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Author Topic: Scottish / Irish Crossover  (Read 5209 times)
QuercusRobur
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« Topic Start: March 09, 2008, 10:20:13 am »

In another topic, someone mentions The Cailleach as a Scottish deity, so I just thought I'd mention the Scottish / Irish crossover of culture.

In the Dark Ages, the Irish invaded Scotland and settled in Dalriada, which is Argyllshire.  The Picts were shoved over into the east of the country, which is why Scotland has an east/west divide.  In about 1200 Kenneth MacAlpin unified the Picts and the Irish into Scotland and became the first king.

The stories have it that the Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny) was borrowed by Kenneth for the coronation, and he didn't give it back, thus it became the Stone of Scone.

I've read Cailleach stories that are based in Ireland and Scottish stories of Finn Mac Cumhail, so there's a fair amount of crossover.
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Innse_Iboth
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« Reply #1: March 29, 2008, 09:05:18 pm »

You are absolutely correct to point out that in many ways it is often misleading to distinguish something as "Irish" or "Scottish" when it is a common feature of the cultural continuum that includes both Irish and Scottish communities. The default position I have observed is that everything Q-Celtic tends to get referred to as Irish, to the extent that I have seen modern Scottish poets who write in Gaelic referred to in the American press as Irish, which is certainly misleading, or more frankly, incorrect. I think this tendency to elide everything Q-Celtic with Ireland may derives from the attempts of some uninformed New World residents to amplify the significance of an Irish component to their background for whatever reason. Also, in Ireland itself the Gaelic language was rebranded as "Irish" after independence because the perception was that the use of the term "Gaelic" by the British to refer to the Q-Celtic language spoken in Ireland was partly motivated by a desire to emphasise what Ireland had in common with Scotland and limit any particularism. Gaelic was rebranded Irish in reaction to this. A consequence is the elision of Gaelic and Irish I have referred to above.   

The main reason I am responding to your post though is I thought I ought to clarify a few points of fact.

Modern scholarship recognises that Q-Celtic languages were not brought to Scotland from Ireland, rather, Q-Celtic languages were once spoken across the entire British Isles and while the successive phases of the adoption of P-Celtic languages never reached Ireland, they did reach Scotland but didn't entirely engulf it. The Pictish language most likely incorporated Q-Celtic, P-Celtic and pre-Celtic elements. The P-Celtic influence in Scotland didn't extend further than the Highland Line, north and west of which a language we would more accurately call Gaelic than anything else was spoken long before Fergus Mor mac Erc led the Scots to Dalriada at the end of the 4th century CE.

The Picts were not "shoved" by the Scots anywhere - the kings of Dalriada in fact occupied a subordinate role to the Pictish kings more often than not, and indeed Dalriada was completely overun by the Picts by the middle of the 8th century CE during the reign of the Pictish king Angus mac Fergus (the likely origin of the carved wild boar to be found at Dunadd, the citadel of the Scots of Dalriada - the boar was a prominent Pictish emblem, which indeed was the "Scottish" royal standard until the adoption of the Lion Rampant by William I "the Lion" in the 12th century CE). However the Norse impact resulted in the extinction of many royal Pictish kindreds and the high-kingship of Alba fell to Cinaed mac Alpin ("Kenneth MacAlpin") around 843 CE (not 1200). Kenneth was most likely the scion of a minor Pictish royal kindred which was in exile in Dalriada at the time. The idea that the Picts were somehow extinguished by the Scots arises in the 11th century with the advent of primogeniture. The need to legitimise hereditary entitlement to royal authority meant a greater emphasis on direct lineage to founding dynasties than before and the kings at the time - Malcolm II, Duncan I, Malcolm III (Macbeth being a notable exception) found it expedient to emphasise descent from Fergus mor mac Erc and this led to the Alba being called "Scotia" for the first time and for the myth that the Picts had in some way been exterminated. Far from it - every seat of royal authority of the Kings of Scots from Kenneth I onwards was a "former" Pictish centre, i.e. there was continuity, and a myth of discontinuity was introduced in the 11th century for the purposes of legitimising a dynasty....   

In another topic, someone mentions The Cailleach as a Scottish deity, so I just thought I'd mention the Scottish / Irish crossover of culture.

