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Re: Cimmerians, Scythians, and Scots.


>Just getting caught up with all the mail from the past week .
>Your comments on the Cimmerians -- they were a real race of people .

OK, you got me on that one.  Yes, they were real.
Not only that, but they were apparently the models for Homer's Amazons.

>They , the Cimerii , were the oldest occupants of Scythia . They were of 
>Thracian or Iranian descent . They were driven from their homeland in the 7th 
>century B.C. by the Scythians .

Yep, that seems to fit with the sources I've glanced at.
The earliest source for that is apparently Herodotus,
although there are likely references in Hesiod and Homer:

Much of this comes from the earliest Greek writers and is about
events that happened during the Greek Dark Ages, so it's a bit vague.

Recent archaeological excavations indicate that the Scythians
did in fact have warrior women among them, so maybe they were
who Homer was referring to:

The Scythians were also reputed to be the first people to domesticate the horse:
(The first steppe peoples to use horses for riding combat, maybe;
the Egyptians and others used horses with chariots millenia before that.)

The Scythians were also associated with the legends of the centaurs:

>The Scythians were in turn displaced by their eastern neighbors the Sarmatae .
>The Sarmatae were definitely Iranian . They in turn were displaced Westward 
>by the Huns .

That part sounds familiar.

>Interestingly , the name of the Scythians in Latin was Scoloti  . I wonder if 
>a gutteral prononciation of this,  like in German , might be a predecessor to 
>the word Scottish ???

Seems dubious to me, but I'm no linguist.  However, the word Scot is usually
considered to be derived from the Irish word Scotti, which probably meant
bandit.  The Scotti were first mentioned by the Romans in 360 A.D.

>The writer , ROBERT ERVIN HOWARD , who died ( suicide ) at age thirty , was 
>unusually well informed and well researched in his writings . Three or four 
>of his main characters were drawn from our areas of ancestry : Conan , Bran 
>MacMorn . Solomon Kane and Cormac Mac Art ; i.e. Cimmerian , Pict , Puritan , 
>Celt. .

He also made up a lot of things, and he also used places such as Atlantis
that have never been established as fact.

Lord Dunsany, Tolkien, and even H. Rider Haggard also used many elements of
fact and familiar names in their fantasies.  This doesn't mean that Alan
Quatermaine really existed (even though Haggard modelled him on some of
my likely relatives in Oxfordshire) or that he found King Solomon's Mines.

The name Conan, by the way, is a current surname in Brittany;
I got snowed in in Bucharest with a French Conan a few years ago.

>The Scots of a thousand years ago considered themselves to be of Scythian 
>ancestry . This was true of Prince Henry Sinclair also

I'm not sure how you know that Prince Henry believed that, but we do know
that his great-grandfather Henry Sinclair subscribed to that notion.
Subscribed to it literally, because he signed the Declaration of Arbroath,
which contains this paragraph:

 Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of
 the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the
 Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from
 Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of
 Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most
 savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however
 barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of
 Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still
 live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly
 destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the
 Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many
 victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear
 witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since. In their
 kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own
 royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.

But what was their source for this belief?  One hopes from some place
more reliable than the place many of the English ancestral myths came from,
i.e., the notoriously unreliable Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Incidentally, Geoffrey claimed that the Britons were descendants
of the Trojans.  The Cimmerians and Scythians were enemies of the
Phrygians, who were allies of the Trojans.  This would indicate that
Scottish-British enmity goes back at least 2700 years. :-)

Most likely their source was Herodotus, who mentions them as dwelling
in Spain (c.f. Pillars of Hercules) by around 600 B.C.:

Historically, the Scots came from Ireland in the fifth and sixth
centuries A.D., and first lived in the kingdom of Dalriada, which
spread from northeastern Ireland through the western islands into
Argyll and thereabouts.

Here's a writeup on Scots descended from Dalriada:

(It mentions the MacGregors, for those who are following that thread.)

For a traditional version of the ancestry of Kenneth Mac Alpin
(the King of Scots who also became King of Picts and was thus
the first to be King of Scotland) through Dalriada back to Adam, see:

I wonder if anyone knows at what point it goes back beyond fact
into legend and fantasy.

The Picts were already in Scotland, as were the Britons and the Angles.
The Anglo-Saxons showed up around the same time in Scotland as they did
in England, which I think was around the fifth century.
The big surge of Viking (Norse) invastions was in the eigth
and ninth centuries.  The Picts, Britons, and Scots were all Celts.
The Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were Germanic.

Here's a pretty good online history of the peoples of Scotland:
It's by a Robert M. Gunn, who skirts the Scythian issue
but has other interesting information.

> and so should lay to 
>rest the speculation of the NORSE / FRENCH / BRITON / PICT/ SCOTCH / CELT , 
>"purity " or dominance ??

I don't recall anyone using the term purity in this discussion before.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to discover people of Sinclair descent
in Palestine, Syria, Turkey, or Lithuania, considering that some of our
ancestors were Crusaders in those places, and soldiers in foreign parts
have been known to dally with local women.  Conversely, there was a lot of
intermarriage going on in Scotland (and Normandy and Norway) all the time.
There are also black Scots these days.  I've recently learned from something
that Niven Sinclair sent that Bob Marley's mother was a Sinclair.

As I was remarking to some of the staff in my company's office in Edinburgh
a couple months ago, one reason Scots and Americans (and the same would apply
to Canadians, Australians, NZ, ZA, etc.) get along fairly well may be that
Scotland is a country of very mixed ancestry, almost as much as the states.

>There is much more to all of this but I don't want to bore our list readers .

Those who are on this list to discuss genealogy are probably convinced
by now that those of us who are history buffs are all looney.  However,
I think that historical background, even into the deep past, provides
context for considering what the genealogical descent of the Sinclairs means.

>Those who are interested will find the Scythians in the OLD TESTAMENT under 
>the Hebrew name Ashkenaz .

According to Jeremiah 4:29 they invaded Palestine and got as far
as the borders of Egypt.

The Galatians of the New Testament were also Celts.

And yes, there are attempts to relate the Scythians to the Sumerians
by way of the Parthians:

Of course, if you're going to go that far back, there are lines of
argument relating all the Indo-Europeans, so one could readily argue
that we are all related to the present prime minister of India.

It is possible that I now hold the prize for most distant digression
on this list. :-)

>regards to all .

John Sinclair Quarterman <jsq@mids.org>
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@jump.net.
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