Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

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Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: Scotiae  
Pagination: 18-19
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Translation of text:

and sustains itself by mutual binding (7) and the weight of the rocks, gradually narrowing from bottom to top. The top part is open. The common people invent various uses and creators for this building, each according to his own ideas. I certainly was once drawn by conjecture to believe that it was a temple of Terminus, which (as we were told) was accustomed to be built round and open-topped. The nearby Duns of peace seemed to aid our conjecture to some extent: supposing, if peace had been made there, of which these hills were a monument, that the Romans had positioned there the terminus of their rule. And nothing else would have led me away from this opinion, if I had not found from reliable men that several buildings had been found on an island, otherwise similar to the small building we have mentioned, except that they are larger and wider. Likewise there are two chapels in Ross of similar shape. This has forced me to give up my opinion, and to judge that these are monuments of actions, and in particular trophies, set up almost outside the world, to be safe from harm from enemies. But certainly whether they are trophies or (as some suspect) the tombs of famous men, I believe that they have been consecrated as monuments to perpetuate the eternity of their memory, but constructed by unlearned and uncivilised men in imitation of that little building on the Carron. On the right side of the Carron the land, otherwise level, slowly rises to a hill, about midway between the Duns of peace and the little building: on it at the point of the angle a trace of a modest city still can be seen. But the foundation of the walls and the description of the areas is confused, partly by rural cultivation, partly by the removal of squared stones for the construction of neighbouring villas of the rich. This place is expressly called Guido's by the Englishman Bede, and located in the actual angle of Severus' wall. Many famous Roman writers mention this wall; many traces remain, many inscribed stones are dug up, on which are either testimonies of safety accepted by tribunes and centurions or burial inscriptions. And since from Hadrian's Wall (as the remains of both show) this wall of Severus is rarely less than one hundred miles distant from that which Hadrian had previously constructed, either there was great ignorance on the part of the writers of English history, if they did not understand the Latins who handed down this information, or carelessness, if they rendered so confusedly what was clearly handed down. But however that may be, the matter seemed to me worthy if not of rebuke, at least of light admonition, especially since it is quite certain from the monuments already mentioned and from the history of the Englishman Bede, that there at one time was the boundary between Britons and Scots. But those who claim that Camelodunum was here, also contend that the little house we have mentioned was the temple of Claudius Caesar, a completely vain falsehood in each case, since the Roman colony of Camelodunum was more than three hundred miles away from that place, if trust is to be placed in Ptolemy and the itinerary of Antoninus. Cornelius Tacitus most clearly displays their error, both in all the rest of his narrative, and especially because he writes that the Romans, when Camelodunum was lost, fled into the temple of Claudius Caesar in order to preserve their safety. Now that little house, whether it was a temple of Terminus or a monument of another action, without doors, of which it has no trace, and open above to the throwing of stones, could not only not have concealed but could scarcely have held even ten soldiers. What of the fact that almost forty years after the expedition of Claudius Caesar, Julius Agricola was the first Roman to penetrate into these parts? or that fifty years after Agricola Hadrian set the boundary of the province between the Tyne and the Esk by building a wall? Now Septimius Severus, coming to Britain about 210 A.D., one hundred miles beyond the boundary made by Hadrian built a wall from the estuary of the Clyde to the confluence of the Forth and Avon, of which very many clear signs still remain. Additionally we learn nowhere in the ancient records that the capital of the Pictish kingdom was at Camelodunum, but that both the palace and the principal Bishop's seat was at Abernethy, which was later transferred to St Andrews. But if one asks what induced the Romans to found a colony there, and how they sustained it in land so sterile and then (as was the case) wooded and uncultivated, and susceptible to daily damage from the fiercest enemy, they will reply, I think (for I do not see what else they could reply), that it was supported by naval forces, since ships were then accustomed to sail up the Carron as far as the gates of the city. If that was true, it would have to have been the case that the fields on both sides of the Forth were covered by inundations of the sea and hence sterile, although their only grain supplies must have been in that area. The even more difficult question arises, that, since sea water claimed the land on both sides of the Forth, why did the Romans not rather end their wall there, than with unnecessary labour extend it farther over many miles? Beyond the land of Stirling is Lennox, divided from the prefecture of Renfrew by the Clyde, from that of Glasgow by the River Kelvin, it is separated from the land of Stirling by mountains and from Menteith by the Forth; it finally ends in the Grampian mountain, at whose feet Loch Lomond comes out through a hollow valley, twenty four miles