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  • The Picts

    What is actually historically known about them ? What happened to them ? Are there any scottish names/clans known to be pictish in origin ? Tartans ?
    Where they the only ones to use wode ? What of their language do we know anything of it all, its etymology ?
    I guess most sources must be roman, but maybe some stories hang around in folklore as well (oral) any way so many questions hope theres some answers !
    cheers
    Gus

  • #2
    Most of what we can say about them is based on conjecture because they had an oral culture and left no written records although they did leave several hundred standing stones with ornate designs dealing with their folklore-these are the greatest source of reliable information that historians have about them. What is known with a degree of certainty is that they spoke a Brythonic dialect,probably interspersed with some words from a pre-Celtic language. Some traces of their language remains in place names beginning with Dun or Pit-Dunblane,Pitenweem etc. They were not always one united people but two distinct northern and southern groups respectively known as the Caledonii and Maetae and the latter name is still found in the hill name Dumyat (Dun Maetae-hill fort of the Maetae). In the early centuries AD most Celtic tribes in Britain used woad however in the annals of their battles against the Angles in the seventh and eight centuries there is no mention of it so they probably didn't use it by then. Their demise came about during the dark ages as they came under attack from Angles,Vikings,Britons and Scots and eventually they succumbed and the Scots King Kenneth MacAlpin probably through the use of treachery became the King of the united Picto-Scottish kingdom that became Scotland.
    "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

    - Martin Luther King Jr.

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    • #3
      This is a site about the Cruthin and Ulster history. But if you hit the link it will take you to a site about the Picts.

      The Cruthin and Picts are reckoned by many,to be the same people,but given different names....by different people.

      Nigel Tranter in his books certainly mentions the Cruthin.

      www.cruithni.org.uk

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ANDY-J3
        Most of what we can say about them is based on conjecture because they had an oral culture and left no written records although they did leave several hundred standing stones with ornate designs dealing with their folklore-these are the greatest source of reliable information that historians have about them. What is known with a degree of certainty is that they spoke a Brythonic dialect,probably interspersed with some words from a pre-Celtic language. Some traces of their language remains in place names beginning with Dun or Pit-Dunblane,Pitenweem etc. They were not always one united people but two distinct northern and southern groups respectively known as the Caledonii and Maetae and the latter name is still found in the hill name Dumyat (Dun Maetae-hill fort of the Maetae). In the early centuries AD most Celtic tribes in Britain used woad however in the annals of their battles against the Angles in the seventh and eight centuries there is no mention of it so they probably didn't use it by then. Their demise came about during the dark ages as they came under attack from Angles,Vikings,Britons and Scots and eventually they succumbed and the Scots King Kenneth MacAlpin probably through the use of treachery became the King of the united Picto-Scottish kingdom that became Scotland.
        Dun is generally of q-Celtic origin (gaelic) not p-Celtic (welsh, "pictish"), although there is a common root to both, but there are many place name elements that are indicitive of Pictish settlement - the most common one is probably Aber (Aberdeen) which means the same thing as the gaelic Inver (Inverness). Language In Pictland by Katherine Forsyth is a decent read about Pictish language, and is available legally and for free online.

        Also, it's now generally thought that the Picts didn't vanish and were not defeated or conquered by Scots.

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        • #5
          They didn't vanish, they merely intermingled with the Scots and others, and stronger traditions than their own prevailed. Their influence is seen on carved stones right up to the 8th and 9th centuries, if not a little later. By the time the Norman influence started to appear in Scotland, there was no such 'race' as the Picts - they had become Scots along with the immigrants who had arrived during that period. Thier main areas of influence can be traced through the prevalence of "pit" placenames - have a wee google for this, it's quite surprising how many there are. Fife, Angus and the NE are the main areas in which this name appears, from Pit an Uamh (Pittenweem) in Fife to Pittodrie by Aberdeen.
          GIRFUY!

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          • #6
            Caithness was the Kingdom of Cait in Pictish Scotland.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by keltic_bhoy
              Caithness was the Kingdom of Cait in Pictish Scotland.
              Yup - the name is extremely old. Caithness means "Cat People's Headland", and the same tribe also gave their name to Sutherland (Gaelic Cataibh, "Cat People's Land") and Shetland (old Gaelic Innse Cat, "Islands of the Cat People").

