World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Duncan I of Scotland

Duncan I
Anachronistic depiction of Duncan I by Jacob de Wet, 17th Century
King of Alba
Reign 1034–1040
Predecessor Malcolm II
Successor Macbeth
Died 14 August 1040(1040-08-14)[1]
Pitgaveny, near Elgin
Burial Iona ?
Spouse Suthen
Issue Malcolm III, King of Alba
Donald III, King of Alba
Máel Muire, Earl of Atholl
House Dunkeld
Father Crinan of Dunkeld
Mother Bethoc

Donnchad mac Crinain (Modern Gaelic: Donnchadh mac Crìonain;[2] anglicised as Duncan I, and nicknamed An t-Ilgarach, "the Diseased" or "the Sick";[3] ca. 1001 – 14 August 1040)[1] was king of Scotland (Alba) from 1034 to 1040. He is the historical basis of the "King Duncan" in Shakespeare's play Macbeth.

Contents

  • Life 1
  • Depictions in fiction 2
  • Ancestry 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Life

He was son of Crínán, hereditary lay abbot of Dunkeld, and Bethóc, daughter of king Máel Coluim mac Cináeda (Malcolm II).

Unlike the "King Duncan" of Shakespeare's Macbeth, the historical Duncan appears to have been a young man. He followed his grandfather Malcolm as king after the latter's death on 25 November 1034, without apparent opposition. He may have been Malcolm's acknowledged successor or Tànaiste as the succession appears to have been uneventful.[4] Earlier histories, following John of Fordun, supposed that Duncan had been king of Strathclyde in his grandfather's lifetime, between 1018 and 1034, ruling the former Kingdom of Strathclyde as an appanage. Modern historians discount this idea.[5]

An earlier source, a variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba (CK-I), gives Duncan's wife the Gaelic name Suthen.[6] Whatever his wife's name may have been, Duncan had at least two sons. The eldest, Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada) was king from 1058 to 1093, the second Donald III (Domnall Bán, or "Donalbane") was king afterwards. Máel Muire, Earl of Atholl is a possible third son of Duncan, although this is uncertain.[7]

The early period of Duncan's reign was apparently uneventful, perhaps a consequence of his youth. Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findláich) is recorded as having been his dux, today rendered as "duke" and meaning nothing more than the rank between prince and marquess, but then still having the Roman meaning of "war leader". In context — "dukes of Francia" had half a century before replaced the Carolingian kings of the Franks and in England the over-mighty Godwin of Wessex was called a dux — this suggests that Macbeth may have been the power behind the throne.[8]

In 1039, Duncan led a large Scots army south to besiege Durham, but the expedition ended in disaster. Duncan survived, but the following year he led an army north into Moray, Macbeth's domain, apparently on a punitive expedition against Moray.[9] There he was killed in action, at Bothnagowan, now Pitgaveny, near Elgin, by the men of Moray led by Macbeth, probably on 14 August 1040.[10] He is thought to have been buried at Elgin[11] before later relocation to the Isle of Iona.

Depictions in fiction

Duncan is depicted as an elderly King in Macbeth by William Shakespeare. He is killed in his sleep by the protagonist, Macbeth.

In the historical novel Macbeth the King by Nigel Tranter, Duncan is portrayed as a schemer who is fearful of Macbeth as a possible rival for the throne. He tries to assassinate Macbeth by poisoning and then when this fails, attacks his home with an army. In self-defence Macbeth meets him in battle and kills him in personal combat.

In the animated television series Gargoyles he is depicted as a weak and conniving king who assassinates those who he believes threaten his rule. He even tries to assassinate Macbeth. However like in actual history he is killed in battle.

Ancestry

Notes

  1. ^ a b Broun, "Duncan I (d. 1040)".
  2. ^ Donnchad mac Crínáin is the Mediaeval Gaelic form.
  3. ^ Skene, Chronicles, p. 101.
  4. ^ Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, p. 33.
  5. ^ Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, p. 40.
  6. ^ Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, p. 37.
  7. ^ Oram, David I, p. 233, n. 26: the identification is from the Orkneyinga saga but Máel Muire's grandson Máel Coluim, Earl of Atholl is known to have married Donald III's granddaughter Hextilda.
  8. ^ Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, pp. 33–34.
  9. ^ G. W. S. Barrow, Kingship and Unity: Scotland 1000–1306, Edinburgh University Press, 1981, p.26.
  10. ^ Broun, "Duncan I (d. 1040)"; the date is from Marianus Scotus and the killing is recorded by the Annals of Tigernach.
  11. ^ "I Never Knew That About Scotland", Christopher Winn, p. 165.

References

  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History AD 500 to 1286, volume one. Republished with corrections, Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8
  • Broun, Dauvit, "Duncan I (d. 1040)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 15 May 2007
  • Duncan, A. A. M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • Oram, Richard, David I: The King Who Made Scotland. Tempus, Stroud, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-2825-X
Duncan I of Scotland
Born: unknown 14 August
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Malcolm II
King of Scots
1034–1040
Succeeded by
Macbeth
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.