Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, Ri Albainn (1005 - 1057) MP

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Nicknames: "Mac Bethad mac Findlaích", "The Red", "Mac Bethad /mac Findláich/", "nicknamed Rí Deircc", ""the Red King"", "Maelbeatha", "Macboeda Macbeth /Finlay/", "Macboeda Macbeth Fionnladh /Finlay/", "/Macbeth/", "Macbida Fionnladh /Mcfinlay/", "Macbeth Mormaer /Moray/", "Macbeth..."
Birthplace: Morayshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Battle Of Lumphanan (Aberdeenshire) Scotland
Occupation: King of Scotland (1040 - 1057), Kusin till Duncan l, joining his fortunes to those of the invader, KING OF SCOTLAND
Managed by: Margaret, (C)
Last Updated:

About Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, Ri Albainn

Macbeth, Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, son of Findlaich and Donada (daughter of King Malcolm II). Born c 1006 Mormaer of Moray. Served as military general for King Malcolm II & later King Duncan. King of Scots from August 17 1040 to August 17 1057. [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'. [http://hal_macgregor.tripod.com/gregor/pictclanns.htm]:

  • Spouse: Grouch
  • No known children, his stepson Lulach succeeded him

Sources and Resources

Medieval Lands

FINDLAECH MacRory (-[1018/20]). Thane of Angus Mormaer of Moray. Orkneyinga Saga records that Sigurd Jarl of Orkney defeated “a Scottish earl called Finnleik”[113]. The Annals of Tigernach record that “Findlaech mac Ruaidhrí mormaer Moreb” was killed “a filiis fratris sui MaelBrighdi” in [1018/20][114]. The Annals of Ulster record the death in 1020 of "Finnlaech son of Ruadrí king of Alba…killed by his own people"[115].

m firstly ---. The name of Findlaech´s wife is not known.

m secondly DONADA of Scotland, daughter of MALCOLM II King of Scotland & his wife --- .

Mormaer Findlaech & his second wife had one child:

a) MACBETH ([1005]-killed in battle Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire 15 Aug 1057, bur Isle of Iona). The 12th century Cronica Regum Scottorum lists "…Macheth filius Findleg xvii…" as king[116]. The Annals of Tigernach names “Mac bethadh son of Findlaech overking of Scotland” when recording his death[117]. Mormaer of Moray [1029/32]. He succeeded in 1040 as MACBETH King of Scotland. He was defeated in battle 27 Jul 1054 by the army of Siward Earl of Northumbria who had invaded Scotland to support the claim to the throne of Malcolm son of King Duncan I. The Annals of Ulster record that "Mac Bethad son of Finnlaech, over-king of Scotland was killed by Mael Sechlainn son of Donnchad in battle" in 1058[118].

m (after 1032) as her second husband, GRUOCH, widow of GILLACOMGAIN Mormaer of Moray, daughter of BOITE [Bodhe] of Scotland & his wife --- ([1015]-).

MACBETH ([1005]-killed in battle Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire 15 Aug 1057, bur Isle of Iona). The 12th century Cronica Regum Scottorum lists "…Macheth filius Findleg xvii…" as king[162]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that "Machabeus son of Finele" killed King Duncan and succeeded as king in 1040[163]. Mormaer of Moray [1029/32]. He may have been one of the "two other kings, Mælbeth and Iehmarc" recorded by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has having submitted to Canute King of England in 1031 with King Malcolm II[164]. He succeeded in 1040 as MACBETH King of Scotland. The Chronicon of Mariano Scotti records that "Donnchal rex Scotiæ" was killed "1040 XIX Kal Sep" by "duce suo Macbethad mac Finnloech" who succeeded as king for 17 years[165]. The Annales Dunelmenses record that "comes Siward" invaded Scotland with a large army in 1046 and briefly expelled "rege Macbeod", the king recovering his realm when Siward withdrew[166]. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that he was defeated in battle 27 Jul 1054 by the army of Siward Earl of Northumbria which had invaded Scotland[167]. The Annales Dunelmenses record that "Siwardus" put "Macbeth" to flight in 1054 and installed "Malcolmum rege" in the following year[168]. The Chronicon of Mariano Scotti records that "Macfinlaeg" was killed "1057…in Augusto"[169]. The Annals of Tigernach record that “Mac bethadh son of Findlaech overking of Scotland” was killed by “Malcolm, son of Donnchad” in 1058[170]. The Chronicle of the Scots and Picts dated 1177 records that "Maket mac Fyngal" reigned 17 years, was killed "in Lufanan a Malcolm mac Dunkat" and was buried "in Iona insula"[171]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that Malcolm recaptured his kingdom with the help of "Siward Earl of Northumberland" and killed "Machabeus" 5 Dec 1056[172]. The Chronicle of John of Fordun records that "Machabeus" was buried "in the island of Iona"[173].

