Skip to comments.DNA Shows Celtic Hero Somerled's Viking Roots
Posted on 04/26/2005 10:52:12 AM PDT by blam
DNA shows Celtic hero Somerled's Viking roots
A HISTORIC Celtic hero credited with driving the Vikings out of western Scotland was actually descended from a Norseman, according to research by a leading DNA expert.
According to traditional genealogies, Somerled, who is said to have died in 1164 after ousting the Vikings from Argyll, Kintyre and the Western Isles, was descended from an ancient royal line going back to when the Scots were living in Ireland.
But Bryan Sykes, an Oxford University professor of human genetics who set up a company called Oxford Ancestors to research peoples DNA past, has discovered that Somerleds Y-chromosome - which is inherited through the male line - is of Norse origin.
Prof Sykes studies of three Scottish clans have also led to the conclusion that some 500,000 people alive today are descended from Somerled - a number only bettered by Genghis Khan, who, among historical figures studied to date, has an estimated 16 million living descendants.
The MacDonald, MacDougall and MacAllister clans all claim descent from Somerled and Prof Sykes found that between 25 and 45 per cent of them shared the same Y-chromosome, of a kind normally found in Norway but rare in Scotland and Ireland.
By analysing the rate of mutation in DNA samples from clan members, Prof Sykes was able to show that the Y-chromosome came from a common ancestor who lived roughly 1,000 years ago.
He then tested five chiefs from the clans and discovered they all shared the same chromosome, which convinced him that the common ancestor must be Somerled, Lord of the Isles, in keeping with clan histories.
However, the analysis threw into doubt Somerleds own origins. Prof Sykes told The Scotsman: "In the traditional genealogy, Somerled is a great Celtic hero who drives the Norse from Scotland, but his Y- chromosome is definitely Norse. The genealogies trace him back to a long line of Irish kings. But thats not what the Y-chromosome says.
"He is certainly of Norse Viking paternal origin."
It is open to question whether Somerled, who made driving the Vikings from western Scotland his "cause célèbre", would have known the truth.
But Prof Sykes said: "I think it is something you would want to keep quiet."
The fact that clan chiefs still share the same basic Y-chromosome after some 87 generations shows that high-status women in the MacDonald, MacDougall and MacAllister clans were extremely faithful.
However, the large number of people alive today with the same Y-chromosome means the men in the family did not share this virtue to the same extent.
Maggie Macdonald, archivist of the Museum of the Isles on Skye, said Somerled was traditionally viewed as a Celtic hero.
But she added: "Maybe at that time it was more important who it was said you were descended from than who you were actually descended from.
"People may well have known his great-great-grandfather was a Viking.
"But it could have been that his great-great-grandmother had relations with someone who wasnt her husband - it could be Somerled wouldnt have known and thought he was this great Celtic hero."
So my Norwegian dad & Scottish mom may be in an incestuous relationship?
Huh. Rape, pillage, and plunder (by Vikings and against locals of all nationalalities back then) and enslavement weren't mentioned?
And St. Patrick wasn't really Irish... It doesn't really matter.
I thought it had always been known that a large percentage of Scots had Norwegian ancestry.
The easiest way to defeat Vikings is to face them in the playoffs.
...and, there weren't any snakes in Ireland either. The Ice Age would have killed any that were there long ago. So...what was St Patrick chasing out of Ireland. I will suggest...falling comet fragments.
I descended through clan McDonald - the geneology is really clear that they were Norwegian descendants. DNA just confirms what geneologist already knew.
Celtic Ping list!
Macleod's have professed this for generations. Highlanders are ALL at least part Norse.
funny how you always tell who your mother is but can never be precisely sure who your father is... (As told by Dougie MacLean, Scottish singer/songwriter/fiddler extraordinaire)
And "Somerled" is clearly a Norse name on its face, anyhow. Summer wanderer, or something like that.
Don't forget to ping me when you come across this stuff!
That's a little different, he brought Christianity to the Irish, ie.. he was a missionary.
He's no Larry Bird.
Heh, it's funny how well MacDonalds and Macleod's know Scottish/Irish history.
I talked to a lady who married into being a MacDonald while I was cashering. Without making any other comments about my lineage (I saw her ID... being the casheir and all) I stated "If this were 500 years ago, your husband and I would be after each other's heads."
She INSTANTLY knew I was Scottish. She finally guessed I was a Macleod.
