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Earl Ottir (Old Norse: Óttar jarl; Medieval Latin: Oter comes, 'Count Oter'; died 918), also known as Ottir the Black (Old Irish: Ottir Dub), was a jarl who occupied a prominent position among the Norse of Britain and Ireland in the early 10th century. He is believed to be the founder of the settlement, Loch dá Caech (present day Waterford) in the year 914. From 917 to his death in 918 Ottir was a close associate of the powerful overking Ragnall ua Ímair, although they are not known to have been related.

Ireland and family[edit]

In Ireland, Ottir is particularly associated with raiding and conquests in the province of Munster. The Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib describes him raiding there alongside Ragnall and associates this with the Viking settlement of Cork.[1] Their base for this activity was Loch dá Caech or present day Waterford. Later the same epic describes Ottir conquering the eastern part of Munster from his seat at Waterford,[2] but it is unclear if he ruled it as king outright or was in any way subject to Ragnall, because the annals offer a different chronology.

Joan Radner[3] has suggested that Ottir is identical to the Ottir mac Iargni who is recorded in the Annals of Ulster killing a son of Auisle in alliance with Muirgel daughter of Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid in 883,[4] but Clare Downham describes this identification as "by no means certain".[5] Mary Valante in any case assumes this Ottar and Muirgel were married because he and his father Iercne (died 852) were apparently allies of Máel Sechnaill.[6] Ottir may also have been the father of Bárid mac Oitir[5] who is recorded killed in battle against Ragnall in 914,[7] although this is far from certain because of Ottir's own close association with Ragnall.

England and Scotland[edit]

Earl Ottir had a significant career in Britain as well.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle[edit]

Under the year 918 (for 917), the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports:

Death in battle[edit]

Ottir died in battle against Constantine II of Scotland in 918. He either joined forces with Ragnall ua Ímair and others, or alternatively may have led a separate expedition on his own. The Annals of the Four Masters report:

While the Annals of Ulster give a detailed account and place him in Ragnall's army:

The latter describes what is referred to as the Battle of Corbridge.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Todd, pp. 30–1
  2. ^ Todd, pp. 38–41
  3. ^ Radner, p. 207
  4. ^ Annals of Ulster, 882
  5. ^ a b Downham, p. 266
  6. ^ Valante, p. 92
  7. ^ Annals of Ulster, 913
  8. ^ Michael Swanton, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.


Primary sources
Secondary sources
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Waterford
Succeeded by
Ragnall ua Ímair
Preceded by
King of East Munster
Succeeded by
Ragnall ua Ímair