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and, most probably, both from the same hive of hardy adventurers who were then pouring forth their predatory swarms over Europe.
That the Picts were the original inhabitants of North Britain, and the same people with the Caledonians, seems now universally admitted; and among the various opi. nions held as to their origin, the conjecture of Camden that they were but Britons under another name,-some indigenous to that region, others driven thither by the terror of the Roman arms,-has been hitherto the opinion most generally received. It is to be recollected, however, that Camden, in pronouncing the Picts to have been Britons, took for granted that the ancient Britons were the same people with the Welsh,—thereby confounding two races which, there is every reason to believe, were wholly distinct.' The extraction claimed by the Welsh themselves, and, as it appears, on no insufficient grounds, from those ancient Cimbri, whose martial virtue the pen of Tacitus has immortalized, at once distinguishes their race from that of the first inhabi. tants of Britain, who were, it is generally allowed, pure Celts or Gael; while the Cimbri, who lent their name to that northern Chersonesus, from whence the Teutonic tribes inundated Europe, were themselves no less decidedly Teutons.*
With respect to the languages of the two races, the radical differencest between the Gaelic and the Cumraig have been, by more than one intelligent Welshman, admitted and demonstrated; while no less eninent Irish philologers have arrived at exactly the same conclusion. The words common to the two languages appear to be sufficiently accounted for by the close intercourse with each other, which, in different countries of Europe, the Celtic and Cimbric races are known to have inaintained.
For another fact illustrative of the true history of the Cyniry, we are indebted also to a learned Welsh antiquary, who has shown by the evidence of those undying memorials, the names of rivers, headlands, and mountains, that another race had preceded the Welsh in the possession of that country,--the words wedded, from time immemorial, to her hills and waters, being all Gaelic or Irish. The original seat, therefore, of the Cymry in Britain, must be sought for, it is clear, elsewhere; and if there be any region where similar traces of ancient inhabitancy are found, where the rivers and hills
, the harbours and promontories, are all invested with Welsh names, we may there fix, without hesitation, the site of their primitive abode. This region, the mountain territory of the ancient Picts supplies. In the parts of North Britain once inhabited by that mysterious people, the language of the Cymry is still alive in the names of those permanent features of nature which alone defy oblivion, and tell the story of the first dwellers to all the races that succeed them.
Taking these and some other circumstances that shall presently be mentioned, into consideration, it is hardly possible, I think, to resist the conclusion that the people called Picts were the progenitors of the present Welsh,- being themselves a branch of that Cimbric stock from whence all the traditions of the latter people represent them to have been derived ;-and that, instead of the Welsh having become the Picts, as was supposed by Camden and others, the result of the evidence shows, on the contrary, that the Picts became the Welsh.
* See Dissertation prefixed by Wharton to his History of Poetry, where he pronounces the Cimbri to have been a Scandinavian tribe.
† The first person who ventured to question the supposed affinity between the Gaelic and Cambrian lan. guages was Dr. Percy, the Bishop of Dromore, in bis Preface to Mallet's Northern Antiquities.
* To con fess my own opinion," he says, "I cannot think they are equally derived from one common Celtic stock." The same writer ventured also to intimate the true reason of the wide difference between these languages. " That the Ciinbri of Marius was not a Celtic but German or Gothic people, is an opinion that may be supported with no slight argument.” A learned Welshman, the Rev. Mr. Roberts, thus decisively follows up and confirms the bishop's views. "Since the languages of the Cymry and Gael are perfetly distinct, they must be distinct nations; and if the distinction had been cautiously attended to, much confusion, both in history and etymology. would have been avoided." The same writer adds, “ Had Mr. Whitaker known either the Welsh or Gaelic language well, I am persuaded he would have been very far from supe posing that the Cymry and Gael were the same people, for he would have found that either of their lan. guages is of no more use to the understanding of the other, than thc mere knowledge of the Latin to the understanding of the Greek." While such is ihe view taken by a learned Welshnan respecting the rela. tionship between the two languages, a no less learned Irish scholar thus expresses himseli
' on the subject : -"The Gomeraeg spoken at this day in North Wales, and the Gaelic spoken in Ireland, are as different in their syntactie consiructions as any iwo longues can be." (O'Connor, Disserl. on Hist. of Scotland.) Sir W. Betham asserts still more decidedly the radical difference between the two languages, adopting the same views respecting the origin of the Welsh people, which I have above endeavoured to enforce. See his Gael and the Cimbri for some curious illustrations of this point.
