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Ancient Scotland
Scotland was one of the last places in
Europe where people settled. The first
people to set foot in Scotland arrived soon
afterwards on summer hunting expeditions.
They travelled over land, bridges or in
boats (made from hollowed-out logs) from
Ireland, Germany, and further south in the
British Isles. But the weather was still very
cold and they went away wintertime.
The first setters

However, the weather went on getting warmer and around 900

BC some hunters decided to stay. They built tends of animal
skins and shelters of tree branches and brushwood. They
hunted wild animals, caught fish and gathered fruits and
berries. They made tools from wood, antler, stone and bone.
They preserved meat for winter by smoking it over wood fires.

The first farmers

These first farmers reared sheep, cattle, pigs and

goats to provide meat, milk, skins and wool. They made
hay by cutting dry grass in summer time to feed their
animals in winter. Using stones axes, they cleared the
land of trees and bushes. They protected it with fences
and walls.

Slow change
This change of lifestyle from hunting to farming did not happen suddenly. It
developed slowly over hundreds of years. Knowledge of farming techniques may have
been carried to Scotland by settlers from further south.
From around 1200 BC to AD 200 Scotland shared in a civilization that flourished
throughout Europe. It is known as Celtic.

The Celts
The Celts dominated mid and western Europe for
a thousand years. But it is only recently that the
importance of Celts influence on the cultural,
linguistic and artistic development of Europe. The
Celts as an identifiable race or ethnic group have
long since disappeared, except in places such as
Ireland and the Scottish Highlands.
The Celts transmitted their culture orally, never
writing down history or facts. This accounts for
the extreme lack of knowledge about their prior
to their contact with the classical civilization of Greece and Rome. They were
generally well educated, particularly on topics such as religion, philosophy, geography
and astronomy. The bravery of the Celts in battle is legendary.
Warrior bands were skilled horsemen and hunters; fierce fighters and charioteers
who were famed for their feasting, boasting and storytelling. Their battles echoed

with the sound of the war and swords, were

thrown into water- in lochs rivers and bogsas votive offerings to pre-christian gods
and goddesses.
The Romans listed the Celtic tribes of the
north. These included the Caledonii, the
Votadini, rhe Selgovae, the Damnoni, the
Novantae, etc.

The Word Celt comes from the Greek Word, KELTAI, which means
barbarians and is properly pronounced as KELT.

Northwest Europe was dominated by three main Celtic groups:

The Gauls
The Britons
The Gaels

The ancient Celts believed in many gods and goddesses and
also they believe in omens. Birds, believed able to carry
messages between the living world and the otherworld.
Many animals were given special powers that could only be
understood by a Celtic priest- the Druids. Some animals
were hunted for food. Hunting wild boar was considering a
great sport.

Iron inventions
Celtic people became powerful by using their new
technology- iron-working. They discovered iron was
especially suitable for the horses harnesses, chariot
fittings and splendid swords.

Status symbols
Iron tools and weapons, especially swords became status
symbols- all Scottish chiefs and warriors wanted one. A few
Scottish fighters also wore iron helmits to protect their head.
Their wealth came from running salt-mines and copper
workings, and also through trade. Celtic products soon became
highly prized, especially by rich and powerful people who asked
their own workers to copy them.

Roman Scotland
The Roman invasion of Scotland was led by General Agricola in AD
81. His troops marched northwards, building roads so that they
could travel quickly, camps and forts from which they could control
the countryside. Celtic chiefs and warriors fought back against the
invaders but they were no match for the Roman army. In just two
years the Romans conquered most of Scotland south of the River

Defending the frontier

To mark the limit of the land they controlled and keep out
invaders from the north, the Romans built a huge frontier
barrier- Hadrians Wall. When finished, the wall stretched
right across Britain from east to west.
A second wall
In AD 139 the Romans tried once again to invade land north of
Handrians Wall. They
quickly occupied the
lowlands region and in AD 143 decide to build
a second barrier, the Antonine Wall. But
hostile tribes forced the Romans to retreat
and they abandoned the Antonine Wall
around AD 160.

The Picts


When the Romans first reached Scotland they came
into contact with at least 12 separate tribes there. A
Roman writer called the people of northern Scotland a
new name- THE PICTS (painted people). The Picts
were an ancient and artistic people who defied the
might of Rome which conquered the rest of Britain.
They were a sophisticated, hardworking, clever people,
skilled in farming and fishing.
The race of Picts
Scotlands sculptured stones, created by
the Picts of ancient Alba tell the stories
of a race of people who defied Rome and
survived the invading Vikings, thus
preserving a separate culture and race
in Scotland.
They, unusually, were a matrilineal
society, i.e. bloodlines passed through
the mother. Pictish kings were not
succeeded by their sons, but by
brothers, nephews or cousins as traced
by the female line in a complicated
series of intermarriages between seven royal houses.

Some Pictish people were able to read and write. They used a system of lines
called Ogham script to record messages on carved stones.

Scotland divided

The Romans left the British Isles in AD 410. For the next 400 years and more,
Scotland was divided into many separate
kingdoms. People living there spoke different
laws, followed different leaders and were
often at war.
Coming of the Scots
Fighting alongside the Picts in those final
years of Roman rule was a people called the
SCOTTI, the SCOTS. They were not native
to the land but newcomers from across the
Irish Sea.
The Scots brought with them to the
Highlands a new Celtic language, Gaelic; they
also brought a new religion, Christianity, through the person of Saint Columba.
They believed that Christianity was a newer and better way of worshipping God, but
probably did not give up many of their earlier beliefs


spirits and magic. These early Christians were

taught and guided by churchmen, some of whom were
honoured as saints.
Some saints, were organizers. They appointed
priests to care for local communities and persuaded
nobles to pay for churches. Christianity had
previously come to the Britons, for Saint Ninian had
established his missionary base at Whithorn, in Wigtownshire, in the fifth century.

The Vikings
In AD 94 Irish monks reported that there
was a laying waste by the heathen of all the
islands of Britain. The next year pirates
plundered St Columbas monastery on the holy
island of Iona.
The Vikings arrived!. The Vikings were
raiders from Scandinavia who travelled across
dangerous seas in sleek, fast dragon ships.
They were looking for excitement, adventure,
new lands to settle and rich treasures to
carry away.