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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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High Lords of Princes: Áedán, Urbgen and Aeðilfrith (576–616)

High Lords of Princes: Áedán, Urbgen and Aeðilfrith (576–616)

(p.121) Chapter 5 High Lords of Princes: Áedán, Urbgen and Aeðilfrith (576–616)
From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795

James E. Fraser

Edinburgh University Press

The first king in Scotland whose career is attested well enough in the sources to permit piecing together into a frail narrative is Áedán son of Gabrán. According to Vita Columbae, Áedán went to Iona in order to be ordained king by Columba. The famous story is unlikely to describe a real event. It dates to almost seventy years after Áedán became king, and some thirty-five after his death. By then he had become a figure of key genealogical importance: every subsequent king of Cenél nGabráin, the descendants of Gabrán, was apparently descended from him. The early years of Áedán's reign roughly correspond to the age of the vernacular British panegyric poetry addressed to Urbgen son of Cinmarch. These poems, along with the Gododdin elegies, take for granted a sphere of political influence for mighty North British kings stretching northwards from Yorkshire across the North British zone to ‘beyond the Firth of Forth’.

Keywords:   Scottish king, Scottish history, British panegyric poetry, Iona, Áedán

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