Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The History of Ireland (Author: Geoffrey Keating)

Section 13


Of the origin of the children of Mileadh, of their proceedings, and of their transactions, of their genealogy, and of every occurrence that happened to them, from Fénius Farsaidh down to the invasion of Ireland by them, here below (stated).

In order, truly, that we should be able to trace the origin of the Scotic nation to its root, i.e. to Japheth (we find) the two most distinguished sons Japheth had, that is to say, Gomer


and Magog. Moses, in the tenth chapter of Genesis, where he records the propagation of the posterity of Japheth, sets down [i.e.] that Gomer had three sons, namely Aschenez, Riphath, and Thogorma; however, he does not mention specially the children of Magog according to their names. Nevertheless, as it is on the antiquaries of the Scotic nation that it is incumbent to follow up the ascertained genealogy of the nobles who sprang from Magog, and particularly of the posterity of Fenius Farsaidh, we shall here set down the genealogical account of the posterity of Magog, according to the book of invasion which is called Cin Droma Sneachta; and that authority existed before Patrick came to Ireland. What it says is, that Magog had three sons, namely, Báath, Iobáth, and Fáthachta. From Báath came Fénius Farsaidh, the ancestor of the posterity of Gaedheal; from Iobáth came the Amazons, Bactrians, and Parthians; from Fáthachta came Partholón [he who first occupied Ireland after the deluge] and (also) Neimheadh, son of Aghnoman, and, accordingly, the Fir Bolg and Tuatha Dé Danann [as we have said above in (the account of) their conquests]. It is from the posterity of this Fathachta came the great Attila, who brought Pannonia under his sway, and was a length of time perturbing the state of Rome, destroyed and depopulated Aquileia, and made many raids on Germany. It is from Scythia also, of the posterity of Magog by origin, Zeliorbes, king of the Huns, who made war upon the emperor Justinian. It is from Scythia, too, came the Lombards, Hungarians, and Goths [all]. It is from [the] Scythia, likewise, came the Dauni, from whom is called Daunia in Italy, and the name of that country now is Apulia. It is from Scythia also that the Turks have come. But in short, Becanus, an investigator of the antiquity of the dissemination of the races of the


world, says, repeating Epiphanius, that the people of Scythia obtained chief rule shortly after the deluge, and that their sovereignty continued until the predominance of Babylon. The same authors say that it is from Scythia the other countries used to receive institutes and laws and ordinances, and, moreover, that it is they who were the first race which commenced to be honoured after the deluge. Johannes Boemus, in the ninth chapter of the second book which he wrote on the customs of every race, says that the Scythians were never subdued by any dominion. Josephus says that the Greeks called the people of Scythia Magogai. Johannes Nauclerus says that people have come of the race of Scythia by whom very great deeds were done. Let Herodotus bear witness to this in the fourth book where he says that the people of Scythia repelled Darius king of Persia contemptuously from Scythia. Let Justin likewise witness in his history, where he treats of the gallantry of the exploits which the people of Scythia performed: and here are the words of this author:—The people of Scythia, he says, were always without foreign power affecting them or seizing their spoils: they drove back Darius, king of Persia, with disgrace out of Scythia; they slew Cyrus with the entire of his army; Zophyron, the leader of the army of Alexander the great, with his host, was destroyed by them: they had heard of the power of the Romans, and (yet) had never felt it. {Scythae ipsi perpetuo ab alieno imperio aut intacti aut invicti mansere: Darium regem Persarum turpi a Scythia submovere fuga; Cyrum cum omni exercitu trucidarunt; Alexandri magni ducem Zophyron a pari ratione cum copiis universis deleverunt; Romanorum audivere sed non sensere arma.}’’

From these words it may be understood that it was great was the bravery and the valour which was among the people of Scythia to the time of this author.

The Polychronicon says in the thirty-seventh chapter of the first book, that it is from this word Scythia, Scot is called


to the posterity of Gaedheal Glas, and, in my judgment, it is not more fit to give Gall (for name) to the people who are now inhabiting Ireland who are called Gall, that is to say, from Gallia or France as to their origin than to give Scot (for name) to the Gael from Scythia whence they came according to their origin: and it is therefore Greeks of Scythia is called to the posterity of Fáthachta, son of Magog, who obtained dominion in Gothia, Thracia, and Achaia, viz. Partholón, son of Seara, with his people; Neimheadh, son of Aghnoman, from whom the children of Neimheadh are called; the Fir Bolg and the Tuatha De Danann, because it is from Scythia they all came, according to their origin. And I think that it is why Scot is more especially. called to the posterity of Gaedheal, son of Niul, son of Fenius Farsaidh, because it is to Fenius Farsaidh the chief dominion of Scythia came, and to his posterity after him; and that it was Niul was the younger son of Fenius, and that he did not obtain any equal share of the territory, as the kindred of Fenius had obtained districts from which they themselves and their posterity were named. Wherefore Niul enjoined on his posterity to denominate themselves from Scythia, and for ever to call themselves Scots, because there was no land in their possession, and that his father had left him as a portion, only the acquisition of the sciences and of the several languages; having left the kingdom of Scythia undivided to Neanual, the son who was older than Niul.