Picts A Celtic Tribe Essay

998 words - 4 pages

The Picts inhabited Pictavia or Pictland - Caledonia (Scotland), north of the River Forth - prior to the invasion of the Scotti (Sgaothaich) from Ireland.The name Pict first appears in a panegyric written by Eumenius in 297 AD. Although Picti is usually assumed to mean painted or tattooed (as in Latin) it may have a Celtic origin. The Goidelic Celts called the Picts Cruithne and the Brythonic Celts knew them as prydyn, whence Britain.HistoryMany archaeological remains in the form of buildings and jewelry have survived to give an impression of the society of the Picts, but little in the way of writing has survived. Pictish society seems to have comprised a number of small kingdoms which occasionally clashed.Scholars believe that Pictland comprised all of modern Scotland north of the Forth and Clyde except for Argyll. It appears that two over-kingdoms existed: one north of the Mounth with its core in Moray, the other to the south with the capital at Forteviot. Irish sources recorded that seven ancient Pictish kingdoms existed:Cait -- situated in modern Caithness and SutherlandCe -- situated in modern Mar and BuchanCircinn -- situated in modern Angus and the MearnsFib -- situated in the modern Fife and Kinross (Fife remains known to this day as 'the Kingdom of Fife')Fidach -- situated in modern Moray and RossFotla -- situated in modern Atholl and GowrieFortriu -- situated in modern Strathearn and Menteith (also known as 'Fortrenn' and as the Verturiones to the Romans)However, good archaeological evidence and some written evidence suggest that a Pictish kingdom also existed in Orkney.Christian missionaries completed the conversion of Pictland in the 7th century, having converted southern kingdoms in the 5th or 6th centuries. Although the Britons of southern Scotland and then the Northumbrian church played a part in this process, the Celtic church of Saint Columba and his successors proved the most influential in the missionary work. They established strong and enduring links between Pictland and Iona.Historians now question the idea of Pictland coming under pressure from Dalriadan invaders. No evidence exists of Dalriadan dominance in the 8th or 9th centuries. The Pictish kings Onuist mac Uurgust (fl. 729 - 761) and Caustantin mac Uurgust (fl. 789 - 820) dominated Dalriada. Onuist sacked Dunadd and captured the sons of the King of Dalriada. Caustantin put his son on the throne of Dalriada and his brother, son and nephew succeeded him as Kings of Pictland until Viking invaders defeated the Picts in 839.In the Viking age Norse invaders conquered much of northern Pictland - Caithness, Sutherland, the Western Isles and Ross. In southern Pictland, wars with the Vikings continued until the reign of Constantine mac Aeda (900 - 942/3), grandson of Kenneth mac Alpin. Constantine reigned as the first King of Alba.Pictish languageLittle definite knowledge survives of the Picts' language, Pictish, its relationships and cognates.It remains uncertain whether or...

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