Macbeth Re: Macbeth Re: Macbeth On March 30, Ben Glassman wrote: * A non-list friend has asked me for help on the following question: * Can anyone provide information or a bibliography on the historical * figure Macbeth? * She is especially interested in any feuds that his family might have been * engaged in. Thanks. There has been very little work done on the historical Macbeth. There is a modern work, Peter Berresford Ellis, MACBETH, HIGH KING OF SCOTLAND: 1040-1057, (Belfast: Blackstaff, 1990). Unfortunately, this is an unscholarly re-hashing of William Skene’s nineteenth century work on Celtic Scotland, and should be taken with a ton of salt.
It is, however, a good read, and may have limited use as a introduction for someone new to the subject. Many of the contemporary sources for Macbeth’s reign have been edited and translated in A. O. Anderson, EARLY SOURCES OF SCOTTISH HISTORY A.D. 500-1286 vol. I, (Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990), pp. 579-604, and A. O.
Anderson, SCOTTISH ANNALS FROM ENGLISH CHRONICLERS, (Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1991), pp. 83-86. Here follows an account of the circumstances surrounding Macbeth’s reign, and the ‘feuds’ involved. Most of these comments are the subject of scholarly debate. Macbeth was a member of the ruling family of Moray, the northermost region of Scotland.
Moray’s rulers are mentioned in the sources sometimes as kings, and sometimes as mormaers , a term translated as ‘great-steward’ or ‘sea-steward’. The use of the term mormaer in reference to the rulers of Moray indicates that they were possibly subordinate to the kings of Scotland. Macbeth’s father Finnlaech ruled until 1020, when he was killed by his nephews Malcolm and Gillacomgain. Malcolm succeeded to Moray and died in 1029, when he was succeeded by Gillacomgain. In 1032, Gillacomgain was burned to death along with fifty other people. (Annals of Ulster) Macbeth succeeded to Moray at this time, and was probably the perpetrator of Gillacomgain’s death, which may have served as a pay-back for the killing of Finnlaech.
Macbeth probably also married Gillacomgain’s wife Gruoch at this time. Here follows a chart of the relationships: Ruaidri | | | Findlaech d. 1020 Maelbrigte | | | | | Macbeth m. Grouch m. Gillacomgain Malcolm d. 1058 d.
1032 d. 1029 | Lulach d. 1058 | further descendants There were two important marriage connections between the rulers of Moray and the kings of Scotland. Finnlaech probably married a duaghter of Kenneth II, (971-995), and Grouch was granddaughter of Kenneth III, (997-1005). The Scottish situation requires some more background information. *From c.
840-1034 Scotland was ruled by members, in the male line of the mac Alpin dynasty. (Alpin fl. in the early part of the ninth century) Malcolm II (1005-1034) left no male offspring, and he killed the only other surviving member (in the male line) of the mac Alpin dynasty in 1033, creating a succession problem. He had married his daughter Bethoc to Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld, and Malcolm arranged to have Crinan and Bethoc’s son Duncan succeed him in the kingship. It was unprecedented in Celtic kingship for succession to pass through the female line, another possible explanation is that Crinan had some claim to the throne, and passed it on to Duncan.
Duncan ruled until 1040, when he was killed in battle, probably by Macbeth, following a disastrous raid on Durham. Macbeth succeeded to the Scottish kingship in the manner which had become the norm over the preceding hundred years, by killing his predescessor. Macbeth, like Duncan, had a claim to the Scottish kingship through the female line, but his claim was probably based on his descent from the Cenel Loairn, one of the three tribal groupings of the kingdom of Dalriada (roughly corresponding to modern Argyll, Scotland), which was founded in the sixth century. (See John Bannerman, STUDIES IN THE HISTORY OF DALRIADA, Edinburgh, 1974 on Dalriada. The mac Alpin dynasty was descended from another tribal grouping, the Cenel nGabhrain) Macbeth’s pedigree, in MS Rawl B. 502, a reliable source of genealogies, shows his descent from Ferchair, who held the kingship of Dalriada in the late seventh century. There are scrappy bits of information on Macbeth’s actual reign.
In 1045, Duncan’s father Crinan was killed in A battle between the Scots themselves, (Annals of Ulster) and this event probably represented an attempt to oust Macbeth. In 1050, Macbeth is reported to have scattered money like seed to the poor at Rome. (Marianus Scottus) From 1054 onwards, Macbeth was probably occupied in a struggle with Duncan’s son Malcolm to retain the throne. Earl Siward of Northumbria invaded Scotland in 1054, probably with the intention of placing Duncan’s son Malcolm on the throne in an attempt to effect a friendly Scotland. Siward inflicted a costly defeat on the Scots; Siward’s son and nephew were both killed in the battle. (Anglo-Saxon Chroncle) In 1058, the Annals of Ulster and other sources record Macbeth’s death at the hands of Malcolm.
Macbeth was first succeeded by his stepson Lulach, the son of Grouch and Gillacomgain. He had a reign ranging from four to seven months according to the sources, until he in turn was also killed by Malcolm, who then took the kingship. Descendants of Lulach survived into the twelfth century, and continued their hostility to the descendants of Duncan until the death of Lulach’s grandson in 1130, which probably extinguished the line of the rulers of Moray. I know that there is a great deal of confusing information here, I will be happy to provide clarification on any points. Michael Davidson Thu, 31 Mar 1994 15:42:47 -0500] Bibliography shakespear macbeth Shakespeare.