Known as 'the Fierce'
King of Scotland (1107-24)
Born c 1077 Died 1124

Alexander was the fifth son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Scotland, named after the Pope Alexander II. He became king on the death of his brother Edgar in 1107. However in accordance with the terms of Edgar's will, he only inherited Scotland itself whilst the southern territories of Strathclyde and Lothian were bequeathed to his younger brother David.

Whilst this was similar to the arrangement that had been made between Donald III and Edmund in the years between 1094 and 1097, it was not entire clear what Edgar's motivation was for this division. In any event Alexander appears to have been dissatisfied with this arrangement and considered taking action to 'recover' the south but was dissuaded by the strength of Anglo-Norman military support that brother David, also Earl of Huntingdon, could command.

Like his brothers Duncan and Edgar he had spent much time in England and seems to have been on friendly terms with Henry I throughout his reign. On becoming king he was married to Sybilla one of the many illegitimate offspring of Henry I and later in the year 1114 commanded a force during one of Henry's many incursions into Wales.

Alexander clearly inherited his mother's views in the matter of religion, and was a keen advocate of the 'modernisation' of the Scottish church in line with new Anglo-Norman practices imported from the continent. He was a generous benefactor to the church and endowed a number of abbeys including Inchcolm and Scone. But he was also a keen believer in the independence of the Scottish Church and rejected the attempts of the Archbishop of York to exercise his jurisdiction in Scotland.

He was described by one medieval chronicler as;

a lettered and godly man, very humble and amiable towards the clerics and regulars, but terrible beyond measure to the rest of his subjects1

It was the 'rest of his subjects' that gave him his name 'the Fierce' in honour of his brutal surpression of a rebellion in Moray 2 early on in his reign, and his continued vigorous action against various other insurrections which later broke out in his kingdom.

His marriage to Sybilla failed to produce any children and she died suddenly in the year 1122 and Alexander did not remarry after her death. This left Alexander bereft of any legitimate heir.

One of the more interesting historical speculations is to conjecture what would have happened, had Alexander's marriage produced a male heir that could have succeeded him as king, as it raises the interesting possibility that the line of David would have continued as rulers of Strathclyde-Lothian and that it might have developed as an entirely separate north British kingdom.

In any event when Alexander died in Stirling on the 23rd April 1124, although his illegitimate son Malcolm made a brief attempt to claim the throne for himself, it was his younger brother David that took over and 're-united' the kingdom.

The Chronicle of Melrose recorded his reign with the following eulogy;

The reign of King Alexander made heavy the ears of corn;
After seventeen (years) and eight months,
Throughout Scotland there was a firm peace;
It was said that death overtook the king in Stirling.


1 Quoted by and various other sources without attributing a particular chronicler.

2 Macbeth of course was mormaer of Moray and the the district continued to be a centre of resistence to the Norman Canmore kings for many years to come. Surpressing a 'rebellion in Moray' became a regular feature of their reigns.


The Chronicle of Melrose together with articles on Alexander I at and

Alexander I was the son of Emperor Paul of Russia, but his early life was more controlled by his grandmother Catherine the Great. She named him (after Alexander Nevsky) and took him to raise her way, much as Empress Elizabeth had taken Paul to raise herself. Catherine's way included studying Enlightenment philosophers as Catherine herself had (though Catherine did not really implement those beliefs in her rule). Alexander's tutors said he had difficulty concentrating, and his formal schooling ended at 16 when Catherine arranged a marriage for him.

Paul and Catherine did not get along, and Alexander learned diplomacy trying to deal with both of them. Catherine discussed skipping Paul in the succession and naming Alexander her heir, but Alexander told his father that he didn't want to do this. However, when Catherine died in 1796 and Paul became Emperor, Alexander's radical politics began to disagree more and more with his father's. A group of conspirators (who probably told Alexander they were going to depose and imprison the Emperor) murdered Paul in his palace in 1801 and so Alexander became Emperor.

However, having his father murdered made Alexander a little paranoid. His politics became more middle of the road; although he often mentioned the possibility of creating a constitution for Russia, he never went through with it and always retained absolute power. Alexander was polite to everyone and wanted to be popular with nobles, commoners, and foreign countries, which sometimes made him seem inconsistent when he told everyone what they wanted to hear. He put a lot of foreigners into government positions (to the point that when he asked a Russian general what would be the best reward for the general's services, the respsonse was, "Sire, make me a German.")

Alexander did put many popular reforms into place -- he allowed non-nobles to buy land, stopped peasants on government land from being given to private landowners, and reformed education. However, he was dedicated enough to monarchy to be the only European ruler to send a protest to France when a member of the French royal family was executed for conspiring against Napoleon in 1804. Russian troops later marched against Napoleon in Europe, but were defeated and an unpopular (in Russia) peace treaty was signed in 1807. The enmity did not end, and Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, but his troops were not able to withstand the Russian winter without supplies, and Russia was just too big to take city-by-city. By 1815, the conflict with France was over, and Alexander became a major power in Europe. This was the reactionary period of his reign, as he forced military men and their families to live in rural villages, prohibited Freemasons and other secret societies, and censored books and university professors.

Alexander had no surviving children, nor did his next-younger-brother Constantine, so he privately named his brother Nicholas as heir in 1819 because Nicholas had a son. In 1825, Alexander took a trip to the south of Russia to visit the Crimea. He caught a chill there and died on 19 November 1825 (though there is a legend that he did not die, but rejected the throne and became a monk; this probably arose because Alexander was usually in excellent health) and Nicholas I became Emperor. Because Alexander had not publicized his naming of Nicholas as heir, there was confusion in Russia and some swore oaths to Constantine as Emperor before the news got out that it was Nicholas.