Lhuyd, Preface to Geography : already referred to, chap 1., for the same fact. $ See, for a long list of these Welsh denominations of places, Chalmers's Coledonra, vol. i. chap: 1.-" In the laborious work of Mr. Chalmers," says Dr. Pritchard, there is a collection of such terins, which seems amply sufficient to satisfy the most incredulous, that the dialect of the Cambro-Britons was, at one period, the prevailing idiom on the north-eastern parts of Scotland."
A few instances are mentioned by Chalmers, in which the names given by the Picts or Welsh were superseded by their Scoto Irish successors. Thus it appears from charters of the lwelfth century, that Inver was substituted by the Scots for the Aber of the previous inhabitants; David I. having granted to the monastery of May.“ Inver.in qui fuit Aber.in :" and the influx of the Nethy into the Ern, whose familiar name had been Aber-nethy, was changed by the later people into Inver.nelly, and both these names it is added, still remain.
Obscure and involved as are the records of British history for some ages after the departure of the Romans, there can yet enough be discerned, through the darkuess, to enable us to track the course of this warlike people, in their resistless career towards the south, as well as in that gradual change of name which they underwent during their progress. The entire abdication of the island by the Romans was evidently the crisis of which the restless Picts availed themselves to carry their arms, with a view to permanent conquest, into regions they had before but temporarily devastated. Breaking through the long guarded frontier, they took possession, without any struggle, of all the midland provinces, reaching from the wall of Northumberland to the friths of Forth and Clyde, and there established the Regnum Cumbrense, or Kingdom of Strat-Clyde,* in whose mixed population-composed, as it was, of all the tribes of North Britain, their old distinctive name of Picts began first to be unsettled and disused. Here, bow. ever, they continued to maintain themselves, against all the efforts of the Saxons to dis. possess them; and under the German name of the Walli or Welsh, bestowed upon them by the invaderst may be traced as acting a distinguished part in the affairs of Britain for many centuries after.
To this epoch of their northern kingdom, all the traditions of the modern Welsh refer for their most boasted antiquities, and favourite themes of romance. The name of their chivalrous hero, Arthur, still lends a charm to much of the topography of North Britain ; and among the many romantic traditions connected with Sterling Castle, is that of its having once been the scene of the festivities of the Round Table. The poets Aneurin and Taliessen, the former born in the neighbourhood of the banks of the Clyde, graced the court, we are told, of Urien, the King of Reged, or Cumbria ; and the title Caledo. nius bestowed on the enchanter Merlin, who was also a native of Strat-Clyde, suffi. ciently attests his northern and Pictish race. It may be added, as another strong confirmation of the identity between the Strat-Clyde Welsh and the Picts, that from the time of the total defeat of the latter by Keneth Macalpine, King of the Scots, no farther mention occurs of the kingdom of Strat-Clyde. The traditional story of the utter extinction of the Pictish people at this period, so far as to have left, we are told, not even a vestige of their language, bears upon the face of it the marks of legendary fiction; while the fact of their ancient title of Picts having been, about this time, eclipsed by their new designation of Walli, accounts satisfactorily for the origin and general belief of such a fable.
With respect to the period at which this people may be supposed to have fixed themselves in Wales, a series of migrations thither from Cumbria, at different intervals, have been recorded by the Chroniclers; and, among others, it is said that, in the year 890, a body of emigrants, under the command of a chief named Constantine, fought their way through the ranks of the Saxons to that conntry. But their main movement towards the south, whether voluntarily, or under pressure from the invader, must have occurred at a much earlier period, -not more than a century, probably, from the time of their first outbreak from their own hills; as, before the end of the sixth age, they had already possessed themselves both of Wales and of Cornwall, and established a colony, apparently by conquest, in the province of Armoric Gaul.
