Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-01 > 1010619735

From: (Stewart Baldwin)
Subject: Re: Eochaid the Poisonous, 781 ff.
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 23:43:57 GMT
References: <Pine.GSO.4.33.0112222027270.5715-100000@mail>

On 22 Dec 2001 18:39:21 -0700, (Dolly Ziegler) wrote:

>Eochaid "the Poisonous," King of Dalriada in northern Ireland, ruling in
>781 and later.
>Why, I wonder, was he called "the Poisonous"? I note that one of his
>ancestors was Gabran, "in Welsh sources, "the Treacherous."

The Eochaid who was grandfather of the famous Kenneth son of Alpin has
sometimes been given the epithet "the Poisonous" (or "the Venomous"),
but it is not clear that this nickname is a valid one, or that the
Eochaid in question ever ruled as king of Dalriada.

The problem is that in the king lists where this epithet occurs
(called the "Latin lists"), Eochaid the Poisonous is called a
successor of a certain Selbach, who is then followed by the present
Eochiad, then Dungal son of Selbach, and then Alpin the son of Eochaid
(father of the famous Kenneth). However, another rescension of the
king lists show the kings Selbach, Eochaid, and Dungal ruling earlier
in the eighth century, when the annals clearly show Selbach and his
son Dungal. The solution to this contradiction that was suggested by
Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson ["The Lists of the Kings", Scottish
Historical Review 28 (1949), 108-118] was that the Latin lists had
garbled the order by taking a group of four kings and misplacing them
to later in the list. Some have maintained that the "Latin List"
shows another group of kings ruling elsewhere in Scotland at the time
indicated [e.g. Hudson, "Kings of Celtic Scotland" (Edinburgh, 1994)],
but I have seen no good reasons to reject Anderson's analysis, which
would indicate that the king lists mentioning Eochaid the Poisonous
are corrupt.

>Also, what was/were the religion(s) of Ireland in this time frame?

Roman Catholic

I am inclined to think that if there ever was a king Eochaid of
Dalriada who was called "the Poisonous" (or something similar), then
he may have been the king of that name who died in 733 (and was a
contemporary of Selbach and his son Dungal). As for the reason for
the epithet, no good evidence exists of which I am aware.

Stewart Baldwin

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