A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They have the authority or power to administer religious rites, their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may apply to such persons collectively. According to the trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society, priests have existed since the earliest of times and in the simplest societies, most as a result of agricultural surplus and consequent social stratification; the necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in many early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, they are regarded as having privileged contact with the deity or deities of the religion to which they subscribe interpreting the meaning of events and performing the rituals of the religion. There is no common definition of the duties of priesthood between faiths.
These include blessing worshipers with prayers of joy at marriages, after a birth, at consecrations, teaching the wisdom and dogma of the faith at any regular worship service, mediating and easing the experience of grief and death at funerals – maintaining a spiritual connection to the afterlife in faiths where such a concept exists. Administering religious building grounds and office affairs and papers, including any religious library or collection of sacred texts, is commonly a responsibility – for example, the modern term for clerical duties in a secular office refers to the duties of a cleric; the question of which religions have a "priest" depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will turn to for advice on spiritual matters, less of a "person authorized to perform the sacred rituals." For example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, but in Protestant Christianity they are minister and pastor.
The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in an anthropological sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion. In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, ruling out any other career. Many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases it is a part-time role. For example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning "priest"; as seen in the saga of Hrafnkell Freysgoði, being a priest consisted of offering periodic sacrifices to the Norse gods and goddesses. In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by human election or human choice. In Judaism the priesthood is inherited in familial lines. In a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood; the word "priest", is derived from Greek via Latin presbyter, the term for "elder" elders of Jewish or Christian communities in late antiquity.
The Latin presbyter represents Greek πρεσβύτερος presbúteros, the regular Latin word for "priest" being sacerdos, corresponding to ἱερεύς hiereús. It is possible that the Latin word was loaned into Old English, only from Old English reached other Germanic languages via the Anglo-Saxon mission to the continent, giving Old Icelandic prestr, Old Swedish präster, Old High German priast. Old High German has the disyllabic priester, priestar derived from Latin independently via Old French presbtre. Αn alternative theory makes priest cognate with Old High German priast, from Vulgar Latin *prevost "one put over others", from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge". That English should have only the single term priest to translate presbyter and sacerdos came to be seen as a problem in English Bible translations; the presbyter is the minister who both presides and instructs a Christian congregation, while the sacerdos, offerer of sacrifices, or in a Christian context the eucharist, performs "mediatorial offices between God and man".
The feminine English noun, was coined in the 17th century, to refer to female priests of the pre-Christian religions of classical antiquity. In the 20th century, the word was used in controversies surrounding the women ordained in the Anglican communion, who are referred to as "priests", irrespective of gender, the term priestess is considered archaic in Christianity. In historical polytheism, a priest administers the sacrifice to a deity in elaborate ritual. In the Ancient Near East, the priesthood acted on behalf of the deities in managing their property. Priestesses in antiquity performed sacred prostitution, in Ancient Greece, some priestesses such as Pythia, priestess at Delphi, acted as oracles. Sumerian en were top-ranking priestesses who were distinguished with special ceremonial attire and held equal status to high priests, they owned property, transacted business, initiated the hieros gamos with priests and kings. Enheduanna was the first known holder of the title en. Nadītu served as priestesses in the temples of Inanna in the city of Uruk.
They were recruited from the highest families in the land and were supposed to remain childless, own
Carmina Gadelica is a compendium of prayers, charms, blessings, literary-folkloric poems and songs, lexical items, historical anecdotes, natural history observations, miscellaneous lore gathered in the Gaelic-speaking regions of Scotland between 1860 and 1909. The material was recorded and reworked by the exciseman and folklorist Alexander Carmichael. Carmina Gadelica was published in six volumes: Alexander Carmichael himself, with the assistance of family and friends, was responsible for the first two volumes, published in 1900. Although Carmichael's correspondence suggests that he planned at least one further volume in the series, he was unable to bring this plan to fruition. Further selections from Carmichael's manuscripts were edited by his grandson James Carmichael Watson and published as volumes III and IV. A fifth volume taken up with song texts, was edited by Professor Angus Matheson in 1954; the series was rounded off in 1971 with a sixth volume containing a lengthy glossary and indices, edited by Angus Matheson with the assistance of his brother William.
