Ireland is called Scotia, the Scotic Irish Nation, or the Land of the Scots, by various Roman and other Latin writers. It got the name “Scotia” from the Milesian colony who came from Spain. “Erin” is a more ancient name of Ireland than “Scotia;” for, it is only in the third century, that the celebrated philosopher Porphyry of Tyre is the first writer recorded who called the Irish Scoti, in the following passage from his writings, quoted by St Jerome:—

“Neque enim Britannia fertilis provincia tyrannorum, et Scoticæ gentes omnesque usque ad oceanum per circuitum Barbaræ nationes Moysem Prophetasque cognoverant.”

Thus translated:—

“For neither Britain, a province fertile in tyrants, nor the Scottish people, nor all the barbarous surrounding nations, even unto the ocean, have ever known Moses or the prophets.”

It has been stated by Usher and other learned men, that the name “Scotia” was exclusively applied to Ireland until the eleventh century,[1] when modern Scotland first got the name Scotia—its ancient name (given to it by the Irish and the natives) being Alba or Albain, anglicised “Albany;” and, to the present day, the people of Scotland are by the Irish called Albanach and Albanaigh. Pinkerton, in his “Inquiry into the History of Scotland,” says:—

“From the consent of all antiquity the name Scoti belonged to the Irish alone until the eleventh century.”

To distinguish between the two countries, various Latin writers, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, mention Ireland as Scotia Vetus or old Scotia, and Scotia Major or the Greater Scotia; and Scotland, as Scotia Minor or the Lesser Scotia; and the Irish were called Scoto-Ierni and Scoto-Hiberni or Hibernian Scots, and the people of Scotland Scoti-Albani or Albanian Scots.


[1] Eleventh century: According to “O’Clery’s Irish Pedigrees,” it was in the reign of Niall of the Nine Hostages, that the name “Scotia” was first applied to Scotland.