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CHAPTER VI.

EARLY HISTORY OF THE LOWLANDS OF SCOTLAND-THE

KINGDOMS OF STRATHCLYDE AND NORTHUMBRIA.

THERE is great obscurity as to the course of events in Britain, and not less in that part of it which lies between the Dee and the Humber on the south, and the Firths of Forth and Clyde on the north, during the 137 years which elapsed between A.D. 410 and the year 547.

But we have three salient facts which stand clearly out amid a mass of doubtful details. The one is, that up to the former period, the date of the Roman abandonment of Britain, this district from Dee and Humber to Forth and Clyde was still occupied by Cymri or Britons as indigenous inhabitants, partly Romanised in habits and education. The second fact is, that even before 410, as early as 360, this district was assailed fiercely by hostile tribes called Picts and Scots, who overcame the native Britons for a time, but who were driven back through Roman aid under Theodosius in 368. The third fact is, that after A.D. 383 there is a devastation by Scots and Picts of the same district. This irruption from the north is again repelled by Roman aid, and

the Northern or Antonine Wall is reconstructed. The Saxons now appear, according to Claudian, as allies of the Scots and Picts. There is then another devastation by Picts and Scots, and this attack is once more repelled and the Southern or Hadrian's Wall is repaired. But, finally, the irrepressible Picts and Scots again appear on the scene.

The Romans refuse now to aid the Cymri or Britons, being themselves hard pressed nearer the centre of the empire. The Cymri appeal to the Saxons, who, either by themselves or in union with the Picts, contrive to possess themselves of a large part of the Cymric country on the east of the island, to the north and south of the Southern Wall. These Saxons, called Angles, form the kingdom of Bryneich or Bernicia, and this in 547 is constituted into a sort of regular kingdom or realmregion ruled—under Ida, King of Northumbria.

Before the time of Ida, certain Saxons under Octa and Ebissa had established themselves in the district immediately south of the Forth. They, as seems probable, had to contend with the Picts or northern Caledonians. The latter appear to have subjugated the Britons or original inhabitants along part of the southern shore of the Firth, and to have obtained a hold of the portion of what is now Edinburgh and Linlithgow, bordering on the Forth, between the Carron and the Pentland or Pechtland Hills. This formed the kingdom of the Brithwyr, or speckled people, and was called Manau Gododin. The Frisians under Octa and Ebissa got possession of this territory, and hence the early name given to the Firth of Forth, the Mare Frenessicum, or Frisian Sea. Arthur the Guledig fought in the interest of the Cymri against both Saxon

and Pict in this district. The Cymri seem indeed in his time, and even later, to have still retained a portion of this territory, known as Catraeth, and stretching from the east bank of the Carron to Caer Eiddyn (now Carriden), at the termination of the wall. At the time of Arthur's twelve battles it seems probable that the Picts had again risen to supremacy in Manau Gododin, and after his death, in 537, had extended their sway over the eastern portion of the country, afterwards held by the Angles, and now represented by the counties of East Lothian, Berwick, and Roxburgh. The Pictish power in this district came, as has been said, to an end after a struggle with the Angles; and Ida, in 547, became the first king of the district, now known as Bernicia, or Northumbria, and stretching south of the Tweed to the Tees. But there can be little doubt that even after this the Picts formed a large and distinctive element in the population of Bernicia, at least in the part of it north of the Tweed, so much so that this district was spoken of as Pict and Angle. And the Picts were long predominant in numbers in Manau Gododin after they had been subjugated by the Angles.

That the Picts were a Celtic race, and of the Gaelic type, Goidelic as opposed to Brythonic, may be admitted. Further, that they were a mixed race seems to be ethnologically proved. There was among

them long-skulled race, dolicho-cephalic, they name it, darkfeatured, probably short in stature; but they are usually

a

1 Mr Skene regards Dunbar, originally Dyunbaer, as Pictish. And of course we have the original Pean fahel, head of the wall, which in Cymric is Penguaul, and in Angle Penneltun,

described as red-haired and tall, and this portion of the tribe seems to have been marked by a round skull; they were brachio-cephalic. The question arises, To what race did this long-skulled class belong? Was it originally Aryan or non-Aryan ? If non-Aryan, was it Iberian, Etruskarian, or what? Or was it simply an intrusion of the Brythonic race upon the earlier Goidelic race? Or, as Professor Rhys names them, was it an intermixture of the P group of Celts with the Q group ? For we find as typically distinctive that the older or Goidelic race who came into Britain used qu, as in maqu, genitive of mac, and that the later race of the same stock, called Brythonic, changed qu into p, and said map for maqu. The Q people are supposed to have first got hold of Britain, the P people to have followed them at, we may suppose, a considerable interval, and so far displaced them, and it may be to some extent and in some localities intermixed with them. Professor Rhys seems to incline to the view, on linguistic grounds, that the added elements in the Goidelic or Picts in this island, was nonAryan. What Mr Skene says of an element of Brythonic or Cymric in the British language would perhaps suggest that he would regard the alien element as Brythonic or Cymric—that is, still Aryan.

Professor Rhys seems to maintain that the original Gaelic, Goidelic, or Q-using group had met with some new element or clan of people in their location about the Central Alps, who had led them to change the qu into p, and to thin the iv into 7; and that after this they carried the peculiarities into the lands to which they passed and colonised—viz., parts of Gaul, Italy,

Greece, Asia Minor, and the British Isles. He also holds that in Britain they displaced and drove to the west the Q-speaking or older groups. But if this peculiarity of the P speech be found among the Picts, and if the Picts were originally a Q-using group, it would seem to follow that the introduction of the peculiarity arose from the intrusion of the Brythonic or P-speaking people into Pictland. We could hardly suppose a double origin for the change of Q into P— viz., one going on among the Brythons in the Central Alps, and one going on in Pictland in the British Isles. In fact, Professor Rhys seeks expressly to exclude the idea of more than one origin of the change from Q into P, and holds it to have taken place before the Brythons migrated from their central home. From this it would seem to follow that, assuming the Picts to have participated in the change, they were either Brythons, that is, not of the Gaelic or Goidelic type at all, or that they suffered a strong intermixture from the Brythons, whence they derived this fundamental change on their original Goidelic speech.

The ethnological argument would clearly not avail in favour of the view of Professor Rhys, if it be true, as he suggests, that the Brythons belonged in the main to the type of round-skulled men, for this would account for the physiological discrepancy. But the linguistic argument is on a different basis. All that can be said meanwhile is, that the evidence for the non-Aryan element is far from complete.

Colonel Robertson's view on this subject is, that the

1 For the views of Professor Rhys, see Scottish Review, No. xxx., April 1890, and No. xxxi., July 1890. VOL. I.

K

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