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Thread: The Forgotten Legacy of Germanic Scotland

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    It is often forgotten, that for hundreds of years much of Scotland was part of the Kingdom of Norway.

    Scotland and Ireland have been strongly influence by Norwegian Vikings, not by their Swedish cousins, as is commonly thought. From what I know of the subject, I would have to say that Scotland has more Nordic influence than Ireland, and North Ireland certainly has more Viking and Germanic influence than Southern Ireland. Whilst they're recognized largely as culturally Celtic nations, it would be much more befitting of the situation if they were classified as Celtic-Germanic nations, or perhaps even as Celtic-Nordic nations. Still, this is certainly not something to be ashamed of. Finding out that you have Viking blood in you is not a bad thing, be sure!
    Ich liebe das Vaterland!

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    The Forgotten Legacy of Germanic Scotland

    So much attention is placed on Scotland’s identity as a Celtic Nation, that we often overlook the other major influences that are a legitimate part of Scotland’s history and culture. It would be fair to say that Scotland is roughly half Germanic, but this part of the Scottish heritage is often downplayed while the Celtic side is discussed.

    Scotland’s ties to Scandinavia have been highlighted in the news media recently, especially as the country debates the possibility of independence from Britain. The country is re-evaluating its own identity, and considering historical ties to countries outside of the United Kingdom.

    In the May issue of Celtic Guide, we explored Orkney’s Viking heritage, and how both Orkney and Shetland were owned by Norway until they were handed over to Scotland in the 15th century. Both archipelagos spoke a Norse dialect called Norn from the time they were settled by Vikings (8th century) and even after they were handed over to Scotland, when usage of the Norn language began to erode. Use of the Norn language continued on for at least two centuries in Orkney, but was eventually replaced by the Scots language. It lingered longer in Shetland than in Orkney, however. As late as the 18thcentury, Shetlanders were documented speaking fluent Norn, and many Norn words are still used in regular Shetland speech today. Norn was also spoken in areas of mainland Scotland, particularly in Northeastern coastal regions, such as Caithness.

    Another Germanic language widely spoken in Scotland is the Scots language. In my experience,there is some misunderstanding regarding this language. Some people assume “Scots language” refers to Scottish Gaelic. It does not, as these are two completely different languages. Although there is certainly a Gaelic influence in terms of oan words assimilated into Scots, the language
    itself falls on the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language tree, whereas Scottish Gaelic is on the Celtic branch.

    Scots language descends from the same mother language that Modern English evolved from: Old English. ... Old English was the language of the Anglo-Saxons who came from the areas of what is now Denmark and Northern Germany to settle in Britain. Their influence on England is well known. England’s name is derived from Angle-Land, land of the Angles. However, what many people don’t consider is that this tribe was also present in large portions of Scotland. As the Anglo-Saxons settled, and time moved on, their language began to shift between Northern and Southern dialects. The Northern version eventually evolved into Scots, while the Southern version became Modern English.
    Read more: Scotland's Other Heritage; the forgotten legacy of Germanic Scotland

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Only the Highlands were Celtic in the Modern historical era, in Medieval times the southwest was Brythonic Celtic (Welsh) rather than Goidelic Celtic (Irish) but Germanic culture predominated in Scotland though Gaelic Irish created the country before they were assimilated into the southern Anglo-Saxons like the Norman invaders of 1066.

    Historically a distinction was made between the Irish Scots in the Highlands and the Inglis (Anglo-Saxon) Scots in the Lowlands. The latter had the cultural centers like Edinburgh and regarded the upland Celts as barbarians.

    Don't forget the Norns up in the islands and Caithness were North Germanics.

    (No one knows what Pictish was related to: it was not intelligible to English, Briton or Gaelic speakers but this does not demonstrate a language family.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermóðr View Post
    Predominantly Germanic, I think. Most people in the lowlands, for example, are descended from various Germanic (id est Norse) ethnic groups.

    The idea of a distinct "Celtic" ethnic group is a myth perpetuated by scumbag civic nationalists like the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Even some Cornish people claim that they are "Celts". Pfft.
    Old Cornish was a Welsh dialect like modern Breton and Old Cumbrian.