m (after 1032) as her second husband, GRUOCH, widow of GILLACOMGAIN Mormaer of Moray, daughter of BOITE [Bodhe] of Scotland & his wife --- ([1015]-). "Machbet filius Finlach…et Gruoch filia Bodhe, rex et regina Scottorum" made grants to the church of St Serf, although the document also names "Malcolmus Rex filius Duncani" which casts doubt on its authenticity[174].

Wikipedia

Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Modern Gaelic: MacBheatha mac Fhionnlaigh),[1] anglicised as Macbeth, and nicknamed Rí Deircc, "the Red King"[2] (died 15 August 1057), was King of the Scots (also known as the King of Alba, and earlier as King of Moray and King of Fortriu) from 1040 until his death. He is best known as the subject of William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth and the many works it has inspired, although the play is historically inaccurate.

Origins and family

Macbeth was the son of Findláech mac Ruaidrí, Mormaer of Moray. His mother, who is not mentioned in contemporary sources, is sometimes supposed to have been a daughter of the Scottish king Malcolm II (Máel Coluim mac Cináeda). This may be derived from Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland which makes Macbeth's mother a granddaughter, rather than a daughter, of Malcolm.[3]

Findláech was killed in 1020. According to the Annals of Ulster he was killed by his own people while the Annals of Tigernach say that the sons of his brother Máel Brigte were responsible. One of these sons, Máel Coluim son of Máel Brigte, died in 1029. A second son, Gille Coemgáin, was killed in 1032, burned in a house with fifty of his men. Gille Coemgáin had been married to Gruoch with whom he had a son, the future king Lulach. It has been proposed that Gille Coemgáin's death was the doing of Mac Bethad, in revenge for his father's death, or of Máel Coluim son of Cináed, to rid himself of a rival.

[edit]References

[edit]Primary sources

CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts at University College Cork including:

Genealogies from Rawlinson B.502 (no translation available)

Gaelic notes from the Book of Deer (with translation)

The Annals of Ulster (translation)

The Annals of Tigernach (translation in progress)

The Chronicon Scotorum reproduces a considerable part of the Annals of Tigernach and is available in translation.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Mss. D and E, various editions including an XML version by Tony Jebson.

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba

The Chronicon ex chronicis attributed to Florence of Worcester.

[edit]Secondary sources

Barrell, A.D.M., Medieval Scotland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000. ISBN 0-521-58602-X

Barrow, G.W.S., Kingship and Unity: Scotland 1000–1306. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, (corrected ed.) 1989. ISBN 0-7486-0104-X

Byrne, Francis John, Irish Kings and High-Kings. Batsford, London, 1973. ISBN 0-7134-5882-8

Crawford, Barbara, Scandinavian Scotland. Leicester University Press, Leicester, 1987. 0-7185-1282-0

Duncan, A.A.M., The Kingship of the Scots 842–1292: Succession and Independence. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2002. ISBN 0-7486-1626-8

Hudson, Benjamin T., The Prophecy of Berchán: Irish and Scottish High-Kings of the Early Middle Ages. Greenwood, London, 1996.

