Eochaid of Scotland
Eochaid may have been king of the Picts from 878 to 885 or 889. He was a son of Run, King of Strathclyde, and his mother may have been a daughter of Cináed mac Ailpín. His kingship is usually portrayed as some form of joint rule with Giric.
The evidence for Eochaid's rule as king of the Picts rests on the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba, where it is written:
And Eochodius son of Run king of the Britons, grandson of Kenneth by his daughter, reigned for 11 years; although others say that Ciricium (Giric) son of another reigned at this time, because he became Eochaid's foster-father and guardian.
And in his second year Aed son of Niall (Aed Finliath) died.
And in his ninth year, on the very day of St. Cirici (Cyrus), an eclipse of the sun occurred. Eochaid and his foster father was now expelled from the kingdom.
This is the record of Eochaid's reign, such as it is. The death of Aed Finliath son of Niall Caille is dated to 20 November 879, and the solar eclipse to 16 June 885. The chronicler's "although others say" shows that the confusion concerning Eochaid is nothing new.
Some variants of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba king lists do not include Eochaid. The Duan Albanach omits both Eochaid and Giric, jumping from "Aodh, of the white flowers" (Áed mac Cináeda) to "Domhnal, son of Cusaintin the fair" (Domnall mac Causantín). It should be noted that the Duan also omits earlier kings, such as Selbach mac Ferchair, although whether these omissions are by accident or design is unknowable. David Dumville's suggestion that the surviving record may be corrupted by cases of damnatio memoriae is unprovable, but should be borne in mind. Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykl of Scotland (c. 1420) and George Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum Historia (1579) know of Giric, but not of Eochaid.
American Celticist Benjamin Hudson, relying on the Prophecy of Berchán in his 1996 book of the same name, is confident that Eochaid can be identified and that he was indeed a Scottish or Pictish king. The Prophecy is not without its critics, and the entry which is assumed to identify Eochaid, calling him the Briton of the Clyde, refers to his mother as "the woman of Dún Guaire (Bamburgh)", which raises unanswered questions.
David Dumville, relying on the Chronicle alone, appears to accept that Eochaid was king, while Archie Duncan, arguing from the same source, flatly rejects the idea that Eochaid was king and attributes the supposed joint reign to Giric, and to Giric alone. There is evidence independent of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba and the related king lists which may argue for Giric's kingship, but none for Eochaid. The quoted Chronicle entry could have Eochaid removed, and still be readable, whereas it would not remain so without Giric, whose name day is mentioned as the date of the solar eclipse.
In short, there is no consensus as to whether Eochaid was king of the Picts or king of Strathclyde or no king at all.
- Dumville, David, "The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba" in Simon Taylor (ed.), Kings, clerics and chronicles in Scotland 500–1297. Fourt Courts Press, Dublin, 2000. ISBN 1-85182-516-9
- Duncan, A.A.M, The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8
- Hudson, Benjamin T., The Prophecy of Berchán: Irish and Scottish High-Kings of the Early Middle Ages. Greenwood, London, 1996.
- Smyth, Alfred P., Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80–1000. E.J. Arnold, London, 1984 (reprinted Edinburgh UP). ISBN 0-7486-0100-7
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