Chronicles Of The Picts 

All men admit clan Gregor to be the purest branch of the ancient race of Scotland now in existence. - true descendents, in short, of the native stock of the country, and unmixed by blood with immigrants either of their own or of any other race.   About this point there is no dispute; and the name of clan Alpine, commonly adopted by them for centuries, would alone suffice to prove their descent from the Albiones, the first known inhabitants of Scotland.  
Condensed from "Clans of the Highlands of Scotland", Thomas Smibert, 1850.

                                                                                All Rights reserved
                                                                              Last updated on 12 May 2009.

List of Contents

List of Colour Plates
List of Maps

1.    Albann
2.    Ptolemy's Albann
3.   The Cruithne
2.    Ulidia, New Dal Riata, Galloway and the Isle of Man
3.    The Beaker People
4.    The Picts
5.    Life on a Pict Farm
6.    The Community Smithy
7.    Pict War Weapons
8.    Brochs
9.    Pict Cultural Effects on Other Countries
10.    The Pict Renaissance
11.  Distortion of Names
12.  Breton or Welsh?
13.  Pict Influences on Brythonic Languages
14.  Credibility
15.  Pictish Philogy
16.  Gaelic Naming Distortions
17.  Romans Invade Briton, and Romanize the Brythonic Celts
18.  Pict versus Brythonic Languages in North Britain
19.  Ogham Inscriptions
20.   Other Sources of Information
21.  The Use Of Dictionaries
22   Picts Were Multilingual
23.  The Real Names of the Pict Provinces
24.  The Imprint Of New Dalriada On Albann
25.  Christianity Brings a Sense of Purpose to  Albann - and a Deep Division
26.  Methodology of Names
27.  Pict Princess Breeding Traditions
28.  Pict Succession Traditions
29.  Pict Fostering Out Traditions
30.  Where The Only Listed Parent  Was A Woman
31.  Understanding the Term; Brud
32.  Rome Begins a 300 Year War They Could Not Win
33.  A List Of Pict Kings
34.  The Northumbrian Story
35.  Women Lose Their Equality Under The Guise Of "Protection"
36.  Regulus and the Relics of Saint Andrew
37.  The Vikings
38.  Author's Editorial
39.  The Sun Sets On Albann
40.  The End of Celtic Civilization In Britain 
41.  The Sueno Stone
42.  A Note Of Realism
43.  Index  

In memory of Leah Lorraine MacGregor, nee Evans

About the author 

Harold (Hal) Stanley MacGregor was born in Digby, Nova Scotia, and was raised in the village of Bear River (the "Switzerland" of Nova Scotia).  At 16, he joined the Canadian Army Reserve, West Nova Scotia Regiment.  At 17, he graduated from High School, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

At 26, he joined the Canadian Coast Guard, and became the Telecom Officer on the heavy Ice-breaker, CCGS Labrador.  At 46, he was the Chief of Electronic Inspection for Aerospace, Marine and Electronic Systems of the Department of Supply and Services of Canada.  At 55, he retired from the Canadian Public Service, to a farm in Lanark County in Eastern Ontario, where he raises Meat Rabbits, Highland Cattle, Goats, Pigeons, Chickens and Siberian Huskies.

Hal has written several articles on Ferrets, Wolves, Coyotes and their hybrids, the History of Scotland, the History of the Clan Gregor, and the History of the Picts He is a Director of the Lanark Landowners Association.  He has five children and nine grandchildren, all of whom live in Canada.

Hal with an affectionate goat kid

Growing Up As A Pict

The Picts were an agricultural-based rural society, much like the Celts of Europe.  They believed that nature flowed about them constantly.  As the Celts and Pre-Celts merged in north Britain, not much changed for the younger set.  New and better Iron tools and equipment were introduced, making living easier.  Their parents spoke a new modern language with, more words at the market but at home everyone still spoke the old words.   Gone were the stone, clay and bronze tools and containers. 

Horses began wearing iron cleats with iron nails to protect their hoofs.   Women had iron pots to cook with and iron eating utensils.  Iron fish-hooks were introduced that increased the yield, and the men now used iron shields, helmets and swords that were stronger and sharper than those used before.

In Albann, the boys freely roamed the woods and creeks, looking for the best fishing pools and becoming familiar with the land and forests that were their home.  I can understand that lifestyle because it was mine in rural Nova Scotia in the 1940s and 50s, where the "woods" was our backyard.  As young Pict boys investigated their local streams, so did I.  As young Pict boys grew to know the nooks and crannies of their land so did I.

Their quality of life was far healthier than that of city children in far off Europe.  Crime and drugs were unfamiliar curiosities.  Neighbourhood dogs roamed the woods unreported.  Doors were left unlocked, nothing was hidden away, and there was no need of a police presence.   Similar to my own childhood, there was no family auto, no TV, no tobacco, and no alcohol.  Oxen were familiar sights on our village streets as they were in ancient Albann.  Boys and girls did their own things, and couples married before having children.    Our community spirit was strong.  

With canoeing, hunting, fishing and other outdoors sports being most popular, our boys grew up tough, and knowledgeable about nature, and they developed an intense appreciation for all animals, both domesticated and wild.

When Pict boys became adults, they were valuable to their community as a source of knowledge and expertise of their locale.  They knew where the red cattle and deer had their young, where the eagles nested, where the wolves denned, the sources of their streams, and where the trout and salmon spawned.  They considered they were a part of the land, and were at one with nature.

I was told at an early age to refer to many people in the village as "aunt" or "uncle".  It was later in life that I discovered they were no relation to me whatsoever.  However, that was a part of the charm of living in a close-knit community.


Chronicles Of The Picts
In The Beginning
Last revised on 07 May 2009

In geologic terms, the rise of modern mankind was most affected by the connection of North and South America about 3 million years ago.  This cataclysmic event caused the present ice age where the northern half of the earth became submerged in up to a mile of solid glacial ice circumventing the north polar region from the north pole to the Mediterranean.

As ocean levels dropped, and most of the fresh water on the planet became trapped in glaciers,  much of the earth became arid.  Heavy vegetation in Africa gave way to savannas and isolated patches of trees.  Mankind adjusted by becoming scavengers and hunters, cooperating with their own kind to survive.  As food became scarce, they migrated out of Africa to find their place in other parts of the world.

About 8,000 years ago, the last worldwide glacier rapidly began to melt, bringing a wet temperate climate to northern Asia and Europe.  The first area on the planet to recover was central Asia where its great rivers sprang from the glacial highlands, and gave new life to vast regions.  The prior antiquity of the Scythians over the Egyptians proves this.

It was the move into more seasonal environments in the temperate-cold regions of Asia that forced mankind into a greater reliance on meat, especially through the winter months when plant resources would have been scarce to non-existent.   

Others, speaking a "non-Indo-European" language, entered Europe directly from North Africa, making their home in the Iberian peninsula.  These people developed into the Basques of Spain and France, and some of those ventured north into a peninsula that is now the British Isles.  Their descendants would merge with the "Beaker" people (who brought Copper & Bronze tools) and the Celts (who brought Iron making technology) to become the Picts of Albann, and the Cruithne of Hibernia.

Extensive dna testing has recently verified the connections of Norse, Germans, Italians and Celts to the Altai people of Central Asia.  “The cradle of Eurasian peoples,” Altai served as a dynamic crossroads on ancient migration routes.  Altai is the original homeland of more than thirty Turkic peoples who emigrated throughout Asia as along the branches of a huge tree.

As the ice retreated northwards, the newcomers followed it, discovering new lands where recovering flora and fauna offered hope of a better life.   Ocean levels rose as much of the world's fresh water melted, leaving the features of the earth much as they are today.

About 1500 BC, one equestrian group of hunter/gatherers split into two sub-groups, one going into the central European forests, the other going south into the Italian and Greek peninsulas, where the climate was warmer.  The northern group became the Celts and the Germans, the southern group became the Etruscans and the Greeks.  The language they spoke eventually diversified into many others; including Celtic, German, Latin and Greek.


A Dark Age Nation

This chronicle about Pict Kings, their culture, their successes, their failures and their unique succession system contains many surprises, new facts and thorough explanations that are the result of exhaustive research into every facet of Pict and related Celtic societies in ancient northern Britain.  Any serious questions and/or observations sent to me will be gratefully processed in a polite and objective fashion.

A Highland Bull, the Pre-Christian Symbol of the Picts

Albann was an empire which at one time constituted all of the British Isles, including Ireland and all the outer island chains.  Before the 6th century BC, the Ibero-Celtic traders of Tartessos, located on the northern side at the strait of Gibraltar, referred to the British Isles as Albion, which was the precursor to Albann and Alpin.


At the time of Julius Caesar's "punitive" raids in 55 and 54 BC, he reported the inhabitants decorated their bodies.  Therefore they were called Pictii by the Romans.  It is not known when their capital was first located at Scone, or whether another capital city further south existed previously.

In AD43, the Roman Emperor, Claudius, sent Narcissus, a freed slave, to northern Gaul to organize and command an invasion of Britain.  Narcissus was successful in raising four legions of 20,000 men, and several auxiliaries in Gaul, for a total of about 50,000 soldiers.  When they returned to Britain, they found Belgae Celts (Firbolgs) dominating the southern half of Britain in several petty kingdoms who were in a constant state of warfare against each other.  It was relatively easy for the astute Romans to make alliances to further their control of the entire southern half of Britain.

Due to incursions by successive waves of aggressive Celts, the Picts had been forced northwards beyond the Humber River.  At first, the Romans considered there were only two tribes of Picts, the Phocaii" in the far north, and the "Caledonii" (comprising the most powerful Pict Kingdom), who were first encountered in Northumbria, their furthest southern presence at that time. It is probable that the Caledonians the Romans encountered in Northumbria were merely scouts or war parties who were as curious of the Romans as the Romans were of them.  There are no accounts of any Roman/Caledonian battles in Northumbria so it is not likely there was a considerable permanent Pict presence there.

As Roman legions moved northwards, they pushed some Firbolgs before them, who finally settled in southern Albann, in areas, which were renamed  Alclyde, Galloway and Gododdin.  The Picts in those areas either merged within Brythonic societies or fled northwards to Albann or westwards to Ulidia.

The Gaelic Monk-authored and revised, Pictish Chronicles, listed seven Pict districts that are generally recognized to have been geographically factual.  There were also several client states.  After 84AD, these areas consisted of Irish, Brythonic, Scottish and Norse enclaves in Ulster, southern Albann, present day Argyle, Isle of Man, the Hebridies, and the Orkney & Shetland island chains.

Three Roman invasions, each comprising the largest armies in the Empire at that time, forced the Caledonians northward beyond the Firth of Forth.   Across the sea in Hibernia, Q-Celtic speaking Gaels forced the earlier Picts to concentrate in the northeast.  They were called the Uliad, and controlled a Kingdom called, Ulidia, in present day Co Down and Co. Antrim.

La Tene Celts in Europe became totally submerged in a vengeful Roman Empire from Galatia in the east to Britannia in the west.  Then, Germans poured across the northern frontier in ever increasing numbers, until Rome itself was sacked.  New barbarians from the east roamed across the Empire at will plunging Europe into a dark age of anarchy and ignorance for four hundred years.

Consequently, the extreme north of Britain became the last great stronghold of the Picts - and La Tene Celtic culture.  The seven constituent districts comprising Albann elected their local Kings from the Royal families of those districts.  The High King of Scone was recognized as the Supreme authority, and he was normally chosen from amongst the Royal family of Scone.  

The Celtic society in Gaul was described in detail by Caesar and Strabo.  They agreed on some important facets.  There was a significant division between the educated & military classes and the common people who tilled the soil and provided food.  This division was based on the reality that the educated and warrior classes were the real Celts, and the food providers were the pre-Celtic aboriginal population.

In Albann, a modified Picto/Celtic system was in place as most of the Pict Royalty bore unique Pict names (i.e. Alpin, Bladd, Blann, Brud, Drust, Galanan, Talladd, Tallorggann, Talorh, Urb and Uscombuts), or foreign names translated into Pict (i.e. Cinnidd, Kast, Nehhtonn, Onnus, Taran, Uuen, Uipid, Uurad, Uurddol and Uurgus).  This naming pattern never surfaced in any other known Celtic society.

This nomenclature would have been due to an overwhelming superiority in numbers and power on behalf of the pre-Celts, resulting in a compromise situation -  a predominantly pre-Celtic society with a LaTene-Celtic culture and technology. This statement is contrary to most theories of what the Picts were.  Most historians believe they were simply a collection of Celtic tribes, but I believe the evidence vindicates my statement. This society remained stable until 789AD, when giant Norse and Danish pagan raiders began plundering the coasts throughout the British Isles.   Also beset by Northumbrian Saxons, Strathclyde Britons and, finally, their sometimes allies, the Dalriadic Scots, the Picts were particularly vulnerable.


Ptolemy's Albann

The following tribes are described (mostly from Agricola's campaign in 88AD). Claudius Ptolemaeus was an Alexandrian geographer writing  about AD 150.  He wrote two books, Almagest and Geography.  The latter contains references to Albion, its tribes, its main features, and its latitude and longitude.  (Note all names are Latinized)

The Orkney and Shetland island chains:
The Phocaii, Latin for "People of the Seals".  A word that developed into Orca, Orkney and Orcadians.

South of the Forth:
The Votadini lived in the Lothians.  (the Welsh version was Goddodin).
Selgovae  lived in the centre between the Cheviots and the River Tweed "Hunters".
Novantae  lived in Dumfries-shire and Galloway "Vigorous people".
Damnonii lived in Ayr, Renfrewshire, Dumbarton and Lanark, and into Stirlingshire.

North and east of the Firth of Forth: 
Venicones inhabiting land north of the Forth to south of Aberdeenshire.  "Swamp or alder hounds". 
Taezali inhabiting the Gramineus region.  After the Celtic river goddess "Deva".
Vacomagi inhabiting the southern shore of the Moray Firth. "Men of the open plains".
Decantae  lived in Easter Ross and the Black Isle "noblemen".
living in Ross-shire.  These were dark-skinned people like the Silures in Wales.
Smertae living around the river Oykel in Sutherland.  Rosmerta was the Celtic "great smeared goddess".
Cornavii in Caithness the "folk of the Horn".

