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                                 RHUN ap ARTHGAL and HIS FAMILY
                                           By Dr J White-Phillip
 

     In the 10th century manuscript, Harleian 3859, pedigree 5 describes the descent of the “men of Stathclyde”. Rhun ap Arthgal ap Dyfnwal is presented as the last-born of the lineage descended from the 5th century Ceretic Wledig, shown in the pedigree. [1]

           The paucity of data regarding the Kings of Strathclyde begins with the grandfather of Rhun ap Arthgal, a man named Dyfnwal ap Rhydderch, whose only attestation is the Harl pedigree. History records few citations that provide scant details regarding the generations of Rhun, his father Arthgal, and Rhun's son Eochaid, this latter not included in the Harl manuscript of 975.

ARTHGAL ap DYFNWAL ap RHYDDERCH:

             Perhaps the first event we could reasonably attribute to Arthgal ap Dyfnwal is the record of an event during the reign of Cinaid (Kenneth) Mac Alpin in which “the Britons burned Dunblane”, dated between 850 and 858. [2] This event was likely orchestrated by Arthgal (b ca 810), but would almost certainly occur at a date too late for his father, Dyfnwal ap Rhydderch. We would date this Dyfnwal to ca 780, and provide him with an estimated obit of 840/5, certainly prior to the burning of Dunblane. We suggest that this foray into Pictish territory may have been a military display relatively early in the reign of Arthgal ap Dyfnwal, and further, that Arthgal may have agreed to wed his son Rhun to a daughter of Cinaed as part of a “peace treaty” or other alliance agreements resulting from this event. We date the birth of Rhun ap Arthgal to c. 838 using the marriage to this daughter of Cinaed, which likely occurred in 860/2, at the time of his son Constantine's accession to the kingship.

           The next attested event in Strathclyde is the four month long Viking siege of the fortress at Alt Clud which occurred in 870/1 and appears in the Annals of Ulster, Chronicon Scotorum, and the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland. A large number of prisoners including “Angles, Britons and Picts” were transported to Ireland, [3] likely to ransom the elites and sell the rest on the slave market. It is likely that these prisoners included King Arthgal, as well as many of those who lived at Alt Clud.

          The next entry for Arthgal is his 872 obit, in which he is reported killed "at the behest of Constantine". [4] One doubts Arthgal's captors were intent on providing any favors for Constantine; this entry could simply be “eliminating a hostage with no ransom value”. The “Behest” of Constantine could be interpreted as his refusal to pay any ransom to ensure the safe return of Arthgal. This refusal would equate to tacit approval "it's okay with me if you kill this hostage", but does not necessarily indicate a “request” made by Constantine “Please kill Arthgal for me”. One notes that the “hostages taken” do not appear to include Constantine's brother-in-law, Rhun ap Arthgal, who would have been about 30 years of age, and may not have resided at Alt Clud. It certainly suited Constantine for his political ally Rhun to become the new king of Strathclyde.

EOCHAID ap RHUN ap ARTHGAL:

            Additional sources [5, 6, 7] state that Rhun had a son named Eochaid who was living c. 878-889 and seems to be the lynch pin in an Alban coup that occurred in 878, after which, Eochaid is reported to be the new king in Alba. No sources mention Eochaid's “contemporary” in Strathclyde during this time, and it may be that Eochaid held both the kingdoms of Alba and Strathclyde while still a youth.

           The reports [5-7] state that a "Giric" or “Ciric” (also called Greg) installed himself and Eochaid ap Rhun as “joint” kings, which supports the suggestion of an 877 or 878 obit for Rhun. We date the marriage of Rhun and the daughter of Cinaed Mac Alpin to ca 862, and an estimated birth for Eochaid ap Rhun can occur no earlier than 863. Thus in 878, Eochaid would have been a scant 15 years old. This Giric/Greg is described as some type of "guardian" for the boy, which supports the suggested minority of Eochaid at the time of the coup.

           Furthermore, both men are cited together in chronicles describing their reign, wherein Giric's ward, Eochaid, is clearly named as son of the late king of Strathclyde (filiis Run regis brittanorum), and as a maternal grandson of Kenneth mac Alpin (nepos Cinadei ex filia). [Chronicles of the Picts] If there were no males in the next generation of the extended Alpinid family who were yet teens after the death of Aed, then Eochaid had the “best” claim to the Alban throne. Interestingly, Eochaid ap Rhun is never cited as a sole king of Alba, which distinction is reserved for Giric. [8]

            This same passage in the Pictish Chronicles [5] informs us that Eochaid and Greg were "driven from the kingship" (expulsus) in 889 after a reign of 11 years, while Fordun provides a reign of 18 years ending in 892. The next citations in both the Chronicles of Alba and the Pictish Chronicles state that Domnall (Dyfnwal or Donald), son of Constantine I, assumed the kingship in Alba, corroborated by obits in the Annals of Ulster. [5-9] It may be that this Donald, born perhaps a few years after Eochaid, attained his majority and having a stronger claim to the kingship, was able to gain enough support to force his cousin out of Alba. Eochaid's obit is unknown, and it may be that he continued to rule in Strathclyde for some time even after he lost the throne of Alba to his cousin Donald I (Mac Constantine).

