Britannia, by William Camden


Big T THE place, among the British Nations, next to the Picts, is in justice due to the Scots: But before I proceed (lest some spiteful and ill-natur’d persons should misconstrue those things for calumny, which with all sincerity I have collected out of ancient Writers concerning them) I must caution the Reader, once for all, that every word is to be understood of the old, true, and genuine Scots; whose posterity are those that speak Irish, possessing for a long way together that tract which we now call the West part of Scotland and the Islands thereabouts; and who are commonly term’d Highland-men. For the more civilized who inhabit the Eastpart of the country, though adopted into that name, are not really Scots, but of the same German original with us English. This, they cannot but confess, and we cannot but acknowledge; they, as well as we, being called by the Highlanders, Sassones. Besides, they speak the same language, namely the Saxon, with some variation in Dialect only; which is an infallible proof of the same original. In which regard, I am so far from casting any reflection upon them, that I have always loved them the more, as men of the same blood and extraction, and respected them highly, even when the Kingdoms were distinct; and now much more, since by the good Providence of God we are † † Under James 1.united into one body, under one Sovereign Head of England and Scotland; which Union may the Almighty ever bless, to the happy, prosperous, and peaceful state of both nations.

The † † See Bishop Usher’s Antiquat. Britan. Eccles. cap. 15.original of the Scotch nation, as well as its neighbours, and the etymology of the name, are so wrapt up in obscurity, that even the sagacious Buchanan either did not discover it, or only discover’d it to himself: for he has utterly fail’d the expectation of the world in this point. Upon which account, I have long forborn to enter the lists; not caring to play the fool, as others have done, in admiring fables. AEgypt Egypt For, one may as probably refer the original of Scotland to the Gods, as to Scota the sham-daughter of Pharaoh King of Ægypt, married to Gaithelus son of Cecrops the founder of Athens. Scota, Pharaoh’s daughter. But, as this opinion is rejected by the ingenious among the Scots themselves, as a gross ignorance in Antiquity; so that other of a later date, absurdly fetch’d from a Greek original, as if the Scots were so call’d quasi Greek, that is, obscure; is also to be exploded, as spightfully invented, to the dishonour of a most famous and warlike nation. Nor is the opinion of our Florilegus, that the Scots are so called as sprung from a confused medley of nations, universally receiv’d. In the mean time, I cannot but admire, upon what grounds Isidore could say, That the Scots in their own tongue have their name from their painted bodies, because they are marked by iron needles and ink, with various figures. Lib. g. c.2. Which is also alledg’d in the same words by Rabanus Maurus, in his Geography, to the Emperor Lodovicus Pius; to be seen in Trinity-College Library at Oxford.

But seeing Scotland has those within her self who are able to trace her Original from the highest steps of Antiquity, to their own honour and that of their Country, if they will but heartily set themselves to it; I will only point out the Fountain from whence I conceive these Truths are to be drawn, and offer some things, which I would have them diligently consider: for in this point I profess my self a Sceptick.

Ireland the Country of the Scots. First therefore of their original, and then of the place from whence they were transplanted into Ireland. For it is plain, that out of Ireland (an Isle peopled by the Britains, as shall be shown in its proper place,) they came over into Britain; and that they were seated in Ireland, when they first became known to Writers by that name. So Claudian, speaking of their inroads into Britain;

Totam cùm ScotusIernem.Hibernem
Movit, & infesto spumavit remige Thetis

When Scots came thundring from the Irish shores,
And th’ ocean trembled struck with hostile oars.

In another place also,

Scotorum cumulos flevit glacialis * * Ierne.Hiberne.