South-west of Caithness:
The Caereni  "sheep folk".
Carnonacae "folk of the trumpets'.
Creones "people of the rugged boundaries" spread down the north-west coast.
Epidii "Gaulish for Horse breeders" lived about the Kintyre area.

The Central highlands:
Caledonii "cunning people" from the Latin Calliditus.  They occupied the whole of the Central highlands.

Boresti lived somewhere near Mons Gramenius.  Agricola attacked them after the battle of Mons Gramenius.

Other reported tribes:
Maeatae (warriors) were referred to by Dio Cassius  in 208 AD as being  one of the most  important tribes of Britons in the north. They were actually the southernmost members of the Venicones.

The Verturiones "destroyers" from the Latin Verto.  They were referred to by Ammianus Marcellinus, in 367 AD, as one of the two most important Pictish tribes.  They reappeared later as sea raiders from Fortriu (Fortrenn) and Fife.  They were the same people as the Venicones.

The Cruithne

Cruithni means the people of designs, and is an old Irish word which at first referred to all the LaTene racio-tribal groups to come to the British Isles.  Later, it was primarily applied to the unconquered people living north of the Antonnine Wall, Ulster and Galloway.  The Cruithne of south of the Forth/Clyde frontier merged with the more numerous pre-Celtic inhabitants, and were commonly referred to by the Romans as "Caledonians, a tribe of the Picts".   The Cruithne north of the Antonnine Wall were at first, called Verturiones.

In Hibernia, the Cruithne joined a confederation in the north called the Uladh, and became part of a Kingdom called Ulidia, which lasted until the Normans from England conquered them in 1177AD.   The Cruithne of Hibernia eventually lost their P-Celtic language as a result of the natural assimilation with the more numerous Q-Celtic speaking Gaels.

Saint Columba was close to, and considerably influenced by, the Cruithne of Ulidia.  He was baptized in Ireland at Tulach-Dubhglaise, now Temple-Douglas, by a Cruithne priest named Cruithnechan (in Gaelic), (Prydennehhtonn in P-Celtic), who afterwards became his foster-father and tutor. When Columba visited King Brud Mauur in 565, he took along his two best friends, Comgall, Abbott of Bangor, and Cinnidd, Abbott of Achabo.  They were both Irish Cruithne, and spoke P-Celtic. 

Ulster, New Dal Riata, Galloway and the Isle of Man

When the first wave of Hallstatter Celts entered the British Isles, beginning about 800BC, they spoke a Q-Celtic dialect.  About 500BC, LaTene Celts, who spoke a more refined P-=Celtic, pushed those earlier Celts to the west, into their island stronghold of Hibernia.  Therefore, all of mainland Britain became P-Celtic "Brythonic" speaking and Ireland became mostly "Q-Celtic "Gaelic" speaking.

Ulidia - About 400BC, An adventurous group of Brythonic Celts ventured over to Ireland and settled in the north, and called themselves the Uladh (the fifth property).  Cruithne tribes from Albann had gone over earlier.  Around 200 BC, Ibero-Celts (Gaels) arrived in southern Ireland from the Basque region of the Iberian peninsula, and quickly expanded northwards, dominating the south.  The Uladh responded by building a wall and dyke on their southern border to mark their territory.

However, the Gaels demanded recognition of their Ard Ri (High King) as superior to the Ulidian king.  As warfare broke out, southern armies seized half of Ulidian territory, forcing the Ulad into the northeast of the island (equivalent to today's counties of Antrim and Down).  Under constant pressure from Goidelic speaking Gaels, the Ulidians developed a powerful army.  The Dal Riatan tribe was part of the confederacy that constituted the Kingdom of Ulidia, although under pressure from advancing Gaels, they acted independently and formed a colony in the remote western shore of Albann, only twelve miles across the strait, and called it New Dalriada.

The Ulidians tried to enforce their military tribute from the New Dalriadans, especially in respect to the new potent Scottish war fleet.  However, Saint Columba acted as an intermediary, and adroitly settled that problem with a compromise solution saving face for both parties, but in effect, freeing the Scots from paying further tribute to Ulidia in time of war. The Uladh and Cruithni fought their lonely battle for survival until the Normans defeated them in 1197AD.  Civil are broke out between the south and north which lasted decades.  Ironically, Elizabeth I, reconstituted old Ulster boundaries to better administer Ireland, setting the stage for a separate Ulster when southern Ireland gained its independence in 1917.

The Argyll Coast - There is real uncertainty about how Irish Scottish Dál Riata was.  In short, we don't really know... Since at least the 1970s, archaeologists have noted the contrasts between early medieval Argyll and Ireland rather than showing any archaeologically recognizable invasion or migration...  There certainly were many ancient Pict monuments and other archeological remnants that put the lie to some claims the Picts never lived there.

Ewan Campbell, an early medieval specialist at Glasgow University, has argued that the historical evidence can be dismissed as dynastic propaganda by the later Scottish kings.  He explains the well-attested prevalence of Gaelic (or Goidelic, the Irish form of the Celtic language) in early medieval Argyll as a form of language conservatism on the western seaboard rather than as evidence of population movement into the area from Ireland."  Therefore, the bulk of the population in "Dalriada" were Pict.

New Dal Riata - Two distinct tribes of Firbolg Celts who fled the Ibero-Celtic take-over in the south of Ireland, settled in Ulidian areas, the Dal Riata and the Dal Fiatach.  They both entered into an arrangement to pay the Cruithni Ulidians a yearly tribute, and to serve in their army when asked, to defend it against the encroaching Ibero-Celtic southerners.  This arrangement was still in effect in Dal Riata in northern Ulster in the mid fifth century, when some of their population were expelled over the 12 mile stretch of Irish Sea, and settled in the remote south-west of Albann (now the district of Argyle).  This mixed Scotti/Pict settlement was called "New Dal Riata" (or Dalriada), and those few settlers carried the old Ulidian tribute agreement with them.

Technically, the Dal Riatan refugees in New Dalriada had three masters; 1/  Their parent stock in old Dal Riata, with whom they had intimate family and religious ties.  2/  Ulidia, to whom they were legally forced to pay a yearly tribute, and -  3/  The High King of Albann, who they depended on to continue to grant them permission to stay and work the land in Albann.

In 559, Brud Mauur, High King of Albann, became fed up with illegal Dalriadic seizures of Pict territories, and invaded New Dalriada, killed their King, chased his rival over to Dal Riata, and killed him also.  From that time onwards, Dalriada was routinely subject only to the High King of Albann, no longer to Ulidia or to Dalriada.

As Brud was contemplating whether to expel the Scots, Saint Columba visited him.  They hit it off, and became soul friends; the future of New Dalriada became secure.  The religious ties between the Scots of New Dalriada and the Irish Kingdom of Dal Riata was gradually severed by St. Columba's thriving religious centre in Iona.  From Iona, missionaries went forth throughout mainland Britain and even Europe, converted all the Picts of Albann within a century, and eventually, the Angles of Northumbria.

In the mid 9th century, Norse settlers poured into Scottish Dal Riata and seized it.  Many Scots fled eastwards to secure areas in northeastern Albann (Moray and Aberdeen).  Scottish power shifted from west to east, and eventually integrated with the Picts, who were under constant pressure from the Norse and Danish Vikings.

Galloway - Under pressure from the Gaels, one group of Ulidians headed back eastwards across the Irish Sea, to the very south-west of Albann.  When Romans invaded southern Albann in 82AD, these "Epidi" (horse-people) decided to find a safe haven back in Ireland, and returned to live with their relatives in Ulidia, leaving Galloway sparsely populated.

In 418 AD, the collapse of Roman authority in Britain, led to Galloway becoming  settled by remnants of a Romanized Briton army, under the command of General Antonius Donatus, a son of the Roman Emperor, Maximus.  In an effort to maintain their Roman civilization, Galloway remained independent of the rest of Britain, maintaining a post-Romanized Briton regional kingdom.  Donatus's descendants held sway until 683, when the Saxons of Bernicia overran it. The Saxon dominance was later supplanted by Norse, and then Norse-Gaelic (Gall-Gaidel) between the 9th and the 11th century.  Scottish King Alexander III , invaded Galloway in 1234, bringing its independence to an end.

The Isle of Man-  The earliest traces of people on the Isle of Man can be found as far back as the Middle Stone Age.  They used small tools made of flint or bone, which have been found near the coast. Representatives of these artifacts are kept at the Manx Museum.  The Neolithic period marked the coming of knowledge of farming, better stone tools and pottery. Huge Megalithic Monuments were built around the island.  During the Bronze Age, the large communal tombs of the Megaliths were replaced with smaller burial mounds.  Bodies were put in stone lined graves along with ornamental containers.  The Bronze Age burial mounds created long lasting markers about the countryside.

The Celts brought the Iron Age to the Isles.  Large hill forts appeared on hill summits, and smaller promontory forts along the coastal cliffs, while large timber-framed roundhouses were built.  The first Celtic tribes to inhabit the Island were Brythonic.  In the early 200s AD, the Ulidians seized the Island.  In 582AD, the New Dal Riatan war fleet (with the blessings of an aged Brud Mauur on the throne of Albann) chased the Ulidians out of the Isle of Man, turning it into a Goidelic speaking area, and a part of the Albann Empire.

Vikings settled the Isle of Man at the end of the 8th century.  They established a government called a Tynewald, which still exists.  The Norse Kingdom of Mann was created in 1079.  In 1266, Norway's King Magnus VI returned the isles to Scotland.  The Isle of Man came under English control in the 14th century.  Today, The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, and is officially a Crown dependency.  In 1290 King Edward I of England seized the island from Scotland, although Scottish King Robert Bruce took it back in 1313.  There followed a confused period when Mann sometimes experienced English rule and sometimes Scottish.  About 1333, King Edward III of England granted Mann to William de Montacute, and it has remained English ever since.


The Beaker Peoples

Tools containing copper and gold inlays were being worked in the Balkans as early as 4500 BC.  However, in Britain, flint copies of copper axes were still being made two thousand years later.  The real copper axes were too valuable to be used and were at first objects of power and ritual.  Copper axes have been found in Scotland that dated to before 2000 BC and were always associated with the Beaker peoples.

During the early Bronze Age (2480 BC - 1450 BC), the European climate became drier and climatic improvement could have led to the gradual  increase in the cranial Index which occurred in northwestern Europe during the Neolithic and early Bronze Age.  Therefore, the Beaker people emerged as an environmental phenotype that can be fully derived from the general physical type of the people of Northern Europe.  The Netherlands/Rhineland region became the most widely accepted site of origin.

Most historical researchers of the Neolithic period have concluded the spread of Bronze Age technology spread from north-east to south west within Europe.  The distribution of Beakers was highest in areas of transport routes, including fording sites, river valleys and mountain passes, it was suggested that Beaker 'folk' were originally bronze traders, who subsequently settled within local cultures creating local styles.

Historical cranial studies found that the Beaker people appeared to be of a different physical type than those earlier populations in the same geographic areas. They were described as tall, heavily boned and round-headed.  Early studies on the Beakers which were based on the analysis of their skeletal remains, were craniometric.  Though the origin of the Beaker people is still disputed, these studies were in line with archeological discoveries linking Beaker culture to new farming techniques, mortuary practices, copper-working skills and other cultural innovations.

The Beaker People are often suggested as an ancestral proto-Celtic culture. The" Kurgan" theory  initially proposed that the Beakers from east central Europe became influenced by incursions of steppe tribes.  This proposition is supported by several archaeologists.  

It is acknowledged the Beakers brought an early Germanic language to the British Isles, which became the foundation of the pre-Celtic "Pict" language of North Britain and Ulidia.  This was evident in many Pict words that began with "UU" rather than "F", but sounded like an "F".  We know this by the Gaelic translations in the "revised" Pictish Chronicles of the fourteenth century, where those names are spelled with an "F".  i.e. Uurgus became Fergus, Uurddol became Ferthol, and Uurad became Ferat.


 The Picts

The aboriginals who inhabited Britain for about 8,000 years before the Celts arrived, spoke a Basque "Iberian" dialect that predated the "Indo-European" language group, and predated all other immigrants to the British Isles.  The Picts were an undetermined  mixture of the original stone-age Neolithic peoples from the Iberian peninsula + "Basques" from southwest Europe + Copper-using "Beaker" peoples from north-western Europe + Halstatter and LaTene Celts from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  The ones who settled in the far north were a resourceful people who had to be tough to survive in the sub-Arctic environment.  This toughness allowed them to thrive in a harsh environment where others floundered.

The Greeks and Romans described those peoples as tall, with long arms and legs, and pale blond or red hair.  They reminded the Romans of Germans, not Celts.  Of course the Romans, themselves were relatively short, and were quite self-conscious of it.  Almost any northerners they met were taller than themselves.  Nevertheless, their description of the "Albiones" of northern Britain as being reminiscent of Germans rather than Celts bears considerable weight. 

Their 8,000 year exposure to an insipid northern sun, resulted in a homogenous fair-skinned, Caucasian race, similar in features (but not by blood) to those of northern Scandinavian peoples.  The total population of Picts in northern Albann in the 7th century has been estimated at about 500,000.  Their relationship to the Germans was evident by their physical resemblances (reported by Tacitus), and their Germanic inability to pronounce "W"  (i.e. Even today, northern Scots pronounce Wroid as Froid).  The Germans were universally recognized as being physically larger and even more warlike than the Celts.

As it is recognized the people who were called Albiones, Orcadians, Caledonians, and finally, Picts, were a mixture of aboriginals and Celts, there would be a mixture of certain traditions of both founding races.  All period chroniclers agreed the Caledonians were different than Britons (Welsh), who were considered to be of pure Celtic stock.  There were no Brythonic myths or traditions of ethnic wars against the earlier inhabitants, so there was a relatively peaceful cultural assimilation of Britain by the Celts, indicated a blending of peoples.

The mixture that produced the Caledonians was probably something like 95% aboriginal and 5% Celt.  This would explain the considerable physical differences between them and the pure (Brythonic) Britons.  In other Celtic assimilated areas, the true Celts formed an aristocracy and ruling class.  In that capacity, they stood in the forefront of armed opposition to foreign invasions.  They bore the brunt of conflicts, and they perished in far greater numbers than did the earlier populations.  In Albann, this pattern was broken by a Pre-Celtic establishment that was in the forefront of the fighting. 