McDonald, R. Andrew, Outlaws of medieval Scotland: Challenges to the Canmore kings, 1058–1266. Tuckwell, East Linton, 2003. 1-86232-236-8

Ó Cróinín, Dáibhí, Early Medieval Ireland: 400–1200. Longman, London, 1995. ISBN 0-582-01565-0

Sellar, W.D.H., "Moray: to 1130" in Michael Lynch (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Scottish History. Oxford UP, Oxford, 2001. ISBN 0-19-211696-7

Smyth, Alfred P., Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80–1000. Edinburgh UP, Edinburgh, 1984. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7

Taylor, A.B., "Karl Hundason: King of chickens" in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, LXXI (1937), pp. 334–340.

Woolf, Alex, "Macbeth" in Lynch (2001).

-------------------------

Notes=== [ These Notes are unreferenced. Sources are needed to back up details such as assertions that Thorfinn was Mormaer of Moray - Thanks; Sharon]

Gilcomgain and Gruoch had one son Lulach.

Lulach suceeded Macbeth to the throne but was slain four months later in 1057 AD.

The assasination of Macbeth is believed to have caused the downfall of the clan Fionnladh and it's being declared illegal along with their tartan. The Fionnladh took cover under the clan Farquharson.

King of Scotland (1040-1057) and the subject of William Shakespeare's 1606 play, he was a G-G-G-G Grandfather of Archibald Finley. His mother was Princess DONADA, daughter of MALCOLM II. Macbeth established himself on the throne after his cousin King Duncan died from wounds inflicted by Macbeth or his adherents in battle near Elgin. (He was not killed in bed as Shakespeare told it.)

He married Gruoch (Lady MACBETH), a descendant of King Kenneth III who ruled from 997-1005.

History records that MacBeth was one of the best kings of Scotland, not the usurper of Shakespear's play.

"MACBETH and GRUOCH set themselves to reign well. He made laws for the common will, which were most benign and liberal."

"The leniency of MACBETH contrasts to advantage with the bloody steps which marked the descent of MALCOLM II. Even DUNCAN's sons were allowed to escape to England."

Macbeth was killed in battle by Malcolm III, son of Duncan, with assistance from the English.

Clan Finley was outlawed after Macbeth's death. They took the name Farquharson and did not emerge from obscurity as a clan until 1236 when Archibald distinguished himself at the battle Largs.

See the Macboeda Macbeth FIONNLADH FINLAY genealogy page at RootsWeb.

The following is an excerpt from Part 3 of Finley Findings International Vol 1, titled The Most Famous Finley of Them All.

Elmer CROCKETT, states the following: "In the year 1009, Momaar FINLEIGH or FINLEY of Moray, father of MACBETH, was the overlord of the tributary of the Manor of Morey or Moray."

WOOD quotes the following from Pinkerston's History of Scotland, Vol. II, p. 333: "During this early period in Scotland, there were two kings, for Finlay MC RUAIDHRI, who ruled over western Scotland, was murdered in 1020 to make MALCOLM II the sole king, and when MACBETH, son of FINLAY, succeeded to the throne after the death of DUNCAN, he came into his lawful heritage."

However, as WOOD and FRANCE tell us, "Frequent battles followed and FINLAY defeated Sigurd and gained possession of Moray and continued as Mormaer of that district until the year 1020, when he was slain by his nephews, MALCOLM, who died in 1029, and GILLACOMGAIN, who was assassinated by the orders of MALCOLM II in 1032.

"From this union of Princess DONADA, daughter of MALCOLM II, and Finlay MC RUARI, was born ca. 1005, MACBETH, or MacBida MC FINLAY (MACKENZIE calls him MAELBEATHA), who in 1039 became King of Scotland, and who had married earlier, in 1032, GRUOCH, daughter of BODHE and the widow of GILLACOMGAIN. From this line, the FINLAYs and FINLEYs of Scotland are descended.

