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Notes on the Early History of Scotland

By James Watson Published in 1862

Chapter 1 - Scotia of the Ancients

Chapter 2 - Ancient Ireland
Chapter 3 - Early Iceland
Chapter 4 - Part 1 - Bede's Ecclesiastical History
Chapter 4 - Part 2 - Bede's Ecclesiastical History
Chapter 4 - Part 3 - Bede's Ecclesiastical History
Chapter 5 - Interpolations in Ancient Annals
Chapter 6 - Part 1 - Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients
Chapter 6 - Part 2 - Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients
Chapter 6 - Part 3 - Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients

Notes on the Early History of Scotland

An Examination of the ancient histories of Ireland and Iceland in so far as it concerns
the Origin of the Scots

IN pamphlets already published, under the titles of "Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients," and
"Interpolations in Bedes Ecclesiastical History. and other Ancient Annals affecting the early History of
Scotland," an attempt has already been made to show that Iceland was the ancient Hibernia, and the
country from which the Scots came to Scotland. In the following pages the subject is continued. This
treatise will be mainly taken up with an investigation of the early history of Ireland and Iceland, in
order to ascertain which has the better claim to be considered the original country of the Scots. Before
proceeding with this investigation, however, it will be necessary to review the evidence furnished by
the more genuine of the early British annals against the idea that Ireland was the ancient Scotia.
After having spent so much time in endeavouring to unravel the contradictory notices of Scotland and
Ireland contained in Bedes Ecclesiastical History and other ancient chronicles, it is refreshing to be
able to turn to the works of early annalists in which there are few traces of interpolations. Nevertheless,
in examining these, it should be borne in mind that most of them were for a long period in the hands of
the priests of the medaeval Church. Learning was, till the time of the Reformation, or at least till the
introduction of printing, confined to the monasteries; and it was in the libraries of the ecclesiastical
buildings that most of the books in the country were stored. The monks had, therefore, unlimited
means of tampering with the authentic history of the island to further their interests. There is ample
evidence to show that this opportunity was fully taken advantage of. Notwithstanding this, a few of the
ancient annals seem to have escaped the notice of the interpolators who were commissioned to falsify
the history of ancient Scotia; and it is necessary, in the interests of truth and justice, to make use of the
scanty light they afford to enable us to pierce. the darkness that hangs around the early history of
GILDAS "De, Excido Britanniae"
The earliest writer to whom we can turn with some degree of confidence in this respect is Gildas. He is
sometimes called the wise, and sometimes Badonicus; and appears to have been born in the year 516.
He is said to have visited France in 550, and Ireland in 565.[Chambers' Encyclopedia, article
Gildas]authorities say that he was born near the Wall of Antonine, and it is therefore more likely that
the place he visited in 550 was Gaul, the name of a district in the neighbourhood of the Forth river, as
well as an ancient name of France. With regard to his visit to Ireland, it is remarkable to find that in
one of the several lives of Gildas he is said to have gone to. Britannis, which was the former name of
Ireland, according to Ethelwerd, and to have led a solitary life in Houath. [Turner's Anglo-Saxon, vol ii
pp 212 and 213 and notes]] Howth is the name of a place near Dublin in Ireland. Gildas died in 570.
His The Exeidio Britanniae was first printed at London in 1525, and has often been reprinted, both in
England and the Continent. *
The greater part of! the historical portion of Gildas work has been incorporated in the writings of
succeeding historians, including Bede; and there is. every reason for believing it to be a truthful, if
highly coloured, account of the events which took place in the south of present Scotland in the
centuries immediately preceding the writers death. The evidence furnished by Gildas, as to the country

occupied by the Scots, is clear and emphatic, supported as it is by the testimony of Bede. He calls the
Picts and Scots transmarine gentes, and Bede, who copies this description, explains its meaning thus :
The Scots and Picts are called transmarine nations, or people from beyond the seas, not because they
dwelt out of Britain, but on account of their habitations in the island bejng separated from those of the
Britains by two arms of the sea. These arms of the sea are acknowledged by every writer who alludes
to this passage of Bedes to refer to the Firths of Forth and Clyde; and this shows that Gildas places the
Scots and the Picts in the region lying north of these firths. Neither Hibernia nor Ireland is ever
mentioned by Gildas, and in everything else that he says about the Scots he plainly intimates that he is
alluding to inhabitants of North Britain.
The Saxon Chronicle is a continued narrative, written at different dates, of the most important events of
English History from the earliest period till the year 1154. There are only six copies of it known to be
in existence. The oldest is sometimes called the Plegmund Manuscript, because the Archbishop of
Canterbury of that name, in the reign of King Alfred, is believed to have transcribed it to the year 891,
when he was elected to the See. It is said to be written in one and the same hand to this year, and in
hands equally ancient to the year 924, after which it is continued in different hands to the end. Like the
other ancient English annals, it is not free from interpolations, but there are only a few which concern
the present subject. An interpolation is said to occur at the end of the year 890, for instance, and there a
passage is found which will require to be noticed afterwards. Another manuscript, considered to have
been written in the year 1048, is said to vary in the orthography from about the year 890.
Turning to the Chronicle itself, let us see what evidence it, or rather they, for there are several
manuscripts collated in this edition, furnish with regard to the subjcct before us. At the beginning this
sentence is found: "He (Julius Caesar) left his army to abide among the Scots, and went south into
Gaul," &c. A note to the word Scots says: "This is an error, arising from the inaccurately written
manuscripts of Orosius and Bede; where in Hybernia and in Hiberrniam occur for in. hiberna. The
error is retained in Whelocs Bede."
The nextnotice of the Scots is found under the year 430. It has been already produced in speaking of a
parallel passage in Bedes EcclesiasticaI History about Palladius mission to the Scots. The next entry
in the Chronicle with which we have to do is that about Columba. It has also becn previously quoted
when dealing with the notice of that saint contained in Bedes work. The following entries regarding
the battle at Egesanstane, the letter of Houorius to thc Scots, Colmans return to his own country,
Egfrids expedition against the Scots, Egberts conversion of the monks of Hii and his death there, have
all been dealt with under similar circumstances.
The first entry which demands minute examination is found uniter the year 891; it is as follows: "And
three Scots came to King Alfred in a boat, without any oars, from Ireland, whence they had stolen
away, because they desired for the love of God to be in a state of pilgrimage, they recked not where.
The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half; and they took with them provisions
sufficient for seven days; and then about the seventh day they came ashore in Cornwall, and soon after
went to King Alfred. Thus they were named: Dubslane, and Macbeth, and Maclinmun. And Swinney,
the best teacher among the Scots, died."
As already stated, this is found where an interpolation occurs about Plegmunds being chosen
archbishop of Canterbury. There is only a sentence between the two. And in another of the older
manuscripts of the Chronicle, the orthography is said to change at the year. 890. In addition to these

suspicious circumstances neither Henry of Huntingdon, nor William of Malmesbury, nor Roger of
Wendover, take any notice of this passage; and yet about this period they are relying mainly upon the
Saxon Chronicle, copying it almost verbatim. It is found in Ethelwerds work, which appears to have
escaped manipulation at the hands of the monks; but the diflerence between the entry as it is found in
the Saxon Chronicle and in Ethelwerds work leads to the belief that it has been transferred from the
latter to the former and tampered with in the transference. Ethelwerds notice of the same event will be
treated of a few pages farther on.
Continuing the examination of the Chronicle, at the year 903 it is stated that " Virgilius, abbat of the
Scots," died. At the year 918 we are told that an army which had been ravaging the coasts of England
and Wales, "went out to Ireland." Under the year 924, it is said that King Edward was chosen "for
father and for lord, by the King of the Scots, and the whole nation of the Scots." "926..... Athelstan...
ruled . . . Constantine, King of the Scots? " 933..... Athelstan went into Scotland." Under the year
937, a long poem is inserted about the battle at Brumby, which speaks of the Scottish people and the
Scots. It also says :" The Northmen departed.... over the deep water Dublin to seek again Ireland."
"941. This year the Northumbriaus . . . chose Anlaf of Ireland to be their king." "945. King Edmund . . .
granted it (Cumberland) all to Malcolm, King of the Scots." "946: The Scots gave him (King Edred)
oaths that they would all that he would." "1031. This year King Canute went to Rome. And so soon as
he came home then went he into Scotland; and the King of the Scots, Malcolm [II], submitted to him"
"1034; . . This same year died Malcolm[II], King in Scotland."
As it is said to have been during this last kings reign that the name of Scotia was first transferred from
Ireland to Scotland, it is needless pursuing these records further. Every reference, up till this time, to
the Scots or Scotland, and to the Irish or Ireland, has been quoted; and it will be seen that nothing is
ever said about Ireland having been called Scotia, or of the transference of that name from the western
island to Scotland. It will also be noticed that the only passage in which Ireland is mentioned before the
year 918, and which connects the Scots with Ireland, has evidently been tampered with. In no other
part of the Chronicle are the Scots connected with Ireland. The mention of Ireland at the years 918,
937, and 941, may be quite genuine, as it is in accordance with the time when Ethelwerd says that
name was first given to it; though the latter entry is open to suspicion. It is certainly strange to find a
king of such a large country as Ireland submitting to become king of so rebellious a race as the
Northumbrians were at that period. With regard to the Scots, to whom Palladius was sent, the
transcribers of the Chronicle evidently took them to be the same people as those over whom
Constantine and Malcolm II. were kings,or they would have explained that the Scots spoken of under
the year 430 were the inhabitants of Ireland, had such been the case.
One of the least interpolated of the ancient English annals is Etheiwerds Chronicle. It is almost an.
abstract of the Saxon Chronicle, although apparently not a full one. Unlike many of the early annalists,
Ethelwerd was a soldier, and his Chronicle was written for the purpose of instructing his relation,
Matilda, daughter of Otho the Great, Emperor of Germany. Such a work, therefore, is likely to have
escaped the vigilance of the interpolators, who would not dare to exercise their ingenuity upon
the.books kept in the libraries of persons of distinction. In addition to this, on account of its being
written by a person who was perhaps more of a warrior than a scholar, its style is so crude that it
repelled the learned men of later ages; so that it may be considered the genuine production of a writer
of the eleventh century.
The Chronicle of Ethelwerd entirely upsets the general belief that Ireland was at one time called

Scotland or Scotia. At the period when he lived the western island is said to have been well-known
under the latter appellation; and yet, although he speaks of both countries he never mentions this
remarkable fact, nor even alludes to it. On the contrary, he says that Ireland was first so called about
the begining of the tenth century, and that it previously went under the name of Bretannis. He nowhere
identifies Scotia and Hibernia like the interpolated writers who preceded and followed him; and when
he speaks of. the Scots, as he does several times, he is evidently referring to inhabitants of Scotlaind.
The following instances may be given. Innes says: "Ethelwerd tells us that in the first age of
Christianity the Emperor Claudius, who never went farther than Britain, met with resistance and
opposition from the Scots and Picts in his design to conquer the island; and again that the Scots and
Picts made inroads on the provincial Britons in the Emperor Severuss time." In his first book,
Etheiwerd concurs with the Saxon Chronicle in saying that Palladius was sent to the Scots; but unlike
that generally trustworthy record of events he omits all notice of St Patricks mission to the same
people. It is affirmed that the Scots to whom Palladius was sent were the inhabitants of Ireland, but no
trustworthy evidence is produced to support the affirmation; and as Ethelwerd does not distinguish the
Scots to whom Palladius was sent, from the Scots subjugated by Athelstan and Edred, his testimony is
clearly in favour of their being the inhabitants of the same country.
Near the end of his first book he says, Columba came from Scotia to Britain to preach to the Picts: that
is, he came from the north-east of Scotland, then the only district called Scotia, to the country south of
the Tay, which was then comprehended in the Britain of that age; and in the northern part of which the
Picts had settled after the Romaus left the island. Lives of Columba, and fabricated sentences in the
early annalists tell us that he came from Ireland to Britain; but these lives and sentences are not to be
depended upon in deciding such a question.
In the third chapter of his fourth book, under the year 891, Ethelwerd speaks of three men of Hibernian
race, one of whom he calls a distinguished master of the Scots. It is a paraphrase of a similar passage in
the Saxon Chronicle, and likely refers to the voyage made by three Papae or Christians who were then
being driven out of Iceland by the Norwegian settlers. There is nothing in the work under review, at
any rate, which warrants the conclusion that it relates the exploits of inhabitants of Ireland.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, the writer of a History of Britain, lived in the first half of the twelfth century.
The work is generally acknowledged to be a mass of fables; and while admitting that this is to a large
extent true, there are good reasons for believing that a foundation of facts has been used by Geoffiey
on which to build the superstructure of fables. The writings of Gildas and Nennius especially, two
preceding writers on British history, seem to have furnished him with the greater part of his reliable
information. Although such a work might easily be discarded as an untrustworthy authority, it may be
as well to glean the few notices it contains bearing upon the subject.
Geoffrey gives the following account of the settlement of Ireland, which materially differs from the
fabulous statements of the writers who endeavoured to make it appear that the Scots were among the
earliest settlers in that country, although there are a few facts common to each. It is not improbable to
suppose that the fables regarding the Scots settling in Ireland may have been grafted upon this chapter
of Geoffreys work :
"As Gurgiunt Brabtruc was returning home from his conquest of the Orkney Islands, he found thirty
ships full of men and women; and upon his inquiring of them the occasion of their coming thither, their
leader, named Partholoim, approached him in a respectful and submissive manner, and desired pardon

and peace, telling him that he had been driven out of Spain, and was sailing round those seas in quest
of a habitation. He also desired some small part of Britain to dwell in, that they might put an end to
their tedious wanderings; for it was now a year and a half since he had been driven from his country,
all of which time he and his company had been out at sea.. When Gurgiunt Brabtrue understood that
they came from Spain, and were called Basclenses, he granted their petition and sent men with them to
Ireland, which was then wholly uninhabited, and assigned it to them. There they grew up and increased
in number, and have possessed that island to this very day."
There is nothing in this passage to indicate that there ever were any Scots in Ireland, or that it was
called Scotia. In the works which allude to the Scots settlement in Ireland some of these facts are laid
hold of; but such extraordinary and marvellous statements are added to them that they put Geoffreys
fables to the blush.
In chapter one, Book VI., of the British History, the leaders of the Picts, who had been driven from
Albania to Ireland, are said to have returned from that country, and to have brought with them the
Scots, Norwegians, and Dacians. How these three nations came to be in Ireland at this time is not
explained. In time third chapter the statement regarding the return of the Picts with the other three
nations already mentioned, is repeated; and it is added that they seized upon all Albania as far as the
wall, which had been built between Albania and Deiri, as we are informed in a preceding chapter. It is
remarkable, however, to find that the materials for this third chapter, and other chapters before and
after it, are taken, in some instances word for word, from Gildas, who says nothing about Ireland,
Albania, Norwegians, or Dacians.
Scotia is mentioned several times in Geoffreys work, but if there is any foundation for the statements
contained in the passages where it is mentioned, they evidently refer to Scotland, as it was the only
country called Scotia in Geoffreys lifetime, and he never speaks of Ireland ever being called Scotia. In
the eighth and ninth books Ireland is frequently mentioned in connection with facts of a fabulous
character; and little confidnce can therefore be placed on the occurrence of the events narrated in
these passages. In these same books the Scots and Picts are sometimes spoken of; but they are always
represented as inhabitants of Scotland.
William of Malmesbury, who flourished during the first half of the twelfth century. is said by most of
the writers able to form an opinion on the matter to be the most faithful and learned of the historians of
his age. As he lived near the time when Scotland is said to have been first called Scotia, a name,
according to the same authorities, formerly applied to Ireland. only, it is to be expected that he should
say something about this change of name, in his History of the Kings of England. In that work Scotia
and Hibernia or Ireland, are freqnently mentioned, and a good portion of their history given, but,
strange to say, not a single word is said regarding this change in the name of these two countries. On
the contrary, all that he says induces the belief that Scotland was called Scotia at an earlier period than
is generally supposed; and that it was the only Scotia known to him. He certainly gives no indication
that Scotia was a name ever applied to Ireland; and the passages in which Hibernia or Ireland is
mentioned before the tenth century are evidently interpolations, as will be afterwards shown.
Malmesburys History of the Kings of England was originally published anonymously as a
continuation of Bedes Ecclesiastical History, but the text in the early editions was found to be so
frequently faulty and corrupted that later editors and translators have found it necessary to go to the
British Museum and examine the manuscripts of this work which lie there. . This produced numerous

corrections; alterations, and insertions; but it has to be kept in mind that it is impossible to ascertain
that any one of these manuscripts is really the composition of Malmesbury. During the five or six
hundred years they lay in obscurity, it is not unlikely that at, or after, the Reformation in Scotland,
some priest or other may have tampered with them all to a greater or less extent. By examining in
detail the passages of the work referring to the Scots, the necessity of keeping this in view will be
In the first chapter of Book I., which treats of the arrival of the Angles, Malmesbury frequently speaks
of the Scots as fighting along with the Picts against the Britons. In all he there says about the Scots he
gives no indication that he. is speaking of any other people than the inhabitants of Scotland. This is
very significant in an author who lived so near the period when the name of Scotland is said to have
been transferred from Ireland to the country which now bears the name. According to this assumption
Malmesbury should have explained that by Scots he meant inhabitants of Ireland. His not doing so
here, as well as in every other instance when he speaks of the Scots, manifests that the people he
referred to were the then inhabitants of Scotland.
The next passage which requires examination is one in chapter two of the first book. Though neither
the Scots nor Scotia is mentioned in it, Hibernia or Ireland and the Irish are; and St Patrick comes in
for a share of notice also. As already stated, its authenticity, is questionable. It begins with the words :
" But since we have arrived at the times of Kenwalk," &c. It includes several paragraphs, one of
which deals with St Patrick being sent to Ireland. But as these paragraphs are only found in one
manuscript of the work, this raises a suspicion of their genuineness, which is confirmed by an analysis
of their contents. Take the paragraph about St Patrick. It says that he was sent by Germanus of Auxerre,
at the instance of Pope Celestine, to preach to the Irish, in carroboration of which we are told that, "It is
written in the Chronicles, In the year of our Lords incaination, 425, St Patrick is ordained to Hibernia
or Ireland by Pope Celestine.' Also, In the year 433, Hibernia or Ireland is converted to the faith of
Christ by the preaching of St Patrick, accompanied by many miracles." The Chronicle here referred to
is the Saxon Chronicle; but the most ancient and authentic manuscripts of that work do not support
these quotations. In one of them St Patrick is mentioned, but nothing is said there of his being sent to
Ireland or the Irish. Another manuscript calls him Palladius, and there it is stated that he was sent by
Pope Celestine to the Scots, but nothing is said there either to connect them with Ireland or the Irish. It
has to be remembered that it is Hibernia or Ireland and the Irish that appear in this passage of
Malmesburys work; and here we have the anomaly presented of an author who lived when Scotia was
the name of a part of Scotland only, copying a sentence from a preceding annalist, regarding Patricks
mission to the Scots, and calling the people towhom he was sent Hibernians or Irish and the country
Hibernia or Ireland without ever explaining, here or elsewhere in this work, that Ireland was then
called Scotia or its inhabitants Scots. Surely this is untenable. This, taken along with the fact that the
passage about St Patrick only appears in one manuscript, cleady proves that it ts an interpolation, and,
some of his editors have treated it as such.
Immediately after those interpolated paragraphs in Malmesburys History these words occur: "This
monastery (Malmesbury) was so slenderly endowed by Maildulph, a Scot as they say by nation, a
philosopher by erudition, a monk by profession," &c. According to the generally received opinion, the
historian should have explained whether Maildulph was a Scot of Ireland or Scotia; and his not doing
this here again clearly indicates that the only Scots he knew of were those of Scotland. It is almost
needless to reiterate this, but a few more instances may be given of a similar kind. In the third chapter
of Book I., the battle of Degsastan between "Edan, king of the Scots," and Ethelfrid is mentioned; but
nothing is said to imply that there were any other people called Scots but those of Scotland. Again,
after relating the death of Ethelfrid, it is said that his sons, Oswald and Oswy, fled through the

management of their governors, and escaped into Scotia." This is strong evidence that Ireland was not
called Scotia at that period. Had it been the case that the latter name was only transferred from Ireland
to North Britain about a century before Malmesburys time, it was his duty as a faithful historian to
state that Scotia was the name given to Ireland in the days of Etbelfrid. His not doing so here, or
elsewhere, proves that North Britain was the only country so called. In the same chapter we are told
that, "Not only the nations of Britain, that is to say, the Angles, Scots, and Picts, but even the Orkney
and Mevanian islands both feared his (Edwins) arms and venerated his power." Malmesbury also says
that Eanfrid was "baptised in Scotia" and Oswald "had been admitted to baptism while in exile with
many nobles among the Scots." "If Aidan the priest addressed his auditors in the Scottish tongue, the
king explained the foreign idiom in his native language." The Christian faith was brought to maturity
by the learning of the Scots during the reign of Oswy." These are all passages from the work of a writer
who had Bedes Eeclesiastieal History before him, and who wrote when Scotland was the name given
to North Britain only. Besides discrediting the assumption that Ireland was at one period called Scotia,
they supply data to prove that Bedes work has been largely interpolated.
In treating of the reign of Egfrid, Malmesbnry says he "overwhelmed the Irish." Referring to the same
incident, the Saxon Chronicle has Scots instead of Irish; and as Malmesbury would not have
substituted the one name for the other, without giving the reason for the change, this sentence of his
has evidently been tampered with. The next paragraph of his history appears to have undergone like
treatment.! Speaking of Aldfrid, the Northumbrian king, Malmesbnry says he "retired to Ireland." It is
noteworthy that the historian, at the end of the previous paragraph, when writing of the death of Egfrid,
quotes from Bedes Life of St Onthbert. This is a work which has apparently escaped the interpolators
ravages; and in it we are told that Aldfrid in his youth retired "ln insulas Scotorum," and "In
regiomibus Scotorum." It would have been strange if Malmesbury, with this. work of Bedes before
him, should have substituted a word indicating a different country in his time withont giving any
reason for so doing. The only explanation of the appearance of the words Hibernians and Hibernia in
the early portion of his work, is that they have been substituted for other words in the original text. It is
remarkable to find that they occur only in the first three chapters of Malmesburys Chronicle, and in
connection with events which are all noticed in Bedes work. Ireland is not mentioned again till two
centuries after Bedes death. This is just what we found in Huntingdons History; and it is evident that
these words. have been introduced into both works to support the interpolations in Bedes History.
Regarding the country known to Malmesbury by the name of Scotia, numerous instances could be cited
from his Chronicle to show that he applies that title to North Britain. One or two may be noticed. In
giving a sketch of the Venerable Bedes life, he says: "For even Britain, which by some is called
another world, since, surrounded by the ocean, it was not thoroughly known by many geographers,
possesses in its remotest region bordering on Scotia, the place of his (Bedes) birth and education." In
the twelfth century the name Scotia was confined to the eastern portion of North Britain lying north of
the Firth of Forth. It has already been shown, in speaking of Bedes Ecclesiastical History, that he was
born and educated near the Firth of Forth; and this district cannot be said to border upon Ireland, so
that the Scotia of Malmesbury was that part of Britain to which, as we know by authentic native
records, the name was applied in the historians life-time. Another instance of his use of the word
Scotia may be noticed, as it points us to the Scotland of another eminent Anglo-Saxon writer. Speaking
of the reign of Ethelred, Malmesbury quotes a letter of Alcuins about his death, in which these words
occur: "Ambassadors who returned out of Scotia." By this the historian signifies that Alcuins Scotia
was a part of the country now known by the name of Scotland. Had Alcuin intended to signify Ireland
under the name of Scotia, Malmesbury would have said so, and his withholding any such statement
evinces tbat Alcuins Scotia was north-eastern Scotland.

In the sixth chapter of the second book, the first mention of Ireland occurs which can be allowed to be
authentic. It is there referred to in connection with events which happened in the year 926. This
harmonises with the change in the name of the western island recorded by Ethelwerd in his Chronicle,
where, describing the events which took place in the year 913, he says that a fleet which had been in
the Severn went to Ireland, formerly called Bretannis by the great Julius Caesar."
Roger of Wendover, the writer of a work entitled Flowers of History, lived in the early part of the
thirteenth century. Very little is known regarding him, but this much is told in the preface to the
translation of his works in Bohns Antiquarian Library, that he was a monk of St Albans, and died in
the year 1237. It is possible that the Flowers of History may be the genuine production of Wendover,
but it is evident that a good deal of it is based upon fabulous lives of saints, which at that period were
freely fabricated. This renders it all the more valuable for the purpose in view, as it distinctly and
emphatically contradicts the Ireland-Scotia theory, and furnishes evidence that the interpolations made
in Bedes History and other works to identify Scotia with Ireland, are the work of a later period than
Wendovers lifetime. It does more: it shows that the character of Bedes work has been entirely
changed, as it quotes from what is now known as the Ecclesiastical History of the English, under the
simple title of Bedes History of the English. Wendover refers several times to that work of Bedes, but
always under this title.
In noticing the interpolations in Bedes History, much has been already said to show that Wendover
knew of no Scotia but a part of present Scotland. It may be added here that he never states, either:
directly or indirectly, that Ireland was at one period called Scotia, or the inhabitants Scots. And yet he
lived at the time when Scotia is allowed by every writer to have been for nearly two centuries the wellknown appellation of North Britain. If it had been before the eleventh century the name of Ireland
only, it is a strange omission on his part not to. have said so, and to leave editors of the ninteeenth
century to correct him in his references to ancient Scotia. This of itself might perhaps be considered
sufficiently conclusive evidence in favour of Scotland being the only Scotia, but a few instances from
the Flowers of History may be looked for in support of the statement.
Probably the most direct testimony that this writer considered Ireland and Scotland to have always
been different countiies is found in what be says under! the year 491 regarding St Patrick. He there
affirms that this saint was "born in Ireland, and in his childhood sold by his father, with his two sisters,
into Scotland." Two sentences further on, we also learn that "Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine to
convert the Scots to Christ. Preaching the word of God first in Scotland, he afterwards went into
Britain, and died in the land of the Picts." Then it is recorded that Patrick, who had in the meantime
been staying at Rome, arrived, in Britain, and preached the word of God there. "Then making for
Scotland he preached there." Afterwards it is said that he "passed over into Ireland," and preached there
eighty years. An endeavour will be made to prove that there is little likelihood of this account being all
genuine; but the fabricated sentences may not be due to Wendover, who, as a monk of St. Albans, was
bound to believe that the lives of all the saints of the Romish Church were founded on facts. But there
can be no doubt from these quotations that he considered Ireland and Scotia to be names of different
countries at the time he is writing of. In distinguishing that part of Britain where Palladius died (the
district between the northern wall and the Tay, from Scotia, he agrees with Ethelwerd, when writing of
Columbas mission to the Picts, as already noticed.
Under the year 561 Wendover says St Brandan flonrished in Scotland. The editor of the translation of
his works in Bohns Antiquarian Library, puts [Ireland] after the word Scotland, and says in a note:

"The reader must bear in mind that the Irish were called Scots by the ancient writers, and their country
Scotia." According to this the people over whom King David; Malcolm Canmores son, ruled, were
Irish, for Wendover calls them Scots under the year 1135, and their country Scotland under the year
1138, and he says nothing to distinguish between the Scotland of 561 and the Scotland of 1138.
Under the year 566, it is said that "St Oolurnbanus came from Scotland into Britain.". This agrees with
what Ethelwerd says regarding the country from which Columba came, and to which he went. The
circumstance that Wendovers work was rescued from oblivion by an accident at a late period may
have enabled it to escape being tampered with by those persons who wished to distort the history of
ancient Scotland. When two such authors as these agree on any statement it may be taken for granted
that it is very near the truth. Wendover supplements his notice of Columba by saying under the year
598: "St Columbanus, teacher of the Scots and Picts," died then. He. never tells us that there
were any Scots in Ireland.
At the year 635, he says that Oswald "sent into Scotland, where he had been an exile, and brought
thence bishop Aidam" It is granted by all writers that Aidan. did not come from Ireland, but from
Scotland. And as our author gives no indication here that he is speaking of a different country from that
already so often mentioned under the name of Scotland, it is plain that this was the only country known
to him under that name.
At the year 684, he says Egfrid sent an army into Ireland; and at the year 700 he speaks of him
experiencing the curses of the Irish. Again at the year 701 we are told that Adamnan sought to bring his
people in the isle of Hii to the true way of keeping Easter; "after which he sailed into Ireland." It is
remarkable to find notice taken here of a work of Adamnans, while nothing is said regarding his life of
St. Columba. There is good reason to believe, as noticed in speaking of similar passages in
Malmesburys works, that all this about Ireland and the Irish was fabricated before Wendovers time to
favour the transference of the name Hibernia from Iceland to Ireland.
Regarding Johannes Scotus, who was held in great honour by King Alfred, and who is generally
believed to have been an Irishman, Wendover writes thus, under the year 883:
"There came into England Master John, a Soot by nation. .... Quiting his country early in life, he passed
over to Gaul, where he was honourably entertained by Charles the Bald, who made him the.companion
both of his meals and his retirement. Instances of the vastness of his understanding, his knowledge, and
of his wit, remain to this day. He was once sitting at table opposite the King, when, at the end of the
repast, the cups having passed frequently, Charles became unusually merry, and observing Mastei John
do something which was offensive to Gallic good breeding, he pleasantly rebuked him and said: John,
what is there between a Scot and a sot? Only a table, replied Master Scot, thus tuining back the
reproach on its author."
After giving some other proofs of Johns wit and learning, he quotes an epistle of the Roman pontiff to
Charles, which begins thus: "It has been reported to our apostleship, that a certain John, by birth a Scot,
has lately translated," &c.
In all that Wendover says about this Scot by nation he gives no indication that he is speaking of an
Irishman, or a person born in Ireland. When writing about the western island, or its people, he
uniformly uses the words Hibernia and Hibernians. It is never called Scotia or Scotland, nor its
inhabitants Scots by him. We are therefore led to conclude that this Johannes Scotus was one of the

people, and came from the country, mentioned in the following instances taken from Wendovers
History. Under the year 933, these words occur: "Ethelstan, king of England, proceeded with a strong
fleet, and a large force of cavalry to Scotland, the greater part of which he laid waste, because the king
of Scotland had broken the truce which he had made with him. In the issue, Constantine, the king of
Scotland, was compelled to deliver up his son as a hostage." At the year 937, Constantine is called
"King of the Scots." And at 1033 these words appear: "On the return of the most potent King Cnute, he
led a hostile expedition against the Scots, who had rebelled, and easily defeated Malcolm and two
kings, his allies." A writer living in the thirteenth century would surely have distinguished between the
Scots of King Alfreds time and the Scots referred to in these passages, had such a distinction existed.
If Johannes Scotus had been born and brought up in Ireland, Wendover would have said so. But as he
evidently considered the nation from which Johannes Scotus came to be the same as that over which
Constantine was king, this, added to the others produced furnishes strong proof that Scotland was the
only Scotia.
The evidence given by Roger of Hoveden is also worthy of notice; but it will be noticed as briefly as
possible. What has to be said ot it is in part a repetition of what has been said of William of
Malmesburys History. In the introduction to Hovedens Annals, where an interpolation might easily be
made, Egfrid is said to have ravaged Hibernia or Ireland. As that country is not mentioned again under
either of these names till the year 927, it is likely that the .word in the introduction is not a part of
Hovedens genuine writings.
Hoveden lived in the twelfth century, when present Scotland was the only country known by that name.
He says nothing about Ireland ever having been called Scotia or Scotland. On the contrary, he implies
that this name was given only to North Britain, for he speaks of Aidan, the Bishop of Lindisfarne,
coming out of Scotia or Scotland in the year 764. Under the year 883, he writes of John the Scot in
similar terms to these employed by Wendover, and he refers to a venerabld abbat of the Scots named
Virgillius, under the year 900. The source from which he derived informtion regarding these worthies
did not lead him to believe they were Irishmen, or he would have said so; and had Ireland been called
Scotia or Scotland till the eleventh century, a writer of the following century would have been careful
to distinguish between the inhabitants of the earlier and later Scotland. But Hoveden evidently knew
nothing of this alleged change of name, and he writes as if the Scotland of Bishop Aldans time was the
same country as the one now so called, and the only country he knew by that name. In this he concurs
with William of Malmesbury and Roger of Wendover.
It is needless to pursue this examination of the ancient chronicles further in the meantime. The same
tale can be told of Ordericus Vitalis, Matthew of Westminster, and Matthew of Paris; of Simeon of
Durham, and the Melrose Chronicle, &c., &c. The only early Scottish annals that can be depended on
to any extent is the Pictish Chronicle; and even it, as we have seen in speaking of the Irish version of
Nennius British History, is interpolated with passages containing Hibernia. All the other Scottish
annals up till the time of the Reformation, and even after it, are considered by all the best of the
modern Scottish historians to be very untrustworthy. The annals of Tigernach, Ulster, and Innisfallen
will be noticed in reviewing the early history of Ireland.
There are numerous saints lives which contain references to Hibernia, indicating that it was the name
of Ireland before the twelfth century. These, are generally filled with descriptions of miracles
performed by the saint whose life is being written. In fact, where Ireland is identified with Hibernia
before the twelfth century, it is very often associated with incredible events. The monks were so far

wise in doing this. In credulous ages the people read greedily whatever was tinctured with marvellous
incidents, and the new names would therefore be more frequently in their minds, and more easily
remembered. One saints lifeAdamnans Columbabearing this character, has already been noticed.
In dealing with the ecclesiastical evidence, others will be analysed, and an opportunity will then be
taken to show that whenever Hiberia is made to stand for Ireland: in the lives of the early Scottish
saints, miraculous events are imported into the biography along with it. The same process takes place
in other writings, such as charters. It is unnecessary to extend the proofs, but one instance of an
evidently forged charter may be quoted in support of what has been said. Edgar, king of England, in the
year 969, "talks proudly in one of his charters that he had subdued all the islands of the ocean, with
their ferocious kings, as far as Norway, and the greatest part of Hiberniae, with its most noble city,
Dublin. No wars, however, have been particularised to have been waged by him; but his ecclesiastical!
ones, except an invasion of Wales." Another alleged charter of Edgar's calls him "king of all Albion"
and immediately after it is cited we are told about "what was supernaturally shown to the king." In
"Ireland not the Hiberia of the Ancients," page 61, it has already been shown that Alban or Albion was
a name for a part of Scotland only. But the monks wished, for some reason or other, to appropriate it
for Britain, and so they took the pains to interpolate the early annalists to make people believe it was
once called Albion.
To conclude this part of the subject it may be interesting to state that the English king called Edwin or
Edwy by all the early writers, except one of the Saxon Chroniclers and Ethelwerd, who call him
Eadwig, is called on a coin of his, shown in Goughs Camden, Eadwig also. This tends to confirm the
accuracy of Ethelwerds Annals; and makes us accept without hesitation his statement, that about the
year 913 Ireland was first so called, and that it had formerly been called Bretannis.