* Pinkerton vainly endeavours to make a distinction between the Regnum Cumbrense and the Kingdom on the Clyde. (Inquiry into the History of Scotland, part ii. chap 5.) Their identity has been clearly proved both by Innes (vol. i. chap. 2. art. 2 ) and Chalmers, book ji chap. 2.
The author of a late popular history, Thierry, (Hist. de la Conquete de l'Angleterre,) has so far confounded the localities of the ancient Welsh history as to inistake Cumbria, the present county of Cumberland, for Wales. Speaking of the Northern Britons he says, "Les fugitifs de ces contrées avoient gagné le grand asile du pays de Galles, ou bien l'angle de terre hérissé de montagnes que baigne la mer au Golfe de Solway.".
That the Picts, towards the end of the sixth century, formed the main part of the population of this king. dom, appears from a statement in the Life of St. Kentigern, by Jocelin, which shows that Galloway was, at this period, in the possession of the Picts; and it was probably about this time they began to be known by that name of Gel wejenses, which continued to be applied to them for many centuries after. (See Innes, voi. i, book 1. chap. 2.) While thus the Picts were called Galwejenses, we find Matthew of Westminster, at a later period, giving the same name to the Welsh ; thereby identifying, in so far, the latter people with the Picts.
t “ The name," says Camden, " by which the Saxon conqueror called foreigners, and every thing that was | Most of the great Welsh pedigrees, too, commence their line from princes of the Cumbrian Kingdom, and the archaiologist Lhuyd timself boasts of his descent from ancestors in the " province of Reged in Scot. land, in the fourth century, before the Saxons came into Britain."- Pref. to Archeologia,
There is, however, visibly and from motives by no means unintelligible, an unwillingness, on the part of modern Welsh historians, io bring much into notice this northern seat of Cymbric enterprize and renown. Pop the name of Cumbria that of Reged is usually substituted, and the founders of their kingdom in Wales are alleged to have been the sons of a northern prince, named Cynetha, or Cenetha, (evidently their Scottish King Kenneth,) who, "leaving Cumberland and some neighbouring countries, where they ruled, to the government of one of their family, retired into North Wales, their grandmother's country, and seated themselves in the several divisions of it, as their names left on those places do, to this day, testify."-- Rowoland's Mona Antiqua, sect. ii. See also Warrington's Hist. of Wales, book i.
f The river Clyde, in North Wales, was, it is clear, named by the new possessors of that country, after the Clyde of their old kingdom in Scotland.
Much more might be added in corroboration of this view of the origin of the Welsh, but that already, perhaps, I have dwelt somewhat more profusely upon it than may seem to be justified by the immediate object I had in view, which was, by inquiring into the most probable history of the Pictish people of Britain, to gain some clue to that of their fellow Scythians, the Scoti of Ireland; as well as some insight into the race and origin of those Cruithene, or Painted Men, who, about the same period, took up their abode in a part of the province of Ulster. With respect to the Scoti, the probability of their having been a Scandinavian people* is considerably strengthened by the weight of evidence and authority which pronounces the Picts to have been a colony from the
same quarter, as their joint history is thus rendered concurrent and consistent; and it seems naturally to have followed from the success of the former in gaining possession of Ireland, that others of the adventurous rovers of the North should try their fortunes in the same region. Of that detachment of Pictish adventurers which fixed their quarters, as we have said, in the North of Ireland, there will occur occasions to take some notice, in the course of the following pages. I shall here only remark that, by their intermixture with the primitive inhabitants of the country, they were doubtless the means of engrafting on the native tongue those words of Cimbric origin which, notwithstanding the radical difference between the two languages, has given to the Irish and the Welsh so imposing an appearance of affinity.t
HISTORY OF IRELAND FROM THE LANDING OF THE SCOTI COLONY TO THE ARRIVAL
OF ST. PATRICK.
