The following is a brief overview of The Stone of Destiny: In Search of the Truth Buy the eBook and read the complete story

Chapter 2
The Legend: From Bethel to Scone

Introduction
Chapter 1 – Events Leading up to the Theft
Chapter 2 – The Legend: From Bethel to Scone
Chapter 3 – A Potted Pre-History of Scotland
Chapter 4 – The Coming of the Patron Saint
Chapter 5 – St Fillan & Bannockburn
Chapter 6 – The Stone of Destiny?
Chapter 7 – Finding the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel
Chapter 8 – Destiny in the 21st Century
Conclusions 

There are several aspects to the Stone of Destiny legend, and it is important to explain the origins of each and how the story as a whole has progressed over time. The events that detail the legend span across thousands of years and include many important events from different traditions, kingdoms and peoples. In this work, we will be taking huge leaps throughout history in order to present an overview of the entire legend as it is generally portrayed.

The Bible introduces to us a certain man called Jacob, whose life is integral to the events portrayed therein, and also to the establishment of the various mainstream religions – Judaism, Christianity & Islam.

The legend states that the Stone of Destiny was used by Jacob as a pillow upon which he rested his head when God spoke to him in a vision, stating the promise that “the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed” (Genesis 28:11-22). Following his vision, Jacob erected the stone as a pillar and subsequently poured oil upon the top of it in an anointing fashion and subsequently renamed the place from its original name of Luz to Bethel, meaning ‘House of God’.

Jacob was the father of twelve sons, and they and their descendents became commonly known as the twelve tribes of Israel. In order of their birth, these are:

1. Reuben
2. Simeon
3. Levi
4. Judah
5. Dan
6. Naphtali
7. Gad
8. Asher
9. Issachar
10. Zebulun
11. Joseph
12. Benjamin

Following the vision, God commands Jacob to change his name to Israel, meaning ‘he will rule (as) God’. We are all familiar with the story of Jacob’s son, Joseph and his amazing coat of many colours, how his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt and how his dream interpretation abilities placed him in good favour with the Pharaoh. Events continue through to Moses and the Exodus, with the 40 years in the wilderness and the establishment of the Tabernacle in the desert.

The Scotichronicon, which is a history of Scotland written by Walter Bower around the year 1440, explains that during the time of Moses a certain Gaythelos Glas, the son of a king from one of the kingdoms of Greece, married Scotia, daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh Chencres, who drowned in the Red Sea while pursuing the Children of Israel. Following the death of the Pharaoh, there was a civil revolt in Egypt by those wishing for an end to the corn tax imposed by Joseph in times of famine, and they saw this as their chance for change. With Gaythelos as the son-in-law of the dead Pharaoh, he was regarded as the heir to the throne and therefore seen as a threat to keeping the status quo, and hence the corn tax. As a result, Gaythelos and his followers were driven out of Egypt by the peasants revolt. Those who left Egypt with him made Gaythelos their official king; although the problem now was that he had no kingdom or land to rule. Even though he commanded a large army, Gaythelos could not guarantee defeating the might of his many enemies throughout the region, and he could not return to his homeland of Greece due to his earlier banishment for crimes he committed there. He decided that, ideally, he would seek out a place with no existing inhabitants and claim it as his own, but failing that he would take an area by force. Gaythelos, his wife Scotia and a large army set sail from the African continent to see where the Gods would direct them. The Scotichronicon tells us that Gaythelos and Scotia took the Stone of Destiny with them on their voyage.

The people who accompanied Gaythelos on his journey became known as the Scots, named after the mother of their nation, and wife of their king, Scotia. They landed in Spain and soon Gaythelos was able to establish his nation, but this was at a heavy human cost for he was continually attacked, as Spain was already inhabited. Having to establish and maintain a kingdom by force was not his original intention, and so Gaythelos sent out his sailors to explore the oceans and find an uninhabited island for him to rule as king. Eventually the sailors came across an island which seemed much more suitable for his purpose, although this too was said to be inhabited, but by giants! Gaythelos died in Spain before he could establish his domain on this new island, but before his death the order was given to his sons that it must be settled as the new kingdom of the Scots. This island, in modern times, is called Ireland.

* * *

Back in Palestine, the now hugely populated twelve tribes had forcibly, with the assistance of God, gained control of the land which He promised to Jacob and subsequently renamed it Israel, after their father. The area was divided into twelve so that each tribe had their respective piece of land holding in the promised land. Conflicting interests between the tribes caused a split that created the establishment of two factions; the Southern Kingdom of the House of Judah, which was comprised of the tribes of Judah and Levi (also including a minority from the tribe of Benjamin), and the Northern Kingdom of the House of Israel, which consisted of the remaining ten tribes. This split later becomes very important to our story as it is only those of the House of Judah who are to become known as the Jews, and not the remaining ten tribes.

