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kings of Scotland, called Feragus, or Fergus, which fought against the Picts, as you may read in Buchanan, De Rebus Scoticis : but as others write, it was long before that, the name of their chief captain, under whom they fought against the Africans; the which was then so fortunate unto them, that ever sithence they have used to call upon his name in their battles.
There be other sorts of cries also used amongst the Irish, which savour greatly of the Scythian barbarism; as their lamentations at their burials, with despairful outeries and immoderate wailings, the which Mr. Stanihurst might also have used for an argument to prove them Egyptians: for so in scripture it is mentioned, that the 'Egyptians lamented for the death of Joseph. Others think
. this custom to come from the Spaniards, for that they do immeasurably likewise bewail their dead. But the same is not proper Spanish, but altogether heathenish, brought in thither first either by the Scythians, or the Moors that were Africans, and long possessed that country. For it is the manner of all pagans and infidels to be intemperate in their wailings of their dead, for that they had no faith nor hope of salvation. And this ill custom also is specially noted by Diodorus Siculus, to have been in the Scythians, and is yet amongst the northern Scots at this day, as you may read in tbeir Chronicles,
I will here take occasion, since I lately spake of their manner of cries, in joining of battle, to speak also somewhat of the manner of their arms, and array in battle, with other customs perhaps worthy the noting. And first of their arms and weapons, amongst which their broad swords are proper Scythian; for such the Scythes used commonly, as you may read in Olaus Magnus, and the same also the old Scots used, as you may read in Buchanan, and in Solinus, where the pictures of them are in the same form expressed. Also their short bows, and little quivers, with short bearded arrows, are very Scythian, as you may read in the same Olaus. And the same sort both of bows, quivers, and arrows, are at this day to be seen commonly amongst. the northern Irish Scots, whose Scottish bows are not past three quarters of a yard long, with a string of wreathed hemp slackly bent, and whose arrows are not much above half an ell long, tipped with steel heads, 'made like common broad arrow heads, but much more sharp and slender; that they enter into a man or horse most cruelly, notwithstanding that they are shot forth weakly. Moreover, their long broad shields, made up with wicker rods, which are commonly used among the said northern Irish, but especially of the Scots, are brought from the Scythians, as you may read in Olaus Magnus, Soli-, nus, and others : likewise their going to battle with
out armour on their bodies or heads, but trusting to the thickness of their glibs, the which (they say) will sometimes hear off a good stroke, is mere Scythian, as you may see in the said images of old Scythes or Scots, set forth by Herodianus, and others. Besides, their confused kind of march in heaps, without any order or array, their clashing of swords together, their fierce running upon their enemies, and their Inanner of fight, resembleth altogether that which is read in histories to have been used of the Scythians. By which it may almost infallibly be gathered together, with other circumstances, that the Irish are very Scots or Scythes originally, though sithence intermingled with many other nations repairing and joining unto them. And to these I may also add another strong conjecture, which cometh to my mind, that I have often observed there amongst them, the which are also written by sundry authors, to have been observed amongst the Scythians, ly which it may very vehemently be presumed that the nation's were anciently all one. For Plutarch (as I remember) in his treatise of Homer, endeavouring to search out the truth, what countryman Homer was, proveth it most strongly (as he thinketh) that he was an Æolian born, for that in describing a sacrifice of the Greeks, he omitted the loin, the which all the other Grecians (saving the Æolians) use to burn in their sacrifices: also for that he makes the entrails to be roasted on five spits, which was the proper manner of the Æolians, who only, of all the nations of Græcia used to sacrifice in that sort. By which he inferreth necessarily, that Homer was an Æolian. And by the same reason may
I as reasonably conclude, that the Irish are descended from the Scythians; for that they use (even to this day) some of the same ceremonies which the Scythians anciently used. As for example, you may read in Lucian, in that sweet dialogue, which is intitled, Toxaris, or, Of Friendship, that the common oath of the Scythians was by the sword and by fire; for that they accounted those two espe. cial divine powers, which should work vengeance on the perjurers. So do the Irish at this day, when they go to battle, say certain prayers or charms to their swords, making a cross therewith upon the earth, and thrusting the points of their blades into the ground, thinking thereby to have the better success in fight. Also they use commonly to swear by their swords. Also the Scythians used, when they would bind any solemn vow or coinbination amongst them, to drink a bowl of blood together, vowing thereby to spend their last blood in that quarrel; and even so do the wild Scots, as you may read in Buchanan; and some of the northern Irish. Likewise at the kindling of the fire, and lighting of candles, they say certain prayers, and use some other superstitious ritès, which shew that they honour the fire and the light: for all those northern nations having been used to be annoyed with much cold and darkness, are wont therefore to have the fire and the sun in great veneration : like as contrariwise the Moors and Egyptians, which are much offended and grieved with extreine heat of the sun, fall to cursing and banning of him as their plague. You may also read in the same book, in the tale of Arsacomas, that it was the manner of the Scythians, when any one of them was heavily wronged, and would assemble unto him any forces of people to join with him in his revenge, to sit in some public place on certain days upon an ox-hide, to which there would resort all such persons as, being disposed to take arms, would enter into his pay, or join with him in his quarrel. And the same you may likewise read to have been the ancient manner of the wild Scots, which are indeed the very natural Irish. Moreover, the Scythians used to swear by their king's hand, as Olaus sheweth. And so do the Irish use now to swear by their lord's hand; and to forswear it, hold it more criminal than to swear by God. Also the Scythians said, that they were once a year turned into wolves, and so is it written of the Irish: though Master Camden in a better sense doth suppose