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Information about reign: King Kenneth II

CountryScotland
From971
To995
Personal InformationKing Kenneth II of Scotland (925 - 995)
Description

Cináed mac Maíl Coluim (Modern Gaelic: Coinneach mac Mhaoil Chaluim, anglicised as Kenneth II, and nicknamed An Fionnghalach, "The Fratricide") was King of Scots (Alba). The son of Malcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill), he succeeded King Cuilén (Cuilén mac Iduilb) on the latter's death at the hands of Amdarch of Strathclyde in 971.

According to John of Fordun (14th century), Kenneth II of Scotland (reigned 971-995) attempted to change the succession rules, allowing "the nearest survivor in blood to the deceased king to succeed", thus securing the throne for his own descendants. He reportedly did so to specifically exclude Constantine (III) and Kenneth (III), called Gryme in this source. The two men then jointly conspired against him, convincing Finnguala, daughter of Cuncar, Mormaer of Angus, to kill the king. She reportedly did so to achieve personal revenge, as Kenneth II had killed her own son. Entries in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, collected by William Forbes Skene, provide the account of Finnguala killing Kenneth II in revenge, but not her affiliation to Constantine or his cousins. These entries date to the 12th and 13th centuries. The Annals of Ulster simply record "Cinaed son of Mael Coluim [Kenneth, son of Malcolm], king of Scotland, was deceitfully killed", with no indication of who killed him.

Kenneth's rival Amlaíb, King of Scotland is omitted by the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba and later Scottish king-lists. The Irish Annals of Tigernach appear to better reflect contemporary events. Amlaíb could be a direct predecessor of Kenneth who suffered damnatio memoriae, or the rival king recognized in parts of Scotland. A period of divided kingship appears likely.