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Edinburgh's Origins

Edinburghs origins are shrouded in the mists of time. Emerging out of the mists of time and tradition, the shape of the Castle Rock fades into view, appearing dimly as if its surroundings are shrouded in haar. Its origin was doubtless military owing to the striking vantage point that the Castle Rock affords.

The eagle eye of the Roman invader could hardly have overlooked this natural stronghold, half-way between his two stations on the adjoining sea coast, Inveresk and Cramond, although he has left no authentic mark on the site.

Space will not admit consideration here of the various traditions as to its name and early annals - of King Ebranke, of the twenty sons and thirty daughters, who a thousand years before the Christian era, is said to have founded Edinburgh, besides building York and other places; or of the wars of the Ottadini tribes and of the battles between the Angles and the Pictish kings, who confined their princesses on the Rock, hence called "Castrum Puellarum," the Castle of the Maidens.

Even Symeon of Durham's attribution of the name of "Edwinsburch" to Edwin of Northumbria has been rejected by Celtic philologists as an error of the eighth-century chronicler, who misunderstood the native name of Dunedin.

It first comes clearly into the light of history when Malcolm and Margaret made the summit of the Rock a hunting seat, where the saintly Queen received, in 1093, the fatal news of the death in battle of her husband and eldest son.

It became more definitely a royal residence in the reigns of her sons, Alexander I. and David I., the latter of whom moved a convent of nuns from the shelter of the Castle, and installed there Augustinian monks, afterwards shifted to Holyrood.

The "Sair Sana" planted the Canon's burgh between his new Abbey and Edinburgh, which even then must have been a place of some note. Town, fortress, and Abbey were gages of battle in the Wars of Independence, and then and afterwards were repeatedly taken and retaken, burnt and re-edified.

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