Saturday, 20 May 2017

Nazi Radioactive Toothpaste

Sounds like a bad 50's horror movie, but amazingly the stuff really did exist. Apparently a German company that had grabbed French nuclear supplies after the invasion saw how badly the war was going for Germany and decided the cosmetics industry would be more lucrative than the nuclear arms industry, and hey presto radioactive toothpaste was born.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Woman Who Ruled the World

Cleopatra, Zenobia and Boudicca, these queens echo down to us from history, they ruled, they became legends, they left their nations utterly destroyed in their wake.
Female rulers being so rare these women usually have the luxury of not having to be remotely as successful to enter legend, however this is not true of all female rulers, some don’t enter legend, even if they don’t destroy the country they ruled, Livia’s controlling of her husband Augustus in his later life and if that’s too much of a rumour there’s Agrippina’s influence on Nero or Theodora’s on Justinian. Though admittedly these women were not recognised rulers just the power behind the throne. However by later Rome outright female rulers existed such as in the 5th century when both the Western and Eastern halves of the Empire were openly ruled women Galla Placidia and Aelia Pulcheria, but even these two highly competent Empresses only ruled as regents for their sons and brothers but not in their own names.
And while it is true to say each of the above women held great power one women held even greater power, in fact perhaps the greatest power of all, Irene... Yes, I did say, Irene. If you’re are scratching your head and wondering who the hell this Irene is, relax, you certainly aren’t alone, but it probably won’t make you feel any better if I tell you Irene held more power than Cleopatra, Zenobia and Boudicca combined.
To put you out of your misery Irene was the first female Emperor of Rome. While Irene was certainly not the first woman to rule Rome she was the first to rule in her own name, but remains largely forgotten by history compared a lot of other female rulers, when at this moment by rights there should be a caretaker at the local research library shouting would all feminist authors writing a book about Irene please form an orderly queue.
* * * *
So it was to Irene the honour fell of being the first women to rule Rome in her own name as Emperor not Empress-Regent and what a reign it was to be matching the reigns of the most famous household name male Emperors. Unfortunately these household name male Emperors are not Diocletian, Hadrian or Augustus but Nero and Commodus, it fact to call her Caligula or Elagabalus would be to flatter her legacy, as through a combination of utter selfishness, murder, treachery and complete incompetence her reign was one of the most unmitigated disasters Rome suffered in its 2000 year history, Hannibal did less damage, and most likely this is the women Margaret Thatcher was a reincarnation of.
Now it wasn’t all roses for Irene at the beginning she didn’t inherit a Rome at the height of its power rather a Roman Empire that was down but far from out and needing a competent hand to nurture it back to health, instead she left it face down in the dirt and then sent a herd of elephants to trampling its face into a cow pat. So female writers then have not exactly flocked to inform the world about this sister’s accomplishment of becoming the most powerful person in the ancient world, here in the name of feminism I hope to correct this omission in female literature and let the world know about this un-mitigating female disaster.
* * * *
Helen of Troy may be a myth, but Irene of Constantinople unfortunately for all the citizens of that city is a historical fact, unlike Helen though Irene didn’t hail from Sparta but its great rival Athens. She was of noble birth but also an orphan so had little going for her except her looks, being rated as one of the beauties of her age. These looks got the note of the heir to the Roman Empire Leo. It was quite unusual for Roman Emperor to marry for anything but politics, the odd lucky one got to marry for love, and a few later ones tried to, often with a concubine or serving girl and quickly got the chop, the great unwashed being rather snooty about who they tipped their caps to. One Emperor Theodosius II when forced to marry by his sister Aelia Pulcheria had demanded that he wanted the most beautiful girl to be found, but he seems to be the only Emperor prior to Leo to marry for looks. So when Leo then the son of the reigning Emperor told his father he wanted to marry a young and pretty girl of his choice rather than have an arranged political marriage it was quite unusual for his father to consent. So 17 year old Irene of Athens, the face that sank a thousand ships, was brought before the son of the Emperor of Rome and on looks alone he chose her from many candidates as his bride. Leo settled down with his trophy wife becoming Emperor Leo IV six years later and reigning for just 5 years before dying in 680 leaving their 10 year old son Constantine as Emperor and the 28 year old Empress Irene as his regent. In effect a footballer’s wife had now become the most powerful woman on Earth.