Notes on the Early History of Scotland

Ancient Ireland

Having shown that Ireland cannot be identified with the Hibernia of the ancients from a geographical
point of view, it will now be necessary to prove that lreland was such a barbarous and uncivilised
country in the early ages that it is not likely to have been the sacred isle peopled by the Hiberni, or the
training school for such a race of men as the early Scots are always represented to have been. Of
course, if credit were to be given to forged saints lives, marvellous legends, and interpolated passages
in the ancient annalists, the following glowing picture of the condition of Ireland previous to the
twelfth century might be accepted as truthful.
According to what is affirmed to be ancient native legends, Ireland was in remote times peopled by
tribes called, Firbolgs, and Tuath de Danan; and these are said to have been subdued by Milesians or
Gaels, who ultimately acquired supreme power in the island. In the fourth century, it is said, Ireland
became known as Scotia, andl her inhabitants, under the appellation of Scoti, joining arms with the
Picts, proved themselves formidable enemies by their successful attacks upon the Roman province of
Britain. These expeditions are said to have continued and extended to the coasts of Gaul till the time of
Laogaire MacNeill, monarch of Ireland (439 AD.), in whose reign St Patrick converted the natives to
Christianity. Palladius is by some authorities said to have preceded Patrick in this mission field; but the
latter, notwithstanding, is credited with the largest share of the work. According to one edition of
Nennius History of the Britons, St Patrick founded 365 churches, and consecrated the same number of
bishops in Ireland. He also ordained 300 presbyters there; and converted 1200 persons in one province
of that country. In one day he baptised seven kings. And, more wonderful still, he gave sight to the
blind, hearing to the deaf, cast out devils, and raised nine persons from the dead. Extensive
monasteries, we are likewise told, were founded in the island in the sixth century, in which religion and
learning were zealously cultivated. From these establishments large numbers of missionaries went in
succeeding ages to convert the still pagan countries of Europe to Christianity. Their ascetic habits
greatly impressed the people with whom they came in contact. Many learned men, especially priests,
from England and the Continent, went to Ireland in these times to receive instruction or to lead a
hermits life for the sake of the heavenly kingdom, according to passages in Bedes Ecclesiastical
History and other early English annalists. To this period also has been ascribed the origin of the
peculiar style of artornamentation, specimens of which are still extant in the illuminated manuscripts in
the library of Trinity College, Dublin.
If all or even part of these fictions could be proved to be true, there might be some reason for believing
this to be the isle peopled by the Hiberni of the fifth century. But let us see what recent research and

archaeology have done to dispel the fond illusion. In a future treatise archeological evidence will be
produced to show that the art-ornamentation more likely originated in Scotland than in Ireland; and
proofs have already been brought forward to show that the passages in the early English annalists
relating to Ireland before the tenth century are fabricated. Meanwhile let us try to ascertain when the
Irish legends were first heard of, and what character they bear. Before the Reformation Ireland had few
native histories. The annals of Tighernac, Innisfallen, and Ulster, there are many reasons for believing,
are in reality Scottish records, at least in their earlier portions. Where not interpolated, for even Irish
writers like Reeves allow that two of these annals have been tampered with in this respect, their
Hihernia and Eren or Erin evidently refer to Scotland. That they do not concern Ireland is shown by the
silence of Clyn, regarding the events which they record as having taken place in Hibernia and Eren
previous to the eleventh century. Clyns annals of Ireland are considered to be the earliest extant
authentic history compiled by an inhabitant of the country. He was a Franciscan friar in the convent of
Kilkenny, and lived about the middle of the fourteenth century. His chronicles, so far as Ireland is
concerned, only begin about the twelfth century, Pembridge, a writer who lived at the latter end of the
fourteenth century, compiled Annales Hiberniae, probably on the basis of Clyns. They begin with the
year 1162 and end with the year 1370. He appears to have considered this period to have embraced all
that was certainly known of Irish History.
The Annales Hiberniae of James Grace, of Kilkenny, are conjectured to have been written between the
years 1537 and 1539, but the evidence in favour of this point is not conclusive, and they might have
been compiled about the time of the Reformation in Scotland. They begin with the year 1074 and end,
so far as the general history of the country is concerned, with the year 1370. From 1162 to 1370 they
agree in substance with Pembridges. A short abstract of the early legendary history of Ireland is given
in a few introductory paragraphs, in which the following occurs: "In those times (before Milesius came
to Ireland) Hiberniae had the name of Scotia, and the inhabitants were called Scoti ; their language was
called Gaelic, from a certain Geledus. After this, four sons of Milesius came to Ireland, of whom the
two oldest, HIiber and Herernon, divided the country into two parts. From this Hiber, the country,
which was before called Scotia Major, received the name of Hibernia."
This, then, is the earliest notice of these legends found in the native annals. But Clyn, as well as Grace,
lived in Kilkenny. Is it likely that the latter had better opportunities of becoming acquainted with the
early history of his native countiy than the former? Let us see. There is very little known about Grace.
Clyn, we are told, was a Franciscan friar in the convent of Kilkenny. The Franciscans were "men of the
loftiest minds and most generous tempers and in the fourteenth century, when the fervour of religious
enthusiasm was in some degree diminished, there were still to be found in these Orders the most
profound theologians and the most subtle speculative philosophers. Among these the Irish Franciscans
maintained a proud and honourable position. Clyn would therefore be in a position to know all that
was worth recording about the early history of Ireland; and yet he takes no notice of its ever having
been called Scotia or its people Scots. All the legends composed for the purpose of identifying Ireland
with the Scotia of the 10th and preceding centuries were probably not written till the period of, or after,
the Reformation in Scotland, as they first appear in the pages of an Irish historian about that time. This
is rendered more certain by Clyns silence regarding them, and it furnishes a sufficient reason for his
never referring to them; but it may not be out of place to qnote the words of the editor of Clyns works
as to the reason why he overlooked these not unimportant materials for a historian :"Like most of the Anglo-Irish chroniclers, Clyn passes over in ignorance or contempt the legends,
whether poetical, mythical, or enigmatical, with which the Irish seanachies filled up the vestibule of
Irish history, thronging its gates with forms of strange aspect, elusive of the grasp. Yet even these
legends, as we find them in Dowling and the native annalists, are worthy of record. Although not true

in themselves, it is true that they were once believed; and although they may not constitute the history
of the times to which they are assigned, they form at least important elements of the character of the
times in which they were received. But it is not likely that legends, so widely propagated and so fondly
cherished, had no foundation in fact that they were altogether poetical fictions, or moral and Political
fables and myths. It is more reasonable to conjecture that they were the forms of historical narrative
used by one people, which, falling into the hands of another people of different language, and of other
habits of thought and turns of expression, were understood by them in a sense which they were not
intended to bear, and in which they were not used by their authors. We would look upon these strange
and portentious narratives as the hieroglyphic records of forgotten but substantial history."
The remarks of two modern Scottish historians on the Irish legends will be given in another treatise,
where an attempt will be made to show that as far as there is any truth in these legends they refer to
Clyn was acquainted with Bedes Ecclesiastical History, as he makes several quotations from it ; and
yet he omits all notice of the connection of the Scots with Ireland, which forms so prominent a feature
of that work. Like everything else, however, relating to the early history of Ireland, Clyns Annals are
not free from interpolations, or rather false information. The reason for this is said to be that when the
Pope granted permission to Henry II., King of England, to conquer Ireland, means were taken to show
that the island had belonged to the Roman Church from an early period ; and all the native history till
the time of the Reformation in Scotland appears to have been written with this end in view. Therefore,
instead of Palladius being sent to the Scots, as other writers, including Bede, say he was, he is
represented in Clyns Annals as having gone to Hiberniam. He also speaks of Patricks mission to
Hiberniam, by which, of course, he means Ireland. But it is remarkable that he says nothing of the
illustrious Columba, who is alleged to have been born and brought up in Ireland nor of Adamnans
celebrated life of that saint;nor of the important reformation regarding the observance of Easter
effected in Ireland by Adamnan. In fact, he takes no notice of any of the numerous early saints alleged
to he Irish, whose names linger in many places in Scotland, and whose acts are briefly recorded in the
Aberdeen Breviary, while he faithfully records the deaths of Martin, Benedict, Beda, Isidore, and
Dunstan. He even mentions the presumed early name of his country, Hibernia, before the year 1139,
only in connection with Palladius and Patricius. He speaks of Scotiam and the Scots, but not until the
time of Bruce, whose invasion of Ireland he notices at some length.
A few sentences of Pinkertons, an ardent advocate of the Ireland-Scotia theory, regarding early Irish
literature, may be interesting; and as he contrasts it with the Icelandic literature of the same period, his
notice is apposite to the subject in hand:"The tales of the Welsh and Scottish forgers had an influence on the whole history of Europe; those of
the Irish never had nor can have any effect, being wholly contemptible, even to imagination. Bishop
Nicholson, in his Irish Historical Library, has most facetiously attempted to bring the Irish fables into a
similar point of view with the Icelandic. . . . The Gothic tales are often ingenious, always vigorous,
sometimes sublime. Even the wildest of them, has always strong marks of thought, of sense..... The
Irish legends are in all points the reverse. . . . Let anyone read the northern sagas, and he will find
manly judgment and fine imagination, while the Irish tales are quite destitute of these qualities. The
Scandinavians, we know, had letters, and yet their antiquaries build not on this; the Irish, we know, had
none till converted by Patrick, and yet their writers are forced, as one absurdity includes another, to
build their fairy mansion upon tho use of. letters among a people marked by the Greek and Roman
writers as utterly savage."

It is strange to find Pinkerton giving credit to the mission of St Patrick to Ireland. One of his reasons
for rejecting the Millesian legend, relating to the colonisation of Ireland with Scots, is that "Bede never
heard a word of it;" and yet he believes that St Patrick, who is likewise totally ignored by that writer,
converted the Irish to Christianity in the fifth century, and taught them the use of letters.
Another writer, Gordon, [History of Ireland, vol i p. 19] thus refers to the earliest records of the Irish:
"The accounts of the Irish concerning the transactions of their country previous to the fifth century of
the Christian era, though sufficiently copious, are of so romantic or fabulous a complexion, as to afford
no certain light, and leave us to conjecture by extraneous aids. They are in great part manifest
forgeries, fabricated, after the introduction of Christianity among the Irish, by monks and othcr such
dreamers." Regarding St Patrick, Gordon [Ibid, vol. i p. 290] says:"The stories related of this apostle, whatever dates are severally affixed to them, are doubtless
legendary tales, or theological romances, fabricated four centuries after his imaginary existence. He is
mentioned in no writing of authentic date anterior to the ninth century, a period replete with forged
saints lives ; while, besides the persuasive silence of other documents, he is quite unnoticed by Beda,
Cogitosus, Adamnan, and Cummian, ecclesiastic writers of the intermediate time, who could not have
omitted the name of so great a missionary if it had ever reached them."
It will be seen afterwards that a St Patrick appears in connection with Iceland in the ninth century. Had
St Patrick been sent to Ireland by the Roman pontiff, it is remarkable that Bede, who is said to have
been furnished with materials for his work by those who had liberty to examine the archives of his
Church, has never alluded to this circumstance; and it is impossible to believe that such gigantic
missionary labours as those attributed to St Patrick were carried through in one of the British isles,
under the auspices of the Church of which he is said to have been a priest, while not even an allusion to
them is to be found in Bedes work.
Burton [History of Scotland, Second Edition, vol i. p. 69, note] says: "The tenor of the archaeological
inquities regarding this saint, must indeed be rather alarming to those simple-minded members of the
old church who would be content to take him with implicit faith from the Bollandists and Butler. A
second St Patiick has been brought up, and now a third, with a vision of others; and the evidence for
the existence of all by no means strengthens the belief that there ever was one."
Commenting on the accounts of Palladius and Patricks missions to the Irish, Dr Skene questions their
veracity thus:If this be so, if it be true that the mission of Palladius effected nothing, and came to an end, either by
his martyrdom or flight within a year, and that Patricks mission, which succeeded it, was followed by
the conversion of the whole island, it seems strange that nothing should have been known on the
continent at the time of this great event, and that it should be noticed by no contemporary anthor. Not a
single writer prior to the eighth century mentions it. . . . Columbanus and the other missionaries from
Ireland who followed him, seem to have told their foreign disciples nothing about him, and in the
writings of the former, which have been preservedin his letters to the Pope and Gaulish clergy, and
in his sermons to his monksthe name of Patrick, the great founder of his church, never appears."
There is good evidence for believing that a saint of the name of Patrick or Palladius flourished in
Scotland in the fifth century; and it is generally granted that the legendary St Patrick or Palladius of the
Irish was born in Scotland, brought up by the Scots, and died in Scotland. In a future treatise more will

be said about the Scottish saint.

Having seen that little reliance can be placed upon the ancient native legends, and lives of St Patrick,
let us now examine the testimony of the first trustworthy writer who speaks of the character and
condition of the Irish, and see if it bears out the statements made by Irish writers regarding the
prevalence of Christianity and learning in Ireland after St Patricks supposed advent. One of the most
reliable of the earliest historians of Ireland, though even his work presents the appearance of having
been interpolated, as he retails many of her legends as history, is Giraldus Cambrensis, a writer of the
twelfth century. He had spent some time in the island and had evidently visited many places in it, but
the account he gives of its condition then is in marked contrast to the condition of Iceland at the same
period. He says: "Although they are richly endowed with the gifts of nature, their want of civilization,
shown both in their dress and mental culture, makes them a barbarous people." [Topograhy of Ireland,
Distict. III., chap. x.] "The Irish are a rude people, subsisting on the produce of their cattle only, and
being themselves like beastsa people that has not departed from the primitive habits of pastoral life."
[Ibid] The faith having been planted in the island from the time of St Patrick, so many ages ago, and
propagated ever since, it is wonderful that this nation should remain to this day so ignorant of the
rudiments of Christianity. It is indeed a most filthy race, a race more ignorant than all other nations of
the first principles of the faith." [Topograhy of Ireland, Distict. III., chap. xix.]
It had become the accepted belief in Giraldus time that Ireland was converted by St Patrick. This was
accomplished by circulating forged lives of him among the learned men of the time, who were not
numerous in those days.
Regarding the government and manners of the Irish previous to the seventh aentury, Gordon says : "
We can only form a judgment of these from the state in which we find that people after their adoption
of Christianity, and of this we can form, consistently with truth, no favourable representation."
Other circumstances combine with the uncivilised state of the Irish in the twelfth century to show the
improbability of any extensive evangelisation or literary culture having reached that People previously.
Where Christianity has penetrated, and where even a shallow civilisation exists, there is generally to be
found money circulating. It is a striking fact, however, that before the ninth century, when numbers of
the Icelanders and Scots probably settled in Ireland, the Irish had not minted any coins of their own,
while the neighbouring people of Britain had from about the time of Christs birth minted a large
number. And although the Romans, Franks, and Anglo-Saxons, after their conquests of France and
England, had made very considerable coinages in those countries, we do not even find in Ireland any
trace of the coins of these neighbouring people being brought over the sea in any considerable quantity
before the period mentioned. Yet in other countries where the minting of coins also came late into use
as, for instance, in the Scandinavian northso great a quantity of older foreign coins, together with
all sorts of foreign valuables, is continually dug up as to show that even at a very early period active
connections of trade must have existed beween the Northmen and the more southern nations. Neither
Phoenician nor Celtic coins are known to have been found in Ireland, and discoveries even of Roman
and the more ancient Anglo Saxon coins are very rare." It is manifest from these circumstances that
previously to the settlement of the Northmen or Scots in Ireland, the Irish did not carry on any trade
worth speaking of, if they carried on any, and that they had very little intercourse with the rest of
Europe. That the Northmen may almost be said to have created Irish trade, is evident from the fact that
the Scandinavian kings in Ireland were the first who caused coins to be minted there, "Of the coins
current in Ireland in the last half of the eleventh, and in the whole of the twelfth century, pretty large
quantities have been dug up, both in and out of Ireland, and particularly in the neighbonring Isle of

In the splendid manuscript of the Gospels called the Book of Kells, preserved in the library of Trinity
College, Dublin, there are transcribed several Irish charters, which are said to be sufficient to connect it
with the monastery of Kells. This is doubtful. The charters are allowed to be "some centuries" later in
date than the book itself; and "the handwriting of these documents, as they are now found" there, "is
not coeval with the persons whose names are mentioned in them.... The period at which they were
transcribed into this book may be conjectured from the character of the writings and contractions,
which would appear to belong to the latter part of the twelfth ceatury." This is quite possible; but may
not these charters have beeu forged, or at least tampered with, for the purpose of connecting this
manuscript of the Gospels with Kells? When the archaeological evidence comes to be dealt with, a
pretty strong case will be made out in favour of this manuscript having been penned in some place in
north-eastern Scotland, perhaps Dunkeld. The name of this town is spelt in ancient official documents
Dun-kell. It is associated with Columba, and so is the Book of Kells. "The other extant charters made
in Ireland at the same period (the latter part of the twelfth century) are very few indeed, and are all in
the Latin language. How early the ancient Irish began to commit their contracts and covenants to
writing has not yet been determined." After referring to copies of the wills of a king of Ireland who
died in the year 128, and a Breton who lived in the first century, it is added:" But without insisting
on the authenticity of these productions, we may clearly infer from some entries in the Book of
Armagh that deeds of contract and even of sale of lands were committed to writing from the earliest
ages of Christianity in Ireland."
"Of the time exactly when, and of the persons by whom, the inhabitants of Ireland first received the
illumination of the Gospel, we cannot find more certain information than when, and by whom, the
people of Britain, or of any other country in Europe, were first enlightened by its communication. . .
Whoever were the happy instruments in the planting of Christianity in Ireland, their progress appears to
have been slow in the conversion of the natives. So lately as the end of the sixth century paganism
subsisted, perhaps predominated in this country." [Gordon's History of Ireland, vol i. pp. 28 and 29.]
The writer just quoted believes it to be very probable that Christian rites were first introduced to the
Western Island by the British clergy who fled from the south of Scotland to Ireland to escape the fury
of the Saxon pagans, the conquerors of their country. [Ibid., p. 29]
"While the Saxons were prevailing in Britain several assemblages of the natives quitted their paternal
soil, and established themselves in Armorica. Their new settlemeats were named Llydaw. Llydaw is
said to be little else than a synonym for Armorica, both implying the sea coast. The author of the Life
of Gildas says: In Armoricam quondam Galliae regionem tune autem a Britannis a
quibus possidebatur Letavia dicebatur. Bouquet III., 449. The manuscript Vita
Cadoci says: Provincia quondam Armorica, deinde Littau, nunc Britannia minor vocatur. Cotton
Library Vesp. A. 14, p. 32..... When Gildas followed his countrymen to Llydaw, he passed a solitary
life in a place called Houath.Acta Sanct. 2Jan., p. 954." [Turner's History Anglo-Saxons, vol ii. pp.
212 and 213 and notes]]
Turner takes Llydaw and Armorica in these passages to be intended for Brittany on the continent; but
they more likely refer to Ethelwerds Bretannis, [Above, pp. 12 and 13]] and Ptolemys Britania Minor,
[Gibson's Camden, vol ii. p. 323] that is, Ireland. Besides, Howth is the name of a place near Dublin,
and it is on the sea coast. This then may foreshadow the time when Christianity was planted in Ireland.
In all likelihood it received an accession of strength from the "early emigrants from the Scandinavian
regions;" who had settled there in the ninth century. These may have been some of the Papae or

Christian priests who were being expelled from Iceland at that period. The numbers of the Christian
ministers in Ireland may also have been augmented at the same time by ecclesiastics from the east of
Scotland. This district was frequently and mercilessly ravaged by the Danes then. The monasteries
especially suffered to a large extent from their depredations. The large number of sculptured
monuments peculiar to this locality prove that it was enlightened by the Christian religion at a very
early period. Some at least of the monks or presbyters were driven from this region by the Danes to
seek refuge in Ireland; and it was possibly at this time that they carried the illuminated manuscripts of
the Gospels with them, as will be more fully shown in future treatises. We may allow that Christian
missionaries from all these quarters reached Ireland before the twelfth century, without believing that
the Christian rites were adopted by more than a fraction of the population.
Gordon [History of Ireland, vol. i. p. 53] says the first attempt of the Roman pontiff to subjugate the
church of Ireland was made in the year 1127, when Gilbert, bishop of Limerick, an Ostman or
Norwegian, who had written a book in favour of the Roman ritual, received the commission of legate
from His Holiness. This attempt does not seem to have been successful, and the labours of Malachy,
archbishop of Armagh, who died in 1148 in striving to subject his country to the spiritual dominion of
Rome, also resulted in failure. In the year 1152 the Popes aim was attained; and the spiritual
supremacy of the Roman pontiff was then for the first time formally acknowledged in Ireland by means
of his legate Cardinal Papiron. Four years afterwards, Henry II, king of England, wishing to invade
Ireland, made application to the Pope for power to do so. Glad of an opportunity to augment the papal
power, and to reduce the Irish completely under the Roman Church, a bull was given to the English
king, together with a ring, the token of his investiture as rightful sovereign of the country. The bull not
only authorised Henry to render himself master of Ireland, it called upon him to eradicate irreligion and
immorality from among its inhabitants; and in saying this the Pope bears witness with the other writers
already quoted that the state of Ireland at that period was not what was to be expected of a Christian
country. Although the real object of the English kings invasion was not accomplished, the ostensible
one, the spiritual subjection of Ireland to the See of Rome, was crowned with such marked success,
that the majority of the people have ever since, through all revolutions, faithfully adhered to the Roman
Catholic faith.
With regard to the means by which the papal claims upon Ireland were supported, the following
extracts may throw some light on the subject.
Dr James Usher, archbishop of Axniagh, says
"Master Campion informs us that when Ireland first received Christendom they gave themselves into
the jurisdiction, both spiritual and temporal, of the See of Rome. But herein he speaks without book;
of the spiritual jurisdiction untruly, of the temporal absurdly. For it cannot be shewed out of any
monument of antiquity that the Bishop of Rome ever sent any of his legates to exercise spiritual
jurisdiction here (much less any of his deputies to exercise jurisdiction temporal) before Gillebertus,
who was the first legate appointed by the Apostolic See over all Ireland, says one that lived in his own
time, even Bernard himself, in the life of Malachias. He informs us that from the beginning unto this
time, the Metropolitan See of Armagh wanted the use of the Pall. With whom the author of the annals
of Mailros fully accords, noting that, in the year 1151, Pope Eugenius, the same to whom Bernard
wrote his book De Considaratione, by his legate, John Papiron, transmitted four Palls into Ireland,
whither a Pall before had never been brought." [Religion Anciently professed by the Irish and British,
chap. viii.]
"For the Popes direct dominion over Ireland, two titles are brought forth, beside those covenants of

King John, mentioned by Allen, which he that hath any understanding in our state knoweth to be
clearly void and worth nothing. The one is taken from a special grant, supposed to be made by the
inhabitents of the country at the time of their conversion unto Christianity; the othor from a right which
the Pope challenges unto himself over all islands in general. The former of these was devised of late by
an Italian in the reign of King Henry the Eighth; the latter was found out in the days of King Henry the
Second ; before whose time not one footstep appears in all antiquity of any claim that the Bishop of
Rome could make to the dominion of Ireland; no, not in the Popes own records, which have been
curiously searched by Nicolaus Arragonius, and other ministers of his, who have purposely written of
the particulars of his temporal estate. The Italian of whom I speak is Pollydore Virgil, he who
composed the book De Inventoribus Rerurn, or of the first inventors of things, among whom he
himself may challenge a place for this invention, if the inventors of lies be admitted to have any room
in that company. This man being sent over by the Pope into England for the collection of his Peterpence, undertook the writing of the history of that nation; wherein he forgot not by the way to do the
best service he could to his lord who had employed him there. There he tells an idle tale; how the Irish
being moved to accept Henry the Second for their king, did deny that this could be done otherwise
than by the bishop of Romes authority, because (forsooth) that from the very beginning, after they had
received the Christian religion, they had yielded themselves and all that they had into his power. And
they constantly affirmed (says this fabler) that they had no other lord besides the Pope, of which they
also yet brag. For confutation of which dream we need not have recourse to our own Chronicles; the
Bull of Adrian the Fourth, wherein he gives liberty to Henry the Second to enter upon Ireland,
sufficiently discovers the vanity thereof. For, he there shewing what right the Church of Rome
pretended unto Ireland, makes no mention at all of this, which had been the fairest and clearest title that
could be alleged if any such had been then existent inrenem natura, but is fain to fly unto a far-fetched
interest, which he says the Church of Rome hath unto all Christian islands. Truly, says he to the King,
there is no doubt but that all islands unto which Christ, the Son of Righteousness, has shined, and
which have received the instructions of the Christian faith, do pertain to the right of St Peter, and the
holy Church of Rome, which your nobleness also acknowledges. If you would further understand the
ground of this strange claim whereby all Christian islands at a clap are challenged to be parcels of St
Peters patrimony; you shall have it from Johannes Sarisbariensis, who was most inward with Pope
Adrian, and obtained from him this very grant of which we are now speaking. At my request (says he)
he granted Ireland to the illustrious king of England, Henry the Second, and gave it to be possessed by
right of inheritance, as his own letters testify unto this day. For all islands of ancient right are said to
belong to the Church of Rome by the donation of Constantine, who founded and endowed the same.
But you will see what a goodly title here is in the meantime. First the donation of Constantine has been
long since discovered to he a notorious forgery, and is rejected by all men of judgment as a senseless
fiction," &c. [Religion Anciently professed by the Irish and British, chap. xi.]
This may suffice to show that the Roman Church did not obtain supremacy in Ireland till the twelfth
century; and it was towards the latter end of that century that the name Hibernia was first applied to the
country in authentic records.
Whether the discovery of America (? Armorica) in the tenth century by the Icelanders was an
accomplished fact is still a matter of doubt; and as the two sagas which more minutely detail the
countries visited, and time incidents connected with the discovery, were not brought to light till the
seventeenth century, the attempt to shift Great Ireland and Vinland to America may be but a part of the
scheme planned to darken and obscure the early history of Britain and Iceland. There are said to be
fictitious sagas, which are easily distinguished from the genuine ones by the marvellous incidents with
which they abound; and those referred to above will be fouud to partake of this character. It is
significant also to find that the discovery of Great Ireland by the Icelanders, corresponds in point of

time with the period when Ethelwerd, the English annalist, says that Ireland was first called by that
name. The statements of the Northern writers and the English historian fit together well in this respect;
and, leaving America out of the question, they serve to explain and corroborate each other.
The following passage, regarding Great Ireland, or Hvitramannaland, as it was also called, occurs in an
old Icelandic geographical treatise : "To the south of inhahited Greenlandare wild anddesert tracts of
ice-covered mountains; then comes the land of the Scraellings, beyond this Markland, and then Vinland
the good. Next to this, and somewhat behind, lies Albania, that is to say, Hvitramannaland,
Whitemansland, whither vessels formerly sailed from Ireland. It was there that several Irishmen and
Icelanders recognised Ari, the son of Mar, and Katla of Reykjanes, of whom there had not been for a
long time any tidings, and whom the natives of the country had made their chief." The Landnamabok
also states that Ari Masson was driven by a tempest to Hvitramannaland, and detained and baptised
there. [Mallets Northern Antiquities, p. 264, Bohns Edition.] "It would appear that the Northmen
received their account of Hvitramannaland, which was also called Irland it MiklaGreat Ireland
from Limerick traders, and that vessels had sailed there, previous to the discovery of Vinland. These
circumstances, and the mention made of Aris baptism, have led some writers to suppose that there was
an Irish colony established on the coast of America south of Massachusetts in the ninth or tenth
century; but the statements transmitted to us are obviously too vague to possess any historical
vahie."The eight chapters of King Olaf Trygvvesons saga, giving an account of the presumed
discovery of America, are clearly shown to be an interpolation by Laing in his translation of the
Heimskringla. [Vol. i. Prelimiciary Dissertation, p. 156, and vol. iii. p. 343.]
Gronland was the name of a district in Norway, and has before now been mistaken for Greenland.
Markland was a name of Denmark; [Chambers Encyclopaedia, article Normans,] and Vinland may
have been the early Icelandic name of England or Spain. Albania or Scotland would be behind England
to an Icelander, and possibly Ireland may have been the Great Ireland of the Icelanders.
The passages quoted above (page 46) regarding Armorica, seem to imply that it was at one time a name
given to Ireland; and possibly this may have been the America of the authentic Icelandic sagas.
It will be seen that these notices identify Albania and Great Ireland, but if the former is intended for
Scotland, there must be some confusion in the transcripts, as all the evidence available proves that
Ireland and Albania were never synonymous names for one countiy. Possibly the tampering with the
passages to make them point to America may have given rise to this confusion. But if Great Ireland be
the ancient Icelandic designation of Ireland, it is quite possible that the Icelanders received a
description of it from Limerick traders, and that their vessels had touched frequently at that port before
Vinland, which may be intended for Spain or England, was made known to them. This, at least, is
certain, that Great Ireland was discovered in the tenth century, and Ethelwerd says Ireland was then
first so called.
As bearing immediately upon the subject at issue, it will not be out of place to give here the testimony
of one of the most eminent of recent writers on ancient Irish history regarding the earliest colonists of
Ireland, and the names Scot and Scotia not being known in that country. In Todds Irish version of
theHistoria Britonum of Nennius, additional notes, No. VI., it is said: "There is no probability, and a
want of distinct testiinony, even legendary, that Ireland ever received any considerable body of settlers,
but direct from Britain." The Gaidhil or Scoti are mentioned as one of the three classes of early
colonists, and it is affirmed that "into this prevalent colony the whole nation resolved itself." Then we
are told "that the Scots, after various peregrinations, went from Pictland or Albany in North Britain to
Spain, and thence over to Ireland," but it is immediately afterwards explained that the whole mention

of Spain in the legend containing that information is etymological.

These conclusions are undoubtedly sound, and taking them for a basis, a general idea of how the early
colinisation of Ireland probably proceeded may be laid before the reader. It is not improbable, from
proximity of situation, that some Basques from Spain may have settled in the south of Ireland at a very
early period, as hinted at by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Giraldus Cambrensis, though there is no
reliable testimony to corroborate their hints. But it is very likely that a considerable Celtic colony
would settle in Ireland at the time of the Roman invasion of Britain. Whether these are the Firbolgs of
Irish legends it is perhaps impossible now to determine. Again at the Saxon invasion of Britain, which
commenced in the south of Scotland, numerous Ceits were driven from that district, many of whom
would in all likelihood settle in Ireland. It was in that part of the country that the Damnonii were
located, and there is little doubt but that a goodly number of them were among the emigrants, but
whether these represented the legendary Irish colony of the Tuath de Danan cannot now be easily
ascertained. These two bodies of colonists were in all probability mainly composed of British Celts or
Welsh, as they are now called. The next colony which settled in Ireland from Britain, however, was in
all likelihood largely made up of Gaidhil. This exodus took place in the ninth century, when the
Norwegians or Danes, or both, ravaged eastem Scotland north of the Firth of Forth so frequently and so
mercilessly that the inhabitants would be glad to seek refuge in another country. Along with the Gaelic
Celts or Picts who then settled in Ireland there would be a number of Scots. The archaeological
evidence bears out this supposition. It was evidently at this period that Ireland received an infusion of
Scottish Christian priests, who carried with them their books, bells, and croziers, and introduccd the art
of monumental sculpture; but contact with foreign influences soon sapped its purity and strength, and
sowed the seeds of its decadence. The colony which settled in Ireland at this time is called Gaidhill or
Scoti, on the presumption that these were only different names for the same people, but this is an
erroneous conclusion. A Gaidhill was only a Scot in the same sense in which a Highlander who only
speaks Gaelic is a Scot. They are Scots because they are born in Scotland, but they are not Scots in the
full meaning of that term, in that neither the one nor the other of them used the Scottish dialect. It is
therefore quite true, as Dr Todd says, that the colony of Gaidhil may have been the largest body of
.settlers who reached Ireland at one time, for the Irish language is more akin to the Gaelic dialect than
to any other. We are only dealing with prehistoric times at present, it needs to be remembered. About
the end of the ninth century it is possible that Ireland may have received a few settlers from Iceland,
when the Norwegians took possession of that island and drove the original inhabitants out of it. It is
questionable whether a Danish invasion of Ireland took place in the ninth century as is often alleged.
That a Danish invasion of Scotland or ancient Eyryn did take place then there is satisfactory evidence
to prove ; and it appears as if several detached incidents of it were seized hold of by the Irish to fill up
the empty pages of their ancient history.
With reference to the word Scot, Dr Todd, in the same note, just quoted, supposes it to be derived from
Scuite, a wanderer or rover, and this supposition is thought to be supported by the fact that the Scots
are first mentioned as inhabitants of Britain. He then adds: "This supposition squares admirably with
the observation in Ogygia III., 72, that although the Irish called their Gaidhelian people Scots, no such
territorial epithet as Scotia or Scotland was known in their language, for they had not that name in
regard of their land, but of renouncing their land." Unfortunately all this theorising is thrown away,
though it is suggestive to bring it forward here, for another note in the same work, No. XXI., informs
us that since the former note was printed, "I have learned that the gloss scuite, a wanderer, is not found
elsewhere, and that suspicion therefore arises of dictionaries having been interpolated with a view to
that very purpose for which I have applied them." This is a remarkable admission; and it serves to
show how wide and deep the mine had been laid which obscured and perverted the ancient history of

Further on in the note last quoted we find the following:"If it (Scoti) were an ancient name of the Irish for themselves, unknown to foreigners until they had
improved their acquaintance with Ireland, but then adopted by them generally (as foreigners know the
names German or Allernand, but have to learn the name Deutsch), it follows that the name is
vernavular among the Irish people. But such, I believe, it neither is nor ever was. Unwritten discourse
does not so style them, nor does that of the Celts of Britain. Then as to writers, their date is late in
Ireland, and their manner of using the word perhaps unsatisfactory. They almost all possessed some
Latin learning, and a Gaelicised adoption of the Latin word Scotus may prove no more than is proved
by Tigernachs plain Latin Monumenta Sotorum."
Passing a few sentences which do not concern the present subject, we read as follows: "I have observed
that Scoti was the name of the Scoti in their own language; and I have also observed that it neither is,
nor ever was, to our knowledge, the name of the Gaidhill or Irish nation in their own discourse, and can
scarce be said to have established itself in their writings, always excepting such as treat of the Scythian
mythus. Here is something to explain if not reconcile." Notwithstanding this it is remarkable to find the
author of these remarks overlooking the only feasible explanation of them, which is that the word Scot
was never applied to natives of Ireland, and the word Scotia was never used as a name of Ireland. And
yet when we think how much false information has been penned on the subject, it is not to be
wondered at that even such an acute writer should still feel himself hampered by some meshes of the
After trying to furnish an explanation, in the belief that Scot and Irishman, and Scotia and Ireland were
once synonymous terms, the conclusion Dr Todd arrives at is this: "Thus it would seem as if Irishmen
were not Scoti, but expeditions of Irish warriors and pirates were." We are then told that the first
instance known of the territorial phrase Scotia, is in Isidore of Sevilles works; but Dr Todd had
previously said that Isidoro asserts that Scotus was a word in their own language, and we have seen
that it was not a word of the Irish tongue, so that Isidores Scotus and Scotia must refer to some other
people and country than the Irish and Ireland.

Notes on the Early History of Scotland

Early Iceland

HAVING seen that there is little likelihood of Ireland having been the sacred isle of the Hiberni, let us
turn to lceland and endeavour to ascertain whether it might not answer to such a description in the fifth
century. It may be remarked here that the name Hibernia is more likely to have been originally applied
to a northern or wintry country such as Iceland, than to a temperate country like Ireland. Hibernia was
the Roman name of the winter quarters for soldiers, and it is probable that the Roman writers of ancient
times, in order to designate a region which was often ice-bound, appropriately called it Hibernia.
Iceland is certainly one of the most wonderful countries of Europe, whether we look at it from a
physical or historical point of view. Its physical aspect, remarkable as that is, however, does not
concern us at present; and we turn to its ancient history, which has a direct bearing on several points of
the subject under consideration, and which is no less interesting than astonishing to the student of
human nature.
Some accounts represent the Landnamma Book, one of the earliest records relating to Iceland, as
saying that it was inhabited by Irish before it was colonized by Norwegians. Others, founding on the
same authority, speak of the first inhabitants as Papae or Christian priests. The diploma of Thomas,
bishop of Orkney [Orkneyinga Saga, pp. 549-50] affirms, upon the authority of ancient records, that
the Norwegians found two nations in Orkney, when they first landed there, the Picts and the Papae, but
entirely destroyed them both. [Todd's Irish Version of Nennius, p. 147, note] It is very probable that the
same two nations which were found in Orkney by the Norwegians were also found by them in Iceland;
and that the Picts were represented by the Irish, or rather Gaelic Celts from the north of Scotland, who
appear in such large numbers among the earlier settlers mentioned in the Landnamma Book. Papae
seems to be only another name for the Scots, who were to be found wandering in large numbers over
the Continent and other southern countries in the ninth century, when the Norwegians drove the Papae

from Iceland. The most learned Scandinavian antiquaries are of opinion that three distinct populations
peopled the north :" A Mongolian race, of which the Laplanders and the Esquimaux are examples; a
Celtic race; and a Caucasian race, which, almost within the limits of northern history, came from Asia,
drove out or extirpated the Celtic and Laplandic races, and are the present inhabitants." Their opinions
are based on philological, mythological, and arelneological grounds. [Laing's Translation of the
Heimskringla, vol iii. p. 365]
It is affirmed that Iceland still contains many traces of the Irish colonists who had occupied the island
before the arrival of the Norwegians. There is Ira (Irish) river, Ira-fell, or Irish-fell, in the Kyosar Sysla,
and the Irarbudr, or Irish booths, in Hvamansfiord. An intelligent Icelander, anxious perhaps to
disclaim an Irish origin, says: "The large number of Irish settlers in Iceland after Ingolf do not prove
anything concerning a previous settlement. No one denies that Iceland was visited by the Irish previous
to the Norwegian discovery. No proofs have as yet been brought forward to show that a settlement was
made more extensive than that spoken of in the Landnammabok, and by Ari Froda." []Burton's Ultima
Thule, vol i. p. 87] Mr Hjaltalin evidently takes the Irish who had settled in Iceland before the
Norwegians as people from the country now known as Ireland; but it is more likely, as already stated,
that the Irish colonists came from the north of Scotland, and gave the island the name of Ireland, or
western land, by which name it was known to Alfred the Great. The passages, which will be quoted
immediately from Munchs "Chronicle of Man," confirm this. The large number of Irish settlers who
appear in Iceland soon after it was discovered by the Norwegians, goes far to prove that the Celtic
settlements in the island were more extensive than is generally supposed. This is likewise borne out by
the following:"As to those of the first settlers, whose fates during the time between their emigration from Norway
and their arrival in Iceland, nothing is told expressly, it is still somehow to be guessed, that they passed
some time in the western islands, or in Ireland, at least in the first period of the colonization. We find
thus that not a few of their slaves had Gaelic names, which shows that they were either Irishmen or
Scottish HIighlanders; some of the settlers themselves were even Irishmen or inhabitants of the western
islands of Scotland; and what is still more remarkable, and perhaps gives the best evidence of the state
of things here supposed, is, that the rearing and pasturing of sheep, the national and most important
branch of livelihood in Iceland, has never, not even in the times of the colonization, been like to
anything in Norway, the mother country, not even as far as regards the termini technici, while, on the
contrary, it has all the chief and characteristic features of the same national occupation in Western
Scotland. and the Isles. [The sheep in Orkney are or were of a peculiar breed, and are similar to these
of the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Shetland. In Iceland, as well as in Orkney, the wool is torn from the
backs of the sheep, instead of being shorn as in other countriesBarrys Orkney, Edition 1867, pp. 311
and 313.] From this circumstance we are indeed justified in concluding, almost to a certainty, that those
settlers who set the first example of rural economy in Iceland, and gave to the whole way of living its
chief and lasting features, had passed time long enough on the Scottish coasts and the Isles, to become
in a great measure nationalised there, and to adopt very much of the manners and customs prevailing
among the inhabitants. . . To the Icelanders, therefore, theWVestern Islands of Scotland, as in a certain
degree the chief cradle of their race, even more than the mother country Norway itself, ought to be ot
peculiar interest, and are even to be looked upon by them with a sort of filial piety. [Munchs Chronicle
of Man and the Sudreys, pref., pp. iii, and iv.]
In the above extract the first settlers are spoken of generally as irishmen or Scottish Highlanders. Until
it can be decided whether they were the one or the other, it will be reasonable to assume that they are
more likely to have been Scotsmen than Irishmen, as the north of Scotland is considerably nearer
Iceland than Ireland. It is probable also that they reached Iceland by way of the Orkney and Shetland,

rather than the western, islands.