"WYNTON, the most veracious chronicler of the earlier history of Scotland, styles MACBETH as Thane of Crumbacty, which is Gaelic for Cromarty, where Macbeth Castle stood. The union of Ross and Cromarty under one sheriffdom as at present, seems to be the boundaries of the ancient kingdom.

"GRUOCH (Lady MACBETH) was a lineal descendant of that Kenneth MC ALPIN, who, in the ninth century, had united Scotland into one kingdom. She was the daughter of BODHE, who was the son of KENNETH III, who was the son of DUBHE, who was the son of MALCOLM I, who was the son of DONALD IV, who was the son of CONSTANTINE, who was the son of Kenneth MC ALPIN.

"Her grandfather, KENNETH III, had been dethroned and slain by the cousin now ruling, MALCOLM II, who, having waded through blood to seize the throne, had determined to secure peaceful succession of his own descendants, so since GRUOCH's brother was regarded as the rightful heir under the old laws of Scotland, he had to be assassinated.

"Being merely a woman, GRUOCH was of scant importance, despite her august presence and queenly dignity, so she was left alive to carry her royal blood, her heritage of vengeance, into Moray, where she married GILLACOMGAIN, son of MAELBRIGDI, a powerful chieftain of that district. DUNCAN, MACBETH and THORFINN, three sons of three sisters, were all related to GRUOCH. Her husband, GILLACOMGAIN, was a cousin of MACBETH.

"Presently, another blow was to fall upon GRUOCH as a result of this blood feud, for a punitive party succeeded in pinning her husband into his fortress and fired it, and he was burned to death with some 50 of his men in 1032. By some miracle, GRUOCH escaped, but it is small wonder that the child she carried (MACKENZIE tells us he was later known as LULACH the Fool) became mentally unhinged. She fled from Moray into Ross, filled from crown to toe with cruelty and appealed to MACBETH for help. He, fair, yellow-haired and tall, having some claim to the crown, made his claim effectual by espousing the heiress of line.

"Thus, when death had released the strong grasp of Malcolm II, this lineal race of Kenneth MC ALPIN had become extinct and the succession reverted to DUNCAN, the son of CRINAN, who had married the daughter of MALCOLM II. DUNCAN, the people held, was soft and gentle of nature -- strangely different from his cousin MACBETH, who was a valiant gentleman.

"DUNCAN ruled with a light hand and after enjoying the throne for about 5 years, his people took advantage of the absence of THORFINN, Thane of Moray, on an expedition to England, and placing DUNCAN at their head, forced their way into the district of Moray. But the Pictish natives of the north refused to recognize his rights to the crown, and at least looked upon him as an usurper, and headed by MACBETH, attacked DUNCAN in the neighborhood of Elgin, routed his army, and DUNCAN, being severely wounded by MACBETH or his adherents, was carried to Elgin, where he died of his wounds."

MACKENZIE adds the following: "In 1040, the sixth year of DUNCAN's reign, MAELBEATHA carried his wife's feud into action and avenged her brother on his slayer's heir. DUNCAN was killed, not, apparently, by murder at Glamis or Inverness, but in battle at Bothgowanan, and MAELBEATHA took the throne by right of his young stepson, and was accepted, for the only other grown man with any claim was THORFINN of Orkney."

WOOD and FRANCE continue: "No satisfactory evidence exists of the cause of this hostile meeting nor why the king invaded the territory of his sub-king. All this is obscure but the result is shown by unquestionable evidence existing in the Chronicum Rythmecum, preserved in the Melrose Chronicle and embodied by WYNTON in his early historical works. In a former number of that provincial newspaper, the Kelmarnock Journal, in which a vast mass of interesting antiquarian information is from time to time preserved, there occurred a very learned and ingenuous argument, the object of which was, if not fully to vindicate the character of MACBETH, at least to remove much of the obloquy thrown upon his memory.

