Macbeth, 890 CE
It’s 890 CE, in the post-Roman, pre-Norman, early medieval Scotland. Viking raids have become a norm on the northern coasts of Scotland and isles in the North Sea. In 872, Sigurd Eysteinsson, also known as Sigurd the Mighty, inherited the title of Jarl of Orkney from his brother, Rongvald Eysteinsson. Donald II, a Scottish king whose reign was marked with battles against the Sigurd, oversaw the birth of what we now call Scotland. With the Norsemen gaining power in the north and Christianity spreading to the south, what direction will Scotland take? How will Scotland manage its positions amidst alliances between the Vikings its neighbors?
In this Scotland, Malcolm, future king in Shakespeare’s the Tragedy of Macbeth, sits on an advisory council to King Duncan as Scotland faces an uncertain future in a tumultuous time. Fearsome Viking pirates, brave kings and queens, imperialism, and complex geopolitical maneuvering are all parts of this committee. The anachronisms and ‘softening’ of reality is meant to bring the two together, so don’t worry too much about the historical nature of Viking expansion to the British Isles. Feel free to dip into history and the full Shakespeare pantheon of characters and magic as well, as this era of murky historical accuracy is perfectly supplemented by the fantastical and mysterious.