SUCH being the aspect in which the leading features of the history of the Celtic population of Britain is presented to us, on a careful analysis of the authorities, it remains to inquire what they tell us of the mutual relation of the races of which it was composed, and of the true place of the Picts among them.
In human beings the recollections of infancy are the most vivid and tenacious, and every change of circumstance or of place in early years impresses itself with an indelible mark, on the memory, so that, while the recollections of middle life become faint and dim with advancing years, those of the nursery still stand out in the background with a clear and distinct light, and can be produced in all their original vividness. In like manner with races of men in an early stage of their social condition, the events of the infancy of the race, its migrations and settlements, seem to be indelibly impressed on the national memory, are the subject of songs and ballads, and become interwoven into such oral literature as they possess, while their history, after they become a settled people, may become to them a dreary blank, till the progress of civilisation
and society creates something like national annals among them.
Such ethnological traditions, however, in time lose the form of simple narrative, and assume a mythic and symbolic shape, which, though bearing the outward semblance of fable, still preserve the recollection of real ethnological fact. This mythic and symbolic form of the early ethnological traditions of the various tribes which form the population of the country, usually presents itself in two different aspects, according as the one idea or the other prevailed. According to the one, these tribes were a series of colonies arriving in the country at different times, and succeeding each other as occupants of the land, and their migrations from some distant land, in which some fancied resemblance in name or customs had fixed their origin, are minutely detailed. According to the other, each race is represented by an eponymus, or supposed common ancestor, bearing a name derived from that of the people, and the several eponymi representing the population of the country are connected in an ethnological genealogy, in which they appear as fathers, brothers, or cousins, according to their supposed relation to each other. We have a classical instance of this in the Greek traditions, where Hellen, the eponymus of the Hellenes, is father of Æolus Dorus, and Xuthus, and the latter of Achæus and Ionus, while the Æolians and Dorians appear in other traditions as successively overrunning the country. In Britain we have the same twofold myth; Brutus,
the eponymus of the Britons, being, in the Bruts, father of Camber Locrinus and Albanactus, while, in the Triads, the Kymri, the Lloegri, and the Brython, are successive colonies which entered the country from different lands. It does not follow that, in the one case, the relationship was other than a geographical one, or, in the other, that the tribes were really of different origin, or inhabited the country at different times. These are but the adventitious, mythic, or symbolic forms, in which real ethnological relations had clothed themselves, under the operation of definite laws.
The earliest record of such ethnological traditions. connected with the British Isles is probably to be found in the Historia Britonum. In it the ethnological traditions are given in both shapes. In that in which they were symbolised by a genealogy, and which is certainly part of the original tract, the author states as his source "veteres libri veterum nostrorum," and concludes the chapter by stating, "Hanc peritiam inveni ex traditione veterum, qui incolæ in primo fuerunt Britanniæ." In this genealogy he says, "Hessitio autem habuit filios quatuor, hi sunt, Francus, Romanus, Britto, Albanus. . . . Ab Hesitione autem ortæ sunt quatuor gentes, Franci, Latini, Albani, et Britti."
In the Albanic Duan, which seems to have belonged to some collection of additions to Nennius, and which contains the oldest record of the ethnological traditions of Scotland, the brothers Brittus and Albanus appear as the eponymi of the two Celtic races inhabiting respectively Britain and Alban, or Scotland. Thus--
"O, all ye learned of Alban,
Ye well-skilled host of yellow hair,
What was the first invasion? Is it known to you?
Which took the land of Alban?
Albanus possessed it; numerous his hosts.
He was the illustrious son of Isacon.
He and Briutus were brothers without deceit.
From him Alban of ships has its name.
Briutus banished his active brother
Across the stormy sea of Icht.
Briutus possessed the noble Alban
As far as the conspicuous promontory of Fothudain." 1
Here the two brothers, Brittus and Albanus, appear, and the latter is the eponymus of the inhabitants of Alban or Scotland, while the tradition of the retreat of the race of the one before that of the other seems to be preserved.
