Artgal of Alt Clut

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Artgal (died 872) was a king of Alt Clut (modern Dumbarton Rock) and Strathclyde (the Clyde Valley), a Brythonic kingdom in the Hen Ogledd or "Old North" of Britain, for some time in the mid-9th century. Artgal's reign is notable in that he is the first certain king of Alt Clut since Dumnagual III of Alt Clut a century before. He was killed in 872, evidently with the consent of Constantín mac Cináeda, King of the Picts at the time. He is thought to have been succeeded by his son Run.[1]

Life[edit]

According to the Harleian genealogies, Artgal was the son of Dumnagual IV, probably his predecessor as king.[2] At some point his son Run married the daughter of Kenneth mac Alpin, thus becoming Constantín mac Cináeda's brother in law. The Britons of Strathclyde besieged Dunblane during the mid-9th century, probably during the later part of Kenneth's reign around 849. This attack, the first recorded offensive by the Britons for many years, may have been led by Artgal, though it may have been occurred under his father Dumnagual.[3]

Both the Welsh and Gaelic sources report the siege and sack of Alt Clut by Norsemen under Amlaíb Conung and Ímar, the Kings of Dublin, in 870.[1][4] Artgal was presumably king at this time. After a siege of four months, the Britons' well dried up, allowing the Norse to gain the upper hand and destroy the citadel.[1] Amlaíb and Ímar returned to Ireland with many prisoners, and Artgal was probably among them. The Annals of Ulster report that he was killed, presumably by the Norse, with the consent of Constantín mac Cináeda in 872.[1][5] The same entry styles him rex Britanorum Sratha Cluade, i.e. "King of the Britons of Strathclyde", the first documented use of the term Strathclyde. If the marriage between Artgal's son Run and Constantín's sister had occurred or been arranged by that time, it may have bolstered Constantín's claim of overlordship over Strathclyde.[1] The Harleian genealogies indicate that Run succeeded his father as king, though the dates of his reign are unknown.[2]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • MacQuarrie, Alan, "The Kings of Strathclyde", in A. Grant & K.Stringer (eds.) Medieval Scotland: Crown, Lordship and Community, Essays Presented to G.W.S. Barrow, (Edinburgh, 1993), pp. 1–19
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Dumnagual?
King of Alt Clut
d. 872
Succeeded by
Run?