Kings of Celtic Scotland

By Benjamin T. Hudson | Go to book overview
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Causantín II

With the tenure of Domnall II as king, the descendants of Cináed mac Alpín in the male line had successfully removed their rivals from contention for the kingship. Never again would the Britons of Strathclyde be serious rivals to Cenél nGabráin, who also had successfully survived the challenge from Cenél Loairn to remain in control of the lands south of the Grampians. The roving Scandinavian armies would settle in the North Riding of Yorkshire and face the same dangers as their neighbors.

Despite, or because of, those challenges the royal families of Cenél nGabráin had begun to move out of central Perthshire and establish themselves in different regions between the Grampians and the Forth. Scone and Dunkeld remained ceremonial and religious centers, but the families themselves moved eastwards. The family of the next king, Cináed's grandson Causantín II mac Áeda, appears based in Fife, while the family of Causantín's cousin Domnall dásachtach seems to have established itself in the Mearns, with its fortress at Dunnottar. The movement may have been intended as a means of dividing the labor necessary for guarding the realm, but it does show the urge toward provincialism as branches of Cenél nGabráin established themselves in the old Pictish provinces of Fib (Fife) and Circenn (Angus and the Mearns). The location of Causantín's family in Fife would have placed them in position to guard both the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth. Domnall's family at Dunnottar would guard the invasion routes leading across the Grampians, from the lands of Cenél Loairn. The Mearns proved to be especially difficult for the Scots to control, which would have made necessary the presence of representatives of the royal dynasty. How troublesome the region was is seen when Domnall II, his son Máel Coluim I and grandson Cináed II would all die there by violence; Domnall was slain either by vikings or by his own men, while Máel Coluim and Cináed would die at the hands of their own subjects. The division of territory would lead to a scenario familiar from the eighth


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