At first Irene was only Empress-regent for her son but her later in her reign was to get this changed and herself declared senior Augustus and her son Junior formally making her Rome’s first official female ruler. The duel senior/junior Emperor relationship was very common in ancient Rome and either lasted harmoniously or the junior Augustus would bump off the senior to seize power. In this case with the relationship being that of mother and son surely she wouldn’t torture him to death at a time he wasn’t even trying to usurp her power?
However before we start discussing family shenanigans there’s even more pressing matters at hand for a megalomaniac seizing absolute power for herself to deal with. Rome wasn’t to healthy at that time, Spain had been invaded, North Africa was on its last legs, Italy was being pressured by Lombards and the Pope calling to the Empress for aid, worst of all the Arabs had retaken Egypt, this was bad but even worse the Arab army that was marching on the Middle East burning villages and farms and making it impossible for the Empire to feed itself, but you see mass death by starvation the loss of territory didn’t really bother her, what was really important was starting a religious purge, just to unite your people as your being invaded by foreigners. And what better way to organise a religious purge than remove 70% of the leadership of the army, because it’s the last thing you need when enemy armies are rampaging your countryside. However one can marvel at the competence and efficiency of Irene’s religious persecutions of the army, so effective was it she utterly destroyed the entire Roman army’s capabilities as a fighting force for two decades. However on the bright side despite the destruction of the army and famine throughout the Empire there was a happy ending as more importantly she did get her way on whether pictures of God where allowed in churches or not.
Now with all the important issues in the city settled, it was time to turn her attention to those pesky Arabs invaders and who better to deal with than he army she had just terrorised and the territories in the Empire under Arab threat? The army magnificently marched out of Constantinople and straight into the Arab camp and joined them followed by the province of Sicily.
Unsurprisingly at this point there was a little discontent in the Empire with Irene’s rule and when her son Constantine reached the age of 17 the provincial army declared him Emperor and revolted, with few willing to defend Irene the revolt was over almost as soon as it started with her imprisoned in a country palace. So happy days returned to the Empire under Constantine, that was until it turned out he really wasn’t a soldier in the mould of Trajan or Alexander, having more acutely attuned personal survival instincts and a fast horse. So Constantine adopted the policy of Danegeld to stop the Arab invasion which of course proved scandalous to middle class tax payers who undoubtedly complained ‘why should I pay for a lazy Arab to sit and do nothing, he should get a job, like attacking our Empire,’ and as this happened Irene was able to manipulate palace politics and get herself restored to the throne.
With the Danegeld payments ceasing now Irene was back in power the Arabs sent a fresh army to invade the Empire. Constantine perhaps sensing he needed to save face, and perhaps the Empire after his failed attempt at rule immediately gathered and army and headed to fight the Arabs but as he reached Anatolia news reached him from his mother the Arab army had turned back and returned to Egypt. Constantine returned to Constantinople expecting the gratitude of the city but instead met with derision and cries of cowardice as Irene’s message to him had been a lie and the Arab army hadn’t turned back. Irene had her son seized and dragged back to the palace where she had his eyes torn out after which he died. Ok she totally undermined the war effort, helped the enemy invade her country, but on the bright side she did get to torture her only child to death.