And frozen Ireland moan’d the crowding heaps
Of murther’d Scots.—

⌈This last passage is by a late learned Advocate for the Antiquity of the Scots in Britain, apply’d, not to Ireland, but to Scotland, and to Strathern a particular Province thereof, so call’d from the river Ern, from whence the Country might be call’d Ierne. But this, however an ingenious conjecture, seems to be inconsistent with that other passage of Claudian, just now mention’d; which plainly supposes the Scots to be then in Ireland, and to cross a Sea into Britain. And so Buchanan himself understands this passage of Claudian; and Gildas, where he gives an account how the Scots infested Britain, speaks of their coming by sea, and carrying away their prey beyond the sea, and says, that the Roman forces drove them trans maria, beyond the Seas. Nor does it seem, by any means, to be a fair solution of this difficulty, to say that these Seas were only the Friths, over which the Scots pass’d from one part of Scotland to another. For altho’ it is true, that these Friths are sometimes call’d Maria or Seas, yet they cannot be meant on this occasion, because Gildas and Bede expressly tell us, “That when the Roman Legion first defeated the Picts and Scots, they commanded a wall to be built between the two Seas to hinder their Incursion”; which would have serv’d no end or purpose, if their former custom had been, to cross over the two Friths, and land on this side the Wall. So that the plain meaning must be, that the Scots cross’d the sea from Ireland, and landing in the north-parts of Britain, joyn’d the Picts, and so march’d towards the Wall, and, as the same Historians say, pull’d the poor Britains from it with hooks, and forc’d their passage into the Roman Province; which had been needless, if their way had been, to pass over the Friths, between which the Wall was built.

But to proceed.⌉ Orosius likewise writes; Ireland is peopled by nations of the Scots. Agreeable to which is that of Isidore. Scotland and Ireland are the same: but it is called Scotland, because it is peopled by nations of the Scots. Gildas calls them Hibernos grassatores, Irish robbers. Bede also, The Scots, who inhabit Ireland, an Island next to Britain. And so in other places. Eginhardus, who lived in the age of Charles the Great, expressly calls Ireland, the Island of the Scots. Thus also Giraldus Cambrensis, That the Scotch nation is the off-spring of Ireland, is sufficiently prov’d by the resemblance of Language and Dress, as well as of arms and customs, continu’d to this day. But now of the Points, which I had to offer, to be further considered by the Scots.

Gaiothel, or Gaithel, and Gael. Since they who are the true genuine Scots, own not the name of Scots, but call themselves Gaiothel, Gael, and Albin; and many People are call’d by their neighbours after another name than what they give themselves, by which the first rise of nations is often traced; (for instance, the people of the lower Pannonia, who call themselves Magier, are call’d by the Germans Hungari, because they were originally Hunns; the People bordering upon the forest of Hercynia, go by the name of Czechi among themselves, whereas they are call’d by others Bohæmi,Bohaemi because they are the off-spring of the Boii in Gaul; the Inhabitants of Africa, who have also a peculiar name among themselves, are call’d by the Spaniards Alarbes, because they are Arabians; the Irish, who call themselves Erenach, are by our Britains call’d Gwidhill; and both the Irish and Britains give the English no other name than Sasson, because we are descended from the Saxons:) Since these things are so; I desire it may be enquir’d by the Scots, whether they were not so call’d by their neighbours, quasi Scythæ.Scythae For, as the Low-Dutch call both Scythians and Scots by one name, Scutten; so it may be observ’d from the British writers, that our Britains likewise called both of them Y-Scot. Ninnius also expressly calls the British inhabitants of Ireland, Scythæ, and Gildas calls that Sea which they pass’d over out of Ireland into Britain, Vallis Scythica.Vallis Scythica. For so it is in the Paris Edition, whereas other Editions absurdly read it Styticha vallis. Again, King Alfred (who, † † Seven, C.eight hundred years ago, turn’d Orosius’s History into Saxon) translates Scots by the word Scyttan; and our own borderers on Scotland do not call them Scots, but Scyttes and Scetts. For as the same people (so Walsingham has it) areIn his Hypodigma. call’d GetæGetae , Getici, Gothi, Gothici; so from one and the same original come ScythæScythae , Scitici, Scoti, Scotici.