In commencing his history of the Milesian or Scotic monarchs, by far the most trustworthy of the Irish annalists informs us, “that all the records of the Scots, before the time of King Kimbaoth, are uncertian."I This monarch, who, according to the senachies, was the seventy-fifth King of Ireland, and the fifty-seventh of the Milesian dynasty, flourished, as we learn from the same authorities, about 300 years before Christ: but the learned Dr. O'Connor, by whom the lists of the ancient kings have been examined with a degree of zeal and patience worthy of a far better task, has shown that, according to the regal lists of the senachies themselves, the reign of Kimbaoth cannot be carried back to a remoter date than 200 years before our era. The reader who has attended, however, to the facts adduced in the foregoing pages, proving how groundless are the clains to a remote antiquity which have been advanced for the Scotic or Milesian colony, will, I doubt not, be of opinion that a scheme of chronology which supposes the fifty-sixth monarch of the Scotic dynasty to have existed 200 or 300 years before the birth of Christ, port it.
Bishop Stillingfleet declares strongly in favour of the opinion that the Picts" were from the same parts" as the Scots; but interprets Bede's words rather too favourably for his purpose, when he represents him as saying that "on being carried by a tempest to Ireland, they found their Gentem Scotorum, i. e. (adds the bishop) their countrymen, the Scythians.' Among the most convincing indications of their having been kindred tribes, are ihose deduced by Buchanan, from their facility of intercourse on first meeting, their mutual confidence and intermarriages, and the amicable neighbourhood of their settlement afterwards in North Britain.. " Facile majores Pictorum Scotis fuisse conciliatus puto, atque ab eisdem, ut traditur, adjutos, ut homines cognatos, ejusdem fere linguæ nee dissimilium rituuin," --Hist. Scot. lib. 11. 27.
The amount of this resemblance between the two languages appears to be, after all, but trifling. There is," says Mr. Roberts, the intelligent Welsh scholar, already quoted, about one word in fifteen similar, but rarely the same, in sound and signification, in both languages. In the first nine columns of the Irish Dic. tionary, printed by Lhuyd in bis Archäologia, there are 400 words, of which I have not been able to discover more than twenty, in common to both languages, nor have I succeeded better in several trials. Moreover, the grammatical structure, as to the declension and construction, are radically different."-- Chronicle of the Kings of Britain.
A learned German glossologist, Adelung, is also to be numbered among those who consider the Welsh tongue to be a descendant from that of the Belge, and not from that of the Celtæ.
1 Tigernach." Omnia monumenta Scotorum usque Cimbaoth incerta erant." For some account of this annalist, who died a. D. 1088, see Ware's Writers.-- Rer. Hibern. Scrip. tom. ii. &c. &c.
may be got rid of with a much less expenditure of learning and labour than it has cost Dr. O'Connor, and other such zealots in the cause of antiquity, to establish and sup
Without entering at present, however, into any farther examination of the chrono. logical reckonings and regal lists of the antiquaries, or pointing out how far, in spite of the extravagant dates assigned to them, the reality of the events themselves may be relied upon, I shall proceed to lay before the reader a sketch of the history of Pagan Ireland, from the time of the landing of the Scotic colony, to the great epoch of the conversion of the Irish to Christianity by St. Patrick. Into any of those details of war and bloodshed which forni so large a portion of our annals, Pagan as well as Christian, I shall not think it necessary to enter; while, of the civil transactions, my object will be to select principally those which appear to be most sanctioned by the general consent of tradition, and afford, at least, pictures of manners, even where they may be thought questionable as records of fact.
A decisive victory over the Tuatha-de-Danaan, the former possessors of the country, having transferred the sovereignty to Heber and Heremon, the sons of the Spanish king, Milesius, these two brothers divided the kingdom between them; and while Leinster and Munster were, it is said, the portion assigned to Heber, the younger brother, Heremon, had for his share the provinces of Ulster and Connaught. There was also a third brother, Amergin, whom they appointed Arch-Bard, or presiding minister over the respective departments of Law,* Poetry, Philosophy, and Religion. In the divided sovereignty thus exercised by the family, may be observed the rudiments of that system of government which prevailed so long among their successors; while, in the office of the Arch-Bard we trace the origin of those metrical legislators and chroniclers who took so prominent a part in public attairs under all the Scotic princes.