In 1992 Floris Press published a one-volume English-language edition with a valuable introduction by Dr John MacInnes. Floris would reprint the entire six-volume series in 2006; the genesis of Carmina Gadelica can be traced to ‘Grazing and Agrestic Customs of the Outer Hebrides’, the second appendix Alexander Carmichael contributed to the Report of the Napier Commission in 1884. Francis Napier, 10th Lord Napier, had requested Carmichael to compose a piece on traditional Hebridean land customs based on the chapter on the subject that he had written for the third volume of William Forbes Skene’s Celtic Scotland. Carmichael rounded off his contribution in an unorthodox manner, presenting a selection of rhymes, prayers and songs gathered in the islands, intended to illustrate the spiritual refinement and respectability of their crofter reciters; the popularity of ‘Grazing and Agrestic Customs’, a subsequent paper Carmichael delivered on 24 December 1888 to the Gaelic Society of Glasgow on ‘Uist Old Hymns’, encouraged him to embark upon a much more comprehensive work on the subject.
The collection was first offered, in 1891, to the Clarendon Press as Idylls of the Isles subsequently to Archibald Sinclair's Gaelic publishing company in Glasgow. In both cases, the offer was withdrawn owing to Carmichael's unhappiness with the publisher's plans, his determination to see the collection through the press on his own terms and according to his own design. Much of the final editing was carried out after Carmichael's retiral from the Inland Revenue in December 1897, with the help of a team of assistants including his daughter Ella Carmichael and his protégés George Henderson, who gave the work its title, Kenneth MacLeod; the initial letters, adapted from early medieval insular manuscripts and engraved stones, were illustrated by Carmichael's wife Mary Frances Macbean. The book itself, dedicated to Mary Frances, was published in two volumes in October 1900, under the auspices of Walter Biggar Blaikie in a limited edition of 300 copies, costing 3 guineas a copy. Carmina Gadelica was a landmark in Scottish art publishing, intended not just as a treasury of lore, but as an object of beauty in itself.
The first two volumes of Carmina Gadelica were welcomed by reviewers as a monumental achievement in folklore, as well as a lasting testament to their creator: the ‘splendid consummation of the love-labour of a whole diligent life-time’. Although little public criticism was voiced during Carmichael's lifetime, it is clear that other Gaelic folklore collectors and scholars such as Father Allan McDonald, the Rev. John Gregorson Campbell, Alexander Macbain were uneasy with his earlier treatment of material he had collected. Carmichael's editing methods were roundly challenged in 1976 with the publication of Hamish Robertson's article in Scottish Gaelic Studies, "Studies in Carmichael's Carmina Gadelica". Having searched for manuscript copies of charms appearing in the third and fourth volumes, Robertson accused Carmichael of meddling with and polishing original texts:'hardly one had not been touched up in some way, sometimes quite drastically'. Robertson's article drew a vigorous rebuff from the Gaelic scholar John Lorne Campbell in the following issue of the journal, although Campbell conceded that'uch of the first three volumes of the Carmina must be taken as a literary and not as a literal presentation of Gaelic folklore'.
Now that Alexander Carmichael's original field notebooks, accompanied by full transcriptions, have been published online under the auspices of the Carmichael Watson Project at the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh, for the first time the editing processes involved in the creation of Carmina Gadelica can properly be assessed. Although Carmina Gadelica remains a controversial text, its volumes have to be read in the context of Carmichael's own times, a period of widespread political strife in the Highlands, when habitual contempt of Gaels, their language and their culture was widespread and publicly expressed. In the words of Gaelic scholar Dr John MacInnes,'Carmina Gadelica is not a monumental exercise in literary fabrication nor, on the other hand, is it a transcript of ancient poems and spells reproduced in the form in which they survived in oral tradition.' Despite its flaws, Carmina Gadelica remains an indispensable source for the popular culture, customs and way of life of Scottish Gaels in the nineteenth century.