In the Dark Ages, the Irish invaded Scotland and settled in Dalriada, which is Argyllshire.  The Picts were shoved over into the east of the country, which is why Scotland has an east/west divide.  In about 1200 Kenneth MacAlpin unified the Picts and the Irish into Scotland and became the first king.

The stories have it that the Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny) was borrowed by Kenneth for the coronation, and he didn't give it back, thus it became the Stone of Scone.

I've read Cailleach stories that are based in Ireland and Scottish stories of Finn Mac Cumhail, so there's a fair amount of crossover.
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QuercusRobur
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« Reply #2: April 06, 2008, 01:53:42 pm »

The idea that the Picts were somehow extinguished by the Scots arises in the 11th century with the advent of primogeniture. The need to legitimise hereditary entitlement to royal authority meant a greater emphasis on direct lineage to founding dynasties than before and the kings at the time - Malcolm II, Duncan I, Malcolm III (Macbeth being a notable exception) found it expedient to emphasise descent from Fergus mor mac Erc and this led to the Alba being called "Scotia" for the first time and for the myth that the Picts had in some way been exterminated. Far from it - every seat of royal authority of the Kings of Scots from Kenneth I onwards was a "former" Pictish centre, i.e. there was continuity, and a myth of discontinuity was introduced in the 11th century for the purposes of legitimising a dynasty....   

That's fair enough - my history is spotty (except for the 19th century which I did my history exams in) and while I try and expand my knowledge when I can I have time constraints.

But it is in the east of Scotland there is the evidence of Picts - Pit at the start of place names in the east of Scotland denotes Picts, and there is Groam House Museum which has a lot on Pictish art, which is in Rosemarkie (not far from Inverness in Scotland).  I suspect Pictish art gets lumped in with Celtic art, but Pictish art is another subject I would like to know more of.
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Aster Breo
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« Reply #3: April 06, 2008, 04:24:57 pm »

I suspect Pictish art gets lumped in with Celtic art, but Pictish art is another subject I would like to know more of.

Me too.  Can anyone recommend resources?
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Innse_Iboth
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« Reply #4: April 07, 2008, 08:41:03 am »

Me too.  Can anyone recommend resources?

The Art of the Picts, by Henderson and Henderson

http://www.thamesandhudson.com/en/1/9780500238073.mxs?d5b856b55729824390c471e905384c86&0&0&0

The Lost Language of the Picts, by W A Cummins

http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm/ID/30829//Location/DBBC
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Aster Breo
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« Reply #5: April 08, 2008, 09:45:03 pm »


Thanks for these recommendations.  They're in my Amazon cart now, waiting for enough disposable income.   Cheesy
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« Reply #6: April 19, 2008, 06:05:44 pm »

Modern scholarship recognises that Q-Celtic languages were not brought to Scotland from Ireland, rather, Q-Celtic languages were once spoken across the entire British Isles and while the successive phases of the adoption of P-Celtic languages never reached Ireland, they did reach Scotland but didn't entirely engulf it. The Pictish language most likely incorporated Q-Celtic, P-Celtic and pre-Celtic elements. The P-Celtic influence in Scotland didn't extend further than the Highland Line, north and west of which a language we would more accurately call Gaelic than anything else was spoken long before Fergus Mor mac Erc led the Scots to Dalriada at the end of the 4th century CE.

I wouldn't entirely agree with this...Some modern scholars may hold this view, but equally there are those that hold the view that distinguishing P and Q Celtic languages at such an early stage is incorrect, because the differences of the Ps and Qs developed and became pronounced at a relatively late date in the evolution of Celtic languages.

Your assertion about P Celtic influence not reaching beyond the Highland Line doesn't hold true if you accept the evidence of 'pit' placenames for one...and assuming any value can be found in agreeing that Pictish is indeed a P Celtic language like the rest of Britain was until the Goidelic language started gaining influence, as is commonly held. I'd really appreciate any references you might have on this to make sure my information is up to date  Smiley

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The Picts were not "shoved" by the Scots anywhere - the kings of Dalriada in fact occupied a subordinate role to the Pictish kings more often than not, and indeed Dalriada was completely overun by the Picts by the middle of the 8th century CE during the reign of the Pictish king Angus mac Fergus (the likely origin of the carved wild boar to be found at Dunadd, the citadel of the Scots of Dalriada - the boar was a prominent Pictish emblem, which indeed was the "Scottish" royal standard until the adoption of the Lion Rampant by William I "the Lion" in the 12th century CE).