long, eight wide. It contains more than twenty four islands. Besides a large number of other fish, it has one peculiar to it, not unpleasant to eat, called 'pollacs'. Finally breaking out at the south it pours into the River Leven, which gave the region its name; it enters the Clyde near Dumbarton Castle and the town of the same name. The last hills of the Grampian mountain reach the farthest part of Lennox, divided by a sea-loch, which they call with brevity the Gairloch. Beyond this is a much more ample loch, which they call Long, from the River Long which falls into it. That is the boundary between Lennox and Cowal. Cowal itself, Argyll (or rather Ergathelia) and Knapdale are split into many parts by many narrow lochs which pour in from the Firth of Clyde. One, distinguished among the others, is called Loch Fyne, from the River Fyne which it takes in. It stretches more than sixty miles in length. In Knapdale also is Loch Awe, in which there is a small island and a fortified castle. From it the River Awe flows out, the only one in those regions to go out to the Deucaledonian Sea. Beyond Knapdale to the south west Kintyre runs out, that is head of the region, facing Ireland, from which it is split by a modest strait; it is longer than it is wide, and is joined to Knapdale by such a narrow throat that it scarcely fills one mile, and that space is nothing but sand, so low that sailors generally seek a short way in their voyage by pulling small ships over it. This adjoins Lorne, which is next to Argyll and continues to Lochaber, a flat and not infertile region. Where the Grampian mountain is lower and more penetrable, the region is called Breadalbane, that is, as you might say the highest part of Scotland; and where the greatest part is raised up, it is called Drum Albin, that is the back of Scotland, and not entirely without reason. For from that back rivers run down to both seas, some to the north, others to the south. For from Loch Earn it pours the River Earn to the south east; and it slips into the Tay three miles below Perth. From this river the area on both banks took its name, being called in the old language of the Scots Strathearn. For they are accustomed to call 'strath' a region lying on the course of rivers. Between the mountains of that region and the Forth extends Menteith, taking its name from the River Teith which intersects it. The Ochil Mountains follow it; they, for the most part, and the land lying at their feet, are classed in the prefecture of Strathearn. But the rest of the land as far as the Forth has been divided up by ambition into various prefectures, Clackmannan, Culross and Kinross. The land that is enclosed by these and the Ochil Mountains and the shores of the Forth and the Tay, runs in a narrow wedge shape east to the sea. It has one name, Fife, self-sufficient in all necessities of life. It is widest where Loch Leven divides it; then on both sides it narrows to the town of Crail. It has only one river worth mentioning, the Leven. The whole coast is girded with frequent small towns, of which the most memorable because of its studies in the liberal arts is St Andrews, which the old Scots called Regulus’ Shrine. Further inland, almost in the middle of the region, is Cupar, at which the other residents of Fife gather to receive justice. Where it touches Strathearn is Abernethy, the old capital of the Picts. Here the Earn flows into the Tay. The Tay itself, easily the greatest of the rivers of Scotland, bursts out from Loch Tay, which is in Breadalbane, twenty four miles long. The river, bending towards the Grampian mountain, touches Atholl, a fertile region located in the actual valleys of the Grampian. The part of it which spreads out into a plain below the feet of the mountain is called Blair, which means ground free of trees. Below Atholl on the right bank of the Tay is situated the town of Caledonia, keeping only its old name, in the vernacular Dunkeld, that is mound set on hazels. For the hazel, since it spread very widely through uncultivated areas and hid the fields with the thickness of its trees, gave its name to both town and people. For the Caledonians or people of Caledon, once among the most famous of the Britons, made up one part of the kingdom of the Picts, whom Ammianus Marcellinus divides into Caledonians and Vecturions, of whose name there now survives scarcely any trace. Twelve miles below Dunkeld on the same right bank is Perth. On the left bank below Atholl looking east is Gowrie, well known for its fruitful plains. And below this again Angus, or as the old Scots say, Aineia, stretches between the Tay and the Esk. There are some who think it called Horestia, or near to the dialect of the Angles/English, Forestia. In it are the cities of Coupar and Dundee, which Boece, honouring his own country, ambitiously calls Deidonum, God's Gift. For I think the old name was Thaodunum, from Dun, that is hill situated on the Tay; at its feet the city is built. Out of the Tay, 14 miles directly along the coast, is found Abernethy[? Arbroath], also called Abrinca. Then is Red Head, visible from quite a distance. The River South Esk cuts through the middle; the other North Esk divides it from the Mearns. That for the most part consists of flat plains, until beyond Fordoun and Dunnottar Castle of the Earl Marischal the Grampian occurs, slowly coming down and subsiding into the sea. Beyond that to the north is the mouth of the Deva, in the vernacular the Dee; and more or less a mile further on is the Don. At the one is Aberdeen, famous for its salmon fishing, at the other the seat of the Bishop and the public schools flourishing with the study of all the liberal arts. The nearer one I find in old documents called Aberdee; now both are called Aberdon, with the addition of Old and New

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