Erc mac Echach, Rí na Dál Riata

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Erc mac Echach, Rí na Dál Riata

Birthplace: Ulster, Ireland
Death: Died in Ulster, Ireland
Immediate Family:

Son of Eochaid Muinremuir mac Oengus, Rí na Dál Riata
Husband of Marca ingen Eochaid; Mist Ingen ingen Muiredaig and Queen of Dalriada
Father of Becc mac Nissa; Enna mac Ercca; Fiachra mac Ercca; Dubhthach mac Ercca; Muredoch mac Ercca and 10 others
Brother of Erca . ingen Echdach, , Princess; Lodham mac Echdach? and Olchu mac Echdach
Half brother of NN

Occupation: King of Irish Dál Riata until 474. He was the father of Fergus Mór and Loarn mac Eirc, and may have been the great-grandfather of Muirchertach mac Muiredaig. Confusion arises from the latter's matronym, Macc Ercae, said to come from his legendar
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About Erc mac Echach, Rí na Dál Riata

Founder of the Scottish monarchy.


There is a legendary ancestry of his son back to Old King Cole, to the first Christian King of Ireland in the third century, to Milesius of Spain and his wife Scota (daughter of Pharaoh Nectanebus of Egypt, and to Noah's son Japhet {"Royal Ancestors of Magna Charta Barons," Carr P. Collins, Jr., Dallas, 1959, pp. 145-47, 150-55.} We know that of Erc's sons Loarn, Fergus and Angus settled Dalriada (Argyle) in Scotland in 496 {"Royal Ancestors of Sixty New England Colonists," Frederick L. Weis, Lancaster, Mass., 1950, p. 132}.

The system of succession to kingship amongst the Scots differed from the one we follow today. Now, our monarchs are chosen by a hereditary system known as primogeniture: generally, the eldest son of a deceased king succeeds to the throne. Primogeniture is relatively straightforward, but has the disadvantage of sometimes resulting in minorities, which occur whenever the heir to the throne is too young to fulfil his duties. A regency has to be established until the king comes of age, and this often produces political instability. The Scots, in contrast, followed the Celtic law of tanistry. Tanistry requires that a brother or cousin of the king be nominated by him as his successor. Thus, the throne tends to pass between different branches of the royal family. The advantage of this system is that there is always a mature king on the throne. The disadvantage, as the Scots learned throughout their history, is that it sometimes leads to assassination and to warfare between competing claimants to the throne.

Amongst the kings of Dalriada, the succession alternated between the descendants of Erc, with those of Fergus dominating. In fact, after Loarn, the kingship did not pass to this branch of the family until Ferchar Fota, who died in 697. Two sons, and then two grandsons of Ferchar Fota came to the throne, but after this it remained firmly in the hands of the descendants of Fergus. At the time of Ferchar Fota's reign, Dalriada was a weakened kingdom; the throne was fleetingly held by the various claimants, and the Scots were dominated by the Picts. Only Selbach of the Tribe of Loarn had a long reign of twenty-three years.

Áed Find (Áed the White) or Áed mac Echdach (before 736–778) was king of Dál Riata (modern western Scotland). Áed was the son of Eochaid mac Echdach, a descendant of Domnall Brecc in the main line of Cenél nGabráin kings.

According to later genealogies, Áed was the great-grandfather of Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín) who is traditionally counted as the first king of Scots. This descent ran through Áed's son Eochaid mac Áeda Find and Eochaid's son Alpín mac Echdach. The evidence for the existence of Eochaid and Alpín is late and uncompelling, and shows signs of fabrication in the High Middle Ages.

The Annals of Ulster in 768 report "Bellum i Fortrinn iter Aedh & Cinaedh": a battle in Fortriu between Áed and Cináed. This is usually read as meaning Áed Find and the Pictish king Ciniod, who is called "Cinadhon" in the notice of his death in 775. The Annals of the Four Masters, a less reliable source, give a different version, placing this battle in Leinster and naming the victor as Cináed mac Flainn of the Uí Failgi and his defeated enemy as one Áed.

Áed's death in 778 is noted by the Annals of Ulster. He appears to have been followed as king by his brother Fergus mac Echdach.

The "Laws of Áed Eochaid's son" are mentioned by the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba in the reign of Áed's supposed great-grandson Donald MacAlpin (Domnall mac Ailpín): "In his time the Gaels with their king made the rights and laws of the kingdom [that are called the laws] of Áed Eochaid's son, in Forteviot." What these laws concerned is not known.

Erc, King of Dalriada, d. 474

Father: Eochaidh Muinreamhar, King of Dalriada

It is during his reign that Scottish Dalriada began to split from the Irish side. Up until that time Dalriada consisted of two halves: the area that is now County Antrim in Ireland, and what was called Scotia Minor, now Argyll, in Scotland. The name "Argyll" means "coastline of the Gaels".




Lorn (Loarn)

Fergus Mor, King of Dalriada, b. ca. 434, d. 501

Notes for Erc King Of Dalriada

Weis' "Ancestral Roots. . ." (170:1). king in Dalriada, in northern Ireland.

The Annals of the Four Masters, a very late source whose chronology is very unreliable for this period, say he died in 474. (Stewart Baldwin) posted to on 26 Nov 1998 Subject: Llywelyn AT: "Although the later genealogies make Loarn a son of Erc, and brother of Fergus, ancestor of the later kings of Scotland, there is no good reason to believe that the supposed sibling relationship is historical"

Eogan (Eugene) 'the Lion', King of Ailech Converted by St. Patrick. He married Indorb Finn "the White". Eogan (Eugene) 'the Lion', King of Ailech died in 465.