"Some historians tell us that MACBETH was a murderer and usurper, and the genius of England's great dramatist has so immortalized the fictions of BOICE, that it is doubtful if ever they will be eradicated from the popular mind. Desirous to arrive at the truth, we have ventured to state what occurs to us to be pretty near the real facts of the case, that DUNCAN was not murdered under trust by MACBETH at Glamis; instead, he died of wounds received in a conflict at a place near Elgin, that he was carried to Elgin by the victor, where he died and that his conqueror transplanted his reamins to the Royal Cemetery at Iona.

"The leniency of MACBETH contrasts to advantage with the bloody steps which marked the descent of MALCOLM II. Even DUNCAN's sons were allowed to escape to England. The death of BANQUO and others are mere fiction of BOICE, originating, no doubt, under the CANMORE rule, being desirous to blacken the reputation of MACBETH.

"MACBETH pursued his success and made himself master of the whole kingdom. He was proclaimed King of the Scots at Scone, under protection of the Clans of Ross and Moray, and representing the northern and Celtic elements of the public by birth and marriage, had the most powerful interests in the country behind him. GRUOCH was Queen of the Scots at last, and her dead brother was avenged, for she sat on the throne in his stead. MACBETH and GRUOCH set themselves to reign well. He made laws for the common will, which were most benign and liberal."

Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 6, gives the following insight into MACBETH's reign: "MACBETH's victory in 1045 over a rebel army, perhaps led by DUNCAN's father, CRINAN, near Dunkeld, Perth, may account for the later references (in SHAKESPEARE and others) to Birnam Wood, for the village of Birnam is near the town of Dunkeld. In 1046, SIWARD, Earl of Northumbria, unsuccessfully attempted to dethrone MACBETH in favor of MALCOLM (afterward, King Malcolm III CANMORE), eldest son of DUNCAN I.

"By 1050, MACBETH felt secure enough to leave Scotland for a pilgramage to Rome (MACKENZIE says while there, MACBETH made great gifts to the poor). But in 1054, he was apparently forced by SIWARD to yield part of southern Scotland to MALCOLM. Three years later, MACBETH was killed in battle by MALCOLM, who, as SHAKESPEARE indicates, had assistance from the English. MACBETH was buried on Iona, an island off Scotland's west coast regarded as the resting place of lawful kings, but not of usurpers."

As WOOD and FRANCE state, "His subsequent defeat and death in Aberdeenshire (MACKENZIE says the actual location in Aberdeenshire was Lumphanan on Deeside) on 5 Dec 1057 was calamitous to his family. His clan name ceased and for a time, the FARQUHARSON took its place."

MACBETH's death ended a dynasty which began with the earliest foundations of Ireland and Scotland, as we have already seen. At the time of his death, his children were young, so the Clan FIONNLAGH placed his stepson, LULACH, on the throne. However, he reigned only 6 months, being defeated and slain at Eske in Strathbogie by the Saxon invaders and the rebellious adherents of Malcolm CANMORE.

After LULACH, no other member of the Clan FIONNLAGH has been on the throne of Scotland to the present day. Members of the clan became hunted outlaws, long before religious persecution drove them from the British Isles.

Because of this the Clan FIONNLAGH took on the name of the Clan FARQUHARSON, so named because of the Farquhar SHAW of Rothiemurchus. WOOD and FRANCE state: "In 1236 in the Braes of Mar at the head of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, there was a certain chief named FEARCHAR, son of FARQUHAR, who was the fourth son of Shaw DUBH of Rothiemurchus, who was head of a powerful clan known in the Highlands as Clan FIONNLAGH, a sept of the great confederation, Clan CHATTAN, which held large possessions which were acquired by marriage with the heiress of Invercauld and from this FEARCHAR.

