If you just read today’s story update, you might be wondering about the Healer, Scoithin Reil? If you haven’t read it yet, go do so now!
The character of Scoithin is based on various legends involving a migration of early Egyptians to Ireland and Scotland. Scota, in Irish mythology, Scottish mythology, and psuedohistory, is the name given to two different mythological daughters of two different Egyptian Pharaohs to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry, allegedly explaining the name Scoti, applied by the Romans to Irish raiders, and later to the Irish invaders of Argyll and Caledonia which became known as Scotland.
Edward J. Cowan has traced the first appearance of Scota in literature to the 12th century. Scota appears in the Irish chronicle Book of Leinster (containing a redaction of the Lebor Gabála Érenn).[However a recension found in an 11th-century manuscript of the Historia Brittonum contains an earlier reference to Scota. The 12th-century sources state that Scota was the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, a contemporary of Moses, who married Geytholos (Goídel Glas) and became the eponymous founders of the Scots and Gaels after being exiled from Egypt. The earliest Scottish sources claim Geytholos was “a certain king of the countries of Greece, Neolus, or Heolaus, by name”, while the Lebor Gabála Érenn Leinster redaction in contrast describes him as a Scythian. Other manuscripts of the Lebor Gabála Érenn contain a variant legend of Scota’s husband, not as Goídel Glas but instead Mil Espaine and connect him to ancient Iberia.
Another variant myth in the redactions of the Lebor Gabála Érenn state that there was another Scota who was the daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh named Cingris, a name found only in Irish legend. She married Niul, son of Fenius Farsaid, a Babylonian who travelled to Scythia after the collapse of the Tower of Babel. Niul was a scholar of languages, and was invited by the pharaoh to Egypt and given Scota’s hand in marriage. They had a son, Goídel Glas, the eponymous ancestor of the Gaels, who created the Gaelic language by combining the best features of the 72 languages then in existence. See also Geoffrey Keating. Although these legends vary, they all agree that Scota was the eponymous founder of the Scots and that she also gave her name to Scotland.
Scota and the Stone of Scone
Baldred Bisset is first credited to have fused the Stone of Scone with the Scota foundation legends in his Processus (1301) putting forward an argument that it was Scotland and not Ireland which was the original Scoti homeland.
Bisset was keen to legitimise a Scottish (as opposed to English) accession to the throne after Alexander III of Scotland died in 1286. Alexander himself at his coronation in 1249 heard his royal genealogy recited back through 56 generations to Scota. Bisset therefore attempted to legitimise a Scottish accession by making Scota significant, as having transported the Stone of Scone from Egypt during the exodus of Moses to Scotland. In 1296 the Stone itself was captured by Edward I and taken to Westminster Abbey. Robert the Bruce in 1323 used Bisset’s same legend connecting Scota to the stone in attempt to get the stone back to Scotland’s Scone Abbey.
So, that my fans, is how Scoithin Reil has ended up on the Isle of Skuy by way of some ancestor’s long journey to a new home!