But whether the name was given that nation by the neighbours, on account of its Scythian manners, or because they came from Scythia; is what I would have them consider in the next place. Lib. 6.
, lib. 4.
For Diodorus Siculus and Strabo expressly compare those Britains, who were the original Inhabitants of Ireland (the true native country of the Scots,) to the Scythians, in point of barbarity. Besides, they drink the blood out of the wounds of the slain, they ratifie their leagues with mutual draughts of blood, and the wild Irish and those who are true Scots think their honour greater or less, in proportion to the numbers they have slain; as the Scythians heretofore did. Farther, it is observable, that the main weapons among the Scots, as well as among the Scythians, were bows and arrows. For Orpheus calls the Scythians Greek text, as ÆlianAElian and Julius Pollux, Sagittarii, Archers; and upon this, the learned are of opinion that both nations took that name from their skill in shooting. Nor is it strange, that several nations should take the same name, from the same Customs; since those who have travell’d the West-Indies, tell us, that their stout men who use bows and arrows, are call’d all over India and the Islands about it, by the common name ofCaribes.
Benzo, lib. 2.
Caribes, tho’ they are of several nations.

But that the Scots came from Scythia, the Irish Historians themselves relate; for they reckon Nemethus the Scythian, and long after, Dela (descended from the posterity of Nemethus, or, in other words, of Scythian extraction) among the first inhabitants of Ireland. Ninnius also, Eluodugus’s Scholar, expressly writes thus: In the fourth age of the world (the space between the building of the Temple and the Babylonish Captivity) the Scythians possess’d themselves of Ireland. Agreeable to this, is the authority of modern writers; of Cisner in his Preface to Crantzius; and ofTom. 1. p.37. Reinerus Reineccius, who says, There remains a nation of the Scots in Britain, descended from the Scythians. praefFlahert. Ogyg. p.67. 350.Stillingfl. Orig. Brit. Præf. p.37. ⌈And a late learned Irish Antiquary declares, That it appears by all their ancient Records, that they had their original from the Scythians; observing also, that a part of their Country in their own language is called Gœthluighe,Goethluighe i.e. Gothland, from the Goths or Scythians who took possession of it.⌉ Yet I much question, notwithstanding the Getes were a Scythick nation, whether Propertius means our Irish, when he says,

Hibernique Getæ, Pictoque Britannia curru.

And Irish Getes, and British foes that ride
In painted Chariots —

From whence the Scots came into Ireland. But perhaps the honour of the Scots is not to be sav’d in this point, unless they be transplanted from Spain into Ireland: For this, both they and their Historians do as zealously contend for, as if their lives and liberties were at stake; and indeed not without some reason. Scythians in Spain. And therefore all this is but lost labour, if there are no Scythians to be found in Spain. But that there were Scythians in Spain (not to mention the Promontory among the Cantabri, called Scythicum, next to Ireland; nor what Strabo writes, that the Cantabri were like the Scythians in manners and barbarity,) is clear from Silius Italicus, who was born in Spain. Concani. For that the Cancani, a nation of Cantabria, were the off-spring of the Massagetæ,Massagetae i.e. the Scythians, appears by this verse of his;

Sil. Ital.
Lib. 3.
Et quæ Massagetem monstrans feritate parentem
Cornipedis fusa satiaris Concane venâ

Concans, that show themselves of Scythian strain,
And horse’s blood drink from the reeking vein.

Some few lines after, he informs us that the Sarmatæ,Sarmatae (who are granted by all to be Scythians) built Susana, a City of Spain;

Sarmaticos attollens Susana muros.

Susan, that rears her proud Sarmatian walls.

