A 15th century depiction of Scota’s voyage from Egypt.

Scota: Mother of Scotland and Daughter of a Pharaoh


During the 1440s, a Scottish chronicler, Walter Bower, sought to trace the history of the Scottish people from the earliest times. The result of his endeavour was the creation of a compendium of Scottish history, the Scotichronicon. Perhaps one of the most astonishing claims made by Bower in his Scotichronicon is that the Scottish people were actually descendants of the ancient Egyptians, and could trace their ancestry to the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, Scota.

The Moses Connection to Scota

The story of Scota begins with a Greek king by the name of Gaythelos. In one version of the story which involves Ireland, Gaythelos is known as Gaodhal Glas (the word ‘Gael’ is said to be derived from his name), and was originally from the region of Scythia. It is also said that Gaodhal Glas lived during the time of Moses, andthe latter is said to have cured the former when he was bitten by a serpent.

Gaodhal Glas was also promised by Moses that no serpent or other poisonous creature will inhabit the western island that his posterity would inhabit one day. One of Gaodhal Glas’ grandsons, Niul, was invited into Egypt as an instructor by a pharaoh, and eventually married one of his daughters, Scota (Both ‘Scotland’ and the Roman name for Ireland, ‘Scotia’, are said to be derived from her name).Niul and Scota’s people were later driven from Egypt by a later pharaoh, and wandered around the Mediterranean until they reached Spain.



During the rule of Miled / Milesius (whose wife was incidentally also a pharaoh’s daughter by the name of Scota), these people heard about Ireland, and believed it to be the island foresaw by Moses. Although Miled died in Spain, his wife and children eventually reached and settled in Ireland.

Milesius and Scota

Milesius and Scota ( J. Fitzpatrick )

Irish and Scottish Origins Intertwine

This legendary origin of the Irish people is also shared by the Scots. For the Scots, however, the story did not end in Ireland. From Ireland, the descendants of Niul and Scota travelled to the west coast of Scotland, battled and defeated the Picts, and became the Scottish people. This version of Scottish lineage can also be found in the Declaration of Arbroath, an important document written in 1320 by the barons and noblemen of Scotland requesting the intervention of the Pope on their behalf during the Wars of Independence. In the second paragraph of the document, it is written:

Most Holy Father, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. It journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage peoples, but nowhere could it be subdued by any people, however barbarous. Thence it came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to its home in the west where it still lives today.

The Tyninghame Copy of the Declaration of Arbroath (1320)

The Tyninghame Copy of the Declaration of Arbroath (1320) ( Wikimedia Commons )

Scota by Another Name

Not everyone agrees that the Scots originated from Scythia, however. One writer, for instance, speculated that Gaythelos / Gaodhal Glas was neither a Greek king, nor a Scythian, but an Egyptian pharaoh himself. In Scota, Egyptian Queen of the Scots , Ralph Ellis traces the story of Scota and Gaythelos to a 3rd century BC source, Manetho’s Aegyptiaca.

Using this ancient source, it has been argued that Scota was actually Ankhesenamun, the widow of Tutankhamen. Gaythelos, on the other hand, has been argued to be Ay, the successor, and according to Ellis, also the father of Tutankhamen. Due to religious conflict, Ay’s reign was cut short, and the pharaoh and his court were soon forced into exile. Like the Irish legends, Ay and Ankhesenamun wandered around before settling in Spain. Several generations later, there was a migration to Ireland, and thence to Scotland.

Statue of Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamun, Luxor, Egypt.

Statue of Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamun, Luxor, Egypt. ( Wikimedia Commons )

Featured image:  A 15th century depiction of Scota’s voyage from Egypt. ( Wikimedia Commons )

By Ḏḥwty


Ellis, R., 2006. Scota, Egyptian Queen of the Scots. Cheshire: Edfu Books.

MacManus, S., 2005. The Story of the Irish Race. New York: Cosimo.

The National Records of Scotland , 2012. Feature: the Declaration of Arbroath, 6 April 1320. [Online]
Available at:

The Scotsman, 2006. The pharaoh's daughter who was the mother of all Scots. [Online]
Available at:


Some of the things I've read here are obviously legitimate archaeological (or other) research, and others are obviously (to me) just bat-shit crazy. I enjoy learning about the former, but the latter makes me wonder when Uri Geller or "Cowboys vs. Aliens" or L. Ron Hubbard are going to show up. Is this science reporting, or just the facade for a boutique book publishing service?

Scots as descendants of Egyptian pharoahs? What?!? Didn't we already agree the British isles were populated by Viking invaders mixing with existing Britons who'd settled there long before?

I am related to these people, going up to Adam and Eve of the Bible around 4000BC and down through Noah's son Japheth via his son Magog of the Bible and Scythia......eventually producing Niul Nemnach of Scythia husband to Belait Scota.... Whose son Goadhal Glas was stung of biten by a serpent and cured by Moses himself leaving a green scar. Alot of family stories and children aren't even in the Bible because they got lost through a period of time, killed before their kids new the family history..... My branch travels through many many many Kings and queens of Gotha Germany but because the current tree is lost to the really old one we don't know how or where we fit in....we all can be traced back to Noah through either HAM, SHEM, or Japheth sons of Noah of the Bible apparently as far as I have researched of my so called history....
Always know who you are and where your branch comes from. Alot of us are jafahamshems in one body a zillion times. Which is incest by the way....

What are you rambling on about? The Scythians were Aryan or Teutonic, or simply Nordic. The Semitic people are Afro-Asiatic, they would have no business being at the crossroads of Indo-European civilization.

The Scythian patron haplogroup is R1a. My patronage is Norwegian, but it is R1a so it is also Scythian.

Are you trying to fit Northern lore into a Biblical picture? Can't be done, the Jew made up most of the Bible.

How do I buy the book. Can't find it anywhere. Thanks

Very interesting post, David Alan Ritchie. Could you give me some sources? I didn't know the linguistic link Hebrides/Ebra. If you could suggest some reading, I would appreciate it.

The philogist Cyrus H. Gordon wrote a lot about ancient sea travels by semitic people such as the Hebrews and Phoenecians.

Gordon showed in Riddles in History the authenticity of many previously disputed semitic texts found in north and south America, by their internal riddles, that old forgers wouldn't have known about because linguists only figured them out in the last few decades.

The riddles included religious dedications and the author's name, in some cases. Some very complex, buried in actual text, and others jumbled into codes without actual textual readings.

Tom Carberry


Next article