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the Picts

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Celtic Cauldron
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« on: December 09, 2014, 06:49:54 pm »

Picts

The Picts were a tribal confederation of peoples who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.[1] They are thought to have been ethnolinguistically Celtic. The place where they lived and what their culture was like can be inferred from the geographical distribution of brochs, Brittonic place name elements, and Pictish stones. Picts are attested to in written records from before the Roman conquest of Britain to the 10th century, when they are thought to have merged with the Gaels. They lived to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde, and spoke the now-extinct Pictish language, which is thought to have been related to the Brittonic language spoken by the Britons who lived to the south of them. Picts are assumed to have been the descendants of the Caledonii and other tribes that were mentioned by Roman historians or on the world map of Ptolemy. Pictland, also called Pictavia by some sources, gradually merged with the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata to form the Kingdom of Alba (Scotland). Alba then expanded, absorbing the Brittonic kingdom of Strathclyde and Bernician Lothian, and by the 11th century the Pictish identity had been subsumed into the "Scots" amalgamation of peoples.

Pictish society was typical of many Iron Age societies in northern Europe, having "wide connections and parallels" with neighbouring groups.[2] Archaeology gives some impression of the society of the Picts. While very little in the way of Pictish writing has survived, Pictish history since the late 6th century is known from a variety of sources, including Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, saints' lives such as that of Columba by Adomnán, and various Irish annals.
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 06:55:11 pm »



The Aberlemno Serpent Stone, Class I Pictish stone, showing (top to bottom) the serpent, the double disc and Z-rod and the mirror and comb
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 06:55:55 pm »




Silver plaque from the Norrie's Law hoard, Fife, with double disc and Z-rod symbol
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 06:56:37 pm »



The so-called Daniel Stone, cross slab fragment found at Rosemarkie, Easter Ross
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 06:56:57 pm »

Etymology

What the Picts called themselves is not yet known.[nb 1] The Latin word Picti first occurs in a panegyric written by Eumenius in AD 297 and is taken to mean "painted or tattooed people" (from Latin pingere "to paint";[3] pictus, "painted", cf. Greek "πυκτίς" - pyktis, "picture").[4] As Sally M. Foster noted, "Much ink has been spilt over what the ancient writers meant by Picts, but it seems to be a generic term for people living north of the Forth-Clyde isthmus who raided the Roman Empire."[5]

Their Old English name[6] gave the modern Scots form Pechts and the Welsh word Fichti.[citation needed] In writings from Ireland, the name Cruthin, Cruthini, Cruthni, Cruithni or Cruithini (Modern Irish: Cruithne) was used to refer both to the Picts and to another group of people who lived alongside the Ulaid in eastern Ulster.[7] It is generally accepted that this is derived from *Qritani, which is the Goidelic/Q-Celtic version of the Britonnic/P-Celtic *Pritani.[8] From this came Britanni, the Roman name for those now called the Britons.[7][8][9] It has been suggested that Cruthin referred to all Britons not conquered by the Romans—those who lived outside Roman Britannia, north of Hadrian's Wall.[9]
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 06:57:27 pm »

History

A Pictish confederation was formed in Late Antiquity from a number of tribes—how and why is not known. Some scholars have speculated that it was partly in response to the growth of the Roman Empire.[10]

Pictland had previously been described by Roman writers and geographers as the home of the Caledonii.[11] These Romans also used other names to refer to tribes living in that area, including Verturiones, Taexali and Venicones.[12] But they may have heard these other names only second- or third-hand, from speakers of Brittonic or Gaulish languages, who may have used different names for the same group or groups.[13]

Pictish recorded history begins in the Dark Ages. It appears that Picts were not the dominant power in Northern Britain for that entire period. The Gaels of Dál Riata controlled their own region for a time, although they suffered a series of defeats in the first third of the 7th century.[14] The Angles of Bernicia overwhelmed the adjacent British kingdoms, one of which, the Anglian kingdom of Deira, later became the most powerful kingdom in Britain. (Deira and Bernicia together were called Northumbria).[15] The Picts were probably tributary to Northumbria until the reign of Bridei mac Beli, when, in 685, the Anglians suffered a defeat at the Battle of Dun Nechtain that halted their northward expansion. The Northumbrians continued to dominate southern Scotland for the remainder of the Pictish period.
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2014, 06:58:01 pm »



The Whitecleuch Chain, high status Pictish Silver chain, one of ten known to exist, dating from between 400 and 800 AD
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 06:58:41 pm »

Dál Riata was subject to the Pictish king Óengus mac Fergusa during his reign (729–761), and though it had its own kings beginning in the 760s, does not appear to have recovered its political independence from the Picts.[16] A later Pictish king, Caustantín mac Fergusa (793–820), placed his son Domnall on the throne of Dál Riata (811–835).[17] Pictish attempts to achieve a similar dominance over the Britons of Alt Clut (Dumbarton) were not successful.[18]

The Viking Age brought great changes in Britain and Ireland, no less in Scotland than elsewhere. By the middle of the 9th century, when Ketil Flatnose is said to have founded the Kingdom of the Isles, the Vikings had destroyed the kingdoms of Dál Riata and Northumbria, greatly diminished the power of the Kingdom of Strathclyde, and founded the Kingdom of York. In a major battle in 839, the Vikings killed the king of Fortriu Eógan mac Óengusa, the king of Dál Riata Áed mac Boanta, and many others.[19] In the aftermath, in the 840s, Cínaed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin) became king of the Picts.[citation needed]

