I was sort of gob-smacked by the following bit of history, which I got from the Clan Strachan newsletter. According to this, the original Scots came from Judah via Spain. Talk about missing tribes!! This is entirely previous to anything I’ve seen before, probably at least in part because none of it had anything to do with Britain until pretty far along. They weren’t Scots until they got there, right? The Gaels were evidently Irish before they were Scots and then some doubled back to Ireland again, creating political problems. The Picts were already in place and I’m uncertain how the Celts fit into all this.
The tale is certainly impressive and will please a cousin of mine who is a right wing evangelistic Christian and considers himself a self-taught historian. But I’d like to see some back-up sources. After all, the Strachan family motto is “not timid, but cautious.”
THE LEGEND OF PRINCESS SCOTA Legend has it that the Scots Gaels of Ireland and Scotland were born of two Scythian/Egyptian royal marriages. The first royal marriage, around 1360 B.C., was between Niul, a Prince of the area northwest of the Black Sea known later as Scythia, and Merytaten-tasherit, a daughter of Pharoah Smenkhare.
Merytaten’s father was also known as Smenkharon, Cinciris, and Achencheres, which appears on the ancient historian, Manetho’s, Egyptian King List. [There are some who theorize that Smenkharon was the Biblical Aaron, as well as a cousin of Tutankhamun’s father, Pharaoh Akhenaton, may have been the Biblical Moses - Smenkharon/Aaron and Akhenaton/Moses having been feeding brothers, with the same wetnurse, as opposed to being blood brothers.]
Egyptian rulers commonly made political alliances by marrying their daughters into foreign royal families. According to legend, Niul, descended from the Scythian prince Fénius Farsaid, one of seventy-two chieftains who built the Tower of Babel. Scythians, themselves, according to tradition, descended from the Biblical Ham and Japheth.
Ham was also, by some accounts, the Egyptian god Thoth, supposed author of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and known to Greeks as Hermes. Japheth was known to Greeks as Iapetus II.
The new Scythian Princess was known as Sco-ta, or Ruler of People, a title accorded her as a gesture of acceptance by her husband's people.
The couple’s son Gadheal (or, Gael) Glas, is the legendary ancestor of the Scots Gaels of Ireland, said to have created the Gael language from the seventy-two languages originating at the time the Tower of Babel fell, confusion of languages occurred, and families and tribes dispersed across the world. Gaelic does indeed share linguistic structural features common to classical Arabic, Biblical Hebrew and Spanish.
According to Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland, a loose collection of poems and prose narratives recounting the mythical origins and history of the Irish race), Niul was present in Egypt when the former Israelite slaves departed Egypt, heading across the Red Sea, and Pharaoh drowned.
Other Gaelic texts further hold that Gaedheal was born in Egypt at the time Moses first became an Israelite leader.
The second founding Princess Sco-ta, a daughter of Pharoah Nekau (Nechonibus, or Nectanebo, 610-595 B.C.), was given in marriage to Scythian Prince Galamh, a direct descendent of Niul and Scota, through their son Gaedheal. Their son, Eire Ahmon, or Heremon, was ancestral forebear of the Scots Kings of Ireland, a branch of which eventually founded Scotland.
Scota and Galamh settled in Iberia. After Galamh’s death, Scota, along with eight of their sons, sailed to Ireland to avenge the death of a kinsman killed while exploring the territory.
Due to a violent storm, several sons died en route to Ireland. Irish historians place the arrival of the Gaedil, or Gaels, in Ireland between 600 and 500 B.C.
By some accounts, Princess Scota brought along with her to Ireland the Stone of Destiny. Other accounts hold that the Stone arrived in Ireland with her daughter-in-law, Tara Tea Tephi. Perhaps the two arrived together with the Stone. During a long battle with the Tuatha Dé Danann, a mythical race said to have descended from Irish gods and who may also have had Scythian origins, Princess Scota died, along with the reigning Danaan princes. Scota’s grave is said to be located near the battle site on a mountain slope in view of Tralee Bay.
Scota’s and Galamh’s sons, Heremon and Heber, were the battle’s only ranking survivors and, by default, became Ireland’s next rulers. Heremon’s wife was Jewish princess, Tara Tea Tephi (also known as Tamar), reputed to have been a daughter of Judean King Zedekiah, of the royal Davidian bloodline. She was rescued by the Prophet Jeremiah during the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of her family by Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah took her to Egypt, then she made her way to Spain, and on to Ireland.
The union and reign of Tara Tea Tephi and Heremon began the Tara dynasty of Gaelic royalty, based upon the Stone of Destiny (Lia Fail). From Ulster (Dalriata), the Scots began to colonize the West Coast of North Britain, which they called Dalriada (the valley, or plain, of Red Hair).
The Scots found this an attractive location, and the local Celts (called Picts, or Caledonians, by the Romans) were friendly.
Some genealogies trace the origin of the Scots to Fergus Mór mac Eirc, of Dál Riata, a Gaelic kingdom in northern Ireland.
In 506 A.D., Fergus The Great, King of Scots, migrated to Dalriada, raised his Lion Rampant (the Lion of Judah, adopted through his Jewish heritage from Tara Tea Tephi) standard on the shores of his new land. To seal it as the New Scota, he brought over with him the Scots Gaels’ crowning stone - Lia Fail (the Stone of Destiny, also later referred to as the Stone of Scone.).
Nearly 300 years later, the Scots Gaels of Dalriada and the Picts, or Caledonians, of Albany, united to form the Kingdom of Scots, their common land Scota, or Scotland. Written during the reign of King Malcolm III (Máel Coluim mac Donnchada), Duan Albanach, traces the earliest histories of the Picts and the descent of the Scottish kings from Fergus mac Eirc. A companion piece, the Duan Eireannach (i.e. Irish Poem), recounts the history of the Gaels from Scythia, via Egypt, to Ireland. These mythical traditions are incorporated into the Declaration of Arbroath, the 1320 A.D. Scottish Declaration of Independence, which announces the heritage of Scotland from Scythia.