Whether the Gaelic Celts or the Teutonic Goths first colonized Iceland may perhaps never be learned.
That a considerable body of colonists from the east settled in it at an early period is evident from the
affinity of the languages and customs. Laing is very decided about it:
"The race of men who under Odin established themselves in the countries north of the Baltic were
undoubtedly of Asiatic origin. . . The causes, as well as the dates, of this vast movement, are lost in the
night of antiquity. The fact itself admits of no doubt." [Heimskringla, English translation, vol. i. pp. 38
and 46.] Whether the Argonauts landed on the island and revealed its existence to the inhabitants of
Thracia, may be doubtful; [Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients, p. 39.] but there is good reason for
believing that Odin landed in iceland with a body of Goths and introduced Christianity and civilisation
into it. it is said that" After every attempt to elucidate the origin and exploits of Odin, it must be
confessed that nothing certain is known beyond the historical fact that he was the author of a new
religion, and the importer of arts and improvements, with which, before his arrival, the rude and
primitive inhabitants of the north were altogether unacquainted." [Scandinavia, by Crichton and
Wheeler, vol. i. p. 82.] Runes are said to have been introduced into Iceland by Odin. The use of this
mode of writing was very ancient, and was probably brought from the east by the Goths. The letters
resemble those of the Greek, Etrurian, and Celtiberian alphabets, more than the Roman. They were the
most common mode of writing known to the Icelanders till time end of the twelfth century. [Nicol's
Account of Iceland, pp. 117, 144, and 145, and note]. From these circumstances it is evident that the
Teutonic Goths were a highly intelligent race; and if the Celts of northern Scotland occupied Iceland
before them, they were in all likelihood subjugated by the more civilised people.
For how long before the ninth century these Goths and Celts peopled the island it is impossible now to
ascertain, but there can be little doubt that the Goths imparted a knowledge of the Christian religion to
the inhabitants before the fourth century, when we have seen Iceland called by the name of the Sacred
Isle. That these Goths were the progenitors of the Scots there are good grounds for believing; and it
may thus he granted after all that the Scots came to Scotland from Hibernia or Ireland, though not the
Hibernia and Ireland of the present day.
That the Goths were the men who were called Papae by the Norwegians there is also reason to believe.
The Landuamma Book, and other ancient Icelandic writings, state that before Iceland was settled by
the Northmen there were men there called by the Northmen Papae. These men were Christians, and are
said to have all left the country when the Norwegians settled there, but this will be shown to be
doubtful. That many of them did leave is evident, and in their haste to get out of reach of the Pagans,
they left behind them books, bells, and croziers, such as generally belonged to early Scottish Christian
communities. Ari Froda, an ancient Icelandic writer, says that when Ingolf the Norwegian visited
Iceland, he found Christians there, whom the Northmen called Papae, who, not choosing to associate
with heathens, went away, leaving behind them books, bells, and croziers.[Toads Irish Version of
Nonnins, p. 147, note.] At the time when the Norwegians began to settle in Iceland we find Scots from
Hibernia pouring into Britain and the continent. These were apparently the fugitive Christians who left
Iceland, and some of them may have reached the country now called Ireland, and called it after the
name of their native country.
Mr Dassent [Burnt Njal, vol. i. p. vii.] identifies the Papae with the Culdees, traces of whom are
principally found on the east coast of Scotland, which in the eleventh and preceding centuries
comprehended the whole of ancient Scotia. Traces of them are also found in Ireland. Culdee, like
Papae, was evidently a name given to the ancient priesthood, after it had come under the power of the

Roman Church, and both were probably imposed for the purpose of darkening their early history. The
history of the Papae is said to be involved in obscurity; and it is stated that the old annalists had no
doubt good reasons for saying as little about them as possible. [Nicol's Iceland, p. 93, note.]
There were many people of the name of Papay or Paplay in Orkney about the beginning of this century,
and formerly in Iceland also. It is probable that the name may have originated from their remote
ancestors having been Papae. Several places in Iceland, the Western Isles of Scotland, and Orkney, bear
the name of Papay or Paplay likewise. They are generally in retired situations, are distinguished for the
richness of their soil, the variety of their natural productions, the pleasantness of their exposure and
agreeable prospect. Some of them contain venerable ruins. From these characteristics it is believed they
were once the abodes of men of a sacred character. [Barrys Orkney, pp. 109 and 110.]
Notwithstanding the facts mentioned by the Landnamma Book, and Ari Froda, it is sometimes alleged
that the Icelanders previous to the beginning of the eleventh century were pagans, but there are
fortunately other circumstances which corroborate the testimony of these authorities that Christianity
was the belief of the earliest known inhabitants of the island. The oldest Icelandic literature even
manifests that its sources have been influenced by Christian ideas. A poem of undoubted antiquity, The
Voluspa, for instance, treats of the creation, the origin of man, how evil and death were brought into the
world, and concludes with a prediction of the destruction and renovation of the universe, and a
description of the future abodes of bliss and misery. In another the Trinity is invoIced, and a future
state is described in accordance with Christian doctrines. Among these poems, which are generally
known by the name of the Elder Edda, there is a series of heroic lays, forming a complete epos. They
relate the same story as the Nibelungen-lied. Satisfactory evidence, however, has been brought forward
to show that the Icelandic poems were not derived from German sources. The Northern wrlters even
assert that this Eddaic epos must have been composed before any Norwegians settled in Iceland.
[Mallets Icorthern Antiquities, p. 876, and note, Bohus Edition,] The Elder Edda consists of thirtynine poems. These were collected about the beggining of the twelfth century by a native Icelander,
called Saemund Sigfusson. He had studied in the universities of France and Germany, and after his
return to his native land he became parish priest of Oddi, a village situated at the foot of Mount Hekla,
and which had belonged to his family from the time of the colonisation of the island by the
Norwegians. This Edda was suppressed for a long period. It was only brought to light about the year
1630, that is, after the Protestant faith had been established for nearly a hundred years in the island, by
the Bishop of SkaIholt. [Mackenzies Travels in Iceland. New Edition. p. 10.] When this is known a
clue is afforded to the reason why we know so little about the ancient Icelandic worship, as intimated
in the following extract: "It seems snrprising that we know so little of a pagan religion existing so near
our own times, of this last remnant of paganism among the European people, existing in vigour almost
500 years after Christianity and the Romish Church establishment were diffused in every other
country! What we know of it is from The Edda, compiled by Saemund, the priest." [Laings Translation
of the Heirnskringla, vol. i. p. 70.] It will be seen shortly that notwithstanding the obscurity with which
it has been surrounded the ancient lcelandic religion, the worship introduced by Odin, was identical in
many respects with Christianity.
There is a prose work called The Younger Edda, which seems to have been derived from its
predecessor, the poetical one. Its composition is ascribed to the celebrated Icelander Snorri Sturleson,
who was born in 1178, and was twice supreme magistrate of the island. The materials from which it
was composed are believed to have been in existence before Snorris time; but the prologue and
epilogue, which consist of the myths and legends of several nations jumbled together, were probably
written by himself. The Edda proper contains a synopsis of Scandinavian belief. [Mallets Northern
Antiquities, pp. 377 and 378, Bohns Edition.] With regard to the third chapter of it, Mallet

remarks "From its conformity with the Christian doctrines one would be temptel to believe that Snorri
had here embelished the religion of his pagan ancestors by bringing it as near as possible to the Gospel,
if we did not find the same theme literally expressed in The Voluspa, a poem of undoubted antiquity,
and which was composed before the name of Christianity was known in the north," [Mallets Northern
Antiquities, p. 508, Bohns Edition,] or rather before the Pagan Norwegians banished most of the
earliest Christian inhabitants from Iceland. The ancient mythology of the Icelanclers styled the object
of their worship: "The author of everything that exists, the Eternal, the living and awful being who
searches into concealed matters, and is subject to no change, of incorruptible justice, infinite power,
and unbounded knowledge." [Edda and Voluspa, quoted in Barrys Orkney, pp. 94 and 95.]
It is said that the practical forms or modes of worship in the religion of Odin cannot be discovered
from the Eddas, nor from the Sagas, which the two Eddas were intended to illustrate. It is also alleged
with truth that much has probably been altered to suit the ideas of the age in which they were
committed to writing in their present form, and of the scribes who compiled them.
[Lalugs Translation of Heimskringla, pp. 81 and 86,] There can be little doubt but that these Eddas
were altered to suit the priests of a different worship who desired to obliterate as far as possible all
traces of Christianity from them. Snorri Sturleson, the compiler of the prose one, also wrote a history
of the early Norwegian kings, called the Heimskringla. There are appearances of its being also written
to serve the aims of the King of Norway, who made Snorri his chamberlain, and otherwise honoured
him. Snorri is even charged by his countrymen with having entered into a private agreement with the
king and an earl that he should use his influence to subvert the independence which Iceland had
hitherto enjoyed, and to persuade the King to submit to the government of the King of Norway. As a
reward for this service he was to be made the kings lenderman, or earl, over his native country. He
appears to have been just the man to betray the independence of his country. He is described as
"Greedy, selfish, ambitious, and under no restraint or principle in gratifying his avarice and his evil
passions." A history of Norway written by such a man is not a safe guide when it touches upon
Icelandic history. [Laings Translation of the Heimskringla, vol. i. pp. 188198, and Mackenzies
Travels in Iceland, New Edition, pp. 12 and 15.]
We are told that the primitive religion of the Goths and Scythians was at one time a purer and simpler
form of worship than that which prevailed at a later period. Their creed, it is said, was corrupted with
foreign superstitions and idolatries, imposed upon them as a badge of servitude by their conquerors;
and in this way the original simplicity of their religion was obscured and disfigured. [Scandinavia, by
Crichton and Wheaton, vol, i, pp. 84 and 85.] This is not unlike what took place in Iceland, as the
following extract and succeeding events in the history of the island testify:
"The religion of Odin bears strong internal evidence of having borrowed doctrines, institutions, and
ceremonies from Christianity. . . . In Haar the High, Iafnhaar the Equal to the High, and Thredde the
Third, we find a rude idea of the Trinity in the Edda. . . . . Odin himself, an incarnation of divine
power, and one of this trinity, attended by his twelve companions or Godars, and establishing a religion
and religious government, is a coincidence with our Saviour and the twelve apostles too strong to be
merely accidental. . . . In all the forms of heathenism that existed before Christianity, the priesthood
were all a temple priesthood. . . . Christianity, however, from the first appears to have been altogether
congregational.... Odinism appears to have been formed like early Christianity, and no doubt in
imitation of it, upon the congregational principle. . . . The use of the sign of the cross also as a religious
symbol appears to have prevailed in Odinism in the earliest times, and must have been borrowed from
Christianity. . . . These are not analogies common to all forms of religion, because arising from a
common rootthe sense of religion in the mind of man; nor are they coincidences which may be
common to two religions totally unconnected with each other, because formed among two bodies of

mankind living under physical and social circumstances very similar, although in different times and
totally distinct countries; but they are palpable imitations of ceremonial and arrangement, proving that
the one religion has been impressed by the other; has adopted ceremonies, observances, institutions,
and doctrines, from some obscure knowledge of the other." [Laings Translation of the Heimskringla,
vol. iii. pp, 372375,]
Before the Norwegians began to settle in Iceland it was visited by Naddod, a Norwegian pirate, in 861,
and by a Swede named Gardar, in 864. These two persons were driven to its shores by storms; but
another Norwegian pirate, named Floki, attempted to settle on it. He was compelled to leave it after
ayears residence, through the death of his cattle, having neglected to collect sufficient food for them
during the winter.
Ingolf, the next Norwegian settler, was more successful. He arrived on the island in 874, along with a
cousin called Thorleif, who was killed soon afterwards by slaves. The slaves are said to have been
brought from Ireland. But it is still more remarkable to find that after Ingolf and Thorleif had decided
to settle in Iceland, while the former was preparing for their departure from Norway, the latter made a
voyage to Ireland, and returned from it to Norway with immense booty. Why did he not at once take it
to Iceland? Before deciding to settle in Iceland the cousins are said to have explored and passed a
winter on the island. Is it not possible that it was from Iceland, the ancient Ireland, that Thorleif
brought the booty to Norway? Is it not more likely also that when the cousins did settle on the island,
they would press some of the former inhabitants into their service as slaves, and that it was some of
them who put Thorleif to death for stealing from them? It is certainly strange that Thorleif, after he had
seen Iceland and determined to settle on it, should make an expedition to so distant a country as
Ireland; and until some good reasons are given to account for it we may be allowed to suppose that
such an expedition was never made by Thorleif.
As still further illustrating the confusion that has been made in history by the names of the two
countries being once the same, the following may be produced. In the Laxdaela Saga it is stated that
Haskold purchased, from a Russian trader, in the tenth century, a pretty girl, whom he made his
concubine. She said she was the daughter of the Irish king Mirkjartan, and that her name was
Melkorka. [Mallets Antiquities, p. 313, Bohns Edition,] In Olafsen and Povelsens Travels in Iceland
[English translation,pp. 70 and 71,] we are told that the oldest inscription in Iceland is on a stone at the
church of Borg, and that it commemorates a Charles Kiartan, whose mother was the sister of Myr
Kiartan, King of Iceland, Charles Kiartan died in 1003, so that his uncle might easily be Melkorkas
father, and is evidently the Irish king of the Laxdaela Saga. But as there is no authentic information of
such a king having ruled in Ireland at that period, it is reasonable to conclude that the Ireland of the
Laxdaela Saga was the Iceland of the present day. This also gives us a hint of how the Icelandic history
has been tampered with, for even if no kings of that country are allowed to appear in its annals; but the
old stone at Borg had escaped the notice of the Norwegian monarchs and their minions, who helped to
put an end to the independence of the Icelanders by obscuring their ancient history.
Ingolf was not long the only Norwegian colonist in Iceland, for Harold Harfager, King of Norway,
endeavoured at that time to reduce to complete subjection the inferior kings or jarls, and this caused
many of them to join Ingolf in his island home. So numerous were the emigrants to Iceland then that
Harold forbade any one to leave his kingdom. These Norwegian colonists were principally the best and
bravest of their race, and they continued to flock for sixty years towards the new settlement. A northern
writer thus alludes to the colonization :
"Compelled to leave their native country, some Norwegians took possession of Iceland in the ninth

century, where, instead of adopting the form of government to which they had been accustomed, they
formed themselves into a regular republic, in which there was such an admirable distribution of the
powers of government as at the same time secured liberty and promoted order and subordination. Its
constitution, however extraordinary it may appear, is in every respect as well authenticated as those of
the most celebrated states of antiquity, and such a form of polity among a people in such a remote
region merits the attention of the diligent student of human nature as a curious and unsolved problem."
[Barrys Orkney, pp. 93 and 94.]
It is not likely, however, that the Norwegian colonists could have elaborated such an admirable method
of government themselves. Besides, among the earliest settlers mentioned in the Landnamma Bok,
there were many Danes and Swedes. [Von Trolls Letters on Iceland, in Pinkertons Colleqtjofi of Voy.
ages, p. 645,] But had they not been preceded by a race of educated Christians in Iceland, little would
have been known regarding the ancient state of the island; and it is to them that the northern republic
evidently owes its origin. It is needless to go into the admirable system of government which existed in
Iceland in the thirteenth and preceding centuries. Suffice it to say that "it is remarkable as the first
instance of a free nation united solely by moral ties and a knowledge of their mutual interests. There
was no external interference, which, exciting a spirit of patriotism, might contribute to preserve its
union. It relied solely on its internal principles; particularly a deep-felt reverence for the law, and it is
probable that but for foreign interposition it might have subsisted a still longer period." [Nicols
Iceland, p. 106 ]
Notwithstanding the facts already brought forward to show that there were Christians in Iceland before
the Norwegians settled there, it is often alleged that Christianity was not introduced into the island till
the beginning of the eleventh century. But in addition to the evidence already produced regarding the
belief of the earliest inhabitants, there is direct testimony that some at least of the Norwegian settlers
were Christians long before the period stated; and it will be as well to refer to it before dealing with
what is called the introduction of Christianity. The Sagas mention several wealthy landowners during
the ninth and tenth centuries who had adopted that belief; and it is likely that these would be
surrounded by dependents who would acknowledge the same faith. Aude, the daughter of the powerful
Norwegian, Ketil Flatnef, and the wife of King Olaf the White, after her husbands decease, took up
her abode in Iceland with her brother Bjorn, who had large possessions on the west coast. "She was a
Christian, but did not build any church, erecting only some stone crosses at which she said her
prayers." [Munchs Chronicle of Man, preface, p. xii.] Helgi Magri, a son of Eyvind, another
distinguished Norwegian adventurer, having become a mighty chieftain, married a daughter of Ketil
Flatnef, and sister to Aude just mentioned, Helgi, like his relations, also settled in Iceland about 880,
with Sons and retinue, and became one of the most powerful lords. He was a Christian, and erected his
abode on a place which, in accordance with his belief, he called Christness. [Ibid,, pp. xiv. and xv.] A
nephew of Ketil Flatnef, named. "Olryg, was educated as a Christian by the holy bishop Patrick, in the
Sudreys. When grown up he resolved to go to Iceland, and asked the advice and aid of the Bishop.
Patrick gave him timber to build a church, a plenarium, a bell, a gold coin, and some consecrated earth
to put beneath the corner pillars, as no other dedication could be effected, He directed him to dedicate
it to St Columba," He called the place where he first landed Patricksfiord, which name it still bears.
The bishop pointed out to him the place where he was to settle, which intimates that this Patrick was
well acquainted with Iceland, the ancient Ireland. Olryg, not finding the right spot where he first
landed, sailed southwards, and found it in the territory of his cousin, Helgi Bjola, the son of Ketil
Flatnef. His cousin gave him the lands indicated by the bishop, and there Olryg built his church and
dwelling house. "His descendants became great and powerful lords, and continued Christians."
[Munchs Chronicle of Man, preface, p. xv.] They considered Columba as their tutelary saint.
[Olafsens and Povelsens Travels in Iceland, English Translation, p. 38.] One of the daughters of Ketil

Flatnef had a son called also Ketil, Re was brought up as a Christian, and took np his abode at a place
called Kirkjubor (Church Town). This was one of the settlements of the Papae, and a tradition affirms
that the pagan Norwegians could not inhabit this district, but that Ketil, being a Christian, found no
dlficulty. "The name Kirkjubor, seems to involve that he found already a church there, and maybe also
the ecclesiastics, who hitherto might have found means to prevent the pagans from molesting them."
[Munchs Chronicle of Man, preface, p. xvi.] This information, afforded by reliable writings relating
to the early settlement of the island, puts it beyond doubt that there was a large and influential
community of Christians in Iceland in the ninth century, or a hundred years before Christianity is said
to have been introduced into the island. There is every likelihood, besides, that the Christian faith
would spread among the Norwegian colonists, when it was embraced by some of the most celebrated
of them, so that there would be little need for the introduction of the Christian religion into Iceland in
the year 1000, as is said to have been the case.
Christianity is said to have been planted in Norway, Iceland, and Orkney by King Olave Trygvveson.
He had been converted while a youth in England. After he became King of Norway he was desirous of
converting other countries. Accordingly he fitted out five or six ships, and filled them with men able to
diffuse a knowledge of Christianity. He sailed direct to Ireland.[Should this not be Iceland?] On his
return he forced the Earl of Orkney and all the inhabitants of that island to embrace the Christian faith.
[Barrys Orkney, pp. 128 and 129.] The romantic incidents in the life of Olaf Trygvveson are said to
have too much alloy in their composition to abide the scrupulous test of history. [Scandinavia, by
Crichton and Wheaton, vol. 1 p. 153.] In addition to this we are told that the Northmen had fictitious
sagas, which are easily distinguished from those that treat of real persons and events by the tone and
style, the endeavour after effect, and the improbability of the incidents. [Nicols Iceland, p. 152.] After
learning this, one is surprised to find that Olaf Trygvvesons Saga is still accepted as history. It deals to
a large extent with the presumed introduction of Christianity into Iceland in the year 1000; but the
improbability of the incidents connected with this event stamp it as a fabrication. A few examples may
be given.
The first missionary is said to have gone through a large fire without his clothes even being scorched,
while two believers in the faith of the Icelanders who attempted to do the same thing were instantly
consumed. This first missionary likewise slew two poets who had satirised his religiona most
unchristian deed. Not succeeding according to his wishes, he returned to Norway, accompanied by the
most influential men of both parties. King Olaf threatened to put these men to death unless they would
consent to be baptiseda unique method of conversion. Gissur and Hiati are the names of the next
missionaries whom Olaf sent to convert the Icelanders. They are said to have been more successful,
because Snorro, the chief magistrate, a powerful supporter of the old faith hitherto, now aided by his
influence the spread of the new faith, it is remarkable to find a Gissur and a Snorro acting a prominent
part in promoting the designs of the Norwegian monarch against the independence of Iceland in the
thirteenth century. Can it be that the events of one period have been transferred to an earlier time to
advance the claims of the Norwegian King? We have seen something of the same kind taking place
with regard to Scotland when the interpolations in Bedes Ecclesiastical History were under
consideration. It is certainly not common for kings to take so active a part in Christianising other
countries as Olaf Trygvveson, King of Norway, is said to have done for Iceland.
The following is the account given of Gissurs and Hialtis labours by another authority: "In the year
1000 the Christian religion was introduced into Iceland by her apostles Gizur the White and Hialto.
The latter was an Icelander by birth, but had been banished for composing a song in disparagement of
the heathen deities. Snorro (the chief magistrate of the republic), became a convert, and lent the
greatest assistance in extending the new faith. . . . As this was the third attempt to preach Christianity

in the island, it seems probable that the good sense of the Icelanders had already rejected in secret the
superstitions of Paganism, and that the worship of Thor had declined in the estimation of the people."
[Abstract of Eyrbyggia-saga, by Sir W. Scott, in Mallets Antiquities, Bobns Edition.]
The final stage in this drama is interesting enough in the annals of missionary enterprise to find a place
here:"The Althing being convened, Thorgeir, the chief magistrate of the republic, brought forward the laws
he had received from Gissur, which provided that all the inhabitants of Iceland should become
Christians and receive baptism; that the heathen temples and idols should be abolished and destroyed
and lastly that all open idolatrous worship should be punished with a fine. To conciliate the otherparty
he permittod them, in conformity with the old customs, to erpose their children, to cat horse-flesh, and
to worship their former gods in private.... . To these conditions both parties were compelled to assent,
and the whole nation would have been baptised at once had not the inhabitants of the northern and
eastern quarters refused to be immersed in cold water. These rescusants, however, were subsequently
admitted into the Church at the thermal springs of Laugerdal." [Nicols Iceland, p. 111,]
It is somewhat surprising to find that this is accepted as a truthful account of the introduction of
Christianity into Iceland. It may, however, relate to the introduction of the Roman Catholic modes of
worship there. After this time (the arrival of Gissur and Haiti) many monks of the Order of St Benedict
and St Austin settled there, and the people paid a tribute to the Roman See. The Icelanders first
received their own bishops in the year 1057 at Skaliholt, and at Hoolum in 1107.[Von Troil's Letters on
Iceland, in Pinkertons Collection of Travels, p. 649.]
As hearing upon the prevalence of the Christian faith and worship among the Icelanders before the year
1000, the following facts are worth recording. Mallet [Antiquities, Bohns Edition, p. 470.] informs us
that they were easily induced to embrace Christianity. In marked contrast to this we are told that "the
Norwegians clung tenaciously to the worship of their forefathers, and numbers of them died real
martyrs for their faith." From the same authority we learn that though several Danish kings were
baptised, Christianity had made very little progress in Denmark in the tenth century. The lawless habits
of the Danes, and their invincible attachment to the ancient idolatry, presented formidable obstacles to
their conversion. [Scandinavia, by Cricliton and Wheaton, vol. 1. p. 123.] Another striking
circumstance shows how little advance Paganism had made in Iceland. In Norway and Sweden human
victims were offered on the Blotstein or Sacrificial Stone to appease the offended deities; "but these
sacrifices do not appear ever to have taken place in Iceland." [Mallets Antiquities, .Bohns Edition, p.
99k, note.] There were Blotsteins in Iceland, but they were "only used for putting criminals to death
on." [Olafsens and Povelsens Travels, English Translation, p. 84.] The exposure of children was one
of the barbarous customs introduced from Norway; and "it appears to have been extinct in Iceland long
before it was finally abolished in Norway." [Mackenzies Travels in Iceland, New Edition, p. 13, note.]
Writers on the early history of Iceland are always inclined to look to Norway for the origin of most of
the Icelandic. beliefs, manners, and customs, but the facts of history do not bear them out in this
supposition. Take the Icelandic republic for instance. No such form of government was known in
Norway. Trial by jury, another ancient Icelandic institution, is almost entirely absent from the
Norwegian Code of Laws. Take the Skaldic profession as another instance. It is sometimes affirmed
that this is an old Norwegian custom or science; but it is remarkable, if that be so, that no Skalds of any
other country but Iceland are ever heard of. On the other hand, though many of the Norwegian settlers
in Iceland had been celebrated vikings, similar pursuits seem never to have prevailed in that country.
[Nicols Iceland, p. 119.2 ibid., p. 100.]

It is said. that Ulfliot, an Icelander, who was entrusted with the duty of providing a form of government
for the island, went to Norway, that he might study the institutions of that country. Having stayed three
years there, he returned to Iceland and framed a code of laws, which was accepted by the national
assembly in the year 928. These laws, we are further told, were not committed to writing till two
centuries after Ulfliots death. [Ibid, p. 100] The improbability of the Icelanders taking a lesson from
the Norwegians in government, has already been sufficiently illustrated. There is every likelihood that
the Norwegians, who settled in Iceland in large numbers in the ninth century, should have introduced
there some of their pagan customs and superstitions; but that the whole, or even many, of the Icelandic
beliefs, manners, customs, and institutions should have been imported from Norway, there is no
reliable evidence to prove. It would be more reasonable to infer that a cultivated and intelligent race
like the Icelanders had introduced into Norway some of the customs prevailing in their native land, and
thus account for similar customs being observed in the two countries. There was frequent intercourse
between them after the Norwegian colonization. Grim says that the Icelandic language is the true
source of all the Teutonic languages; and it is possible that the same may be said of many Teutonic
beliefs, arts, sciences, and institutions. Proofs will be brought forward in another treatise to show that
the Norman architects not improbably learned much of their science from the Icelanders ; and many of
the Norman manners and customs of France are known to have a general resemblance to the lcelandic,
not excepting even trial by jury. "Most of the laws and customs which prevailed in Scandinavia were
transplanted to other countries by the colonies that settled in different parts of Europe. In Iceland they
were brought to a remarkable degree of perfection (thus indicating their origin). They followed the
Saxons and Danes into England, where they were revived by Alfred and Canute. . . . The Normans
carried their native usages into France." [Scandinavia, by Crichton and Wheaton, vo!, 1. p. 193,]
A few additional notices of the manners, customs, and institutions of the ancient Icelanders may be
given. They afford further evidence of the advanced state of civilization which prevailed among them.
War, properly speaking, is unknown in their annals. [Nicols Icelend, p. 88, ] Their edifices were of
vast extent, and the wooden columns which supported them were adorned with carved human figures
and runie crosses. The sculpture displayed by these was remarkably good, as the remains still found in
Iceland testify. Horse-racing, bowls, quoits, wrestling, and swimming were favourite amusements.
Money is said to have changed hands at the races in much the same manner as at Epsom or
Newmarket. Fines, generally of three marks, are frequently mentioned in the Gragas. The legal rate of
interest was 10 per cent. Composers of libels are as rigorously dealt with in the Gragas as in a modern
Act of Parliament; and it is worthy of notice that their definition of a libel is much the same as that
which prevails in Britain at the present day, while it differed materially from that of the Norwegians.
The Icelanders never had more than one lawful wife, though concubines are sometimes alluded to.
[Mallets Antiquities, Bohns Edition, various pages.] The Norwegians were not so constrained in their
choice of a wife. "Polygamy appears not to have been confined to kings and great men (in Norway);
for we find in the old Icelandic law book, called the Grey Goose, that in determining the mutual
rights of succession of persons born in either country, Norway or Iceland, in the other country it is
provided that children born in Norway in bigamy should have equal rights as legitimate children
which also proves that in Iceland civilization was advanced so much further than in Norway that
bigamy was not lawful there, and its offspring not held legitimate." [Laings Heimskringla, vol. 1, p.
The Gragas is the name given to the laws and precedents as they existed in Iceland about the year 1117,
at which time they were collected by the most experieneed juriconsuls, and having been submitted to
public discussion at the hands of the principal legislative assembly, were approved of and digested into
a regular code. It is said to be almost overloaded with legal formularies. "Every judicial proceeding has
its prescribed form, the manner in which the action and the defence are to be conducted, witnesses

summoned, evidence given, verdict pronounced, &c., are detailed with the greatest minuteness, and the
omission of a single phrase in any one of these formularies sufficed to render the judgment
invalid. . . . A wealthy Icelander was always ambitious to plead a cause before the Althing, and the
greater proficiency he showed in the art of prolonging or involving it by having recourse to legal
quibbles, the greater was his celebrity." [Mallets Antiquities, Bohns Edition, pp. 297 and 298.]
Whether any country or people, even of the middle ages, could show as complete and perfect a code of
laws as this, is questionable. And it is certain that none of these in force now can exceed the Gragas in
the rigorousness of its enactments for the protection of life and property, nor in the philanthropy which
pervades those relating to the management of the poor. Mallet says these latter could have been studied
with advantage by the legislators of the nineteenth century. The Icelandic laws for the protection of
property, and for its inheritance, are said to have been much superior to those of Norway and the
Germanic states of the same period; while the mildness of the laws dealing with insolvent debtors were
in marked contrast to the barbarity with which bankrupts were treated in Norway. [Ibid., pp. 300-308,]
Referring to a court constituted much in the same manner as our trial by jury, and for which we are
supposed to be more indebted to our Scandinavian than our Saxon ancestors, Schiegel is quoted as
saying:"It is a remarkable fact that a tribunal similar to that which the French legislators of the
present day so justly pride themselves in having established, should have existed in Iceland in the
beginning of the eleventh century." [Mallets Antiquities, Bohns Edition, p. 292.] Trial by jury seems
never to have been developed in Norway, and it only struck faint roots in the Danish and Swedish laws.
[Burtons Ultima Thule, vol. i. p. 120.]
Another peculiar feature in the character of the ancient Icelanders was their love of history, as detailed
by the Skalds and Sagamen; and as it evidently reflects the influence wielded by the Christianity of the
earliest settlers, it will be interesting to treat of it at some length. That a country cut off from the rest of
the world by its northern and isolated situation should have produced writers whose works are quoted
as authorities on the history of Denmark, by the historians of that country, seems surprising. "But this
wonder," Torfaeus says, "will cease when the reader shall be informed that from the earliest times the
inhabitants of Iceland have had a particular fondness for history, and that from among them have
sprung those poets, who, under the name of Skalds, rendered themselves so famous throughout the
north for their songs." [Mallets Antiquities, Bohas Edition, p. 75.] From the preliminary dissertation
to Laings edition of the Heimskringla, we learn that the Skalds belonged exclusively to Iceland. No
Skalds are heard of in any other country, not even in Norway. "Almost all the old Norse poems and
Sagas that have been handed down to us were either collected or written by Icelanders." [Mallets
Antiquities, Bobns Edition, p. 276.]
The Skald recited the praises of kings and heroes in verse, whilst the Saga-men recalled the memory of
the past in prose. The constant practice of their powers enabled them to attain a high degree of
perfection, and the memory was strengthened by being made the depositary of the national history. The
public assemblies presented occasions which these poets and historians were not slow to take
advantage of, and the people were ever ready to embrace the opportunity of listening to the lays and
the stories which recounted the mighty deeds of their ancestors. Thus the events of past ages were
handed down from generation to generation, until they were reduced to writing, and became permanent
records of an illustrious and enlightened people. There can be little doubt that almost all the historical
notices of the northern nations now extant are derived from Icelandic records. "Thus Iceland, at a time
when ignorance and obscurity pervaded the rest of Europe, was enabled to produce a considerable
number of poets and historians." [Von Troils Letters on Iceland, in Pinkertons Collection of
Voyages, &c., vol. i. p. 651.] After mentioning that the bishop of Hoolum, in the year 1120, was

surprised at finding one of his scholars reading Ovids letters, Von Troil adds:"At a time when no great knowledge of the Latin language could he expected even in Sweden, an
Icelander, however, was found of sufficient capacity and learning to instruct the young people to
readand understand the Latin poets. We need only read their ancient chronicles to be convinced that
they had great knowledge in morality, philosophy, natural history, and astronomy. They had tolerably
clear ideas of divinity also, and used to read the fathers." [Von Trolls Letters on Iceland, in Pinkertons
Collection of Voyages, &e., vol. 1. p. 670.]
The Skaldic verses were not trusted entirely to memory, for before the Roman letters were introduced it
was the custom to engrave them in Runic characters on wooden staves. These characters are said to
have been introduced by Odin. The use of this mode of writing was very ancient in the north, and was
probably brought from the east by the Goths. The letters resemble those of the Greek, Etrurian, and
Celtiberian alphabets more than the Roman. They were the most common mode of writing known to
the Icelanders till the end of the twelfth century. They were chielly employed in inscriptions on public
monuments, and in letters inscribed on a wooden staff. It is said that they fell into bad repute from
being employed in magic rites, and on that account they were discouraged by the clergy. [Nicols
Iceland, pp. 117, 144, 145, and note.] That they were discouraged by the Roman clergy is likely; but
more probably because they were used by Christians whose tenets were not in harmony with theirs
than for any other reason.
After learning all this it is not surprising to find a writer saying: "If a strict comparison were instituted
between the social condition of Iceland and that of other countries, we should probably be induced to
place it rather above than below the average standard of civilisation that prevailed in Europe during
these barbarous ages [Mallet's Antiquities, Bohns Edition, p. 360.] It cannot otherwise be accounted
for that a people living in such a remote island should acquire such a taste for literature, than by
believing that they must have been indebted to the earliest known settlers, or their descendants, for
some Christian teaching. It is said that while they were heathens the Icelandic annalist's were always
deemed the best in the north. But, besides the fact that there is no good evidence to show that they ever
were heathens, it is more in accordance with history and experience to believe that a people who were
so fond of histoiy and poetry, and could even rise to the perception of the most refined mental
pleasures, were Christians. And there is every reason to think that some of the Christians who inhabited
the island before it was colonised by the Norwegians had remained and diffused a knowledge of that
religion which ennobles and elevates all who come in contact with it.
It is possible, doubtless, for a people or nation to be highly civilised without being Christians, but when
the civilisation of the Icelanders is known to have been accompanied by the Profession of Christianity
by the earliest settlers and a number of the largest Norwegian landowners in the island, it is difficult to
believe that the advanced ideas of the inhabitants of this northern isle were not the result of the
influence and teaching of Christian instructors. Everything in the condition of the people, when they
are said to have first embraced the Christian faith, points to the conclusion that many, if not most of
them, were Christians before then. Their belief was almost identical to that which prevails in England
now. Their customs were similar to those of the Christian communities of the present day. And their
ideas of government, both local and imperial, were as humane as those which are current among
ourselves in this present enlightened nineteenth Christian century.
When we come to deal with the linguistic and the archeological evidence, we hope to be able to show
that an intimate relationship existed between the earliest inhabitants of Iceland and the inhabitants of
north-eastern Scotland. The ancient Scots, it is well known, were as celebrated as their contemporaries,

the Icelanders, for learning and art. Their fame, like that of their northern friends, also spread far and
wide; and even at the present day we admire the art depicted on their tombstones, as much as we do the
acumen displayed in framing such a code of laws as the Gragas. Both were certainly wonderful for the
times that produced them; and neither the beauty of the one nor the leaning and humanity exhibited by
the other have been excelled in our own day, which can boast of the added experience of other ten

