A.D. 350 to 794
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|A variety of writers (Latin) had referred to two distinct groups from Ireland known as Hibernii and Scotti. Clearly with Scotland and Ireland being so geographically close there would be a fair amount of contact across the Irish Sea. However, around A.D. 498 perhaps the most significant event took place.
A group of Scotti, led by Prince Fergus Mor MacErc, left the Glens of Antrim to settle in Scotland. Over the period of the fifth and sixth centuries the colonisation of the area now known as Argyll by these Scots (or Scotti) of Dalriada (the name of their original home) took place.
Their settlement appeared in the main to be peaceful and accepted by the resident Picts. However, within two generations this was to change when, under the leadership of Aidan MacGabrain, they began to become much more aggressive.
By the end of the Seventh Century, the Scots had spread from the western periphery to the centre of Caledonia. The fact that even at this stage Pictland was not a single kingdom under one ruler, undoubtedly helped the Scots establish themselves.
As stated earlier St Columba arrived on Iona around 563A.D. and by the time of the death of King Conall of the Scots, Columba had sufficiently established himself to be able to offer a candidate for the throne. This candidate was Aidan and he was duly crowned King.
It is difficult to trace what language and dialects were in use at this time by the Picts or indeed assess how closely this related to the Gaelic language of the Scots. What is clear however, is the fact that Gaelic spread quickly and steadily.
It would be fair to state that it was certainly a time of immense change for the country. The united Pictish kingdom dominated politically as far afield as the Western Isles, but the Scots were starting to exert an influence on language and culture. Christianity also was spreading, albeit slowly, mainly through the sterling work of missionaries.