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Thorfinn, earl of Orkney

Thorfinn, earl of Orkney (c.1009–c.1065). Though the saga sources are far from specific, it is clear that ‘Thorfinn the Mighty’ wielded great power. He succeeded his father Sigurd as earl of Orkney when a small boy in 1014. He was a grandson of Malcolm II of Scotland. He fought against Duncan I, his cousin, and may have divided the kingdom with Macbeth. They certainly defeated and killed Duncan, and seem to have stayed in harmony until Macbeth's own death at Lumphanan: it is said that they visited Rome together. Thorfinn built a cathedral at Birsay in Orkney. His daughter married Malcolm III of Scotland and his sons fought alongside Harold Hardrada at Stamford Bridge in 1066.

J. A. Cannon

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