In which I ponder the significance of some intriguing marks carved into Sueno’s Stone
Thanks Fiona, for another thought-provoking blog. I like the direction this is going! Anent stones with 'sword' marks. There are definitely other examples elsewhere in Scotland (e.g. Lethendy https://canmore.org.uk/site/79896/lethendy-house) and, as I recall, Wales. That doesn't mean the practice didn't originate in Ireland, but it was also known in southern Pictland.
Yet more fresh food for thought Fiona! As I’ve said previously I am fairly certain there was a separate northern, Moray based kingship. That there is no direct historical record is not surprising given the paucity of any surviving sources and especially when those that we do have were written from a southern (Alban) perspective. The acceptance of the “usurper” MacBethad by Alba certainly suggests that his claim to overall kingship must have had a credible constitutional basis. Similarly the ongoing struggles of the Alban kings through the 11th and 12th centuries to get the folk of Moray to accept their sovereignty also suggests a tradition of an independent kingship or polity.
So having the mound that Sueno’s stone stands as a place of coronation certainly makes sense to me. I think it is also worth noting that Cluny Hill, sitting directly behind the mound, is very prominent in the landscape and can be picked out from afar, especially the northern coast of the Moray Firth. Perhaps that visibility was also significant
Really enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work - once you regain your throne from the usurper 🐈⬛
Loved reading this--and thinking about it! How intriguing to work out how ideas around oaths, boundaries, kingship, and other power was being wielded in the landscape. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas and the research into them--wonderful stuff to think more on.
It may be that the stone commemorates some final (local) battle when the "northern Picts" were conquered but includes the coronation scene from Scone as part of the same story. As in the battle happened somewhere near the stone, Cináed was victorious and crowned at Scone, then the stone was erected to commemorate the decisive victory in Cináed's ascension to the throne.