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From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795$
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James Fraser

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612314

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612314.001.0001

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Bull of the North: Bridei Son of Beli and the Fall of the Aeðilfrithings (671–92)

Bull of the North: Bridei Son of Beli and the Fall of the Aeðilfrithings (671–92)

Chapter:
(p.200) Chapter 8 Bull of the North: Bridei Son of Beli and the Fall of the Aeðilfrithings (671–92)
Source:
From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795
Author(s):

James E. Fraser

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612314.003.0010

It was not long after the death of Oswy that neighbours challenged the great king's young heir to prove himself worthy of his father's extensive legacy. Ecgfrith's first challenge came from Pictland, where his kinsman Talorcan had been dead since 656. Stephen makes special mention, in his account of Ecgfrith's Pictish war, of a certain ‘brave subregulus’ called Beornhaeth, a ‘subject king’ who fought for him. No source explicitly dates the Pictish ‘rebellion’ to 671. It has been inferred instead from circumstantial evidence surrounding a change in the Verturian kingship in that year. Events culminated in the battle of the Two Rivers: near a confluence, perhaps, of two Pictish streams, Ecgfrith and Beornhaeth won a decisive victory and confirmed Northumbrian suzerainty. If the expulsion of the Pictish king Drest son of Donuel from his kingdom in 671 has been correctly linked with these events, Drest was probably a ringleader and undermined by the calamity. Drest's successor, Bridei son of Beli, is the earliest king explicitly called rex Fortrenn, ‘king of Fortriu’. He is the first of four successive Pictish kings whose reigns collectively mark a turning point in Scottish history.

Keywords:   Pictland, Ecgfrith, Drest, Bridei, Pictish kings, Scottish history

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