However, distinct physical characteristics, a unique dialect, and some ancient traditions of the earlier inhabitants remained within the blended societies in the north, differentiating them from the pure Brythonic kingdoms of the south.  It was this society north of the Firth of Forth that came to be known as Picts who formed the Kingdom of Albann.  They were pre-Celts who enthusiastically adopted the La Tene Celtic culture. Picts did not hesitate to form a confederation of seven provinces or petty kingdoms into one country called Albann, under one high king.  The Romans claimed to have first encountered the Caledonians in Northumbria, and it was still Caledonians who they met at the Battle of Mons Gramineus in northern Albann.  That was far too large an area to have been a purely Celtic tribe.

Celts seldom formed confederations, and never Empires, whether it was in Europe, or elsewhere.  They maintained relatively small tribal areas, even in Ireland, where they had no outside interference -- until the Vikings came.   The uniquely Celtic tribal culture of maintaining a local independence was their undoing when facing large scale invasions by masses of Romans, Anglo/Saxons, Vikings. Hanoverians or even Picts.  Adamnan wrote that Brud held an Orcadian King and several of his  children as hostages.   This practice reflected a common Celtic tradition maintained by High Kings in both Britain, Ireland and Gaul, as a means of insuring the fidelity of their subordinate kings.

Early accounts of Celts tell us of Petty Kings who were bound by a personal allegiance to an overlord, or High King.  This overlord had no authority over the lesser King's tribe, but he would help the lesser king in times of war or famine.  The inferior king gave hostages to the overlord as a guarantee of his loyalty, and both parties received in turn, services in time of war.  The Picts adopted this culture from their Celtic forebears.  The Picts were in fact a blended people who had the physical characteristics of the earlier inhabitants and most of the culture of the LaTene Celts.

It is certain the Picts were an equestrian society, as it is known the Celts took their ponies into Britain.  They loved their horses and ponies (a horse must be over 58 inches high at the shoulder).  Their ponies were (and are still called) Celtic Ponies.  They actually shrunk in size in the north as large size there was a hindrance.  Note: The first Shetland Ponies actually walked overland from Scandinavia during the last Ice Age, and never made it to the Albann mainland, as they were too small to swiftly haul chariots.

The reason the Pict's horses and cattle were relatively  small is that there were insufficient cereal crops in Albann to support a considerable number of larger sized animals.  Horse-mounted warriors were the elite of the warrior caste and had to prove their prowess in actual battle before being admitted to that caste.  Tacitus reported the Caledonians had 4,000 pony-hauled chariots at the battle of Mons Gramineus, the last war chariots to have fought any Roman army.  Tough red Highland cattle ran semi-wild in mountainous areas, where they favoured browsing on leaves, heather and twigs (like deer) rather than grazing on grass as other cattle.  They were classified as Bos Taurus, and became Albann's  national symbol.  They later became extinct but their descendants are the Scottish Highland cattle of today.   From those cattle, the Aberdeen Angus variety was developed.  

The last portion of aboriginals to submerge into the Albann mosaic were the Shetlanders.  By the 2nd century AD, there were three beset groups of Picts left in the world, one in present day County Down, in north-east Ireland, called Ulidia, one in south-west present-day Scotland called Galloway, and the largest, north of the Firth of Forth, called Albann.   All were called Cruithne by the Irish Gaels, which was Q-Celtic for Pretani. 

Several Scottish historians have stated there are no modern traces of Pict name places left in Scotland.  However, one name stands out above all others as a distinctive Pict place name.   Much of Albann was divided into small farmsteads easily identified with the toponym 'pit', which meant a share or portion of land, equivalent to the word baile in Scottish Gaelic.  Pit-names proliferate in north-eastern Scotland with approximately seven in Sutherland, seventeen in Ross-shire, ten in Inverness-shire, one in Nairnshire, twelve in Moray, fifteen in Banffshire, sixty-seven in Aberdeenshire, twenty-five in Kincardineshire, thirty-one in Angus, fifty-seven in Fife and Kinross, one in Clackmannanshire, sixty-nine in Perthshire, and three in Stirlingshire.  On the west side of Scotland, the term is exceedingly rare.

Fortified hilltops, many being of Iron Age in origin, were rebuilt and inhabited by the Picts, are mostly found in the north.  The great trivallate fortress at Burghead in Moray, built in the fourth or fifth centuries, and occupied at least for a further five hundred years, was a great Pict naval base.  Coastal sites such as Green Castle in Portknockie, on the southern shores of he Moray Firth, and Dunnottar, south of Aberdeen, were important naval defensive sites.  The biggest site is Tap o' Noth near Rhynie which was a central palace for the north-eastern Picts.  Dunkeld in Perthshire was the fortress of the Caledonians, along with Roballion, the Rath of the Caledonians, and Shieballion, the Fairy Hill of the Caledonians.  Dundurn, near the lower end of Loch Earn in Perthshire, was one of the royal fortresses of Fortriu centred on Strathearn.

Forteviot in Perthshire, where the Water of May joins the River Earn, was an unenclosed royal site which became the centre of the kings of Albann in the early ninth century.  Kast I and his brother Onnus II, ruled from there.  Apart from 'pit', another Pict toponym is 'aber', the old British term for a confluence of rivers.  Important sites such as Aberlemno, Abernethy, Aberfoyle and applecross all had Pict Royal connections.   'Dol', 'dul' and 'dal' are Pict toponyms that describe meadows, dales, and valleys.

Life On A Pict FarmA herd of Celtic Ponies

Albann was largely divided into pits or sections of land to be used to raise animals and/or grow food to enable the owner to be self sufficient.   All Celtic societies were farm-based with Albann being no exception.   Similar to today's Europe and North America, there was far more land under cultivation thousands of years ago than there is today.  There were no roads as transportation was by river or the sea.  Small agricultural communities where everyone was related was the norm.  Most people lived their entire lives, and died within a short distance of where they were born.

Horses were the Picts' passion.  They were used as workhorses when necessary but they were mostly used as a means of conveyance, and as a status symbol.  The Celts brought their Ponies over from the mainland of Europe in 800 BC, and they changed the lifestyle of everyone.

The cattle were an extinct  variety called "Bos tauros", from which the much similar Highland cattle of today were derived.  This name was eventually carried to Canada, as I remember, as a child, calling the cattle with a "HERE BOSS" (I had no idea what "BOSS" meant).  Every farmer had a brood cow to be bred in the Autumn, and the Spring foal was raised for Autumn butchering (if it was a male).  Heifers were sold to another family as a brood cow.

If a farmer's property was too small to raise cattle, he used a common wooded pasturage to raise his animals.  The exception being the newborn calf, which was too precious to chance being killed by wolves or by misadventure in an out of sight area.  Chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, falconry, and even bee-keeping all had their place.

There was little use for money as farmers often bartered their goods or services with others.  Sons and daughters all had their chores to do, much as our own Canadian farm families lived up to the recent "automobile" and "computer" ages.  The farmer's day began before dawn, and ended after dusk, when what little artificial light there was came from candles.  Similar to today's Europe and North America, there was far more land under cultivation thousands of years ago than there is today.

Clothes were made at home as was furniture and tools such as brooms and mallets.  Specialty items were hawked by travelling salesmen, whose arrival sparked great interest in potential customers.  

Pigs were penned outside but newborn calves, kids and lambs were generally nursed indoors and became the responsibility of one of the children.  The long cold winter was the major survival obstacle to overcome in Albann.

Domestic animal birthing was eagerly anticipated as it was coordinated to ensure arrival in the early Spring.  The farmer had a choice of sire from amongst the breeding bulls, bucks and boars in the neighbourhood.  Pict society developed into what we now call the Scottish clan system.  It was based on a need for self-reliance in isolated agricultural communities where survival often meant a reliance on one's neighbours. 

We often hear about back to the land movements where the hurry scurry of modern life drives some people to search for a time when life was more natural.  What we sometimes forget is that those people's life expectancy was about 30 years of age, and it was rare to see someone reach the ripe old age of 50.

The Children:
A leisurely childhood was unknown to most people except to a privileged few until relatively recently.  On the farm, both boys and girls were allotted chores which comprised an invaluable education for later on in their lives when they would have to teach their
own children how to survive.
Some responsibilities of both boys and girls would be:
Water the animals, let the cows out of their
over-nighting area, and bring them back in at night, feed them and milk them.
Help spread manure, plow the garden in the Spring, and take out the rocks.
Plant the vegetable garden, weed it, water it, and gather in the vegetables before frost.
At proper times of the year, gather mushrooms, apples, berries and other edible plants.
Mend the stone fences, separate animals that didn't get along.
Feed the chickens, gather eggs, and protect the chicks.
Gather, cut, pile firewood, and keep the winter fire going.
Regularly, fetch drinking water from the communal well.
Snare rabbits in winter; catch salmon and trout to supplement the family diet.
Help keep the home clean and in good repair.
Do sentry duty in the local broch to scan the horizon for approaching ships
In addition, girls would often assist the mother in caring for younger siblings, repair and wash clothing, and prepare meals.  If a girl was so inclined, she could join the local militia also.  All able-bodied youngsters were potential soldiers in the local militia, and could be called upon at any time by the local Chief to support the King in a never-ending series of skirmishes and battles in defence of the realm..  It was well documented that discipline within clan regiments was far more stringent than in the regular army.  They knew the land, and they knew its secrets.  Time and time again, local militias performed remarkable feats in the midst of winter where regular soldiers would have failed.  This fighting spirit and toughness was carried on into Scottish Clan regiments which became the backbone of the British Regular army from the early 1700s.

The Pict "House" Cow
The most important domestic animal in a Pict farm was the cow.  Each farmer owned a cow that was brought in every night for milking and its own security.  A cow would also provide a steady supply of milk, butter and cheese plus add to the warmth of the one room house during cold weather.  Dried cow manure flaps were utilized as fuel for the fireplace and chinking for insulation.  During the cold winter months, cows were fed a pulverized mixture of dried Mackerel and seaweed.  In exchange, many a cow kept a Pict family alive over the winter.  Cows were fitted with a piece of rag from the home tied to a horn.  In that way, the cow was easily recognizable, it smelled the scent of its owners all day, and it felt comfortable.  The cow's horns were left intact to ensure it could ward off predators.  In Pictish, a cow was "Bok"
, and in Latin it was "Bos".   After the seventh century AD, most Pick children were taught Latin in school.

The Celts invented soap, and they ensured they and their children were antiseptically clean.  This lifestyle acumen served to reduce the incidence of many minor sicknesses.  Children were washed daily in cold water.

Romans had their Communal Baths, Scandinavians had their Saunas, but
 the Celts had their Soap 

The Community Smithy 

Of all things in a Pict Community that drew young boys and old men alike together in awe of the wonders of technology of the new iron age, the Village Blacksmith shop shone above all others.  The first Ferriers were the Celts who arrived in the fourth century BC, and set up their shops in every community.  Blacksmiths demonstrated various skills in the use of hand tools, forging, restoring old farm equipment, and other needs required on the farm or at the mine site.  Soon, Picts too were learning the secrets of how to mold the metal and fashion iron tools.

The smell of the horses, as they were brought in from near and far to get shod and fitted with iron cleats for their hooves, the red hot coal dust and the bellows that drove the temperatures to extremes, watching the smithy fashion intricate tools from bars of iron, it all was enthralling to everyone.  The blacksmith shop soon became the cultural centre of every community.  The wonders of the iron age had arrived.

Everyone watched as the smithy fashioned yet another marvel of iron, and dropped it into the water tank so it would cool fast and become very hard.  Sparks flew in all directions, steam hissed and horses bolted.  Sometimes men were called to help control a bolting horse.  This was exiting!  Farmers relied on the blacksmith to shod the horses, to repair a broken ploughshare or wagon, and to fix broken metal tools and equipment.  Some of the items that a blacksmith made were: plough shares, door hinges, chains, cow bells, knives, nails, tools, horseshoes, hooks, wagon parts, pots and pans, and tools for the fireplace.

Horses needed cleats to protect the hooves as they worked the fields. The blacksmith shaped the shoe to fit the horse's hoof, rasped the hoof, then burned and nailed the shoe on the hoof.  The main tools of the blacksmith were the forge, the bellows, the hammer and the anvil. Other items in his shop included tongs, a tub for water to cool the heated metal, shears, files and grinders. 
Strong farming tools such as iron axes, picks, shovels, sickles and plough tips made land-clearing and food production faster and more efficient, allowing farmers to cultivate more diffic
ult land.  More efficient tools in all trades led to more technological advancements, the development of industry and also more leisure time.  A farmer that worked with an iron plough had more time to devote to his work, family or other pursuits.  In this way, Iron Age societies flourished with these better iron tools. 


Pict War Weapons

The Claymore (Cledd) a Celtic style of sword.  It resembled a broadsword with one major exception: it's big. Very, very big.  Often as tall as the person wielding it, the Claymore was used two-handed and rarely, if ever, to parry an opponent's strike.  A swordsman using a Claymore sought to strike the first and fatal blow.  These weapons were so valued that they were handed down from father to son for generations, and became family heirlooms with family engravings on the hilt and scabbard.

The Celtic Belly Spear -  a rather nasty variation around the general theme of 'spear'.  The head was covered in backward-pointing barbs and spikes.  In use, the spear is aimed at the vital organs not protected by a skull or rib cage, pushed in as far as it will go, and pulled out again.  The barbs often tear vital organs on the way out.

The Morningstar Flail -  (Serenbor in Pict) a weight attached to a chain or rope tipped with an iron head, decorated with curved spikes to cause impaling and tearing instead of bludgeoning damage.  Not easy to learn to use, they are equally difficult to defend against and often do terrible damage to their unlucky targets, especially potent when thrown from a speeding chariot.

 Blann  It was first called Caladfwlch, a Welsh word derived from Calad-Bolg, meaning "Hard Lightning".  An iron barbed tip for a spear.  

The Chariot -  (Cerbyd) a two pony-hauled lightweight high speed conveyance that enabled a driver and a fighter to overrun enemy positions.  The Picts were excellent horsemen, and made efficient use of these lethal weapons.  The velocity of the charioteer's spear was more than double that of a foot soldier.  4,000 chariots were recorded at the Battle of Mons Gramineus.


The Trial Marriage - With the negativity of the past thirteen hundred years in covering all things Pictish, it is rather difficult to sift through the falsehoods, and focus on the truths.  One Pict custom that everyone agrees did endure until it was made illegal by the statutes of Iona in 1616, was the "trial" marriage.