Bede's Ecclesiastical History - Part 1

Interpolations in Bede's Ecclesiastical History and Other Ancient Annals

Affecting the early history of Scotland and Ireland
IT is a well-known fact that most writers who have dealt with the early history of Scotland state that
Scotia, the ancient name of this country, was a name applied to Ireland only till the eleventh century.
This is the opening sentence of a pamphlet recently published, entitled, " Ireland not the Hibernia of
the Ancients," in which an attempt has been already made to controvert such a belief. But as the idea
that Ireland was at one time peopled by Scots, and therefore called Scotia, is to a great extent based on
Bedes Ecclesiastical History of England, a further attempt will be made in the following pages to
prove that Scotland was the only Scotia, by showing that this work is largely interpolated for the
purpose of making people believe that Scotia was once a name for ireland. This will be done by
comparing it with the writings of later historians who have copied most of it nearly verbatim. Even
were the work as it now exists taken into consideration, it would be seen that its information regarding
the question at issue is contradictory and unreliable.
The Venerable Bede, author of the history before us, was born in the year 673. There being some
uncertainty regarding the place of his birth, it will be necessary to endeavour to ascertain its true
situation, especially as it has a close relation to the subject on hand, for it is possible he may be found
to have been born near the Firth of Forth. William of Malmesbury says: "Britain contains in its
remotest parts, bordering Scotia, the place of Bedes birth and education. Through the district runs the
river Wira, of no mean width, and of tolerable rapidity." [Bedes Miscellaneous Works, by Giles, viii, i.
pref p. xlvi,] This is taken by modern writers to refer to the borden of present Scotland, and the river
Wear in England. The ancient British name of the Forth, however, was Werid, [Skenes Celtic Scotland,
vol. iii. p. 45.] and there are reasons for believing that this is one of the many instances of the
transference of the history of places in the south of Scotland to England on account of the similarity of
the ancient names of rivers, towns, &c., in the diflerent countries. In several cases this appears to have
been done designedly, as an opportunity will afterwards be taken to show. Meanwhile it will be
sufficient to say, that incidents which Fordimn narrates as having taken place on the north bank of the
Forth, are transferred in an apparently interpolated passage in one of Simeon of Durhams works, to the
banks of the Wear in England. [Ibid., vol. i. pp. 422, 423.] It may be remembered also that the mistake
in Ptolemys map of Scotland, affects all the country between the Wear in Fngland and the Tay in
Scotland, as noticed in "Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients." The altusion in the above quotation
from William of Malmesbury's Chronicle to the remotest region of Britain, bordering on Scotia,
supports the belief that he is referring to the Forth when he speaks of the river Wira. It is well known
from authentic records that in this historians lifetime (the twelfth century) the name of Scotia was
confined to the country North of the Forth. Bedes birthplace should therefore be looked for in the
neighbourhood of the Firth of Forth. Two writers, Langen and Engelnussius, state that Bede was born
in Saxony in Germany. [Bedes MiscelIoueous Works, by Giles, vol. i, pref, pp. cvii, and cviii.] They
have in all likelihood seen it mentioned somewhere that he was born in Saxonia, which was no doubt
quite true, but this was a diflerent place from Saxoriy in Germany. It evidently refers to the district
called Saxonia by the Pictish Chronicle, Tighernachs Annals, and the Annals of Ulster, which is pretty
nearly comprehended in the Lothians of the present day. This harmonises with William of

Malmesburys reference to the place of Bedes birth, and confirms the belief that it was near the Firth
of Forth.
The monastery in which Bede spent the most of his life was situated in the same neighbourhood.
Malmesbury, writing of the place of his birth and education, adds: "This region, formerly exhaling the
grateful odour of mnonasteries, or glittering with a multitude of cities built by the Romans, now
desolate through the ancient devastations of the Danes, or those more recent of the Normans, presents
but little to allure the mind. Here is the river Were, of considerable breadth and rapid tide; which,
running into the sea, receives the vessels borne by gentle gales on the calm bosom of its haven. Both its
banks have been made conspicuous by one Benedict, who there built churches and monasteriesone
dedicated to Peter, the other to Paul." Bede himself is quoted by Malrnesbury [Chronicle, Bohns
Translation, p. 56.] as saying that he was born within the possessions of the monastery of the Apostles
Peter and Paul which is at Wearmouth, and, after spending some time under the care of Abbots
Benedict and Ceolfrid, he passed the remainder of his life at the said inonastery. Dr Skene [Celtic
Scotland, vol. 1 p. 192.] points out that Bede, in his "Lives of the Abbots of Wearmouth," quotes a
letter of one of the Abbots, in which he says that the monastery of Wearmouth was in Saxonia; and he
adds that this name remained till a late period attached to the most northern part of the Saxon territory
in Britain. Hector Boeth ins, or Boece, says that Betfe, during the latter part of his life, lived at Mailros,
an Abbey in Scotland, where there was a community of monks. Dempster, in
his Historia Ecclesiasticus getis Sotorum to a certain extent corroborates this. There is good reason for
believing, as will be afterwards shown, that the Mailros of the ninth and preceding centuries was
situated nearer the Firth of Forth than the Melrose of the present day, and if so, Boeces notice would
harmonise with William of Malmusburys and Bedes own word regarding the monastery in which he
spent the later years of his life. All these references, it will be seen, have points of agreement, and they
lead to the belief that the Venerable Bede was born and spent the most of his days in the
neighbourhood of the Firth of Forth. He died in the year 734.
If the "Ecclesiastical History of the English," as it is now puldish were to be considered as all the
original production of Bede, it would be a truly wonderful work for the time and country in which he
lived. That it is largely interpolated, however, is borne out by several circumstances. The most cogent
of these is the silence of the later English annalists regarding events which are treated of in Bede's
work at great length. These writers all quote from the Ecclesiastical History frequently, and praise Bede
highly, but they omit all notice of several important incidents which the later ancient English historians
would assuredly have referred to if they had had a place in the genuine work of Bede.
Roger Wendover even quotes the work always under the title of the "History of the English" only; and
a minute comparison of his history and Bedes shows that most of the ecclesiastical notices in the work
have been engrafted with the original history after Wendovers time. This does not much concern us at
present, however, but if English writers care to take the trouble of comparing the two works, word by
word, they would be astonish to find to what an extent the early ecclesiastical history of their country
had been tampered with.
As none of the original manuscripts of Bedes work seem to be extant, it is now difficult to trace all the
interpolations; but the first version in modern English, which was published in 1565, immediately after
the Reformation in England and Scotland, was issued under the auspices of a priesthood who cannot
be regarded as free from the suspicion of having tampered with other works than that of the Venerable
Bede. It was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth, and the following passage occurs in the dedication: "In this
history Your Highness shall see in how many and weighty points the pretended reformers of the
Church in your Graces dominions have departed from the pattern of that sound and catholic faith
planted first among Englishmen by holy St Angustine our apostle, and his virtuous company, described

truly and sincerely by Venerable Bede, so called in all Christendom for his passing virtues and rare
learning, the Author of this history."
In analysing the passages in the Ecclesiastical History relating to Scotland and Ireland, an endeavour
will be made to separate the genuine from the spurious, though this may not always be successful.
Notwithstanding this, we hope to be able to show that Bedes Scots were the inhabitants of northeastern Scotland, and that this district was the country known to him by the name of Scotia. To
accomplish this the passages referred to will be compared with parallel ones in the Saxon Chronicle,
and the works of Gildas, Ethelwerd, Florence of Worcester, Henry of Huntingdon, William of
Malmesbury, and Roger of Wendover. This will throw additional light on the Ireland-Scotia
controversy, and probably lead to a settlement of it. Considered along with the proofs already
produced, and those to follow, they point clearly to the fact that Ireland never was called Scotia or
It may be as well to say that several of those later annals are interpolated as well as Bedes work.
Separate estimates of their value in this respect will be afterwards given, in producing the testimony
they afford on the question at issue. Suffice it to say, in the meantime, that Florence of Worcesters
Annals, and Henry of Huntingdons History (this latter being first printed in England along with Bedes
work), are very largely interpolated. Henry of Huntingdon affirms that he had relied principally on
Bedes information in writing his history, but he does not generally copy it literally, except in the
interpolated passages. The others are very sparsely interpolated; Gildas and Ethelwerd being
apparently almost entirely free from this plague.
Roger of Wendovers work is the most valuable for the purpose on hand, as although it has been
interpolated with the view of identifying Hibernia with Ireland, or perhaps written after the former
name had been transferred from Iceland, it seems to have escaped being tampered with in order to
connect the Scots and Scotia with Ireland. This is perhaps owing to an original manuscript of the work
which had escaped the hands of the manipulators of early Scottish history having been discovered at a
late date.
In the comparison, the translations of the works named, published in Bohns Antiquarian Library, have
been principally used, as they are accessible to the majority of readers. Of course Ireland nearly always
appears in the original editions as Hibernia, but the translated name has been used, in order to avoid
confusion between the ancient and modern Hibeinia, and to show which country it is supposed to refer
to by the translators.
The first chapter of the "Ecclesiastical History" is entitled: "Of the situation of Britain and Ireland,
and of their ancient inhabitants." At the beginning of it, we are told that Britain was formerly called
Albion; and a description of that country is then given. After which the following passages occur:
"This island at present, following the number of the books in which the Divine Law was written.
contains five nations, the English. Britons, Scots, Piets, and Latins, each in its own peculiar dialect
cultivating the sublime study of Divine truth. The Latin tongue is, by the study of the Scriptures,
become common to all the rest. At first this island had no other inhabitants but the Britons,
from whom it derived its name, and who, coming over into Britain, as is reported, from Armorica,
possessed themselves of the southern parts thereof. When they, beginning at the south, had made

themselves masters of the greatest part of the island, it happened that the nation of the Picts, from
Scythia, as is reported, putting to sea, in a few long ships, were driven by the winds beyond the shores
of Britain. and arrived on the northern coasts of Ireland, where, finding the nation of, the Scots, they
begged to be allowed to settle among them, but could not succeed in obtaining their request.... The
Picts, accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began to inhabit the northern parts thereof....Now the Picts
had no wives, and asked them of the Scots; who would not consent to grant them upon any other terms,
than that when any difficulty should arise, they should choose a king from the female royal race rather
than from the male; which custom, as is well known, has been observed among the Picts to this day. In
process of time, Britain, besides the Britons and the Picts, received a third nation, the Scots, who,
migrating from Ireland under their leader, Reuda, either by fair means, or by force of arms, secured to
themselves those settlements among the Picts which they still possess. From the name of their
connnander, they are to this day called Dalreudins; for in their language, Dal signifies a part. Ireland, in
breadth, and for wholesomeness and serenity of climate far surpasses Britain.... it is properly the
country of the Scots, who, migrating from thence, as has been said, added a third nation in Britain to
the Britons and the Pits. There is a very large gulf of the sea, which formerly divided the nation of the
Picts from the Britons; which gulf runs from the west very far into the land, where, to this day, stands
the strong city of the Britons, called Alcluith. The Scots, arriving on the north side of this bay, settled
themselves there!
As the information given above will be found to be contradicted by more reliable testimony,
it seemsprobable that the greater part of this chapter is fabricated. Only one of the ancient English
annalists, besides Bede, appears to take notice of these events, and that one is the least
trustworthy on such a subject, namely, Henry of Huntingdon. Something similar appears in copies of
the Saxon Chronicle, but these are known to be of a late date. It is awanting in the earliest
manuscript extant. But this is not the greatest objection to these passages; and it is questionable
whether a single line of the whole chapter be genuine or not. Albion, for instance, is not mentioned as
the ancient name of Britain by any trustworthy writer, and Alban or Albany is confined in authentic
records and the Celtic legends to a part of Scotland. The word English (Anglorum), too, used twice in
this chapter, is riot likely to have been a word used by Bede to designate the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants
of England in his day. It was an ambiguous word then; and it will be found to occur generally, if not
only, in the fabricated passages of the Ecclesiastical History.
in addition to this, it was not till the eighteenth century that Riada and his colony of Scots appeared in
the pages of historians of Ireland. " Kennedy, whose genealogical dissertation on the family of Stuart
was published at Paris in 1705, and, though brief, is the most accurate work known on Irish history, as
he generally quotes manuscript page and column, first laid open the fact that a colony of Scots, under
Riada, settled in Pictland." [Pinkertons Enquiry, vol. ii. p. 63.] After quoting the words of Kennedy
regarding Riadas settlement in Britain, Pinkerton adds: In both these passages he gives no authorities,
though he commonly produces them. [Ibid., p. 64. a Ibid., ] he then treats at some ]ength of O'Connors
allusion to the settlement of Riada in Britain, and sums up with these words: "All this is given as usual
wjthout an authority or reference. The circumstances of Mr O Connors tale are also discordant," &c.
Ritson [Annals Caledonians, &c., vol ii. p. 12.] says: " No such expedition, nor even such a person as
Riada, or Reuda, is ever noticed by Tigernach, or Flannus a Monasteroo (Flan of Bute), is quoted by
Usher or OFlaherty, or in the Ulster Annals, or any other ancient or authentic monument". It is not
noticed by Clyn, an Irish annalist of the fourteenth century, who was acquainted with Bedes History,
and quotes it. If it had been mentioned there in Clyn's lifetime, he would scarcely have ignored
altogether such an important episode in his countrys annals. If the ancient Irish writer's knew nothing
of this expedition of Scots where did Bede learn about it?

it may be remarked here also that Ireland (Hibernia) is not said in this first chapter to have have any
other name. This would have been a strange omission on the part of Bede, who lived at the very time
when the country is alleged to have also been called Scotia or Scotland; and, if this had been the case,
it would have been still more wonderful to find, that throughout the whole of the Ecclesiastical History,
even interlopated as it is, it is never distinctly affirmed that Ireland was ever called Scotia. Speaking of
the forged writings which form the groundwork of Boeces History of Scotland, Innes says: It is a
great advantage to truth that the most part of the forgers of pretended old writings were, by the
permission of providence, generally so extremely ignoramit, and frequently of so little sense or
judgment, that even almost in every passage of their inventions, one may discover anachronisms,
contradictions, and other marks of their forgery." [Eesay i., p. 304.]
The next chapter which concerns the presemit subject, is the twelfth chapter of Book I. The. substance
of this chapter is copied by most of the ancient annalists; and it appears to be almost, if not altogether,
the genuine work of Bede. it is entitled: "The Britons being ravaged by the Sects and Picts, sought
succour from the Romans, who, comming a second time, built a wall across the Island; but the Britons
being again invaded by the aforesaid enemies, were reduced to greater distress than before." The
materials for this chapter are taken from a work by Gildas, a preceding British writer; but several
important additions are made to them in the Ecclesiastical History. For instance, after calling the Picts
and Scots transmarine, or foreign, nations, as his predecessor had done, Bede adds:
"We call these foreign nations, not on account of their being seated out of Britain, but because they
were remote from that part of it which was posessed by the Britons; two inlets of the sea bring between
them, one of which runs in far and broad into the land of Britain, from the Eastern Ocean, and the other
from the Western, though they do not reach so as to touch one another. The eastern has in the midst of
it the city Guidi. The Western has on it, that is, on the right hand thereof, the city Alcluith, which in
their language signifies the rock Cluith, for it is close by the river of that name."
Again, after giving Glides aceount of the arrival of the Romans, the defeat of the enemies,
and thebuildnig of a turf wall, Bede adds:
However, they drew it (the wall) for many miles between the bays or inlets of the seas, which we have
spoken of; to the end that where the defence of the water was wanting, they might use the rampart to
defend their borders from the irruptions of the enemies. Of which work there erected, that is, of a
rampart of extraordinary breadth and height, there are evident remains to he seen at this day. It begins
at about two miles distance from the monastery of Abercurnig, on the west, at a place called in the
Pictish language, Peanfahel, but in the English tongue Penneltun, and running to the westward, ends
near the city Aleluith."
Then, after paraphrasing his predecessors narrative of another visit of the Roman troops, and the
driving of the Scots and Picts again beyond the seas, he continues to depend on Gildas in stating that
the Romans resolved to leave the country for ever, but before doing so they helped the natives to build
a stone wall from sea to sea. After this another addition of Bedes is found to this effect: "This famous
wall, which is still to be seen, is not far from the trench of Severus, and was built at the public and
private expense, the Britons also lending their assistance. It is eight feet in breadth, and twelve feet in
height, in a straight line from east to west, as is still visible to beholders." Still adhering closely to
Gildas narrative, Bede finishes this twelfth chapter by stating that the Picts and Scots now occupied all
the northern and farthest part of the island, as far as the wall.

The most of this chapter was evidently written by Bede: and no writer of his time would have
pennedsuch words as quoted above had there been a people called Scots living in Ireland, and so
predominating there as to cause that country to be called Scotia. The part of the chapter which appears
not to be genuine, is only that small portion referring to the building of the turf wall. There are several
objections which might be urged against its authenticity, but the only one that need be noticed is the
occurrence of the word English (Anglorum) in it; and it may be added that none of the other ancient
annalists countenance this passage except Henry of Huntingdon, into whose work all the interpolations
found in the Ecclesiastical History have been copied.
It has been sometimes stated that Bede takes notice af three wails built by the Romans in Britain, but a
diligent examination of the Ecclesiastical History reveals the fact that he knew only of one, the wall of
Antoninus, between the Firths of Forth and Clyde. Three walls are spoken of in the Ecclesiastical
History: the one, built by Severus, and the other two which have just been noticed; but the passage
referring to one of these has been shown to be, in all likelihood, an interpolation, and the other two
walls were evidently built on or near the same site. According to Bede, the stone wall was not far from
the trench which accompanied the rampart., or turf wall, of Severus. In the fifth chapter he alludes to
the building of this wall in these words: "After many great and dangerous battles, he (Severus) thought
fit to divide that part of the island, which he had recovered from the unconquered nations, not with a
wall, as some imagine, but with a rampart. For a wall is made of stones, but a rampart with which
camps are fortified to repel the assaults of enemies, is made of sods cut out of the earth, and raised
above the ground all round like a wall, having in front of it the ditch whence the sods were taken."
Then in the eleventh chapter he alludes to it again thus: "In the year 402 . . . . the Romans ceased to
rule in Britain ....They resided within the rampart, which, as we have mentioned, Severus made across
the island," which shows that he is speaking of a wall between the Firths of Forth and Clyde, for it is
now well known that the Roman occupation of the country extended thus far from the time of
Antoninus till the Romans left the island. The phrase, not far from the trench of Severus, may mean
that the stone wall spoken of by Bede was erected at some short distance. from Severus rampart, and
likely to the south of it; but it is straining the meaning of the words to identify the stone wall with
Hadrians, between the Tyne and Eden, in the north of England, as some writers have done. It is an
undoubted fact that Bedes account of the building of the stone wall is not in accordance with the
evidence of the stones of the wall itself and Roman history; but it is less in accordance with the
evidence supplied by the stones of Hadrians wall and other circumstances. The reason for this is plain.
The references to these works in Roman writers are scanty and vague; and the traditions of five or six
hundred years at such a period were not to be depended upon.
That Bede and all the early English annalists, whose works we are comparing, always write about one
Roman wall only is beyond doubt, and that wall is apparently no other than the one between the Firths
of Forth and Clyde. A sufficient explanation of their ignorance of the wall in the north of England is
furnished by Chalmers: [Caledonia, vol. 1. p. 185, note.] "From the opinions of Dio and Herodian, it
appears probable that only the wall of Antonine existed at the epoch of Severus invasion; and that
Hadrians wall, being no longer necessary, had become ruinous." Whether this is the right reason or not
for Bedss silence regarding the wall in the north of England, and it should be remembered that he
spent most, if not all his life, at a great distance away from it, it is at least certain that on and after this
Bede speaks only of one wall, that which he describes in this twelfth chapter.
The city mentioned by Bede as situated in the midst of the eastern ocean, has been sometimes
identified with Leith or Queensferry: and in the translation before us its situation is said not to be
known. Dr Skene has identified it with Inchkeith, which exactly suits Bedes description; and it is quite
possible there may have been a small town there at the time referred to. Besides the name of the island

confirms this, for lnchkeith might easily be regarded as a corruption of Inis-Guidi, or the Island Guidi.
Few names of that period have reached us with less change.

Bede's Ecclesiastical History - Part 2

Interpolations in Bede's Ecclesiastical History and Other Ancient Annals

Affecting the early history of Scotland and Ireland
In the thirteenth chapter of Book I. these words occur: " Palladius was sent by Celestinus, the Roman
Pontiff, to the Scots that believed in Christ, to be their first bishop." This passage, although it rather
favours our view of the subject at issue, for the Scots there mentioned ought to be taken for those
spoken of in the twelfth chapter, appears to be an interpolation, at least in the form in which it is given
in Bedes work. There is no evidence to show that the Romish Church was acknowledged by the Scots
at this time, or that they had any bishops over them till the twelfth century. The notice of this event, as
it appears in the Saxon Chronicle, is less objectionable. It reads thus: " 430. This year Palladius, the
bishop, was sent to the Scots by Pope Celestinus, that he might confirm their faith." Another
manuscript has: " 430. This year Patrick was sent by Pope Celestine to preach baptism to the Scots."
Ethelwerd has: "Bishop Palladius is sent by the holy Pope Celestinus to preach the gospel of Christ to
the Scots." This passage is varied and extended in such a way that it requires to be separately treated in
speakimig of the authors works in which it appears. If it is to be accepted as a genuine record of an
event that really took place, it is certain that it refers to the inhabitants of North Britain, for Henry of
Huntingdon and Ordericus Vitallis both copy it without note or comment: and these authors lived when
Scots is allowed by every writer to have been the name for the inhabitants of Scotland only.
The following sentence occurs in the fonrteenth chapter: "The Irish robbers thereupon returned home,
in order to come again soon after." As usual, this is copied into Huntingdons work thus: "The Scots
returned with shame to Ireland" (Hibernia). That this is a wrong rendering of the word, perhaps
purposely done, is evident from the translation of the same passage as given in Bohns translation of
Gildas work, thus: "The audacious invaders therefore return to their winter quarters, determined before
long again to return and plunder." Marianus Scotus, a native of present Scotland, as has been already

stated, [Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients, p. 29.] in relating the actions of the Picts and Scots in
the same expedition, says: "Scoti Revertunum Domum," instead of the word Hiberni, used by Gildas
and Bede. Ordericus Vitallis follows Marianus, saying: "The Scots returned to their homes." Florence
of Worcester has: "The Scots retreated to their own country," Arid neither Ethelwerd nor Malmesbury
say anything to support the translation in the Ecclesiastical History and Huntingdons work.
In the last chapter of Book I. of the Ecclesiastical History, it is said that Etheifrith, king of the
Northumbrians, defeated " AEdan, king of the Scots that inhabit Britain," It would be unnecessary to
notice this passage were it not fixed upon by some writers as showing that Bede added the words "that
inhabit Britain," to distinguish these Scots from those who inhabited Ireland. Let us therefore see how
it has been treated by his successors. Henry of Huntingdon, as usual, gives the passage in the same
words. Florence of Worcester and William of Malmesbury, other two writers, not altogether above
suspicion, refer to the battle, but leave out the words: "that inhabit Britain," after the Scots. The earliest
extant manuscript of the Saxon Chronicle has only these words referring to the same battle : "603. This
year there was a battle at Egesanstane." A later manuscript has: "603. This year AEthan, king of the
Scots, fought against the Dalreods and against Etheifrith, king of the Northumbrians, at
Daegsanstane.... Since then no king of the Scots has dared to lead an army against this nation."
Ethelwerd takes no notice of this battle, although he closely follows the Saxon Chronicle in other
instances, and copies the two preceding and the two following entries in it. This, taken along with
Roger of Wendovers silence regarding this battle, is significant; the more so, as he speaks of
Ethelfrith, the king of the Northumbrians, fighting a battle with the Britons at Caerlegion, in the same
year in which the battle with the Scots is said to have taken place. In addition to these circumstances,
the chapter in the Ecclesiastical History, in which the battle with AEdan is described, repeats the word
English three or four times, and this is not in favour of its being the work of Bedes hands.
The fourth chapter of the Second book of the Ecelesiastical History is entitled: "Laurentius and his
bishops admonish the Scots to observe the unity of the Holy Church, particularly in the keeping of
Easter; Melitus goes to Rome." It begins:
"Laurentius succeeded Augustine in the bishopric, having been ordained thereto by the latter in his
lifetime, lest, upon his death, the state of the Church, as yet unsettled, might. begin to falter, if it should
be destitute of a pastor.... He (Laurentius) not only took care of the new church formed among the
English, but endeavoured also to employ his pastoral solicitude among the ancient inhabitants of
Britain, as also the Scots, who inhabit the island of Ireland, which is next to Britain. For when he
understood that the course of life and profession of the Scots in their aforesaid country, as well as of
theBritons in Britain, was not truly ecclesiastical,"
He and his fellow-bishops wrote to them
The beginning of which epistle is as follows: To our most dear brothers, the lords, bishops, and
abbats throughout all Scotland, Laurentius, Melitus, and Justus...... We held both the Britons and Scots
in great esteem for sanctity, believing that they had proceeded according to the custom of the universal
Church; but coming acquainted with the errors of the Britons, we thought the Scots had been better;

butwe have been informed . . . that the Scots in no way differ from the Britons."
It is almost needless to say that this is all given in Henry of Huntingdons History, with the remarkable
exception of the words: "who inhabit the island of Ireland, which is next to Britain." Why these
words areomitted in his work, it is impossible to say, for they entirely alter the meaning of the whole
passage. Appearing in a work written in the twelfth century, without the words quoted, or any
reference to make the chapter apply to inhabitants of Ireland, it could only be taken as referring to the
Scots as inhabitants of present Scotland. That the most of this chapter is an interpolation is shown by
the following facts. The Saxon Chronicle, Florence of Worcester, and William of Malmesbury, all
speak of Laurentius, but they take no notice of his connection with the Scots. Roger of Wendover does
likewise, and it is significant to find him giving the opening sentence of this chapter in almost the very
words of Bede; and then going on to describe Melitus visit to Rome, as given at the end of the chapter.
His omission of all reference to the Scots here clearly manifests that the passages qnoted above were
not in Bedes original work.
The nineteenth chapter of Book II. is of the same character as the one which has just been analysed. It
states that: " Pope Honorius wrote to the Scots, whom he had found to err in the observance of
Easter....Likewise John, who succeeded Severinus, successor to the same Honorius, being yet but Pope
elect, sent to them letters..... correcting the same error."
This chapter is found in Huntingdon also, especially the words quoted, but they are just copied into his
work as they stand in the Ecclesiastical History, so that had Huntingdon written them he would have
intended them to apply to men living on the north of the Forth. Florence of Worcester, another
interpolated writer, also copies the words quoted. The Saxon Chronicle says, under the year
627: "Archbishop Justus died,.... and Honorius was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury by
Paulinus atLincoln. And to this Honorius the Pope, also sent a pall: and he sent a letter to the Scots,
desiring that they should turn to the right Easter." Neither Ethelwerd nor Malmesbury take any notice
of this. Wendover does, however, but his slight agreement with the Saxon Chronicle, and disagreement
with the Ecclesiastical History, enables us to estimate the worth of this chapter. Of the preceding
chapter, the eighteenth, Wendover copies the substance of these words: "Archbishop Justus was taken
up to theheavenlv kingdom, and Honorius was elected to the see in his stead." This is just what the
Saxon Chronicle has, with the exception of the record of the Popes writing to the Scots, which finds
no place in Wendovers work. In fact, of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth chapters of the
Ecclesiastical History, which all contain some reference to Pope Honorius, as well as to the archbishop
of the same name, Wendover only gives the words last quoted; and he takes no notice of this Pope
Honorius or of Pope John, but implies that there were no such popes at that time, as may be seen
bycomparing his notice of the popes under the years 614 and 621. Is this not an instance of transferring
the events of a later period to an earlier, to support claims which had no real foundation ? The
following scrap of thirteenth century history leads to this conclusion: " Pope Honorius, listening to the
request of the king of Scotland, who had forwarded copies of King Johns letters to the Pope,
transmitted a full confirmation of all the liberties of the Scottish Church in the year 1219."
[Robertson's Scotland, under her Early Kings, vol. ii. p, 10.]

The first chapter of Book Ill, contains the following words :

"All the time that Edwin reigned the sons of the aforesaid Ethelfrith, who had reigned before him, with
many of the nobility, lived in banishment among the Scots or Picts, and were there instructed according
to the doctrine of the Scots, and received the grace of baptism."
The third chapter, which it will be better to consider along with the first, is entitled: "The same king
Oswald, asking a bishop of the Scottish nation, had Aidan sent him," &c. It then goes on to say:
"The same Oswald, as soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous that all his nation should receive
the Christian faith,..... sent to the elders of the Scots, among whom himself and his followers, when in
banishment, had received the sacrament of baptism, desiring they would send him a bishop They sent
him Bishop Aidan. . . . He was wont to keep Easter Sunday according to the custom of his country,....
the northern province of the Scots and all the nation of the Picts celebrating Easter then after that
manner. . . But the Scots who dwelt in the south of Ireland had long since, by the admonition of the
bishop of the apostolic see, learned to observe Easter according to the canonical custom. On the arrival
of the bishop the king appointed him his episcopal see in the isle of Lindisfarne...... When the bishop,
who was not skilful in the English tongue, preached the gospel, it was most delightful to see the king
himself interpreting the Word of God to his commanders and ministers, for he had perfectly learned the
language of the Scots during his long banishment. From that time many of the Scots came daily into
Britain, and with great devotion preached the Word to those provinces of the English over which king
Oswald reigned..... The English, great and small, were, by their Scottish masters, instructed in the rules
and observance of regular discipline..... Bishop Aidan was himself a monk of the island called Hii,
whose monastery was for a long time the chief of almost all those of the northern Scots, and all those
of the Picts, and had the direction of their people. That island belongs to Britain, being divided from it
by a small arm of the sea, but had been long since given by the Picts, who inhabit those parts of
Britain, to the Scottish monks, because they had received the faith of Christ through their preaching."
These passages, including the words about the Scots dwelling in the south of Ireland, are copied into
Huntingdons work, with these important exceptions. He says that "Oswald sent into Scotia or Scotland
where he had been exiled," and "some monks corning from Scotland zealously taught
the people." Thisis an unmistakeable indication that Scotia and Ireland were names of different
countries at that time, for,had it been otherwise, Huntingdon would have said so, but throughout
the whole of his History he never affirms that Ireland was called Scotia.
The passage about Scots in Ireland in the above quotation is of course not genuine. It is remarkable to
find that there is not a word of all this, which has just been quoted from the Ecclesiastical History, in
theSaxon Chronicle or in Ethelwerd. With reference to the same events Florence of Worcester merely
says: "King Oswald applied to the elders of the Scots to send him bishops. Aidan was sent: by whom,
and the most illustrious and holy king Oswald himself, the Church of Christ was first founded and
established in the pronnce of Bernicia." Malmesbury endorses the information about the sons of
Ethelfrith being baptised in Scotland, and king Oswald interpreting .Aidans Scotch to his people only.
Wendover does likewise, and also endorses the words of Huntingdon about Oswald sending into
Scotland for a bishop. None of these last three writers, however, say anything about Scots in Ireland in
connection with this subject.