With half her empire occupied, her son murdered, her army betrayed, Irene now turned her attention to the economy it was still too healthy. She had always encouraged and even mix of corruption, factionalism and Social Darwinism among her palace advisers, a government based on the philosophy if they’re killing each other, they’re not killing me served her well. However with much of the city shocked by her brutal treatment of her son she started she had maybe gone a stage too far so some serious divide and rule was needed, playing off faction against faction with graft and bribes. Soon the economy was bankrupt and just as she had spent the last penny from the royal coffers the Arabs started getting shirty again. This time Irene took a leaf out of her son’s book and opted for Danegeld. However the city had no money, so she made the Arabs an exceptionally huge offer based on the principle what does it matter whether you promise someone a million or a billion when you haven’t got a penny to pay them. To her this seemed perfectly logical, however the citizens of Constantinople failed to see this logic and were getting very worried the Arabs may get a miffed when they found out they weren’t going to get a single payment.
Now Irene had ignored the Lombard threat to Italy and the Pope’s pleas for aid, and when they finally invaded the treacherous Pope decided to undermine her rule by actually protecting the people of Italy and worse still without any consultation of the Empress. The Pope did a deal with Charlemagne to protect the citizens of Italy and crowned him Holy Roman Emperor, so 400 years after the last Western Emperor the Empire was divided into two again. The situation became even more intolerable when the Pope suggested to Charlemagne he might do a better job at ruling the Eastern half than Irene. Irene acted quickly and offered to marry Charlemagne, an offer he apparently private laughed at deducing she just wanted to lure him the Constantinople to murder him, but in public entered polite negotiations. At this point the citizens of the Eastern Empire ungrateful for the years of fine rule Irene had given them rose up, not at the fact they were broke, starving, the Empire was divided and what’s left taken piece by piece, I mean that’s bad, but and uncouth, unwashed trouser wearing barbarian on the throne, now that’s beyond the pale. The revolt spread quickly, the forces loyal to Irene didn’t defect to the rebel’s camp though, because their weren’t any forces loyal to Irene and she was hauled out the palace and sent captive to Lesbos where she died or was murdered a year later.
* * * *
Irene often takes a lot of stick from many historians and it is sometimes be argued that Irene was the worst female ruler in the whole of history surpassed only by Britain in the 1980’s and at the beginning of this article I contrasted Irene’s fame with that of other female rulers such as Cleopatra, Zenobia and Boudicca and made the suggestion that she was deliberately forgotten by female writers who write books on the others obsessively. However there is a historical convention that when judging the reign of a rule you look at the state of the country at the beginning of their reign and the state at the end and judge them on the difference. If I use this convention Irene’s reign was undoubtedly bad but not terminal, she inherited an ailing empire and drove it to wrack and ruin, but not irreparably and the Empire was restored again under her successors to its full might. Whereas Cleopatra and Zenobia both inherited healthy countries and lead them to total annihilation by the end, so perhaps Irene can even be compared favourably to them.
Irene of Athens ruled the Roman Empire for 22 years, as Empress-Regent, Senior Augustus and then Empress, she was the first women to rule Rome in her own name in its history and her rule and unmitigated disaster, under her reign the Empire was once again divided into two, lost half its territories, was economically broken, collapsed as a military force, within she promoted corruption and treachery, riddled it with religious persecution and inflicted it with famine.
Oh yes, and was made a Saint.

English Civil War, which faction would you join?

The English Civil War was the birth place of modern day radical views that had been building up since John Ball and John Wycliffe. Religious movements such Methodists, Quakers, Puritans found there origins there along with Communism, Anarchism and Socialism. Here's just a few of the opposing factions, which one would you join?
King Charles I was put on the throne by God and he is not subject to earthly authority he is not subject to the will of his people and any attempt to question his absolute authority is to question God’s will thus heresy. Charles I must be maintained in power and the property and status of the lords he created kept in place too. If keeping control of the country means encouraging foriegn countries, Scotland, Ireland, Holland and France to invade England it is not treason and his right to do so. England has long had the Magna Carta and the idea of rule through parliament, however Scotland believes in the Divine Right of Kings, absolute royal power, the English system is wrong. Charles's queen is Catholic, so is one of his sons and among his strongest supporters are the catholic lords. He believes in religious tolerance for his loyal subjects, but not for disloyal ones such as the confederates in Ireland.
