or children.
  • Indulf (or Indulb), killed at the battle of the Bauds, Muir of Findochty, Banff in 962, buried at the Isle of Iona. The name of Indulf's wife is not known. Indulf & his wife had three children.
  • A daughter, unnamed in source. Her parentage and marriage are confirmed by Florence of Worcester who states that King Constantine was Olaf's father-in-law. She married, in 937, OLAF, King of Dublin, son of GUTHFRITH King of Dublin & his wife. He installed himself as King of York in 939.


  1. Medlands for Constantine, son of Aedh
  2. BBC-Scotlands History - Constantine II, King of Alba 900 – 943
  3. Medlands for Constantine, son of Aedh
  4. Celtic Scotland; page 339
  5. Celtic Scotland; page 340, map on facing page.
  6. Celtic Scotland; page 354.
  7. Celtic Scotland; page 360.
  8. Medlands for Constantine, son of Aedh
  9. Medlands for Constantine, son of Aedh


  • Celtic Scotland : a history of ancient Alban; William Skene, available at A reliable source for the period.

Web Resources

Wikipedia - Constantine II
BBC-Scotlands History - Constantine II, King of Alba 900 – 943
The - Constantine II, King of Alba

And read more about Constantine in Alan Anderson's EARLY SOURCES OF SCOTTISH HISTORY, and Alfred Smyth's WARLORDS AND HOLY MEN, and online at (written for wikitree by Catherine Evans)


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King Constantine II of Scotland
King Constantine II of Scotland

Constantine II (MacAlpin) of Scotland
Constantine II (MacAlpin) of Scotland

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Constantine II is 37 degrees from Rosa Parks, 32 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 26 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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