The next chapter of the Ecclesiastical History, the fourth, also requires examination. It states that:
"There came into Britain a famous priest and abbat, a monk by habit and life, whose name was
Columba, to preach the Word of God to the provinces of the northern Picts,..... for the southern Picts, . .
. . as is reported, had long before forsaken the errors of idolatry, and embraced the truth by the
preaching of Ninias,...Whose episcopal see, named after St Martin the Bishop, and famous for a stately
church, still in existence among the English nation. The place belongs to the province of the
Bernicians, and is generally called the White House (Candida Casa), because he there built a church of
stone, which was not usual among the Britons. Columba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign
of Bridius..... Before he passed over into Britain he had built a noble monastery in Ireland, which, from
the great number of oaks, is in the Scottish tongue called Dearmach..... From both which monasteries
many others had their beginnings through his disciples, both in Britain and Ireland; but the monastery
in the island where his body lies is the principal of them all. That island has for its ruler an abbat, who
is a priest, to whose direction all the province, and even the bishops, contrary to the usual method, are
it is necessary to repeat that all this is found in Huntingdon, with the alteration of Columbas burialplace, which is said to be at St Ninians see, the White House. Let us see, however, what support the
other authorities give to this account.
The Saxon Chronicle has:Columba, a mass-priest, came to the Picts, and converted them to the faith of Christ. . . . And their king
gave him the island which is called Ii. . . . There Columba built a monastery.... The southern Picts had
been baptised long before: Bishop Ninia, who had been instructed at Rome, had preached baptism to
them, whose church and his monastery is at Whitherne, consecrated in the name of St Martin: there he
resteth with many holy men. Now in Ii there must ever be an abbot, and not a bishop; and all the
Scottish bishops ought to be subject to him, because Columba was not a bishop." Another manuscript
of the Saxon Chronicle has: "Columba the presbyter came from the Scots among the Britons, to
instruct the Picts, and he built a monastery in the island of Hii."
Ethelwerd has: "Columba came from Scotia to Britain, to preach the Word of God to the Picts."
Florence of Worcester endorses the account in the Ecclesiastical History, and in Huntingdon, about
Columba coming from Ireland.
Wendover says: " St Columbanus came from Scotland into Britain, and was greatly renowned."
Malmesbury takes no notice of Columba, nor of Ninias.
It is noticeable here in the first instance that Henry of Huntingdons History, Florence of Worcesters
Annals, and Bedes Ecclesiastical History, all agree in representing Ireland or Hibernia as the country
from which Columba came to Britain. This is what might have been expected, as all these three works
appear to have been interpolated for the purpose of obscuring the early history of Scotland. But the
information they contain on this point is nullified by what is said on the same subject by other annalists
writing about the same period. Neither the Saxon Chronicle, nor Ethelwerd, nor Roger of Wendover,
give any countenance to the statement that Columba came from Ireland. The first says he came from
the Scots and settled among the Britons. Ethelwerd and Roger of Wendover both say that he came from

Scotia to Britain. it might be urged by the supporters of the Ireland-Scotia theory that Scotia was the
name of Ireland in the time of Ethelwerd, but this would not stand the test of examination. Ethelwerd
does not say that such was the case, and throughout the whole of his annals he gives evidence that the
only Scots and Scotia he knew of were to the north of the Forth. In addition to this he distinctly says
that Ireland was formerly called Bretannis. No such objection can be urged against Roger of
Wendovers plain statement. He wrote at a time when Scotia is allowed by all historians to have been
the well known name of thecountry north of the Forth, and of it only. Besides, he was well
acquainted with Bedes History. If such statements as these quoted above, regarding Columba, had
been in it when Wendover wrote his annals, is it possible to believe that he would have said that
Columba came from Scotia to Britain, without explaining that Ireland was called Scotia in Columbas
time, if such had been the case? It is somewhat remarkable that Malmesbury takes no notice of
Columba, nor even of Ninian. He was also thoroughly versed in Bedes History; and his omission of all
notice of these saints would imply that Bede said nothing about them in his genuine work. But this is
improbable. The likelihood is that he would say something about such eminent men, which was copied
or abridged by all the other early annalists, including Malmesbury; and that the easiest way of dealing
with Malmesburys notice was to delete it from his works, while Bedes has been altered to suit the
views of the manipulating monks.
In Reeves edition of Adamnans Life of St Columba, a sentence relating to the departure of Columba
for Hii reads: "de Scotia ad Britanniam," A note to it says: "Venit de Hibernia . . . Columba Brittaniam
Bede H. E. III., 4. This one statement ought to have been sufficient at any time to prove where
Scotia lay." Mr Reeves was a strong supporter of the IrelandScotia theory, and this is meant as a
reproof for those persons who had doubted its truth. It is evident that he had no suspicion of the words
quoted from Bedes work being an interpolation, or of any other country but Ireland being called
Hibernia. In "Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients," an attempt has been made to show that Iceland
was also called Hibernia; and, from what has been said above regarding the passage in the
Ecclesiastical History, there is good grounds for believing that it never was penned by Bede. Besides, it
is stated that Columba was a native of Iceland on good authority; so that even if the passage in the
Ecclesiastical History could be proved to be genuine, it might have been the ancient Hiberia, or
Iceland, that he referred to when he spoke of Columba coming from there to Britain. In Olafsen and
Povelsens Travels in Iceland," the church which was built by Orlyg at Euisberg, is said to have been
dedicated to St Collomcyle, who is supposed to be the same as "Collumban, an Icelander who
converted the Picts to the Christian religion in 562." [English Translation, P. 38.] Such an out of the
way statement is more to be depended on than one found in the common historical highway, as it is
more likely to have escaped the notice of the monks. There were at least seven churches in the Orkney
Islands dedicated to St Columba; a fact which supports the statement made in Olafsen and Povelsens
travels regarding the native country of the saint. Of course this was well known by the monks, and they
took means to account for it otherwise, asall who have read Adamnan's Life know; but we hope to be
able to show that this is not a genuine work either, and thus leave Columba to be claimed by the
Icelanders as a countryman of theirs. It is not improbable that Columba, when he left Iceland, might
land first in the country then called Scotia, that is, the northeast of present Scotland, and after staying
some time there, say at Dunkeld, he might leave Scotia and settle on Inchcolm, which we hope to be
able to identfy with Hii, and which then very likely belonged to the country called Britain. This would
account for both Ethelwerd and Roger of Wendover saying that Columba came from Scotia to Britain.
Near the end of the fourth chapter of Book III. we come across the first of a series of peculiar
references to Ireland. It is as follows: "Egbert, of the English nation, who had long lived in banishment

in Ireland for the sake of Christ, and was most learned in the Scriptures." In the seventh chapter of the
same book the next of the series occurs. It is to this effect: "Agilbert, by nation a Frenchman, had lived
a long time in Ireland, for the purpose of reading the Scriptures." Another is found in the thirteenth
chapter, thus:"And that in Ireland, when being yet only a priest, he (Wilbrord) led a pilgrims life for
love of the eternal country,
Henry of Huntingdon speaks of Agilbert being in Ireland and Florence of Worcester of Egbert being
there. The Saxon Chronicle, though it speaks of these three worthies, takes no notice of their life in
Ireland. Ethelwerd never mentions them. Florence speaks of Agilbert and Wilbrord, but never alludes
to their having been in Ireland. Malmesbury takes notice only of Agilbert, but says nothing about his
life in Ireland. Huntingdon mentions Egbert, as will be seen later on, but takes no notice of his life in
Ireland. Wendover never mentions Egbert, but he notices Agilbert and Wilbrord, without saying
anything about Ireland in connection with either.
From the way in which these passages in the Ecclesiastical History are treated by later writers, it does
not seem possible that those referring to Ireland or Hibernia can he genuine. But if there were any
possibility of such being the case, there is evidence to show that they refer rather to the ancient than the
modern Hibernia. It is accepted as beyond doubt that Iceland, and the islands near it, were the
settlements of Christian hermits at this early period. In Laings preface to his translation of
the"Heimskringla" of Snorro, it is said:
"The Irish (Scottish) monk, Dieuil, who wrote in 825 his work, De Mensura Orbis Terrae, published
by Walckrnar, in Paris in 1828, says that for a hundred years, that is from 725, the desire for a hermit
life had led many Irish Clerks (eremitae ex nostra Scottia, are the words given in Todds Irish Version
of Nennius' Historia Britonum, p. 148, note), to the islands to the north of the British sea, which, with a
fair wind, may be reached in two days sail from the most northerly British islands."
[PreliminaryDissertation to Heimskringla by Laing, vol. i. p. 40.]
Another writer Says:
"There was an old tradition that Papes, i.e., Christian ecelesiastics, had formerly resided there (in
Iceland). It seems to be beyond doubt that, at several places on the south-eastern side, the first
Norwegian settlers found traces of these ecclesiastics, such as croziers, books, &c., and that after them,
two of these places got their names, the island of Papey, and the small district of Papyli. It is greatly
confirmed by the indisputable authority of Dicuil; who says that some Irish (Scottish) clergymen told
him that about A.D. 705, they had passed the time from February to August on an island which they
believed to be Thule, where the sun at the summer solstice was but a short time below the horizon, and
that it was only a days sail from the frozen sea. This description can hardly mean any country but
Iceland, and coincides exactly with the unpretending and simple narative of the Icelandic
recorders. . . .According to the oldest Icelandic writer, Ari Frodi, the Papes even continued to reside in
Iceland till the arrival of the Norwegians, and left it only because they would not reside with Pagans."
[Munchs Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys, Preface, pp, 15 and 16]
The monks who tampered with Bedes work had probably read of this somewhere, and may have
inserted the passages in the Ecclesiastical History which connected Egbert, Agilbert. and Wilbrord with
the only Hibernia known to most people at the time of the Reformation, that is Ireland, in order to
bolster up claims which had little else but false history to support them.


We now come to evidence that the Scotia of the Ecclesiastical History, even as the work now exists,
was part of the Scotia of the present day. In the seventeenth chapter of Book III., after mentioning
Aidans death, these words occur: " Finan, who had likewise come from the same monastery of Hii in
the Scottish island, succeeded him." Four chapters further on we are informed of the death of Diuma,
called "a Scot by nation," bishop of the Midland Angles and Mercians, after which these words are
found: "Ceollach, of the Scottish nation, succeeded him in the bishopric. This prelate, not long after,
left his bishopric, and returned to the island of Hii, which among the Scots, was the chief and head of
many monasteries." The twenty-fourth chapter or the same book informs us that Diuma was "the first
bishop of the Mercians. . . . The second was Ceollach, who, quitting the episcopal office whilst still
alive, returned into Scotland, to which nation he belonged, as well as bishop Diuma." The twenty-fifth
chapter is headed: "How the controversy arose about the time of keeping Easter, with those that came
out of Scotland (Scotia)." These words occur in the chapter: "Bishop Aidan being dead, Finan, who
was ordained and sent by the Scots, succeeded him in the bishopric, and built a church in the isle of
Lindisfarne, the episcopal see; nevertheless, after the manner of the Scots, he made it, not of stone, but
of hewn oak, and covered it with reeds..... But after the death of Finan, who succeeded him (Aidan),
when Colman, who was also sent out of Scotland (Scotia), came to be bishop..... Oswy (the king)
having been instructed and baptised by the Scots, and being perfectly skilled in their language." We
now turn to the twentysixth chapter, where it is stated that " Colman... went back into Scotland
(Scotia).... When Colman was gone back into his own country, Gods servant, Tuda, was made bishop
of the Northumbrians..... He came out of Scoiland (Scotia) whilst Colman was yet bishop."
We may just as well consider along with these passages what is said about Colman in the fourth
chapter of Book IV., although we shall see that it is only found in the Ecclesiastical History. It is
entitled: "Colman, the Scottish bishop, having left Britain, built two monasteries in Scotland the one
for the Scots, the other for the English he had taken along with him." It then goes on to relate how...
"Colman, the Scottish bishop, departing from Britain, took along with him all the Scots he had
assembled in the isle of Lindisfarne, and also about thirty of the English nation, who had been all
instructed in the monastic life; and, leaving some brothers in his church, he repaired first to the isle of
Hii, whence he had been sent to preach the word of God to the English nation. Afterwards he retired to
a small island which is to the west of Ireland, and at some distance from its coast, called in the
language of the Scots, Innisbofinde, the Tsland of the White Heifer."
He built a monastery there and placed the monks of both nations in it, but as they disagreed, Colman
found a place "in the island of Ireland, fit to build a monastery on which, in the language of the Scots,
is called Mageo," where he built a monastery and placed the "English" in it. Then it is said that this
monastery is " to this day possessed by English," and also that it contains monks "gathered there from
the province of the English."
If this latter chapter were to he considered the genuine work of Bede, the qaotations given from the
third book would be confusing. It is quoted here at some length as a sample of the clumsy way in
which the monks commissioned to tamper with ancient history, so as to identify Scotia with Ireland,
went to work. If they had made Bede say that Ireland was also called Scotia in his day, one might have
given up the attempt to show that Scotland was the only Scotia in despair. Let us now see what
foundations there are for all these quotations just produced from the Ecclesiastical History, in later
writers, many of whom profess to copy Bedes information; and one of whom at least (Wendover)

often has whole chaptets of Bedes work copied almost verbatim.

In the first place, it is remarkable that neither the Saxon Chronicle nor Ethelwerd have anything about
Aidan, Finan, Diuma, or Ceollach. The Saxon Chronicle only mentions Colman under the year 664, but
merely says: "Colman, with his companions, went to his country."
Florence of Worcester says, under the year 651: "After the murder of King Oswin, bishop Aidan
departed to the realms of bliss.... Finan was raised to the bishopric in his place, being consecrated and
sent by the Scots." Under the year 655, he has: "Diuma . . was the first who was made bishop of the
province of Mercia.... The second was Ceollan, a Scotchman by birth." Under the year 661, we have:
"Finan, bishop of the Northumbrians, died, and was succeeded by Colman, who was also sent from
Scotland." Under 664: "In the thirtieth year after the Scotch bishops were established in
Northumbria....questions having been raised in that province respecting Easter," &c., a synod was held,
at which, after much debate, it was "agreed to relinquish the invalid usages of the Scotch. . . . Colman,
silenced by the unanimous resolution of the Catholics, re-joined his adherents in Scotland, and, on his
withdrawing to his own country, Tuda was appointed bishop of the Northumbrians in his stead." This is
all he says about Colman and these Scottish bishops.
Henry of Huntingdon says:
"Diuma became the first bishop of the Midland Angles, and the Mereians. He died and was buried in
Mercia, and was succeeded by Ceollach, who, however, retired to the Scots, from whom he came. . .
.In the meantime Finan, the bishop, erected a church of hewn timber in the isle of Lindisfarne. . . When
Finan died, he was succeeded by Colman, who kept Easter irregularly, as Aidan and Finan had done.
Whereupon a conference was held in the presence of King Oswy.... . Colman being unwilling to
change the usage of Father Aidan, returned to his own country. . . . Tuda succeeded him in the see of
Northumbria.... The three Scottish bishopsAidan, Finan, and Colmanwere extraordinary patterns
of sanctity and frugality."
Roger of Wendover has under the year 651: He (Aidan) was succeeded in the bishopric of Lindisfarne
by Finan, a Scot by nation." Under 656: "Diuma was the first bishop in the province of the
Mercians.....The second bishop of the same province was Ceollac, who, quitting the episcopal office,
returned to Scotland." "663. At the same time there was a great disputation in England beween the
English and the Scots, respecting the observance of Easter; for there assembled at Streneshal, King
Oswy and his son Alfrid, Colman, a Scot, bishop of Lindisfarne, with his clergy from Scotland," "664,
Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne, returned to Scotland with his clergy, and Tuda was ordained bishop in
his room."
William of Malmesbury mentions Aidan only, and all that he says about the Scots and the Easter
controversy is this: "This faith (the Christian), brought to maturity shortly after by the Scots, but
wavering in many ecclesiastical observances, was now settled on canonical foundations."
In Reeves edition of Adamnans Life of St Columba, published by the Irish Archicological Society, a
note at page 341, after quoting the passages given above from Bedes third Book, chapters seventeenth,
twenty-first, twenty-fourth. and twenty-fifth, says: "From the above, Bede considered Hii to be in
Scotia." There can be little doubt of this. And if we take the twenty-sixth chapter along with these, and
look at the same events recorded by later annalists with Bedes work before them, especially
Huntingdon and. Wendover, it is certain, if they are all genuine records of the writers in whose works

they appear, that Bedes Scotia was a part of the Scotland of the present day. As we shall soon have
occasion to show, Huntingdon knew of no Scots in Ireland in the seventh century; and this is also true
of Wendover, who endorses Bedes words regarding the country to which Colman returned by calling it
Scotia or Scotland also.
There is nothing in any of the chapters of Book III. from which quotations have been made to imply
that there were Scots in any other place but Scotland and the north of England. Hibernia or Ireland is
not even mentioned in any one of them. But we can easily see from the way in which a fabricated
account (chapter nineteen) of an Irish saint is placed after the seventeenth chapter, and another
fabricated account of Egberts life in Ireland, after the twenty-sixth, as well as the account of Colmans
visit to Ireland already quoted, how the interpolators managed their task. Regarding the chapter about
Colmans visit to Ireland, it is noteworthy to observe that a small island on the west of Ireland should
retain at the present day the name by which it was known in Bedes time; and the reader will have
observed that the word English is frequently used in it. This must have been an ambiguous word in
Bedes days; and it is apparently only used in the fabricated passages. In genuine chapters, such as the
twenty-first and twenty-second of Book III. he speaks of the Northumbrians, Mercians, Midland
Angles, and East Saxons. In the latter chapter he also speaks of the language of the Saxons.
It is needful also to remark here that the words about Finan having built a church after the manner of
the Scots, not of stone, but of hewn oak, which appear in the twenty-fifth chapter of Book III. of the
Ecclesiastical History, are only found in Huntingdon. None of the other later works than Bedes have
anything confirming this passage, and surely such a circumstance would have been noticed by some of
the more trustworthy annalists if it had had a place in Bedes original manuscript. When the
archaeological evidence is under consideration, this wooden church will be further commented upon.

Bede's Ecclesiastical History - Part 3

Interpolations in Bede's Ecclesiastical History and Other Ancient Annals

Affecting the early history of Scotland and Ireland
The nineteenth chapter of Book III. is entitled "How Fursey built a monastery among the East Angles,"
&c. In the chapter itself we are informed that "Whilst Sigebert still governed the kingdom (of the East
Angles) there came out of Ireland a holy man called Fursey......On comming into the province of the
East Saxons . . . . he applied himself to build a monastery. . . . This man was of noble Scottish
blood....After preaching the Word of God many years in Scotland (Scotia),.... he departed from his
native island and came through the Britons into the province of the English (Anglorum)."
This of course might easily be held to imply that Scotland and Ireland were synonymous names for the
latter country. But the word Anglorum, which appears in the chapter, is not the only evidence which
condemns it. If this chapter were really to be held as Bedes own composition, it would have been
surprising to find that he was able to give so much information about an Irish saint who is not even
mentioned in the early annals of his own country. John Clyn, a Franciscan friar of the convent of
Kilkenny in Ireland, who lived about the middle of the fourteenth century, and compiled a history of
Ireland from the creation to his own time, takes no notice of this saint, although he mentions several
other saints. As Clyn quotes Bedes work, it is evident that there was nothing in the genuine records of
Bede connecting Fursey with Ireland, or the learned friar of Kilkenny would have appropriated some
part of this wonderful biography to embellish his annais. Let us see how Fursey is dealt with by the
later English annals than Bedes History.
It is necessary to remark in the first place that neither the Saxon Chronicle nor Ethelwerd say anything
about Fursey, or Sigebert, king of the East Angles, although they mention that the faith of Christ was
preached to the East Angles at this time by Felix. Malmesbury takes notice of Sigebert, as well as
Felix, but never mentions Fursey. The other English annalists notice Fursey as given below.
Florence of Worcester says, under the year 636: "At that time a most holy man named Fursey came
from Ireland to East Anglia, and being received with honour by the aforesaid king (Sigebert), . . . built

a noble monastery."
Huntingdon has: "At this time the kingdom of the East Angles was governed by Sigebert established a
school, . . . in which he was assisted by bishop Felix. A holy man from ireland, named Fursey, was
nobly entertained by him."
These are two untrustworthy works, as has already been shown. Let us see what Wendover says. The
agreement between him and Bede, Florence, and Huntingdon, will be seen to be slight, whtle the
disagreement between him and them is great. He says:"In the year 647, St Fursey flourished in Ireland (Hibernia). Giving himself to travel for Christs sake
he arrived in France, where he was entertained by king Clovis, and founded the monastery of Lagny.
Not long afterwards he was followed by his brothers Foillan and Ultan, who became eminent in
France.....In the year 649, king Oswi was in the habit of exhorting Sigebert, king of the East Saxons, to
receive the faith of Christ, for he frequently came into the province of the Northumbrians. At length,
with the consent of his friends, he was baptised by bishop Finan. . ... He begged king Oswi to give him
some teachers who might convert his nation to the faith. . . . Oswi sent into the province of the Middle
Angles, and brought thence Cedda, and giving him a presbyter as a companion, he sent them to the
East Saxons to preach to them the word of faith. . . . . Cedda returned home to confer with bishop
Finan, who made him bishop over the aforesaid nation. Accepting the episcopal office, he returned to
the province of the East Saxons."
At the year 636, he mentions Sigebert, king of the East Angles, and at 630 Felix, bishop of the East
Were there two Sigeberts at that time? Or was there even one? The Ecclesiastical History and all the
later English annalists mention both, but it is remarkable to find the earliest annals, the Saxon
Chronicle, and Ethelwerd omitting all notice of either. That does not concern us at present, however.
It will he seen that the Ecclesiastical History, Floreuce, and Huntingdpn agree in stating that Fursey
came out of Ireland and went into East Anglia; but as these three works generally have all the
interpolated passages which have come under our notice, no faith can ha placed on them when they
differ from the more trustworthy historians. Wendover, who is the only other writer who mentions
Fursey, merely states that he left Hibernia and went to France. Although in Wendover's time (the
thirteenth century) the name Hibernia has become thoroughtly detached from the northern isle, yet it is
quite probable that a St. Fursey flourished there in the seventh century, and that he went to France, and
was followed there by his brothers. One of the works used by Bede in writing his Ecclesiastical History
is given us "the Legend of St. Fursey." We may believe that after Wendover's time, the life of an
Icelandic saint had been tampered with to connect him with the later Hibernia, and that a good deal of
this ficticious biography was copies into Bede's work when it was first published. It is noteworthy that
a Dicull is connected with this saint in the Ecclesiastical History (Book III., chapter nineteen); and
who, perhaps, may be identified with a "monk of the Scottish nation, whose name was Dicul" (Book
IV., chapter thirteen). These passages are not countenanced by Wendover; but the editor of Bohns
translation pertinently asks: "Was he also Dicuil, author of a geographical work still extant?" If this
refers to Dicuil, already mentioned above, who is said to have written his work, De Mensura Orbis
Terrae, in 825, then he has been transferred from the ninth to the seventh century by the interpolators.
This was of little consequence to them. But if it were possible that Dicuil and Fursey were acquainted,

Fursey is probably the clergyman who told Dicuil about Iceland.

The twenty-sixth chapter of Book IV. of the Ecclesiastical History, which is the next that claims notice,
is a somewhat puzzling one; not in regard to the question at issue, however. On this point its testimony
is clear, coupled with the notices of later writers. The puzzle is to find out what country was
devastated, Scotland or Ireland. The chapter begins thus:
"Egfrid, king of the Northumbrians, sending Beort, his general, with an army (nothing is said about a
fleet) into Ireland, miserably wasted that harmless nation, which had always been most friendly to the
English...... Next year, that same king, rashly leading his army to ravage the province of the Picts,
much against the advice of his friends, and particularly of Cuthbert of blessed memory was drawn into
the straits of inaccessible mountains and slain, he having the year before refused to listen to Egbert,
advising him not to attack the Scots, who did him no harm ......The Picts recovered their own lands,
which had been held by the English and the Scots that were in Britain, and some of the Britons their
All this is, as usual, copied into Huntingdons work, including the advice of Egbert, but with this
significant exception, the word Scots or Scotorum given in the Ecclesiastical History, appears in
Huntingdon as Irish or Hibernians, without any explanation whatever. Wendover also copies the
account as given in the Ecclesiastical History, but he takes no notice of Father Egbert or the Scots in
connection with it. Florence does the same, in an abbreviated form. Malmesbury does likewise, though
there is some inconsistency in regard to his notice of the event, which will be treated of when we come
to deal with his work separately. In Roger of Hovedens annals the same passage is dealt with in much
the same manner as the last three writers deal with it; but the notice of the event occurs in the
introduction to Hoveden, where an interpolation could easily have been placed. He never mentions
Hibernia or Ireland again till the year 927.
The puzzling thing about this event is that the Saxon Chronicle connects the Scots with it as in Bede,
but says nothing about the Irish or Ireland. There is no indication in the earliest manuscript of the
Saxon Chronicle that Ireland was ever called Scotia, or that it was peopled by Scots: and most of the
later Writers had a copy of this manuscript before them when writing their histories. Surely if the
passage about Beorts expedition had been written by themselves, some explanation would have been
given with it regarding this change of the name of the people against whom he was sent.
Bede, in his Life of St Cuthbert, omits all reference to this engagement with the Scots, but the one with
the Picts is treated of at some length. Ireland or Hiberina is never mentioned in this work, though the
"insulis Scotorum," and the "regionibus Scotorum" are mentioned in the chapter which describes
Egfrids defeat and death. But how it came to pass that Father Egbert advised Egfrid not to invade
Ireland, let the reader determine, when, according to chapter twenty-seven of Book III., of the
Ecclesiastical History, he being in Ireland, in the year 664, made a vow that he would never return into
the island of Britain, a vow which he carried out, according to the third chapter of Book IV., where we
are told that he continued in a strange country till the end of his life. One might have thought that
Egbert was a mistake for Cuthbert in the Ecclesiastical History, were it not repeated in Huntingdons


In the twenty-fifth chapter of Book IV. it is recorded that there lived in the monastery of Coludi
(Coldinghain) "a man of Scottish race called Adamnan. . . . the priest went away, and upon some
sudden occasion passed over into Ireland, whence he derived his origin, and returned no more to
him,...when he had heard that his priest had gone to Ireland and had died there," &c. if this Scotsman is
not the Adamnan with whom we shall have to deal shortly, and the editor of Bohns translation says he
is not, then it is sufficient to state that this Adamnan is apparently unknown to every other ancient
A long account, extending to several pages, is given in Book V., chapter twelve, of the visions beheld
by a man among the Northumbrians, who rose from the dead. It is found, almost literally the same, in
Roger of Wondovers work, with the exception of the second last paragraph which mentions Ireland. In
Wendover's account, these words are also awantmg, "which is almost enclosed by the winding of the
river Tweed." In the Ecclesiastical History they appear after the monastery of Mailros is mentioned,
and are intended to indicate its situation. It has already been hinted, in speaking of Bedes birth-place,
that the monastery of Mailros of ancient times was apparently situated near the Firth of Forth. This will
be referred to again, when the omission of these words by Wendover will be commented on. Is it not
possible that this chapter of the Ecclesiastical History has been copied from Wendover, and the
passages referred to added to his narrative?
Chapter fifteen, Book V., of the Ecclesiastical History contanis these words:
"A great part of the Scots in Ireland . . . conformed to the proper time of keeping Easter. Adamnan,
priest and abbat of the monks that were in the isle of Hii, was sent ambassador by his nation to Alfrid,
king of the English.....Returning home he endeavoured to bring his own people that were in the isle of
Hii, or that were subject to that monastery, into the way of truth . . . but in this he could not prevail. He
then sailed over into Ireland, to preach to those people . . . he reduced many of them, and almost all
that were not under the dommion of those of Hii, to the Catholic unity, and taught them to keep the
legal time of Easter. Returning to his island, after having celebrated the canonical Easter in Ireland . .
he departed this life . . . This same person wrote a book about the holy places."
Neither the Saxon Chronicle, nor Ethelwerd, nor Florence of Worcester, nor even Henry of
Huntingdon, nor William of Malmesbury make any mention whatever of Adamnan. Roger of
Wendover, a writer of the thirteenth century, is the only one of our annalists who takes notice of him,
and it is interesting to compare his notice with that given in the Ecclesiastical History. It is as follows:

"in the year 701, flourished the good and learned Adamnan, presbyter and abbat of the monks in the
isle of Hii. Being sent on an embassy to king Aldfrid, he was speedily led to approve of the mode of
the ecclesiastical institutions, and of the observance of Easter, which he then witnessed; and on his
return home, he sought, though without success, to bring his people in the isle of Hii into the true way;
after which he sailed into Ireland, and persuaded them almost universally to observe the proper time of
keeping Easter. The same man of God also wrote an account of the places of our Lords nativity,

passion, and ascension, and gave a wonderful description of the holy land."
The chapter in the Ecclesiastical History has an appearance of being an elaborated edition of this
passage. It will be observed that nothing is said about Scots in Ireland in Wendovers notice, nor is the
district over which Aldfrid was king mentioned. This was a difficulty got over the monkish scribe who
copied it into the Ecclesiastical History by calling him king of the English: but if he had consulted
Bedes genuine work he would have found that he was only king of the Northumbrians (see chapter
eighteen, Book V.) In both works Adamnans book on the holy places is noticed, in neither is his Life
of St Colnmba referred to, for a very good reason, as occasion will afterwards be taken to show. Had
Adamnan ever written such a work, a writer so well acquainted with the history of Scotland as Roger
of Wendover, would have heard of it. Bede is made to say in the seventeenth chapter that he had
epitomised Adamnans work on the holyplaces. Certainly a tract on this subject is found along with
Bedes works in several manuscripts: but it is significant to see that in Beodes index to his own
writings this one is omitted. Besides, in the edition of the epitome there is no reference to Adamnan's
ever having wrItten such a work; and in the preface to Bohns edition of the translation of
theEcclesiastical History a treatise of Arculf called De Loeis Sanctis is said to have been used by Bede
in the composition of his history. It is not in favour of the genuineness of Wendovers notice of
Adamnan even, to find that the supreme ruler of a monastery was unable to make the monks subject to
him conform to rites which he had himself embraced, while he was able to induce those who were not
under his rule to do so.
There are several notices of Adamnan in Irish Annals, and although they are not much worth, they
serve still further to show on how unsubstantial a foundation this interpolation has been built. In
Reeves edition of Adamnans Life of St Columba they are thus referred to: "Connected with the
journey to Ireland in 697 (this does not agree with Wendovers date) the annals record a transaction
which they despatch with enigmatical brevity: Dedit legem innocentium populis, in which words they
allude to a social reformation which was brought about by Adamnan, and which, having obtained the
highest sanction of the people, became assciciated with the name of the propounder." The acts, it is
said, are preserved at Brussels, and the name of Bruide mac Derili, king of the region of the Picts,
appears in them. But a note informs us that "the introduction of his name into the acts is suspicious."
Reeves adds: It was possibly on the same occasion that the question of Easter was publicly discussed
and the usage advocated by Adamnan adopted Ecclesiastical considerations, however, if entertained at
this meeting; were not of sufficient importance in the eyes of the Irish to merit an entry in a journal."
Another authority, referred to by Reeves in support of Adamnans Irish visit, is a tract, called the vision
of Adamnan. A note says of it: " It speaks of tithes, which were unknown in Ireland until long after
Adamnans time." This shows that it is a fabricated or interpolated work. The Life of St Gerald of
Mayo is another authority noticed by Reeves. He says it is full of anachronisms, and after quoting a
few sentences from it he adds: "Now, though this statement is open, in the. first place, to the grave
objection that St Gerald was later than Adamnan, instead of prior to him, and, in the second, that a
monastery founded twenty years previously as an asylum for adherents to the old Easter was not a
likely place to entertain the professed advocate of innovation; still the story seen is to be wrought upon
an ancient tradition that Adamnan traversed Ireland on ecclesiastical duty, and spent some years
therein." The last authority referred to is thus spoken of: "The narrative of Adamnans proceedings,
from his first visit to the court of King Aldfrid down to his last stay in Ireland, as given in MacFirbiss
manuscript Annals, is so amusingly characteristic of native simplicity, that it is entitled,
notwithstanding its looseness, to find a place among more explicit records." In giving it publicity, a
pretended quotation from Bede, which occurs in it, is characterised in a note as a "palpable forgery."
Those authorities can scarcely be held as affording any grounds for believing that Adamnan ever set

foot in ireland; and when we turn to Clyns Annals, [Irish Archaeological Society's Edition] a work of
the fourteenth century, and find no notice whatever taken of Adamnan, not to speak of the great
reformation he is said to have effected in Ireland, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that the
accounts of Adamnans visits to Ireland are fables.
It is but just to say that the Annals of Tigernach record visits of Adamnan to Hbernia at the years 687,
689, 692, and 697; and the Annals of Ulster at 686, 691, and 696. If these are genuine entries, however,
they are more likely to relate to a portion of Scotland or Iceland, and not to Ireland. Regarding the
authenticity of Tigernachs Annals, a note at page 312 of Reeves edition of Adamnans Life of St
Columba says: "In the whole range of Irish literary desiderata no work is more imperatively demanded
than a faithful exhibition of Tigernachs text. In OConnor it is so corrupt, so interpolated, so
blundered, that it is extremely unsafe to trust the text, while it is certain mischief to follow the
translation." Later on it will be shown that both these Annals were evidently interpolated to bolster up
the Easter observance reformation in the isle of Hii by Father Egbert.
Among the most conspicuous of the numerous references to Ireland given in the Ecclesiastical History,
all of which have been examined, are those connected with the life of Father Egbert, who is said to
have converted the monks of Hii to the proper observance of Easter. Several chapters in different parts
of the work contain notices of incidents in the life of this priest, but it will be seen that they were
unknown to many of the later historians. The one which treats of his earlier life is entitled: "Egbert, a
holy man of the English nation, led a monastic life in Ireland." It begins as follows (Book III., chapter
twenty-seven):"In the year 664 there happened an eclipse of the sun.... In the same year a sudden pestilence also
depopulated the southern coasts of Britain, and afterwards extending into the province of the
Northumbrians. . . . To which plague Tuda fell a victim...... This postilence did no less harm in the
island of Ireland. Many of the nobility, and of the lower ranks of the English nation, were there at that
time, who in the days of the bishops Finan and Colman, forsaking their native island retired thither.
The Scots willingly received them all..... Among these were Ethelhun and Egbert...... of the English
nobility, the former of whom was brother to Ethelwin . . . who also afterwards went over into Ireland to
study. . . Those two being in the monastery, which, in the language of the Scots, is called Rathmelsigi, .
. fell both desperately sick of the same distemper. . . , Of these Egbert..... prayed fervently to God that
he might not die yet. . . . He also made a vow that he would, for the sake of God, live in a strange
place, so as never to return into the island of Britain, where he was born. . . . Egbert, shaking off his
distemper, recovered. . . . He at length, in the year 729, being ninety years of age, departed to the
heavenly kingdom. . . . Thus he was a great benefactor, both to his own nation and to those of the Picts
and Scots, among whom he lived a stranger."
Book IV., chapter three: "Father Egbert, above spoken of, who long led a monastic life with the same
Chad, when both were youths, in Ireland....But when he afterwards returned into his own country, the
other continued in a strange country for our Lords sake, till the end of his life."
Book V., chapter nine: "Egbert . . lived a stranger in Ireland to obtain hereafter a residence in heaven,
proposed to himself" to go to Germany and preach the Word of God. Though warned by a vision not to
go there, but "rather to go and instruct the monasteries of Columba," he persisted in the attempt, and
was shipwrecked. However, all that belonged to Egbert and his companions was saved. Then he,
saying, like the prophet, 'This tempest has happened on my account, laid aside the undertaking and

stayed at home. However, Wictbert, one of his companions,....for he had lived many years a stranger in
Ireland," &c.
In the following chapter it is stated that: "Two other priests of the English nation, who had long lived
strangers in Ireland,...went into the province of the Ancient Saxons..... The one was called Black
Hewald, and the other White Hewald."
Chapter twenty-two:
Those monks, also of the Scottish nation, who lived in the isle of Hii, with the other monasteries that
were subject to them, were brought to the canonical observance of Easter.....For in the year 716, when
Osred was slain, . . . the holy father and priest Egbert, . . . coining among them.....The monks of Hii, by
the instruction of Egbert, adopted the Catholic rites, under Abbat Dunchad, about eighty years after
they had sent Aidan to preach to the English nation.....Egbert remained thirteen years in the aforesaid
island....In the year 720, in which the Easter of our Lord was celebrated on the 24th of April, he
performed the solemnity of the mass, in mentory of the same resurrection of our Lord, and dying that
same day, thus finished, or rather never ceases to celebrate, with our Lord, and apostles, and other
citizens of heaven, that greatest festival, which he had begun with the brethren, whom he had
converted to the unity of grace. But it was a wonderful dispensation of Divine providence that the
venerable man not only passed out of this world to the Father, in Easter, but also when Easter was
celebrated on that day, on which it had never been wont to be kept in those parts.....he also
congratulated his being so long continued in the flesh till he saw his followers admit, and celebrate
with him, that as Easter day which they had ever before avoided. Thus, the most reverend father being
assured of their standing corrected, rejoiced to see the day of the Lord, and he saw it and was glad."
If these latter sentences have any meaning, they mean that the monks of Hii were not converted to the
Catholic rites regarding the observance of Easter till the year of Egberts death, that is 729. Let us now
see what the other English annals say about this Egbert and his companions. The Saxon Chronicle,
under the year 716, has: "And that pious man, Egbert, converted the monks in the isle of Hii to the
right faith, so that they observed Easter duly, and the ecclesiastical tonsure." Under 729: "This year the
star, called a comet, appeared, and Saint Egbert died in Ii." This is all. No mention is made of Ireland in
connection with him, nor of Wictbert, nor of the Hewalds.
Ethelwerd says under the year 729 "A comet appeared, and the holy bishop, Egbert., died." This is all
he records about Egbert.
Florence of Worcester's Chronicle, under the year 692, has: "Egbert . . was an Englishman by birth, but
having led a pilgrims life in Ireland," &c. Under 716: "Egbert . . . indnced the monks of Hii to adopt
the Catholic usages with respect to Easter and the ecclesiastical tousure." Under 729:
"Egbert....departed to the Lord on Easter day of this year." This is all that is found about Egbert in this
work. Wictbert is not mentioned. The Hewalds are, but nothing is said of their sojourn in Ireland.
William of Malmesbury never mentions either Egbert or Wictbert, or the Hewalds.
Henry of Huntingdon, under the year 715, has: "Egbert, a venerable man, brought over the monks of
Hii to the Catholic observance of Easter and the Catholic tonsure. Having lived with them fourteen
years, and being fully satisfied with the reformation of the brotherhood, during the paschal solemnities
on the feast of Easter, he rejoiced that he had seen the day of the Lord, He saw it and was glad." This

is all. Nothing is said about Ireland, or of his death, or of Wictbert or the Hewalds.
Roger of Wendover, like Malmesbury, takes no notice whatever of this Egbert, or of Wictbert. The
Hewalds are mentioned by him, but nothing is said of their having been in Ireland.
Regarding the pestilense in Ireland, Hnntiugdon is the only writer who coincides with the
Ecclesiastical history on this point. All the other annals mention it, but confine it to Britain. It may be
remarked that the word English often occurs in these chapters of the Ecclesiastical History. And it is
worth noticing that an Egbert, who became archbishop of York after Bedes death, is mentioned by all
the later annalists. The result of this analysis of the chapters of the Ecclesiastical History relating to
Egbert, shows that they are only slightly endorsed by works which have been interpolated, for even the
oldest manuscript of the Saxon Chronicle is not free from this fault. It is said there are many
interpolations in this manuscript, and the entries regarding Egbert in it have an appearance of being of
that character. The omission by Malmesbury and Wendover, who both profess to have used Bedes
work, of all reference to Egbert and the conversion of the monks of Hii, is of itself sufficient to prove
that the passages just quoted from the Ecclesiastical History are fabrications.
It is necessary to say that the annals of Tigernach, and the annals of Ulster, both refer to the conversion
of the monks of Hii under the year 716; but "it is remarkable that Tigernach and the annals of Ulster
agree in employing at this place a form (of the name of the island) not used by them elsewhere," as Dr
Reeves states, in a note at page 259 of his edition of Adamnans Life of St Columba. Here they call the
island Eo, but in every other place where they mention it, which is done frequently, they call it either
Iae or Ta. This single instance of Eo occurring in the two annals under the same year, suggests the
likelihood of its being an interpolated entry.
We have thus, in the foregoing pages, endeavoured to show that all the notices of Ireland which appear
in Bedes work, are fabricated; and the reader can judge with what success. If it has been demonstrated
that none of them were originally written by him, then it is evident that they have been introduced into
this history for the purpose of supporting the Irish origin of the Scots. With these passages erased from
the Ecclesiastical History, it would be foolish to believe that there were any Scots in Ireland, or that it
was called Scotia, in Bedes time.
Before closing this examination of Bedes Ecclesiastical History, it may be as well to say here that the
letter to the king of the Picts, which appears in Book V., chapter twenty-one, is not mentioned by the
Saxon Chronicle, nor Ethelwerd, nor Florence, nor Malrnesbury, nor Wendover.