You were the dominant force in the Houses of Parliament before the civil war and then again during the Rump Parliament, the Independents accuse you of corruption. You are suspicious of the New Model Army and wished to appease the king and come to an amicable peace, however if he refuses to convert to your religion he must go. You see your solace across the border in Presbyterian Scotland, you support all the Scottish incursions into England and would like to see them unify the whole country under Presbyterianism. You will even deal with Charles II to achieve this, as long as he converts to Presbyterianism first.
All people should be equal, the wealth of the rich should be taken from them and all people given an equal share. The right to own property should be abolished. The country should be ruled by a democratic parliament with universal suffrage and all people equal in the eyes of the law. Human rights must be respected and religious tolerance adopted. The best way to achieved this is by military coup by the leveller regiments in the New Model Army rising. If Cromwell becomes a tyrant you must assassinate him.
Like the Quakers you believe in the inner spirit and accept no authority, but you believe anyone who accepts this is bound by no earthly laws and are free to do anything. God is pantheistic and in everything, alcohol, free sex, drugs, people shouldn’t live life obsessed with the afterlife but live this life to the full now. You will ride up and down the countryside, running hell, fire and damnation preachers out of town and preaching universal love instead.
The tyrant Charles I must be overthrown by all means necessary, tried and executed as a traitor. You support the creation of the New Model Army this is the way to win the war, not a Presbyterian alliance with Scotland and will give England to power to resist Scotland after the war. You are morally outraged at the licentiousness and corruption of the world and want to pass laws to impose piety and a strong moral code, however tolerating all moderate religions. The Levellers, Diggers, Ranters, Quakers and Fifth Monarchists are beyond saving. Government should be honest and if that means making Cromwell king, so be it.

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Fifth Monarchist
You believe it is the dawning of a new golden age, soon Christ’s kingdom on Earth will come, it will be brought in by a society of saints marching on Europe, however at the moment the country is too corrupt. Your job is to convert powerful people and win parliamentary elections if this fails military coup and gain control of the country to make the land fit for saints. Your main support comes from tradesmen and some of the army, you control several seats on the Parliament of Saints and you are strongly anti-Cromwellian.
The Levellers are mostly middle class agitators or soldiers in the New Model Army, talk a lot and do little. You are peasants at the bottom rung of society and have nothing, land ownership has robbed every Englishman of his birthright, all land is the common property and no-one has the right to own it. Enough with talking, the Diggers will simply move on to the land and begin farming on a collective basis all over the country. You believe the world is sinful and soon the final judgement will come, however those who live puritanical lives will be spared.
You believe in the inner light and reject priests and scripture. You don’t like the corruption of the world, you refuse to take public oaths or pay tax, you hate organised churches and disrupt their services. Sometimes you go into rapture and often wear no clothes. You accept no authority, whenever you meet lords or nobles you use insulting terms of address to them

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

MacBeth the True Story

Wolves Circling
At the dawn of the 11th century Scotland was a declining nation, and one that really shouldn’t have survived at all. Divided within into highland and lowland, then again into Mormaer (Earldoms) each with little in common except mutual hatred and treachery towards one another. To the north Caithness, Shetland and Orkney were in the hands of the Norsemen, ever building strength to both raid and snatch more Scottish soil. To the south the powerful Northumbria, the traditional foe with it’s greedy eyes ever transfixed on the lowlands. In the west the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde was still independent and in somewhat of a renaissance, stretching as far south Cumbria and a jagged thorn. Overseas Cnut was building his Scandinavian Empire intent to add the Scottish crown to his own. Scotland hung together by a thread

The Mormaer in principle owed fealty to the king, who could call upon them to defend Scotland from foreigners. Amongst the Mormaer one stood out in power, the northerly province of Moray, much larger than it is now, stretching from west coast to east and encompassing almost the entire of the Grampian mountains. The power of Moray rivalled that of the king himself, technically the Mormaer of Moray was still a vassal of the king, though, Irish chroniclers always referred to the Mormaer of Moray as King of Moray, reflecting the fact the Mormaer of Moray were virtually independent monarchs of the highlands.
