Cuilén of Scotland

Cuilén mac Iduilb (died 971) was king of Scots from 967 to 971.[1] He was one of three known sons of Idulb mac Causantín, the others being Amlaíb and Eochaid.

It is supposed that Cuilén was implicated in the death of his predecessor Dub mac Maíl Coluim, who had defeated Cuilén in battle in 965.[2]

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba reports several events in the reign of Cuilén. It says that Marcan son of Breodalaig (or Breodalach) was killed in the Church of St Michael (in St Andrews), that Cellach, Bishop of Saint Andrews and Máel Brigte, also a Bishop, died. Other reported deaths include Domnall mac Cairill and Máel Brigte mac Dubacain, the identities of whom are unknown, but they must evidently have been important men.[3] Máel Brigte might possible be a son of the Dubacan mac Indrechtaig, Mormaer of Angus, who was killed at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937. Finally, we are told that Leot and Sluagadach went to Rome, no doubt on church business.

In 971 Cuilén, along with his brother Eochaid, was killed in a hall-burning in Lothian by Amdarch, king of Strathclyde.[4] The act was apparently in revenge for Cuilén's rape of Amdarch's daughter.[5] The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, unusually, does not say that he was buried on Iona.

Cuilén was succeeded by Dub's brother Cináed mac Maíl Coluim, who was driven from the throne for a short time in the later 970s by Cuilén's brother Amlaíb. Cuilén's son Causantín was later king.


  1. ^ Cuilén is referred to by the Latin calque Caniculus, the whelp, in some sources. The epithet hringr (as in Sigurd Ring) sometimes associated with Cuilén is thought to be a misreading; compared Smyth, p. 210 and Duncan, pp. 20–21.
  2. ^ Early Sources, pp. 471–473; Annals of Ulster, s.a. 965; Duncan, p. 21.
  3. ^ Early Sources, p. 475.
  4. ^ Dated by the Annals of Ulster and the Chronicon Scotorum, s.a. 971. The Prophecy of Berchán and one version of the Chronicle are read as placing Cuilén's death in Strathclyde, perhaps near Abington in Upper Clydesdale; Early Sources, pp. 476–477 and notes.
  5. ^ Early Sources, pp.475–476; one variant of the Chronicle appear to suggest that Cuilén's daughter, rather than Amdarch's, was raped, another suggests Amdarch's daughter was killed.


  • Anderson, Alan Orr, Early Sources of Scottish History A.D 500–1286, volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8
  • Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
  • Smyth, Alfred P. Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000. Reprinted, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1998. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7
Preceded by:
Dub mac Maíl Coluim
King of Scots
Succeeded by:
Cináed mac Maíl Coluim

Monarchs of Scotland (Alba)
Traditional Kings of Picts: (Legendary Kings) | Drest of the 100 Battles | Talorc I | Nechtan I | Drest II | Galan | Drest III | Drest IV | Gartnait I | Cailtram | Talorc II | Drest V | Galam Cennalath | Bruide I | Gartnait II | Nechtan II | Cinioch | Gartnait III | Bruide II | Talorc III | Talorgan I | Gartnait IV | Drest VI | Bruide III | Taran | Bruide IV | Nechtan IV | Drest VII | Alpín I | Óengus I | Bruide V | Cináed II | Alpín II | Talorgan II | Drest VIII | Conall | Caustantín | Óengus II | Drest IX | Eogán | Ferat | Bruide VI | Cináed II | Bruide VII | Drest X
Traditional Kings of Scots: Cináed I | Domnall I | Causantín I | Áed | Eochaid | Giric | Domnall II | Causantín II | Máel Coluim I | Idulb | Dub | Cuilén | Cináed II | Amlaíb | Cináed II | Causantín III | Cináed III | Máel Coluim II | Donnchad I | Mac Bethad | Lulach | Máel Coluim III | Domnall III Bán | Donnchad II | Domnall III Bán | Edgar | Alexander I | David I | Máel Coluim IV | William I | Alexander II | Alexander III | First Interregnum | John | Second Interregnum | Robert I | David II | Edward | David II | Robert II | Robert III | James I | James II | James III | James IV | James V | Mary I | James VI* | Charles I* | The Covenanters | The Protectorate | Charles II* | James VII* | Mary II* | William II* | Anne*
* Also Monarch of Ireland and England

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