The House of Alpín is the name given to the kin-group which ruled in Pictland and then the kingdom of Alba from the advent of Cináed mac Ailpín in the 840s until the death of Máel Coluim mac Cináeda in 1034.
Kings traced their descent from Cináed mac Ailpín, and not from his father, and Irish genealogies in the Book of Ballymote and the Book of Lecan refer to the kindred as Clann Cináeda meic Ailpín, prioritising descent from Cináed.
The origins of the family are uncertain. Later genealogies of doubtful reliability make Cináed a descendant of Áed Find. While plausible, such claims are unprovable and appear only in the late tenth century. The associated idea that Cináed had been a king in Dál Riata before contending successfully for power in Pictland in the 840s, following the death of Eóganán mac Óengusa, is supported by near-contemporary evidence.
Early kings of Clann Cináeda meic Ailpín are described as kings of the Picts, and the third king, Constantín mac Cináeda appears to have been regarded as the last of the seventy Pictish kings soon after his death. The descendants of Cináed were ousted in 878 when Áed mac Cináeda was killed by Giric mac Dúngail. They returned in 889 on the death of Giric. Following this, the title king of Alba is used.
During the tenth century, succession alternated between the descendants of Constantín mac Cináeda and those of Áed mac Cináeda. Internecine strife in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries left the descendants of Constantín unchallenged by male-line descendants of Cináed mac Ailpín, but Máel Coluim mac Cináeda left no male heirs. On Máel Coluim's death, the line of kings descended from Cináed came to an end. Future kings, while still tracing their descent from Cináed, were descended from Máel Coluim's daughter Bethóc.
We follow the Naming Conventions and write the names in original Gaelic - use the Wikipedia version to copy/paste if you are unsure. The English version name will typically be places in the Display name field.
Ambiguity and Discrepancies
If there is doubt about relationships, we normally rely on the Medieval Lands database. This is the most well-researced source we have, referring to primary texts only, presenting discrepancies, and with little interpretation.
The Main lineage described in Medieval Lands by Charles Cawley - this is the source we follow.
- Public Discussion thread on the House of Alba (Alpin)