Carmina Gadelica vol. I Carmina Gadelica vol. ii (1900 e
Medieval literature is a broad subject, encompassing all written works available in Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages. The literature of this time was composed of religious writings as well as secular works. Just as in modern literature, it is a complex and rich field of study, from the utterly sacred to the exuberantly profane, touching all points in-between. Works of literature are grouped by place of origin and genre. Since Latin was the language of the Roman Catholic Church, which dominated Western and Central Europe, since the Church was the only source of education, Latin was a common language for medieval writings in some parts of Europe that were never Romanized. However, in Eastern Europe, the influence of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Eastern Orthodox Church made Greek and Old Church Slavonic the dominant written languages; the common people continued to use their respective vernaculars. A few examples, such as the Old English Beowulf, the Middle High German Nibelungenlied, the Medieval Greek Digenis Acritas, the Old East Slavic Tale of Igor's Campaign, the Old French Chanson de Roland, are well known to this day.
Although the extant versions of these epics are considered the works of individual poets, there is no doubt that they are based on their peoples' older oral traditions. Celtic traditions have survived in the lais of Marie de France, the Mabinogion and the Arthurian cycles. Another host of vernacular literature has survived in the Old Norse literature and more in the Saga literature of Iceland. A notable amount of medieval literature is anonymous; this is not only due to the lack of documents from a period, but due to an interpretation of the author's role that differs from the romantic interpretation of the term in use today. Medieval authors deeply respected the classical writers and the Church Fathers and tended to re-tell and embellish stories they had heard or read rather than invent new stories, and when they did, they claimed to be handing down something from an auctor instead. From this point of view, the names of the individual authors seemed much less important, therefore many important works were never attributed to any specific person.
Theological works were the dominant form of literature found in libraries during the Middle Ages. Catholic clerics were the intellectual center of society in the Middle Ages, it is their literature, produced in the greatest quantity. Countless hymns survive from this time period; the liturgy itself was not in fixed form, numerous competing missals set out individual conceptions of the order of the mass. Religious scholars such as Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas, Pierre Abélard wrote lengthy theological and philosophical treatises attempting to reconcile the teachings of the Greek and Roman pagan authors with the doctrines of the Church. Hagiographies, or "lives of the saints", were frequently written, as an encouragement to the devout and a warning to others; the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine reached such popularity that, in its time, it was read more than the Bible. Francis of Assisi was a prolific poet, his Franciscan followers wrote poetry themselves as an expression of their piety.
Dies Irae and Stabat Mater are two of the most powerful Latin poems on religious subjects. Goliardic poetry was an art form used by some clerics to express dissent; the only widespread religious writing, not produced by clerics were the mystery plays: growing out of simple tableaux re-enactments of a single Biblical scene, each mystery play became its village's expression of the key events in the Bible. The text of these plays was controlled by local guilds, mystery plays would be performed on set feast-days lasting all day long and into the night. During the Middle Ages, the Jewish population of Europe produced a number of outstanding writers. Maimonides, born in Cordoba and Rashi, born in Troyes, are two of the best-known and most influential of these Jewish authors. Secular literature in this period was not produced in equal quantity as religious literature; the earliest tales are based on oral traditions: the British Y Goddoddin and Preiddeu Annwfn, along with the Germanic Beowulf and Nibelungenlied.
