Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

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Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: De Antiqvitate Scotiae. Brevissima Regni Scotiae Descriptio  
Pagination: 10-11
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Translation of text:

fertile soil, though there is no estuary there, no bend or recess of the shore which might testify that there was once a bay. The River Findhorn goes into the ocean two miles from there, its mouth bent back to the west, so that it is difficult for sailors to enter. Hence one may conjecture, either that this estuary is to be deleted from the copy, as there was no such place; or that this name is to be referred to Cromarty on the opposite shore, which is a few miles distant from here on the facing shore. There there is a fine firth, very capacious, very safe, easy to locate; in it, as to a sacred anchor, there is a refuge in adverse times for sailors on that whole coast, which preserves the appearance of former centuries with its rocky shore. The other firth and closest to it on that shore, which I said divides Sutherland from Ross, i.e. the Logi from the Cantae, is without harbours and hostile to ships. Then the River Spey follows, second in length in the whole kingdom to the Tay, unknown to Ptolemy; intolerant of ships, it has no harbour. But his river Celnius, more to the east on the same shore, would correspond beautifully to the Deveron, which flows past the small city of Banff, unknown to our author.

From this river, when the shore has advanced a few miles to the east, it begins to turn south, when the promontory Taezalum comes into sight, today well known under the name of Buchan Ness. At this place the region extends to its maximum to the east, and from here the river Diva is twnety four miles away, with the two rivers Ugie and Ythan, not named in the Roman period, coming between. But the Diva, with a slight change in the word, is today named the Dee; at an interval of two miles at the mouth it has a companion river, the Don, not mentioned by the ancients. A city Devana is placed by Ptolemy far up in the interior, where there is not the slightest trace of there ever having been a city; basing my conjectiure on the name, I have placed this at the mouth of the Dee, where today is Aberdeen, a famous city. At each river are situated the old and new cities, distinct in name. George Buchanan attests that he has found in texts of the ancients that that on the Dee was called Aberdee. That on the Dee was increased by King Gregory, by the construction of a palace and the institution of a mint. This took place about the year 900. I have seen coinage struck there, but in later centuries. That the city is much older is proved by the celebrity of the place, the salmon fishing especially from the two neighbouring rivers being very rich; it has never failed at any time and there is nothing equal to it in this sphere in the whole kingdom.

After the Dee come Mearns and Angus, provinces with modern names, where the kingdom of the Picts began in the north. Here the Grampian mountains stop in the sea. Ptolemy mentions these places as part of Taezalum. But Tacitus tells us of the Horestae, when he relates that Agricola after the victory over Galgatus turned his army towards the Horestae (12) ; he seems to have done this to replenish the troops from sea-borne stores, for the fleet which accompanied him seems to have entered the Tay. On this coast at the River Esk is the town of Montrose, today Monros, known to our writers by the name of Celurca.

A VERY BRIEF
DESCRIPTION
OF THE KINGDOM OF SCOTLAND,
Taken from book 1 of the History of GEORGE BUCHANAN, Scot. (Section Note)

Of the islands which by the ancients are called Britains and which lie facing France in a great space of lands between the Spains and Germany, two far exceed the rest in size, Albion and Ireland. I shall speak first of these; then, as will be convenient, I shall expound the location and names of the others.

First in size is Albion, which now alone keeps the name Britain, which was previously common to all. On its length and width other writers agree mostly with Caesar, viz. that it extends eight hundred miles in length from north to south, while at its widest point, where it faces France (as some think) or from the angle of Man to the mouth of the River Yar (1) (as it seems to others), it stretches about two hundred miles; then it gradually narrows until it reaches the boundary of Scotland. The Romans, to whom the farther parts were not yet sufficiently known, believed the whole island to be triangular; but as they slowly advanced farther they learned that beyond Hadrian's Wall it gradually spread out more widely and ran to the north east. This may be said in general about its size. The climate is more temperate than that of France, as Caesar says, but that of Ireland is more gentle than either. The air is rarely clear, but mostly dull with thick mist, and more rainy than snowy in quite a gentle winter. The earth produces crops generously, and besides crops also metals of every sort. The whole is very productive of cattle. Those who live in the farthest parts of the island, more infested by cold, use oatmeal bread and make wine from spoiled fruits; the majority boil milk-whey and bury it in jars for several months, and this drink is consumed by many not only healthily but also happily. Concerning the name of Britain there was no controversy among the ancients, except that the Greeks named it Bretania, the Latins Britannia. Other races imitated the former or the latter according to their own judgement. Recently there have emerged men eager not so much for the truth as for argument, who hoped that they could become famous by insulting the most famous. For they did not think it possible that they would not be commonly held in a high opinion of learning, if they established a dispute with the whole of antiquity; and although the quarrel was not on a very great matter, yet because it concerned the actual name of their country, they thought they must strive as it were for altars and hearths and all the ancient glory of the whole race. Three ancient names of the island, as they claim, have different supporters, Prudania, Prytaneia, and Britannia. For Prudania Llwyd strives with all the strength of his ability; for Prytaneia Thomas Elyot, a British knight, strives with modest studies: almost everyone else tries to keep Britannia. For Prudania Llwyd uses a certain old fragment's authority, which is made almost sacrosanct by location, decay and length of time. He confirms it, though it is strong in itself, by etymology, bardic poems, the practice of the native tongue, and a kind of rust of venerable age. Of that fragment, on which the summit and support of the case are placed, I ask above all Whence, when, or from what father did it come to be born? or what finally does it say, that makes for the case? You will perhaps speak about the place, the time, the author. All these, because they are uncertain, prove its age. Truly a fine proof. The certainty, trust and authority of the witnesses depend on ignorance, ignobility and obscurity; and what is assumed to settle the matter in dispute has more obscurity, more weakness, than the case for the proof of which it is brought forward. Who says there is evidence here? I do not know. What does he say for the evidence? Not even this do I know. But I have heard this, that it is named Prudania in that fragment. What is this Prudania? a mountain or a river? a village or a town? a man or a woman? I do not know, but I think that Britain is meant by this name. Come then, let Prudania mean Britain. What then does this fragment of yours do for you? I should like to know this, does it claim that Prudania is the true name of the island, or prove the ignorance of those who attribute this false name to the island? I do not know this, but I recognise here a British sound,

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