In another respect, it must be owned, the commencement of the Milesian monarchy was marked strongly by the features which but too much characterized its whole course. A beautiful valley, which lay in the territories of Heremon, had been, for some time, a subject of dispute between the two brothers ;t and their differences at length kindling into aniinosity, led to a battle between them on the plains of Geisiol, where Heber lost his life, leaving Heremon sole possessor of the kingdom. Even the peaceful profession of the Arch-Poet Amergin did not exempt him from the effects of the discord thus early at work; as, in a subsequent battle, this third son of Milesius fell also a victim to his brother Heremon's sword. I
To the reign of Heremon, the Bardic historians refer the first coming of the people called Picts into these regions. Landing upon the eastern coast of Ireland, they proposed to establish themselves on the island; but the natives, not deeming such a settlement expedient, informed them of other islands, on the north-east, which were uninhabited, and where they might fix their abode. To this suggestion the Picts readily assented, but first desired that some of the Milesian women might be permitted to accompany them; pledging themselves solemnly that, should they become masters of that country they were about to invade, the sovereignty should be ever after vested in the descendants of the female line. This request having been granted, the Pictish chiefs, accompanied
"Amergin was the Brehon of the colony, and was also a poet and philosopher."-O'Reilly on the Brehon Lates.
The particulars of this quarrel are thus stated by Kcating:-"The occasion of the dispute was the possession of three of the most delightful valleys in the whole island. Two of these lay in the division of Heber Fioun, and he received the profits of them; but his wife, being a woman of great pride and ambition, envied the wife of Heremon the enjoyment of one of those delighiful valleys, and, therefore, persuaded her husband to demand the valley of Heremon; and, upon a refusal, to gain possession of it by the sword; for sho passionntely vowed she never would be satisfied till she was called the Queen of the three most fruitful Valleys in the Island"
1 There are still extant three poems attributed to this bard, one of them said to have been written by him while he was counting on the shores of Ireland. This latter poem the reader will find, together with a brief outline of its meaning in Hardiman's Irish Minstrelsy, vol. ii. notes. “There still remain," says the enthu: istic clitor, "aner a lape of nearly three thousand years, fragments of these ancient bards (Amergin and Laugno, lle son of lih) some of which will be found included in the following pages, with proofs of their authenticity." Preface,
Tollowing in ito account given of the supposed poems of Amergin by the learned editor of the Transactions of im Herng Celtic Society --" These compositions are written in the Bearin Feini, and accompanied with an interlined alone without which they would be unintelligible to modern Irish scholars. The gloss tavloren mich study to understand it perfectly, as the language is obsolete, and must in many places be rend from bottom to top."
. This matrimoniul compact of the Picts is thus, in a spirit far worso than absurd, misrepresented by O'limllornn "Thwy, at the same time, requested wives from Heremon, engaging, in the most solemn manner that not only then, but for over aner, if they or their successors should have issue by a British, and
gain by an Irish woman that the issue of this last only should be capable of succeeding to the inheritance! and which inw continued in force to the days of Venerable Bede, 1. e. about 2000 years! a mark of such stringdintinction that it cannot be paralleled in the history of any other nation under the sun!"-Vol. ii. chap
policy of delucing the royal succession through the female line, not through the male, was always retained by the l'eta.
by their Milesian wives, set sail for the islands bordering on Scotland, and there established their settlement.
Passing over the immediate successors of Heremon, we meet with but little that is remarkable till we arrive at the reign of the idolater Tighernmas, who, while offering sacrifice, at a great popular convention, to the monstrous idol, Crom-Cruach, was, together with the vast multitude around him, miraculously destroyed. During the reign of this king, gold is said to have been, for the first time, worked in Ireland; a mine of that metal having been discovered in the woods to the east of the river Liffey.*
In the reign of Achy, who was the immediate successor of Tighernmas, a singular law was enacted, regulating the exact number of colours by which the garments of the different classes of society were to be distinguished.t Plebeians and soldiers were, by this ordinance, to wear but a single colour; military officers of any inferior rank, two; commanders of battalions, three; the keepers of houses of hospitality, f four; the nobility and military knights, five; and ihe Bards and Ollamhs, who were distinguished for learning, six, being but one colour less than the number worn by the reigning princes themselves. These regulations are curious; not only as showing the high station allotted to learning and talent, among the qualifications for distinction, but as presenting a coincidence rather remarkable with that custom of patriarchal times, which made a garment of many colours the appropriate dress of kings' daughters and princes.
