Constantine I of Scotland

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Causantín or Constantín mac Cináeda (Modern Gaelic Còiseam mac Choinnich) (died 877) was a king of the Picts. He is often known as Constantine I, in reference to his place in modern lists of kings of Scots, though contemporary sources described Constantín only as a Pictish king. A son of Cináed mac Ailpín ("Kenneth MacAlpin"), he succeeded his uncle Domnall mac Ailpín as Pictish king following the latter's death on 13 April 862. Reckoned Constantine I Constantín's reign witnessed increased activity by Vikings, based in Ireland and Northumbria, in northern Britain and he died fighting one such invasion.

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Sources

Very few records of ninth century events in northern Britain survive. The main local source from the period is the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, a list of kings from Cináed mac Ailpín (died 858) to Cináed mac Maíl Coluim (died 995). The list survives in the Poppleton Manuscript, a thirteenth century compilation. Originally simply a list of kings with reign lengths, the other details contained in the Poppleton Manuscript version were added from the tenth century onwards.[1] In addition to this, later king lists survive.[2] The earliest genealogical records of the descendants of Cináed mac Ailpín may date from the end of the tenth century, but their value lies more in their context, and the information they provide about the interests of those for whom they were compiled, than in the unreliable claims they contain.[3] The Pictish king-lists originally ended with this Constantín, who was reckoned the seventieth and last king of the Picts.[4]

For narrative history the principal sources are the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Irish annals. While Scandinavian sagas describe events in 9th century Britain, their value as sources of historical narrative, rather than documents of social history, is disputed.[5] If the sources for north-eastern Britain, the lands of the kingdom of Northumbria and the former Pictland, are limited and late, those for the areas on the Irish Sea and Atlantic coasts—the modern regions of north-west England and all of northern and western Scotland—are non-existent, and archaeology and toponymy are of primary importance.[6]

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