These ancient traditions were believed in the early modern period and beyond. Even King James VI traced his origin to Fergus, saying, in his own words, that he was a "Monarch sprunge of Ferguse race".
One night, long, long ago and far away, around 1500-1400 B.C., Biblical Patriarch and ancestor of the twelve tribes of Israel, Jacob, while traveling the Middle Eastern desert without many amenities, used a good-sized stone as a pillow. He dreamed of angels traveling up and down a ladder to heaven and back. Additionally, he saw God standing over him, speaking to him. This mystical experience had such a profound effect on Jacob, he exclaimed, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven!”
Some surmise that Jacob’s stone may have been a meteorite who’s charged iron content may have instigated his vision. By some accounts, the stone was white marble – by others, it was black basalt. Sacred omphalos marble stones were known in ancient times as markers of the “centre of the world” and linked with oracles and visions. Jacob set the stone up as a pillar and anointed it with special sacred oil, christening the spot Beth-el.
Hundreds of years later, after being carefully preserved by his descendants, Jacob’s Stone found use as a pedestal for the Ark of the Covenant in King Solomon’s famous Temple. Several generations passed.
Solomon’s direct descendent, ranking Judean Princess Tara (Tamar) Tea Tephi, fled the destruction of Jerusalem and capture of her family by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 530 – 652 B.C.). Her escape was facilitated by a relative, the Prophet Jeremiah, who at the time, headed the royal palace guard. Though running for their lives, the Princess and Jeremiah took the Sacred Stone with them to Egypt. Tara took it on to Spain, and then Ireland. Apparently, she migrated to Ireland between 600 – 500 B.C., with the Egyptian Princess Scota’s party, as Tara Tea Tephi was married to Scota’s son, Heremon.
Different legends hold that each woman arrived in Ireland, in approximately the same time period, with the Sacred Stone in two. It may indeed have been their mutual desire to keep the Stone with them to prevent its falling into the hands of invaders and enemies. Heremon and Tara Tea Tephi establishing the Tara-based ruling family of Ireland and the practice of rulers being crowned while seated on Jacob’s Sacred Stone, now called the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny.
Some generations later, Irish settlers began to crossing over into Northwest Scotland, followed by Dalriata ruler, Fergus Mór mac Eirc, who established the Scottish Kingdom of Dalriada. He took the Stone of Destiny with him to Scotland, securing it in Scone (pronounced scoon), two miles from the royal center of the Kingdom of Alba. There it was kept safe from Norse raiders on Moot Hill, next to Scone Palace. Or, so they say!
Moot Hill, itself, was a great mound of sand, shaken out over time, from boots of lords sworn in allegiance to various Scottish kings. There the Stone of Destiny stayed, a key feature in the coronations of generations of Scots kings, until a fateful day in 1296 A.D., after England’s Edward I annexed Scotland. He and his army forayed destructively into the Highlands.
Arriving at Perthshire’s Scone Palace, he took possession of a large sandstone block he believed to be the Stone by then affectionately termed the Stone of Scone. He outfitted it with metal rings to make it easily transportable, and hauled it off to England. With great ceremony, this stone was installed under a specially designed throne in Westminster Abbey.
However, the type of sandstone this throne stone was made of is indigenous to Perth, suggesting that it was switched before Edward arrived at Scone, and that he ultimately made off with the wrong stone. According to legend, monks of Scone Abbey perpetrated a great joke on a succession of English kings and queens, who were crowned amidst great pomp and ceremony, while seated on the Westminster Abbey Coronation Throne: their stone may actually have been a cesspit cover in Scone Palace!
On Christmas Day, 1950, four Scottish students, Ian Hamilton, Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson and Alan Stuart, “liberated” the famous Westminster Abbey Coronation Stone. Following a sweeping, albeit unsuccessful, stone hunt undertaken by British police, that even included shutting down the Scottish/English border, the stone mysteriously reappeared four months later in Arbroath Abbey. Some claimed that one was only a copy, and that it had been swapped with a stone that now stands in Scone Palace - the Palace's old drain cover, at long last finally returned! The stone thieves were never charged, as the Crown could not prove ownership!
In 1996, England sent the Westminster Abbey Stone back to Scotland, but to Edinburgh Castle, rather than Scone. So, it is now in Scotland, but must return to England from time to time for enthronement ceremonies.
The “real” Stone of Destiny is believed by some accounts to be secreted somewhere near Scone Abbey, which could explain why Edward I sent knights back to Scone on August 17, 1298 A.D.. They thoroughly searched the property and surrounding area, high and low. They didn’t confide what it was they wanted, but it is known that they went back to England empty-handed.
The 1328 A.D. Treaty of Northampton included an offer for return of the Westminster Coronation Throne Stone to Scotland. But the Scots did not ultimately ask for insertion of that clause into the Treaty. Edward III offered it to the Scots again in 1329 A.D., even suggesting the Queen Mother could personally take it to Berwick. The stone was once again offered to the Scots in 1363 A.D., but they did not appear to want their talisman back.
Ancient legend has it that Fergus Mac Erc built a place of worship on the Island of Iona, commanding that it serve as a sepulcher for future Dalriada kings. Therefore, some argue that the real “real” Stone of Destiny never went to Scone in the first place, but is still located somewhere near Dunstaffnage. But, if the Westminster Coronation Throne Stone now at Edinburgh, is indeed the one of Judean origin and is Jacob’s original amazing dream pillow, then Irish, Scottish and British kings have been crowned according to an ancient tradition of sacred kingship.