Giric of Scotland

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Giric, King of Picts and Scots (ruled 878–889 ?). The sources for the succession in what (c.900) became the Kingship of Alba are meagre and confused following the peak of Scandinavian devastation in 875-6. The descendants of Cináed mac Ailpín in the male line lost the kingship between 878 and 889. Two names of possible kings in this period are Eochaid and Giric. Giric is very obscure; he may have been Eochaid's guardian; and he may have lost power following a solar eclipse.

By the 12th century, however, he mysteriously acquired legendary status as liberator of the Scottish church from Pictish oppression and (fantastically) conqueror of Ireland and most of England. As a result Giric, was later known as Gregory the Great. This tale appears in the variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba which is interpolated in Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland. Here Giric, or Grig, is named "Makdougall", son of Dúngal. Giric, and Eochaid, are omitted from the Duan Albanach, but they are not unique in this.

A.A.M. Duncan argues that the association of Giric and Eochaid in the kingship is spurious, that Giric alone was king of the Picts, which he claimed as the son of daughter of Cináed mac Ailpín, and that the report that he was Eochaid's guardian (alumpnus) is a misreading of uncle (auunculus). A.P. Smyth proposed that Giric was a nephew of Cináed mac Ailpín, the son of his brother Domnall, which appears to rest on what is probably a scribal error. If the entry is accurate, then it would seem reasonable to accept the remainder, which states that an otherwise unknown Causantín mac Domnaill (or mac Dúngail) was king, but Smyth does not do so. Finally, Benjamin Hudson has suggested that Giric, rather than being a member of Cenél nGabráin dynasty of Cináed mac Ailpín and his kin, was a member of the northern Cenél Loairn descended dynasty of Moray, and accepts the existence of Giric's supposed brother Causantín.

The Chronicle of Melrose and some versions of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba say that Giric died at Dundurn in Strathearn.

In a recent discussion of the "Dunkeld Litany", which was largely fabricated in Schottenklöster in Germany in late Medieval and Early Modern times, Thomas Owen Clancy offers the provisional conclusion that, within the emendations and additions, there lies an authentic 9th century Litany. The significance of this Litany for the question of Giric's authenticity and kingship is contained in a prayer for the king and the army:
Ut regem nostrum Girich cum exercito suo ab omnibus inimicorum insiidis tuearis et defendas, te rogamus audi nos.<ref>Cite by Hudson, p. 206.</ref>
The king is clearly named as Giric.

[edit] References

  • Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History A.D 500–1286, volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8
  • Dauvit Broun, "Giric, King of Picts" in John Cannon (ed.) The Oxford Companion to British History. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997. ISBN 0-19-860514-5
  • Thomas Owen Clancy, "Scottish Saints and National Identities in the Early Middle Ages" in Alan Thacker & Richard Sharpe (eds), Local Saints and Local Churches in the Early Medieval West. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002. ISBN 0-19-820394-2
  • A.A.M. Duncan, The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • Hudson, Benjamin T., The Prophecy of Berchán: Irish and Scottish High-Kings of the Early Middle Ages. Greenwood, London, 1996.
  • Alfred P. Smyth, Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80–1000. E.J. Arnold, London, 1984 (reprinted Edinburgh UP). ISBN 0-7486-0100-7
  • Ann Williams, Alfred P. Smyth & D.P. Kirby, A Biographical Dictionary of Dark-Age Britain. Seaby, London, 1991. ISBN 1-85264-047-2

[edit] External link

Preceded by:
Áed mac Cináeda
King of Scots
with Eochaid
878–889
Succeeded by:
Domnall mac Causantín
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