Interpolations in Ancient Annals

IT may not be out of place to append to this treatise an examination of those other works, which were
largely interpolated for the purpose of making people believe that Hibernia and Scotia were ancient
names of Ireland. That they were produced or tampered with may never be certainly known. At the

time the Irish strove to obtain possession of the affluent Scots monastery at Ratisbon or Hegensburg,
they were charged with making a fraudulent entry in the records of the establishment, in which they
described Ireland as Great Scotland. This took place in the year 1515, and possibly some of these
works may have been tampered with then to support the fictitious claim. For, notwithstanding the
allegations of the Irish ecclesiasties, the local authorities were clear that the monastery belonged to
Scotland; and it was accordingly restored to the Scots. [Burtons History of Scotland, New Edition, vol
i., pp. 202 and 203 and note.]
It will surprlse many readers to learn that Tacitus Life of Agricola is to be considered one of the
fabricated works, though it may not have been produced for the purpose of identifying Hibernia with
Ireland only. Ireland or Hibernia is mentioned several times in this work. In one place it is implied that
its ports were more frequented, in Agricolas time, than those of Britain; but this is contradicted by the
evidence which will be produced when speaking of the absence of civilization and trade among the
early inhabitants of Ireland. In another place, it is said that Agricola had often remarked that with a
legion and a few auxiliaries, Ireland might easily be annexed to the Roman empire. For this
information he is said to have depended upon a certain petty king of Ireland, who had been driven from
that country, but whose name is prudently withheld. If this had been true, it would have been strange to
find that Agricola, according to this work, wasted so much time and the lives of so many men, in trying
to conquer so barbarous a country as Scotland, while a fine commercial country lay an easy prey at no
great distance.
These are not the only statements in Tacitus Life of Agricola which are open to objection. The
authenticity of the whole work has been questioned even; and several cogent proofs have been adduced
to support this opinion. Among the first editions of Tacitus works it was not included. It was first
produced at the time that Hector Boece, the most fabulous of the early Scottish historians, was
studying at Paris. It mentions few places in Scotland, but speaks of the Horesti as one of the tribes
inhabiting that country. Ptolemy, who gives the names of many, if not all of the tribes inhabiting
Scotland not long after Agricolas time, never mentions the Horesti. In addition to this there is no
reliable evidence to show that Agricola ever was in Britain. It is said that he is not even mentioned,
during the fourteen centuries after he lived, by an other author but Dion Cassius, whose history has
been imperfectly preserved. This is the only work which can be produced in support of the authenticity
of Tacitus Life of Agricola, and it cannot be said to afford much. The early annalists of both Scotland
and England totally ignore both Taeitns and Agricola. Gildas, Nennius, the Saxon Chronicle,
Ethelwerd, Henry of Huntingdon, William of Malmesbury, Florence of Worcester, Roger of Wendover,
&c., give an account of the British wars of Julius Ceasar, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Severus, &c., but
nothing is said of Agricolas grand campaign, [Burtons History of Scotland, vol. i., page 10, note]
Hector Boece is the first writer who says anything about it.
Another objection to the authenticity of Tacitris Life of Agricola may be noticed, as it bears on the
early history of Scotland. It is there stated, in direct opposition to other writers, that Agricola first
subdued and explored the Orkney islands. [Section ix.] Eutropius, Bede, Nennius, Geoffrey of
Monmouth, Henry of Huntingdon, and Ordericus Vitallis, all affirm that it was the emperor Claudius
who added the Orcades to the Roman empire. Dr Skene says it is difficult to reconcile the statement
that Claudius added the Orcades to the Roman empire, with that of Tacitus, that Agricola first made the
Orcades known, [Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 36, note.] Whether are we to believe the Life of Agricola
on this point, or the statenients of the other writers just mentioned? If the latter, then this also tends to
show that the work under review is a fabrication. It will be afterwards shown that the Orcades spoken

of by Bede and these other writers are not the Orkney Islands. These latter, we learn from authentic
records, were not so called till the ninth century, if not later, but it is not unlikely that Tacitus Life of
Agricola may have been compiled partly to support this transference of the name.
In addition to the foregoing objections, it may be urged that the statements in the Life of Agricola
regarding the previous conquests of the Roman troops in Britain do not accord very well with the
references of Lucan, Martial, V. Flaccus, Statius, and Pliny, to the Caledonians. The latter writers imply
that the Romans had reached the Caledonian territory before Agricolas time; Tacitus does not admit
this. Then again we are told that the brilliant campaigns of Agricola went for nothing after all. If it
were possible to prove that this Life of Agricola is a travestied account of the actions of Lollius
Urbicus in Britain, there would be better circumstantial evidence to support it. It is certain that Urbicus
was the commander of the Roman troops in Britain when the wall and chain of forts were built
between the firths of Forth and Clyde; and it would not require any severe strain on our faith to believe
that he fought several severe engagements with the tribes to the north of this barrier. His conquests
were not fruitless either. The wall which he built remained the boundary of the Roman province to the
north till the time when the Ronians left the island, [Skenes Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 77.]
The character of Vettius Bolanus, as described by Tacitus in the Life of Agricola, [Section xvi.] is also
entirely at variance with the adulation of Statius when speaking of the same generals actions in
Caledonia. If we are to believe that the description was really penned by Tacitus, and that it is true,
then we must confess that in this instance Statius has strung together a series of fables about Bolanus.
There are numerous other discrepancies in this work, but it is needless to point them all out as they
have been frequently commented on by different editors. Considered along with the fact that Agricolas
campaigns had never been heard of by any of the early annalists of either England or Scotland, and that
he is not commemorated by a single coin or inscription found in Britain, they lead to the conclusion
that the Life of Agricola is a fabrication of the fifteenth or sixteenth century. It is remarkable that two
celebrated men of the name of Agricola flourished about that period.
Adamnans Life of St Columba is considered to be so genuine a work that the very idea of doubting its
authenticity will be received with wonder by the numerous writers who have dealt with Columbas life
and works, Those of them, however, who condescend to peruse the following pages may perhaps
reconsider the grounds of their decision. The present writer is not the only person who has questioned
the authenticity of this work. Dr Gibes, in his edition of Bedes Ecclesiastical History, [Bohns
Translation, P. 264, note.] says: "I have strong doubts of Adamnans having written it." Sir James
Dalrymple, and a Prussian clergyman, likewise called the genuineness of the work in question;
[Reeves Adamnan, appendix to pref., p. lix.] and viewed in the light thrown upon the subject in
bringing forward the proofs which support the opinion that Scotland was the Only Scotia, the doubts
expressed by these writers receive strong confirmation.
It has to be remarked, in the first place, that although Reeves edition of Adamans Life is said to be
founded upon a manuscript of the eighth century, it is allowed that there is a total absence from it of
the interlacing and artistic work which characterises most of the Scotic writings of the same period;
and it appears first to have been heard of fifty years after the Reformation in Scotland. Besides this,
reference is made to a work of Adamnans, entitled The Holy Places, in Bedes Ecclesiastical History
and Wendovers Flowers of History; but no notice is taken in either work of his Life of Columba. With
reference to this omission in the Ecclesiastical History, it is explained that Adamnan probably wrote his
Life of Columba after visiting King Aldfrid; but if this were the case, it is strange that no notice is

taken in the Life of his having adopted the Roman usage with regard to Easter observance, which was
at variance with the custom advocated by his illustrious predecessor. This explanation will not suit
Wendovers case. He was a writer of the thirteenth century, and as five hundred years had elapsed since
Adamnan lived, it would have been strange to find that he had never heard or read of such a
remarkable work as this Life of Columba, had it then existed. It would have been a book as well worth
noticing as that about the holy places. Wendover mentions Columba as well as Adamnan, but even
when speaking of the earlier saint, not a word is said abont this Life. These facts are not in favour of
the authenticity of the work before us: and its testimony regarding the question at issue might be
discarded on these grounds alone; but let us examine it and see how valueless it is to support the belief
that Ireland was once called Scotia.
Cumminius, a successor of St Columba in the abbacy of Hii, wrote a life of his eminent predecessor,
which is said to form the ground-work of Adamnans third book. A few chapters of Cumminius work
are also incorporated in other portions of Adamnans Life. Is it not possible that some scribe in the
sixteenth century fabricated the latter on the basis of the former? A note to Reeves edition of
Adamnans Lifeenables the reader to trace the whole of the earlier life, and it will be found to differ in
this material respect from the later one, that it seldom if ever uses the word Hibernia, whereas in
Adamnans work that word occurs frequently. To show the curious way in which this word is used in
the later life, it will be sufficient to notice its occurrence in the only extract from Cumminius work
which is acknowledged by Adamnan, and then to quote the instances in which it occurs in the later life.
The acknowledged extract is found in Lib, lII, chapter five, and Hibernia appears there; but a note
informs us, by giving the exact words of Cumminius, that no such word is used in the text of the earlier
Turning now to the first and second books of Adamnans work, which were mainly written by himself,
or rather alleged to have been, we find Hihernia often mentioned, but it is generally accompanied by
the word Scotia, in the sentence immediately preceding or following. This is also a characteristic
feature of some of the interpolated chapters of Bedes Ecclesiastical History. Of course the design is to
make people believe that they were names for one country; but it is never distinctly affirmed anywhere
in this work that Ireland or Hibernia was called Scotia. This duty is left for writers of the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries to fulfil.
Reeves discharges the task in the following manner. [Irish Archaeological Societys Edition.] In Lib. I.
chapter twelve, for instance, a note to the word Scotia says: "Or Hibernia, as in the next sentence,
showing that Ardnamurchan was not then in Scotia." Two chapters further on Scotia and Hibernia are
found in the same sentence. In the seventeenth chapter again the word Scotiam appears, and a note to it
says: "That is, Hiberniam, as in the next sentence. In the following chapter we find Scotiam and
Hiberniam, and Scotia and Hibernia. A note to the first says: "Hiberniam lower down. Again in Scotia
and its equivalent in Hihernia." In the twenty-second chapter, Scotiam and Hiberniam appear in
sentences following each other; and in the forty-eighth chapter Hiberniae is followed by Scotiae, and it
again by Hiberniam. In the second Book, the thirty-eighth chapter contains the word Scotiam, which, a
note informs the reader, is convertible with Hiberniam in the next sentence. The following chapter has
the word Scotia twice, but omits Hibernia. A note says: "This is another instance of the use of the word
for Ireland, as contradistinguished from Scotland, then a part of Britain." In the following chapter, the
fortieth, Scotia occurs, and a note to it informs us that it is "Called Hibernia in an earlier part of the
In all these instances, it will be seen, Hibernia and Scotia are made to appear as if they were

synonymous names for Ireland; and yet here, as in all the ancient writers works with which we are
dealing, this is never distinctly affirmed to have been the case.
Of Nennius, the reputed author of a history of the Britons, little is known; and it is even uncertain
when the work was originally written. Some writers assign its compilation to the year 796, and others,
to the year 994. Henry of Huntingdon quotes it as a work written by Gildas, and there is no
impossibility in this, for it ends with the times before Gildas days; and in most of the manuscript
copies of Nennius British History it is attributed to Gildas.[Innes Critical Essay, vol. 1., p. 192] Some
additions about the kings of the provinces of England have been added by later writers; but there is
reason to believe that the genuine work was written by Gildas, as stated by Huntingdon, who lived in
the twelfth century.
Speaking of Nennius History of the Britons, as it now exists, the editor of one of the best editions
published thus refers to its interpolations: "It will strike every reader that this work was peculiarly dealt
with. It was treated as a sort of common land, upon which any goose might graze. Mere transcribers
seem to have played the editor, if not the author." [Todds Irish Version of the Historia Britonum of
Nennius, p. 19,] The earliest manuscript so far as is known to this editor, is of the twelfth century.
[Todds lrish Version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius, p. 21.]
A work of such a dubious character might well be summarily rejected as an untrustworthy evidence of
a Scots settlement in Ireland bcfore the eleventh century; but it is worth while to examine the evidence
it does furnish somewhat minutely, in order to form a proper estimate of its fictitious nature.
The Historia Britonum, in its original state, has apparently been wholly incorporated in Geolfrey of
Monmouths British History; and this work, though overloaded with fabulous matter, enables us to
trace the interpolations in Nonnius History. The passages in the latter which do not appear in
Geoffreys work are suggestive, when looked at in connection with the subject at issue. Both works are
contained in the Six Old English Chronicles in Bohns Antiquarian Library, and in comparing the two
reference will be made to the translations in this volume.
To begin with, a few minor interpolations, which only indirectly concern the present question, may be
noticed. Nothing equivalent to paragraph eight in Nennius History, for instance, is found in Geoffreys
work. It is as follows: "Three considerable islands belong to it (Britain), one on the south, opposite the
Armarican shore called Wight, another beween Ireland and Britain called Eubonia or Man, and another
beyond the Picts named Orkney." The same can be said of paragraph twelve, which is to the effect that
the Picts first occupied the Orkney Islands, from which they laid waste many regions, arid seized those
on the left hand side of Britain, of which they are said to be in possessioli at the time the history was
Paragraph thirteen of Nennius, which is one that has a direct bearing on the Ireland-Scotia question,
has a little, a very little, in common with the more probable account given of the settlement of the
Spanish colonists called Barclenses in Ireland by Geoffrey, in Book III., chapter twelve, which was
likely taken from a genuine edition of the Historia Britonum. In the edition under review, however, the
Scots take the place of the Barclenses, and are represented as settling in Ireland in connection with
improbable events, as is usual with these interpolations. In noticing the settlement of the Spanish
colonists in Ireland, Geoffrey totally ignores the Scots, and the marvellous circumstances connected
with the colonisation as recorded by Nennius. The fabulous account of St Patricks life and labours,
which occurs in paragraphs fifty to fifty-five, is also unnoticed by Geoffrey, who would never have

passed over such a. marvellous record without sorne allusion to it had it appeared in the original
The paragraphs referring to St Patricks life occur in a manuscript copy of the Historia Britonum, lying
in the library of the Vatican at Rome. They do not appear in all the manuscripts of the work found
elsewhere. Like other notices of presumed Irish saints, this one contains many wonderful, if not
incredible, statements. It also speaks of Palladius, but unlike an English historian of the thirteenth
century, in whose works a similar notice appears, it represents him as going to lreland to find the Scots.
To let the reader understand its untrustworthiness it will be better to transcribe the whole passage; and
then to compare it with the one in the works of Roger of Wendover, referred to above:
In those days St Patrick was a captive among the Scots. His masters name was Milcho, to whom he
was a swineherd for seven years. When he had attained the age of seventeen, he gave him his liberty.
By the Divine impulse, he applied himself to reading of the Scriptures, and afterwards went to Rome,
where, replenished with the Holy Spirit, he continued a great while studying the sacred mysteries of
these writings. During his continuance there, Palladius, the first bishop, was sent by Pope Celestine to
convert the Scots (the Irish). But tempests and signs from God prevented his landing, for no one can
arrive in any country except he be allowed from above. Altering, therefore, his course from Ireland, he
came to Britain, and died in the land of the Picts. The death of Palladius being known, the Roman
patricians, Theodosius and Valentinian, then reigning, Pope Oclestine sent Patrick to convert the Scots
to the faith of the Holy Trinity; Victor, the angel of God, accompanying, admonishing, and assisting
him, and also the bishop Germanus. Germanus then sent the ancient Segerus with him as a venerable
and praiseworthy bishop to king Amatheus, who lived near, and who had prescience of what was to
happen; he was consecrated bishop in the reign of that king by the holy pontiff, assuming the name of
Patrick, having hitherto been known by that of Mann; Auxilius, Isserninus, and other brothers were
ordained with him to inferior degrees. Having distributed benedictions, and perfected all in the name of
the Holy Trinity, he embarked on the sea which is between the Gauls and the Britons, and, after a quick
passage, arrived in Britain, where he preached for some time. Every necessary preparation being made,
and the angel giving him warning, he came to the Irish Sea, and having filled the ship with foreign
gifts and spiritual treasures, by the permission of God he arrived in Ireland, where he baptised and
preached. From the beginning of the world to the fifth year of king Logiore, when the Irish were
baptised, and faith in the unity of the individual Trinity was published to them, are 5330 years. St
Patrick taught the Gospel in foreign nations for the space of forty years. Endued with apostolical
powers, he gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, cast out devils, raised
men from the dead, redeemed many captives of both sexes at his own charge, and set them free in the
name of the Holy Trinity. He taught the servants of God, and he wrote 365 canonical and other books
relating to the Catholic faith. He founded as many churches, and consecrated the same number of
bishops, strengthening them with the Holy Ghost. He ordained 3000 presbyters, and converted and
baptised 12,000 persons in the province of Connaught, and in one day baptised seven kings, who were
the seven sons of Amalgaid. He continued fasting forty days and nights on the summit of the miountain
Eli, that is, Cruaachan-Aichle, and preferred three petitions to God for the Irish that had embraced the
faith. The Scots say the first was, that He would receive every repentant sinner, even at the latest
extremity of life; the second, that they should never be exterminatod by barbarians; and the third, that
as Ireland will be overflowed with water seven years before the coming of our Lord to judge the quick
and the dead, the crimes of the people might be washed away through his intercession, and their souls
purified at the last day. He gave the people his benediction from the upper part of the mountain, and
going up higher that he might pray for them, and that, if it pleased God, he might see the effects of his
labours, there appeared to him an innumerable flock of birds of many colours signifying the number of
holy persons of both sexes of the Irish nation who should come to him as their apostle at the day of

judgment to be presented before the tribunal of Christ. After a life spent in the active exertion of good
to mankind, St Patrick, in a healthy old age, passed from this world to the Lord, and changing this life
for a better with the saints and elect of God, he rejoices for evermore. St Patrick resembled Moses in
four particulars. The angel spoke to him in the burning bush, he fasted forty days and forty nights upon
the mountain. He attained the period of 120 years. No one knows his sepulchre nor where he was
buried. Sixteen years he was in captivity. In his twentyfifth year he was consecrated bishop by St
Mattheus, and he was eighty-five years the apostle of the Irish. It might be profitable to treat more at
large of the life of this saint, but it is now time to complete the epitome of his labours.
As already stated, the above is in many respects identical with an account of St Patricks life given in
Roger of Wendovers Flowers of History; and yet there is a material difference between the two. The
one just quoted makes it appear as if Ireland was the country inhabited by the Scots, whereas
Wendover confines the Scots to Scotland, and distinguishes between it and Ireland. Had it been the
case in St Patricks time, that Ireland was called Scotia, and was peopled by Scots, he would have said
so. He says Patrick was "Born in Ireland, and in his childhood was sold by his father, with his two
sisters, into Scotland." Like Nennius, he says Palladius was sent to convert the Scots, but instead of
sending him to Ireland to find them, he says: "Preaching the Word of God in Scotland, he (Paliadius)
afterwards went into Britain, and died in the land of the Picts." Scotia and Britain were different
countries then, as already stated; [Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients, p. 43] and as Wendover, in
speaking of St Patrick, distinguishes Ireland from Scotland, he cannot mean the former when he uses
the latter designation. The Scots are mentioned twice after this in the account in Nennius, but the name
does not again occur in Wendovers notice. That the latters is also fabricated there is every reason to
believe, as will be afterwards shown in dealing with St Patricks supposed Irish mission; but it serves
the purpose in the meantime of proving that the interpolations in Nennius about the Scots in Ireland
were made after Wendovers lifetime.
The following interpolations in an account of the Cruithnians, or Picts of Ireland, which cccurs in the
Irish version of Nennius, cannot be passed over. In the thirty-first section of Todds edition of
the Historia Britonum, after the name of king Geascuirtibout, these words are found: "XXX. of them
henceforward, and Bruide was the name of every man of them, et reynaverunt, Hiberniam, et
Albaniam,, per cl. annos ut invenitur, in the books of the Cruithnians, Bruide Pante was the name of
the first Bruide." Then follows thirty kings of the name of Bruide. In a note among the additional
notes, page xlv., we are told: "The Pictish Chronicle says, upon the name. of Bruide the first, a quo
traginta Brude regnaverunt Hiberniam et Albaniam pee 150 annorum spatium; and adds their private
or personal names. . . . If these thirty kings reigned over Albania, there will then be a double list of the
kings of Fortren, which absurdity has induced me to analyse these statements." The analysis is
followed by these remarks: "Thus when it was merely a mans name, we find it recurring occasionally,
but when it was titular to all alike, we find it entirely absent. Which evinces that the words, Hibernia.. .
. . spatium are superfluous and false, as well as the thirty private names; and that these thirty Bruides
are simply the kings of Pictland from Brudi Bout to Talorc III."
Passing on, in the text of the work, to king "Drust, the son of Erp, c. annis regnavit, and gained a 100
battles." Here we find added: "Nonodecimo anno regni eius Patricius sanctus episcopus ad Hiberniaim
pervenit." The same passage appears in Fordouns list of kings, thus: "Durst, qui alias vocabatur
Nectane filius Irbii annis xlv. Hic, ut asseritur, Centum annis vixit et centum bella peregit. Quo
regnante sanctus Palladius (instead of Patricius as in the Irish account), episcopus a beato Papa
Caelestine missus est ad Scotos docendos, longe tamen ante in Christo credentes." It will be noticed
that there is no Hiberniam in the passage as given by Fordoun; and his notice of Palludius mission to
the Scots is in accordance with the Saxon Chronicle, which also leaves out all notice of Ireland and

Hibernia in conneetion with Palladius mission.

Passing Talore, the next king after Drust, we come to Nectan Morbreac or Morbet, after whose name
the following occurs: "Tertio anno regni ejus Darlugdach, abbatissa Cille-Dara de Hibernia exulat
pro Christo ad Britiniam; anno adventus aui immolavit Nectonius anno uno Apurnighe Deo et sancoe
Brigida, proesente Darlugdach, quoe cantavit alleluia super istam." A note to this passage, which
appears on pages 1613, says: These statements are false and out of chronology. Pictland and
Abernethy were not then Christian, nor was St Bridget then born, nor was Darluchdach yet abbess of
Kildare." Further on the same note informs us that Fordoun ascribes the foundation of Abernethy to St
Bridget and her seven virgins, but places it in the reign of Garnard Makdompnach, the successor of the
Bruide in whose times St Columba preached to the Picts, which is of course more probable."
It will be seen from the above that whenever the Irish account of the Cruithnian kings and the early
part of the Pictish Chronicle introduce Ireland, or rather Hibernia, the information given along with it
is contradicted by other authorities who evidently used the same original manuscript from which these
two were compiled, and at the same time interpolated.
Florence of Worcesters Chronicle is the next work we propose to analyse. It is mainly a copy of the
Chronicle compiled by Marianus Scotus, who was born in 1028 and died in 1052. Under the year
1028, Florence calls Marianus a Scot of Hibenmia. [Translation in Bohns Antiquarian Library, which
is the edition referred to throughout this notice.] Marianus himself says he was born in Scotia; and he
never expressly affirms that this was the name of Ireland or Hibernia; but he gives a clear indication of
the country of his birth by connecting kings Duncan and Macbeth with Scotia. [Burtons History of
Scotland, vi. i., p. 207, and Chalmers Caledonia, vol. i., p. 408, note.] lreland lays no claim to a
monarch of the name of Macbeth in the eleventh century.
At the year 446, Florence speaks of the Scots and Picts coming from the north to invade the territories
of the Romanised Britons in unison with other writers. At 651, Finan is said to have been sent by the
Scots; and at 661 he is said to have been succeeded by Colman, who was also sent out of Scotland. At
664, Colman, we are told, rejoined his adherents in Scotland, which is also called his own country.
From these instances, selected from others of the same nature, and compared with what has been said
about these Scottish priests in reviewing Bedes Ecclesiastical History (above, page 39), it will be seen
that Florences Scotia was the Scotland of the present day, or at least a part of it.
Some of the interpolations which occur in Florences Chronicle may now be given to show their
character. A.D. 491. St Patrick, archbishop of Ireland, made a blessed end, aged 122 years." "521. St
Bridget, the Scottish nun, died in Ireland." " 672. As he (Bishop Ceadda) was departing out of this
world, the most reverend father Egbert, who had been his fellow-scholar in Ireland, saw the spirit of St
Chad, the bishop, Ceaddas brother, with an host of angels, descend from heaven, and bear it upwards
with them on their return to the realms of bliss." 674....Ireland, the island of the saints, was gloriously
filled with holy men and wonderful works." " 687. St Killian, a Scot, born in Ireland, and bishop of
Wartzburg, became eminent." These interpolations in two instances connect the Scots with Ireland; but
that country is never called Scotia here or elsewhere in Florences Chronicle. After these interpolations,
however, it may be as well to give a few more quotations from the genuine text, in which Scots are
connected with Scotland. At the year 901, in speaking of the life of King Edward, it is said that "he
also reduced to subjection the king of the Scots, the Cumbrians, and the Strathclyde and Western
Britons." At 1050, "Macbeth, king of Scotland;" is spoken of. "A.D. 1054. Siward, the stout earl of

Northumbria, by order of the king, entered Scotland, with a large body of cavalry, and a powerful fleet,
and fought a battle with Macbeth, king of the Scots, in which the king was defeated with the loss of
many thousands, both of the Scots and of the Normans."
The reader may now be able to judge whether the following celebrated Scots belonged to Ireland or
Scotland. They are claimed by the Irish, but as Florence does not say they were born in Ireland, or had
ever been in that country, their claim cannot be allowed. "974. . . . Eberger, archbishop of Cologne,
gave the abbey of St Martin at Cologne to the Scots for ever. Minborin, a Scot, was the first abbot."
"986....Minborin, the Scotch abbot, died in the abbey of St Martin at Cologne. . . . Killin succeeded
him." 1003. "Killian, a Scot, and abbot of the Scottish monastery of St Martin, died. . . . Helias, a Scot,
succeeded him." 1042. "Abbot Elias, a Scot, died... of St Martin. He was succeeded by Maiolus, a
Scot, a holy man. 1061. "Maiolus, abbot of the Scots, died at Cologne; Foilan succeeded him." As no
distinction is made between the Scots over whom Macbeth was king and these Scots just mentioned,
they were evidently all born in Scotland.
Between these notices the following relating to Ireland appear, which are so characteristic as to be
worth reproducing:
A. D. 1043..... Animchadus, a Scottish monk, who led, a life of seclusion in the monastery at Fulda,
died...... Over his tomb lights were seen, and there was the voice of psalmody. Marianus, the author of
this chronicle, took up his station as a recluse for ten years at his feet, and sang masses over his tomb.
He has related what follows respecting this Animchadus: When I was in Ireland, says Marianus, in
an island called Keltra, he entertained, with the permission of his superior, named Cortrarn, certain
brethren who came there. Some of them departed after their meal, but those who remained sat warming
themselves at the fire, and asked him for something to drink, and on his refusing to give it without
leave, they urged him to comply. At last he consented, but first sent some of the beverage to his
superior, for his blessing. On the morrow, being asked for what reason he sent it, he related all the
circunistanoes. But his superior, for this slight fault, immediately ordered him to quit Ireland, and he
humbly obeyed. He then came to Fulda, and lived a life of holy seclusion, as I have already said, until
his death. This was told us by the Superior, Tigernah, on my committing some slight fault in his
presence. Moreover, I myself heard, while I was in seclusion at Fulda, a very devout monk of that
monastery, whose name was William, implore the aforesaid Animchadus, who was then in his tomb, to
give him his benediction; and, as he afterwards told me, he saw him in a vision standing in his tomb,
shining with great brightness, and. giving him his benediction with outstretched arms; and I, too,
passed the whole of that night in the midst of a mellifluous odour. These are the words of Marianus."
Marianus says he was obliged to leave his country, winch in his own work he calls Scotia, on account
of religions disputes. This notice in Florence has evidently been fabricated, not only to connect
Marianus with Ireland, but also to show why he left his native couutry. It is very unlikely that the slight
fault noticed here is the religions disputes referred to by Marianus; and the marvellous circumstances
with which it is connected, are alone sufficient to discredit it.
The other notice of Ireland appearing between the notices of the Scots of Cologne is as follows:
"1053.....Aed, a long-bearded cleric in Ireland, a man of great eminence and earnest piety, had a large
school of clerks, maidens, and laymen; but he subjected the maidens to the tonsure in the same manner
as clerks, on which account he was compelled to leave Ireland."


Henry of Huntingdon is considered to be the of the earliest of the English historians as distinguished
from chroniclers. He lived in the first half of the twelfth century. The first two books of his history are
mainly a cornpilation from Bedes Ecclesiastical history and the Saxon Chronicle. The third book is an
epitome of Bede's information relating to the conversion of the English to Christianity. There appears
to be no manuscript extant which can be considerd to have been written by Huntingdon. All the
manuscripts, the earliest of which date from the thirteenth or fourteenth century, are therefore
onlycopies; and this should be borne in mind in dealing with the statements contained in the work, as it
renders the task of tracing any interpolations more difficult. It was first printed in the year 1596, that is,
after the period of the Reformation in Scotland.[Bohns Translation, preface, p. xiii.]
It is difficult to say how much of this work is Huntingdon's own composition, as already stated. He
frequently speaks of Hibernia or Ireland; but it has to be remembered that the former name had
probably become attachcd to Ireland before his day. Many of the interpolations in Bedes Ecclesiastical
History are copied in this work; but it is possible they may have been inserted in Huntingdons History
by other hands than his. It is significant to find that Ireland or Hibernia is seldom mentioned in the
work before us from the period of Bedes death till the eleventh century. Dealing with the work as we
find it, however, there is abundant evidence to show that Huntingdon understood Scotia to have always
been the name for the northeast of present Scotland; and that, like all the other writers whose works
have been examined, he was ignorant of its having ever been applied to Ireland. It is necessary to
reiterate this statement in order to bring out the fact as clearly as possible that all the ancient English
historians who lived near the time when Ireland is said to have been called Scotia, or when the.
transference of the name to present Scotland is said to have taken place, omit all notice of such an
important historical event, as it strengthens the other proofs in favonr of Scotland being the only
Having dealt at some length with the most of the interpolations in Huntingdon in speaking of those in
the Ecclesiastical History of Bede, it is needless to go over the same ground again. A few passages will
be referred to in support of what has just been alleged, and this is all that is necessary to add to what
has already been said on the subject. With regard to Huntingdons ignorance of Ireland being called
Scotia, we have a plain intimation near the begining of the history, that is, supposing the passage to
have been written by him. That it is an interpolation made for the purpose of showing there were large
numbers of Scots in Ireland, has already been sufficiently demonstrated, but that does not affect the
present question. Near the beginning of the first book [Bohns Translation, p. 2.] it is said that Albion
was afterwards called Britain, and then England. Shortly afterwards the Scots migration from Ireland
is spoken of, which country is described and mentioned several times. [Ibid., pp. 9-12.] It is even stated
that it was the original country of the Scots. This was the place to say that Ireland was at the time
called Scotia, but there is not even a hint given here, or elsewhere in this work, that such was the case.
Although the Scots are connected with Ireland, it is always called by that name, or rather Hibernia.
This is just what has been done in copying the same information into Bedes History; and in both
instances the interpolators have so far missed their mark. In speaking of Henry of Huntingdons
statement about the Pictish language being entirely lost, and the people being all destroyed, which also
occurs at the beginning of the first book, Professor Skene says it is not true of the language, if it
resembled one of the other languages mentioned by Bede and Huntingdon so closely that one of the
spoken languages might equally represent it.. He adds that it is not true of the people either, as almost
in the very year Huntingdon says they were all killed, he mentions the Picts as forming an entire
division in David the Firsts army at the battle of the Standard.[Celtic Scotland, vol. i. p. 194, note.]
This shows how inefficiently the manipulators of ancient Scottish history discharged their task, and

emphasises the remarks made by Innes on their want of sense and judgment, as quoted above (page
Passing on to the period when the Romans left the island destitute of armed men, we find Hnntingdon
repeating the substance of the passages in Bede, and all the other ancient annalists, relating to the
incursions of the Scots and Picts.[Bohns Translation, pp. 38- 36] These have been taken from a
preceding writer, Gildas, who never speaks of Ireland or Hlbernia. After describing the several
successful inroads of the Scots and Picts, Huutingdon then notices their defeat by the Britons, and has
the same sentence as we find in the Ecclesiastical History: "The Scots with shame returned to Ireland,"
or Hibernia. [Ibid., p. 35.] Here again no mention is made of Scotia as the name of Ireland.
Hnntingdon refers to Palladius being sent to the Scots, as most of the other ancient writers do. [Ibid., p.
35.] Shortly afterwards he tells us that the Scots and Picts again attacked the Britons; and here he calls
them northern nations, [Ibid., p. 36.] like Gildas. With the interpolated passages about Scots coming
from Ireland to Britain, and returning there again, readers might have some difficulty in saying which
Scots it was to whom Palladius was sent; but they have just to remember that Huntingdon lived when
Scotia was the well-known name of present Scotland, and if these Scots had been the inhabitants of
any other country he would have said so. In Book II. we are told that Oswy subjugated most of the
tribes of Scots and Picts who occupied the northern districts of Britain; and shortly afterwards it is said
that Edgars dominion extended over all the Scottish people. [Bohn's Translation, p. 52] It requires to
be noticed that the northern districts of Britain here mentioned were not Scotia proper, but those
districts of Britain adjacent to its southern frontier. There must have been no Scots in Ireland in
Edgars time, for there is no evidence that his dominion extended over that country.
Passing on to the letter addressed by Laurentius to the Scots, [Ibid., p. 83] which has already been
spoken of in dealing with the same in the Ecclesiastical history, we have the first mention of Scotia or
Scotland by Huntingdon. If this had been the name of Ireland at time time referred to, a writer, who
lived when it was a name for Scotland only, would have said so. And so with the Scots, to whom Pope
Honorius wrote, [Ibid, p.94] if they had been inhabitants of any other country but Scotland Huntingdon
would have said so. At page 96 [Ibid] we are told that Osric and Eanfrid had been baptised while they
were in exile among the Scots and Picts; and on page 97 that "Oswald . . . sent into Scotland where he
had been exiled. Then these words occur in the next sentence: "The Scots who dwelt in the south of
Ireland." Here then we have not only a distinction made between Scotland and Ireland, but also
between the Scots of Scotland and the Scots of Ireland. Of course this is taking the work as it stands.
Several of these passages are evidently interpolations, especially those in which Ireland is mentioned,
but their character in this respect has been treated of already. It may not be out of place to enumerate
them all here, so that the reader may cornpare them with each other, amid with the references to the
Scots and Scotia.
In addition to the instances already noticed, Ireland or the Irish are mentioned on pages 2, 3, 52, 60, 98,
99, 102, 106, 114, 117, which takes us up to the year 699, or about 35 years before Becks death. The
words Ireland or Irish do not occur again till the year 945, pages 169 and 170; and then not again till
the year 1051, page 203. With the exception of the two last, the others have all been dealt with in
speaking of the interpolations in Bedes Ecclesiastical History. It is remarkable to find that all the
notices of Ireland which occur in Huntingdon up to the year 699 appear also in Bedes work, and that
the name is not found again in Huntingdon till the year 945, which is after the time Ethelwerd says
Ireland was first so called.
Besides the notices of the Scots and Scotland already referred to, the following appear:Pages 4, 8,

38, 54, 55, 80, 98, 104, 105, 147, 169, 170, 172, 173, 176, 184, 198, 204, which takes us to the year
1054. The most of these seem to be a part of the genuine text, and they all refer to the country now
called Scotland or its inhabitants. It should be stated that, in the passage on page 80, it is said that there
was a controversy with the Scots and Picts about Easter, The Scots are twice mentioned here by
Huntingdon. Wendover reproduces this passage almost word for word; but neither Scots nor Picts nor
anything about the Easter controversy appears in connection with the same event as narrated by that
This completes the review of the early annals which have been largely interpolated for the purpose of
making people believe that the Scots originally came from Ireland to Scotland. An examination of
these which have only been slightly tampered with for that purpose will be made at the beginning of
another treatise, which will deal with the early history of Ireland and Iceland, in so far as it concerns
the origin of the Scots.

Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients

It is a well-known fact that most of the writers who have dealt with the early history of Scotland state
that Scotia, the ancient name of this country, was a name applied to Ireland only till the eleventh
century. A few writers have maintained that Scotland was the only Scotia; but the opinion seems to be
gradually gaining ground, and is now almost universally adopted, that when Scotia is mentioned in the
works of writers who lived before the eleventh century, the country they refer to is Ireland.
Incredible as it may seem to some persons, the foundation for this belief is very unsatisfactory. It
almost entirely rests upon the assumption that Ireland was always called Hibernia; but this is not the
case. It is doubtless asserted to have been always so called in a few works of questionable authenticity;
but there is, fortunately, plenty of trustworthy testimony to establish the fact that before the eleventh
century the island now known with the name of Ireland, and Hibernia were different countries. In
addition to this we have the distinct statement of the only early English annalist whose work has
apparently escaped the ravages of manipulatinq monks, Ethelwerd, that Ireland was first so called at
the beginning of the tenth centnry, and that since the time of Julius Caesar till then it was known by the
name of Bretannis.
It might be granted that Hibernia and Scotia were names ajplied to one country before the eleventh
century without believing that Ireland was ever called Scotia, but there is no trustworthy evidence to
show that even this was the case. The writings in which they are made to appear as synonymous names
for Ireland, such as Adamnans "Life of St. Columba," and Bedes "Ecclesiastical History," can be
shown to have been manipulated for this purpose.
When Ireland first became known by the name of Hibernia it may now be impossible to ascertain but
there are good reasons for believing that it was not so called till the twelfth century, when the Roman
Church first obtained supremacy there.
In the work ascribed to Richard of Cirencester entitled "De Situ Britaunhe," it is certainly distinctly
stated that Hibernia was an ancient nanic of Ireland, thus :" Having now finished our survey of
Albion, we shall describe the neighbouring country, Hibernia or Ireland, with the same brevity.
Hibernia is situated more westerly than any other country except England," &c. It was at first believed,
on the authority of the compiler, that this was the work of a monk of the fourteenth century, compiled
from materials left by a Roman general but it was not published till the year 1757, and it seems never
to have been heard of during the 400 years since it was said to have been written. On account of the
late date at which it was made known, Pinkerton in his " Enquiry" received it with distrust, but he
sometimes quoted it as an authority. Many other writers accepted its information without the shadow of
a doubt as to its authenticity. Burton, the author of the "History of Scotland," seems to have been
among the first to expose its real character; and it is now generally believed to be a fabrication of the
eighteenth century. Dr. Skene considers it an impudent forgery; and he adds, that Horsleys Britannia
Romana" was published in 1732, before this imposition was practised on the literary world, but the
Roman part of Pinkertons Enquiry, "Roys Military Antiquities of the Romans in Britain," published in
1793, and Stuarts Caledonia Romana," are all tainted by it. The reason for publishing the "De Situ
Britannia" may have been because Sibbalds "Essay on the Thulo of the Ancients," which identified

Claudians lerne with Strathearn in Scotland, and raised some awkward questions as to how the early
history of Scotland had been manipulated, was published sonie time before it. The essay may be seen
at the end of Gibsons edition of Camdens "Britannia," and the arguments produced there in favour of
the identification referred to will be found to be sound and to the point. But although the
untrustworthycharacter of Richard of Cirencesters work has been thoroughly exposed, it is still
believed that lerne, Hibernia, and Scotia were ancient names of present Ireland, and that the Scots
came from that country to Scotland. These beliefs are strongly supported by the "De Situ Britannia;"
and it is remarkable that they were not looked upon with suspicion when the work was found to be a
Ancient Scottish history has been otherwise unfairly treated. It has been seized upon by the anrialists
of England, Ireland, and Wales, and even the historians of the Continent of Europe have apparently
nibbled now and again at this inviting morsel. This is not all. The best of the early historians of
Scotland, Fordun, or his continuator Bower, and Boece, or an authority whom he frequently quotes,
Veresnund, have surrounded the history of their native country with such a mist of fiction and
perverted names, that it is difficult to get at the clear and unclouded truth. There is a possibility,
however, of reaching many of the fragments which have been taken hold of by other countries, and
after divesting them of the falsehood in which they are generally embedded, to place them in their right
position. It is also possible to eliminate much of the fiction from the pages of the native historians, and
to identify many of the Perverted names which appear in their works; and thus the early history of
Scotland can in some degree be reconstructed on a more sound foundation.
Thomas Innes, in his Essay on the "Ancient Inhabitants of Scotland," was the first who effectually
assailed the fabulous history put into shape by Fordun or Bower, and Boece or Veremund, and
exposedits real character. Pinkerton in his "Enquiry" was the first to attempt a reconstruction, and he
was followed by Chalmers in his "Caledonia," but both these works were still partly founded on
untrustworthy materials. The latest and most successful attempt will be found in Robertsons "Scotland
under her Early Kings," Burtons History of Scotland," vols. i. and ii., new edition, and
especially in Dr. Skenes "Celtic Scotland." The last writer has perhaps done more than all the other
writers named put together to place the early history of Scotland on a sounder basis; and his opinion on
some of the difficulties connected with the task, on the spurious materials which have been circulated
as Scottish history, and on the way in which the works of the ancient annalists have been manipulated,
is valuable and interesting. Some of these opinions are given below:What may be called the Celtic period of Scottish history has been peculiarly the field of a fabulous
narrative of no ordinary perplexity; but while the origin of these fables can be very distinctly traced to
the rivalry and ambition of ecclesiastical establishments and church parties, and to the great national
controversy excited by the claim of England to a feudal supremacy over Scotland, still each period of
its early history will be found not to be without sources of information, slender and meagre as they no
doubt are, but possessing indications of substantial truth, from which some perception of its real
character can be obtained!
The following passage seems to indicate that the Continental historians have appropriated a part of the
early Scottish history. The statement by Gildas that the Saxons came on the invitation of a leader of the
Britons, who is called Guorthegirn by later writers, "seems to find its counterpart in the
invitation given tothe barbarians to invade Gaul and Britain by Gerontius, a Count of Britain in the
service of Constantine, in the year 407; and in the later form of the tradition they are certainly
identifled." Gaul was the ancient name of a part of the country to the north of the wall of Antonine; and
when Constantine revolted, or usurped the command of the Roman troops in Britain, he is said to have

been besieged by one of Stilichos generals in Valentia, which is supposed to have been on the
Continent. But there was a Valentia in Britain also; and there is good reason for believing that it was
the name for the district north of the wall of Antonine, and that it included Gaul, where Constantine is
said to have landed after his revolt. Is it not more likely, then, that this was the Gaul and Valentia where
Constantines exploits were carried on? There can be no doubt regarding Gildas statement about the
invasion of the Saxons; it is corroborated by every later writer who touches upon the subject. And
therefore it may be reasonably concluded that this episode in the history of Scotland has been
appropriated by the Continental historians, unless we are to believe that the same series of events was
happening at the same time on the Continent and in the neighbourhood of the Firth of Forth.
The following passages show how the early Scottish history has been manipulated:By all the chronicles compiled subsequent to the eleventh century, Alpin, son of Eochaidh, is made the
last of the kings of Dalriada; but the century of Dalriadic history which follows his death in 741 is
suppressed, and his reign is brought down to the end of the century by the insertion of spurious kings.
The true era of the genuine kings who reigned over Dalriada can be ascertained by the earlier lists
given by Flann Mainistroch and the Albanic Duan in the eleventh century, and the annals of Tighernac
and of Ulster, which are in entire harmony with each other. . . . There is, unfortunately, a hiatus in the
Annals of Tighernac from the year 765 to the year 973.
The list of Pictish kings in the later chronicles bears marks of having been manipulated for a purpose
In his work on "Celtic Scotland," Dr. Skene usually quotes the "Annals of the Four Masters" for the
events in Irish history which concern the history of Scotland, as it is the most complete chronicle
which Ireland possesses; but as it was compiled as late as the seventeenth century, and the authority for
some of the events is not given, he does not accept it as an independent authority, and considers the
events which are not found elsewhere open to suspicion. As an instance of the latter, he says, The
Annals record the death of Somhairle MacGiliadomnan, Ri Innsigall, at 1083. This was Somerled,
Hegulus of Argyll, whose death really took place in 1166." Several instances are also given of the
appropriation of early Scottish history as Irish history by this work. One of the best is the battle
between Aedh and Ciniod, recorded by the Ulster Annals to have taken place in Fortrenn in Scotland.
The Annals of the Fonr Masters record this as a battle between Aedh and Cinaedh, son of Flann,
Leinster men, where Aedh was slain; but there was no place called Fortrenn in Leinster."
Another instance of the perversion of Scottish history by this work may be given from Reeves edition
of "Adamnans Life of St. Columba." It is as follows:"The earliest authentic account of anything like diocesan episcopacy in Scotland is the entry in the
Four Masters at 961: Fothadh, son of Bran, scribe, and bishop of Innsi-Alban; that is, of the Isles of
Scotland." This entry is supplied by the Four Masters only. The Pictish Chronicle has, 'Fothadh
episcopus pausavit. In the supplement to Fordun is an account of the bishops of Kilreymonth or St.
Andrews, where we find the following: Primus, ut reperi, qui Fothad," &c. Which are we to believe?
the"Four Masters," an Irish work of the seventeenth century, on the one side, or " Forduns Annals," an
earlier and a Scottish work, and the Pictish Chronicle, a still earlier authority, on the other side ?


In most of tHe histories of Scotland, it is affirmed that the name of Scotia or Scotland originally
belonged to Ireland, as already stated, and that present Scotland was not so called till the eleventh
century. Most of the historians are content with the simple statement that such was the case, without
giving any proofs in support of the assumption. One recent writer on the early history of Scotland does
indeed give a few proofs; bUt the best array of them is found in Pinkertons "Enquiry into the History
of Scotland Preceding the Reign of Malcolm ill.;" and it is possibly on the basis supplied by him that
the writers who believe that Ireland was once called Scotia rest their faith. Examined by the light of
recent research, however, these proofs do not hear the interpretation put upon them; and it is necessary
in the interests of justice that their fallacious character should be exposed. In doing so, each proof will
be examined by itself.
The proofs are brought forward in the "Enquiry" in a chapter devoted to the origin of the name
Scotland. They all proceed upon the assumption that Hibernia was the ancient name of Ireland,
although only one of the authors cited, Orosius, identifies the western island with the country he
designates Hibernia. But this writer cannot be taken as an authority on such a matter unsupported by
more reliable evidence. Pinkertons first duty was to prove that Hibernia was the ancient name of the
country now known by the name of Ireland, before he undertook to prove that Scotia was an ancient
name for the same country. In the first volume of the "Enquiry," when speaking of the references in
early Greek and Roman writers to Britain, he does attempt to do this, but the proofs he brings forward
in support of it are by no means clear; in fact, they are contradictory, as will be shown below, when an
endeavour will be made to prove that Iceland or Scotland was the ancient Hibernia. There is apparently
reason for believing that Hibernia was sometimes called Scotia, or vice versa, by early writers; but it is
quite a different assertion to say that present Ireland was also called Scotia. The chapter containing the
proofs begins thus :
"That the name Scotia or Scotland originally belonged to Ireland, and continued to belong to that
country alone till a late period, begins now to be acknowledged even by the most prejudiced Scottish
writers. This fact clearly appears from the following numerous authorities, while that the names Scoti,
Scotia, were ever applied to the present Scots and Scotland before the reign of Malcolm II. or
beginning of the eleventh century, not one authority can be produced. The first mention of the name
Piks is by Eumcnius the panegyrist, who says, as fully quoted, part iii. chap. i., that before the time of
Julius Ceasar, Britain, that is, the part of Britain south of the Forth and Clyde, or Roman Britain, was
only invaded by the Piks and Irish, Pictio mode et Hibevitia. This was written in the year 296 and the
name of Scots was still unknown. For as the Britons, before they knew the indigenal appellation of the
Picts, termed them Caledonians: so before they knew the indigenal name of that superior people in
Ireland whose warlike spirit burst upon them, they called them Hiberni or Irish, from the name of the
island. Soin later times the pirates of Scandinavia were all called Normans before the indigenal names
of Danes, Norwegians. Swedes came to be known."
This opening passage requires several comments. In the first place, it shows that his arguments are
based upon false premises. That the Irish were known by the name of Hiberni, or that their country was
called Hibernia, when Eumenius wrote, is assumed to have been the case without any good authority,
Of course in the interpolated writers and the legends of the bards it is made to appear that Ireland was
called Hibernia soon after the creation, but no reliable authority can be got for the fact earlier than the
twelfth century. Besides, we have the distinct assurance of a writer of the eleventh century, Ethelwerd,
that Ireland previously to that period was called Bretannis. With regard to the name Hibernis being an
indigenal name for the Irish at the time Enmenius wrote. Pinkerton is wrong also. In most, if not all,

the ancient Irish MS., when the natives are alluded to, they are called men of En or Erin. Hibernis was
not even a foreign name for the Irish before the twelfth century. Several Roman, Spanish, and English
writers appear to use it in this connection, but their works have evidently been tampered with; and they
are contradicted on this point by writers who escaped that plague, who all place Hibernia to the north
of Britain.
Continuing his proofs, Pinkerton adds:"But the name of Scots is first mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus at the year 360, and not as
belonging to most ancient times, as Eumenius mentions that of Picti but as present and immediate
under that year. In Britaniis com Scotorum, Pictorumqu, gentiam ferarum cecurus, &c. Thus on the
very first mention of the name Scotti, it is joined with that of Picti, just as Hiberni had been sixty-four
years before by Eumenius. This, cornpared with the subsequent authorities, affords a clear inference
that, from the very first, Hiberni and Scotti were synonymous; that Ireland was Scotia, and the Irish
Scoti. Indeed it is risible to see some of our writers suppose that such a small country as Scotland
could suffice for two grand nations, the Piks and Scots while England had but one, the Britanni; Gaul
but Galli; Spain only Hispani. Do they imagine that the noble island of Ireland, a country superior in
size, and far more in fertility and population to Scotland, was quite invisible to the Romans, or that by
another miracle the inhabitants of a country so very near Britain never invaded this island? At 364
Ammianus mentions Picti Saxonesque et Scotti et Attacotti. At 368, Picti, Attacotti, and Scotti. The
former passage no more implies the Scots to have been settled in Britain than the Saxons. And the
Attacotti, or, as shown above, those Scots who settled in Pictland, are specially distinguished from tho
Scotti proper, or those of Ireland."
Here again we have a fine example of arguing in a circle. The inference from the passages cited,
compared with later writers sayings, that Hiberni and Scotti were synonymous names for the same
people, is just and true; but neither the words of Emenius nor those of Amminnus give any ground for
concluding that "Ireland was Scotia, and the Irish Scoti." It is scarcely worth while to notice the
nonsense that follows about the grand nations. Nobody surely irnagines that Ireland was unknown in
the time of Ammianus, but some people believe and say that ancient Irish history has been so obscured
by a mass of fables that the true name and condition of its inhabitants at that period have been lost
sight of, Ammianus mention on the Saxons at 364 might certainly give colour to the suggestion that is
thrown out regarding it; but it might also imply that the Picts were not settled in Britain either. As he
mentions both Picts and Scots together at 360, 364, and 368, while he only names the Saxons once,
this goes far to support the belief that the Picts and Scots were both settled in North Britain at the time
of which he is writing.
Our authors second proof is easily disposed of. It is as follows :"Ethicus, the cosmographer, or
whoever wrote the work in his name, belongs to time same period; and says, Hibernia a Scotorum.
gentibus Coliture, Ireland is inhabited by the nations of the Scots." This is open to the same objection
as the preceding. Although there is no reason to disbelieve Ethicus assertion that Hibernia was
inhabited by Scots at the time he wrote, this does not necessarily imply that Ireland was also peopled
by them. It is very likely that Iceland was inhabited by Scots at the time Ethicus wrote, as an
opportunity may afterwards be taken to show, and that this was the Hibernia of that writer.
His third proof tells against; rather than in favour of, his theory:Claudian also, about the year 390, has this line,Scotorum cumulos flevit glacialus Ierne, Icy Ireland
wept the slaughtered heaps of Scots. And again, Totum cum Scotus lernum movit, When the Scot

moves all Ireland. No reader needs to be told that Ierne is the Greek name of Ireland; and all
interpreters, Barthius, Gesner. &c., agree in this. NoteClaudian errs in supposing Ireland a very cold
country. He only judged from its northern situation. Those among us who have dreamed of StrathErne, a valley in Scotland, only show that national prejudice, like that overweening self-love from
which it really springs, is a species of fanaticism."
It has to be remarked here that an author living in the eighteenth century convicts an author of the
fourth century of a mistake in describing lerne as icy or cold. Writers of Claudians time no doubt
made mistakes like other people, but it is probable that many of those attributed to them are only
erroneous conclusions of people who cannot possibly have anything approaching to the opportunities
of knowing the names and condition of countries in ancient times which they had. But let us try to find
out whether Claudian was really mistaken when he called lerne cold. Strabo, a contemporary of Julius
Ceasar, and an eminent Greek geographer, says, as quoted below, that the temperature of lerne was so
cold that it was scarcely possible to exist in it, and that the people who lived there "lived miserably and
like savages on account of the cold." We learn from" Chamberss Encyclopedia" (Art. Strabo) that
Strabo makes copious use of his predecessors, and quotes Julius Ceasar. If he had dissented from that
writer regarding the temperature of Hibernia, which was the Roman name of the island known to the
Greeks as lerne, he would have said so, as he does when speaking of the situation assigned to Thule by
Pytheas. It may be taken for granted, therefore, that Strabo and Julius Ceasar and other writers who
place Ierne and Hibernia north of Britain considered it a cold country, and that Claudian was right in
calling lerne icy. Whether Claudian was refering to Iceland or to Scotland by the name of lerne is
somewhat uncertain. Iceland answers better to the term icy and to Strabos description of lerne, while
Scotland would harnronise better with the context of Clandians narrative. Perhaps both countries were
called lerne by the Greeks and Hibernia by the Romans. There is direct and reliable testimony to prove
that Scotland was once called Eyryn, a name still surviving in Strath-Earn, and, notwithstanding
Pinkertons jesting remarks, this is evidently the district which would be moved by the Scots, and
which wept over them when killed by the Romans, probably in this very valley of the Earn.
The following proof is the only one in favour of Pinkertons theory, but it will be found to he
worthless ;"In the next century Orosius has Hibernia insula inter Britannium et Hispaniam.... a
Scotorum gentibus colitur. Ireland, an island between Britain arid Spain, . . . is inhabited by the Scotch
nations. The letters of St. Patrick, published by Usher, also clearly mark the Scoti in Ireland only. The
Scots to whom Patrick was sent are perfectly known to have been the Irish.
The quotation from the works of Orosius is the only instance cited which clearly identifies Ireland with
the Hibernia of the ancients. As it is contradicted by several more authentic arid reliable writers, it is
probably an interpolation of the monks. Orosius work is said to be a trivial, inaccurate, uncritical
miscellany of facts, culled from such second-rate authorities as Justin and Eutropius. The letters of St.
Patrick mark the Scoti in Hibernia not in Ireland, and that the Scots to whom he was sent were the
Irish, there is no evidence of a satisfactory nature to show, as an opportunity may afterwards be taken
to prove.
It is significant to find that Orosius and Eusebius are the only two writers who state that the wall built
by Severus was 132 miles long. To those acquainted with the subject it is well known what an amount
of controversy this statement has caused. Many writers have even identified Hadrians wall as the one
built by Severus on the strength of it; but Dr. Skene, founding upon the older authorities, Aurelius
Victor, Eutropius, and especially Spartian, fixes its site near the wall of Antonine. It is only by ignoring
the testimony of Orosius and Eusebius that he has been enabled to fix upon its true site. It is worth
remarking that if the passage of Spartian referring to Severus wall had been lost, it would have been

impossible to have done this, and it may thus be seen how the history of Scotland could otherwise be
tampered with than by fabrication. Large portions of the works of ancient authors referring to Britain
are said to have been lost, but when account is taken of the extensive manipulation which the early
history of Scotland has undergone, is it not more likely that they have been destroyed? There is a part
of Amniianus work lost which Pinkerton believed would have done a great deal to elucidate the early
history of Scotland.
Pinkertons next proof is as follows :"In the sixth century, Cogitosus, author of the Life of St. Brigid,
as quoted by Usher, sufficiently evidences in different places the Scots to be Irish. Gildas marks the
Picts as invading the Britons ab aguilone, from the north, the Scots, a circio, from the north-west.
For they always passed from the north of Ireland to join the Picts; but no part of present Scotland is on
the north-west of Roman Britain, latterly extending to the Clyde."
Not having seen Ushers quotations front the Life of St. Brigid it is impossible to deal with this
sentence further than by saying, that had the evidences there given been stronger than those already
produced, they would have been transcribed by Pinkerton. The west of Scotland is sometimes
represented as the place where the Scots first settled in Scotland, but no trustworthy evidence in favour
of such a view is forthcoming; and if the words a circio refer to the north-west, this is not the only
place where Gildas works present an appearance of having been tampered with. There is some
uncertainty, however, as to what direction a cireco points, and it is therefore not improbable that it was
an ancient term for the north-east, to which part of Scotland all the reliable evidence points as being
the first settlement of the Scots in that country.
The next proof is as follows:"In the seventh age Isidorus is most explicit, Scotia cadem et Hibernia
proxima , Britannia insula. Scotia, the same as Ireland, an island very near Britain. Adamnan, in his
Life of Columba, confirms the same throughout, for Columba sails from Scotia to Britain and Hyona
and from thence to Scotia, &c., &c., &c."
The same unwarranted identification of Ireland with Hibernia is here repeated, and it is needless to do
more than notice it. This passage of Isidorus might be taken to refer to Iceland, as Hibernia is there
called an island. But it will be afterwards shown that Scotland, north of the firths of Forth and Clyde,
was considered to be an island at a much later period than Isidorus time; and it is clearly separated by
water from the country south of these firths, which comprehended the Britain of the ancients, in maps
of the sixteenth or seventeenth century.
Hibernia is said to be first mentioned as being called Scotia by Isidore of Seville in 580; but the
following quotation will show that there is a probability of the statement being an interpolated passage,
especially when taken in conjunction with the fact that no author of any repute confirms it. Of course it
would not affect the point at issuethat present Ireland was called Scotiaeven if it were the case,
but the silence of all the best of the ancient writers, who would have been acquainted with such a fact
had it been true, is remarkable.
It is a significant fact that a spurious compilation called Isidorian Deeretals was introduced under the
name of Isidore of Seville as a part of the genuine collection known as his. In all these Decretals there
is a strong and systematic assumption of the Papal supremacy, Although the author, the place, and the
date of this singular forgery are still matter of uncertainty, It is impossible, says Dean Milnian, to
deny that, at least by citing without reserve or hesitation, the Roman pontiffs gave their deliberate

sanction to this great historic fraud.

It would be what might be expected that Isidore as well as Orosius, another Spanish historian, should
identify Scotia and ancient Hibernia with present Ireland, for their works could easily have been
manipulated to suit the views of those who tampered with the ancient history of Ireland and Scotland.

Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients

The instances cited from Adamnans work are not to the point either. According to the inference
supposed, if he had said that Columba sailed from Pictland to Britain then Pictland would have been
the same as Ireland. Better sentences for Pinkertons purpose could perhaps have been found
inAdamnans work, but not one which says that Scotia was another name for Ireland.
Another proof, or rather two proofs, follow :"Beda, speaking of Hibernia or Ireland, says Hex
Scotorum patria est, This is the native country of the Scots. And in passages innumerable his Scotia
is always Ireland, and his Scoti the Irish. Speaking of the Dalrendini, and their king Aidan, he calls
them Sotli qui sunt in Britannia, The Scois in Britain, as a special mark of distinction from the Scotti
or Irish, a term he sometimes puts absolutely. The Geographas Ravennas says, Hibernia qua; ut dictum
est, et Scotia appellatur."
The work called the "Ecclesiastical History" of England by Bede, which is held to be an authority on
the question at issue, will have to be dealt with separately, and as an endeavour will then be made to
show that it cannot be depended upon as the genuine work of Bede, and that it is interpolated for the
very purpose of identifying Ireland with the ancient Scotia, this may be deemed sufficient in the
meantime. With regard to the Geographas Ravennas testimony, Pinkerton himself furnishes the
refutation of this proof. He says that this geographer places Hibernia north of Britain. Ireland is not

north of Britain.
Pinkertons next series of proofs are as follows:"In the ninth century Eginhart, in his Life of Charlemagne, says Norwegi Hibernium,
Scotorum insulam, agressi, a Scotis in fugam conversi sunt,' The Norwegians invading Ireland, the
island of the Scots. It is certain, therefore, that the Irish alone are the Scots of Eginhart, and that the
correspondence he mentions between Charlemagne and the reges Scotorum, kings of the Scots, refers
solely to Ireland. That emperor procured learned men from Ireland, but did not probably know even the
existence of the Dalreudini, or British Scots. In the same age Rabanus Marus, bishop of Mentz, says in
his Martyrology, Natale Kiliani martyris, et duorum sociorum ejus, qui ab Hibernia, Scotorum
insula, venientes, &c. Walafrid Strabo, in his Life of St Gallus, also repeatedly shows Ireland to be the
Scotia. The monk of St. Gall, in his history of Chamlenmagne, also says of the famous Clemens and
Albinus, founders of the University of Paris, Contigit duos Scotus de Hibernia, cum mercatoribus
Britannis, ad litus Galia devenire vivas et in secularibus, et in sacris scripuris, incomparalaliter
erudition, It happened that two Scots of Ireland came to the French coast with British merchants;
those men were incomparably skilled both in secular and sacred letters. King Alfreds Scotland is
always Ireland."
Most of the reasoning in this extract is the result of the false premise with which Pinkerton began his
proofs. If Hibernia and the island now known as Ireland were different countries in the ninth century,
all the conclusions founded upon the quotations given in this paragraph are unsound. Besides, it is
a well-authenticated fact that both Iceland and Scotland were invaded by foreigners in the ninth
century. Some historians, not on very clear grounds, assert that it was Danes who invaded Scotland
then; but the testimony which describes the Norwegian colonisation of Iceland at tIme same period has
never been questioned. We are also told, on good authority, that before the settlement of the
Norwegians in Iceland the island was inhabited by a people called Papae. These men were lettered
Christians, for they left books behind them when expelled by the Norwegians; and in all likelihood
these are the people called Scots in the quotations transcribed in Pinkertons eighth series of proofs. In
addition to this, the early history of Iceland favours the belief that it would then be able to produce
men skilled in secular and sacred letters, while that of Ireland discredits such a belief, as an
opportunity may afterwards be taken to show. These facts afford other objections to those previously
given against the identification of Ireland with the Hibernia of the ancients.
With regard to King Alfreds Scotland being always Ireland, this is not true. What Pinkerton evidently
refers to is, that he always renders the word Hibernia Scotland, as mentioned by Dr. Giles in his edition
of Bedes "Ecclesiastical History," published by Whittaker & Co., London, in 1343. If King Alfreds
translation of Bedes "Ecclesiastical l-Iistory," as it at present exists, could be depended upon as a
genuine work and free from interpolation, this would of course prove that Hibernia was also called
Scotia or Scotland; but there are several discrepancies in it which cause it to be viewed with suspicion,
and the fact that no reliable writer ever states that Hibernia was called Scotia is not in favour of the
authenticity of the passages referred to. Besides, it can be shown that nearly all, if not all, the passages
in Bedes "Ecclesiastical History" which mention Hibernia are interpolations, consequently they must
also be interpolations in the translation ascribed to King Alfred. In his Saxon translation of Orosius,
Ibernia is identified with Ireland, and is said to be known also under the name of Scotland; but if the
original edition of Orosius work was interpolated in order to make people believe that present Ireland
was once called Scotia, it is not likely that this translation of it would escape similar treatment at the
hands of the monks, to whom it would be well known.

There is a passage in Alfreds translation of Orosius which seems to have escaped detection, and as it
has an important bearing upon the subject at issue, it may as well he referred to, it is the one containing
a description of Otlieres voyage from the North Pole to the Baltic Sea. This is an addition of the
Kings to Orosius work, and this may account for its being overlooked by the manipulators. It contains
the word Iraland, which is repeated, so that there is not likely to have been a mistake in the spelling.
But the country known to King Alfred under this name was evidently not present Ireland, but Iceland.
This proves that Iceland was called Ireland as well as Hibernia.
Another proof follows :In the tenth century Notkerus Balbulus, in his Martyrology, speaking of
Columba, V. Id. Jan., has in Scotia, insula Hibernia, depositio, S. Columba, In Scotia, the island
Ireland, the placing of the relics of St. Columba. The remarks made in treating of King Alfreds
Hibernia prove that these words in italics refer to Scotland. In fact, they appear to contain nothing else
than a short account of the placing of Columbas relics in Dunkeld. If they are intended to signify that
Columba was buried in Scotland or Hibernia at the time of his death, they must refer to Hii, the island
in which his principal monastery was built.
Pinkertons next proof furnishes very little support to his views:"In the eleventh century Marianus Scotus, at the year 686, has Sanctus Kilianus Scotus de Hibernia
insula, &c., Saint Kilian, a Scot of Ireland. Hermanus Contractus, in his Chronicle at the year 812
hasClassis Danorum Hiberniam invadens a Scotis victa est, 'A fleet of Danes invading Ireland is
vanquished by the Scots. Rhegino, speaking of the same, says, Anno Dominicae Incarnationis
DCCCXlI. Classis Nortmannorum Hiberniam ineulam agressa commissoque cum Scotis praelio, multi
ex cis interfecti cetari fuga lapsi sunt. A writer of this century, published by Du Chesne, says at the
year 846, Scothi a Northomannis, per annos plurimos, tributarii efficiuntur, The Scots are rendered
tributary to the Norwegians for many years. This passage, it is believed, our most zealous writers will
not choose to apply to the present Scots, but to the conquest of the Irish by the Danes and Norwegians
at this time. The same historian at the year 848 has, Scothi super Northmannis irrnentes, auxillo Deo
victores eoes e suis finibus propellunt. Uderex Scothorum ad Karolam, pacis et amicitive gratia,
legatis cum maneribus mittit, viam sibi petendi Romam concedi deposens. This was Melachlin, king of
Ireland, as Ware justly remarks, who in that year obtained a victory over the Danes; but they soon
returned, so that the tribute continued for many years in spite of this victory. The Annals of Ulster
date this victory 847."
Marianus Scotus is perhaps the worst author Pinkerton could have brought forward to support his
arguments. This writer says he was a Scot, born in Scotia; but he nowhere says Ireland was ever called
Scotia, as a historian living in his time would have said had the name of Scotia been given to Scotland
for the first time at that period, as is alleged by Pinkerton. Marianus testifies rather that Scotland was
the only Scotia, and the country in which he was born, for under the year 1034 he mentions the death
of Malcolm as king of Scotia, and under 1040 he speaks of Duncan, king of Scotia, and under 1050 of
Macbeth, king of Scotia. These were not kings of Ireland. Interpolated works like Florence of
Worcesters "Annals" make it appear, of course, that Marianus was born in Ireland; but if this were the
case, it would be remarkable to find that this eminent Scot and celebrated historian takes no notice of
the alleged transference of the name of his native country from Ireland to Scotland, and yet refers to
the latter only under the name of Scotia.
With regard to the Quotations about the Danes or Northmen invading Hibernia in the first half of the
ninth century, nothing in early Scottish history is better authenticated than the ravages committed by
the Gentibus, as they are called by the "Annals of Ulster," in Scotland at that time, as noticed by Dr.