A contract was made between two fathers, and a trial marriage between a son of one and a daughter of the other took place for a year + a day.  If there was no child or if they could not get along, the marriage was proclaimed to be over.  It appears to me, that in our newer generations, where couples are living together in a "trial marriage", our young people have spontaneously reverted to this Pict institution.

Religious Symbols on National Flags - .  Following their lead, all seven countries or jurisdictions in the British Isles, plus Brittany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, the Faroes, Russia, Georgia, Greece, the Vatican, Jamaica, several of the States in the USA, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec, plus every country or jurisdiction that flies the Union Jack as part of their flag, and innumerable cities and local governments.   In addition, all Islamic countries in the world now fly the Crescent as part of their national flags.  They all owe this tradition to the Picts, who were the first in AD832. 

The Fiery Cross and Cloak of Shame - Unlike Ireland, which was relatively flat, northern Britain, with its mountainous geography, and far-flung semi-isolated communities,  needed an efficient  method of gathering its fighting men quickly in times of peril.  The answer appeared in the form of "The Cloak of Shame."   

The Cloak of Shame was a uniquely Albann pagan device which consisted of the hide of a prize Ram sheep,  marked with blood, and killed in a ceremony presided over by the Clan Chief Druid (Priest), and  sent by a runner to display throughout the Clan area as a call to arms.   These threats ranged from raids by other clans, to large scale attacks by Romans, Saxons, Irish Gaels, Vikings, and later, by English forces, and sometimes, their own kings.

Those who disregarded the summons of the "Cloak of Shame" were looked upon as traitors to the Chief and Clan, and through his power over his clan, the most horrible imprecations were called down upon their heads, often expulsion or even execution.  Old men cursed their delinquent sons, maidens despised their guilty lovers, all members of the Clan united in heaping shame and abuse upon them.  No excuse was accepted for not responding to the patriotic summons.

The first use of a fiery cross was by Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor.  It became his personal standard.  When Picts converted to Christianity in the 6th century AD, the fiery cross was added to the Cloak of Shame to signify that the call to arms was a religious as well as a patriotic duty.

The cross was a holy emblem and as such was universally viewed with awe and reverence.  A Clan was ever on the alert for fear of invasion of its territory by an enemy, especially from the fearsome heathen Vikings. Their attacks were sudden, unheralded, and accompanied by the burning of houses and villages, and the killing or abduction of the inhabitants.

Clan Gregor's secret place of rendezvous where they met at the call of the Chief was in Glen Dochart.  When an emergency arose for an imminent gathering of the Clan to resist the incursion of an enemy, the "Fiery Cross" was immediately sent by the Chief through the territories of his Clan as a signal for all the fighting men to gather at once at the rendezvous, armed for conflict.

The Cross was small enough to be easily carried in one hand and was fashioned of wood chiefly of the yew tree or hazel in the form of a Latin Cross.  The manner of procedure seemed to vary.  Sometimes the ends of the upper and two horizontal arms were set on fire and then the blaze was extinguished in the blood of a goat slain for the purpose, at other times one of the ends of the horizontal piece was burnt or burning while pieces of the pelt of the Ram stained with blood was suspended from the other end.


Often, two or more men, each with a "Fiery Cross" in hand, were dispatched by the Chief in different directions, who ran shouting the war cry "Ard Choille" (to the high woods).  As the runners became weary, the crosses were passed to others and, as each fresh bearer ran at full speed, the Clan was assembled very quickly.  To carry the cross was a matter of pride for any participant, and all young men of the clan vied for the opportunity to be a "runner".

Clan Gregor, being principally of Pict descent, and with its widely scattered forces, used the "Cloak of Shame", then the "fiery cross" more often than did any other clan.  i.e. it was recorded as being sent out by Alasdair to defend against the threatening Colquhouns in 1603.  The ceremony of dedication of a combined bloody-cloak and fiery cross, with a ritual send-off by Roderick, Chief of Clan MacAlpin, was beautifully described in Sir Walter E. Scott's renowned poem "Lady of the Lake", which was a thinly veiled transference of Clan Gregor (which was still proscribed at the printing of the poem). 

Clan Grant, a Clan Gregor cadet (offshoot), also used the fiery cross to a considerable extent, and claims to have been the last clan to have used it - in defence of its principle castle, Urquhart, which overlooks Loch Ness, and was originally a great Pict fortress under King Brud Mauur.

Beheading For those who may be skeptical about the enduring survival of Pict traditions, remember that beheading was the most shameful of deaths in Pictic ethics (not in Gaelic).  It was reserved for those who were held in utter contempt.  Alpin MacHugh  was publicly beheaded in 837AD as a retribution for attacking a Pict army on Easter Sunday.

In 1589, the Royal Forester, John Drummond, who summarily hanged two hapless MacGregors for poaching, was soon apprehended by our Clan,  and beheaded.  Oliver Cromwell's corpse was dug up by order of Charles II, hung in public, then beheaded in the Pict fashion.  As late as 1820, a James Wilson, was beheaded on Glasgow Green, for leading a protest march against the rampant starvation of the time.

Equality of Women - Pict boys and girls were treated equally, and the girls as well as the boys were expected to defend the community in times of peril.   Adamnon's wife was horrified to see Pict female soldiers using grappling hooks to tear each other apart in battle in the 7th century. 

History records that, uniquely, Pict women chose the fathers of their children from the best men available.  With World War II demanding our women assume factory jobs while there was a shortage of men on the home front, women began to realize more freedoms than in the past one thousand years.  In Canada, we had the CWACs in the army (Canadian Women Army Corps), the WRENS in the navy (Canadian Women Naval Service) and the WAFS in the air force (Canadian Women Air Force Service).  None of the Axis powers had any such services for women.  Gradually, women have gained lost ground and have become equal partners in today's "modern" society.  With the sexual revolution of the 1960s, we have revisited this facet of Pict Culture where women again determine who their mates will be.

We are just now in the 21st century beginning to emulate Pict and Celtic Societies.  The Canadian Forces recently mentioned they now have a front line female Helicopter pilot, many integrated women in our Armed Forces, and there have been two front line female soldiers killed by roadside IEDs in Afghanistan.   If any of the ancient Pict Kings (and Warrior Princesses) could look down on us today, they must be smiling.

The "Clan" Tartan - In 87 AD (before the term "Scot" had been invented), Tacitus described the Caledonians as "wearing primitive tartans".  That recorded description effectively verifies the Picts originated the tartan kilt. The ancients used local vegetable dyes to colour their tartans so the warriors of a Clan could tell in the din of battle who were their compatriots.  The availability of certain dyes determined the colours in the local kilt.  Only much later, were certain colours used to denote royalty, blood or Clan history.  Now, it appears, every province of Canada, plus any family who desires, has its unique tartan, emulating the Picts.

Cattle Calling -  If anyone doubts that we in Anglo-American societies throughout the world have inherited Pict culture, here is one that will dispel those doubts.  I have questioned people who grew up in the 1930s 40s and 50s from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia to Lanark County in Ontario, and without exception, if they called cattle home at all, they all used the common term - "HERE BOSS!".

No one I asked, knew why they used that name, and the startling fact remains - the extinct cow the Picts kept, and called in every night was - Bos Taurus in Latin.  The same cattle call Pict boys used, has been handed down generation after generation through their Scottish descendants.  With the advent of public education in Albann, (which was controlled by the Catholic clergy) every Pict boy was taught the Latin name for common items such as "bos".



Concentration of brochs shown in blueBrochs were windowless stone towers up to and above 40 feet in height.  "Broch" is a P-Celtic word, and is not in the Scottish Gaelic dictionary but it is found in the modern Welsh dictionary under "anger".

This indicates that brochs were definitely used in anger as a defensive lookout and/or as a refuge from attack.  There were separate storage spaces within the walls to support a long siege.

Over 500 are recorded, usually at prominent coastal sites with a good view of the surrounding territory.  The walls were hollow with winding stairways leading to the top.  Some of them were sited beside precipitous cliffs and were protected by large ramparts.

Carbon dating has placed Brochs in the period, 100BC to 200AD.  They include some of the most sophisticated examples of drystone architecture ever created

Unique to Albann, brochs were built throughout, especially in the northern and eastern shores, although some were located as far south as the English border area.

In Orkney, there are about a dozen on the facing shores of Eynhallow Sound, and many at the exits and entrances of the great harbour of Scapa Flow. 

In Sutherland, many brochs are placed along the sides and at the mouths of deep valleys.  In 1956, John Stewart suggested that brochs were put up by a military society to scan and alert the countryside of attack by sea.

Brochs may have been an Orkney invention, since there are far more of them in the far north, and those in the Orkney and Shetland island chains are more impressive than any others. Their presence also indicates that the natives were very concerned about "uninvited seaborne guests" as early as the first century BC.

Other "Pictish Chronicles

The first known list of Kings is known as "List One", and was found in Paris in the fourteenth century, along with a later Scottish Chronicle, and both are thought to date from the tenth century.  Where did the Irish chroniclers get their information on the Pict kings?  It has been suggested by many objective historians that the original names of the kings were written in their Pict forms.  There is a legend that the original list of Kings in the Pictish Chronicles was written truthfully by Picts and for Picts.   This is based on the fact that in at least four instances, the only parent listed was a woman.  That sort of reporting would never have been allowed to have happened in the ultra patriarchal world of Columban Monasteries, where we all believe as having revised those records into Gaelic.  The original Gaelic version was written during Kenneth's reign as Kenneth's death was not listed therein.

The pre-Celts first met Q-Celtic speaking Goidelic Celts in 800 BC, then P-Celtic speaking Brythonic Celts in 500 BC.  Therefore, the Picts spoke a peculiar variant of P-Celtic, not the Q-Celtic Gaelic the Pictish Chronicles were written in.  Those versions of the Pictish Chronicles used fake names and distorted versions of P-Celtic names, almost never the correct P-Celtic (Brythonic) names.  If an original document ever existed, it was  purposefully destroyed by either Scottish racists or Viking looters, and replaced with carelessly translated Latin/Gaelic replicas.

The extreme bias of those Gaelic Monks is apparent in some of the outrageous claims made that reflect poorly on the Picts.  For example, Kenneth MacAlpin was given a reign of 16 years when actually he reigned for 6 years.  Also, it is claimed he slew all the Pict nobles in a state dinner as revenge on his father's ignoble death.  All objective historians consider that claim to be ridiculous as there was never any independent verification nor any historical legends of it happening.  A second version surfaced in  the 1300s which spawned later versions.   They were all written in Scottish Gaelic by Monks, recluse within the sanctuary of their monasteries where they enjoyed a free reign to distort, embellish and otherwise censor those mysterious original records.  Pict names were distorted or carelessly replaced by several pseudo-Gaelic translations or with abbreviated versions of the original P-Celtic, often conflicting with each other.

The Pict Renaissance

How do we know there actually were authentic Pict language Lists of Pict Kings?  After Christianity swept through Albann beginning in 565, many Pict Druids became Monks and Priests.  Before Christianity, they kept all knowledge unto themselves in secret, but after Christianity, they embarked on a remarkable renaissance of Art and Literature, recording their history and culture in marvelously artistic ways.

The Picts' belief in the power of nature appears in the thousands of detailed designs that have survived.  Exquisite brooches and pins are swirled with enameled designs in deep reds, blues, greens, and golds.  Celtic artisans let their imaginations go wild, and the result was a beautiful mix of religious and natural motifs.  Contrary to Roman reports that the Celts had no art, magnificent Celtic art which has surfaced, has proven that they were one of the most artistic cultures the world has ever known. 

It stands to reason, one of the first records they would have recorded would have been the List of Pict Kings as far back as legends and traditions would have allowed.  Most of those priceless illuminated manuscripts were destroyed, either by rampaging Vikings or by racist Scottish monks.  Some invaluable Pict objects have surfaced in Europe where they were previously sold.

Would those records have been recorded in P-Celtic, and not Gaelic?  Most certainly.  A P-Celtic dialect was spoken by everyone in Albann, outside of the Scots of Dalriada from the 4th century AD to the late 9th century AD, a period of over 500 years.  The Pict Church had a monopoly on all Churches and Monasteries in Albann (outside of Dalriada) until King Grig Mac Dungal allowed Scottish Monks access to the Pict Church hierarchy in about 880AD, a period of 315 years.  That was plenty of time for Pict Monks to put to the pen their own history and traditions.  That none of those stories have survived lays a heavy suspicion not only on the Vikings but also on the Scottish monks who had an agenda to wipe out Pict culture.  Most certainly.  A P-Celtic dialect was spoken by everyone in Albann, outside of the Scots of Dalriada from the 4th century AD to the late 9th century AD, a period of over 500 years.  The Pict Church had a monopoly on all Churches and Monasteries in Albann (outside of Dalriada) until King Grig Mac Dungal allowed Scottish Monks access to the Pict Church hierarchy in about 880AD, a period of 315 years.  That was plenty of time for Pict Monks to put to the pen their own history and traditions.  That none of those stories have survived lays a heavy suspicion not only on the Vikings but also on the Scottish monks who had an agenda to wipe out Pict culture.

Pictish Philogy

What language did the Picts actually speak?  As early as the fourth century BC, there were Celts living in far northern Albann.  In the British Isles, it became split into at least two main branches; Q-Celtic including Goidelic as spoken by the Irish, Scottish Gaels and Manx peoples.  Then, there was the Brythonic P-Celtic spoken by Welsh, Cornish and Bretons who lived south of the Antonnine Wall.

The ancient Celtic language before the split has been referred to as Gallo-Brythonic.  The most likely scenario is that Pictish was an offshoot of both Brythonic and Gaulish but distinct from them both.  What is the evidence of this?  In place names and the King lists.

At the eastern end of the Antonnine Wall was a place called Peanfahel, which can be argued to be of Celtic structure, but remains unique, as it is both Goidelic and Brythonic.  The Pretani were thought to be one of the first Celtic tribes to have reached Britain, although later, they were associated only with the Picts.  The Cape facing Orkney is Cape Orcas, a word that is found in ancient Irish, not ancient Brythonic.  But there is no proof it was exclusively Goidelic.  The word Caledonia is not Celtic, and may be pre-Celtic.