In the early middle ages, Scotland consisted of four separate kingdoms, Dalriada, inhabited by Scots, Strathclyde, inhabited by Britons, The Kingdom of the Picts and Northumbria, inhabited by Angles. Scottish and Pictish families began intermarrying in the eighth century, and their kingdoms were often ruled by the same king. The monarchy of Scotland evolved from this union, known as the Kingdom of Alba. By the late ninth century, the Kingdom of Alba began absorbing the kingdoms of the Britons and the Angles. Thus, through intermarriage and conquest, the Scottish Kings of Dalriada emerged as the overall Kings of Scotland. The Scots of Dalriada claimed a legendary antiquity beginning with Gaythelos, son of the King of Greece who went to Egypt during the time of Moses where he married the eponymous Scoti, daughter of the Pharaoh. Gaytholos, Scoti and their family emigrated to Spain and eventually several groups of their decendents emigrated to Ireland; the final group under Simon Brek, whose grandson led a colony from Ireland to Northern Briton and named it Scotia. In the year 330 BC, these Scots elected as their King , Fergus, son of Fererd; they remained in Scotland until 360AD when they were driven back to Ireland by the Pics and Britons. In the 5th century, they returned to Scotia under the leadership of Fergus, son of Erc. According to The Senchus Fer N' Alban( i.e. The Census/ History of the Men of Alba), a 7th century document transcribed by a Christian Monastic Scribe, Erc had twelve sons. Six took possesion of Scotland; Loarnd Bee, Loarnd Mor, Mac Niesse Becc, Mac Niesse Mor, Fergus Bee, and Fergus Mor. Six others were in Ireland: Mac Decill, Oengus, Enna, Bresal, Fiachra, Dubhthach. He may have had one more son, Muredoch.

Ercc, King of Dal Riata in North Western Ireland. Died in 474. Ercc is said to be a son of Eochaid Muinremur, King of Dal Riata; and is said to have had several

sons including Loarn and Fergus

According to tradition: MacBethad was the

  • son of Findláech,
  • son of Ruadrí,
  • son of Domnall,
  • son of Morggán,
  • son of Cathamal,
  • son of Ruadrí,
  • son of Ailgelach,
  • son of Uraad,
  • son of Uurgus,
  • son of Nehhtonn,
  • son of Colmán,
  • son of Báetán,
  • son of Eochaid,
  • son of Muiredach,
  • son of Loarn,
  • son of Erb,
  • son of Eochaid Muinremuir.

MacBeth (1005-1057), Mormaer of Moray, married Gruoch, daughter of Boedhe, who was the son of Kenneth III. So MacBeth, who had ancestral roots in Moray, was the grandson of King Malcolm II, and his wife was the granddaughter of King Kenneth III. Under the ancient law of the Picts, he had as much claim to the throne of Scotland as did King Duncan I. He was commander for Duncan I, whom he defeated and slew, thereby becoming king. MacBeth was proclaimed king, and Scotland prospered during his reign. He was later defeated by Malcolm, the son of Duncan. Malcolm had gone to England to raise funds and an army to bring about MacBeth's downfall. His debt to the English would have disastrous effects on Scotland for years to come. It is a generally held opinion by Scottish historians that if MacBeth had not been killed by the future King Malcolm III, Scotland would probably have remained a separate nation until this day and might have conquered England. Records show that he used his power for the good of his country. His reign verifies that Picts actually ruled Albann after Kenneth MacAlpin. . In Angus, 'MacBeths' received a charter from David II in 1369, but this family was of the ancestral line of the Fife Bethunes, who anciently held lands in the area. The later history of the MacBeths, the Highland Beatons and Bethunes has become hopelessly confused for, in the various lands with which they are associated, both forms were used, often referring to the same family, sometimes even to the same person. Others duly removed to the shires of Inverness, Sutherland & Easter Ross and the name was also found in Moray where they had association with the Macbeans. The name of this clan will always have overtones of Shakespeare's tragic Scottish king. The real MacBeth ruled 1040 to 1057,and had little in common with the villainous figure portrayed in he play. He had a valid claim to the throne and slew his rival on he battlefield, not in the bed chamber. He ruled wisely and generously, finding time to make a pilgrimage to Rome, where he scattered money among the poor like seed. He did in fact die in battle, at Lumphanan - not when Birnam Wood moved to Dunsinane as Shakespeare wrote. The MacBeths of Moray were the principle branch of the clan, while the Bethunes and Beatons were secondary. The king was christened with 'MacBeth' (anglicized) as his Christian name, as surnames were not mandatory at that time. Mac Beatha means son of life in Gaelic, so the official Scottish version at the time would have been MacBeathad mac Findláich. MacBeth was the last Celtic Ruler of Albann/Scotland. After him, a series of anti-Celtic programs were initiated to forcibly transplant Northern Picts to Welsh speaking areas of Scotland.

Upon MacBeth's death, the name of his beloved Albann was changed to 'Scotland' 

as the title of Monarch was changed from the P-Celtic 'Ri Albainn' to the Latin 'Rex Scotorum'.

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Erc mac Echach, Rí na Dál Riata's Timeline

Ulster, Ireland
Age 12
Dalraida, Scotland
Age 24
Dalraida, Scotland
June 29, 430
Age 30
Age 35
Ennis, Clare, Ireland
Age 40
Age 59
Age 59
Age 59
Age 74
Ulster, Ireland