The Scottish monarchy was thrown into crisis and civil war when Kenneth II, having tried to ensure that the succession would pass from father to son, was killed in 995. After ten years of conflict, Kenneth’s son, Malcolm II, has finally become king, but was it worth the wait? To find out how Malcolm II fared as king, listen to his podcast episode here or read on to find out more.
The stability Scotland enjoyed in the long reign of Kenneth II was thrown back into turmoil in 995 when Kenneth was murdered and there were three men disputing the throne. Constantine III was the first to get his grubby hands on the crown, but could he hold on to it? To listen to his podcast episode, click here, or read on to find out more.
After two short reigns mired by dynastic conflict, Scotland’s monarchy was looking a little precarious at the end of the tenth century. If Kenneth II was going to succeed where others would fail he would not only have to defeat his rival, Olaf, but find a way to solve the succession crisis once and for all. His story involves murder, rowing up the River Dee and one of the most remarkable deaths featured in Rex Factor as well as everybody’s favourite monk! To listen to his podcast episode, click here, or read on to find out more.
The reign of King Dubh (or Duff) of Scotland marks the beginning of a period of dynastic conflict, making the “King of Scots” job something of a poisoned chalice. The rival descendants of the two sons of Kenneth MacAlpin – Constantine I and Aed – were now in open competition for the throne and Dubh was the first target for usurpation by his own kin. To find out how he fares, you can listen to his podcast here or read on to find out more.
Malcolm I had the unenviable task of following the long reign of Constantine II in a period when the Saxons were expanding and the Vikings had a new champion in Erik Bloodaxe. The Battle of Brunanburh in 937 was supposed to bring to an end the conflict around York in northern England, but the death of Athelstan just two years later launched a decade of conflict in what Michael Wood has dubbed a “Dark Age Vietnam”. Constantine II managed British politics to Scotland’s advantage but could Malcolm I enjoy the same success? Listen to the podcast episode here or read on to find out more.
In 900, the idea of Scotland as nation state was still very much in the fruition. The last four monarchs had died by violent means, Viking raiders were on the rampage while the rise of an increasingly imperial Anglo-Saxon England under Athelstan threatened to reduce Scotland to a vassal state. The reign of Constantine II, therefore, was a make or break for Scotland and perhaps the most significant in its formation as a country. Listen to the podcast episode here or read on to find out more.
The assassination of King Aed in 878 suggested that the Scottish kingdom was in turmoil after a decade of Viking raids but even the chroniclers seem to have been confused about what happened next. Was Giric king? Or was it Eochaid? Or maybe both! We take a look at what was going on and try to work out who was really king. Listen to the podcast episode here or read on for more information.
Kenneth MacAlpin is traditionally seen as the first King of Scots, unifying the northern kingdoms against the Vikings and establishing a new nation in the process. However, the truth is a little more nuanced and involves a host of disputed events including warfare, skulduggery, lost animals and a curious smell of fish. So, just who was Kenneth MacAlpin and does he have the Rex Factor? Read our latest blog to find out and vote in our poll to give your verdict.