Out of thirty-eight place names in Ptolemy's map of Albann, only sixteen are definitely Celtic, the rest being pre-Celtic, and found within the Pict heartland of Moray.  (i.e. Damnil, Alamis, Tinna, Loxa, Naneus, Itys,  Vedra, Brgita, Gadeni, Selgoua, Nouius, Abos, Otadeni, By the first century AD, there were an assortment of Celtic people living in Albann, none of which were Goidelic.

In the Pictish King list, some names are not Celtic at all, i.e. Brud, Drust, Urb - and may be pre-Celtic.  Others are definitely P-Celtic such as: Bran, Uuen, Taran, and Onnus.  Others such as Tallorggann, Uurddol, Uurad, Nehhtonn and Uurgus are Q-Celtic in structure, as they all incorporate a hard "C" or "F" sound. 

The Picts definitely spoke a "peculiar" dialect of Brythonic P-Celtic, as they never used an actual "C" or "F" to begin names.  They used the old Gaulish root "UR",  which meant man, (the Goidelic equivalent is "Fear") to form several popular names that began with the "FE" sound, such as UURAD (Ferat) a Pict version of the old Breton Uuoret, which meant refined, UURGUS (Fergus) which meant "vigorous", UURDDOL (Ferthol) , a Pict version of the Welsh, Urddol, which means "exalted", and URB, which meant "prepared".

The Picts introduced the Brythonic Celts to many words with double consonants (i.e. Boudicca), and some have endured to be popular today in English societies; such as - Cinnidd, Elliott, Tannodd, Donnell, Derrell, Connell, Terrell,  Murray, Dusticc and Innis (from the Brythonic "enez", meaning island).

One restraining problem we English speaking people have with correctly interpreting an unknown language is that we habitually Anglicize words to force them to conform to our "straight jacket" idea of what is correct.  i.e. when an ogham obviously reads TALLORH, we write it as Talorc, forgetting that we also have names in English that end in "H" such as LEAH.

Then there is the "pit" word;  Pit was a P-Celtic name which was part of the Pict vocabulary but was never used south of the Antonnine Wall.

A vindication of this explanation is contained in Nicholas Ostler's, "Empires of the World, A Language History of the World", where he wrote:
"In fact, some strange changes came over Celtic in the British Isles, as nowhere else; verb - subject - object as a basic word order, mutation of initial consonants, conjugated prepositions and strange locutions to express status and activity - - - - -  these strangenesses were really inherited from the lost previous language of the earlier inhabitants, perhaps spoken by the civilization that raised megalithic monuments.  Failing to learn the incoming language fully, they simply continued with many features of their old language."

Gaelic-speaking writers of the surviving Pictish Chronicles made little effort to portray names accurately.  Brythonic was still popularly spoken and written in Albann at the time of publication.  To get an idea of the multitude of amateurish distortions, check the following examples:
Alpin appears as Ailpein, Ailphin, Elffin, Elphin and Elpin.

Brud appears as Brath, Breidei, Bruide, Breth, Brete, Bred, Bredei, Bridiuo, Briduo, and Brude.
Buddug appears as Buthut and Muthut. Buddug was Brythonic for Boudicca, in one version, had a wife.
Carennidd appears as Caranrog, Caranthrecht, Ceraint and Geraint. 
Cinnidd appears as Cemoyd, Cemoyth, Cimoiod, Ciniath, Ciniod, Cinit, Kinat, Kinet, Kineth and Kinioc. 
Der-Lei  (smallest Oak Tree) sister of Brud II, appears as Derile and Derelei, in one version, she had a wife.
Donnell appears as Dolmech, Domnach, Domnall, Donath, Donuel, Domelch, Domech and Donald.
Drust appears as Drest, Druisten, Udrost, Wdrost and Vudrost. (The Roman inscription was Drosten).
Enbyd  appears as Enfret, Enfreth, Eanfrit, Eanfrith and Ecgfrith. (Ecgberht was the Anglo/Saxon name).
Galanan appears as Galan, Galam, Garnard, Gartnart, Garnot, Gartnait, Gartnaith, Garnet, and Guitard.
Gwortigurr (Brythonic Warlord) appears as Gurthimoth and Gurthinmoch. (Vortigern in English).
Kast appears as Castantin, Causantin, Cystennin, Constantin. Constantine and Constantini.
Lann appears as Ainfrech, Enfidaig, Entifidach and Entifidich.
Lutren appears as Cailtarni, Celtran, Gailtram, Lughtrin, Lugthreni and Lutrin.
Maelgwn (king of Gwynedd) appears as Maelchon, Mailcon and Melcon.
Munnudd (mountain) appears as Moneth, Munait and Munaith.  The old Brythonic was Menez.
Murdoc appears as Mordoloic, Muircholaich, Murtholoic and Muredach.
Nehhtonn appears as Naiton, Nechtan, Neckton, Necton, Neiton,  Nekton, Nectan, Necthon and Nwython.
Onnus appears as Hungus, Oinuist, Omuist, Onuis, Onnust, Unuist, Onnist, Onuist, Oenghus, Ougen,  and Anghus.
Tallorggann appears as Talargan, Talargen, Talorc, Talore, Talorg, Talorcan, Talorcen, Tallorcen and Talorgen.
Taran appears as Tarachin, Tarain, Tharain, Tharin and Taranis.
Tegid appears as Tarl'a, Tarla, Tang, Tadg, Tadhg and Teige.
Urb appears as Urban, Erbin, Erb, Erp, Serb and Uerd.
Uipid (Iuppiter in Latin) appears as Guid, Uid, Uipoig, Uuid, Vipoig and Wid. 
Uuen appears as
Eochaid, Eogan, Eoganan, Unen, Uven, Owen and Owain.
Uurad appears as Wrad, Wroid, Vuraget, Ferat, Feradoch, Uuredeg, Uuroid, Vurad, Vuroid, Vuredech and Wredach.
Uurddol appears as Uere, Fer, Ferither, Uthoil, Ferthol, Fochel, Vuthoil and Wthoil.
Uurgus appears as Urges, Wirguist, Wrguist, Urguist, Uurgut, Vuirguist and Vurguist.

Pict Influences on Celtic Dialects 

All modern linguists accept there are loan words from Pict in Scottish Gaelic. and to a lesser extent, even Irish.
Picts took foreign words, simplified them, and added double consonants where convenient.  Some examples:
The Gaullish word for Neptune, Neifion, became Nehhtonn
, (pronounced Nèk-ton) in Pict.
The Breton name, Uuoret, became Uurad in Pict, both pronounced Fér-at .
The Brythonic translation for "Augustus", Awst, became Onnus, pronounced,
Ônnis in Pict.
The Gaullish, Dunvel became Donnell, pronounced Don-nèl in Pict.
The Gaullish name for "wood cutter", Torrwr (pronounced Tor-rir), became Terrell, pronounced Tér-rèl in Pict.

The Brythonic name for "hunter", Cynyd, became Cinnidd, in Pict.
The Gaullish name for "of noble descent", Boned, became Bonnedd, pronounced, Bon-nèd.
The Gaullish name for "strong wolf", Conall, became Connell, pronounced, Côn-nèl.
The Gaullish name for "exciting", Drystan, became Drust, pronounced, Drèst.
The Gaullish name for "vassal", Ambicatos, became Emcat, pronounced, Em-kat.
The Anglo-Saxon word for "high king", Bretwal, became Brud, pronounced, Brèt.
The Greek historian, Diodorus, became Deoord, pronounced, Day-oord.
The Roman Emperor, Diocletian, became Duhhill,  pronounced, Dee-kill).
The Roman Emperor, Tacitus, (pronounced Takitus), became Tegid, pronounced, Té-gid.
The Catholic saint, Ciricius (pronounced Kirik-ius), became Grig, pronounced, Greeg.
The Latin name for "the father of the gods", Iuppiter, (pronounced You-pìd-er) became Uipid, pronounced, You-pid.
The Latin, Forcus (pronounced For-kus), was Uurgus, pronounced, Fer-gus.
The Nordic Thunder god, Thor, was translated literally to "with Thor", spelled Tallorggan.
The Brythonic word for Kinsfolk, Ceraint, became Carennidd in Pict.
The Gaullish word for mother was Mater.  Due to Pict influences, the Breton word is Mamm, the Welsh is Mam.
The Pict name Urb became the Welsh name Erb, the Irish name Erc, and the English name Earp.
The Pict pronunciation of the Gaulish Eqwol was Keffel, resulting in the Welsh word for horse being Ceffyl.
The Pict name Quann became the Scottish Mac Ewan.

Picts spoke their unique non-Indo-European language for millennia until the Celts came and taught them a more advanced language with new word concepts, some of which even the Romans borrowed.  For several hundred years, between about 800 BC to about 500 BC, they must have spoken a version of early Q-Celtic borrowed from those earlier Celts.  However, when the more advanced LaTene Celts arrived in 500 BC, and drove the earlier Celts westward to their sanctuary of Ireland, a new P-Celtic language would have smothered the older Celtic.  The extent of the north Britain pre-Celtic aboriginal assimilation into those early Q-Celtic speaking Celtic societies is uncertain, and no doubt temporary. 

The Picts used the Greek alphabet before they adopted the Latin version.  "S" and "C" were shunned except in instances when foreign names were adopted (i.e. Connell, Cinnidd and Cynnvar).  Fs were invariably replaced with a double U.  The Pict influence caused Brythonic Celtic to diverge considerably from Gaullish.  The Picts and their colleagues, the  Welsh, accentuated the "D" by doubling up, whereas the Gaels accentuated the "D" by adding an "H", i.e. the Gaelic; Cinneadh and the Brythonic, Cinnidd.  When a "D" was not accentuated, and actually sounded like a "T", only one "D" was used; i.e. "Brud".  The accepted extinction date of the Pict language was the late 9th century but its decay began when the Celts overwhelmed it centuries earlier.

The significance of Pict names were anchored in their legends of the past.  Ancient traditions demanded powerful names for their rulers.  They believed a powerful name would reflect favourably on its bearer.  Consequently, the Picts, above all others engaged in naming their rulers after powerful gods and mortal leaders they admired, both domestic and foreign, such as: Brigid, Lugh (Lutren) , Arthur (Art-ur), Augustus (Onnus), Jupiter (Uipid), Constantine (Kast) , Thor (Talor) and Alexander (Alasdar).  Of course, some Pict translations of those names resulted in unique names that some non-Picts did not readily recognize, even today.

By the mid 700s, Celtic versions of biblical names and Saints associated with Christianity became popular, such as Adda, Andrev, Anna, Bargott,  Berc'hed, Devi, Efa, Girig, Iago, Jakeb, Jozeb, Katell, Marc, Marged, Mari, Mazhe, Padrig, Pa-ul, Per, Steffan, Tomos and Yann.

The significance of a Pict's name was anchored in their legends of the past.  Ancient traditions demanded powerful names for their rulers.  They believed a powerful name would reflect favourably on its bearer.  Consequently, the Picts, above all others engaged in naming their rulers after powerful gods and mortal leaders they admired, both domestic and foreign, such as: Brigid, Lugh (Lutren) , Arthur (Art-ur), Augustus (Onnus), Jupiter (Uipid), Constantine (Kast) , Thor (Talor) and Alexander (Alasdar).  Of course, some Pict translations of those names resulted in unique names that some non-Picts did not readily recognize, even today.

By the mid 700s, Celtic versions of biblical names and Saints associated with Christianity became popular, such as Adda, Andrev, Anna, Bargott,  Berc'hed, Devi, Efa, Girig, Iago, Jakeb, Jozeb, Katell, Marc, Marged, Mari, Mazhe, Padrig, Pa-ul, Per, Steffan, Tomos and Yann.


The Pictish Chronicles and their contemporaries (i.e. Ulster Annals) are mostly useful when considering their phonetic value.  There is no question that in several instances, the writers of the Pictish Chronicles tried to match the phonetic sound of certain names. (albeit with Gaelic flourishes); i. e. Uurad = ferat.  Brud = bret.  Uurddol = Ferthol.  Thankfully, Latin segments occasionally listed more nearly-correct P-Celtic names.  All efforts have been made in the revised version below to reflect the original Pict/Brythonic names.  Two charts are included to simplify those instances where there may be confusion.  Three versions of the Pictish Chronicles, contemporary Annals, several examinations of those documents were studied for accuracy, similarities and verifications.  More emphasis was placed on the "A" version of the Pictish Chronicles as it is generally regarded to be the most authentic.

Any objective reader will readily ascertain upon reading these "Pictish Chronicles", that they are (similar to any state-sponsored propaganda) a mixture of fantasy and distortion, mixed with enough obvious fact as to not seem utterly ridiculous.  To sift through the fakery, one must do considerable research to understand the bias of the Gaelic authors.  There are some factual records in the Chronicles that are priceless, and some appear nowhere else.  For that reason alone, they should be treated as precious historical records, distorted and embellished with occasional fantasy based on an insane religious and racial jealousy.  

All the known histories we have of the Picts were written by their enemies, with the exceptions of a few brief inscriptions in Ogham in stone.  The following chapter is an effort to sift through the fabrications, and uncover the facts of those original documents.  It must also be taken into consideration that some names would have evolved to become more elaborate to reflect the growing sophistication of society.   To maintain authenticity, the earlier known names are maintained herein.

This table illustrates that comparing common words in families of languages, can reflect the history of those languages.  It can divulge who they had contact with.  For instance, Breton, Cornish, Welsh and Scottish Gaelic all had unique contact with earlier inhabitants of Britain.  Similarly, the Spanish and Irish had a unique contact with the Carthaginians of Iberia, and Germans had contact with Celts of the upper Danube.  Some words in English, German and many other languages are derived from Gaullish (such as booty, dad, extra, free, iron, mentor and wood).  Words that were picked up from outside a particular language group are outlined in red. 