My kids are half-Viking and half-Scot (and whatever else), and one of my daughters also married a Scot. That should make for some interesting marital discussions....
"The easiest way to defeat Vikings is to face them in the playoffs."
lol... yep, seems to work every time!
I always thought that interesting since the two clans were mortal enemies.
"a number only bettered by Genghis Khan, who, among historical figures studied to date, has an estimated 16 million living descendants. "
Uhhh, could we BORROW just ONE of those 16 million and run him or her for President as a Republican?? I bet he would beat the opposition - literally. Reid, Hillery, Pelosi, Kennedy et al would be toast.
Ah Genghis - what a man!!
My Gaelic teacher told me there are still MacDonalds who won't sit on a school board with a Campbell.
Can't say I blame them, really.
I knew a girl named McDonald. She was ditzy as anything (cheerleader stereotype)
I also knew a Campbell. Pretty, but very "free spirited" (read: liberal hippie)
The two never really knew each other well.
I beat the snot out a kid named "Hlavity" once though. It turned out his mother was 100% Irish :)
Except for the part about them not knowing each other you could be describing the two I knew, except the Campbell was also a good student.
Oh, they knew each other. They just didn't fit into the same "cliques"
And since when does a liberal outlook mean they did poorly in a Puwblik Skewl? She had a 4.2 GPA.
They both gradutated in '02.
There can be only one.
All time favorite series and movies. Followed immediately by Stargate and Stargate SG-1
They were both cheerleaders but this was 40 years ago.
I remember once in Biology class, the teacher asked the first one, "what do you get when a sperm and egg unite"? The answer she was looking for was a zygote but her answer was "a baby?".
It made the teacher mad but I always thought it was a perfectly good answer.
I do think getting rid of Moss was the best thing you could have done. Didn't get enough for him in return, but he really had to go.
And most people don't realize that the Irish and Danes were fierce "Vikings" in their own right.
["Scot" is Irish for "raider"]
My mom is hulking great Danish Valkyrie and my Dad is a 6 foot Ulsterman.
Alas, I am a genetic throwback to my paternal grandmother's Welsh roots, body-wise.....:)
The fiery runt of the litter,
Cool background info: but I thought "Scotti" meant "Irish dancer"
Just wonderin' :p
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest -- Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
Tice said the receivers coach was drooling when he came back from working him out. And the most unusual thing was that everyone in the organization agreed on him. Should be interesting.
Without testing Somerled's DNA, it is naught but supposition.
? Why "LOL"?
That's a translation I'ev heard.
I've never heard that.
I watched a show on Scotland a couple of weeks ago on on the History Channel.
The narrator gave a background on the word and announced that "Scot" is an Irish word that roughly translates into "Viking" or "Raider".
He'd gone into the etymology in the first place by way of explaining that the Scots were Irishmen who'd settled in what would be known later as Scotland, after mingling with/displacing the native Picts.
from online etymology.com
Scot Look up Scot at Dictionary.com
O.E. Scottas (pl.) "inhabitants of Ireland, Irishmen," from L.L. Scotti (c.400), of uncertain origin, perhaps from Celtic (but answering to no known tribal name; Ir. Scots appears to be a L. borrowing). The name followed the Irish tribe which invaded Scotland after the Romans withdrew from Britain in 423 C.E., and after the time of Alfred the Great the O.E. word described Irish who had settled in the northwest of Britain.
"Scot, with its variants Scotch, Scottish, etc., may have been an Irish term of scorn (Scuit, pronounced shite); its ulterior origin is unknown." [Shipley]
Where do they get these numbers? I've seen reasonable claims that tens of millions of people living today are descended from William the Conquerer, and that perhaps every person in the Western world is descended from Charlemagne or even Mohammad.
Go to a Scots Highland game and read that out loud.
I dare ya!....LOL!
They were raiders and the Irish version of "vikings".
Their geographic "launching point" from Ireland was Ulster.
To this day, the Ulstermen are called the "Scots-Irish" and were referred to as such when they came to America.
[my personal family history, in fact]
Some "new agers" have tried to tie Scota of Scotland to Egypt and make the Scots descendants of Pharoahs.
History can get pretty weird, depending on who is interpreting it....:)
I doubt the Scots came from Egypt but there are some odd things about the ancient Egyptians. For instance, Ramses the Great, had red, wavy hair.
Strap on your tinfoil Tam and have a go at this;
Not sure where we came from, but I know that we invented everything.