What races, then, were typified by the brothers Brittus and Albanus? A passage in one of the old poems preserved in the Book of Taliessin indicates this very clearly. The Historia had given us three of the sons of Hessitio-Romanus, Brittus, and Albanus; the brotherhood in such a genealogy implying no more than their mutual presence in the same country; and in the poem referred to there, is an obvious reference to the same tradition--
Three races, wrathful, of right qualities:
Gwyddyl and Brython and Romani,
Create war and tumult."
Here the Romani and Brython represent Romanus and Brittus, and Gwyddyl comes in place of Albanus.
This term Gwyddyl, though latterly used by the Welsh as synonymous with Irish, was formerly applied to the whole Gaelic race as distinguished from the Cymric. This is apparent from another poem in the Book of Taliessin, where the Celtic inhabitants of the British Isles are thus enumerated:--
"Let us make great rejoicing after exhaustion,
And the reconciliation of the Cymry and men of Dublin,
The Gwyddyl of Iwerdon, Mon, and Prydyn,
The Cornishmen and the Clydemen."
[paragraph continues] Here the Cymry of Wales and the Britons of Cornwall and Strathclyde are contrasted with the Gwyddyl of Ireland, Anglesea, and Scotland; in short, the Gaelic race in its full extension at that period, including Prydyn, or North Britain, and Mona, or Anglesea, as well as Ireland. To which of these two races then did the Picts belong, and was their language identical either with the Cymric or the Gaelic, or, if it was a different dialect, to which did it approach nearest?
Among the additions made to the Historia Britonum, some Pictish traditions seem to have been attached to it as early as the year 796; and these are preserved partly in the Irish translation of Nennius, and partly in the first part of the old chronicle in the Colbertine MS. usually called the Pictish Chronicle, and which bears evident marks of having been formed from such additions to the Historia. This chronicle contains a very important addition to the statement in the
[paragraph continues] Historia. The Historia had said that Brittus and Albanus were brothers, and sons of Hessitio, and that from them proceeded the nations of the Britti and the Albani. The Pictish Chronicle adds, after quoting a passage from Isidorus giving the etymology of the name Albani. "de quibus originem duxerunt Scoti et Picti;" 1 that is, that both Scots and Picts belonged to the race of which Albanus was the eponymus.
Now the testimony of the entire literature of Wales is to the fact that the Picts belonged to the race of the Gwyddyl, and not to the Cymric race. To take, first, the perhaps doubtful authority of the Triads, in which the ethnology of the inhabitants of Britain is conveyed under the form of successive colonies, or invasions, they are thus represented: "Three social tribes of the Isle of Britain--the nation (cenedl) of the Kymry, the race (al) of the Lloegrwys and the Brython--and these are said to be descended from the original nation of the Cymry, and to be of the same language and speech. Three refuge-seeking tribes that came to the Isle of Britain--the tribe of Celyddon yn y Gogled, the race (al) of the Gwyddyl that are in Alban, and the men of Galedin. Three invading tribes that came to the Isle of Britain--the, Coraniaid, the Gwyddyl Ffichti who came to Alban by the sea of Llychlyn, and the Saeson;" and it is added that the Gwyddyl Ffichti "are in Alban, on the shore of the sea of Llyddyn." "Three treacherous invasions of the Isle of Britain--the Gwyddyl Coch
o'r Iwerddon, who came into Alban; the men of Llychlyn, and the Saesons." Here it will be observed that three tribes only are brought to Alban, and all three are said to have remained in it, and all are said to be. Gwyddyl or Gael. These are, first, the race of the Gwyddyl generally; secondly, the red Gwyddyl from Ireland; and thirdly, the Ffichti Gwyddyl. The red Gwyddyl are obviously the Gaelic Scots, who came from Ireland in the year 503, and settled in Dalriada or Argyll. The Gwyddyl Ffichti have been usually translated the Irish Picts, from the word Gwyddyl having been latterly used as synonymous with Irishman; and a very disingenuous use of this has been made by Mr. Herbert in his notes to the Irish Nennius; but the translation is erroneous, for the word Gwyddyl was at that time a name of race, and not a geographical term, and was applied to the whole Gaelic race; and, moreover, it is not an adjective, but a substantive; Gwyddyl Ffichti meaning the Ffichti or Pictish Gwyddyl, just as Gwyddyl Coch means the red Gwyddyl. That by these Ffichti Gwyddyl, the Picts of the Pictish kingdom in Scotland are meant, and not Irish Picts (in the sense of Picts dwelling in or emigrating from Ireland), is plain; for in the Triad they are said to have crossed the sea of Llychlyn, or German Ocean, to Alban or Scotland, and to dwell in Alban along the shore of the German Ocean. That it was applied to the Picts forming the great Pictish kingdom of Scotland, is also clear from the Bruts compared with each other and with the Irish annalist
