Sir John Rhys, seems improbable; for the non-English place-names of Scotland are either Gaelic or Brythonic (more or less Welsh), and the names of Pictish kings are either common to Gaelic and Welsh (or Cymric, or Brythonic), or are Welsh in their phonetics. Mr Skene held that the Picts were a Gaelic-speaking people, but the weight of philological authority is with Mr Whitley Stokes, who says that Pictish phonetics, “so far as we can ascertain them, resemble those of Welsh rather than of Irish” (see Zimmer, Das Mutterrecht der Pikten; Rhys, Royal Commission's Report on Land in Wales, Celtic Britain, Rhind Lectures; Skene's Celtic Scotland; J. G. Frazer, Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship, p. 247; Macbain's edition, 1902, of Skene's Highlanders of Scotland).
The Roman occupation has left not many material relics in Scotland, and save for letting a glimmer of Christianity into the south-west, did nothing which permanently affected the institutions of the partially subjugated peoples. In A.D. 81-82 Agricola garrisoned the Roman frontier between Forth and Clyde, and in 84 he fought and won a great battle farther north, probably on the line of the Tay. His enemies were men of the early iron age, and used the chariot in war. They fought with courage, but were no match for Roman discipline; it was, however, impossible to follow them into their mountain fortresses, nor were the difficulties of pursuit thoroughly overcome till after the battle of Culloden in 1746. The most important Roman stations which have hitherto been excavated are those of Birrenswark, on the north side of Solway Firth; Ardoch, near the historical battlefield of Sheriffmuir (1715); and Newstead, a site first occupied by Agricola, under the Eildon hills. Roman roads extended, with camps, as far as the Moray Firth. It is not till A.D. 300 that we read of “the Caledonians and other Picts”; in the 4th century they frequently harried the Romans up to the wall of Hadrian, between Tyne and Solway. About the end of the century the southern Picts of Galloway, and tribes farther north, were partially converted by St Ninian, from the candida casa of Whithern. The Scots, from Ireland, also now come into view, the name of Scotland being derived from that of a people really Irish in origin, who spoke a Gaelic (see Celtic) akin to that of the Caledonians, and were in a similar stage of higher barbarism. The Scots made raids, but, as yet, no national settlement.
The withdrawal of the Romans from Britain (410) left the northern part of the island as a prey to be fought for by warlike tribes, of whom the most notable were the Picts in the north, the Scots or Dalriads from Ireland in the west (Argyll), the Cymric or Welsh peoples in the south-west and between Forth and Tay, and the Teutonic invaders, Angles or English, in the south-east.
If the Picts had been able to win and hold Scotland as far south as the historic border, the fortunes of the country would probably have been more or less like those of Ireland. After the Norman Conquest, England would have subjugated the Celts and held Scotland by a tenure less precarious and disputed than they possessed in the western island. Scotland would have been, at most, a larger Wales. But in the struggle for existence it chanced that the early English invaders secured a kingdom, Bernicia, which stretched from the Humber into Lothian, or farther north, as the fortune of battle might at various times determine; and thus, from the centre to the south-east of what is now Scotland, the people had come to be anglicized in speech before the Norman Conquest, though Gaelic survived much later in Galloway. The English domain comprised, roughly speaking, the modern counties of Selkirkshire, Peeblesshire, Berwickshire, Roxburghshire and most of the Lothians, while south of Tweed it contained Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire to the Humber. In later days the Celtic kings of northern and western Scotland succeeded in holding, on vague conditions of homage to the English crown, the English-speaking region of historic Scotland. That region was the most fertile, had the best husbandry, and possessed the most civilized population, a people essentially English in language and institutions, but indomitably attached to the Celtic dynasties of the western and northern part of the island. It was the English-speaking south-east part of Scotland, gradually extended so as to comprise Fife and the south-west (Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, Stirlingshire, Dumbartonshire, Ayrshire and Renfrewshire), which learned to adopt the ideas of western Europe in matters political, municipal and ecclesiastical, while it never would submit to the domination of the English crown. This English element, in a nation ruled by a Celtic dynasty, prevented Scotland from becoming, like Wales, a province of England.
On the west of the northern part of the English kingdom of Bernicia, severed from that by the Forest of Ettrick, and perhaps by the mysterious work of which traces remain in the “Catrail,” was the Brython or Welsh kingdom of Strathclyde, which then included the territory and population, later anglicized, of Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, and, south of the historic border, Cumberland and Westmoreland to the Derwent. Strathclyde was essentially Welsh, and it may be noted that this region, centuries later, was the centre of the recalcitrant Covenanters, a people enthusiastically religious in their own way. Later, this region was the hotbed or “revivals” and the cradle of Irvingism. Whether the influence of Cymric blood may be traced in these characteristics is a dubious question.
While southern Scotland was thus English and Cymric, the north, from Cape Wrath to Lochaber, in the west, and to the Firth of Tay, on the east, was Pictland; and the vernacular spoken there was the Gaelic. The west, south of Lochaber to the Mull of Kintyre, with the isles of Bute, Islay, Arran and Jura, was the realm of the Dalriadic kings, Scots from Ireland (503): here, too, Gaelic was spoken, as among the “Southern Picts” of the kingdom of Galloway. Such, roughly speaking, were the divisions of the country which arose as results of the obscure wars of the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries.
As regards Christianity in these regions, Protestantism, Presbyterianism and patriotism find here a battle-ground. The Christianity. mission of St Ninian (397) was that of a native of the Roman province of Britain, and the church which he founded would bear the same relation to Rome as did the church in Britain. There are material relics of his church, bearing the Christian monogram, and there are stones with Latin epitaphs; these objects are wholly unlike the Irish crosses and inscriptions of the Gaelic church. If Bede is right in saying that Ninian was trained in Rome, then the early Christianity of Scotland was Roman.
In 431 the contemporary Chronica of Prosper of Aquitaine record that Palladius was ordained by Pope Celestine as the first bishop “to the believing Scots,” that is, to the Irish. If there were “believing Scots” in Ireland before the first bishop was ordained, their ecclesiastical constitution cannot have been episcopal. Fordun, in the 14th century, supposed that the clergy, before Palladius, were presbyters or monks. As Hector Boece, “that pillar of falsehood,” dubbed these presbyters “Culdees,” “the pure Culdee,” a blameless Presbyterian, almost prehistoric, has been claimed as the ancestor of Scottish Presbyterianism; and episcopacy has been regarded as a deplorable innovation. The Irish church has paid more reverence to St Patricius than to Palladius (373-463), and the church of St Patricius, himself a figure as important as obscure, certainly abounded in bishops; according to Angus the Culdee there were 1071, but these cannot have been bishops with territorial sees, and the heads of monasteries were more potent personages.
The Dalriadic settlers in Argyll and the Isles, the (Irish) Scots, were Christians in the Irish manner. Their defeat by the Picts, in 560, induced the Irish St Columba to endeavour to convert the conquering Picts. In 563-565 he founded his mission and monastery in the isle of Iona, and journeying to Inverness he converted the king of the Picts. About the same date (573), the king of Cymric Strathclyde summoned, from exile in Wales, St Kentigern, the patron saint of Glasgow, who restored a Christianity almost or quite submerged in paganism, Celtic and English. The pagan English of Deira (603) routed under Æthelfrith the Christian Scots of Argyll between Liddesdale and North Tyne; and pagan English for more than a century held unopposed the