Sources: Donald Raleigh and A.A. Iskenderov's The Emperors and Empresses of Russia: Rediscovering the Romanovs and those listed under Monarchs of Russia.

Prince Alexander I (1879 - 1886)

For five centuries in slavery, the Bulgarians cherished their memory of the regal images of their medieval rulers. After the liberation, on July 6, 1879, they welcomed their first ruler on the pier of Varna with enthusiasm and hope. Born in Verona in 1857, handsome and stately, the German prince Alexander seemed to personify the people's ideal for a ruler. The young prince was the symbol of Bulgaria's revival. Prince Alexander I accepted the Bulgarian throne not only out of his ambition to become an honored monarch in Europe. The twenty-two-year-old dragoon lieutenant was making plans to turn Bulgaria into a powerful state under his firm control.

No wonder the European aristocrat found the new constitution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly in Turnovo, unacceptable, and its democratic norms objectionable. They were in contrast to his concept of a strong royal power, by which he hoped to consolidate the new state and bring it closer to modern Europe. "With this law, Your Majesty, it will be impossible or at least very hard for you to rule," the lawyer of his father's court warned him. The German aristocrat was unsure whether his recently-liberated subjects were educated enough to distinguish freedom from its abuse and order from disorder.

Prince Alexander I tenaciously sought to have the democratic Turnovo Constitution amended, as it allowed him only very limited power. For this purpose he sought the support of conservatives who, like him, preferred the state to be ruled by an autocrat. However, the politically more stable liberals, who believed in the power of the National Assembly, started to attack him. In this continual conflict the young and inexperienced but daring ruler gradually realized that being at the helm of a newly liberated country was an onerous task. "There is a bomb under my throne!", he once exclaimed in a moment of despair. The government changed ten times during the seven years of his rule. In that dizzying gyration he often made errors, mistaking his wishes for reality.

All this explains his decision to stage a coup on April 27, 1881. "In the past two years I allowed every possible attempt to be made for the construction and the proper development of the state, but unfortunately my hopes were thwarted," reads his proclamation. He suspended the Turnovo Constitution and had himself invested with absolute powers for nearly three years.

Indeed, during that period a number of valuable ideas for Bulgaria's advancement were born and implemented. European standards were applied to the development of administration, the economy, culture and the army. The liberals, however, rightly accused him of defying the will of the people and of underestimating Bulgarians' ability to maintain a free democratic rule, and Prince Alexander was forced to restore the constitution.

He struggled in foreign relations, too. Having come to Bulgaria with the consent of the Great Powers, he was particularly sensitive to the slightest change in the political balance in Europe. He had ascended the throne with the blessing of his relative, the Russian Emperor Alexander II, but his successor Alexander III felt personal contempt for the Bulgarian prince. He demanded to have the small principality submitted to the interests of the mighty Slavic empire. Prince Alexander took the side of the Russophobes who sought independence for the country.

Alexander I realized the significance of the task to restore the country's unity after it had been fragmented at the Berlin Congress in the summer of 1878. He was intelligent enough to foresee the possible consequences of unification both for the state and for himself. He became one of the first champions of Bulgarian national unity. He is credited for the unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia in the autumn of 1885, and For its successful defending through diplomatic negotiations with the Great Powers and by the victory of his young army in the war with Serbia.

The young monarch, however, was not strong enough to get the upper hand in the struggle with as great a power as Russia and with the ambitions of Russia's ardent Bulgarian supporters. On August 9, 1886 he was forced at gunpoint by the Russophiles, to sign a statement of abdication. The attempt of his supporters to restore him to the throne was foiled by the unyielding opposition of Emperor Alexander III. Deeply frustrated, the prince finished his statement of abdication with the words "God help Bulgaria!". His legacy was one of tragic disparity between hopes and reality.

Primary Source:
- Translated from the book "Rulers of Bulgaria"
- Bulgarian text by Profesor Milcho Lalkov, Ph.D.
- Published by Kibea Publishing Company, Sofia, Bulgaria

text used here with permission from translator, save modifications for noding

Saint Alexander was the sixth Bishop of Rome. He ascended to the Holy See around 106 and reigned for 10 years. His saint day is 3 May and he is represented with his chest pierced with nails or spikes and often wearing a triple tiara.

Alexander was born a Roman citizen and according to Karen Rae Keck may have been educated by Pliny the Younger.1 Little is know about him however he is often attributed with having added the Qui Pridie, which commemorates the last supper, to the Canon of the Mass but this is thought to be incorrect. Thomas J. Shahan points out "such [words] being certainly primitive and original in the Mass"2 and there is little evidence other than tradition to support the claim. Alexander is also attributed with introducing the custom of blessing houses with water mixed with salt to purify them from evil influences. However Louis Duchesne and modern scholars have dismissed this an ancient pagan custom.

Alexander was traditionally known as a martyr. The tradition states he was imprisoned and whilst imprisoned he converted his jailer, Saint Quirinus, and the jailer's daughter, Saint Balbina. He was burned and then beheaded on the Via Nomentana in Rome along with two priests, Eventius and Theodulus. However most scholars believe that this attribution of martyrdom is erroneous and that the Pope was separate from another Alexander who was actually martyred under Hadrian's persecution. Another twist in the story came in 1855 when archaeologists discovered the tomb of the martyred Alexander and the two priests at the spot identified in the above tradition. Some archaeologists claim that the body found was that of the actual Pope and that the martyr and the Pope are one and the same. Despite this the majority view is still that there was some confusion between the two dating back to the 5th century.

Evaristus - Pope - Sixtus I

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