Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654

Name: Blaeu, Joan, 1596-1673  
Title: De Antiqvitate Scotiae  
Pagination: 8-9
Zoom view:         Click on the image to view in greater detail  
22 / 162
Scroll through pages:       First       Previous       Next       Last

Translation of text:

Ituna to the peninsula to them. They argue from authority, he from deductions. I don't wish to interpose my opinion.

Next to the Damnii to the east were the Gadeni, or, as Camden appears truly to feel, Ladeni, to whom was assigned the whole of Lothian, or as it is today pronounced Laudian, the word coming closer to Ladeni. Among them the city of Alauna undoubtedly, if location is considered, corresponds to Edinburgh; our author attributes it to the Damnii, whom he describes as having lived at the inmost recesses of both firths, attributing to them the land of Stirling and part of Lennox. Lindum corresponds to the old town of Stirling, but it is surprising that Bede said nothing about Edinburgh, although he mentioned the town of Guidus on the line of the wall. But in Bede's age that was not of such great renown, since the capital of the Bernicians was in a different place, and it was then held to be part of that kingdom.

The Ottadeni come next, concerning whom we have some controversy with the erudite Camden. He, from their name, drags them to the river Tyne, which flows under the walls of the city of Newcastle, asserting that we have no river of that name, although we have two: one in Lothian, on which sits the ancient town of Haddington and which flows into the ocean not far from Dunbar; the River Alaunus according to Ptolemy fits admirably to its location. The second of the same name is in the province of Fife, as will be mentioned. There was no need for him to be so concerned about the Ottadini, since the Maeatae, not mentioned by Ptolemy, held those places closest to Severus' wall, as serious writers of that period testify. It was not enough for him to have snatched the Ottadini from us, but he tries to remove the River Vedra and accommodate it to his Tyne, although the location is more favourable to the Tweed. Lacking this he finds no river with an ancient name to refer to the Tyne. Even if this is so, it is a slight matter, for if he however sagaciously goes through all the names among the ancients, many famous rivers in his England will dry up for him, nor shall we outside the Roman world be immune from this disaster. Ptolemy mentions some, passes over many and leaves them, as he himself testifies, to chorography. Hence it is not for an antiquary to divert rivers from their courses. He it seems understands the Estuary of the Humber as of the River Abus. How many notable rivers therefore will perish for Camden, if one relies on Ptolemy.

Let us continue what we have in hand. The well-known estuary Bodotria follows, to Ptolemy Boderia, today the Forth; the river of that name constitutes its beginnings. First to meet those who cross the Forth or Bodotria is Fife, home of the ancient Vennicones. Our historians testify that it was once called Ross from its location, because being placed between two straits it makes a peninsula, which the name Ross means in the old tongue. It was likewise called Othlinia by our people. In it is Ptolemy's second river Tina, to the inhabitants still Eden, the memory of the old name remaining; it flows to the ocean near St Andrews (which was formerly Regulus' Shrine); on its bank our author places the city Orrea, which seems to have changed into the name Cupar. Farther inland he mentions a town Victoria, where Falkland now sits. But he extends the Damnii as far as this; hence there is no error in the town; for it sufficiently defends its location. There is no mention by him of the famous city of Dundee on the Tay, since it is much more recent than he. Our annals mention it under the name Allectum.

Above them in the interior were placed the Vacomagi, reaching the Lelannonian gulf (today Loch Fyne). There is no mention in the ancients of Loch Lomond, for Ptolemy mentions only the sea-loch which is the largest among many in the Firth of Clyde. Dumbarton, at the mouthof the River Leven, is not mentioned by our author; it is however in Bede, to be attributed to the Damnii under the name of Al-chuth. Just so the whole province of Lennox, known to our historians by the name Elgonia. The Vacomagi held the interior and mountain ridges from Loch Fyne to the Tay, not the estuary but the river, also according to the Ptolemaic numbers. Beyond that they had settled in part of Atholl; he lists their city Tamia, now difficult to find, unless one suspected it to be Perth, then perhaps small for the period; but, if it then existed, I should rather ascribe it to the Caledonians. But the Vacomagi extended widely over the mountains, and appear to have reached over the peaks of the Grampian mountain, the roughest and highest in these parts, to the sources of the Dee. Next to them were the Caledonians, famous beyond the rest, who are frequently mentioned in the poets, and hence their name is often given to the whole race. They seem to have inhabited a wide region before the time of Ptolemy, although he confines them within quite narrow frontiers. But the Caledonian Forest, which covered much land, as our historians relate, from the River Clyde to the Dee, testifies that great tracts of land were under their control. Perhaps the state of affairs had changed in Ptolemy's time, or, what is more likely, he had not sufficient knowledge of the territories of those peoples who held the interior, wooded, and mountainous parts. Their town named Caledonia on the Tay, today Dunkeld, preserves a trace of the ancient name of that most famous people, as the learned George Buchanan notes.