[paragraph continues] Tighernac. In the year 750 a great battle was fought between the Britons of Strathclyde and the Picts of Scotland, at a place called by the Welsh chronicles Magedaue or Maescdauc, now Mugdoch, in Dumbartonshire, the ancient seat of the Earls of Lennox, which is thus described by Tighernac: "A battle between the Pictones and the Britones--viz. Talorgan, the son of Fergus, and his brother, and the slaughter of the Piccardach with him." In the Brut y Tywysogion it is thus given:--"The action of Mygedawc, in which the Britons conquered the Gwydyl Ffichti after a bloody battle." Talorgan, who commanded them, was brother of Angus Mac Fergus, king of Fortren, or the Picts of Scotland, and they are here termed Gwyddyl Ffichti. Although the authority of the Triads is not unexceptionable, it is confirmed by the more authentic Triads of Arthur and his warriors, where "three tribes came into this island and did not again go out of it," and the second is "the tribe of the Gwyddyl Ffichti."
The statement here given of that form of the tradition which represents the ethnology of the inhabitants of North Britain under the form of successive colonies, so exactly accords with what we find in other statements of it as to leave little doubt that it is a faithful representation of this form of the tradition; and its harmony with the older statement of the other form of it in the Historia Britonum, is apparent. In the one we have Albanus, the eponymus of the Gwyddyl, called the brother of Brittus, and progenitor of the Albani
from whom the Picti and Scoti took their origin. In the other we have the race of the Gwyddyl in Alban, and the successive colonies in Alban after them, the Gwyddyl Ffichti from Llychlyn, and the Gwyddyl Coch from Iwerdon or Ireland; the former being, as shown by the Brut y Tywysogion, the Picts of Scotland, and the latter the Scots of Dalriada.
The legend of the origin of the Picts, as contained in the Bruts, is that they came from Scythia and settled in Alban; that they asked wives of the Britons and were refused, and then married wives of the Gwyddyl. The text of the Brut in the Red Book of Hergest adds, "And their children and offspring increased, and the people multiplied. This people are the Gwyddyl Ffichti, and it is thus they came and were first continued in this island, and to this day have remained without going from it." Another text in one of the Hengwrt MSS. adds, "And thus arose this people; and this people were called Gwyddyl Ffichtieit, and this is the reason that they were called Gwyddyl Ffichtieit; and they are still a tribe among the Britons." 1 The tale that they were refused wives of the Britons and married wives of the Gwyddyl certainly implies that the Welsh considered that they did not speak a Cymric but a Gaelic dialect, for the legend is based upon the idea that the spoken language of a people was derived from their mothers, and is conveyed in the popular expression, the mother-tongue; and it is so understood in Layamon's Brut:--
"Through the same woman,
Who there long dwelt,
The folk 'gan to speak
And in one of the poems in the Book of Taliessin, where the Picts are symbolised by the expression, "y Cath Vreith," there is this line: "The Cat Vreith of a strange language (anghyfieithon) is troubled from the ford of Taradyr to Port Wygyr in Mona." There is no doubt that the allusion here is to the Picts.
The name of Gwyddyl Ffichti, as applied to the Picts, thus rests on better authority than that of the Triads. In the old poems, though the Picts are usually termed the Brithwyr, yet this. name of Gwyddyl Ffichti is also applied to them, as in a curious old poem in the Book of Taliessin: "Five chiefs there shall be of the Gwyddyl Ffichti." The Picts are thus clearly assigned by the Welsh authorities to the race of the Gwyddyl; and if they were really, according to the prevailing modern theory, a Cymric people speaking a Cymric dialect, it is hardly conceivable that the Cymri themselves should have thus so invariably classed them with the Gwyddyl, and attached that word to their name.
