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Picts

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The Picts were the inhabitants of Caledonia (Scotland), north of the River Forth. They were given this name by the Romans. In Latin the word is Picti which means painted folk or possibly tattooed folk. They spoke a language, Pictish, of which little is known.

Modern scholars believe that there were seven ancient Pictish Kingdoms and that their names were

  1. Cait -- situated in modern Caithness[?] and Sutherland[?]
  2. Ce -- situated in modern Marr and Buchan
  3. Circinn -- situated in modern Angus and the Mearns
  4. Fib -- situated in the modern Fife and Kinross[?] (Fife is still known as the Kingdom of Fife)
  5. Fidach -- situated in modern Moray and Ross
  6. Fotla -- situated in modern Atholl and Gowrie
  7. Fortriu -- situated in modern Strathearn and Menteith

However there is good archaeological evidence and some written evidence that Orkney was also a Pictish kingdom.

From the 6th century AD onwards the Picts came under increasing pressure from the invasions of the Dalriadan Scots in the west and the Vikings in the east. They defeated Dalriada militarily but intermarried repeatedly with the royal house of Dalriada until in 843 AD, Kenneth Mac Alpin took the throne of a united kingdom of Scotland. Gaelic culture and Scots Gaelic gradually supplanted Pictish culture and the Pictish language.

It remains uncertain whether or not the Picts were Celts although most available placename evidence tends to support the theory that they were Brythonic Celts.

You can often tell where Pictish settlement has taken place in the past (in Scotland) from place names. Those prefixed with "Aber-", "Lhan-", "Pit-" or "Fin-" indicate the region was inhabited by Picts in the past (eg: Aberdeen, Lhanbryde, Pitmedden, Pittodrie, Findochty, etc)

See also: Kings of the Picts

External Links: Coed Celyddon (http://www.cyberscotia.com/coed-celyddon/index)



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