During the reign of Cínaed's grandson, Caustantín mac Áeda (900–943), outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than the kingdom of the Picts, but we do not know whether this was because a new kingdom was established or Alba was simply a closer approximation of the Pictish name for the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear suddenly, a process of Gaelicisation (which may have begun generations earlier) was clearly underway during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point, probably during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become fully Gaelicised Scots, and Pictish identity was forgotten.[20] Later, the idea of Picts as a tribe was revived in myth and legend.[21]
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2014, 07:00:30 pm »



Pictish warrior with drinking horn
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2014, 07:00:57 pm »

Pictish tribes


    Caledones (along the Great Glen)
    Carnonacae (western Highlands)
    Caereni (far western Highlands)
    Cornovii (Caithness)
    Creones (Argyll)
    Decantae or Ducantae (eastern Ross and Black Isle)
    Epidii (Kintyre and neighboring islands)
    Lugi (southern Sutherland)
    Smertae (central Sutherland)
    Taexali (Angus and Grampian)
    Vacomagi (in and around the Cairngorms)
    Venicones (Fife and south-west Tayside in Scotland)
    Tribe of unknown name in the Orkney Islands (may have been Picts)
    Tribe of unknown name in the Shetland Islands (may have been Picts)
    Tribe of unknown name in the Faroe Islands (may have been Picts)
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2014, 07:01:26 pm »

Kings and kingdoms

The early history of Pictland is unclear. In later periods multiple kings existed, ruling over separate kingdoms, with one king, sometimes two, more or less dominating their lesser neighbours.[22] De Situ Albanie, a late document, the Pictish Chronicle, the Duan Albanach, along with Irish legends, have been used to argue the existence of seven Pictish kingdoms. These are as follows; those in bold are known to have had kings, or are otherwise attested in the Pictish period:

    Cait, or Cat, situated in modern Caithness and Sutherland
    Ce, situated in modern Mar and Buchan
    Circinn, perhaps situated in modern Angus and the Mearns[23]
    Fib, the modern Fife, known to this day as 'the Kingdom of Fife'
    Fidach, location unknown, but possibly near Inverness[24][25][26]
    Fotla, modern Atholl (Ath-Fotla)[27]
    Fortriu, cognate with the Verturiones of the Romans; recently shown to be centered around Moray[28]

More small kingdoms may have existed. Some evidence suggests that a Pictish kingdom also existed in Orkney.[29] De Situ Albanie is not the most reliable of sources, and the number of kingdoms, one for each of the seven sons of Cruithne, the eponymous founder of the Picts, may well be grounds enough for disbelief.[30] Regardless of the exact number of kingdoms and their names, the Pictish nation was not a united one.
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2014, 07:01:49 pm »

For most of Pictish recorded history the kingdom of Fortriu appears dominant, so much so that king of Fortriu and king of the Picts may mean one and the same thing in the annals. This was previously thought to lie in the area around Perth and the southern Strathearn, whereas recent work has convinced those working in the field that Moray (a name referring to a very much larger area in the High Middle Ages than the county of Moray), was the core of Fortriu.[31]

The Picts are often said to have practised matrilineal kingship succession on the basis of Irish legends and a statement in Bede's history. In fact, Bede merely says that the Picts used matrilineal kingship succession in exceptional cases.[32][33] The kings of the Picts when Bede was writing were Bridei and Nechtan, sons of Der Ilei, who indeed claimed the throne through their mother Der Ilei, daughter of an earlier Pictish king.[34]

In Ireland, kings were expected to come from among those who had a great-grandfather who had been king.[35] Kingly fathers were not frequently succeeded by their sons, not because the Picts practised matrilineal succession, but because they were usually followed by their own brothers or cousins, more likely to be experienced men with the authority and the support necessary to be king.[36]
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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2014, 07:02:06 pm »

The nature of kingship changed considerably during the centuries of Pictish history. While earlier kings had to be successful war leaders to maintain their authority, kingship became rather less personalised and more institutionalised during this time. Bureaucratic kingship was still far in the future when Pictland became Alba, but the support of the church, and the apparent ability of a small number of families to control the kingship for much of the period from the later 7th century onwards, provided a considerable degree of continuity. In much the same period, the Picts' neighbours in Dál Riata and Northumbria faced considerable difficulties, as the stability of succession and rule that previously benefited them ended.[37]

The later Mormaers are thought to have originated in Pictish times, and to have been copied from, or inspired by, Northumbrian usages.[38] It is unclear whether the Mormaers were originally former kings, royal officials, or local nobles, or some combination of these. Likewise, the Pictish shires and thanages, traces of which are found in later times, are thought to have been adopted from their southern neighbours.[39]
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« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2014, 07:02:38 pm »



Pictish warrior with drinking horn
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2014, 07:03:25 pm »



Map showing the approximate areas of the kingdom of Fortriu and neighbours c. 800, and the kingdom of Alba c. 900
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