They relate to myths or certain 6th-century events, but the surviving manuscripts date from centuries later—Y Goddoddin from the late 13th century, Preiddu Annwfn from the early 14th century, Beowulf from c. 1000, the Nibelungenlied from the 13th century. The makers and performers were bards and scops, elite professionals attached to royal or noble courts to praise the heroes of legendary history. Prose tales first emerged in Britain: the intricate Mabinogi quartet about princely families, notably anti-war in theme, the romantic adventure Culhwch and Olwen, famous for the earliest mention of King Arthur; these works were compiled from earlier oral tradition c. 1100. At about the same time a new poetry of "courtly love" became fashionable in Europe. Traveling singers—troubadours and trouvères—made a living from their love songs in French, Galician-Portuguese, Provençal, Greek. Germanic culture had its Minnesänger tradition; the songs of courtly love express unrequited longing for an ideal woman, but there
A song is a single work of music, intended to be sung by the human voice with distinct and fixed pitches and patterns using sound and silence and a variety of forms that include the repetition of sections. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word "song" may refer to instrumentals. Written words created for music or for which music is created, are called lyrics. If a pre-existing poem is set to composed music in classical music it is an art song. Songs that are sung on repeated pitches without distinct contours and patterns that rise and fall are called chants. Songs in a simple style that are learned informally are referred to as folk songs. Songs that are composed for professional singers who sell their recordings or live shows to the mass market are called popular songs; these songs, which have broad appeal, are composed by professional songwriters and lyricists. Art songs are composed by trained classical composers for recital performances. Songs are recorded on audio or video.
Songs may appear in plays, musical theatre, stage shows of any form, within operas. A song may be for a solo singer, a lead singer supported by background singers, a duet, trio, or larger ensemble involving more voices singing in harmony, although the term is not used for large classical music vocal forms including opera and oratorio, which use terms such as aria and recitative instead. Songs with more than one voice to a part singing in polyphony or harmony are considered choral works. Songs can be broadly divided depending on the criteria used. Art songs are songs created for performance by classical artists with piano or violin/viola accompaniment, although they can be sung solo. Art songs require strong vocal technique, understanding of language and poetry for interpretation. Though such singers may perform popular or folk songs on their programs, these characteristics and the use of poetry are what distinguish art songs from popular songs. Art songs are a tradition from most European countries, now other countries with classical music traditions.
German-speaking communities use the term art song to distinguish so-called "serious" compositions from folk song. The lyrics are written by a poet or lyricist and the music separately by a composer. Art songs may be more formally complicated than popular or folk songs, though many early Lieder by the likes of Franz Schubert are in simple strophic form; the accompaniment of European art songs is considered as an important part of the composition. Some art songs are so revered. Art songs emerge from the tradition of singing romantic love songs to an ideal or imaginary person and from religious songs; the troubadours and bards of Europe began the documented tradition of romantic songs, continued by the Elizabethan lutenists. Some of the earliest art songs are found in the music of Henry Purcell; the tradition of the romance, a love song with a flowing accompaniment in triple meter, entered opera in the 19th century, spread from there throughout Europe. It became one of the underpinnings of popular songs.
While a romance has a simple accompaniment, art songs tend to have complicated, sophisticated accompaniments that underpin, illustrate or provide contrast to the voice. Sometimes the accompaniment performer has the melody. Folk songs are songs of anonymous origin that are transmitted orally, they are a major aspect of national or cultural identity. Art songs approach the status of folk songs when people forget who the author was. Folk songs are frequently transmitted non-orally in the modern era. Folk songs exist in every culture. Popular songs may become folk songs by the same process of detachment from its source. Folk songs are more-or-less in the public domain by definition, though there are many folk song entertainers who publish and record copyrighted original material; this tradition led to the singer-songwriter style of performing, where an artist has written confessional poetry or personal statements and sings them set to music, most with guitar accompaniment. There are many genres of popular songs, including torch songs, novelty songs, rock and soul songs, other commercial genres, such as rapping.
Folk songs include ballads, plaints, love songs, mourning songs, dance songs, work songs, ritual songs and many more. Air Animal song: bird vocalization, whale song, zoomusicology Aria Canticle Hymn Instrumental Lists of songs Madrigal Poem and song Song structure Theme song Vocal music Marcello Sorce Keller, "The Problem of Classification in Folksong Research: a Short History", Folklore, XCV, no. 1, 100- 104. Jean Nicolas De Surmont, From vocal poetry to song, toward a Theory of Song Obects" with a foreword by Geoff Stahl, Ibidem
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat