Macbeth Killed at Lumphanan

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Macbeth Killed at Lumphanan

Grampian The 15th of August 1057 AD

The name of King Macbeth, thanks to Shakespeare , conjures images of murder and tyranny. Yet from what we know of his rule it was a period of relative stability and even of progress of sorts, Christianity and the law promoted over older ways. Macbeth himself made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050, which surely demonstrates confidence in his authority at home, and perhaps a culture and curiosity lifting him above many contemporary warrior kings.

In 11th century Britain the ruling elite intermarried to secure wealth and alliances, though often generating rivalries and conflict instead. Macbeth married Gruoch, the widow of one of his cousins, possibly killed by Macbeth. He was cousin also to King Duncan , certainly killed by Macbeth or at least on his orders; King Malcolm II was their common ancestor.

It was the intervention of Saxon forces rather than Scottish that precipitated Macbeth’s fall, after his perhaps unwise involvement in the dispute between Edward the Confessor and Godwin, father of the future King Harold . Macbeth sheltered some exiled Saxon nobles in 1052; two years later the Earl of Northumbria invaded Scotland to avenge the slight on Edward: Macbeth’s forces suffered high casualties, and he lost control of Strathclyde. On August 15 1057 Macbeth fell to the army of Duncan’s son Malcolm at Lumphanan, though some legends have him escaping to die of his wounds at Scone several days after the battle.

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When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read - Hilaire Belloc
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