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ANDY-J3
                They were not always one united people but two distinct northern and southern groups respectively known as the Caledonii and Maetae and the latter name is still found in the hill name Dumyat (Dun Maetae-hill fort of the Maetae).
                Actually, there were several different tribes in Scotland. The Romans used the term Caledonii to describe any people from the north of Scotland. The actual Caledonii tribe are thought to have inhabited roughly the Great Glen area. Other contemporary tribes which are known include the Cornovii, from Caithness, the Smertae from eastern Ross-Shire, the Caereni from the west coast, the Carnonacae and Creones from the Highlands, the Vacomagi from the Cairngorm area, the Taexali from Grampian, the Venicones from Tayside/Angus, the Epidii from Skye and the Inner Hebrides, the Damnonii from Strathclyde, the Novantae from Ayrshire, the Selgovae from the modern border region, and the Votadini from the Lothian area. There were also tribes in the Orkneys, Shetlands and Outer Hebrides. These tribes are all contemporary with the Roman invasion, and so are strictly speaking at least a century before what's thought of as the "Pictish" period. However, the Pictish tribes and kingdoms will have formed from these Iron Age tribes. The Roman invasion probably helped group these indigenous tribes against a common enemy, although the Orcadian inhabitants are known to have made peace with Rome pretty early on.

                After a while, as you say, there were two distinct Pictish kingdoms - one in the north and one in the south, which eventually became united as "Pictland" or "Pictavia". Legend has it that there were originally seven Pictish kingdoms - (brackets are approximate modern locations) Cait (Caithness and Sutherland); Ce (Buchan); Circinn (Angus); Fib (Fife); Fidach (?); Fotla (Atholl); and Fortriu (Moray).

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                • #9
                  The exception above would be the Votadini because the name Gododdin -the Romano-Britons who inhabited the Lothians- was probably a corruption of Votadini,and they remained hostile to the Picts.
                  "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

                  - Martin Luther King Jr.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lianachan
                    Yup - the name is extremely old. Caithness means "Cat People's Headland", and the same tribe also gave their name to Sutherland (Gaelic Cataibh, "Cat People's Land") and Shetland (old Gaelic Innse Cat, "Islands of the Cat People").
                    I suppose that begs the question, who were the Cat People?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by keltic_bhoy
                      I suppose that begs the question, who were the Cat People?
                      Probably a (and I hate to use this antiquated term) Celtic tribe whose animal totem was a cat, like that of the Orcadians was a boar (which is where the name Orkney comes from).

                      *edited in afterthought - when the Norse started to investigate the Orkney Isles, they considered the people of modern Caithness as Picts. They called the stretch of water between the Orkneys and the mainland Pettaland-fjiordr, Pictland Ford, which is where the modern name Pentland Firth comes from.
                      Last edited by Lianachan; 9th March 2006, 18:02.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ANDY-J3
                        The exception above would be the Votadini because the name Gododdin -the Romano-Britons who inhabited the Lothians- was probably a corruption of Votadini,and they remained hostile to the Picts.
                        Indeed. It wasn't Pictish tribes I was listing, it was the tribes that had been reported in northern Britain (in the general area of modern Scotland) at a period of history that would be considered pre-Pictish. We're talking about the same basic people, who are separated only by time.

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                        • #13
                          [ATTACH]27[/ATTACH]

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                          • #14
                            The map showing the "Cruithin". I've seen people say that they were Scots but this is a Pict thread? Actually i have seen people call them both Picts and Scots, there seems to be some confusion on the matter. Dal Riata was the kingdom of the Scots for sure but the Picts Kingdom did at one time encompass parts of what we today call Scotland as well as Ulster, i believe. As did the Scots Kingdom? So could you clarify who the Cruithin are supposed to be? I assume they were Picts. Does this mean there was Picts and Scots there at the same time? How reliable are the sources we have about them? Also who are ther "Erainn"? If Ulaid gave "Ulster" it's name as i have seen suggested before, is "Erainn" where the name "Eire" comes from? And in turn, is that where we get the name "Ireland" from? Lots of questions i know but this is the basics here and i doubt if many people could answer my questions.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tartan Paint
                              is "Erainn" where the name "Eire" comes from? And in turn, is that where we get the name "Ireland" from?
                              I don't have any of the relevant books to hand, but....
                              Originally posted by Wikipedia
                              The name Éire is the nominative form in modern Irish of the name for the goddess Ériu, a mythical figure who helped the Gaels conquer Ireland as described in the Book of Invasions. Éire is still used in the Irish language today to refer to the island of Ireland as well as the Republic of Ireland. The dative form Éirinn is anglicized as Erin, which is occasionally used as a poetic name for Ireland in English, and which has become a common feminine name in English.

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