On the other hand, the kingdom of the Picts started into new life with its great victory, and pushed its way in the hundred years that followed westward, eastward, and southward, till the whole country north of the Forth and the Clyde acknowledged its supremacy. But the hour of Pictish greatness was marked by the sudden extinction of the Pictish name. Centuries before, when the English invaders were beginning to harry the south coast of Britain, a fleet of coracles had borne a tribe of the Scots, as the inhabitants of Ireland were at that time called, from the black cliff-walls of Antrim to the rocky and indented coast of South Argyle. The little kingdom of Scot-land which these Irishmen founded slumbered in obscurity among the lakes and mountains to the south of Loch Linnhe, now submitting to the over-lordship of Northumbria, now to that of the Picts, till the extinction of the direct Pictish line of sovereigns raised the Scot King, Kenneth Mac-Alpin, who chanced to be their nearest kinsman, to the vacant throne.
For fifty years these rulers of Scottish blood still call them-elves "Kings of the Picts;" but with the opening of the tenth century the very name passes away, the tribe which had given its chief to the common throne gives its designation to the common realm, and "Pict-land " vanishes from the page of the chronicler or annalist to make way for the "land of the Scots".
It was even longer before the change made way among the people itself, and the real union of the nation with its kings was only effected by the common suffering of the Danish wars. In the north, as in the south of Britain, the invasion of the Danes brought about political unity. Not only were Picts and Scots thoroughly blended into a single people, but by the annexation of Cumbria and the Lowlands, their monarchs became rulers of the territory which we now call Scotland. The annexation was owing to the new policy of the English Kings. Their aim, after the long struggle of England with the northmen, was no longer to crush the kingdom across the Forth, but to raise it into a bulwark against the northmen who were still settled in Caithness and the Orkneys, and for whose aggressions Scotland was the natural highway. On the other hand, it was only in English aid that the Scot Kings could find a support for their throne against these Norse Jarls of Orkney and Caithness. It was probably this common hostility to a common foe which brought about the "commendation" by which the Scots beyond the Forth, with the Welsh of Strath-clyde, chose the English King, Eadward the Elder, "to father and lord." The choice, whatever weight after events may have given to it, seems to have been little more than the renewal of the loose English supremacy over the tribes of the North which had existed during the times of Northumbrian greatness; it certainly implied at the time nothing save a right on either side to military aid, though the aid then rendered was necessarily placed in the hands of the stronger party to the agreement.
Such a connexion naturally ceased in the event of any war between the two contracting parties; it was in fact by no means the feudal vassalage of a later time, but rather a military convention. But loose as was the tie which bound the two countries, a closer tie soon bound the Scot King himself to his English overlord. Strath-clyde, which, after the defeat of Nectansmere, had shaken off the English yoke, and which at a later time had owned the supremacy of the Scots, rose into a temporary independence only to be conquered by the English Eadmund. By him it was granted to Malcolm of Scotland on condition that he should become his "fellow-worker" both by land and sea, and became from that time the appanage of the eldest son of the Scottish king. At a later time, under Eadgar or Cnut, the whole of Northern Northumbria, or what we now call the Lothians, was ceded to the Scottish sovereigns, but whether on the same terms of feudal dependence or on the same loose terms of " commendation" as already existed for lands north of the Forth, we have no means of deciding.
The retreat, however, of the bounds of the great English bishopric of the North, the see of St. Cuthbert, as far southward as the Pentland Hills, would seem to imply a greater change in the political character of the ceded district than the first theory would allow.
Whatever change these cessions may have brought about in the relation of the Scottish to the English Kings, they certainly affected in a very marked way their relation both to England and to their own realm. One result of the acquisition of the Lowlands was the ultimate fixing of the royal residence in their new southern dominion at Edinburgh; and the English civilization with which they were then surrounded changed the Scot Kings in all but blood into Englishmen. A way soon opened itself to the English crown by the marriage of Malcolm with Margaret, the sister of Eadgar aetheling. Their children were regarded by a large party within England as representatives of the older royal race and as claimants of the throne, and this danger grew as William's devastation of the North not only drove fresh multitudes of Englishmen to settle in the Lowlands, but filled the Scotch court with English nobles who fled thither for refuge. So formidable, indeed, became the pretensions of the Scot Kings, that they forced the ablest of our Norman sovereigns into a complete change of policy.
The Conqueror and William the Red had met the threats of the Scot sovereigns by invasions which ended again and again in an illusory homage; but the marriage of Henry the First with the Scottish Matilda not only robbed the claims of the Scottish line of much of their force, but enabled him to draw it into far closer relations with the Norman throne. King David not only abandoned the ambitious dreams of his predecessors to place himself later at the head of his niece Matilda's party in her contest with Stephen, but as Henry's brother-in-law he figured as the first noble of the English court, and found English models and English support in the work of organization which he attempted within his own dominions. As the marriage with Margaret had changed Malcolm from a Celtic chieftain into an English King, so that of Matilda converted David into a Norman and feudal sovereign. His court was filled with Norman nobles from the South, such as the Balliols and Bruces who were destined to play so great a part afterwards but who now for the first time obtained fiefs in the Scottish realm; and a feudal jurisprudence modelled on that of England was introduced into the Lowlands. A fresh connexion between the countries began with the grant of lordships in England to the Scot Kings or their sons.