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    Scots are on average 40% Celtic (Irish). The English are on average 20% Celtic (Irish). So the Scots are mostly Germanic.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31905764

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    I would say Scotland is ethnically, like England and other parts of Europe such as parts of the Low Countries or Southern/Western Germany (Northeastern France also), Celto-Germanic.

    It is interesting how England and Scotland are both Celto-Germanic, but from different groups in different proportions. The English have a much greater Saxon and Danish component compared to the Scots, whose Germanic input comes more from the Northern Angles in the Southeast/Lothian and more from Norwegians rather than Danes elsewhere. Similarly the Celtic components are also different, with a Gaelic legacy historically being less important in England compared to Scotland.

    In any case, there is no doubt to the prevalence of the Celtic aspect of Scottish identity despite the linguistic and cultural changes that have occurred since the Late Middle Ages. First, the kingdom of the Scots is of Gaelic (or Gaelic-Pictish) origin and even the name "Scot" originally meant Gaels. Secondly, prior to the spread of Gaelic language Scotland was predominately Cumbric/Pictish/Brythonic and later Gaelic become predominate across Scotland through the Middle Ages:





    Furthermore, in the Declaration of Arbroath the Celtic/Gaelic origins of the Scottish kingdom and identity are emphasized and Scottish Kings could still speak Gaelic in some measure up until James IV.

    As to the Highland-Lowland divide and the Germanicness of the Lowlands, I came across this post derived from various sources when researching this topic a few months back that makes it seem the issue isn't as clear as one might think:

    http://www.siol-nan-gaidheal.org/php...p?f=23&t=10522

    In the Western Isles and Highlands where the Norse settled heavily, it wasn't the Gaels who were Germanicized and adopted Scandinavian culture rather than the reverse--the Norse-Gaels were Gaelicized and adopted a Gaelic identity.

    Finally, with the rise of the Ossian material in the 18th and 19th centuries and Scottish Romanticism that dealt heavily with Highland culture and images, it seems that the Celtic component has remained predominate over the course of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermóðr View Post
    The idea of a distinct "Celtic" ethnic group is a myth perpetuated by scumbag civic nationalists like the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Even some Cornish people claim that they are "Celts". Pfft.
    If grouping the various Celts into a distinct ethnic group is a myth, then a wider Germanic ethnic group is also a myth since there is as great a difference between Englishmen, Swedes, and Bavarians as there are between the various Celtic groups.

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    Northumbrian English is closer to Doric Scots than it is to southern English dialects ie. Cockney and West Country. And indeed Edinburgh was part of Northumbria. Scots and English are a language continuum but in the past Inglis was more distinct from English because visitors needed a translator.

    Scots like E English has a strong Danish influence.

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    Because Scotland wasn't conquered by the Romans or the Normans there is less Latin or French influence on the language than there is on modern English.
    If we believe the traditional view that Scotland was invaded by Gales (Irish) then the English (Inglis) language was spoken in Scotland before the Gaelic language was.
    My own personal view is that the Gaelic language is native to western Scotland and spread farther afield due to the demise of the Picts at the hands of those pesky Norwegian Vikings. The Picts imo. spoke a Brythonic language similar to Cumbric.......but I can't prove a word of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siegfried View Post
    They are at least as Germanic as the French (who also have a section there). Scottish is a Germanic language, and Lowland Scots carry quite a bit of ancestry from Germanic settlers. I tend to think of Scotland as a blend and patchwork of Celtic and Germanic culture, just like France is a blend and patchwork of Celtic, Romance, and Germanic cultures. When it comes to self-identification, though, I'd expect most Scots to pick the Celtic family.
    "Scottish" is not a language. Lowland Scots is a Germanic dialect but Gaelic is of course 'Celtic'. Only small pockets can be described as Germanic-Lowland Scots and the remote islands colonised by the Norse. Also Scotland has a Brythonic element as well which is often overlooked so generally speaking they are primarily 'Celtic'.

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