Macbeth, King of Scotland

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Macbeth or MacBeth
King of Scots
ReignAugust 17th 1040 - August 17th 1057
PredecessorDuncan I[1]
Bornc. 1005
Died17 August 1057
SpouseGruoch or Lady MacBeth[2] (as depicted by Shakespeare)
IssueFerchar Og, prince of Scots (possibly)
Lulach (stepson)
FatherFinlay MacRoray
MotherDonalda, daughter of Malcolm II

Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích in Gaelic) was King of Scotland from 1040-1057.[2] William Shakespeare wrote a famous play about him called Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth is an evil king who murders his cousin so he can become king.[3]

Birth[change | change source]

Macbeth was born around 1005 in Morayshire, Scotland.[2] His name in Gaelic was "Mac Bethad mac Findlaích" (in modern Gaelic, it is MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh), meaning "son of life".[4] His father was Findláech mac Ruaidrí, Mormaer of Moray.[2] When Macbeth was born, he became Mormaer of Moray. Macbeth's mother, Donada, may have been Malcolm II's second daughter.[2]

Marriage[change | change source]

In 1032, before he became king, Macbeth married Gruoch of Scotland (called "Lady Macbeth" in English).[5] They remained married until his death in 1057. She died three years later, in 1060.[5]

Children[change | change source]

Macbeth may have had one child with Gruoch, but this is not certain. This child was Ferchar Og, Prince of Scots.[source?]

Macbeth did have a stepson, Lulach, who succeeded him as king but died in 1058.[6]

King of Scots[change | change source]

On 14 August 1040, Macbeth murdered his cousin King Duncan I in battle and was crowned King of Scotland.[1] Macbeth was defeated by Duncan's son Malcolm (Canmore) and his ally Siward of Northumbria at Dunsinane Hill in 1054. Specifics of Macbeth's death are uncertain, being mortally wounded in skirmishing about the Cairn o'Mounth Pass into the Dee Valley, or at the Battle of Lumphanan on 15 August 1057. Macbeth was succeeded by his stepson Lulach the Simple (son of Gruoch by her first marriage), although Lulach's authority extended only over northern Scotland.

In 1058, Lulach was killed in battle at Essie by his cousin Malcolm III, who then became king.

Burial[change | change source]

Macbeth's burial most likely took place soon after his death. He was buried in Iona, Scotland. This is a place where many kings have been buried, starting with the mythical first King of Scots, Kenneth MacAlpin.

Media[change | change source]

Macbeth is seen in a famous play by William Shakespeare, where he kills his cousin. In real life, Macbeth was more peaceful than this, though he did kill King Duncan I of Scotland.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Johnson, Ben. "Duncan and MacBeth". Historic UK: The History and Heritage Accommodation Guide. Historic UK 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Macbeth (c. 1005 – 1057)". History: Historic Figures. BBC.
  3. Shakespeare, William (July 1, 2003). Macbeth. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743477103.
  4. "Macbeth of Scotland". New World Encyclopedia. August 25, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Gruoch (fl. 1020 – 1054)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale Research, Inc. 2002. ISBN 978-0787637361.
  6. "The House of Moray: Lulach 'The Simple,' 1057–1058". Scottish Monarchs. 2004.