Following the Assyrian captivity of the Israelites in Babylon, it is widely believed that only the House of Judah returned to Israel, leaving the remaining ten tribes to disperse elsewhere, and the whereabouts of their dispersal has been the cause of many a controversy ever since. As simple farm folk, it is reasonable to suggest that they did not return south-west to the desert land of Palestine because they saw the land as very hard to work on and earn a living from, and with more fertile lands to the north, it would make sense for them to have headed in that direction. Regardless, the House of Israel, as a distinct entity from the House of Judah (and therefore the Jews), is not spoken of much more throughout the rest of the Bible, even though they are commonly portrayed as being one and the same when this is simply not the case. This is where much confusion appears and at this stage of our story, it is sufficient only to make the distinction known.

* * *

With Gaythelos dead, the task of setting up a kingdom on the new island (modern day Ireland) fell to his son Hiber, who made various skirmishes but never a full-scale attack with a view to colonise. Interestingly, in later Roman times, the island was known as Hibernia, possibly after his legacy. Instead of colonising the new island, Hiber decided to go against the wishes of his father and concentrate on securing peace for their holding in Spain. Over time, the Scots in Spain were being attacked from all sides and became a very poor nation as a result, and without a proper homeland to call their own the people harvested a longing for a better life. Eventually, a second attempt was made to colonise the island by King Micelius, but this too did not win them any substantial land holding. It was not until many years later, when King Simon Brecc undertook the task that success was finally achieved.

The Scotichronicon tells us that Simon took the ‘royal throne of stone’, upon which the Scots kings in Spain used to sit (no mention is made of them being crowned upon it), and sited it at the chief place of his new kingdom, called Tara. This ‘royal throne’ eventually becomes known as the Lia Fail, although this is more than likely a confusion of more than one legend, and the tradition tells us that here it was used as part of the coronation ceremony of the Irish Scots kings.

St Columba is the next to take up the reins of the legend, and he is said to have taken the Lia Fail from Tara to the Isle of Iona, a small isle off the western coast of modern day Scotland, but at the time Iona was considered a part of Ireland. The stone, or royal throne, was said to have been used by St Columba as his pillow, which is reminiscent of how Jacob rested his head upon it at the start of the story. Again, this is perhaps a confusion of more than one legend.

When the Irish Scots came to mainland Britain, they settled upon the western coast of modern day Scotland, then called Albion. Their king was Fergus, son of Ferchard, and he was the first King of the Scots in Scotland, who brought with him the royal throne/stone from Iona and was crowned upon it. He established the Kingdom of Dalriada and a line of forty kings would follow. We are told by the chronicler Boece in his Chronicles of Scotland (1527), “The twelfth king, Evenus, built a town near Beregonium, called after his name Evonium, now called Dunstaffnage, to which the stone was removed, and the remainder of the forty kings are all crowned in Dunstaffnage, reign there, and are buried there.”

The land of Albion was divided between the Scots and the Picts at this time, with the Scots inhabiting the western parts, and the Picts the eastern parts of Scotland. Most important to our story is the uniting of the Scots and the Picts in 843 under King Kenneth McAlpin, who reigned from 843-859. The descent of the Pictish line was matriarchal (descent from the female line) and the Scots descent was patriarchal (descent from the male line). King Kenneth McAlpin had a Scots father and a Pictish mother, and his blood was therefore agreeable to the tradition of descent of both parties. When he was crowned, he united the two kingdoms as the Kingdom of Alba, and subsequently moved the centre of his kingdom from Dunstaffnage to Dunkeld, taking with him the relics of St Columba. However, that which later becomes known as the Stone of Destiny is not taken to Dunkeld, but rather to Scone, the ancient Pictish capital, where all subsequent monarchs were crowned and where the stone remained until King Edward I of England stole it in 1296.

The legend as described above is the tradition that is ascribed to the stone that now resides in Edinburgh Castle. That confusions should arise throughout the story is perhaps not surprising given the vast span of history the legend covers. It is an amazing history, but just how much can be said to be fact, and how much is artistic licence written with for the various political agendas throughout the ages? What is true, what is false, what is speculation and what is wishful thinking? In the end, no one really knows.


 

Buy The Stone of Destiny as an eBook

Introduction
Chapter 1 – Events Leading up to the Theft
Chapter 2 – The Legend: From Bethel to Scone
Chapter 3 – A Potted Pre-History of Scotland
Chapter 4 – The Coming of the Patron Saint
Chapter 5 – St Fillan & Bannockburn
Chapter 6 – The Stone of Destiny?
Chapter 7 – Finding the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel
Chapter 8 – Destiny in the 21st Century
Conclusions  

 Copyright © 2007-2011 Mark Naples & David Bews

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