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The Early Races of Scotland and their Monuments
By Lieut.-Col. Forbes Leslie in two volumes (1866)


In examining memorials of the races that occupied Caledonia from the earliest ages to the end of the sixth century of the Christian era, one purpose of the Author was, if possible, to discover the general design of the Caledonian hieroglyphics, as well as the special object, actual or emblematical, which each symbol was intended to represent. In this undertaking, from the absence of all positive data, success, even in the most limited degree, could only be hoped for by accumulating facts regarding the first inhabitants, the most ancient monuments and superstitions of Caledonia, and by comparing them with similar remains in other lands. In attempting to accomplish this design, primitive monuments in India, Brittany, England, Ireland, and Scotland have been examined. Yet, regarding subjects so obscure as those treated of in these pages, it is with extreme diffidence that the following suggestions as to the separate symbols, and the general design of the Caledonian hieroglyphics and monuments, are submitted to the public. With more confidence it may be anticipated that the arguments employed, and the inferences drawn from them, cannot be refuted, and different explanations substituted, without advancing the objects aimed at in these essays—the elucidation of the ethnology, monuments, hieroglyphics, and heathenism of the ancient inhabitants of Caledonia, or that part of Britain which lies to the north of the Firths of Clyde and Forth.

The monuments reared and the objects worshipped in the days of heathenism in Ireland—even in Gaul and South Britain—were originally, there is reason to believe, not materially different from those of North Britain. But the hieroglyphics are confined to the latter country; and as it never fell under Roman or Anglo-Saxon dominion, and as there is no proof in that e^rly period of any important intrusion on its Celtic population, the arguments regarding the races who reared or occupied its monuments, and adhered to its forms of paganism, are greatly simplified.

In different divisions of these volumes a few repetitions will be found. This arises from the same facts or observations being required in explanation of different subjects treated of in separate chapters, and it is hoped that the arangement will, without materially increasing the size of the work, be found more convenient to the reader than the alternative of numerous references.

I have now only to acknowledge the obligations I am under to Joseph Robertson, LL.D., for his help in the revision of these pages, as well as for much of that valuable information which he is alike able and ready to impart, and of which, in common with many others who have written regarding Scotland, I have gladly availed myself.

Rothienorman, January 1866

Volume 1  |  Volume 2

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