Luceni. From these Sarmatæ, or Scythians, the Luceni, whom Orosius places in Ireland, seem to be descended (seeing Susana is reckon’d by the Spaniards themselves among the Lucensii;) as likewise the Gangani of Ireland, from these Concani. For the Lucensii and Concani among the Cantabri, were neighbours; as the Luceni and Gangani were, on the coast of Ireland which lies towards Spain. If anyone start the question, What Scythians these were that came into Spain? I can say nothing to it, unless you allow them to have been Germans. And I wish, the Scots themselves would consider this point. Germans in Spain. That the Germans formerly enter’d Spain (not to urge the authority of Pliny, who calls the Oretani of Spain, Germans,) Seneca, who was himself a Spaniard, will shew us. De Consul. ad Albin.
Lib. 4. c.12.
The Pyrenees, (says he) did not stop the passage of the Germans; theHumana Levitas.Levity of human nature forc’d it self through these impassable and unknown ways. And that the Germans were called Scythians, may not only be gather’d from Ephorus and Strabo, who call all the nations towards the north Scythians; but also from Pliny. The name of Scythian (says he) is every where used among the Sarmatæ and Germans. Aventinus is my witness, that the Germans were call’d Scythæscythae scythulae and Scythulæ by the Hungarians. Now, to derive their Original from the Scythians, can be no way dishonourable, since they are not only a most ancient people, but have conquer’d many other nations; have been invincible themselves, and free from any foreign yoke. I must not omit, that the Cauci and Menapii (who were reckon’d among the most famous nations in Germany) are placed by Ptolemy, under the same names and at the same distance, in Ireland; which makes it probable, that they had both Name and Original from the Germans.

Vassæus. If the Scots are not descended from these; I would have them consider, whether they are not the off-spring of those Barbarians, who were driven out of GallæciaGallaecia in Spain by Constantine the Great, according to the Chronicle of King Alphonsus. For it is from those parts, that they would have themselves transplanted into Ireland. If they examin who these Barbarians were; I doubt not, but they will agree with me, that they were Germans. Vassaeus Cantabriae For in the reign of Gallienus, Orosius says, that the more remote Germans possess’d themselves of SpainAbrasa.then wasted; and who could these remote Germans be, but the Scythians? But Aurelius Victor, published by Andreas Schottus, calls those Germans, Franks. Yet, seeing these Franks and the remoter Germans sailing out of Germany, were carry’d by stress of weather a long way into the Ocean, and, as Nazarius says to Constantine, infested the Spanish coasts all along our seas; who can believe that they left Ireland (a most fruitful Island, and excellently situated for Descents into Spain) for the dry barren soil of * * Cantabriæ.Biscay? Nay rather, as the Norwegians from Scandia, in the time of Charlemain and after, often invaded Ireland and got footing there; so we may probably imagin that formerly the Franks did the same, and that they pass’d from thence into Spain;Orosius, lib. 7. and, being driven out there by Constantine the Great, return’d to Ireland. It is also likely, that more of them afterwards went thither; as well when the Vandals and Goths made those terrible devastations in Spain, and the barbarians were at war among themselves, and kill’d and plunder’d one another; as when the invasions of the Saracens gaul’d the Spaniards, and drove many of them into Gallitia and Cantabria. But let others clear these matters; it is enough for me, that I have shown my willingness to remove the cloud.

The next Query I would offer to them, is, how it comes to pass, that the Irish (the Ancestors of the Scots) and the Scots themselves, glory in the name Gael and Gaiothel; and that their language is call’d Gaiothlac; and why they nam’d that part of Britain where they first settled, Argathel? From what original can they derive these names? From the GallæciGallaeci in Spain, many of whom doubtless shifted into Ireland; and whose original is to be fetch’d from the Gallati or Gauls? or from the Goths, as some moderns are of opinion, who would deduce the word Gaiothel (as Cathalonia in Spain) from the Goths? Here, they will naturally seek for proofs, in some resemblances between the Gothick language, and that of the Irish; which yet has no congruity with any other language of Europe that I can find, but only the British and the German. How true that of Huntington may be; The Scots came from Spain to Ireland in the fourth age of this world; and part of them still remain behind, and speak the same language, and are called Navarri; I say, how true this passage is, let others judge. I take no notice of David Chambres, a Scotchman, who was informed by the Jesuits, that the Scotch language is spoken in the East-Indies. I am afraid, the distance of that country might prompt the credulous man to take the liberty of telling a lye which he never made.