The whole testimony of the Britons themselves, and the inferences to be drawn from tradition, thus clearly range the Picts as a people with the Gwyddyl, or Gaelic division of the great Celtic, race, and not with the Cymric or British, and point to their race and language both being Gaelic; but though this may
be true of the core or central body of the people, there are yet indications that the more outlying or frontier portions were extensively mixed with other people, and especially with the three races of the Saxons, the, Scots of Ireland, and the Britons.
And first of the Saxons. It is somewhat remarkable that when Ammianus Marcellinus narrates the first great outburst of the barbarian, or ex-provincial tribes, against the Romans in 360, he enumerates them as consisting of the "gentes Scotorum Pictorumque." In the second invasion, in 364, they were joined by two other nations, and consisted of the "Picti Saxonesque, et Scotti et Attacotti;" and in the third invasion, in 368, of the "Picti in duas gentes divisi Dicaledones et Vecturiones, itidemque Atticotti bellicosa hominum natio, et Scotti per diversa vagantes." It is hardly possible to avoid the suspicion that the epithets applied here to each people point to characteristics connected with their name. In Cormac's glossary the old form of the name Scot is given as "Scuit." "Scuite" signifies wanderers; and the epithet "vagantes" is attached to the Scots. "Cath" (war) seems to enter into the name Atticotti, and they are "bellicosa natio." So the peculiarity of the Picti was, that they were "in duas gentes divisi." This seems to imply that the "duæ gentes" were of different race. Now it is remarkable that while the Picti and the Saxones are connected together in the second invasion, the Saxones are omitted from the third; and the Picti then, for the first time, appear as composed of two "gentes;" while Claudian, in writing of the same
invasion, expressly mentions the Saxones along with the Picts as forming part of the ravagers, and names the Orkneys as their seat.
"------- Maduerunt Saxone fuso
Orcades, incaluit Pictorum sanguine Thule
Scotorum cumulos flevit glacialis Ierne."
I have elsewhere shown 1 that the tradition given by Nennius, that Octa and Æbussa, the son and nephew of Hengist, led a body of Saxons past the Orkneys, and took possession of a part of Scotland, "usque ad confinia Pictorum," indicated a real settlement of Saxons on the east coast of Scotland as early as the year 374; and it is not impossible that they may have allied with the Picts proper so closely as to form one of the two gentes, and that the Vecturiones included them, a conjecture perhaps strengthened by the appearance of the Picts and Saxons in close union in 429 in Constantius' Life of St. German, by the fact that the ancestor of the Jutes, who were Octa's people, was Vecta, the son of Odin, and that another part of the same people were termed by Bede, Vectuarii. Be this as it may, there scent undoubtedly to have been settlements of Saxons at a very early period along the east coast of Scotland among that part of the Picts.
But if there were Saxon settlements among the Picts on the east coast, the Scots made a settlement in their western district, in part of Argyllshire, which they called Dalriada. Bede gives the best indication
of the nature of this settlement. He says of the Firth of Clyde that it was a "sinus maris permaximus, qui antiquitus gentem Brittonum a Pictis secernebat," that "Britannia post Brittones et Pictos tertiam Scottorum nationem in parte Pictorum recepit," and that they settled "ad cujus videlicet sinus partem septentrionalem." We know that this mythic colony of the Scots represented an actual settlement of them in Dalriada, which took place in the year 503, if not earlier, and that they too settled among the Picts.
