Cateran

Cateran

[kat-er-uhn]
The term cateran (from the Gaelic ceathairne, a collective word meaning "peasantry"), historically referred to a band of fighting men of a Scotland Highland clan; hence the term applied to the Highland, and later to any, marauders or cattle-lifters.

Magnus Magnusson (awarded the Medlicott Medal of the [British] Historical Association in 1989) states in his book first published in 2000, "Scotland, The Story of a Nation" page 211, that some Highland chieftains retained substantial private armies of professional soldiers known as 'ceatharn' used against their neighbors.

Problems arose when the third royal son of King Robert II, Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan (the King's Lieutenant for areas of Scotland north of the Moray Firth) began using a force of 'caterans' himself. Subsequently, the word 'cateran' came to refer to those Highland bandits or malefactors.

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