Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654
|Name:||Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673|
|Title:||Andreae Melvini Scotiae Topographia. Adnotata ad Scotorvm Antiqvitatem|
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Translation of text:
they all are ignorant of all drunkenness, and pass this time simply and joyfully, without quarrels and the other vices that drunkenness brings; and they celebrate healthy feasts, as seeds and welcome pledges of sweet friendship and bonds of constant love. So great is the love, so great the prudence of the abstemious Goths.
Now a well-known example of old frugality and a healthy life in our time was our Laurence, who when with the consort of his life and table and couch he had crossed ten times eight years, bendings and returns of Phoebus, and having lived a hard life, and the consort of couch and birth having been taken by her toils into old age and death and deprived of the light of life, loved another woman, so vigorous and green was the man's old age, and now a centenarian himself he married a wife flourishing in green age and strong youth, from whose sweet embrace and the charming delights of creating offspring he joyfully went out to the former tasks of his working life, for more than four times ten years, and equally joyfully and firm he went about in constant strength. Therefore he had completed ten times fourteen years, when perchance he went out to fish, and suddenly a huge storm arose with a huge tempest and fell upon the sea, a flow too great for any man, and a hostile south wind and a very short cours in the waves, where the cruel waves opposed with insane mass, he alone worked with his oars and pressing through the rough seas he drove his small boat into harbour, and having gained the harbour pulled it up on the edge of the shore out of the deep sea. Then afterwards, older and his life having been passed not unpleasantly, he prolonged the great course of his age for many years, not by any force of illness, but with difficulty weakened by the wasting of old age, with all his senses perfect he spoke his last words, recently (57) directing his soul, and left his cares, and his life drew in the open heaven without any sense of harm.
OF THE SCOTS,
And their second crossing into Britain from Ireland
under the leadership of Reuthar, whom Bede calls Reuda.
By ROBERT GORDON (Section Note)
It would not be necessary to institute a long discussion on our antiquity, the origin of the kingdom, and the immigration to this island, as the great part of these subjects (as with many other nations) are separated from us by many centuries and lie hidden in darkness; like the gushing springs of rivers, the origins of nations are mean, obscure, and become known only through the lapse of time. Our history is different, since our ancestors at one and the same time and in large numbers crossed from Ireland to this island, and at once from the beginning lived under kings, and at once had the form of a state. Nor would it be necessary for me to enquire so carefully into these matters, if English historians, formerly hostile to us (as often happens with neighbouring nations) from daily discords, did not place our arrival in the same period in which the Saxons, from whom they derive, were invited by the Britons of the province to keep the Picts and Scots out of their territory. Nor would all this have been of such importance as to institute a serious controversy about it, when we are now joined with them in one empire and have a reasonably good agreement in language, religion and customs, and much that has been alleged against us, partially, impudently and against the factual evidence, has been revised by all who have more than a common knowledge in these studies. But since a great deal has been written on these matters by certain people, and these not the least important but at the head of affairs, and being produced in Latin has become known to people of other countries, our case must be presented or our recognisance forfeited.
Firstly the old story of Scota and Gathelus seemed a jest to them, which it is not my intention either to defend or to abandon; certainly I do not see how it could be supported by adequate witnesses, unless there is trust in our chroniclers, who have always made this their starting point, but all of whom I do not doubt would be suspect in this, since the oldest of them are separated by such a great interval of time from the centuries in which these events took place. But pardon should be extended to antiquity, since our chroniclers are not alone in having sinned in such matters; into the list will come French, Danes, Swedes, Spaniards and many other European peoples, who had the same fault before the revival of learning. And if we look to antiquity, already Diodorus Siculus and Herodotus unfold the origins of the Greeks, and how few of them are not descended from Gods; although these stories may be held up to mockery, those historians took them from the monuments of these peoples, who then believed them to be the truth about themselves. And although exile has now rightly been imposed by law on all these stories, it is credible that our historians in primitive times took hence a model for themselves, especially in imitation of a neighbour. That the British Brutus and his legend had been influential on them is no idle guess, lest our historians be considered among the hindmost; that story, forged four hundred years ago by the Arthurian Geoffrey (1), or accepted by the Welshman for his Britons, translated and edited, as those times required, in Latin, was critically censured at that very time by learned and trustworthy men. Hence one may be surprised that William Camden, a most erudite man and skilled in every aspect of antiquity, very nearly came forward as its patron; he clearly admits that he had applied the powers of his mind to strengthen it, but in vain; but nevertheless he did not wish to pass judgement on it, but to leave it intact.
The same scholar, while he sharply attacks our antiquity, and in more than one place strains all the powers of his mind in this, asserts that our ancestors had no settlements in this island before the decline of the Roman Empire, that is a little before the arrival of the Saxons, who landed here only in 449 A.D., and that our name first became known to the world a little before that time. But if the origins and antiquity of peoples depends on the Romans' knowledge of them, good God! how many illustrious peoples are going to be deprived of their homeland