Óengus mac Fergusso was king of the Picts from 732 until his death in 761. During his reign, the neighbouring kingdom of Dál Riata was subsumed under Pictish rule. He extended Pictish influence through Northumbria, Mercia and Ireland.
About Óengus I in brief
Óengus mac Fergusso was king of the Picts from 732 until his death in 761. His reign can be reconstructed in some detail from a variety of sources. During his reign, the neighbouring kingdom of Dál Riata was subsumed under Pictish rule. He extended Pictish influence through Northumbria, Mercia and Ireland. He is credited with establishing the cult of Saint Andrew in Scotland, at Cennrígmonaid. The most powerful ruler in Scotland over more than two decades, kings from his family dominated Pictland for a century, until defeat at the hands of Vikings in 839. The history of the fourth group, the Britons of Alt Clut, later the kingdom of Strathclyde, leaves little trace in the record. An early medieval Irish gene tract claims Óengu to be a descendant of Cairpre Crucháin or the Eóganachta of the Munster branch of the Mearns. He appears to have been a native of the Verturian kindred, possibly born in Vertur, near Perth, Scotland. He first appears in records in Alpin, Perth, defeating his rival Alpin the Alpin. He also appears in the annals of Moncrieff, Perth and Perthshire, defeating a rival rival in the battle of Alpin in 736. He was the first king of what would become Scotland, and can be considered the first monarch of the Scottish kingdom.
The Picts were one of four political groups in north Britain in the early 8th century. Prior to the Viking Age, the main power in Pictland appears to be Fortriu, with its high-status sites in Burghead and Craig Phádraig by Inverness. Pictland ran from the River Forth northwards, including Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. To the south-west of Pictland were the Gaels of Dán Riata where the kingship was disputed between the Cenél Loairn of northern Argyll and the Censél nGabráin of Kintyre. The end of the old dynasty of kings with the death of Osric in 729 led to conflict between rival families for the throne. The growing power of the Mercian kingdom to the south added to the problems faced by Northumbrian kings. For most of Ó Engus’s reign Northumbrians were ruled by the capable King Eadberht Eating, who died in 731. The Annals of Tigernach are the most reliable source of information about his reign. He and the PictS appear occasionally in Welsh sources, such as the Annales Cambriae, and more frequently in Northumbran sources, of which the Continuation of Bede’s chronicle and the Historia Regum Anglorum attributed to Symeon of Durham is the most important.
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