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By William Melven, M.A.
Though Scotland, in its modern extent, bad in reality
no existence till the long War of Independence, and
some parts of the realm were not firmly united to the
main body till later dates, it will be convenient to
employ the name as if it had at all times signified the
whole territory meant when the word is now used.
Taking it in this sense, the earliest inhabitants of the
country of which we have any trace belonged to a non-
Aryan race resembbng the Iberians and the Aquitani,
short in stature, with long heads — the extra length
being occipital— dark hair, and dark skin (Dolicho-
cephalic Melanochroi). Latterly, at all events, they
used polished stone implements, lived in caves, and
buried their dead in caves and chambered tombs.
Their typical Continental representatives are the
Basques; and in Great Britain their descendants, but
little altered in appearance, may still be found in the
small, dark-haired, black-eyed natives of Wales, of the
North- West Highlands, and of Ireland west of the
Shannon. Long, however, before we have any historic
notice of the country, these early inhabitants had been
pushed away to the more inaccessible and mountainous
districts to the west and north by the incoming of a
Celtic Aryan race, Gaidhels (Gaels) or Goidels, from
whom are descended the great mass of the Gaelic-
speaking inhabitants of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and
the north of Scotland, and these, in their turn, had
been subjected to the same process of pressure to the
west and north by a fresh wave of Aryans, Britons or
Brythons, Celts also, but speaking a different dialect,
which is now represented by the language spoken in
Wales. The first invaders were probably, though it is
little more than a matter of supposition, bronze users,
and the second, tribes who had found out how to make
iron. They buried their dead in round barrows. Physi-
cally, both races would seem to have resembled one
another, and to have been tall, fair-haired, blue-eyed,
with round heads and rugged features {Brachycephalic
Historically, the first mention of Great Britain seems
to take place about 330 b.c, when Pytheas, a celebrated
mathematician of Marseilles, in the course of a long
voyage of discovery undertaken at the request of some
merchants of Marseilles who wished to extend the trade
of the port, visited the north-east of Scotland as well
as the south-east of England. But such fragments of
his writings as now remain deal more with the latter
part of the country, so that the first authentic written
notices of Scotland must be considered to be those in
Latin authors subsequent to a.d. 70, when, part of Eng-
land having, under the Emperor Claudius, twenty years
before, become a province of the Roman Empire, the
territories of the Brigantes became subject to the Roman
power. Space is here wanting for a particular account
of the whole of these scattered and often very brief
notices, and all that can be attempted is a very con-
densed account as to the results to which they lead.
When the Romans reached Britain, they must have
found the country divided only among the three races
already mentioned, for though the Belgse held part of
the south of England, this branch of that race seems
to have belonged to the purely Celtic portion of it, and
not to that in which there was an admixture of German
blood. The Belgic element probably did not extend
far northwards in England, and certainly never found
its way into Scotland. Some authors, founding on the
passage in Tacitus' Agricola where he says, ; Rutike
Caledoniam habitantium comas, magni artus, Germani-
cam originem asseverant,' have maintained that there
were also in the latter part of the first century settle-
ments of Germans to the north of the Forth, but it is
now accepted as true that in physical characteristics
the Celts or Gauls and the Germans closely resembled
one another, and the only inference that can be drawn
from the passage is that the particular tribe referred to
by Tacitus in the words quoted were men of better
physique and brighter-coloured hair than those he had
come in contact with farther to the south. The Bry-
thons occupied in Scotland the district from the Border
northward along the east coast and across the Firth of
Forth to the line of the Fife Leven and the upper
waters of the Earn. Westward their boundary was
the southern half of Loch Lomond and the river Leven
down to the Clyde, and then the Clyde and the Firth
of Clyde till about Ayr, where the line turned back
eastward along the watershed between the Nith, Annan,
and Esk on the south, and the Clyde and Tweed on the
north. Of this territory the part along the upper waters
of the Tweed seems to have belonged to the Brigantes
proper, and the portion along the east coast from about
Edinburgh to the Tweed to a sub-section of them known
as the Otadini, whose possessions also crossed the Border.
All the rest of the Brythonic territory was held by a
tribe known as the Damnonii or Dumnonii. The por-
tion of the country to the south-west of the Brythons
in the modern counties of Wigtown, Kirkcudbright, and
Dumfries belonged to the Goidels, whose possessions
extended also round the head of the Solway Firth and
along the west coast of England as far as Morecambe
Bay. They were divided into the Selgovas in the north
— whose name is supposed still to survive in the name
of the firth — and the Novantce in the south. The
Goidels also practically held the whole of the district
from sea to sea between the northern boundary of the
Damnonii and the Mounth, while the older races who
held the territory between the Mounth and the Moray
Firth had become so mixed with them as to be prac-
tically Celtic in everything but origin. To the north
of the Moray Firth and the west of the Great Glen the
pre-Celtic Iberians had probably retained more of their
native customs, but they were so dominated by the
power of their Celtic neighbours, that they must have
at least spoken some form of the Celtic dialect, the
greater number of place-names now remaining being
undoubtedly Celtic as far north as Sutherlandshire —
the non-Celtic names in a portion of that county and
in the greater part of Caithness being of much later
date. The positions and names of the tribes, as far as
can be made out from Ptolemy and other sources, were
the Epidii in Kintyre and along the west coast as far
as Ardnamurchan — the district including a consider-
able number of inhabitants of Iberian descent; the
Caledonii from Bute northwards to the Inverness Basin
and Beauly Firth; the Vacomagi from the upper waters
of the Earn northward to the Inner Moray Firth; the
Vernieomes along the east coast from the Firth of Tay
to the river Dee; the Taexali between the Dee and the
Deveron; the Decants from the west side of Loch Ness
to the Dornoch Firth; the Lugi in the centre and east
of the modern county of Sutherland; the Smertse along
the east coast of the modern Caithness; the Cornavii
along the north coast of Sutherland and Caithness, and
possibly also the Orkneys, though there may have been
there another tribe whose name is unknown; and a tribe
known as the Cerones, Creones, Carnonacae or Carini,
all along the west coast from Cape Wrath to Ardna-
murchan, and possibly also in the Inner and Outer
Hebrides. The Selgovse seem to have had a consider-
able admixture of the pre-Celtic race among them, and
they and the Novantae appear later as Genunians, later

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