On their southern frontier they seem to have become mixed with the Britons. The indication afforded by the Albanic Duan of an early encroachment of the tribes represented by the name Britus upon those represented by Albanus, as far as Fifeness, has already been noticed. In several of the old poems contained in the Book of Taliessin, allusion is made to a combination between the Brython and the Gwyddyl, and the name of Brithwyr, which means mixed men as well as painted men, seems to have been applied to this mixed part of the Pictish nation. Higden, in his Polychronicon, in giving the fable of Carausius settling a body of Picts in Albania, adds, "ubi permixti cum Britonibus per subsequens ævum premanserunt," which implies that such a mixture of the two people had been known as a fact, and one of the Pictish legends preserved in the Irish Nennius indicates this also. One version of it bears that Cruthnechan mac Inge, the eponymus of the Picts,
was sent from Ireland "to assist the Britons of Fortrenn to war against the Saxons, and they made their children and their swordland--i.e. Cruthentuaith--subject to them." Another versions bears, "And when they (the Picts) had cleared their swordland yonder among the Britons--viz. Magh Fortreinn primo, and Magh Girgin postea." 1 Now Fortren or Magh Fortren was the district lying between the river Forth and the river Tay, and is here said to have, been peopled by Britons, but afterwards obtained by the Picts who dwelt among them; and Magh Girgin is a district on the east coast, now called Mearns, which the Picts won when warring against the Saxons, and where they subjected their children. The presence, therefore, both of Britons and Saxons as part of the population of the districts which, under the name of Cruthentuaith, was the territory of the Pictish kingdom, is here indicated.
So far as race is concerned, therefore, the Pictish nation presents itself to us in the following aspect. The main body and centre of the nation, pure Albanic or old Gwyddyl, with the outlying parts mixed with other races--Saxons on the east coast, Scots in Argyll, and Britons south of the Tay--each having occasionally seen a king of their own race on the throne, and the Scots succeeding in converting the accession of one of their race to the throne, in right of his Pictish blood through his female descent, into their permanent supremacy over the Pictish population of the country--people and
language gradually merging and disappearing under the general term of Scottish.
In endeavouring to determine the ethnological position of any people who, like the Picts, once existed as a distinctive element in the population of the country, but who have left no living representative to bear witness to their characteristics, there are other sources of information to which we may resort besides the evidence of writers contemporaneous with their existence as a known and distinct people, as to the particular race among the inhabitants of the country to which they belonged, or as to the existence among them of a living tradition of their origin. There is the evidence afforded by an analysis of such remains of their language as may have come down to us, indicating its philological relation to the languages spoken by the other races in the country; and there is likewise the inference to be derived from the topography of the districts which they are known to have occupied.
The evidence afforded by these three sources of information does not always correspond; and it is necessary carefully to discriminate between them in their bearing upon each other, and upon the problem to be solved.
Where a people remains unmixed in race, and has retained the spoken language originally peculiar to them, unmodified by foreign influences, and where that people has always formed the sole inhabitants of the districts occupied by them, the evidence afforded
by each of these sources of information may be expected exactly to reflect the conclusions of the others. The traditions of the people, and the statements of contemporary writers, will refer them to a race speaking a language similar to their own; and the vocables which enter into the topography of the districts occupied by them will manifestly belong to the same original language. But where such a people forms merely one element in the population of a country made up of different races, and is not protected from foreign influences by any peculiar combination of physical, social, and political obstacles, this is rarely found to be the case, and the original harmony of race, language, and topography, soon ceases to be preserved in its integrity. Amid the clash of contending races, and the struggle for supremacy on the one hand, or for existence on the other, this condition suffers great modification. The race may remain pure and unmixed, and yet the language may suffer great modification from the influence of others. A part of the people may retain the old language; another part may have adopted the language of a people who have subjugated them; and the language of a third part may have become mixed with, or assimilated to, that of a neighbouring people speaking a kindred though not an identic dialect, through contact with them, or from the gradual spread of the one race into the territories of the other.
On the other hand, the people may have ceased to be a homogeneous race, from other races being intermingled
with them; or a common name may have been applied to a combination of tribes originally distinct, but politically connected; and yet the language of one of these tribes may have spread over the whole nation, or a form of the spoken language may have been adopted as the medium of official intercourse, or selected for the purpose of conveying the knowledge of Christianity, and become the vehicle of instruction and civilisation; and the remains of the language which have come down to us, and with which we have to deal, may represent this form, or the written speech, only.