Germanic Celtic language group Romance language group
German English Gaullish Breton Cornish Welsh Pict  Gaelic Irish Spanish French Latin
mutter mother mater mamm mam mam mam màthair mutháir madre mère mâter
vater father ater tad tad tad tad athair athair padre père pater
fraulein girl gnatha plac'h genet geneth plac cailin cailin nina fille puella
knabe boy magus paotr paotr bachgen llanc balach gasúr nino garçon puer
sohn son maponos mab mab map mab mac maqq hijo fils filius
tochter daughter inigena merc'h merk merch merc inghean inion hija fille filia
eltern parent riganto rhiant rhiant rhiant atar pàrant tuismetheoir parent parent parêns
frei free prijos rhid rhid rhydd rid saor saor libre libre liber
gut good mat mat mat mad mad math maith bueno bon bonus
seife soap sapo sapo sapo sebon sapo siabunn sopa jabón savon sapô
pferd horse marka marc'h margh ceffyl marc marc capall caball cheval equus
bürgermeister Mayor Maer Maer Maer Maer Maer ard-bhaillidh méara alcalde maire praefectus
schaukelt rock  careg karreg karrek craig maen carraig creag roca roche saxum
eiland island insel enez ynys ynys innis innis inis isla ile insula
versteh sense ciallos kompren cial pwyll ester càil ciall sentido sens sênsus
lehrer teacher mentor mestr dyskador athro atro maighistear múinteoir maestro professeur magester
sturm storm temest arnev tewedh tymestl arnev toirm stoirm tempestad tempête tempestâs
berg mountain monad menez menydh mynydd bren monadh mholadh montana


beute booty bodi bodi bodi budd esbal cobhartach creach botin butin praeda
hafen harbour calados porzh calad coleddu lloc cala caladh puerto port portus
eisarn iron isarno houarn houarn haearn runn iarunn iarann hierro fer ferrum
sommer summer samon hânv han haf han sàmradh samhradh estio été aestâs
winter winter giamon goañv goan gaeaf lakid


geimreadh invierno hiver hiems
August August Awst Eost Eost Awst Onnus Fhoghair Lunasa Agosto Août Augustus
witu wood vidu guiden guiden guid coill fiodh fid bosque bois lignum

The study of the now-extinct Pictish language is riddled with contradictions and controversy.  Long-standing theories have been tossed aside.  It was first believed to be unrelated to early Celtic but now scholars are rethinking that premise.  "Indo-European" refers to an inter-related language group that is found in a swath from Europe through the middle east to northern India, including Sanskrit.  It does not mean a non-Indo-European language did not originate in Europe, merely being outside the above-mentioned group, probably due to being an earlier (aboriginal) group.

The most plausible explanation is that ancient Pictish was spoken by the same peoples who spoke varieties of Basque, as both are outside the main grouping, and no one rejects the theory that the British Isles were originally populated by people from the ancient Basque regions of northern Spain and south-western France.

Breton or Welsh?

The Breton language was developed between 500BC and 400AD, in southern Britain, when LaTene Celts, who spoke a refined Gaullish, merged with the pre-Celtic inhabitants.  The resultant hybrid dialect possessed some of the characteristics of both parent languages.  Welsh was a progeny of old Breton that developed over the next 2,000 years.  Modern Welsh was revised to accommodate English influences.

The "Picts" (merged Pre-Celts and Celtic arrivals)  would have spoken a dialect very similar to old Breton, that is the Breton that was not yet influenced by French.  An example of word development:  Hair in Breton was BLEV.  In modern Welsh, hair is BLEWYN.  The "V" sound was replaced with a "W" or "OO" sound (under the influence of English).  A "hairy" Pict would have been called "BLEVOG", not "BLEWOG".

Gaelic Naming Distortions

The Gaelic distortion:  The List of Kings begins with:  "In the beginning of time, there was a Pict king named Cruidne, son of Cinge, father of the Picts living in this island, ruled for 100 years.  He had seven sons.  These are their names: Fib, Fotla, Fortrenn, Caitt, Ce, Circinn and Fidach"

Note: These names were actually abbreviated Gaelic versions of the seven districts of Albann.  All these  names start with an "F" or a "C", thus being foreign terms.  This strongly indicates they would never have been used by the Picts or Brythonic Celts before 848.  To determine the true  names, it is necessary to identify the meaning of the Gaelic term, and then, substitute the Breton equivalent.  Breton is in most cases more authentic than is Welsh in correctly identifying the original Pict/Brythonic versions of names.

Cinge was a Gaelic translation of Pign, (to ascend).   Caitt  was an abbreviation for Caithness, a Gaelic translation for the Breton, Kazh (place of the cat).   Fib was an attempt at a Gaelic translation for Uuynnid (Pine Tree).  Fotla was derived from Alfodla, the old form for Athole, which in turn was taken from the name of one of the Irish mythological triune sister goddesses, (Éire, Banba and Fotla), hardly a Pict name since these seven districts predated the Gaels arrival in Ireland.  Circinn was taken from Maghcircin, the old Gaelic form of Mearns, P-Celtic is Hyddtir .  Ce was an abbreviation for the Gaelic, Ceann, "Head land", (P-Celtic is Penntir).  Fortrenn comes from the Gaelic, For + treun, meaning "super brave" or in this case, "Land of the Brave", P-Celtic is Ardewr.   Fidach comes from old Gaelic, Fiadhach, Land of the Deer", P-Celtic is Hyddtir.   

Pict Versus Brythonic Languages in North Britain

The Celts were a group of people loosely tied by similar language, religion, and cultural expression. They were never centrally governed, and were quite as happy to fight each other as any non-Celt.  They were warriors, living for the glories of battle and plunder.  

Hallstatter and LaTene Celts crossed over into Britain between 800 - 200 BC.  They brought the Iron age to Britain, and spread right up into Albann, and over to Ulster.  Previous languages were assimilated as the Celts spread.  The Pre-Celts called them Dugals and the Gaelic-speaking Irish called them Cruithne.

By 1AD, mainland Britain was totally Brythonic speaking.  However, it is strongly indicated by early archeological data that a non-Celtic Pictish language still flourished in remote areas well after the 1st century AD, especially in the Pict-controlled north.   Place names and personal names of people associated with Pict strongholds at that time, showed a mixture of Celtic and non-Celtic elements (blended names).

Surprisingly, Pict names have appeared in stones, most written in the Ogham alphabet dated in the 8th and 9th centuries.  It has always been normal in areas of the world where conquerors have overrun a country, that previous inhabitants spoke and  maintained the old language in the comfort and security of their homes.

By 300, the previous Neolithic Basque dialect was generally assimilated out to the Shetland islands, leaving merely Pict eccentricities in the northern Brythonic language, making it unique among Celtic language groups.  Of course, in remote rural areas, people still spoke the old language at home, and when they did speak Celt, it was with a Pict accent, and they still have it in places like Buchan.

Therefore, even when  Picts were known as Caledonians, in 80 AD, and were heading efforts to throw back the technologically advanced Roman armies, they generally spoke a unique dialect of Brythonic Celt - but there were always a few who had difficulty with it.  However, the decay of the old language began when the Celts overwhelmed it centuries earlier.

A person is likely to ask where did this tendency to double up on consonants begin?  Studying early Gaullish names and phrases, it appears Gaullish Celts did not double up nearly as much as did Brythonic Celts.  This leaves us with the distinct probability that doubling up of consonants was a trait of earlier inhabitants of Britain (Picts), and they impressed it onto the incoming Celts from Europe, simply by association. i.e. Neifion became Neiton, and then became Nehhtonn.

A check of early Breton, will show that they possessed several words with a doubling of "N".   This was probably due to their 700 year affiliation with, and absorption of, the Picts of southern Britain, before they fled from the Anglo/Saxons over the Channel to Roman controlled Gaul.

The effect of Pict on the northern Brythonic language, resulted in a "peculiar" variant of Celtic, survived today by Welsh, and numerous words adopted by Scottish Gaelic, and to a lesser extent, Cornish and Breton, even modern Irish.


An accurate source of Pict names is a small assortment of stone inscriptions which are mostly written in the Ogham alphabet.  They have been scientifically dated to the 8th and 9th centuries.  The printing is in Pictish so words other than recognized names are unintelligible.

Consonants    Vowels

Stone Inscription Verifications Reference Author Linguistic  Inspiration
EDDARRNONN Actual history + Ulster Annals Ithernan Pict  Pict
NEHHTONN Various Pict King Lists Neptune Pict Roman
DROSTAN Various Pict King Lists Drust Roman Brythonic
TALLORH  Various Pict King Lists Talorc Pict Pict
UORET Various Pict King Lists Uuoret Roman Brythonic (Breton)
FORCUS Various Pict King Lists Uurgus Roman Pict

Other inscriptions are unintelligible, leaving us frustrated at the unknown.  The common use of foreign terms in those inscriptions such as the Latin filius is completely routine in historical manuscripts of all languages.

The originating author of a particular inscription is also important - to determine the correct spelling.  If the author was a Pict, he would have spelled it correctly.  If the author was of any other culture, he would probably have spelled it the way it sounded phonetically (and possibly add the embellishments of his own culture).

Tacitus wrote about "Calgacus", the Battle Commander of the Caledonians at the Battle of Mons Gramenius in 84.  This was an obvious Latinized version of a Pict name.  Some learned people think his real name was Gilgid, others think it was Girom or Galanan.  (I think Galanan is the best fit).  We may never know for certain, unless by some stroke of luck,  we come across a stone inscription with the name of the real leader on it someday.

One valuable example is "Nehhtonn son of Tallorh"  found in Aboyne. That particular Nehhtonn did not have a recorded father in the Pictish Chronicles.  "EDDARRNONN" is in several Pict inscriptions.  This name is verified  by the existence of a Bishop Ethernan of Rathlin (in Ulster), and with the entry of "Ithernan" in the Irish Annals in 669.  This is not a Celtic name, so he was definitely a Pict.

Lunnasting stone with Ogham inscription
The Lunnasting Stone

A valuable example is "NEHHTONN", inscribed in the Lunnasting stone, found in the Shetland Islands.  This entry corresponds to several manuscript entries of King Nechton, and is derived from the Roman sea god - Neptune, although with a uniquely Pict obsession with doubling up on consonants - from the Brythonic version, Neiton.

It appears the Picts took the Brythonic version of names and modified them, first by eliminating minor vowels where there were more than one (i.e. N-ei-ton), and then doubling up on as many consonants as possible, in this case the last "N" and the introduction of a double "H" to replace the "k" sound of the heavy "Neght" portion of the name.

These peculiarities of Pict names probably arose from them modifying words to make them sound phonetically similar to how they said it.  And that no doubt was a result of the lingering linguistic effects (accents) of their previous language, which some probably still spoke at home..

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION    (Early historical writers)

Bede-   He was an early 8th century Northumbrian historian who wrote about north Britain.  He mentioned that a place at the eastern end of he Antonnine Wall was called Peanfahel in the Pict language.  Although, upon examination, it appears it is a blend of the P-Celtic, Penn (head end) with the Gaelic, fal (wall).  Of course, by the 4th century, all Picts spoke fluent P-Celtic and to a lesser extent, Gaelic.

Adamnan- He was an 8th century Irish biographer who wrote about the 7th century, his most renowned publication being "The Life of Columba".  He mentioned a person who lived in Albann by the name of "Emcat". It was derived from the Gaullish, Ambicatos, meaning "vassal".  The Irish equivalent being, Imcath.  The name was likely to have been a north Brythonic version of the  Gaullish original.

The son of this man was supposedly named "Uirolec", which appears to have an old Gaullish construction, similar to iolar, meaning "eagle".

Adamnan wrote that Froichan was foster father of King Brud Mauur, and his personal Druid.  Froichan is the Q-Celtic phonetic equivalent of the P-Celtic, Brychan, meaning freckles.  This name would have been applied to someone born with freckles.  The Irish equivalent is Bricin, and is pronounced similar to the Welsh version.  This is a good example of how we can go off in a wrong direction when a mere phonetic equivalent is applied to another language.  Froichan, by itself is meaningless, and does not appear in any dictionary anywhere.  We have to go back to the language of the original word to find its true meaning.  A man specifically identified by Adamnan as a Pict was Logenan, which may have in reality been Logodenn, meaning "mouse" in both Breton and Welsh.  Another Pict was listed as Artbranan, which clearly means "the Bear-Raven" in Welsh.

The Annals of Ulster identified "Tolarggan" as a Pict; Some value has to be allotted to this entry, as it is definitely not a Gaelicized  attempt at a Pict name.  The doubling of the "gg" indicates it is authentically Pict.  The listing of Talog, and the omission of any word beginning with, Tolag, in the Welsh dictionary strongly indicates the correct root spelling is Talorg.    The Picts always used a "U" to make the "E" or "I" sounds.  If the sound of the last part of the name had been gen, it would have been spelled gun.  The entry in the Annals of Ulster, strongly indicates the final section of the name was gan, leaving the actual word as Tallorggann, given the Pict penchant for doubling up on middle-of-the-word and ending consonants.


The Pict name for hunter, became known due to a placement in a Welsh dictionary as Cynydd, an obvious Pict word.  Since the Welsh replaced the "I" with "Y" in most of their words, the correct spelling in Pict was CINNIDD, which was adopted by the Scots as Cinneadh, and was later Anglicized to Kenneth.

Some of these "extinct" Pict words can be extricated from modern Welsh and Scottish Gaelic (the only languages that came into prolonged contact with the Picts and borrowed from them) by comparing them to other related Celtic languages that did not have such extensive contact with Picts  (i.e. Irish, Cornish and Breton).  i.e. "Strength" in the modern Welsh dictionary is: cryfder and nerth.  Strength in the modern Irish dictionary is: neart, treise and cumhacht.

However, in the modern Scottish Gaelic dictionary, strength is: neart, spionnadh, treine, treise, marsainn, lugh, treoir, cumhachd, gramalas, dion, tearmann, dun, daighneach, and armailt.  After subtracting the Irish and Welsh words that are similar from the Scottish Gaelic, we are left with: spionnadh, marsainn, lugh, gramalas, dion, and daighneach.  These are words the Scots came up with after leaving their Irish roots and Welsh or Anglo/Saxon affinities behind.  Where did they get them?  Probably, they got some of them from the majority Picts.


The proven fact that Picts spoke at least three languages after the advent of Christianity, strongly indicates they were not an ignorant people.  The entire educational and religious system of Albann was administered by the Pict church hierarchy putting special emphasis on Latin.  The Pict Chronicles were written in a bilingual format, the Latin column being far more polished than the Gaelic part.

They also spoke (and were taught)  the language of the government which was Brythonic.   In addition, it has been proven that at least some pockets of Pict language use were maintained until the 9th century.  In the period of Scottic assimilation, beginning about 700, there were actually four languages spoken by a people we tend to dismiss today as backward; The Latin taught in schools, the Brythonic Celt spoken in the community at large (since 1AD), the Q-Celtic Gaelic spoken by the ever increasingly influential Scots, and at home, the Pict language of their ancestors.

