Monday, May 25, 2015


The story of how Scotland got it’s name is an interesting one. Meritaten, nicknamed Scotia, was an ancient Egyptian queen of the eighteenth dynasty (14th century BC), and the first of six daughters born to Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife, Nefertiti. Her name means “She who is beloved of Aten”; Aten being the sun-god her father worshipped. Scotia settled in what is now Scotland, after the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt

Meritaten of the eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt, circa 1400 bc; daughter of pharaoh Akhenaten and queen Nefertit

A Greek prince named Gaythelos, was not given any position of power by his father. Being angry about this, caused much destruction and trouble in his father’s kingdom, even going so far as gathering his own army. His father forced Gaythelos into exile.

Gaythelos sailed to Egypt where the Pharaoh was in a struggle to drive the Ethiopians out of his lands.  Gaythelos joined Pharaoh's army during the fight, and together they pushed the Ethiopians out of Egypt. In recognition of Gaythelos’ loyalty, bravery, and strength, Pharaoh gave Gaythelos his daughter Scota in marriage.

The Scotichronicon goes on to tell us that when pharaoh died the people of Egypt were looking for reform and saw his death as their opportunity to make changes. Gaythelos was viewed as a continuation of the status quo, and after a period of civil unrest, Gaythelos was again driven into exile.

The army and people that went into exile with Gaythelos proclaimed him their king and called themselves “Scots” after their queen; however, there was no kingdom to rule. They wandered the desert for years before sailing to the Iberian Peninsula and settled in the northwest corner of the peninsula at a place called Brigancia. It is now the city of A Coruña, in Galicia, Spain.

Scota (left) with Goídel Glas (right) voyaging from Egypt, as depicted in a 15th-century manuscript of theScotichronicon of Walter Bower; in this version Scota and Goídel Glas (Latinized as Gaythelos) are wife and husband.

Scota gave birth to a son named Hyber; it is said the old name for Ireland, “Hibernia,” comes from this son. The descendants of the Scots tribe lived on the Iberian Peninsula for several generations in a state of perpetual war with the local tribes. 

Eventually, some members sailed across the Cantabrian Sea — the Bay of Biscay — in search of a new place to live, and settled in Ireland. Some of these settlers established a home in Scotland in the area that comprises contemporary Argyll. After the time of the Romans, the people in this area were called the “Scotti” and ultimately the name of the country to the north of Britain became “Scotland.”

Jim Fitzpatrick - Milesius & Scota, daughter of Pharaoh (1974)

There is one other angle to the story of Scota to consider regarding the Scottish people, and that is the story of the “Stone of Destiny,” also known as “Lia Fail” in Gaelic or the “Stone of Scone” in English. The stone has been used in the crowning of Scottish kings throughout history. The existence and origins of the stone are shrouded in mystery, legend, and mythology that have biblical roots.

Another name for the stone is “Jacob’s Pillow”;  supposedly, it was used as a pillow by Jacob when he had a dream of angels. This stone somehow came into the possession of Gaythelos, and when he was exiled from Egypt, he took the stone on his long journey to Iberia. Ultimately the descendants of Gaythelos and Scota took the stone to Ireland, where it was established as a seat or throne in Tara. The stone was brought to Scotland from Ireland by King Fergus c. 498 CE, and he was crowned on the stone.  From that point on, all the Scottish kings were crowned on the stone at Scone until 1286 CE.

“Stone of Destiny,” “Lia Fail”, “Stone of Scone”, “Jacob’s Pillow”

The Stone of Scone in the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey (Image in the public domain)

The grave of Scota reputedly lies in a valley, south of Tralee town, in Co. Kerry Ireland. The area is known as Glenn Scoithin, "Vale of the little flower", more normally known as Foley's Glen. Indicated by a County Council road signpost, a trail from the road leads along a stream to a clearing where a circle of large stones marks the grave site.

In 1955, archaeologist Dr. Sean O'Riordan made an interesting discovery during an excavation of the Mound of Hostages at Tara, site of ancient kingship of Ireland. 

Bronze Age skeletal remains were found of what has been argued to be a young prince, still wearing a rare necklace of faience beads, made from a paste of minerals and plant extracts that had been fired. 

The skeleton was carbon dated to around 1350 BC. In 1956, J. F. Stone and L. C. Thomas reported that the faience beads were Egyptian: "In fact, when they were compared with Egyptian faience beads, they were found to be not only of identical manufacture but also of matching design." 

Apep bull deity -Museum of Scotland

Acknowledgment: Wikipedia,  The Connections ThemeAlba Invictus

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