William the Lion had one of the longest reigns in Scottish history and it was largely dominated by his determination to win back the Earldom of Northumberland. The problem was, he was going to have to win it back from Henry II, one of England’s most powerful and successful kings. As if that was not enough, there were unresolved issues with dynastic rivals and rebellious territories within Scotland. To find out how William got on, listen to his podcast episode here or read on to find out more.
One of Scotland’s most significant monarchs, David I developed from a protege of Henry I to take advantage of the Anarchy in England to expand Scotland’s borders to an extent never seen before or since. A cultured and religious man, David’s reign also saw extensive reforms that had a lasting impact on Scotland. However, did his reign also represent the death of Gaelic Scotland in favour of the Norman world? And were his victories built on sand? To listen to David’s episode, click here or read on to find out more.
According to William Shakespeare, Duncan was a kindly old king murdered in his bed by the villainous Macbeth, but what was the real story? Duncan’s grandfather had ruled Scotland for nearly thirty years but the reign had ended with dynastic conflict. Would Duncan prove the wise king of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or was the reality of history rather less glorious. Listen to his podcast episode here or read on to find out more.
After two successful reigns, Indulf came to the throne in 954 at a time when the Scottish kingdom was on the up. His reign marks a return to a period where we have short reigns and limited evidence but despite this, the few details we have about Indulf are surprisingly rewarding. Edinburgh, Vikings and a pride before a fall await. Click here to listen to his podcast episode 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.
Welcome to a brand new series of Rex Factor! After reviewing all of England’s monarchs, we’re now setting our sights on the Kings and Queens of Scots, reviewing all the monarchs from Kenneth MacAlpin to James VI and deciding who among them is worthy of the Rex Factor. Before we start our reviewing, however, we started the series with a backgroundy episode, looking at Scottish history from the earliest settlers to the age of the Vikings.