Goths and Highlanders have the same Apparel. If arguments may be drawn from Habits; we shall find the same dress and apparel among the Highlanders of Scotland, that was formerly used by the Goths; as appears by Sidonius, who in his description of a Goth, has given you the picture of a Scotch Highlander. They shine (says he), * * Croce.with yellow; they cover their feet as high as the ancle with hairy untann’d leather; Their knees, legs, and calves, are all bare. Their garment is high, close, and of sundry colours, hardly reaching down to their hams. Their sleeves only coverBrachiorum principia.the root of their arms. Their inner coat is green, and edged with red fringe. Their belts hang down from the shoulder. The lappets of their ears are cover’d with * * Flagellis. Locks of hair hanging over them (for so the many separate twists in the hair of the Scotch and Irish, are properly call’d.) Their Arms are hooked Spears (which Gildas terms uncinata tela) and ¦ ¦ Securibus missilibus.
In Horat. de Arte Poet.
hatchets to fling. They wore also strait-bodied coats (as Porphyry says) without girdles. Whether this is not the very habit of the Irish-Scots, I appeal to themselves. I would also have them consider this passage of Giraldus Cambrensis in his first Book Of the Institution of a Prince: When Maximus pass’d out of Britain into Gaul to possess himself of the Empire, with the whole strength of men, and arms, that the Island could raise; Gratian and Valentinian, brothers and partners in the Empire, shipp’d over the Goths (a nation hardy and valiant, being at that time either their allies, or subjects, and secur’d to their Interest by some Imperial favours) from the borders of Scythia, into the north parts of Britain, in order to annoy the Inhabitants, and make them recall the usurper with their Youth. But being too powerful for them, both by the natural valour of the Goths, and by finding the Island destitute of their wanted strength; of Invaders they became Inhabitants, and possess’d themselves of no small territories in the north parts of the Island. But who these Goths were (unless you allow them to be Scots) others must find out; and perhaps they may have some light from Procopius,Lib. 2. de Bello Gothorum. where Belisarius answers the Goths, expostulating why they had granted Sicily to the Romans, in these words; We permit the Goths likewise to have Britain (a much more excellent Country than Sicily) heretofore conquer’d by the Romans. For it is but reason, that they who have bestow’d favours, should receiveParem gratiam.equal thanks, or an equal return of kindness. To this head also we may probably refer what the Scots write of Fergusius the Scot; how he was a companion of Alarick the Goth at the sacking of Rome: Lib. 6. cap.25. And what Irenicus tells us of Gensricus King of the Vandals going over to Scotland and Britain; and what Cambrensis (wherever he had it) relates of the Gaideli or Scots, deriving not only their name, but their original, from the Vandals; who (as P. Diaconus informs us) were the same with the Goths. Nor is it to be thought any diminution of the glory of the Scots, to own themselves the progeny of the Goths; when the most potent Kings of Spain value themselves upon that extraction; and the greatest of the Italian Nobility either do in truth derive their pedigree from the Goths, or at least pretend it. Levinus Lemnius.And the Emperor Charles the fifth was wont to say, that all the Nobility of Europe were derived from Scandia and the Goths. However, all this weighs not so much with me, as to make me believe that the Scots are the off-spring of the Goths.

Diodorus Siculus. In short, I would have the learned part of the Scots consider, whether they are not descended from the old British Inhabitants of Ireland (for it is certain, that the British formerly inhabited Ireland;) and whether they were not call’d ScythæScythae or Scoti, because they were like the Scythians in manners, or because they were the real Scythians that came out of Scandia or Scythia, to whom the GallæciGallaeci , Franks, or Germans (being driven out of Spain) and also the Goths or Vandals, joined themselves, when Spain was imbroil’d in a bloody war; or else, that medley of people that flock’d into Ireland, and thereupon took the name from their Neighbours. The language of the Irish (saith Giraldus) is called Gaidelach, being as it were a compound of all other languages. Under the year 77. And Florilegus, whencesoever he takes it; The Scots have their Original from the Picts and Irish, as being made up of several nations. For that is called ScotScot., which is a mass of several things. Almans, Agathias, l.1. Thus the Almans (according to Asinius Quadratus) went by that name, because they sprung from a medley of People. Neither can it seem strange, that so many nations should formerly crowd into Ireland; seeing that Island lies in the center between Britain and Spain, and very commodious for the French-Seas; and in these eight hundred years last past, it is clear from our Histories, that many Norwegians, and Oustmans from Germany; and English, Welsh, and Scots out of Britain, have planted and settled themselves there.

