Gillecomgain, Sigurd, and Lulach
- Son of Maelbrigte and brother of MALCOLM, with whom he was implicated in the death of their uncle FINDLEACH. Gillecomgain continued the raids against the Scots started by his brother, but in addition sought to work his way into the Scottish royal family. He married Gruoch, the grandaughter of Kenneth III, probably in 1029, when she was about fifteen. They had one son, LULACH, who would briefly rule Scotland. Gillecomgain continued to frustrate MALCOLM II of Scotland until, in 1032, MALCOLM ordered a lightning raid on Gillecomgain's headquarters, which was set on fire. Gillecomgain and many of his household were killed, although Gruoch and her son escaped. Gruoch would soon marry Gillecomgain's successor, MACBETH.
Sigurd II Digri (The Stout)
- He was the only son of HLODVIR, but became one of the mightiest of the Orkney earls. The first few years were ones of either conquest, regaining lost lands or establishing authority. It happened rabidly for by 998 he was in battle against the two Scottish earls who had his sister's husband, Havard, who his father, Hldovir, created steward of Caithness. Sigurd was victorious and reclaimed control over Caithness. He was subsequently challanged by FINDLEACH, the earl of Moray, whom Sigurd defeated at the second battle of Skidmoor about 995. Sigurd had needed the support of his tenant farmers but they refused to fight without the return of their rights of independence which had been denied them by EINAR (I) ninety years later. Sigurd used his powerful fleet to establish authority over the Hebrides down as far as Man, though in the latter case he did no more than exact tribute. He appointed his commander Gilli earl of Hebrides and gave him his sister in marriage in about the year 990. One of the most important and famous episodes in Sigurd's life was his conversion to Christianity, albeit superfically. In 995, Olaf Tyggvasson was returning to England (where he had been involved in raids with SWEIN FORKBEARD) to take up the kingship of Norway. Olaf had been converted to Christianity by the English king ATHELRED, and as the incoming sovereign over the Orkneys he visited Sigurd and encouraged him to adopt Christianity. It took some encouraging as Sigurd was a proud son of Odin, but Olaf tricked him by threatening to sacrifice his son Hundi unless Sigurd accepted the faith. Sigurd conceded, but Olaf still took Hundi as a hostage to ensure Sigurd remained faithful. Unfortunately Hundi died soon after, and Sigurd dropped his allegiance to both Olaf and the Christian faith. Instead Sigurd now looked to the new king of Scotland, MALCOLM II, as a possible ally. Malcolm saw the advantage of having a powerful partney to the north as they could squeeze between them the troublesome rulers of Moray who laid claim to the scottish throne. It also meant that Sigurd recognized Malcolm's authority over the mainland of Scotland, thus strengthening Malcolm's position. Soon after 1005 Malcolm granted Sigurd authority over Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross (not that it was necessarily his to grant) and gave Sigurd his daughter Donada, probably in the year 1006. Donada was the wife of Findleach and the mother of MACBETH. Such arrangements infuriated the mormaers of Moray but at this stage they were powerless to do anything. The power and authority of Sigurd is attested to by the events at the end of his life. In 1013 he was approached by Sitric Silkenbeard, the Norse king of Dublin, for help in his battle against the Irish high king, Brian Boru. Sitric promised that if they were victorious, Sigurd would become the high king of Ireland. Sitric needed Sigurd's support because it brought with it a vast army and navy from the scattered isles of Scotland. The battle took place at Clontarf on 23 April 1014. The Irish were victorious even though Brian Boru was killed. It put an end to Norse ambitions in Ireland, and it also saw the death of Sigurd. Although he left the major parts of his lands to his sons by his first marriage, it was his son by the daughter of Malcolm II, THORFINN THE BLACK, who was to prove the greatest of Orkney earls.
Lulach Fatuus (the Fool)
- Lulach is the son of GILLECOMGAIN, mormaer of Moray, and Gruoch, the grandaughter of KENNETH III. After his father death, Lulach's mother married MACBETH and, after Macbeth's death at the hand of MALCOLM CANMORE, Lulach was elected king. There was evidently strong support in Scotland at this time for the Gaelic household which had descended though the mormaers or stewards of Moray rather than the the more anglicised faction which had been encouraged by MALCOLM II and now activly promoted by Malcolm Canmore. Malcolm pursued his right to the throne and Lulach's short reign was almost entirly filled with their conflict. Malcolm eventually succeeded, ambushing Lulach at Essie, in Strathbogie, in March 1058. Lulach was subsequently remembered as Lulach the Fool or even the Simple, suggesting that he did not have all his faculties. This is most unlikly. The later chronicles must have believed he acted unwisly in his compaign against Malcolm, making foolish decisions that not only lost him his life, but lost Scotland its Gaelic inheritance. After Lulach, Malcolm III closed a door on Scotland's past and looked ahead into the Anglo-Norman world. Lulach's son, MAEL SNECHTA, however remained a rebel leader amongst the men of Moray.