A Short History of Scotland

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The salt-water Loch Leven in Argyll was on the west the south frontier of "Pictland," which, on the east, included all the country north of the Firth of Forth. From Loch Leven south to Kintyre, a large cantle, including the isles, was the land of the Scots from Ireland, the Dalriadic kingdom. The south-west, from Dumbarton, including our modern Cumberland and Westmorland, was named Strathclyde, and was peopled by British folk, speaking an ancient form of Welsh. On the east, from Ettrick forest into Lothian, the land was part of the early English kingdom of Bernicia; here the invading Angles were already settled--though river-names here remain Gaelic, and hill-names are often either Gaelic or Welsh. The great Northern Pictland was divided into seven provinces, or sub-kingdoms, while there was an over-King, or Ardrigh, with his capital at Inverness and, later, in Angus or Forfarshire. The country about Edinburgh was partly English, partly Cymric or Welsh. The south-west corner, Galloway, was called Pictish, and was peopled by Gaelic-speaking tribes.

In the course of time and events the dynasty of the Argyll Scoti from Ireland gave its name to Scotland, while the English element gave its language to the Lowlands; it was adopted by the Celtic kings of the whole country and became dominant, while the Celtic speech withdrew into the hills of the north and northwest.

The nation was thus evolved out of alien and hostile elements, Irish, Pictish, Gaelic, Cymric, English, and on the northern and western shores, Scandinavian.

CHAPTER III. EARLY WARS OF RACES.

In a work of this scope, it is impossible to describe all the wars between the petty kingdoms peopled by races of various languages, which occupied Scotland. In 603, in the wild moors at Degsastane, between the Liddel burn and the passes of the Upper Tyne, the English Aethelfrith of Deira, with an army of the still pagan ancestors of the Borderers, utterly defeated Aidan, King of Argyll, with the Christian converted Scots. Henceforth, for more than a century, the English between Forth and Humber feared neither Scot of the west nor Pict of the north.

On the death of Aethelfrith (617), the Christian west and north exercised their influences; one of Aethelfrith's exiled sons married a Pictish princess, and became father of a Pictish king, another, Oswald, was baptised at Iona; and the new king of the northern English of Lothian, Edwin, was converted by Paullinus (627), and held Edinburgh as his capital. Later, after an age of war and ruin, Oswald, the convert of Iona, restored Christianity in northern England; and, after his fall, his brother, Oswiu, consolidated the north English. In 685 Oswiu's son Egfrith crossed the Forth and invaded Pictland with a Northumbrian army, but was routed with great loss, and was slain at Nectan's Mere, in Forfarshire. Thenceforth, till 761, the Picts were dominant, as against Scots and north English, Angus MacFergus being then their leader (731- 761).

Now the invaders and settlers from Scandinavia, the Northmen on the west coast, ravaged the Christian Scots of the west, and burned Iona: finally, in 844-860, Kenneth MacAlpine of Kintyre, a Scot of Dalriada on the paternal, a Pict on the mother's side, defeated the Picts and obtained their throne. By Pictish law the crown descended in the maternal line, which probably facilitated the coronation of Kenneth. To the Scots and "to all Europe" he was a Scot; to the Picts, as son of a royal Pictish mother, he was a Pict. With him, at all events, Scots and Picts were interfused, and there began the _Scottish_ dynasty, supplanting the Pictish, though it is only in popular tales that the Picts were exterminated.

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