Seeking truth over myth in Human affairs is a difficult task. The written word is predated by oral accounts, sometimes amazingly accurate over millenia, but that are also embellished by bards who were influenced by sponsors who benefitted from doctored versions of the truth. Archaeologists and anthropologist have been helpful, but bones and ruins can tell only part of the story.
The search over 59 years for my Irish and French roots has amassed a bewildering array of myths and facts, wound together and from which I can infer and weave various tales. Here is one which I hope will tempt you to do your own research.
Some 3,600 to 3,300 year ago, areas from the Danube to the Urals were suffering from climate change, some of it induced by human activites that included producing more humans than resources and technology could nurture. One evening in this environment, dust swirled around them as Miles (Miletus) and his band of Scythian archers rode their horses homeward, carrying a stag, the only food they could find during a long day of roaming the parched plains.
Pleased that, tonight, they would feed their families, Miles knew that only a long migration could save them. He had heard that an Egyptian emissary had arrived in the Crimea, seeking mercenaries. Egypt, with annual flooding of the Nile, could still provide adequate food, but Libyans and waves of Sea People, refugees from Europe, were encroaching on lands the pharaoh considered his. His armies were hard pressed to oppose them. Historians disagree on which pharaoh it was. However . . . .
After days of cautious questioning and negotiations, Miles agreed to lead a score of families and horses to board a fleet of ships to sail for Egypt where their encampment grew as more Scythians joined them and Miles organized and executed lightning raids behind enemy lines from Gaza in the east to Libya in the west. His strategy was to destroy supply bases. The pharaoh was so pleased with the successes Miles achieved that he gave him one of his daughters, Scota, as a second wife. She became primary wife when his Scythian wife died in childbirth.
The transformation of Scota from a pampered daughter to a Scythian warrior was amazing. She learned quickly and relished being a fighting member of the marauding teams. She became a driving force, all the while bearing sons for Miles. After Egypt was saved she learned from traders of a "Green Island" far to the west. Intrigued, she persuaded Miles to lead an expedition there. She converted her wealth into easily-carried silver and gold trinkets. She bought a Phoenician ship and crew and set out. En route they soon discovered that the world was over populated with every bit of desirable land occupied by people who welcomed traders but who would become quite hostile in they remained for more than a few days.
Realizing that establishing a homeland in Ireland would require more force than they now had, they found an isolated peninsula on the south coast of Spain that they were able to seal off and build a base where they could attract more Celts to join them, breed their horses, build ships, and become a formidable force. Here, Scota had four more sons: Heber, Ir, Heremon, and Erannan, but disaster struck when Miles was killed in a skirmish. Scota, her sons, and two from Miles' previous wife were determined to carry on with their vision. On completing their 30th sea-worthy vessel, they set out.
The long journey necessitated numerous stops where the natives were happy to sell supplies and to provide a night or two of rest on dry land. Scota gradually learned more about her Green Island. It had been inhabited for 5,000 years and was now controlled by the Tuatha da Danaan (People of the Goddess Danu) who had defeated the Fir Bolg. Most of this data was obtained during a stop in what is now Plymouth.
Approaching Ireland, Erannan, climbed the mast for a better view, fell into the sea, and was drowned. Then Ir died in a rowing accident. There were acouple of disastrous attempts to land in eastern Ireland, forcing the fleet westwards, eventually making a successful landing in what is now Kenmare Bay, Kerry, but bloody battles soon ensued. The newcomers, horsemen and archers, were at a disadvantage in the heavily wooded land. Scota was killed, but her sons prevailed, establishing a kingdom that grew to encompass all of Ireland, calling themselves Scots after Scota. Heremon and Heber divided the land between then with Heber taking the north and Heber the south. After a year or so of this they fell out and Heber was killed. But the numerous sons of both carried on with intermittent warfare. Ireland was never united.
Centuries passed and, in the 400s AD, the Scots invaded the land of the Picts, also Celts, established their dominance and gave the name, Scotland, to the land. They also brought the bagpipe, of Scythian origin.
Today, Many Irish and Scots are proud to trace their their ancestry through Heber and Heremon to Miles and Scota.
You will find many versions of this tale. Take your pick.