Amlaíb, King of Scotland

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King of Alba
Reign 973-977
Predecessor Kenneth II
Successor Kenneth II
Died 977
House Alpin
Father Indulf, King of Alba

Amlaíb mac Ilduilb (Modern Gaelic: Amhlaigh),[1] known in English as simply Amlaíb (died 977) was King of Scots during the 970s.[2] He was the son of King Indulf (Idulb mac Causantín) and brother of King Cuilén (Cuilén mac Iduilb). His name is of Old Norse or Norse-Gael origin, in this case the Old Irish equivalent of Olaf.[3]

He is known from the notice of his death in the Annals of Tigernach,[4] which reports that he was killed by Kenneth II of Scotland (Cináed mac Maíl Coluim).[5] His name is not included in any extant king lists, nor is he named as a king in 973 when Kenneth II met with King Edgar the Peaceable at Chester,[6] so that the length of his reign is unknown.[7]

Alex Woolf asserts that the Norse origin of the name Amlaíb "...strongly suggests that his maternal kind may have been from a Scandinavian background and they are likely to have been a branch of the Uí Ímair... ...He may well be the grandson of Amlaíb Cúaran, or his cousin Amlaíb son of Gothfrith".[8]


  1. Amlaíb mac Ilduilb is the Mediaeval Gaelic form. The modern form has no patronymic; this is because the name Ildulb ("Indulf") has died out in Gaelic, and there is no modern rendering of it.
  2. Duncan, pp. 21–22.
  3. Amlaíb appears as Olaf in Smyth, pp. 220–221, table 4, where he is presumed to have been co-ruler with Kenneth II.
  4. Annals of Tigernach, s.a. 977.4. See also Chronicon Scotorum, s.a. 977; Annals of Clonmacnoise, s.a. 970.
  5. The Annals of Ulster, s.a. 977, agree with the other chronicles in reporting Amlaíb's death, but call his killer Cináed mac Domnaill. Cináed mac Maíl Coluim's grandfather was named Domnall.
  6. Early Sources, pp. 478–479.
  7. There are two king lists which list a 22-year reign for Kenneth rather than the 24 found in the majority, but whether this has any significance is unclear; Duncan, p. 18.
  8. Woolf (2007), p. 206.


For primary sources see also External links below.

External links

Amlaíb, King of Scotland
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Kenneth II
King of Scots
Succeeded by
Kenneth II