Malcolm Nabs Norseman's Wifie?

It's the classic...

 

One woman, two men Scandi Saga.

 

Or is it?

 

From the 'official'* history of Dunfermline...

 

King Malcolm III weds his first wife,

 

Ingibjorg.

 

Yet she was another mans it claims?

 

Oops!

 

He was none other than 'Thorfinn The Michty'.

 

Famed Norse Earl (Jarl) of Orkney - Terrifying in battle.

 

The Orkney Sagas recount...

 

"Earl Thorfinn overran Scotland as far south as Fife. Burning and slaying, subduing the land wherever he went. 

By these conquests he became the most powerful of all the Earls of Orkney."

 

As befitting the above, the Saga describes him...

 

"He was unusually tall and strong, an ugly-looking man with a black head of hair, sharp features, a big nose and bushy eyebrows, 

A forceful man, greedy for fame and fortune. 

He did well in battle, for he was both a good tactician and full of courage."

 

So...

 

What's a man yearning for the Earl's beloved to do?

 

Well.

 

History (according to G.C. Meiklejohn B S C. (Arch,) F.S.P. that is) the yarn spins them as coming to blows...

 

"The date of the death of Malcolm's first wife, who was the widow of a Norse Jari who Malcolm slew in the North of Scotland is not known..." *

 

So.

 

A dashing picture appears...

 

'Malcolm slays the nigh invincible Norseman to carry away his Queen for himself back to Dunfermline.'

 

Except...

 

This romantic telling can't be true.

 

Most other sources prove so.

 

Because...

 

Malcolm III began his reign in peace with strong alliances with the Norse warriors. His marriage to Ingibjorg after she was widowed was for that reason.

 

True,

 

Thorfinn's death is somewhat a mystery.

 

Yet.

 

I'd rather believe the Orkney Sagas.

 

Lesson for today?

 

Simple...

 

You choose where to get your facts from (be they from landed gentry with letters after their names... are they accurate?).

 

One thing which can't be challenged though is...

 

After Ingibjorg dies,

 

King Malcolm III marries Margaret in 1070.

 

She puts him right ;)

 

Which puts oor history right too.

 

And also reminds me...

 

Our upcoming Scotlandic TV channel could be a good place to see this sort of history guff debated eh?


After all...

 

The strong links between Scotland and Scandinavia have long been the true 'Northern Powerhouse' of Britain haven't they?

 

Tam D Matheson

 And the 'Auld Toun' History Support Team


G.C. Meiklejohn B.SC. (Arch,) F.S.P. *

The Orkney Sagas *