The Kingship of Scotland was always a bloody business, more a matter of plots and assassination that rightful succession. in the 11th century, never was this more true. So precarious was the position of Scotland that a single weak link and the nation would succumb to the wolves that surrounded it. Just as Edward I’s empire collapsed & fell apart in the hands of the weak Edward II or Henry V’s conquests were left in the hands of the infant Henry VI. One weak ruler and Scotland would be overrun. Scotland avoided this by not practicing primogeniture, but instead a system known as Tanistry.
Scottish lords named a ‘Tanaise’ as heir, the Tanaise was an adult selected from among the lords larger family group. The Tanaise would be an adult, proven in battle and the most capable of ruling. based on his acheivements. His extended family included; brothers, nephews, uncles, sons, stepsons, cousins ect. The extended family or a lord during the height of his reign would be in a constant brutal struggle to prove the fittest to be Tanaise.
When the noble in question died, the Tanaise would become lord and often slaughter his entire extended family to secure his position. More often than not a relative not named Tanaise would get in first, murdering both the lord and his Tanaise and proving even more ruthless and canny and fit to rule. When the new Mormaer or king came to power he then had to find an extended family to begin the struggle to succeed him. Family ties were given a low priority in this, and adoption, by marrying widows with sons, was just as legitimate as a blood relative in the extended family grouping in which one would undoubtedly excel in brutality and treachery. Scotland owed it’s existence to Mr Darwin.
This was the world Macbeth was born into, around 1005, the son of Findlaech Mac Ruaridh, Mormaer (Earl) of Moray. Little is known about his ancestry but he was possibly the grandson of Malcolm II, the king of Scotland, through his mother.
When Macbeth was around 15 his father was murdered by his cousin who became Mormaer and began the slaughter of the family. One of the advantages of Tanistry unlike primogeniture is children are spared, but Macbeth at 15 was old enough to be considered a threat and disposed of. The young MacBeth seems to have had his head screwed on and managed to flee south to the sanctuary of the court of King Malcolm II. The young Macbeth resided in Malcolm’s court for at least a decade finding both favour and high office which suggests he was quite capable. In 1031 he is mentioned as one of the emissaries sent by Malcolm to Cnut, delivering Malcolm’s submission after Cnut’s invasion of Scotland, along with two other Scottish kings.
A year later Macbeth's torch was so strong he was able to raise an army an march on Moray to avenge his father’s murder and become Mormaer. Arriving with a band of men he caught the current Mormaer (his cousin Gillacomgain, his father‘s assassin) by surprise, Gillacomgain took refuge in one of his strongholds which Macbeth surrounded and set on fire and Gillacomgain and fifty of his men burnt to death.
Macbeth was now Mormaer of Moray the second most powerful man in Scotland, he had served the king well for over a decade and had proven a canny and ruthless politician as well as a capable commander. He probably considered himself to be a good candidate to be named Tanaise by Malcolm. However Malcolm was about to drop a bombshell on both Macbeth and Scotland.
In 1034 Malcolm II died. On his deathbed he abolished Tanistry and adopted European primogeniture as the legitimate method of succession for Scotland. Malcolm named his young unproven grandson Duncan as heir, his own son being ineligible having joined an order of monks.
This would have been all well and good if Duncan had proven a good king. Shortly after becoming king, obviously aware of the doubts upon his shoulders, Duncan made the bold move of going on the offensive against his enemies. The Saga or Orkneyinga tells the story of a massive Scottish attempt to regain the islands from the Norse and their calamitous defeat at the final battle.