Some kings were named in the Pict tradition, not the Brythonic,  i.e. Nehhtonn versus Neiton,  Runn versus Rhudd, Lutren versus Lughtin, and Girom rather than Gyrwynt.  The Picts had a special use for a double HH.  They used it to replace a hard C, a K or a CH sound in the middle of a word. 

This unique peculiarity had to have been a Pict language trait.  It does not surface in any known Breton personal or place names, except in the case of names with double NN in the middle of the word.

In modern Welsh, there is an abundance of  FFs, LLs and DDs, but no HHs.  This peculiarity is more likely to be attributed to the influence of the Picts than it is for the Picts to have been influenced by the north Britons (the Welsh forebears).

The Welsh have replaced the "U", "UU" and "V" of old Brythonic in most instances with a "W", effectively making it even more unique (compared to other Celtic languages).

Romans Invade Britain, and Romanize the Brythonic Celts

When Gaius Julius Caesar raided southern Briton in two punitive raids in  55 and 54 BC, the Picts learned of it.  Their world was changing.  They sent emissaries to Londinium to study the Romans and determine the threat.  (This was recorded by Julius Caesar).

They reported back that the Roman Legions consisted of  Celts and Germans from Europe, Carthaginians from Africa, and Persians from Asia.  Those auxiliary forces were used as shock troops because they were expendable.  The Roman citizen soldiers merely mopped up the fugitives after the battles.

They raped, pillaged and destroyed wherever they went.  If Roman officers were not satisfied with the efforts of their soldiers, they would have every tenth soldier ceremonially beaten to death by their comrades.

Afterwards, there was nothing left but burned buildings, obliterated crops and dead bodies.  Whatever these Roman soldiers wanted, they stole with the blessings of their officers. Those Britons who survived the holocaust were carefully shipped back to Rome to be put to death in huge arenas  to appease Roman gods.  The entire resources of the land were stripped and carried off to Rome.

With their vast numbers, superb training and strict discipline, they were invincible.  Nothing could stop them. Then the Romans left as quickly as they had come..

The emissaries were called Caledonians by the Romans.  They followed Caesar to Rome and continued sending back information.  Ten years later, Caesar was assassinated by his own people on the steps of the Senate.  The threat was deemed to have ended.

However, the Romans returned 130 years later in 43AD, under a new leader, and this time they intended to stay.   As their Gaullish legions swept inland, the Caledonians sent spies who watched the threat grow.  After 71AD, the world changed fast for these northern Picts.  That was the year the Romans reached York and sent scouts north to reconnoiter.  The Romans would stay in "Pretania" for 367 years, leaving it at the mercy of  Germanic hordes from northern Europe, who were fleeing from the scourge of Attila and his Huns.

The insular society in North Britain was about to change for the worst.  The seven regional Kings met in council and decided a High King would be selected to lead a combined army to defend their territory from the foreigners.  Their cousins in the south had been obliterated, This would be their last stand.  The offshore island groups of Orkney and Shetland were too small to support any sizeable population.  They had no where else to go.

The first high-King of Albann was selected by a huge assembly of Druids (intellectuals) in the old ways at Scone in AD75. Galanan (Calgacus in Latin) was elected High-King, and was enthroned on Moot Hill while seated on the Stone of Scone.  Tacitus wrote that he was a great warrior descended from an ancient line of Kings.

Tacitus had no idea how ancient this culture was.  These people lived out their lives comfortably in an agricultural society on the edge of the world.  They had developed farming apart from any foreign influence, and had a line of Kings going back at least three thousand years, - when the Romans, Greeks and Gauls were one people, and were hunter-gatherers.

Galanan united all the tribes and petty kings to form a defence against these Romans.  Tacitus wrote that Pict chariots were hauled by ponies, and were accompanied by masses of Celtic (Briton) infantry, so Galanan was successful in rousing all the various people of northern Briton to his cause.

He fought several battles in the open and lost, then a series of guerrilla raids, which were highly successful.  The Romans were getting weaker, and he met them at Mons Gramineus for a final battle for survival.  Tacitus reported the Caledonians lost that one too but they returned to their favourite tactic, endless hit and run raids that demoralized and weakened the enemy.

The most formidable weapon the Celts possessed was the war chariot.

It was a lightweight vehicle pulled by two small horses (ponies).  Caesar wrote: "They have become so efficient that even on steep slopes, they can control their horses at a full gallop, check and turn in a moment, run along the pole, stand on the yoke and get back to the chariot with incredible speed." 

Tacitus reported the Caledonians had 4,000 war chariots at Mons Gramineus.   This was the last time that war chariots were used to fight Roman soldiers in a set battle. Their tough Celtic ponies were an ideal reliable, low-maintenance horse that did not panic in tough situations.  They were utilized successfully by Picts and Scots alike to draw chariots, and then as cavalry mounts up to, and including the battle of Bannockburn.

Tacitus did not mention Calgacus again in his memoirs, so it is not known for sure  whether he was killed or managed to escape after that great battle.  Probably Tacitus simply did not know but the absence of any mention of the death of Calgacus indicates he did survive.   Afterwards, the Romans built hundreds of forts but no settlements in Albann.  The Picts ruled the night.

Tradition tells us that: the mother of Galanan was a descendant of the sister of Prydenn,  the first late Iron Age King of Scone, whose mother was a descendant of the sister of Tarvos, the first King of Tara, whose mother was a descendant of the sister of Brud, the first King of Aberffaw.

His mother was the sister of Ogmios, the last Bronze Age King of Britain, whose mother was a descendant of Andate, the sister/wife of Ampher, who was Britain's first Bronze Age King.

According to the Greek classic, Plato: Ampher and his sister/wife, Andate, were the son and daughter of the Greek sea-god Poseidon (equivalent to the Roman deity, Neptune), the Brythonic translation being Neiton, and Pict translation; Nehhtonn.

Note:  The storyline above is accurate and can be verified by various historical records; i.e. No 1.  "The original inhabitants were Picts, evidence of whose occupation still exists in numerous "weems" or underground houses, chambered mounds, barrows or burial mounds, "brochs" or round towers, and stone circles and standing stones.  The Romans followed the Greeks, became aware of, and probably circumnavigated, the Orkney Islands, which they called "Orcades". There is evidence that they traded, either directly or indirectly, with the inhabitants. However, they made no attempt to occupy the islands"
i.e. No 2.  It was recorded that the Caledonians had emissaries in Rome during the Julius Caesar epoch..
i.e. No 3.  Recent archeological excavations in Britain have ascertained that agriculture there was not imported but had developed quite  independently.
i.e. No 4.  It was recorded in Roman chronicles that the "Orcadians" sent emissaries to Claudius in 43 AD as he was conquering southern Britain. 

The Naming of the Pictish Provinces

The first Celts to reach Britain came about 800BC.  They were Q-Celtic speaking early Halstatters from northern Austria.  They mixed with the pre-Celts, and gave their names to every corner of the British Isles.  They introduced iron technology to the previous ones, and their superior technology spread like wildfire.  The names of the seven provinces of Albann would have become authentically "Gaelic" or Q-Celtic.

While these people were settling down and making the British Isles their own, changes were occurring in the homelands of the continental Celts.  By about 500 BC, in their ancient homelands, Celts had replaced much of their guttural Q or hard "C" names with lip movement "P" and "B" names. So had their southern cousins, the Greeks, but their Italian cousins, the Latin speakers had stubbornly retained their guttural hard "C" language.

i.e. Horse in  Latin, remained the 1500 BC universal name, EQUUS.  However, by 500 BC,  it had changed from EQUOS to EPONOS in Celtic, while in Greece, it had changed to IPPOS.  Meanwhile, in Hibernia and Britain, Q-Celtic reigned supreme for three hundred years, and had developed a time warp where P- Celtic was unheard of.  That all changed suddenly about 500 BC, when LaTene P-Celtic speaking more technologically advanced Celts arrived in south Britain. 

The Germanic subject peoples who lived north of the Celts, revolted about 400BC, and drove many of the Celts out of southern Germany.  A mass Celtic outwards migration began which overwhelmed Britain, western Europe, southern Europe and even Persia.  Alexander the Great sought alliances with these new northerners, and they eventually sacked Rome and Athens.  Vast Celtic armies became mercenaries for foreigners, including Romans, Greeks, and Persians.

In the British Isles, the earlier Gaelic speaking Celts, retreated to their island sanctuary in Hibernia, while The British mainland became entirely P-Celtic speaking. The seven Albann provinces were given new Brythonic names.

The Names Of The Provinces Of Albann

Seven was a symbolic number in Pict tradition.  That number retains its significance today as "lucky seven".  Albann was divided into seven provinces, each with a petty King, later becoming Mormaers.  They were first given Pict names, later, Brythonic names.

These provinces/districts would have originally been allotted pre-Celtic names.  It is highly likely their, names would have been translated from the pre-Celtic to Q-Celtic, then Brythonic between 800 and 500 BC.

To revive those valid ancient names, one must reflect on the fake Gaelic names and somehow correlate them with whatever names they actually went by.  The most probable connection may have been in the phonetic pronunciation in the case of the ones that started with the "F" sound.  In the others, the "C" would not have been used by the Picts or P-Celts unless it was borrowed from another language.

Brythonic Celts seldom began a person's name with a "C" or an "F".  In P-Celtic, these sounds would have originally started with "P",  "B"  "Gw" ( or "Uu" as in old Breton and Pict). i.e.  Cruidne is Gaelic for the Brythonic, Pryden.  Mac is Gaelic for the Brythonic, map.  The extreme north of mainland Britain was reputed to be the last range of the Eurasian sabre-toothed tiger, or of one of its descendants, or perhaps a relatively large subspecies of European Lynx.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the P-Celtic name for this vast sub-arctic region was "Kazh" (Gaulish and Breton for Cat). 

The only district that appears to have retained its original name in local folklore is "Caithness".  Caith is Gaelic for Cat, Ness is old Norwegian for place.  So, it appears that the land of the "Caitt" was the traditional name (that did not change in context) for that area.

The proposed seven Pict provinces are listed in the following syntax: P-Celtic/Pict [Gaelic translation] (English) modern designation:
Uuynnid [Fib] (land of Pine trees) Fife and Fortriu,
Pobla [Fotla] (populous land) Atholl and Gowrie,
Ardewr  [Fortrenn] (Land of the Brave) Strathearn and Menteith,
Kazh [Caitt] (Land of the cat) Caithness,
Penntir [Ceann] (Headland) Mar and Buchan,
Prydenn  [Circinn] (Land of Britons) Angus and Mearns,
Hyddtir [Fidach] (Land of the Deer) Moray and Ross.

The map above is an interpretation of what Albann might have been like when its seven districts were given Brythonic names about 500BC.
Note: Alclyde was the former name of Strathclyde.  Historical records confirm that Fortriu (later Fortrenn), was the homeland of the Latin-designated, Verturiones and the Dicalydones, (Caledonians) was the most powerful kingdom of the Pict confederacy.   The Maeatae was the Pict tribe living immediately north of the Clyde and Firth of Forth.

 The Imprint of New" Dalriada on Albann

The Scotti came over from Ulster to the south-western portion of Albann and established a new Dalriada late in historical terms.  Several Scottish historians claim that part of Argyle was never a part of Pict, Albann, but there are several Pict monuments throughout Argyle that decry that ridiculous statement.

During their early years, the Scots were militarily weak.  They, similar to their parent state, old Dalriada in Ireland, were a vassal state of Ulidia, the remaining Pict enclave in Ireland.  The  yearly taxes they paid to Ulidia amounted to 7 shields, 7 horses, 7 hounds and 7 bondsmen.  They were also bound to enter the military service of Ulidia in times of emergency.

It was only by the deft negotiations of St. Columba that the Scottish Dalriadic war fleet became exempt from Uliadic military service in 575. The future of Dalriada as a missionary learning centre for the conversion of the Picts of Albann was ensured.  The Scottish settlers in new Dalriada, like their old Dalriadic people, were heavily mixed with the Picts of Ulidia.

In the words of Reginald B. Hale of Ottawa, in his "The Magnificent Gael":
"Gaelic became a written language thanks to the (Columban) Monks, and it was the vehicle of teaching in the monastic schools throughout Albann.  Thus it became the accepted tongue of educated men, and the Pict dialects faded away.  North of the Firths of Forth and Clyde, the Picts and Scots, united by a common faith, a common speech, and increasingly by intermarriage, began to merge into one people.  The process was gradual but irreversible."

Contrary to some published records, Columba was not unfriendly towards the Picts.   There are many true stories of his kindness towards Pict citizens, both Christian and pagan.  He spent the greatest part of his life in a Pict dominated society, preaching to them and converting them as never before.

According to the Scottish Chronicles, the first "king" of Dalriada was a fellow named Erc, an obvious Gaelic translation of the common Pict Royal name, Urb.  He is listed as the first King of Dalriada in 474.  In those days, the title "king' was loosely applied to anyone who could assume the loyalty of a small community, similar to the title of "mayor" today.    His three brothers were Fergus, Oengus and Loarn.  The Scots did not cooperate with each other, and had an unhealthy attitude towards others.  After Fergus's death in 697, his two sons fought it out for succession, and the loser had his throat cut.

From the beginning, the Scots of Dalriada became first a curiosity, then a thorn to the Picts.  Time and time again, they were humiliated, devastated, burned out or annexed by the Picts of Albann, Britons of Strathclyde or the Anglo/Saxons of Lothian, usually as a result of outrageous provocations by the Scots.

In 736, Onnus, the Pict king, made a desert of Dalriada and called it peace, much as the Romans had done seven centuries before, and the Vikings were to repeat in one hundred years, and the Hanoverians were to do again in 1000 years.  Today, there are mere charred remains of many of the original homes of these unique and proud Scots, a reminder of the cruel genocidal "clearances" of the early 19th century.  

What has not been mentioned in any Scottish record is that those four names were obviously of Pict origin, not Scot or Irish.  Erc was the recognized Gaelic translation of the earlier Pict Urb (meaning  genuine in P-Celtic). Erc, on the other hand, is not even included in the Irish or Gaelic dictionaries.  In their earlier Pict form, the three sons were actually: Uurgus, Llann and Onnus.  Fergus was the Gaelic translation of the Pict, Uurgus, (meaning 'vigorous' in P-Celtic).  Loarn was a translation of the Pict, Llann, (meaning 'handsome' in P-Celtic).  Oengus was a translation of the Pict, Onnus, (meaning 'trustworthy' in P-Celtic).