The idea of any sort of invasion by the Dalriadans in wholesale terms is lacking in evidence, really. In fact, archaeologically the evidence suggests that cultural influence went from Scotland to Ireland in terms of the types of buildings we find in both areas...The issue of Pictish/Dalriadan politics is hazy at best, as indeed is the reason for the presence of the 'Pictish' boar at Dunadd. Ewan Campbell focuses on this in his book on Dunadd, along with an interesting article about the ogham script found there, which has been partially translated.
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QuercusRobur
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« Reply #7: April 20, 2008, 12:10:12 pm »

Your assertion about P Celtic influence not reaching beyond the Highland Line doesn't hold true if you accept the evidence of 'pit' placenames for one...

Where is the Highland line?  For example, for English weatherforecasters, the north of Scotland is anywhere above the central belt.  For people who live there, it's Inverness and above.

The "pit" placenames I've seen are in the Grampian region of Scotland, which also speaks the Doric dialect.  I only know a few words in it, having lived in Aberdeen for five years.
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« Reply #8: April 21, 2008, 09:51:25 am »

Where is the Highland line?  For example, for English weatherforecasters, the north of Scotland is anywhere above the central belt.  For people who live there, it's Inverness and above.

The "pit" placenames I've seen are in the Grampian region of Scotland, which also speaks the Doric dialect.  I only know a few words in it, having lived in Aberdeen for five years.

You're quite right...My two answers would be roughly agreeing with weatherforecasters as seems to be the most common perception, or according to geography, which would roughly be a line going from south-west to north-eastish starting somewhere north of Loch Lomond and going up. As I understand it some people see Ben Lomond as the starter of the Highlands, others Glencoe over on the west side, it depends on who you ask.

Pit placenames are most common over in the east, outwith the geographical Highland area as you've defined it, but there's plenty of evidence to show it was common in the more traditionally Gaelic speaking areas (and definitely Highland) where it was replaced with the word 'baile' at some point. It wasn't unheard of for placenames to be translated into different languages as they changed in a particular area, so it's not surprising. I'm referring to Watson's Celtic Placenames of Scotland here, but I'm sure Nicolaisen's more up to date Placenames of Scotland goes into it as well, with pretty pictures. Watson gives 7 examples in Sutherland, 17 in Ross and 10 in Inverness-shire alone. 
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« Reply #9: April 25, 2008, 09:10:46 pm »

Where is the Highland line?

"Aligned southwest to northeast, from Lochranza on Arran it bisects the Isle of Bute, and crosses the south eastern parts of the Cowal and Rosneath Peninsulas as it passes up the Firth of Clyde. It comes ashore near Helensburgh then continues through Loch Lomond to Aberfoyle, then Callander, Comrie and Crieff. It then forms the northern boundary of the Vale of Strathmore and reaches the North Sea immediately north of Stonehaven near the ruined Chapel of St. Mary and St. Nathalan"

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Line)
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Innse_Iboth
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« Reply #10: April 25, 2008, 09:12:19 pm »

I'd really appreciate any references you might have on this to make sure my information is up to date

See resources listed above
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QuercusRobur
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« Reply #11: April 26, 2008, 02:32:49 pm »

"Aligned southwest to northeast, from Lochranza on Arran it bisects the Isle of Bute, and crosses the south eastern parts of the Cowal and Rosneath Peninsulas as it passes up the Firth of Clyde. It comes ashore near Helensburgh then continues through Loch Lomond to Aberfoyle, then Callander, Comrie and Crieff. It then forms the northern boundary of the Vale of Strathmore and reaches the North Sea immediately north of Stonehaven near the ruined Chapel of St. Mary and St. Nathalan.

D**n, I can't wind my father up anymore by calling him a teuchtar - he was born in Campbelltown, which would be below the Highland line.
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