The topography, too, of the districts occupied by them may have retained unmixed the vocables of the language spoken by its earliest inhabitants; or it may have received the impress of foreign invading or immigrating races who may have, from time to time, occupied a part of the country, or have permanently succeeded the race in question; or it may have retained names which belong to the language of a still older and more primitive people who may have preceded them.
It is necessary, therefore, in endeavouring to ascertain the ethnological position of a people long since passed away, to look separately at these three sources of information, and to weigh well their bearing upon each other, and upon the race to which the people belonged. The Picts unquestionably existed as a known people, and as an independent nation possessing a political organisation and a known
till the middle of the ninth century. From that date till the twelfth century the name of the Picts is known as the denomination of one element in a population formed of two different races, but combined into one monarchy, and had no independent existence. After the twelfth century the name disappears as applied to, or borne by, any portion of the population of Scotland. Bede, who wrote prior to the ninth century, and during the first period, has the following passage: "Hæc (i.e. Britannia) in præsenti juxta numerum librorum quibus lex divina scripta est quinque gentium linguis unam eandemque summæ veritatis et verræ sublimitatis scientiam scrutatur et confitetur Anglorum, videlicet, Brittonum, Scottorum, Pictorum, et Latinorum quæ meditatione Scripturarum cæteris omnibus est facta communis." In another place he says of Oswald, king of Northumbria:--"Denique omnes nationes et provincias Britanniæ quæ in quatuor linguas, id est, Brittonum, Pictorum, Scottorum, et Anglorum divisæ sunt, in ditione accepit;" and afterwards, in narrating the letter written by Ceolfrid, abbot of Jarrow in Northumberland, to Naiton:--"Rex Pictorum qui septentrionales Britanniæ plagas inhabitant" in the year 710, that is, during his own lifetime; he says, "Hæc epistola cum præsente rege Naitono multisque viris doctoribus esset lecta ac diligenter ab his qui intelligere poterant in linguam ejus propriam interpretata." Henry of Huntingdon, who wrote about 1135, and therefore in the second period, repeats the statement of Bede:--"Quinque
autem linguis utitur Britannia, Brittonum, videlicet, Anglorum, Scottorum, Pictorum, et Latinorum quæ doctrina Scripturarum cæteris omnibus est facta communis," but adds this qualification:--"quamvis Picti jam videantur deleti et lingua eorum ita omnino destructa ut jam fabula videatur quod in veterum scriptis eorum mentio invenitur."
Bede, therefore, knew of the Picts as an existing people, and of a language termed the Pictish, and, in his own day, tells of a letter translated into it as the language of the kingdom of Naiton or Nectan; and when Henry of Huntingdon wrote, the people and their language had apparently so entirely passed away that it appeared like a fable that any kingdom of the Picts, and any such language, had ever existed.
It seems strange that Henry of Huntingdon should have made this statement almost in the very year in which the Picts, as a body, formed an entire division of the Scottish army at the Battle of the Standard, and when Reginald of Durham, in the same century, refers to their language as then spoken at Kirkcudbright in Galloway; but the truth is, that, notwithstanding the language of Henry of Huntingdon, neither the people nor their language may, in point of fact, have ceased to exist in Scotland, the one as an element in the conglomerate of different races which composed the population of the monarchy, and the other as the patois of a district; nor does it follow, from the language of Bede, that the Picts must of necessity have been a different race, and their language a different language
from any of the other peoples and languages enumerated in the same passage.
What, then, did Bede and Henry of Huntingdon mean when the former enumerated the Pictish as a separate and distinct language, and the latter said that this people and language were destroyed, while it is evident that large bodies of the people remained, and that a language called the Pictish was still spoken by some portion of the inhabitants of the country.
If the language referred to by Bede was the spoken language of a people of unmixed race, possessing but one common form of speech, then these statements certainly imply that it was something distinct as a language from that of the Angles, Scots, or Britains, and that in Henry's time the people called the Picts had been either entirely extirpated, or so completely subjugated that all distinctive character had been lost, and that they now spoke the language of their conquerors. If, however, the Picts were a people consisting of various tribes, politically combined into one nation, and the language referred to was that form of language adopted as the medium through which they had been instructed in knowledge, and in which all public affairs were carried on, then this by no means follows. Such a language might have perished when the kingdom was destroyed. It may have been merely a different form of a language analogous either to that of the Angles or Scots or Britains, and the spoken language of the Pictish tribes, or of some of them, may have remained as the vernacular dialect of those who
survived the revolution which destroyed their independence.
