Owen the Bald

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Owen II (Latin: Eugenius; Old Gaelic: Eógan; Modern Welsh: Owain), also known by his Latin-derived nickname, Eugenius Calvus or Owen the Bald, was ruler of the Kingdom of Strathclyde for some period in the early eleventh century.

Owen was present, according to Symeon of Durham, at the Battle of Carham in 1018. There is no direct evidence that he died at that battle,[1] but the Welsh Annals record that a "Eugein son of Dumnagual" died 82 years before 1097, i.e. in the year 1015.[2] Nothing else is said of this character, but it is often assumed to be Owen of Strathclyde, and the entry is routinely taken as a mistake for 1018 in order to make Owen the Bald a casualty of the battle.[3]

Owen's supposed death at Carham in 1018 is sometimes taken to be the end of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, and it is for this reason that Owen is perhaps the best-known Strathclyde monarch. However, more recent research has shown this to be flawed, that this idea is routed in the flaws of John Fordun, and that the Kingdom may very well have survived until the reign of King David I of Scotland, who took the Scottish throne in 1124.[4] The next known ruler of "Strathclyde" (that is, king of the Cumbrians) is Máel Coluim II.

"The Kings of Strathclyde, c.400-1018" (1993), an essay by historian Alan Macquarrie, conjectured that Owen was father to Suthen and father-in-law to Duncan I of Scotland. The hypothesis is based on the long-established tradition that Duncan I served as King of Cumbia (Strathclyde). However, the oldest source mentioning the fact is John of Fordun (14th century), not always reliable. Macquarrie suggested that Duncan married into the Strathclyde royal family and the throne passed to him and his descendants. A Malcolm, "son of the King of Cumbria" was crowned king by Siward, Earl of Northumbria in the 1050s. A fact mentioned by William of Malmesbury, John of Worcester, and Symeon of Durham. This Malcolm is often identified with Malcolm III of Scotland, son of Duncan I. [5] [6]

However A. A. M. Duncan argued in 2002 that, using an Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry as their source, later writers innocently misidentified Máel Coluim "son of the king of the Cumbrians" with the later Scottish king of the same name.[7] [6] Duncan's argument has been supported by several subsequent historians specialising in the era, such as Richard Oram, Dauvit Broun and Alex Woolf.[8] It has also been suggested that Máel Coluim may have been a son of Owen the Bald himself,[9] perhaps by a daughter of Máel Coluim II, King of Scotland.[10]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Máel Coluim I
King of Strathclyde
fl. 1018
Succeeded by
?Máel Coluim II

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Symeon of Durham, Historia Regum Angliae, in T. Arnold (ed.) Symeonis Dunelmensis Opera Omnia, (Rolls Series, 1882), vol. ii, pp. 155-56; translated and quoted in Alan Orr Anderson, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286, (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Anderson (ed.) (Stamford, 1991), p. 82.
  2. ^ Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History: AD 500–1286, 2 Vols, (Edinburgh, 1922), vol. i, p. 550.
  3. ^ e.g. Alan MacQuarrie, "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. 16-7.
  4. ^ Archibald Duncan, The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence, (Edinburgh, 2002), pp. 38-41; Richard Oram, David I: The King who made Scotland, (Gloucestershire, 2004); Dauvit Broun, "The Welsh Identity of the Kingdom of Strathclyde", in The Innes Review, Vol. 55, no. 2 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 33-40.
  5. ^ Baldwin 2010, Suthen. Charles Baldwin examines conjectures concerning the identity and relations of Suthen]
  6. ^ a b Baldwin 2010, Donnchad (Duncan) I mac Crínáin. Charles Baldwin examines known facts and conjectures concerning the relations of Duncan I]
  7. ^ Duncan, Kingship, pp. 37–41
  8. ^ Broun, "Identity of the Kingdom", p. 134; Oram, David I, pp. 18–20; Woolf, Pictland to Alba, p. 262
  9. ^ Duncan, Kingship of the Scots, p. 41
  10. ^ Woolf, Pictland to Alba, p. 262

References[edit]

  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History: AD 500–1286, 2 Vols, (Edinburgh, 1922)
  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286, (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Anderson (ed.) (Stamford, 1991)
  • Broun, Dauvit, "The Welsh Identity of the Kingdom of Strathclyde", in The Innes Review, Vol. 55, no. 2 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 111-80
  • Duncan, A. A. M. The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence, (Edinburgh, 2002)
  • 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
  • Oram, Richard, David I: The King who made Scotland, (Gloucestershire, 2004)
  • Smyth, Alfred, Warlords and Holy Men, (Edinburgh, 1984)
  • Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-0-7486-1234-5