This is the sum of what I would desire the Scots to consider. In the mean time, let them remember that I have asserted nothing, but only hinted some things, which may seem pertinent to this enquiry. If all this give no light to the original of the Scots, they must apply themselves for it elsewhere, for I am perfectly in the dark in this point; and have pursu’d the truth (which has still fled me) with much labour to little purpose; however, I hope nothing has been said, that can reasonably give offence.

When the Scots came into Britain. Concerning the time when the name of Scots was first known in the world, there is also some difficulty; and upon this very pointG. Buchanan. Humfrey LhuidLhuyd, HumfredH. Lhuidus. is attack’d by Buchanan, the best of Antiquaries by the best of Poets. For Lhuid having said that the name of Scoti was not to be found in any Author before Constantine the Great, Buchanan flies upon him with all the violence imaginable, and tries to dispatch him with two petty arguments; the one drawn from a Panegyrist, the other from his own conjecture. Because an old Panegyrist says, that Britain in Cæsar’sCaesar time was infested by enemies from Ireland; by consequence (forsooth,) the Scots at that time must be planted in Britain: whereas none ever said before, that those Irish had then any settlement at all, much less that they were Scots. The Panegyrist, without question (as is usual with Writers) had his eye upon his own times, and not upon Cæsar’s. As for the Conjecture, it is not his own, but the learned Joseph Scaliger’s. See before, p.lix. For, in his notes upon Propertius, where he is, by the way, restoring that place of Seneca to the true Reading,

Ille Britannos
Ultra noti
Littora ponti
Et cæruleos
Scuta Brigantes
Dare Romuleis
Colla Cathenis
Jussit, &c

He puts it Scotobrigantes; and then cries out, that the Scots are indebted to him for the discovery of their original. For my part, I am sorry I cannot second this opinion, having ever honour’d him upon many accounts, and been a great admirer of his learning. But this conjecture is not the product of Copies, but of his own fancy, and the sense will bear either Reading, cæruleos scuta Brigantes as all the Copies have it, or Cæruleos cute Brigantes, as the learned Hadr. Junius reads it. Yet Buchanan (chusing rather to please himself with his own and other men’s fancies, than to close with the common and true Reading) cries up this conjecture to the skies. First, because Authors do not inform us, that the Britains painted their shields. Secondly, that Seneca said Scoto-Brigantes, to distinguish them from the Brigantes of Spain and Ireland. Lastly, because in this verse he separates the Britains and the Brigantes, as different nations. But if one may have leave to dispute this point with him; what should hinder them from painting their shields, who painted themselves and their chariots? What need was there to coin the new word Scoto-Brigantes for distinction’s sake? When he calls them Cæruleos, and says they were subdu’d by Claudius, does not this sufficiently distinguish them from the other Brigantes? That observation, of the Britains and Brigantes, different nations, does not look like the Poet; who could never be ignorant of the poetical Liberty of expressing the whole by a part. Since then these pleas will not hold, I will reinforce Buchanan with a supply from Egesippus, who is commonly thought very ancient. For where he treats of the greatness of the Romans, he says; * * i.e. Ireland, lib. 5. c.15.Scotland† See Bishop Usher’s Antiquitat. Britannicarum Eccles. p.239. fol.which owes nothing to other Countries, dreads them; and so does Saxony, inaccessible by reason of its bogs. But hold: this will not come up to the point neither; for he liv’d since Constantine, as appears by his own Writings; nor does this make any more for the Scots living in Britain, than that verse of Sidonius which we cited but now. A more weighty reason than all this, is that which the famous and learned J. Craigs, after a nice Enquiry, has started, out of Josephus Ben-Gorion concerning the destruction of Jerusalem; that in the Hebrew copy they are expressly call’d Scots, whom Munster in his latin translation falsly calls Britains instead of Scots. But I have not yet found, in what age this Ben-Gorion liv’d. It is plain, he lived since Flavius Josephus, seeing he makes mention of the Franks.

