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The earlier period, about which the information contained in the sources appears semi-mythical, has not been attempted.

The reconstruction is based mainly on information extracted from Irish annals, in particular the Annals of Tigernath and Ulster (discussed in more detail in the Introduction to the document IRELAND), and in the 10th to 14th century Scottish chronicles which were collected by Skene in 1867 are two other important sources which have been consulted, although the former is unreliable on many points of detail.

He is named in the 10th century Cronica de Origine as successor to his maternal uncle King Aedh. If our hypothesis is correct, this omission may have been intentional as his relationship to his predecessor through the female line was considered incompatible with the idea of male-line royal continuity.

A complete analysis of the differences in regnal years between the 16 different surviving manuscripts is set out by Duncan The nub of the problem with the available Scottish sources is that each succeeding manuscript contains more detailed information than the previous ones.

The suspicion is therefore that later chroniclers supplemented the limited information available with bogus additions, for reasons which will be discussed further below.

It is of course not known which earlier sources, since disappeared, may have been used in the compilation of the later manuscripts.

Nevertheless, this phenomenon of expanded information over time does not inspire confidence in the overall reliability of the data.

No Scottish chronicles survive for this period and references to Scottish affairs in English chronicles are infrequent, although more information is included in Irish chronicles.

In addition, the earliest confirmed Scottish royal charter dates from the reign of King Duncan II at the end of the 11th century, in contrast to the comparative wealth of charter evidence which has survived for Anglo-Saxon England.The early history of Scotland is characterised by the absence of contemporary Scottish sources before the 10th century.This contrasts markedly with the situation in nearly all other European countries during the same period.But it is possible that there were in fact two kings of the same name during this period attributed to Constantine III.Assuming that the information is correct, the Scottish chronicles reveal a remarkably regular alternation of royal succession between two collateral lines of descent from the earliest kings, with no case of a son succeeding his father.If the hypothesis is correct, what then would have inspired the later chroniclers to add bogus information?

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