DID EOCHAID HAVE A DAUGHTER?
 
        Peter Bartram charts a daughter of Eochaid ap Rhun as "Land" who married Niall Glundub mac Aedh, High King of Ireland, and cites his source as the Ban-Senchus of 1147.  She appears (with a ?) on Bartrum's chart #21 and is dated to his Generation 18 or c. 900. Some modern websites call her "Lann".
 
        In the source he listed, we find a single mention of Niall Glundub and only as "son of Mael Mure", with no mention of any "Land" as his wife or mother of his children. [10]  We did find a "Land, daughter of Dungal mac Fergal of Osirage"  immediately preceding the description for Mael Mure, which is immediately followed by a citation which mentions the name "Eochaid".  This lady is cited as having married thrice, including one marriage to Aed, father of Niall Glundub.  We found nothing which mentions a daughter of Eochaid ap Rhun.
 
        Niall Glundub was definitely married to Gormlaith/Gormflaith daughter of Flann Sinna as recorded in his 919 obit.  That wife is mentioned in other Irish sources, but Land ferch Eochaid is not.  We are unable to attribute any of Niall's three known children to a daughter of Eochaid and we believe she is fictitious.  Rather than mark her with a "?", we think Bartrum should have used an eraser.
 
       

SUCCESSION IN STRATHCLYDE AFTER 900:

            Our first hint about who might have succeeded Eochaid in Strathclyde is found in the Poppleton manuscript (written no later than the 14th century), which is likely compounded from earlier components. These components are variously presented in Skene as the “Pictish Chronicle” and elsewhere in English translation as the “Chronicle of the Kings of Alba”. Among the entries, some contain the names of noteworthy individuals who died during the reigns of these kings. The text provided in Skene [5] includes a "Dyfnwal, king of the Britons" (Doneualdus rex Brittanorum) and provides an obit between 908 and 915 during the reign of Constantine II of Alba (900-943). [10] No ancestry is known for this Dyfnwal, but he is generally assumed to have been the father of Owain ap Dyfnwal, King of Strathclyde, who took part in the 937 Battle of Brunanburh. Working backwards from the known kings who followed Owain, we would place the birth date of Dyfnwal “rex Brittanorum” near 845 and his death when he was in his mid-to-late 60's.

              We suggest that Dyfnwal of Strathclyde (Doneualdus rex Brittanorum) assumed the kingship of Strathclyde after Eochaid (and Greg) were removed. We posit this man was a cousin of Rhun whose father had been a younger brother of Arthgal. We reject the possibility that a single Dyfnwal reigned in both kingdoms, for chronological reasons and the clear evidence from entries in CKA [10] naming two men (19) “Donivaldus filius Constantini” and (28) “Doneualdus rex Brittanorum”. For further information on the family of Dyfnwal “rex Brittanorum”, click the link below:

  http://www.ancientwalesstudies.org/id275.html

 

 
                                    750  Rhydderch
                                                 l
                                    780 Dyfnwal
                       ______________l____________
                      l                                                l
           813  Owain         Kenneth             810 Arthgal                  ?
                     l              mac Alpin           _____l_______        Dyfnwal
                     l                    l                 l                      l             l
        845  Dyfnwal            Dau=====Rhun 838    daughter==Giric/Greg  830
                    l                               l   
        875  Owain                863  Eochaid 

CHART COMMENTS:  The Strathclyde family on the left apparently supplanted their royal cousins sometime between 889, when Eochaid was ousted from Alba and the CKA obit (908x915). Any children fathered by either Eochaid or Giric/Greg would have been banished from the royal court with their fathers. Since the Owain of 875 is known to have had a grandson named Owain ap Dyfnwal, we have posited that there were 3 consecutive pairs of that name string in this family. If the Dyfnwal who fathered Giric/Greg was also related to this family, he might represent a cousin line which branched off the royal line earlier than the men shown in our chart. We suspect, however, he was a mere opportunist.


