Do the Scottish People have Links to Ossetia?
From time to time you have one of those moments. I was traveling to Hastings in Kent, listening to BBC Radio 4. My ears could not believe what they were hearing. “From Our Own Correspondent,” is a weekly compilation of vignettes by BBC reporters from all over the world. This particular report, “Ossetia’s Connection to Scotland,” was from Tim Whewell, who covered the August 2008 skirmish between the Georgians and South Ossetians in Asia’s Caucasus region.
The report began, “When the nights draw in, in the high Caucasus… there is nothing the people like better than to settle down on the settee to watch an old DVD of Braveheart.” Why? The Ossetians told Whewell their stories of migrations from their home. He continued, “Centuries ago, possibly during the great migration of the Dark Ages, some of their ancestors went down from the Caucasus and set sail through the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and arrived eventually in a landscape they recognised: Caledonia.”
Where do the Scots Come From?
He continued, “But the Ossetians are not just like the medieval Scots. As far as they are concerned, they are the Scots. And the Scots are them.”
Whewell’s information from his hardy Caucasian friends is not as far-fetched as some might like us to think. Much of what we learn about the origins of the people of Europe is skewed toward a Greco-Roman bias. What does that mean?
Students of European history—especially those who try to understand where the Friesians or Germans or Lombards came from—are often directed exclusively to Greek and Roman historians. Caesar’s Bella Gallica, with its observations of the Celts, is informative—but it is biased toward a Roman perspective. And we note that Strabo, the Greek geographer, held a rather jaundiced view of Britons. He wrote that they were “tall and bandy-legged.”
Who, then, can tell us who the Scots were? Well, how about the Scots themselves?
Soon after England’s King Edward II subjugated the Scots, 38 of the Scottish lairds wrote the “Declaration of Arbroath”—an impassioned plea to the Pope, asking him to call the English off. This document, dating to 1320 A.D., is preserved in a hermetically sealed case at the Scottish Archives in Edinburgh. In the Declaration’s preamble, we find the noble Scots in possession of their historic roots, which they proclaim boldly and confidently. Note their clear wording as to their origins:
“Declaration of Arbroath”
“We know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients, we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian [Mediterranean] Sea and the Pillars of Hercules [Straits of Gibraltar], and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes… Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today (Scotland).
How do we know they reached Scotland? Easy: place names. London, In Ossetian, London means “standing water”. Belfast, in Ossetian, means “broken spade”. (King) Arthur in Ossetian means “solar fire”. Orleans in France is “stopping place”, because the Ossetians stopped there.
Ossetian children know all about their forefathers’ wanderings around Europe and how eventually their territory diminished again to those two little pockets on either side of the great Caucasian watershed.
But the Ossetians, in their glory days of continental mastery, were not known by that name. They were previously called Sarmatians, and sometimes Alans. Every third Ossetian you meet now seems to be called Alan, and the north Ossetian republic, within Russia, is officially “Alania”.
It is widely understood that the ancient Israelites crossed the Red Sea in the fifteenth century B.C.—which would date the Scots’ migration from Greater Scythia to the third century B.C.! This equates well with other information that we can find, showing that there were successive migrations of people from the region of Scythia, which today comprises southern Ukraine.
Land of the Scythians
Who were the Scythians? According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Most writers think the Scythians who troubled Asia were Sacae from the east of the Caspian” (11th edition, article: “Scythia”). This is the region where, in the eighth century bc, the Assyrians had settled the ten tribes of Israel whom they had taken captive (see 2 Kings 17:23). The Israelites were named after their father Jacob, whose name God had changed to Israel. Israel’s father was Isaac—from which the name Sacae is derived. That name in turn became “Saxon” (son of Isaac). These “Saxon” people have left their name in northern Germany (Saxony) and amongst the people of southeast England: Sussex, Essex and Middlesex.
The name Scot is also derived from “Scyth. Scotic is related to the term Scythic and was pronounced the same in some areas of Britain. It is an interesting observation that the German word for both Scottish and Scythianis “Scutten”, as the 6th century Saxon invaders of Alba spoke a form of lower German. ” The Scyth traveled to Scotland via Spain and Ireland. Prior to the Dalriadic migration of the Scots from Ireland to Scotland, the northern area of Ireland was known as “Scotia” (note the similarity to “Scythia”). These people simply carried their name with them into the highlands of Scotland.
Reconstructed Ossetian Bagpipes
What else has been carried through these nations? If you are familiar with the bagpipe, a characteristically Scottish musical instrument, you may be surprised to learn that bagpipes are found in every country mentioned in the Declaration of Arbroath and in BBC correspondent Whewell’s report. Bagpipes are played in a total of 25 nations in the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. To listen to Ossetian bagpipes click here. Notice this definition, from The New Bible Dictionary, of the word dulcimer used in Daniel 3:5, “It is now generally supposed to have been a form of bagpipe.” This most famous of Scottish instruments has left a musical footprint wherever the Scots have traveled on their journey, from Israel to Assyria and on through the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, to Spain, and finally to their present home by way of Ireland.
From the Circassian Nart Epos: “The Tale of T’ot’resh’s Two-Pronged Spear” [«ТIотIэрэш и бжыпэ дыкъуакъуэ»] Sung by Zubeir Yewaz (Еуаз Зубер) in the Kabardian dialect of Circassian.
Linguistically, only modern-day Ossetian and Pashto as well as Yaghnobi and Pamiri languages are similar to old Eastern Iranian languages once spoken by Scythians.” See more here.
- The Ossetian Epic – “Tale of the Narts
- Parallels to Authurian tales
- Evidence that Scots Came from Scythia
- Origins of the Scots