On the other side of the Firth of Clyde to the Novantae, the Epidii had their home, separated from the rest by a low and narrow peninsula (today that region is known as Kintyre); its southern side is ended by a promontory, which the inhabitants formerly called the Epidian promontory, today the Mull of Kintyre; this more recent word means a head of land. This western shore is badly known to our author, nor does this peninsula in him resemble its real self. But it will be sufficient to review with him those peoples. Today these are shores inhabited by rare colonists, rough, rocky, pierced by frequent lochs, girded by a great number of islands, few of which respond in size, while many are rocks rather than islands. When this is the appearance of things today, what is to be hoped of Roman times.

The Cerones peoples held all that is assigned to Argyll, or Argadia as some wish, and even more. For under these peoples are assigned Covalia (Cowal) between the modern Loch Long and the previously mentioned Loch Fyne, Knapdale, which borders the nearest Epidii, Lorne, and the rest as far as the loch which our author describes under the name of the River Itys, which divides these from Lochaber. He names in this tract a long river bursting into the western ocean. But there is no river of any worth in that whole tract; hence it is a reasonable suspicion, that that already mentioned loch, which has the name Long, ought to be restored and the name of the river, where there is none, deleted.

Moving along that coast, the first to be met are the Creones; their homes are held today by various chieftains, divided into small territories and barbarian sub-regions, all on the sea-shore. Their modern names cannot be rendered in Latin, however I shall give them as they are: Ardgour, Kingairloch, Morvern, Ardnamurchan, Sunart, Moydart, Arisaig, Morar, Knoydart, Glenelg, Kintail, and Lochaber itself, which is greater than all the others whether in extent of lands or in their richness. Our author places in this tract the river Itys, which is really a loch, as far as Inverlochy, a famous castle in Lochaber, where at the first beginnings of our kingdom the kings had a pleasing habitation. There the river Lochy, increased by many smaller ones, flows into that loch which today has the name Loch Eil.

Next on the coast are the Carnonacae, where the land is broken by the loch called Volsas by Ptolemy, today known by the name of the lake of Brienna (Loch Broom), a known fishery for herring. This whole coast, as far as the promontory named Orcas, is pierced by an amazing number of lochs; that this has been the form of things here from the beginning of the world is suggested by the rocky shores everywhere, which have never yielded to the Ocean. These peoples the Carnonacae constitute part of Ross, since it stretches to both seas. The river Nabeus makes for the sea in the sub-region today called Assynt, under the name Traligill. This land, like the conterminous Eddrachillis (which if translated means the land between two straits) is barren, rough, uncultivated; there is nothing here worthy of note except the promontory extending to the farthest northern parts, with the name Orcas or Tarvedrum, which today is called Parro or Faraid Head.

From this promontory, whose ancient name is Tarvedrum or Orcas, the coast turns to the east, as far as the second one on that shore whose name in our author is Veruvium, today Duncansby Head, opposite which lie the Orkneys, with a strait of a few miles between, which is dangerous to sailors; between these two, a third juts out a little, to Ptolemy Virvedrum, today to the inhabitants Row-Rachy or Strathy Head. The inland parts were held by the Carini, Cornabii, and Mertae, where is the river Ileas, to the inhabitants the Helmsdale. These regions comprise Strathnaver and Caithness, where the ancient fortress Gernigo (whose name not long ago was changed to Castle Sinclair) seems to have retained traces of the Cornabii. A town follows named Ripa alta, of which no memory survives today, indeed there is a reasonable suspicion that there never was such in this locality, just as there never was a River Lossie on these shores, which today retains its ancient name without a letter changed in Moray near Elgin: hence these names seem not to have been put in the correct places. As for Boece's transfer of Ripa alta to Cromarty, surely he will have discovered the true location of the places, as this is far to the south of these places, positioned on the celebrated firth of the same name. The peoples Logi, who were next, seem to correspond to Sutherland, stretching today along the shore from the River Ileas to a firth not named by Ptolemy, which today is known by the name of Tain or Dornoch, from the towns on either shore.

Next the Cantae held those lands which constitute the eastern part of Ross, as far as the River Varar. Varar, or as it is today pronounced Farrar, enters the sea in the innermost gulf; hence it seems to have been the ancient name for the gulf, but now spreading more widely has given its name to the large gulf which extends from Veruvium to the promontory of Taezalum (which will be mentioned shortly) under the name Moray Firth.

The Taezali follow, living from the beginning of the just mentioned Varar to the River Dee: a great tract of lands, inhabited by many peoples. There today are Moray, Enzie, Boyne, Buchan, Mar, Garioch, Strathbogie and more sub-regions, apart from those who hold the interior and mountains. But to follow the coast from Varar, the first city is Inverness, not named by Ptolemy: an old city at the mouth of the River Ness, which flows from the loch of the same name four miles above the city and enters the gulf. On the loch is Urquhart Castle, the work of ancient kings. Nearer to the east on the coast is the small city of Nairn, undoubtedly Ptolemy's Alata castra was here, once of greater fame, the river likewise named Nairn flowing by, formerly with rich soil, which by the piling up of sand the sea has for the most part made useless. Of the once celebrated fortress traces remain, but now covered by the waves. There follows on the shore the city Tuesis and estuary Tuesis; the small city of Forres would certainly correspond to the location, favoured by our ancient Kings, where the ruins of a magnificent fortress survive, set in lovely and

  [Continuation of text]

Copyright           Enquiries & Copies           Help