Alpin Mac Eochaid
King of Pict´s
834 to 859
Kenneth MacAlpin – the first King of Scotland?
For many Historians, he is the first King who ruled over Picts and Skots, but what others did before him! But what sets him apart from his Predecessors? It is the Fact that under and after him, the Picts and Skots remained permanently united. Although he was not the first, but was the most important King of his Era.
About the Childhood and Adolescence, probably 810 born in Dalriada Ciàed (Kenneth) MacAlpin, is virtually nothing known. Due to the royal Dignity of his Father, and accepted by the Picts maternal Succession, he had as the Son of the Skots King Alpin MacEochaid and the Picts Princess of Argyll claim to both Thrones. However, there were some Problems.
Although his Father was Ruler of the Skots as King in Dalriada, the Region was governed by the Picts of Caledonia, which led to Disputes and Wars between the Tribes again and again. In addition, since 793 there have been raids of the Vikings, who claimed the Area as a third Force. But it was precisely these Problems that should help MacAlpin later to become King of both Peoples.
The Picts and Skots repeatedly tried to drive the invading Norsemen, which failed each time. Eventually, in 839, there was a great battle on open Ground in which the Vikings quickly gained the upper hand and put the Skots to flight. The Picts, who were now without chance, were defeated and killed their King and most Nobles. Through this “Support” MacAlpin needed only the Consent of the remaining Nobles.
Cinàed MacAlpin ascended the Throne in 834 as King of Dalriada, which is relatively safe and adopted the christian name Kenneth.
Eight years (847 AD) after the great Battle between Picts and the Norsemen, his Power was still very unstable. The Fact that the Country was still dominated by the Vikings was what MacAlpin wanted to take advantage of. After a Legend, he invited the seven most important Earls to Scone to discuss the Ascent of the caledonian Throne. After a Feast with a lot of Wine, after the Guests, including the King, were tired and drunk, he and his followers should have attacked and killed them. From this legend, which is also taken up in Macbeth, there are various oral traditions, so this event and the date of the seizure of Force are not certain.
Dalriada becomes Alba
From now on, Kenneth MacAlpin called his united Kingdom Alba.
The king’s survey in Scone dated the most sources earlier to the year 843. The mystical King-Stone of Scone -the Stone of Destiny (Lia Fail) had an essential meaning in the Elevation Ritual.
Kenneth I. succeeded, until the year 850, in subjugating the remaining Territories of the Picts, thereby having not only the royal Dignity, but the actual Power. Historians are not in agreement, above he could assert the Rule in the following years.
During his Reign, he attacked Nothumbria six times, where he advanced to Dunbar and Melrose. He also had to defend himself against british Raids from Strathclyde and the Vikings who had “settled in” in the north. Thus, not all the Territory of present-day Scotland was under his Rule. Nothumbria, the Borders in the south and the northern Highlands remained in foreign Hands.
An important religious and political gesture of MacAlpin’s was to bring the Relics of St. Columba in the Monastery Dunkeld near Birnam. Birnam and Birnam Wood also play a Role in Macbeth. Scone became the secular and Dunkeld the spiritual Center of the Kingdom.
It is assumed that Kenneth MacAlpin fell asleep peacefully died in his bed in 859, when one of only two Kings from the House of Alpin. However, the MacKinnons slogan -a scottish Clan that goes back to Kenneth’s Bloodline- says, “Remember Alpin’s death.” According to that, he could also have fallen Victim to an assassination Attempt.
He was buried on the Isle of Iona.