"The clan also took the name of MC EARACHAR or FARQUHARSON. The chiefs were lineal descendants of the ancient Thanes of Ross and Moray, of whom the most famous is MACBETH, the progenitor of this clan. The descendants of this FEARCHAR had moved and settled on the borders of Perth and Angus; some took the name of MC EARACHAR or FARQUHARSON; others, the name of MC FINLAY or FINLAYSON, and of this branch, FINLAY and FINLEY."

____________________________________________

From: "Lee Ann Aigner"

Subject: Re: Macbeth page on rootsWeb

Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 13:50:49 -0600

I have gone back to my source: "The Clan Finley", Second Edition Revised

and corrected, 1956, Volume One, Compiled and edited by Herald F. Stout,

Rear Admiral, U. S. Navy (Retired).

P. 3:

39. Macboeda or Macbeth, born 1005, reigned 1039-1057. He married Gruoch,

daughter of Bodhe, and widow of his own nephew Gilcomgain.6 Macbeth lost

Moray to Sigurd, his brother-in-law, in an intraclan feud. [ The exact sources for this would be very useful to have, as the only Sigurd who I know who might be considered a brother-in-law of Macbeth, is the Sigurd who died at Clontarf - well after Malcolm and Gillecomgain were dead. Also, the timing appears to have occurred when Macbeth was still a child. Interesting to discuss further - Sharon' ]

Sigurd was then slain by Malcolm and Gilcomgain, the latter being the father of Lulach,

Macbeth's later step-son.7 In the downfall following the death of Macbeth

at Lumphanen,8 the Clan Fionnladh (Finlay) was outlawed.

_______________

According to tradition: MacBethad, 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. http://hal_macgregor.tripod.com/gregor/pictclanns.htm

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Macbeth, King of Scots's Timeline

1005
1005
Morayshire, Scotland
1032
1032
Age 27
Argyll - of the Clan Fife of Scotland
1048
1048
Age 43
(Present Ross and Cromarty), Scotland, (Present UK)
1057
August 15, 1057
Age 52
Battle Of Lumphanan (Aberdeenshire) Scotland
August 1057
Age 52
Iona (Argyllshire) Scotland
1604
1604
Age 52

It is highly likely that Shakespeare was with his company at the Wilton performance in front of the king in 1603. The famous "Amicable Letter" is also possibly written by the King to Shakespeare, - perhaps in reference to his desire to see a play written by him on the subject of Macbeth.
This play was produced, we might suppose, upon receipt of the letter and in haste for a special Court performance. James was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1604, and the play may well be assigned to the first year of his coronation. The new monarch, it should be remembered, was assumed at the time to be a descendant of Banquo: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/patronjames.html

1606
1606
Age 52

First official record: possibly by Simon Forman, who records seeing the play in April 1611. However, there is considerable debate amongst scholars as to whether Forman's account is genuine
First published: First Folio (1623) as The Tragedie of Macbeth
First recorded performance: possibly in April 1611, recorded by Simon Forman
Evidence: A reference to 'dire combustion' seems to allude to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Most scholars place the date of composition as somewhere between 1603 and 1607, and efforts to narrow that date have proved inconclusive. In 1790, Edward Malone dated the play 1606, and most scholars agree with this date, however they acknowledge that there is little solid evidence, and instead, the date simply seems correct in the context of Shakespeare's other work of the period. One piece of evidence cited as suggestive of a date in late 1606 is the sisters "sev'n-nights, nine times nine" chant. It has been suggested that this alludes to a real ship which was lost in a tempest in December 1604, before rejoining the fleet and eventually returning to harbour in June 1606 after 567 days at sea. 7x9x9 is 567, which some believe is a reference to the voyage. Furthermore, the name of the ship was Tiger's Whelp, and the Weird Sisters do allude in the play to a ship called the Tiger. If this is correct, the play could not have been written any earlier than July 1606
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_William_Shakespeare%27s_...

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