NOTES:
[1]  Harl 3859, pedigree 5
[2] Chronicle of the Kings of Alba / De  Situ Albanie “A Critical essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of the Northern parts of Britain or Scotland”, Vols I & II, Innes, London 1729. (Early and Later “revised” versions) 
         And he invaded England six times; and he seized and burned Dunbar and Melrose. But the Britons burned Dunblane, and the Danes wasted Pictland to Clunie and Dunkeld.”
[3] Fragmentary Annals of Ireland (388); Annals of Ulster (870.6; 871.2); Chronicon Scottorum (871)
        FA 388; 870 "In this year the Norwegian kings besieged Srath Cluada in Britain, camping against them for four months; finally, having subdued the people inside by hunger and thirst—the well that they had inside having dried up in a remarkable way—they attacked them. First they took all the goods that were inside. A great host was taken out into" captivity. [Dubháltach Firbisigh wrote this, in 1643.] thus wrote the first transcriber.
       U870.6: "The siege of Ail Cluaithe by the Norsemen: Amlaíb and Ímar, two kings of the Norsemen, laid siege to the fortress and at the end of four months they destroyed and plundered it".
        U871.2: "Amlaíb and Ímar returned to Áth Cliath from Alba with two hundred ships, bringing away with them in captivity to Ireland a great prey of Angles and Britons and Picts".
       CS871: "Amlaíb and Ímar returned to Áth Cliath from Alba with two hundred ships, bringing away with them in captivity to Ireland a great prey of Saxons and Britons".
[4] Annals of Ulster (872.5); Chronicon Scottorum (872)
        "Artgal, king of the Britons of Strathclyde, was killed at the instigation of Constantine son of Cinaed".
[5]Annals of Ulster (878.2)
        U878.2: "Aed son of Cinaed, king of the Picts, was killed by his own associates".
       U876.1: "Constantine son of Cinaed, king of the Picts..... die".
[6] 'Chronicles of the Picts, chronicles of the Scots, and other early memorials of Scottish history' (Document Version B) by Skene, W. F. (William Forbes), 1809-1892, ed.
         “Eochodius autem filius Run regis Britannorum, nepos Cinadei ex filia, regnavit annis xi. Licet Ciricium filium alii dicunt hie regnasse; eo quod alumpnus ordinatorque Eochodio fiebat. Cujus secundo anno Aed filius Neil moritur; ac in ix. ejus anno, in ipso die Cirici, eclipsis solis facta est. Eochodius, cum alumpno suo, expulsus est nunc de regno.”
        “Donivaldus filius Constantini tenuit regnum xi. annos.....”
            "Et mortui sunt in tempore hujus, Doneualdus rex Britannorum, et Duuenaldus filius Ede rex eligitur; et Flann filius Maelsethnaill, et Niall filius Ede, qui regnavit tribus annis post Flann."
[7] Chronicle of the Kings of Alba / De  Situ Albanie “A Critical essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of the Northern parts of Britain or Scotland”, Vols I & II, Innes, London 1729.
        16.  "And Eochodius son of Run king of the Britons, grandson of Kenneth by his daughter, reigned for 11 years [878-89]; although others say that Ciricium [Giric] son of another reigned at this time, because he became Eochaid's foster-father and guardian"
.       17.  "And in his second year [879] Aed son of Neil died".
       18.  "And in his ninth year, on the very day of St. Cirici [Cyrus], an eclipse of the sun occurred. Eochaid and his foster father was now expelled from the kingdom".
8] Historia Britonum of Nennius (31)
         " Girig mac Dungaile xi. vel. iii. annis regnavit".
         "Domhnall, fil. Constantini, xi. annis regnavit"
.
[9] Annals of Ulster (900.6); Chronicon Scottorum (899)
          U900.6: "Domnall son of Constantine, king of Scotland, dies".
         CS899: "Repose of Domnall son of Constantine, king of Scotland"
.
[10] Ban Senchus Original text and translation by Dobbs, M. in Revue celtique / publiée avec le concours des principaux savants des îles britanniques et du continent, Vol 47. Paris, 1930
 
[11] Chronicle of the Kings of Alba / The Scottish Chronicle in the Poppleton Manuscript, English translation: entries 19, 28 
      19. "Donivaldus filius Constantini tenuit regnum xi. annos".
          19. "Doniualdus son of Constantini held the kingdom for 11 years" [889-900].  
      28.  "Et mortui sunt in tempore hujus, Doneualdus rex Britannorum, et Duuenaldus filius Ede rex eligitur; et Flann filius Maelsethnaill, et Niall filius Ede, qui regnavit tribus annis post Flann".
      28. "And in his time Doneualdus king of the Britons [of Strathclyde] died; and Duneualdus son of Ede [Aed] king of Ailech [Tirconnel, Co. Donegel]; and F1ann son of Maelsechnaill and Niall son of Ede who reigned for three years after Flann".