The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Marius, progenitor of the Douglas Scotti family

Painting by Giuseppe Antonio Caccioli (1672 - 1740) representing Mario Scoto and Pope Leo III

In the spring of 774, during his subjugation of Italy,  king Charlemagne and Pope Adrian I decided to meet. With a small escort, amongst whom Mario Scoto was present, Charlemagne travelled the ancient via Cassia to Saint Peter's Basilica where he was received and blessed by the pope. Mario Scoto was Catholic as were the majority of Scotsmen at the time and at the service of his king became himself a defender of the Faith. He became an appreciated military advisor and distinguished himself in the Spanish campaign and in the battle against the Saxons at the confluence of the Weser with the Aller in which of the 5,000 Saxons, only the 500 who chose to be baptised were spared their lives.

Towards the end of the century Mario Scoto retired from the army, married an Italian noblewoman called Marozia and, for his devotion to the pope, settled in Rome where he was granted the honor to escort the pope. He was therefore present when in April 799 Pope Leo III was assaulted and kidnapped near the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina. Mario Scoto was able to find the pope in a monastery on the Aventine Hill and rescued him and returned him to his throne at the Holy See. The scene was later painted in Bologna by Giuseppe Antonio Caccioli.

Mario Scoto is said to be the younger son of Sholto dhu Glas, the 'mythical' progenitor of the Douglases. Mario, and his elder brother William, are said to be the founders of the Douglas Scotti family.

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