Donald MacAlpin, or rather Domnall mac Ailpín in the Gaelic of the time (Modern Gaelic: Dòmhnall mac Ailpein), was a king of the Picts who reigned between 13th February 858 and 13th April 862. The brother of Kenneth MacAlpin, who according to the national myth was the first King of Scotland, he is known in most modern regal lists as Donald I.
The Chronicle of Melrose says of Donald, "…in war he was a vigorous soldier...." and while little is known about his military activity it is probable that he would have had to use some force to consolidate the MacAlpin’s dynasty as kings of the Pics. He is best known for overseeing the introduction of laws known as the laws of Aedh (or Aed). These included the law of tanistry, under which the successor of the king was elected during his lifetime from members of his family. This meant that brothers or cousins of the king could be next in line for succession rather than sons.
The events surrounding Donald’s death are uncertain. According to the Chronicle of Melrose he was murdered, but there are no other sources that support this. The location of his death is also unknown, either being at the palace of Cinnbelachoir, which is thought to have been near Scone, or at Rathinveralmond, the location of which is again unknown, but could in fact be the same place. He was buried on Iona.
Although Donald is generally supposed to have been childless, it has been suggested that Giric, who was king between 878 and 889, was his son. He was succeeded by Constantine, his nephew and son of Kenneth MacAlpine.
This scene was built by Dan Harris as part of a series of models on the Kings and Queens of Scotland. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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