For a long period, indeed, most of the Eastern nations retained both the practice of dividing the people into different castes and professions, and also, as appears from the regulations of Giamschid, King of Persia,ll this custom distinguishing the different classes by appropriate dresses. From the party-coloured garments worn by the ancient Scots, or Irish, is derived the national fashion of the plaid, still prevailing among their descendants in Scotland.
Among the numerous kings that, in this dim period of Irish history, pass like shadows before our eyes, the Royal Sage, Ollamh Fodhla, It is almost the only one who, from the strong light of tradition thrown round him, stands out as a being of historical substance and truth. It would serve to illustrate the nature and extent of the evidence with which the world is sometimes satisfied, to collect together the various celebrated names which are received as authentic on the strength of tradition alone ;** and few, perhaps, could claim a more virtual title to this privilege than the great legislator of the ancient Irish, Ollamh Fodbla. In considering the credit, however, that may safely be attached to the accoun's of this celebrated personage, we must dismiss wholly from our minds the extravagant antiquity assigned to himft by the seanachies; and as it has been shown that the date of the dynasty itself, of which he was so distinguished an ornament, cannot, at the utmost, be removed farther back than the second century before our era, whatever his fame may thus lose in antiquity it will be found to gain in probability; since, as we shall see when I come to treat of the credibility of the Irish annals, the epoch of this monarch, if not within the line to which authentic history extends, is, at least, not very far beyond it.
Some of the most useful institutions of Ollamh Fodbla are said to have but a short time survived himself. But the act which rendered his reign an important era in legislation
* " At Fothart," says Simon,“ near the river Liffey, in the county of Wicklow, where gold, silver, copper, lead, and iron, have of late years been found out."-Simon on Irish Coins.
7 A similar fancy for party.coloured dresses existed among the Cells of Gaul; and Diodorus describes that people as wearing garments flowered with all varieties of colour-χρωμασι παντοδαπους διανθισμενους. Lib. 5. The part of their dress which they called bracce, or breeches, was so named from its being plaided ; the word brac signifying in Celtic any thing speckled or party-coloured. The historian Tacitus, in describing Cæcina as dressed in the Gaulish fashion, represents him with breeches, or trowsers, and plaid mantle :" Versicolore sago, braccas, tegmen barbarum indutus."—Hist lib. ii. cap. 20.
1 An order of men appointed by the state, and endowed with lands, for the purpose of keeping constantly open house, and giving entertainment to all travellers in proportion to their rank. These officers are fre. quently mentioned in the Brebon laws; and, among other enactments respecting them, it is specified that each Bruigh shall keep in his house, for the amusement of travellers, Taibhle Fioch-thoille, or chess. boards.
§ Thus, Jacob made Joseph a coat of many colours, (Gen. xxxvii. 3.;) and Tamar (2 Sam. xiii. 18.)“ had a garment of divers colours, for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins apparelled."
|| Saadi veut aussi, que ce prince ait non seulement divisé les homines en plusieures états et professions, mais qu'il les ait encore distingués par des habits et par des coiffures différentes.”—D'Herbelot.
s Pronounced Ollav Folla. This quiescence of many of the consonants in our Irish names, render them far more agreeable to the ear than to ihe eye. Thus, the formidable name of Tigernach, our great annalist, is softened, in pronunciation, into Tierna.
** Among the most signal instances, perhaps, is that of the puet Orpheus, who, notwithstanding the decidedly.expressed opinion both of Aristotle and Cicero, that no such poei ever existed, still continues, and will of course for ever continue, to be regarded as a real historical personage.
# In fixing the period of this monarch's reign, chronologers have been widely at variance. While some place it no less than 1316 years before the Christian era, (Thady Roddy, MSS.) Plowden makes it 950 years, (Hist. Review. prelim. chap ) O'Flaherty between 700 and 800, and the author of the Dissertations, &c. about 600. (Scct. 4.)