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House of Alpin

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Date: 3 Aug 2018 [unknown]
Location: Worldwidemap
Surnames/tags: Alpin MacAlpine
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Succeeded by House of Moray -- Profile of House

Scottish Royal House of Alpin (Monarchs of Scotland) (843–878; 889–1040)

The House of Alpin is the name given to the kin-group which ruled in Pictland and then the Kingdom of Alba from the advent of Cináed mac Ailpín in the 840s until the death of Máel Coluim mac Cináeda in 1034.

Kings traced their descent from Cináed mac Ailpín, and not from his father, and Irish genealogies in the Book of Ballymote and the Book of Lecan refer to the kindred as Clann Cináeda meic Ailpín, prioritising descent from Cináed.

The origins of the family are uncertain. Later genealogies of doubtful reliability make Cináed a descendant of Áed Find. While plausible, such claims are unprovable and appear only in the late tenth century. The associated idea that Cináed had been a king in Dál Riata before contending successfully for power in Pictland in the 840s, following the death of Eóganán mac Óengusa, is supported by near-contemporary evidence.

Early kings of Clann Cináeda meic Ailpín are described as kings of the Picts, and the third king, Constantín mac Cináeda appears to have been regarded as the last of the seventy Pictish kings soon after his death. The descendants of Cináed were ousted in 878 when Áed mac Cináeda was killed by Giric mac Dúngail. They returned in 889 on the death of Giric. Following this, the title king of Alba is used.

During the tenth century, succession alternated between the descendants of Constantín mac Cináeda and those of Áed mac Cináeda. Internecine strife in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries left the descendants of Constantín unchallenged by male-line descendants of Cináed mac Ailpín, but Máel Coluim mac Cináeda left no male heirs. On Máel Coluim's death, the line of kings descended from Cináed came to an end. Future kings, while still tracing their descent from Cináed, were descended from Máel Coluim's daughter Bethóc.[1][2]

Traditional modern English regnal name
(with modern Gaelic equivalent)
Medieval Gaelic name Dynastic Status Reign Title
Kenneth MacAlpin I
(Coinneach mac Ailpein)
Cináed mac Ailpín
Ciniod m. Ailpin
son of Alpin
king of Dal Riata
843/848 –
13 February 858
Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
Donald I
(Dòmhnall mac Ailpein)
Domnall mac Ailpín son of Alpin
king of Dal Riata, and
brother of Kenneth I
858 – 13 April 862 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
Constantine I
(Còiseam mac Choinnich)
Causantín mac Cináeda Son of Kenneth I 862–877 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
(Aodh mac Choinnich)
Áed mac Cináeda Son of Kenneth I 877–878 Rex Pictorum
("King of the Picts")
(Griogair mac Dhunghail)
Giric mac Dúngail Son of Donald I 878–889
Eochaid Eochaid mac Run † grandson of
Kenneth I
Donald II
(Dòmhnall mac Chòiseim)
Domnall mac Causantín Son of Constantine I 889–900 Rí Alban
("King of Scotland")
Rì nan Albannaich
("King of Scots")
Constantine II
(Còiseam mac Aoidh)
Causantín mac Áeda Son of Áed 900–943 Rí Alban
Malcolm I
(Maol Chaluim mac Dhòmhnaill)
Máel Coluim mac Domnaill Son of Donald II 943–954 Rí Alban
Indulf Ildulb mac Causantín Son of Constantine II 954–962 Rí Alban
(Dubh or Duff)
(Dubh mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
Dub mac Maíl Choluim Son of Malcolm I 962–967 Rí Alban
Cuilén mac Ilduilb Son of Indulf 967–971 Rí Alban
Amlaíb mac Ilduilb Son of Indulf * 973x–977 Rí Alban
Kenneth II
(Coinneach mac Mhaoil Chaluim)
Cináed mac Maíl Choluim Son of Malcolm I 971 x 977–995 Rí Alban
Constantine III
(Còiseam mac Chailein)
Causantín mac Cuiléin Son of Cuilén 995–997 Rí Alban
Kenneth III
(Coinneach mac Dhuibh)
Cináed mac Duib Son of Dub 997 – 25 March 1005 Rí Alban
Malcolm II
(Maol Chaluim mac Choinnich)
Máel Coluim mac Cináeda Son of Kenneth II 1005–1034 Rí Alban / Rex Scotiae

* Evidence for Eochaid's reign is unclear: he may never have actually been King. If he was, he was co-King with Giric. Amlaíb is known only by a reference to his death in 977, which reports him as King of Alba; since Kenneth II is known to have still been King in 972–973, Amlaíb must have taken power between 973 and 977.

† Eochiad was a son of Run, King of Strathclyde, but his mother was a daughter of Kenneth I.

See also:

  • Siol Alpin (from Gaelic, Sìol Ailpein: Seed of Alpin) is a family of seven Scottish clans able to trace their descent from Alpin.

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