Pinkerton thus concludes his proofs:"Nay, in the twelfth century St. Bernard, in his Life of St. Malachy, calls Ireland Scotia and the Irish
Scotti. For he calls Malachy Hibernus, and after says, Ab ulteriori Scotia usque concurrit ille ad
mortem. And telling the aversion of the Irish to Malachys building a chapel of stone at Benchor when
wood had alone been used before, he makes them say, Scoti sumnus non Galli. Giraldus Cambrensis,
also speaking of the Irish, says, Dicti sunt et Gaideli, dicti sunt et Scoti."
The same objection which has been taken to other proofs applies here also; but even if St. Bernards
Life of St. Malachy identified Ireland with Scotia, a saints life of the twelfth century, which in all
likelihood contains more falsehood than truth, could not be allowed to settle the matter. Giraldus
Cambrensis is not speaking of the inhabitants of Ireland when he says the Gaideli were also called
Seed. He is speaking of the Picts of his own day, now represented by the Highlanders of the present
time, and they are even yet sometimes called Gaels as well as Scots. Besides, the Gaideli of Giraldus
were not the Scots, but only called Scots because they were born in Scotland, just as those who speak
the Gaelic language are called Scots by us, though they are not, strictly speaking, Scots. And Pinkerton
knew this, for two pages farther on he says "The people of ancient Argyle...were not Scoti but
Gaideli, as the Chronicon Pictorum and the Descriptio Albaniae show."
Other five pages farther on he again refers to this subject thus:"The Chronicon Pictorum calls the eastern inhabitants of Scotland uniformly Scoti ; but the western,
Gaideli, by a special distinct name. The Descriptio Albaniae says, Montes qui dividunt Scociam ab
Arrogaithel, The mountains which divide Scotland from Argyll;' and it after speaks of Argyle as
possessed by the Gaeli or Hibernesses, quite a different people from the Scots. And it shall presently be
shown that the Scots of the eleventh century and of this day are quite a different people from the
British Scots of Adamnan and Beda."
It was an easy task for him to show that the Scots of the eleventh century and of this day are a different
people from the British Scots of Adamnan and Beda, for the latter are only an imaginary people,
invented by the monkish interpolators who lived many hundred years after the authors whose works
they have tampered with.
All these proofs of Pinkertons, it will be seen, hang upon the identity of ancient Hibernia with Ireland,
and as the only testimony produced in favour of this being the case is that of a weak, credulous, and
inaccurate Spanish historian of the fifth century, it will perhaps be allowed that this is a very
insufficient foundation for the assumption that Ireland was the ancient Scotia. It might seem to some
people that the objections brought forward here against the arguments of Pinkerton have clearly
established the fact that Scotland was the only Scotia; but as the idea that Ireland was the ancient
Scotia has now been thoroughly engrafted in the history of Scotland, it will be requisite, to dispel the
doubts of some writers, to go over the whole available grounds which support the views entertained by
the present writer.
In endeavouring to ascertain what country or countries went under the name of Hibernia or lerne in the

ninth and preceding centuries, it will be necessary to show that Iceland was not always known by its
present designation.
The account given of the origin of the name of Iceland is so mixed up with the usual incredible
circumstances, that there is every reason to believe that it is a monkish invention. The story of the three
ravens which Floki took with him from Sweden to enable him to discover the island is "evidently
copied from the history of the deluge in Genesis."
As the Scots apparently came from this island to Scotland, it is not surprising to find the interpolators
who were commissioned to darken and obscure the early history of the Scots at work here also. But the
fraud which was committed to make it appear that Iceland was known by that name before it really was
so called having already been discovered and exposed by the Icelandic writers, a summary of the
method adopted and the way they have laid it bare is sufficient for the purpose in view.
La Peyrres "Account of Iceland," dated Copenhagen, December 18, 1644, contains the following:I have by me two Chronicles of Greenland written in Danish, one in verse, the other in prose. That
written in verse begins uith the year 770, when it says Greenland was first discovered. The other
assures us that the person that went first from Norway into Greenland passed through Iceland, and tells
us expressly that Iseland was inhabited at that time; whence it is evident that Iseland was not first
inhabited in the year 874. Angrim Jonas will perhaps object that my Danish Chronicles dont agree
with that of Iceland, which says that Greenland was not discovered till the year 982, nor inhabited till
986. But I must tell him that my Danish Chronicles were founded upon the authority of Ansgarius, a
great prelate, a native of France, who has been acknowledged the first apostle of the Northern world.
He was made Archbishop of Hamborough by Lewis the Mild; his jurisdiction extended from the river
Elbe all over the frozen sea; the Emperors patent constituting the said Ansgarius the first Archbishop
of Hamborough is dated in the year 834, and was confirmed by Pope Gregory IV.s Bull in 835. The
true copy both of the patent and of the Bull is to be seen in the first book of Pontanus Danish History
of the year 834, where it is expressly said in the patent, That the gates of the Gospel are set open, and
that Jesus Christ had been revealed both in Iceland and Greenland, for which the Emperor gives his
most humble thanks to God."
The patent or praecept of King Louis the Mild (AD. 814840), and the Bull of Pope Gregory IV. as
quoted by Pontanus, certainly bear out La Peyrn's affirmation, but Mr. Burton considered it possible,
that as Greenland is mentioned in these documents along with the islands and terra firma of Europe, it
might be the name of some district in the Scancanavian peninsula, and that Iceland might occur under
similar conditions. To ascertain this, he procured an official copy of the Gregorian Bull, and found
there the words quoted by Pontanus; but the Very Rev. Father OCallaghan, Principal of the English
College, Rome, who furnished him with the copy, said that he had carefully examined the fourth
volume of the Bollandists, and found that they agreed with Mabillon in omitting mention of Iceland
and Greenland in their version of the Bull. Mr. Burton then gives Mabillons version, and also the
priecept as it is contained in the Acta Sanctorum, showing that they both agree in omitting these and
other countries, which are found in the versions given by Pontanus, and he adds, " It is curious to
remark that the same tampering has been attributed to the precept as to the Bull, and it is not easy to
divine the mode in which the double fraud was so successfully effected." Mr. Ion A. Hjaltalin, as
quoted by Mr. Burton, thus refers to the subject :
"Unless a copy of the letter of Ludwig and the Bull of Gregory, of a date anterior to the times of
Adalbert. can be produced, I do not see any impossibility in all the copies mentioned, the earliest of

which dates from the thirteenth century, being derived from a copy falsified by Bishop Adalhbrt ; at
any rate, if all the copies can be derived from a true one, as Dr. Perz seems to think, they can as well be
derived from a false one. The Bullarium does not help us (as we have only the older ones, not that of
834), as it does not state from what MS. the Bull is printed. But even if the Bull is proved true, which
can only be done by producing the original, or at least a copy anterior to Bishop Adalbert, it would
hardly establish the fact that Iceland was known by that name, prior to its Norwegian discovery; for
many of the names mentioned in these documents, such as Gronlondon, Seriderindon, and
Halsingaldia, are Perverted Norwegian districts, and I would be inclined to look upon Islandon in the
same way. But in my own mind I am perfectly satisfied that Professor Dahlman is right in pronouncing
the interpolated passages as forgeries."
These extracts clearly establish the probability of Iceland being known by another name at an early
period of time. Many people, however, might probably at once conclude, from the numerous vague
assertions that have been made to this effect, that it was the country known as Thule; and it will be
necessary, therefore, to show that this name was applied to Norway and Sweden. The account given of
Thule by Procopius leaves no doubt of this. He was an eminent Byzantine historian of Caesarea in
Palestine, who went to Constantinople and acquired a high reputation there as a professor of rhetoric,
As private secretary to Belisarius, he accompanied him in all his important campaigns in Asia, Africa,
and Italy. He was born about the beginning of the sixth century, and died about 565. He is said to write
with the clearness, insight, and fulness of knowledge that might be expected of a man who had been an
eye-witness of much that he narrates, and who had occupied a position that fitted him thoroughly to
understand what he had seen. He is the only early writer whose description of Thule can be depended
upon. The Roman writers are all open to the suspicion of having been tampered with; and besides, their
descriptions of Thule are too indefinite. They may be found gathered together in the first volume of
Burtons "Ultima Thule."
Procopins description of Thule is as follows:"The island is ten times larger than Britain, and far to the north. The greater part of it is desert. The
inhabited region contains thirteen great peoples, each governed by its own king." After giving an
account of a curious phenomenon with regard to the sun witnessed there, and describing some of the
customs of the people, whom he styles barbarians, he adds: "The Thulitae adore several gods and
demons, some of whom they believe to inhabit the sky, others the air; some are on the earth and in the
sea, while others of the smaller kind affect the rivers and springs. They often offer sacrifices and
immolate all manner of victims, the most acceptable being the first man captured in war; he is
sacrificed to Mars, the most powerful of their gods." The ancient name of Thule still lingers in the
Norwegian canton of Tyle-mark.
The above quotation dearly proves that Iceland was not the ancient Thule, as it cannot be said to be ten
times larger than Britain; and it is now left open to identify Iceland with the ancient Hibernia or lerne,
if it suits the descriptions given of that country by the ancients. As there seems reason to believe that
Scotland also went under these names, and it is not easy to say which country is sometimes referred to
when Hibernia or lerne is spoken of, it may not be out of place, before proceeding to show that Iceland
may have been the Hibernia of the ancients, to produce authority for believing that Scotland was once
called lerne. John Elder, clerk, and a Reddeshanke, writing to King Henry VIII., thus speaks of what he
calls the Yrisehe Lords of Scotland, commonly called Reddeshankes, and by historiographers Picts:Scotland, before the incoming of Albanactus, Brutus second son, was inhabited, as we read in ancient
Yrisehe stories, with giants and wild people, without order, civility, or manners, and spoke none other

language but Yrische; and was then called Eyryn veagg, that is to say, Little Ireland, and the people
were called Eyrvnghe, that is to say, Ireland men. But after the incoming of Albanactus, in reducing
them to order and civility, they changed the foresaid name, Eyryn veagg, and called it Albon, and their
own names also, and called them Albonyghe, which two Yrische words, Albon, that. is to say,
Scotland, and Albonvghe, that is to say, Scottish men, be derived front Albanactus, our first governor
and king which derivation the Papistical cursed spirituality of Scotland will not hear in no manner of
ways, nor confess that ever such a king named Albanactus reigned there. The which derivation all the
Yrische men of Scotland, which be the ancient stock, cannot nor will not deny. But our said bishops
derive Scotland and themselves from a certain lady named Scota, which came out of Egypt, a
marvellous hot country, to recreate herself amongst them in the cold air of Scotland, which they cannot
affirm by any probable ancient author."
Dr. Skene says Elders account of the origin of the name Alban is the legendary story contained in our
earliest documents before the chronicles were tampered with. This may therefore be considered a
trustworthy statement so far as it does not partake of a legendary character, and this cannot be said to
be the case with the assertion that Scotland was formerly called Eyryn veagg. The name Earn is still
used to designate a large district of central Scotland, Strath-earn, as well as a river and a loch in the
same locality. And Dr. Skene says the form of the name of the river Earn, as it appears in St. Berchans
Prophecy, is identical with that of Erin, or Ireland. But while this confirms the supposition that Eyryn
was also an ancient name of Scotland, it must be borne in mind that it may have been called Eyryn
veagg, or little, not to distinguish it from Ireland, but from Iceland, which we hope to be able to
identify with the great lerne of one at least of the Greek writers. When the name of Erin was first given
to Ireland it would be difficult to say, but there is reason to think that it was not so called till after the
eleventh century. In addition to Scotland being called Eyryn or lerne as well as Iceland, it seems
probable that it also went under the name of Hibernia, as well as the northern island. This might easily
be accounted for if it can be proved that the Scots originally came from Iceland to Scotland, and an
endeavour may afterwards be made to do this. Settlers often give the name of the country or district
from which they came to their new settlements.
The earliest known allusion to lerne is contained in a work called "Argonautica," and ascribed to
Orpheus, a Greek bard or priest in the service of Zagreus, the Thracian Dionysius. He is also spoken of
in Greek records as the first musician, and the inventor of letters and the heroic metreof everything,
in fact, which was supposed to have contributed to the civilisation and initiation into a more humane
worship of the Deity among the primitive inhabitants of his native country, Thracia, and all Greece. To
this task he is said to have devoted his life after his return with the Argonauts, whom he accompanied
in their expeditions. These particulars are given here, as they indicate a remote connection in several
ways with the early Scots legends. The "Argonautica" of Orpheus describes the voyage of the
Argonauts, which was probably undertaken for the purpose of discovering unknown countries. It
speaks of them sailing round the north of Europe, and on their way south they are said to have passed
the island Iernida, and then another island full of pine trees. It is improbable that the Argonauts could
have passed an island full of pine-trees after passing present Ireland, which some writers have taken to
be the lernida of the "Argonautica ;" but if we consider Scotland to be the island full of pine-trees, a
description applicable to it, we are led to conclude that lernida was to the north of present Scotland,
and that Iceland was the island so designated by Orpheus. Whether he or the Argonauts landed on
Iceland we are not informed, but it is remarkable to find that a close connection between Icelandic
language, poetry, and customs, and the language, poetry, and customs of the East has been indicated by
several writers.
The geographical details in the various accounts of the voyage of the Argonauts are said to vary so

much that it is impossible to determine whether the expedition sailed north, east, or west from its
starting-point. Not much reliance can therefore be placed on the reference to the situation of lernida
contained in the account of the voyage; and it is given here only because it harmomises slightly with
the Icelandic traditions regarding the arrival of Odin, and the introduction of arts, religion, and
civilisation into Iceland by him. It may be taken for granted, however, that if the Argonauts passed an
island called Iernida, it was not Ireland, but Iceland, as all the more reliable references of later writers
tend to prove.
Aristotle is said to call the British islands by the names of Albion and lerne; but as he wrote in the
fourth century B. C., not much dependence can be placed upon his statement, especially when it is
unsupported by later or more trustworthy authority. As early as the second century B.C., if not earlier,
the British isles were called by Greek writers Bitannia; and in all likelihood, if the truth could be got at,
they would be known to the Romans by the same name, as all the later and more reliable statements
regarding the geographical knowledge of the ancients tends to show.
Julius Caesar, who invaded Britain about 54 B.C., and added it to the Roman empire, is one of the
earliest writers who gives anything like a description of the island. It is certainly not very intelligible as
it now stands; but it has to be remembered that he was a Roman writer, and his writings would be
accessible to those who have tampered with the history of ancient Hibernia. Notwithstanding this,
something may perhaps be made out of it if looked at in the light afforded by the descriptions of later
Roman and Greek writers. It is as follows:The island is triangular; one side of which lies opposite to Gaul. Of this side the angle which is in
Kent, whither the ships from Gaul are generally steered, points towards the east, and the other to the
south. The extent of this side is about 500 thousand paces. The other looks towards Spain and the west
on which is situated Hibernia, less by half, as is imagined, than Britain, but equally distant thence as
Britain is from Gaul. In the middle of the intervening space is an island called Mona. The length of this
side, according to the common opinion, is DCC thousand paces. The third lies towards the north,
beyond which, there is no land but the angle of that side is principally directed to Germany. The extent
of this side is computed. to be DCCC thousand paces."
There can be little doubt that Ceasars Britain includes only the country south of the Firths of Forth and
Clyde, and Ireland, as suggested by Goodall. Procopius makes Britain longer from east to west than
from north to south. Cresar evidently did the same. Strabo also makes Britain longer from east to west
than from north to south. Ethelwerd, an English historian of the tenth century, whose work has
apparently escaped the vigilance of the interpolators, as already mentioned, states that Julius Caesar
called Ireland Bretannis; and Caesar is followed here also by Stephanus Byzantinus and Procopius.
Both these writers are said to speak of Britain as consisting of two islands, called Brettia and Bretania.
Probably the words they wrote were Britain and Britanis, meaning Britain and Little Britain, Ireland is
said to have been called Little Britain by Ptolemy; and we have thus good corroborative testimony to
prove the truth of Ethelwerds words. The country south of the Forth would be called Great Britain to
distinguish it from Ireland, a name now given to Scotland and England together. It will be readily
granted that if Ireland and Britain south of the Forth were considered to be one country, an author
would be quite correct in saying that its greatest extent was from east to west.

Ireland not the Hibernia of the Ancients

It is perhaps now impossible to ascertain whether Caesar meant Scotland or Iceland by Hibernia.
Perhaps the word rendered Spain in the translation may have been Ibernia. Tf this were so, and we
could believe that the word Casar used for north was tampered with and made to represent the west
instead, there would be some truth in his saying that one of the sides of Britain (England and Ireland)
lay towards Hibernia and Ibernia, or Scotland and Iceland. At any rate, there was an island called
AEmona between Roman Britain and Scotland, which may help to confirm this interpretation of
Caesars description. Pliny, another Roman writer, is said to place Hibernia super Britaniam. Super
means above or north, and it will be shown in the following pages that most of the ancient writers place
Hibernia or lerne to the north of Britain also, or speak of it as a very cold country. This agreement
shows very clearly that Caesars description has been tampered with.
This interpretation of Caesars text raises another difficulty, as it represents Scotland as an island; but
there is fortunately abundant and decisive evidence to trove that Scotland was considered to be an
island by foreigners till a late period of time; and it is possible it may once have been an island, for
archaeology tells us of boats and even skeletons of whales found from ten to twenty feet deep between
the Firths of Forth and Clyde; and Gildas, a native of that neighbourhood, evidently considered the
country north of the Firths of Forth and Clyde an island. Stephanus Byzantinus, who, as already stated,
spoke of Britain and Britannis as one country but two islands, also mentions Albion as a separate
island. Albion has sometimes been taken to apply to England, but there is no reliable evidence to bear
this out. The most trustworthy information enables us to say that it was only a name for Scotland north
of the Forth. Perhaps the most satisfactory evidence that Scotland was taken for an island is found in
the National Library at Paris. In that building there are hung up several maps of the world drawn up by
Spanish and Portuguese geographers in the seventeenth century. On these Scotland and Britain south of
the Firths of Forth and Clyde are clearly marked as entirely separated from each other by water. Other
authorities may be cited to show how widely the opinion was diffused that Scotland was an island.
Abraham Peritsol, who flourished in the sixteenth century, and wrote a work in the Hebrew language
called Itinera Mundi, often mentions Scotland as an island, and distinguishes it from England and
Ireland. His translator, Thomas Hyde says that "in the 2d, 7th, and 12th chapters of that work, Scotland
is plainly mentioned as a distinct island, contrary to the common way of speaking. Thus the Nubian
geographer, in climate vii., part second, The island of Scotland borders upon England. So that though
our Hebrew writer has committed a mistake, he was not singular in his opinion, but was misled by
those who wrote before him." it is necessary to add that the Nubian geographer describes Ireland under
that name, and not as Hibernia. Joseph Gorionides, said to be a late writer, says:"The Roman empire reached to the ends of the earth, in Britain as far as the ocean, and over all
Scotland, which is surrounded with water, the inhaibitants of which, like Anakims, are tall of stature
and warlike, and are taught to fight their enemies either with the chariot or bow. Against these the
Roman general led his forces; but the Scots assembling together and holding a council of war, cried out
with a unanimous voice, Let us fight against our enemies, and rather die bravely in the field than live

the slaves of foreign masters. But the Romans overcame them, and reduced them to subjection."
Although Gorionides calls Ireland neither Hibernia nor Scotland, but Ireland, yet the above passage has
been made to apply to that country, because Scotland is there represented as an island.
A geologist says:"There is satisfactory evidence to prove that the bed of the Firth of Forth and the land on both sides of
it. have been raised twenty feet or more at an epoch which, though very recent, geologically speaking,
is probably long anterior to the records of history. . . . The skeleton of a whale, pretty entire, was found
a few years ago at Airthry, about two miles north-east of Stirling. It was embedded in a fine clay, about
twenty feet above the level of the highest tides. About seven miles farther west, near the head of BlairDrummond Moss, part of the skeleton of another whale was found resting on peat, covered by the fine
clay called Carse clay, and which in its turn was covered by peat-moss. At various parts of the Carse of
Stirling and Falkirk, also, sea-shells are found in the soil. These facts clearly show either that the land
has risen or the sea subsided. But a subsidence of the sea, if it takes place, must be universal and eyery
where equal and since this is inconsistent with what is known of other countries, the only admissible
conclusion is, that the bed of the Forth, and tha land on both sides of it, have been elevated, The
position of the oyster-bed at Seafield implies a change of level of not less than thirty feet; and from
observing the heights at which tidal action is visible on the ancient coast-line, I am led to think that a
rise of thirty or thirty-five feet is most consistent with the phenomena generally. . . . Marks of a similar
character are numerous on the west coast of Scotland. On the shores of Arran I found almost everywhere an ancient beach in the shape of a low platform....Caves have been hollowed out by the ancient
tide in the precipice to the height of thirty or thirty-five feet above the present high-water mark."
The next writer whose notice of Hibernia, or Ierne, as he calls it, is worth reproducing, is Strabo. He
was a Greek geographer, and lived between fifty and twenty years B.C. In the introduction to his works
he thus refers to lerne :
"Pytheas, who has given us the history of Thule, is known to be a man upon whom no reliance can be
placed; and other writers who have seen Britain and lerne, although they tell us of many small islands
round Britain, make no mention whatever of Thule. . . . Now from Marseilles to the centre of Britain is
not mere than 5000 stadia, and if from the centre of Britain we advance north not more than 4000
stadia, we arrive at a temperature in which it is scarcely possible to exist on account of the cold. Such
indeed is that of lerne. Consequently the far region in which Eratosthenes places Thule must be totally
Again, in book ii., chap. 5, par. 8, the following occurs:"It is true that Pytheas Massiliensis affirms that the farthest country north of the British islands is
Thule; in which place, he says, the summer tropic and the arctic circle are all one. But he records no
other particulars concerning it; whether Thule is an island, or whether it becomes habitable up to the
point where the summer tropic becomes one with the arctic circle. For myself, I fancy that the northern
boundaries of the habitable earth are greatly south of this. Modern writers tell us of nothing beyond
lerne, where the people live miserably and like savages on account of the severity of the cold. It is here,
in my opinion, the bounds of the habitable earth ought to be fixed."
It is plain from these passages that Strabo considered lerne to be a country placed so far north that it

was difficult to live in it on account of the cold. This description can by no means be made to apply to
Ireland, for Orosius and Bede speak of it as being so temperate that even snow seldom lay on the
ground. And it is nearly as inapplicable to Scotland; but it is probably an apt description, for the time in
which Strabo wrote, of Iceland. Besides, the distance given from Marseilles to the centre of Britain,
andfrom there to lerne, does not point to Scotland, but to Iceland, which is the only country which
comes near to the position indicated. Of course, if we take Britain to mean Scotland and England, the
distances given take us at once to Iceland; but it should be remembered that Strabo's Britain was
Caesars Britain, the middle of which may have been about the north of England. Although the distance
from here to Iceland is rather more than the distance between it and Marseilles, the distance as given
by Strabo from there to lerne would still go far beyond Scotland, which still confirms the suppositIon
that Iceland was his Ierne.
Strabo follows Ceasar in saying that Britain is triangular, and also in making it so wide from east to
west as to include Ireland. As he places lerne to the north of Britain, and Caesar Hibernia to the west,
this shows that Cesars MS. has been tampered with ; for had Strabo, who quotes Ceasar, dissented
from him in regard to the situation of Hibernia, he would have said so, as he does in the case of the
situation ascribed to Thule by Pytheas.
Juverna is another name said to be given by the ancients to present Ireland. It is used by the poet
Juvenal and Pomponius Mela. The former refers to it thus, as translated in Gibsons edition of
Camdens Britannia:"What though the Orcades have owned our power,
What though Juvernas tamed, and Britains shore,
That boasts the shortest night ?
It is implied here that Juverna was conquered by the Romans, but this cannot be said of Ireland, which
is allowed by all writers to have escaped invasion at the hands of that warlike people. Iceland cannot be
said to be the country here intended either, but Scotland may. Mela follow's Strabo and Pliny in placing
Juverna above or north of Britain. Some writers who support the Ireland-Scotia theory explain Melas
above as referring to the west rather than the north. But an ancient scholiast makes it manifest that the
Juverna of Juvenal and Mela was not Ireland by saying, "It is an island of Britain, placed in the ocean
not far from the thirty isles of tbe Orcades:" to which he adds, "in Hibernia. which is a part of Britain,
at the summer solstice there is no night, or next to none. We are told that the commentators on Strabo
are not a little puzzled that both he and Mela affirm that Hibernia is more broad than long : which is
true, sacs Xylander, if the breadth be computed from south to north." if this be the case, the country
which answers that description best is Iceland. Scotland, north of the Forth, is about as broad as it is
long; Ireland is longer than it is broad, but Iceland is broader than it is long.
Ptolemys Geography, a work compiled about the year 150, gives a description of Britain and Hibernia;
and if it could be trusted as an authority upon the subject at issue, it would at once settle the matter in
favour of Ireland being the Hibernia of the ancients. But it appears possible to make out a good case
against its authenticity, and even to prove that it has been tampered with for the purpose of obscuring
the early history of Scotland. The editions which are still extant are greatly corrupted, and that part of
the work applicable to Scotland especially so. Scotland is there made to bend to the east, as if
Caithness-shire were pulled down till it pointed due east from Fifeshire. England is a little better
treated, but it is surprising to find that lreland is pretty accurately described.

Referring to the errors in Ptolemys geography of Scotland, Dr. Skene says:The degrees of longitude are subject to a double correction. First, he places the island in too northern a
latitude ; and, secondly, his degrees of longitude are less than the true degree, and therefore the number
of degrees stated between two places is greater than they ought to be. Beside this, he has fallen into the
extraordinary error of turning the country north of the Firths of Forth and Clyde to the east instead of to
the north. This error mainly affects that part of the country between the Solway and the Clyde on the
west, and the Wear and the Forth on the eastthe coast on the west being unduly expanded, and that
on the east proportionately contracted. Beyond the Firths of Forth and Clyde the effect of this strange
error is to alter the points of the compass, and to substitute north for west, east for north, south for
west, and west for south. . . . Ptolemy places the Itunae AEstuarium on the west, and the mouth of the
river Vedra on the east, nearly opposite to each other ; and there is little difficulty in identifying the
former with the Solway Firth, and the latter with the river Wear. It is between these points and the river
Tay that the distortion of the country takes placethe north shore of the Solway Firth being continued
in the same northern line with the west coast of England, instead of stretching to the west at right
angles with it, the Mull of Galloway being its northern point, and the northern part of Scotland made to
extend towards the east. The effect is, that in the remaining part of his description the word east must
be understood as really north, and that the east coast, from the Wear to the Forth, is too much
circumscribed in distance, while the distances on the western side of the country are proportionately
made too great. It is remarkable that the part of the country thus affected by this extraordinary mistake
should be exactly the scene of Agricolas campaigns; and. it appears strange that the more northern part
of the country, the information as to which he must have derived from report and the observation of the
coast from the RRoman fleet, should surpass in accuracy that part of the country so often and so
recently traversed by Agricolas troops, with regard to which his means of correct knowledge might be
supposed to be so much greater. . In the peninsula between the Firths of Forth and Tay the distances arc
greatly exaggerated, and the area of the peninsula increased beyond all proportion. . . . By correcting
Ptolemys mistake, arid restoring the country between the Wear and the Solway on the south and the
Tay on the north to its proper proportion, we can identify the mouth of the river Alaunus with that of
the me, or Allan, in Northumberland while the next point mentioned by Ptolemy in proceeding along
the coast towards the norththe Boderia estuary is obviously the Bodotria of Tacitus, or the Firth
of Forth. . . . Proceeding northwards along the east coast, we find the peninsula of Fife unduly
extended in breadth. . . . Between Scotland and Ireland Ptolemy places the five islands which he terms
the five Ebudae arid the island of Monarina; but these islands are attached to his map of Ireland, to
which country he held them to belong, and their situation is not affected by the great mistake he
committed in the direction of Scotland . . Beyond the point of Ardnamurchan the western islands seem
to have been comparatively unknown. No islands are mentioned which correspond with the Outer
Hebrides, and the island of Skye seems only to have been known by name, as it is probably meant by
Ptolemys island of Scetis, which, however, he places apparently at random near the north-east
pronmomitory of Scotland. On the mainland three points only are noticed, . . but these points must
have apparently been taken from report, as it is difficult otherwise to account for his ignorance of the
true position of Skye and for the absence of all mention of the great headland of Cape Wrath, forming
the north-west point of Scotland.
It will be seen from the above statenments that it is a task of great difficulty to find out the true
situation of the tribes and their towns. In endeavouring to find their situation, it is necessary to
remember that most, of the editions of Ptolemys Geography which now exist are dated as being issued
about 1400 years after the work was compiled. Many errors of ignorant transcribers have therefore to
be allowed for. again, several of the editions vary so much from others that it is impossible to reconcile
their differences. And lastly, it is also necessary to bear in mind that much of the obscurity which

pervades Ptolemys geography of Scotland may be due to its being tampered with by those who have
done so much to obscure the early history of Scotland. The probability of this may be seen from the
"A line drawn from the Solway Firth across the island to the eastern sea exactly separates the great
nation of the Brigantes from the tribes on the north; but this is obviously an artificial line of separation,
as it closely follows the course of the Roman wall shortly before constructed by the Emperor Hadrian,
otherwise it would imply that the southern boundary of three barbarian tribes was precisely on the
same line where nature presents no physical line of demarcation. There is, on other grounds, reason to
think that these tribes, though apparently separated from the Brigantes by this artificial line, in reality
formed part of that great nation. This appears from so many circumstances. Pausanias implies it when
he says that Antoninus, who advanced the frontier of the province from Hadrians wall to the Firths of
Forth and Clyde, took land from the Brigantes. Tacitus mentions Venusius, king of the Brigantes,
hostile to Rome, and that his frontiers were to the north of the province appears from the geographer of
Ravenna placing the town of Venusio north of the stations at the wall. . . . An inscription to the goddess
Brigantia has been found at Middlebie, within the territory of the Selgovae," who occupied the county
of Dumfries.
Ptolemy calls Ireland Little Britain in another work of his. This is the name given to it by Julius Ceasar,
according to Ethelwerd. These facts, taken along with the others alluded to above, lead to the
conclusion that Ptolemys geography of Scotland has been manipulated in order to identify Ireland with
the ancient Hibernia. It is dtfficult to say how this has been accomplished, but something like the
following seems to have been the method adopted by the manipulators. The country known to Ptolemy
as Hibernia was apparently the part of Scotland north of the Tay. His Great Britain included all the
territory south of this to the English Channel. The district between the Tay and the Firth of Forth has
been enlarged to such an extent as to represent the whole of the north of Scotland, and the country
north of the Tay has been blotted out of existence, its name, its towns, and its tribes being all
transferred to Britannis, or present Ireland. The former name of the latter country was apparently
transferred at the same time to a part of France, which still retains it, Brittany. At the present time this
might be said to be an impossibility; but when account is taken of the ignorance that prevailed among
the people in these early ages and the meagreness of population, it will be allowed that it was not then
beyond the bounds of possibility.
Perhaps the most convincing proof that Hibernia was placed to the north of Britain by Ptolemy in the
genuine edition of his Geography is that afforded by an anonymous geographer of Ravenna. This
writer had evidently copied Ptolemys work; for he gives the towns in the south of Scotland in much
the same order as his predecessor does. Several additional towns are ennmerated by the Ravenna
geographer along with those mentioned by Ptolemy, but this is because his work was compiled about
500 years later. The main point, however, is, that he, like Strabo and Mela, places Hibernia to the north
of Britain ; and surely he would not have done this had Ptolemy placed it to the west.
It will be found that the most of the historical references bear out the opinion entertained with regard to
the way in which Ptolemys work has been treated. Before quoting them, it may be said that, if this
opinion is correct, Ptolemys Caledonian Forest would be placed south of the Tay, where the Welsh
writers invariably place it; his Mertae would likewise be placed in the same neighbourhood, where the
Maltae are said to have dwelt; and his Cantae would be made to occupy the ancient Rossa name
meaning the same thing as Cant, a promontoryor Fifeshire, instead of the present county of Ross in
the north of Scotland. Three estuaries which are generally placed on the north-east of Scotland would
also have to be brought down to where the Tweed, Forth, and Tay meet the sea. Their names are Tuesis,

Varar, and Taxa. The first and last are sufficiently like the present names to make us believe that the
latter may be corruptions of the former. Watra, an ancient name of the Forth, may also have been a
corruption of Ptolemys Varar, or vice versa. Further corroboration is afforded in favour of this
interpretation of Ptolemys text in the fact that the Vernicomes would be made to occupy the south
coast of Fifeshire, where the remains of a Roman station are found at Loch Orr, which in all likelihood
was the town they possessed, called by Ptolemy Orrea. It is likewise in favour of this view that no
alteration needs to be made on the points of the compass as they appear in Ptolemys text. North is
north; east, east; west, west; and south, south. For instance, Ptolemy states that the Caledonii extended
from the Lemannonius Sinus, or Loch Long, to the Varar AEstuarium, and above or north of them lay
the Caledonian Forest. East of the Caledonii lay the Cantae, on the other side of the Varar. In the
reading adopted, the Varar AEstuarium has been identified with the Firth of Forth; and if the Caledonii
possessed the country between Loch Long and it, while the Forest lay to the north of them the Cantae
would be to the east of them. On the other side of the Varar AEstuatium, and in a country called Ross,
now Fifeshire, though at a considerable distance from the present county of Ross, where they are
generally placed by later writers. The situation thus ascribed to the Caledonii and the Caledonian
Forest will be found to harmonise well with the earliest historical references to them.
It is a rather remarkable coincidence that Boece, who used the Ulm edition of 1486 of Ptolemys
Geography, should place the Brigantes where Dr. Skene shows they really dwelt, that is, partly, at least,
in the south of Scotland, and that he places the Vacomagi in Stirlingshire, the ancient Mureif. Ptolemy
places the Vacomagi under or south of the Caledonians, so that, according to the opinion expressed
with regard to Ptolemy's map of Scotland, they would be placed in Stirlingshire also. By modern
writers they are placed in Morayshire, a district often mistaken for the ancient Mureif whitch was
possibly identical with Stirlingshire. Boeces History of Scotland is generally acknowledged to be
founded upon fictitious records, and so far as it is a resume of Veremunds work, this is evidently the
case; but that part of his History which is founded upon the Ulm edition of 1486 of Ptolemys
Geography may be more trustworthy. Boece was the first of our historians who made use of Ptolemy,
and he may have got a hold of a genuine edition. The towns of Scotland, as given by Ptolemy, which
are placed by modern writers in Wigtown, are placed in Argyllshire by Boece, and there are reasons for
believing that St. Ninians monastery was at Rosneath, instead of at Whithorn. The ancient Irish
legends place it at Rosneth; the passage in Bedes "Ecclesiastical History" is seemingly an
interpolation; and the dedications to St. Ninian are most frequent in the neighbourhood of Rosneath.
It has been shown above, on indisputable evidence, that the Brigantes occupied the south of Scotland,
as far at least as the wall of Antonine.
"lt was during the war with the Brigantes, in which the Roman troops had probably frequently
approached the more northern portion of their territories, that the Rornans became aware of the narne
of the people who occupied the country beyond them. . . . They now learned the existence of a people
to the north of the Brigantes, whom they termed Caledonii Britanni, or Caledonian Britons. . . . The
war under Vettius Bolanus had, it was supposed, reached the Caledonian plains. On the conclusion of
the war, the Roman province approached the vicinity of the Caledonian Forest.."
Four writers are quoted in support of these statenients Lucan, Martial, Statius, and Plint.
These slight references to the Caledonii and the Caledonian Forest can be more readily relied on than
the elaborate notices of them which appear in well-known histories and geographies, for the former are
more likely to have escaped the vigilance of the manipulators of early Scottish history. They thus form
a valuable link in the chain of evidence which has been produced to show the likelihood of Ptolemys

Geography having been tampered with to identify Ireland with the ancient Hibernia. Taken in
conjunction with the distinct statements of Strabo, Mela, and the Ravenna geographer that Hibernia lay
to the north of Britain, they furnish strong evidence in favour of Ptolemy having placed it in the same
direction in the genuine edition of his work.
Claudian, a Latin poet of Alexandria, is the next writer who speaks of lerne, and as he connects the
Scots with it, his references are always quoted by those who believe in the Ireland-Scotia theory. He
lived at the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century. The passage generally founded on has
been quoted above. Those who wish to see whether there are any good grounds for believing that
Claudian referred to Ireland may consult S. O'Gradys "History of Ireland;" they will there find how
the reader is prepared for Claudians statements. Below we give another construction of the passage:This lerne, or, as some read it, Hyberne, can no way be understood of Ireland, properly so called: first,
because Ireland can never deserve the epithet Glacialis, since by the testimony of the Irish writers (and
Giraldus Cambrensis), the snow and ice continue not any time there; secondly, the Romans never
entered Ireland, whereas, according to the above-mentioned verses, Theodosius passed our Firths of
Forth and Clyde, called by him Hyperborae Undae, and entered Strathern, which to this day bears the
name lerne, in which Roman medals are found, and the Roman camps arid military ways are to be
seen, the undoubted testimonies of their being there."
Those still sceptical on the subject may find further arguments in favour of this interpretation of
Claudians words in the treatise mentioned.
Rufus Festus, or Festus Rufus Avienus, a writer of the fourth century, in his poetical description of the
world; relying on the information of Hamilcar, a Cartliaginian trader, speaks of the plains of the
Britons, distant Thule, the sacred isle peopled by the nation of the Hiberni, and the adjacent island of
the Albiones. It is weil known that the first inhabitants of Iceland were learned Christians ; and there is
no satisfactory evidence to prove that Ireland was Christianised, even at a much later period than the
time of Avienus. The sacred isle of this writer can thus be no other country than Iceland, for he speaks
of the island of the Albiones or Scotland, and distinguishes it from the sacred isle.
Other two Greek writers of the fifth century confirm Avienuss account of Albion. They are Procopius
and Stephanus Byzantinus. They make Aibion, Brittia (? Britain), and Bretannia (? Bretannis), separate
isles; and as they, or at least one of them, Procopius, like Caesar and Strabo, evidently include Ireland
under the name of Bretannia or Bretannis, in Britain, by making it greater in extent from east to west
than from north to south, their Hibernia, if they mentioned such a country, must be identified with
Iceland also.
Some writers believe that Avienuss Albion signified England and Scotland but as he speaks of the
plains of the Britons, this is evidently a poetical reference to Britain ; and the joint testimony of these
other writers proves that Albion was considered to be a distinct island from Britain, as Scotland north
of the Forth was then supposed to be. It seems doubtful if the name Albion was ever applied to the
country south of the Forth. The chapter in Bedes "Ecclesiastical History," and the passage in Henry of
Huntingdons work, in which it is said that Britain was so called, can be shown to be fabrications. That
Scotland, or rather a part of it, was so called, there is abundant evidence to prove; and it seems
probable that it was first so called about the second or third century. It is to the Scots apparently that
the country owes its title of Alban or Albion. It was probably the name applied by them, when they
settled in the northeast of Scotland, to the mountainous country on the west, inhabited by the Picts or
natives. The Greek historians would adopt the name from the Scots, who were a learned race and better

able to communicate to strangers any particulars about the country. The natives would continue to use
their own appellation of lerne or Eyryn till a later date, when the appropriation of the name by Ireland
might cause them to adopt the Scottish title, which is still in use among the Highlanders. This change
of name is referred to in the letter of John Elder quoted above, and there can be little question of its
truth, although it is not necessary to believe the legend of Brutus and Albanactus along with it.
Enough has probably been said to show that several of the ancient names ascribed to Ireland really
belonged to Iceland and Scotland north of the Forth. It is impossible to say whether Hibernia or lerne
belonged exclusively to the one or the other country, or whether they both went under these names. The
evidence produced seems to favour the latter supposition. It is clear, however, that Albion or Alban was
an ancient name of a part of Scotland only; and it will be necessary, before concluding this treatise, to
show that the present name of Ireland, was an ancient appellation of Iceland.
In King Alfreds account of the voyage of Othere from the North Pole to the Baltic Sea, we are told
that "all the while he (Othere) shall sail by the land, and on the starboard the first to him would be
Iraland, and then the islands which are betwixt Iraland and this land, and then is this land till he comes
to Sciringes-heale. All the way on the larboard is Norway." Modern Ireland could not in any sense be
said to be the first land on the west to a vessel sailing from the north coast of Norway, and keeping
close to that country all the way to the Baltic Sea. The only interpretation of King Alfreds words refers
us to Iceland as the land first passed on the starboard. Later writers are even altering the Iraland of this
passage to Iceland; but there seems to be no doubt that the name of the island as given in Alfreds work
twice was Iraland. Allusion has already been made to Ethelwerds stating that Ireland was called
Bretannis by Julius Caesar. In doing so at the year 913, he indicates that the name of Ireland or Iraland
was then first conferred on that country; and it was probably given to it by natives of Iceland banished
from their own country by the Norwegian colonists who had settled there. There are still traces of the
ancient name in Iceland in the Irarbooths, &c. Adam of Bremen, who wrote in 1080, apparently refers
to this country when he says, "Hibernia Scottorum patria, quae nunc Irland dicitur." Present Ireland
was known by that name in Adam of Bremens time, but there is no trustworthy evidence to show that it
was then known by the name of Hibernia also; it does not seem to have been so called till the twelfth