The language referred to by Bede and Henry of Huntingdon, was a cultivated or literary language, which had been brought under the trammels of written forms. It was a language in which the word of God was studied, and we know how the dialect selected for the teaching of the Christian Church becomes elevated above the spoken dialects into a fixed standard for the whole nation. It was a language into which Ceolfrid's letter was translated by the "Viri doctores" of the court, and it was this same language which is stated to have ceased to exist in Henry's time. Its position, in this respect, is analogous to the German literary language, technically called New High German. Like the Celtic, the German spoken dialects fall into two classes, which are usually called High German and Low German. The differences between them are not so broad or so vital is those between the two types of the Celtic, the Gaelic, and the Cymric dialects, and they are more of a geographical than of a philological character. Grimm remarks this when he says that language is susceptible of a physical as well as an intellectual influence, and, though its principal elements remain the same, is, by long residence in mountains, woods, plains, or sea-coast, differently toned, so as to form separate subordinate dialects. "All experience shows, " says he, "that the mountain-air makes the sounds sharp and rough; the plain, soft and smooth. On the Alps the tendency is to diphthongs and aspirates;
on the plain to narrow and thin vowels, and to mediæ and tenues among the consonants." The former represents the High German dialects; the latter the Low. The written language, however, or the literary German, is not identic with any one spoken dialect; it approaches more nearly to the High than to the Low German, but it is, in fact, an independent form of the language, the creation, in a sense, of Martin Luther, who, with the view of making his translation of the Bible adapted to all Germany, adopted as his medium a form of the language based upon the Upper Saxon and the official language of the German Empire, and this form of the language, stamped with the impress of his vigorous intellect, and popularised through the first Protestant version of the Bible, was adopted as the language of the literature of Germany, and, subjected to the cultivation it necessarily produced, became the language of the educated classes. The language of Holland or the Dutch is a Low German dialect, and is more nearly allied to the Low than the latter is to the High German; but it is an independent language, and has its own cultivation and literature, and its own translation of the Bible.
Now, a historian might well say that the word of God was studied in the five languages of the English, the French, the Dutch, the German, and the Latin, and yet one of them---the Dutch--would be closely allied to one form of the German. Again, if we could suppose Germany conquered by the Dutch, the German written and language would be.
superseded by the Dutch equally written and cultivated language; the Low German dialects would be as closely assimilated to the literary Dutch as the High German dialects now are to the literary German, and the latter would occupy the same position in which the Low German now is. In such a case we could well understand a writer, three centuries after the event, saying that the Germans had disappeared, and the German language was so completely destroyed that the mention of it and its literature in former writers appeared like fables. And yet the people and the spoken dialects of Germany would have remained unchanged and been there just as they always had been.
Substitute Scot for Dutch and Pict for German, and this is exactly the state of matters producing the phenomena noted by Bede and Henry of Huntingdon, and it is perfectly possible that the Picts may have been very nearly allied, both in race and language, with either the Britons or the Scots, who conquered them; and that the may have remained as in element in the population, and their language as the patois of a district, long after the days of Henry of Huntingdon, in a country in which both Scot and Briton entered so largely into its population. I have thought it necessary to enter at some length into the consideration of the meaning and import of these passages of Bede and Henry of Huntingdon, as a right understanding of them has a most material bearing, upon the question.
100:1 Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 57. The Irish f is the digamma placed before an initial vowel; and the word Fothudain seems to express Ptolemy's Ottadeni, who extended to the river Eden in Fife. The promontory of Fife, called Fifeness, is probably the promontory meant.
102:1 Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 393.
105:1 Chron. Picts and Scots, p. 123.
10:1 The Early Frisian settlements in Scotland.
110:1 Chron. Picts and Scots, pp. 319, 329.