Duncan after the defeat must have felt his position weakened. So to remedy it in 1039 he decided to try again. His objective was to strike a blow at his main foe, the Northumbrians. This time he lead his forces personally, laying siege to Durham. However the siege quickly deteriorated into a shambles as the city held out, the besieging Scots ran out of supplies and retreated chaos
"Dunecan, king of the Scots, advanced with a countless multitude of troops, and laid siege to Durham, and made strenuous but ineffective efforts to carry it. For a large proportion of his cavalry was slain by the besieged, and he was put to a disorderly flight, in which he lost all his foot-soldiers, whose heads were collected in the market-place and hung up upon posts. Not long afterwards the same king, upon his return to Scotland, was murdered by his own countrymen."
Historia Ecclesiae Dunelmensis
Scotland had been humiliated twice and the wolves that circled licking their lips. The fact that Macbeth’s coup never became a civil war suggests it was orchestrated with the consent of the other Mormaer. Evidence for this can be seen in that after Macbeth seized power there was no massacre of his extended family or assassinations of his rivals. The Mormaer probably agreed Duncan needed, a return to the old ways was needed and Macbeth the natural Tanaise.
No report of the event that occurred or how Macbeth’s usurping of the throne occurred, though a certain Mr Shakespeare has a rather famous theory.
In 1040 the Annals of Ulster announced,
"Donnchad son of Crinan, king of Alba, was killed by his own people.”
The Annals of Tigernach reported,“Duncan was killed at an immature age”
The Chronicle of Melrose states,
“By Macbeth, the son of Finleg (Findlaech), he was struck down; The mortally wounded king died in Elgin (in Moray)”
Marianus Scotus wrote
"Duncan, the king of Scotland, was killed in the autumn by his earl, Macbeth, Findlaech's son"
The fact that Duncan died in Moray suggests that Duncan took the initiative again and marched north to attack Macbeth. He was mortally wounded at the battle of Bothgafnane taken to the Blacksmiths hut and died of his wounds there.
With Duncan dead, Macbeth was now Tanaise King of Scotland. However the hereditary heir was Duncan’s son Malcolm ‘Canmore’, who proclaimed himself king. Testimony of how the Scots recognised Macbeth not Canmore is the lack of support his claim gained. Canmore and his brother Donald tried to gain support for their cause against Macbeth but failed and after two years were forced in exile overseas, Donald to Ireland and Canmore to Northumbria.
The first serious challenge to Macbeth’s throne came in 1045 when Duncan’s father, Crinan, who as Abbot of Dunkeld, a position that commanded substantial resources, organised what was described as a sizable rebellion, which left 180 of his men dead. Why Macbeth left Crinan in such a strong position when he had usurped his son is a mystery. Was Crinan one of the lords that supported Macbeth coup in Scotland’s darkest hour? Was Macbeth still ruling independently enough from the other Mormaer to be allowed to dispose of him? Or was Macbeth showing a fatal weakness by not brutally deposing of his enemies, something he notably didn’t do to many others who would be aparty to his downfall.
After the failure of Crinan’s rebellion the middle years of Macbeth’s rule seems to have been one of stability and prosperity. In 1052 he showed great statesmanship when Edward the Confessor expelled all Normans from England, Macbeth granted them refuge and lands, many of them loyally served him to the end.
The Prophecy of Berchan gives a clear description of Macbeth and his rule,
“The ruddy faced king... will possess Scotland.
The strong one was fair, yellow-haired and tall.
Brimful of food was Scotland, east and west,
During the reign of the ruddy, brave king”
Strong, brave and ruddy (red) faced (perhaps with rage) if this is added to tall, fair and with long blond hair, a picture of huge terrifying warrior emerges, the kind of man to forge a country in a violent age.
The line, Brimful of food, suggests what facts seem to support, Scotland was a stable and prosperous land for a time. So stable that in 1049 felt secure enough to leave Scotland and go on a pilgrimage to Rome. Leaving your country was a big deal for any medieval king, but for Macbeth, with a pretender Malcolm Canmore exiled in Scotland’s main rival Northumbria, this was the bold move of a confident man.