If I may engage so many great men in this controversy: As far as I have observed, the first mention of the nation in any Author, is in the reign of Aurelian. For Porphyry, who then wrote against the Christians, takes notice of them in these words, as S. Hierom tells us.Against the Pelagians, to Ctesiphon. Nor has Britain (a province fruitful in Tyrants) nor the Scotch nations, nor any of those barbarous nations all around to the very Ocean, heard of Moses and the Prophets. At which time also, or a little before, Antiquaries observe that the names of those mighty nations the Franks and Almans, were first heard of, in the reign of Gallienus. The opinion therefore of some Authors is not grounded upon good authority, That the Name and Kingdom of the Scots, flourish’d in Britain many ages before the birth of Christ. Rather take the time of it from Giraldus. When Nellus the Great reigned in Ireland, the six sons of Muredus King of Ulster possess’d the north parts of Britain. So, from these a nation was propagated, and call’d by a peculiar name Scotland, which inhabits that corner even to this day. But that this happen’d about the time when the Roman Empire fell to decay, is thus inferr’d. While Lagerius son of this Nellus reign’d in Ireland, Patrick the Irish Apostle came thither; it being then about the year 430 after the birth of Christ. So that this seems to fall about the time of the Emperor Honorius. For, whereas before, they liv’d after a rambling manner without any fixed abode, as Ammianus tells us, and had long infested Britain and the marches thereof; then they seem to have settled themselves in Britain. The Liber Pasletensis puts this return under the year 404.But they would have it, that they then return’d from Ireland, whither they had withdrawn themselves when routed by the Romans and Britains; and they take this passage of Gildas to be meant of that time; The Irish robbers return home, with design to come back again shortly. About this time, Reuda, mention’d by Bede, is thought by some to have settled in this Island, upon a winding of the River Cluid northward, either as a Conqueror or Confederate. FromBede, l.1. c.1. this Captain (says he) they are called Dalreudini to this day: for in their tongue dal signifies a part; and from this Reuda it is (as others think) that we call them Redshanks. It is thought also, that Simon Brech (whom the Scots affirm to have been the founder of their nation) flourish’d about that time. The true name of him was Sinbrech, that is, freckled Sin, as we read in Fordon ; perhaps the very same Brichus, who about the age of S. Patrick infested Britain, with Thuibaius, Macleius and Auspacus, all Scots; as we read in the life of S. Carantocus.

But since the Scots who live in Britain, call the Country which they inhabit AlbanAlban and Albin. and Albin, and the Irish themselves call it Allabany; it may be no absurd enquiry, whether this Allabany may not have some remains of the old name Albion; or whether it may not be from Albedo whiteness (which they call Ban,) so as Ellanban may be in Scotch, a white Island; or whether it might not come from Ireland, which is call’d by their Poets Banno, and so Allabany signify another Ireland, or a second Ireland. For Historians call Ireland Scotia Major, and the kingdom of the Scots in Britain Scotia Minor. Moreover, seeing the Scots call themselves in their own language AlbinAlbin and Albinus. (whence Blondus has named them Scoti Albienses or Albinenses, and Buchanan Albini,) let the Criticks consider, whether that of S. Jerom, where he inveighs against a certain Pelagian, a Scotch-man, should not be read Albinum for Alpinum; He calls him, An Alpine DogAn Alpine Dog., huge and corpulentS. Albin also in the Martyrology, xv. Sept. is call’d Albinus., who can do more mischief with his heels than with his teeth, for he is the off-spring of the Scotch nation bordering upon Britain: And he says in another place, he was over-stuff’d with ScotchPultibus.fourmetie. I do not remember that I ever read of Alpine Dogs; but that the (a) Scotch Dogs were then famous at Rome, appears from Symmachus. Seven Scotch DogsScotch Dogs, l.2. Epist.176. (says he) were so admired at Rome ** Prælusionis die. the day before the Plays, that they thought them brought over in iron-cages.

(a) Of what great value the British Dogs were, see at large in Hamshire.

After the Scots (b) were come into Britain, to the Picts; though they annoy’d the Britains with continual skirmishes and ravages, yet the Scotch kingdom came not immediately to it’s growth, but they continu’d a long time in the corner where they first arriv’d: nor did they (as BedeLib. 1. c. ult. says) for the space of one hundred and twenty seven years or thereabouts, take the field against the petty kings of Northumberland; till at the same time they had well-nigh routed the Picts, and the kingdom of Northumberland was utterly destroyed, by Civil wars and the invasion of the Danes. Then, all the north part of Britain fell under the name of Scotland, together with that hither-country on this side the Cluid and Edinburgh Frith.Bede. For, that this was part of the kingdom of Northumberland, and in the possession of the Saxons, is universally agreed. Whereby it comes to pass, that all the inhabitants of the East part of Scotland (called Lowland-men, as living Low) are originally Saxons, and speak English. But such as live toward the West (called Highland-men, from their high situation), are real Scots and speak Irish, as we observ’d before; being mortal enemies to those Lowlanders who speak English.

(b) Of the first coming of the Scots into Britain, see Stillingfleet’s Orig. Britann. p.280.

That the AttacottiAttacotti., a warlike nation, did infest Britain, along with the Scots; we have the authority of Ammianus Marcellinus: and, that these were part of the Scotch nation, is the opinion of H. Lhuid; how true I know not. St. JeromL.2. contra Jovianum. expresly calls them a British People: Who tells us, that when he was young (probably in the time of the Emperor Julian) he saw in France the Attacotti a British People, feeding upon man’s flesh; and that when they found in the woods, droves of hogs, and herds of beasts or sheep, they us’d to cut off the buttocks of the herdsmen, and the paps of the women, and look upon these as the richest dainties. For we are to read it Attacotti, upon the authority of Manuscripts, and not Scoti with Erasmus; who at the same time owns the place to be faulty. Though I must confess, in one Manuscript it is Attigotti, in another Catacotti, and in a third Cattiti.Vincentius in his Speculum reads it Attigotti.In Æthicus’s Geography they are read Cattiganci. But of the Scots it cannot be understood; as it commonly is; for Jerom in that place, speaking of the Customs of several nations, begins the sentence immediately following, thus, The Scotch nation has no wives belonging to particular men, &c. Ambrones. And in another place, where he mentions the Attacotti, Erasmus puts in the room of it Azoti. These (as we learn from the Notitia) were Stipendiaries, in the decline of the Roman Empire. For they are mention’d among the Palatine-Aids in Gaul, Attecotti juniores Gallicani, and Attecotti Honoriani Seniores; and in Italy, Attecotti Honoriani juniores. By this addition of Honoriani, they seem to have been some of those Barbarians with whom Honorius the Emperor made a League, and listed them in his army; not without great damage to the Empire.

Ambrones. Among the nations which made incursions into Britain, the Ambrones are reckon’d by John Caius (one, who has employ’d his time to excellent purposes, and to whom the Commonwealth of Letters is extreamly indebted;) and he does it upon the Authority of these words of Gildas where he treats of the Picts and Scots. Those former enemies, like so many * * Ambrones lupi.ravenous wolves, enrag’d with hunger and thirst, leaping over the sheep-folds, and the shepherd not appearing; carried with the wings of oars, the arms of rowers, and sails driven forward by the winds; break through, and butcher all they come near. Here, the good old man remember’d that he had read in Festus, how the Ambrones swarm’d into Italy along with the Cimbrians; but then he had forgot that Ambro (as Isidore observes) signifies a Devourer. And neither Gildas, nor Geoffrey of Monmouth (who also calls the Saxons Ambrones) use the word in any other sense. Nor have I found in ancient Authors, that any other Ambrones did ever invade Britain.

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06