Macbeth arrived in Rome in Easter 1050 where he visited the poor areas of the city and scattered so much silver in the streets it was written of by monks in Hamburg. Why he went on pilgrimage is less clear. As a Norman ally was he seeking more favour from the pope against England? Was it to try and get the pope to legitimise his rule over Malcolm Canmore? Or maybe he just was genuinely pious.
Towards the end of Macbeth’s reign discontent emerged in Scotland. The reasons are unknown, but for the first time Malcolm Canmore found support for his cause in Scotland and he was to return to haunt Macbeth.
Earl Siward of Northumbria hadn’t harboured Canmore for all these years out of kindness, but as a card to play in the prolonged struggle between the two realms, in 1034 he decided to play it.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records,
"This year went Siward the earl with a great army into Scotland, both with a ship-force and with a landforce, and fought against the Scots, and put to flight the king Macbeth, and slew all who were the chief men in the land, and led thence much booty, such as no man before had obtained. But his son Osbarn, and his sister's son Siward, and some of his housecarls, and also of the king's, were there slain, on the day of the Seven Sleepers”
According to the chronicle, Siward and Canmore rode at the head of a large army into Scotland and defeated Macbeth, however it’s not this straight forward. Amongst the Northumbrian army were a lot of the personal troops of Edward the Confessor, which suggests it was an English not Northumbrian orchestrated invasion, perhaps in response to Macbeth’s harbouring of Normans.
By standards of the day the invading force was huge. The Northumbrian Chronicles paint a vivid picture, a large Northumbrian fleet lead by Canmore captured the city of Dundee and was joined by Scottish rebels including horse. They marched out to the plains of Gowire past the capital Scone and Edinburgh, probably pillaging in an attempt to force Macbeth to face them. Macbeth presumably having to ride the country to muster forces to fight such a huge invasion. The campaign was recorded as being costly to men on both side and culminated in one of the most massive battles seen to date in Scotland, the Battle of Seven Sleepers (Dunsinane). The Northumbrian Chronicle tells little of the battle but that Macbeth’s forces charged down from the hills at the Northumbrians and were put to flight. The annals of Ulster record as many as 3000 Scottish dead, 1500 English dead and all of Macbeth’s Normans wiped out.
The Battle of Seven Sleepers put Canmore in firm control of the Lowlands, for the English this was enough, who made a separate peace with Macbeth and returned home with their booty.
Canmore now devoid of English support lacked the power to venture into the highlands and confront Macbeth. Meanwhile Macbeth still Mormaer of Moray, the most powerful Mormaer in Scotland retreated to the security of his highland kingdom where he mounted a guerrilla war against Canmore raiding south. For three years Macbeth carried out his war leading ambitious raids deep into the lowlands and retreating north assured the lowlanders could never follow, he was to prove wrong. 1057 Malcolm Canmore managed to lead a force to Macbeth's surprise across the Grampian mountains and ambush the unsuspecting Macbeth, at the village of Lumphanon, deep in Moray, as he returned from a southern foray. Macbeth was slain in the battle.
Macbeth 1005-1057 (King 1040-57)
It is always said, with the death of Macbeth died Tanistry in Scotland, as Malcolm Canmore and his descendants ruled in primogeniture from then on. However in a great twist of irony it was perhaps Macbeth himself who ended it when his own stepson became his successor, ‘Lulach the foolish,’ never crowned, Lulach survived his father by only seven months before Canmore invaded Moray again and slew him. Whereas Canmore himself was succeeded by his brother (briefly) before his son. Macbeth may not have been the last Tanaise monarch of Scotland, but he was the last Highlander.
Macbeth, Man and Myth - Nick Aitchison
In Search of British Heroes - Tony Robinson
Annals of Ulster
Annals of Tigernach
Chronicle of Melrose
Prophecy of Berchan - Marianus Scotus
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Northumbrian Chronicle
The literary encyclopaedia
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