To prove this statement; Today, "Erc" is an unknown name anywhere, although "Erb and Earp" are fairly common, not only in Scotland, but in the USA and Canada..   Since all these founders of Dalriada had Pict names, it is reasonable to assume at least their mother was Pict, as mothers usually named the children - (and still do).

The population of Ireland throughout the centuries after 1AD was consistently about eight times the total population of 
northern Britain (today's Scotland).  This huge disparity meant there were eight million people in Ireland when there were only one million in north Britain north of Hadrian's Wall.  This allowed Dalriada to expand as there was always a ready supply of  immigrants.

As new Dalriada grew, they came into conflict with the Picts.  The Picts won almost every battle and first annexed Dalriada to Albann in 559.  The Scots of Dalriada were not comfortable being ruled by the Picts, so they waged continuous rebellions against their Pict overlords every time the Picts suffered any defeat fighting other more powerful enemies; i.e. Britons, Anglo/Saxons, Vikings.

When military means did not work, the Scots began infiltrating the Pict Royal families by intermarriages.  Several sons of Dalriadic sub-kings attained the throne of Albann, but they all acted in the best interests of the Pict people, probably because the Picts were in such a superior military condition.  Any anti-Pict pogrom of the High King would have met with a ferocious response.

It was only after the horrendous devastation to the Picts by the incessant raids by the Norse and Danish Vikings after 820, that the Picts finally sought genuine unity with the Scots.  This was borne of necessity as their combined enemies (the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and later the Normans) treated them with disdain, and sought to exterminate them.  It was simply a question of unite or perish.

After the death of Onnus Mauur in 761, a succession of weak kings resulted in the Southern Picts losing control of the Northern Picts, encompassing  three of the seven Pict districts, leaving them even more susceptible to Scottic influences.

The Picts had no cohesive arrangement with the Scots to retain their language or culture, as did the Lothians in 970.  The process of assimilation was accomplished over several generations through restrictive laws and government policies aimed at ensuring Gaelic and the Scottic Party were paramount.

The Picts responded by reorganizing their society into Clanns in the Scottish mode.  This gave them local protection against a predatory central authority.  Some Pict Clanns actually rose to dizzying heights of power (i.e. the Douglases and Murrays) and challenged the High King's authority.  Invariably, such irrational gestures were ultimately met with harsh reprisals, and severe punishments. 

Pockets of cultural resistance held out in the fringes of geography and society.  Even today, in the Orkney islands, the relic population of Picts there still consider the Scottish culture foreign, and treat it with disdain.

The fact is -  The Vikings wrecked the Pict church and culture but the amalgamation with the Scots killed it.  The result was the absolute and irreversible extinction of an entire society and culture.  It was not due to a vindictive Scottish monarchy, it was due to survival of the fittest in a period of anarchy.

The Albann empire quickly shrunk to become a shadow of its glory days before the advent of the Celts.  The Scots helped maintain its existence, and in the process, merged with the previous Pict culture, eventually overwhelming it.  Part of the reason was the inexhaustible supply of Scottic immigrants streaming in from Ireland, as it too was being subjected to Viking incursions.

Scottish Gaelic today encompasses many Pict words which are not present in Irish Gaelic.  There are still many people in parts of northern Scotland, the heartland of Albann, who speak with Pict accents.  Who are we, the survivors,  to decide that this ancient culture was not worthy of some degree of preservation?









Saint Martin's Cross at Iona
Saint Martin's Cross at Iona

Christianity Brings A Sense of Purpose To Albann
- And Creates Deep Divisions 

The First Christians
(Listed chronologically)

A representation of St. AlbanSaint Alban - A most unlikely candidate for sainthood.  Alban was a Pict mercenary soldier in the Roman army of occupation in southern Britain, when it was a capital offence to be a Christian.   He was converted to Christianity by a persecuted priest whom he sheltered from the Pagan Roman authorities.  He then changed clothes with the priest, allowing him to escape.  Caught, he was ordered to renounce his new faith.  He refused and became the first Christian martyr in Britain.

The second British martyr was the executioner who was to kill him, who heard his testimony, converted on the spot, and refused to kill Alban.  The third was the priest, who, when he learned that Alban had been arrested in his place, hurried to the court in the hope of saving Alban by turning himself in.  The place of their deaths is near the site of Saint Alban's Cathedral.  Alban died by being tortured and beheaded in 305AD at Holmhurst Hill, England.

Saint Ninian -  (350 - 432AD.  The earliest known North British Saint is St Ninian, or Bishop Ninian.  He was first mentioned by Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (book III, chapter 4).

The traditional story is that he was born in Brythonic Cumbria but travelled to Rome as a young man to study Christianity.  There, he was made a bishop and given the task of converting the Picts by the Pope, St Ciricius.    At right is a photo of Saint Ninian's Cave in the Machars in Galloway, Scotland.


He was concerned with the implementation of Christianity north of Hadrian's Wall at a time when most of the Picts were still pagan.  He undertook a journey northwards along the east coast in order to spread Christianity among the Picts.  He trained many missionaries, among whom,  was Cruithnechan, the man who converted Saint Columba. 

Much of Albann became Christian long before England due to Ninian.   He went to the Continent where he was ordained a priest, came back to Albann, and evangelized Galloway and some of the Southern Picts in Fife and Perthshire.

Ninian's followers took the new faith as far north as the Shetland Islands, and as far south as Northumbria, which at that time encompassed  Lothian in present day south-eastern Scotland, and Northumberland in present day northern England.

Ninian founded the first monastery in Albann at Whithorn in the territory of the Britons around AD 500, and he was  an exponent of the Roman Church, after receiving training in Rome, rather than the early Celtic Church with its strong ties to Ireland.  Around 397AD, he set up his base at Whithorn in south-west Albann, building a stone church there, known as the Candida Casa (White House in Latin).  From there, he began work among the Northern Britons of the surrounding area.  He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.

Saint Patrick -  (387 - 491AD).  Universally known as the Apostle of Ireland, he was born into a Brythonic Christian family in Kilmarnock, near Dumbarton, in Strathclyde, as Maewyn Succat (warlike).  Like many young Britons at that time, he was kidnapped, sold as a slave and shipped off to Ireland as a child.  He worked as a shepherd and spent most of his spare time in prayer.

He eventually escaped and fled to the continent, where he studied in several monasteries, and was baptized "Patricius" (aristocratic).  He eventually became a Bishop and was sent by Pope Celestine to Britain to evangelize England and Ireland.  He arrived in Ireland in 461AD, and was most successful there, and converted Ireland to Christianity within 33 years.  In the Middle Ages, Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and during the Dark Ages, its many monasteries were the great repositories of learning in Europe - all because of Saint Patrick.  He died at Downpatrick, Ulidia in 1491.

Saint Finnian - or St. Uinniau of Moville (495 - 589), was a Christian missionary who became a legendary figure in medieval Ireland.  Traditional scholarship has it that he was a descendant of Fiatach the Fair and born in Ulidia.  He apparently studied under Colman of Dromore and Mochae of Noendrum, and subsequently at Candida Casa (Whithorn), whence he proceeded to Rome, returning to Ireland in 540 with an integral copy of St. Jerome's Vulgate.

He was the founder of a famous school of Druim Fionn at about this time.  Legend has it that he tried to convert Tuan mac Cairill, a mythical figure who was the last survivor of the Partholonian race, and that while doing so had the famous Scéal Tuáin maic Cairell recounted to him. This is a text about takings of Ireland, a source for the famous Lebor Gabála Érenn.

Finnian's most distinguished pupil at Moville was Colum-Cille (Columba).  Tradition has it that Columba's surreptitious copying of a psalter led eventually to his exile to Iona in New Dalriada.  What remains of the copy, together with the casket that contains it, is now in the National Museum of Ireland.   It is known as the Cathach or Battler, and was wont to be carried by the O'Donnells in battle.  The inner case was made by Cathbar O'Donnell in 1084, but the outer is fourteenth century work.  Finnian wrote a rule for his monks, also a far reaching penitential code, the canons of which were published by Wasserschleben in 1851.

Saint Brigid - of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) (Irish: Naomh Bríd) (c. 451 – 525) is believed by some churches to have been an Irish Christian nun, abbess, and founder of several convents who is venerated as a saint.  She is considered one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba.  Her feast day is February 1, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland.

According to her biographers her parents were Dubhthach, a pagan chieftain of Leinster, and Brocca, a Christian Pict who had been baptized by Saint Patrick.  Some accounts of her life suggested that Brigid's mother was kidnapped by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland to work as a slave in much the same way as Patrick was.

Brigid was given the same name as one of the most powerful goddesses of the pagan Celtic religion which her father Dubhthach practiced; Brigid was the goddess of fire, whose manifestations were song, craftsmanship, and poetry, which the Irish considered the flame of knowledge.

Whether she was raised a Christian or converted in 468, as some accounts say, is unknown, but she was inspired by the preaching of Saint Patrick from an early age.  Despite her father's opposition she was determined to enter religious life. Numerous stories testify to her piety. She had a generous heart and could never refuse the poor who came to her father's door.  Her charity angered her father: he thought she was being overly generous to the poor and needy when she dispensed his milk and flour to all and sundry.  When she finally gave away his jewel-encrusted sword to a leper, Dubhthach realized that perhaps her disposition was best suited to the life of a nun.  Brigid finally got her wish and she was sent to a convent.

Brigid received the veil from Saint Mel and professed vows dedicating her life to Christ.  From this point biographers heap stories and legends on Brigid.  She is believed to have founded a convent in Clara, County Offaly - her first: other foundations followed.  But it was to be in Kildare that her major foundation would emerge.  Around 470 she founded Kildare Abbey, a double monastery, for nuns and monks, on the plains of Cill-Dara, "the church of the oak", her cell being made under a large oak tree. As Abbess of this foundation she wielded considerable power.

Legends surround her, even her blessing as Abbess by Saint Mel has a story attached to it.  According to the legend, the elderly bishop, as he was blessing her during the ceremony, inadvertently read the rite of consecration of a bishop and this could not be rescinded, under any circumstances. Brigid and her successor Abbesses at Kildare had an administrative authority equal to that of a Bishop until the Synod of Kells in 1152.

Brigid was famous for her common-sense and most of all for her holiness: in her lifetime she was regarded as a saint. Kildare Abbey became one of the most prestigious monasteries in Ireland, famed throughout Christian Europe.  In the scriptorium of the monastery, for example, the lost illuminated manuscript the Book of Kildare may have been created.

She died at Kildare around 525, and was buried in a tomb before the high altar of her abbey church.  After some time, her remains were exhumed and transported to Downpatrick to rest with the two other patron saints of Ireland, Patrick and Columba.  Her skull was extracted and taken to Igreja de São João Baptista (Lumiar) Lisbon, Portugal by three Irish noblemen, where it remains.  There is widespread devotion to her in Ireland where she is known as the "Mary of the Gael" and her cult was brought to Europe by Irish missionaries, such as Foillan, in the centuries after her death.  In Belgium, there is a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Brigide at Fosses-la-Ville and Saint Brigid is the patron saint of the Dutch city of Ommen.

Saint Mungo - (518 - 612AD.   Tannodd, a banished daughter of Strathclyde King, Loth, gave birth to aGlasgow Cathedral son at Culross.  His name was Kentigern, but he is better known as St. Mungo.  Following in Ninian’s footsteps, Kentigern founded a monastery at Govan and another at the site of Glasgow Cathedral.  He also founded a bishopric for the Kings of Dumbarton.   His second title, Mungo, means 'very dear one' in the language of the Britons and the myths and tales surrounding him reveal a popularity amongst the common people.

In one such story, a local king refused to pay his taxes to the Church, whereupon Kentigern cursed him - inducing the River Clyde to rise and sweep all the king's grain from his barns and carry it to the saint's feet.
St Mungo played a large part in the early culture of Glasgow.  The city's cathedral (right) is named after him, and held his tomb until his relics were removed during the Middle Ages.

The Church of Rome Accommodates Pict Sensitivities

In 432 AD, Saint Patrick opened up the Celtic lands in Ireland and Britain to Christianity.  The Pope, ordered that existing temples to Pagan gods there not be destroyed but to be used by the church.  As a result, most Christian institutions were built on Druidic foundations.  Druidic schools became Christian schools,  Druidic sanctuaries became Christian monasteries and Convents.  Powerful Druid Priests were often given land by the church to convert.

Also, popular Pagan gods were rehabilitated as Christian Saints. i.e. Brigit. the ancient Irish goddess of fertility was among the most popular Brythonic Pagan deities.  Her feast day was Feb. 01.  St. Brigit became the most popular of north Britain's native Saints, with her feast day on Feb. 01.  In this way, all the Picts of Albann succumbed to the new religion within one hundred years of its introduction.

The Scots of Dalriada had Irish missionaries of their own. Saint Oran probably established the first monastery at Iona.  But St. Columba from Dunegal, was the missionary who made the Scots a dominate tribe.  Christianity was a new and powerful magic to the people.  Holy Relics of Columba and his disciples were  venerated.  Columba had Royal blood on both parental sides, and this no doubt helped his influence.  By using his Christian faith, and his close friendship with King Brud Mauur, he helped secure the Scottish settlement in "New Dalriada".

The Irish Celtic Church was Monastic, unlike the great religious houses of continental Europe.  Strict, it demanded poverty and obedience from its clergy, who were Monks, not Priests.   Lonely islands were sought-after locations for new monasteries.  Conversion to Christianity brought a flowering of Christian and Celtic art, notably from the Picts.  Irish monasticism and traditional Celtic lore, became the new faith.  This independence, of course, would not be tolerated by the Holy Roman Church, which claimed a universality in western Europe.

Colum-Cille (Saint Columba) and the Picts

Brud Mauur is seen as the most powerful monarch to have ever ruled the Picts of Albann.  His territory extended from the Firth of Forth to Cape Wrath, and included the Orkneys and the Shetlands.  Brud was a royal Pict name which had alternated with others such as Drust, Nehhtonn, Tallorggann and Drust.  When Columba decided to visit Iona, he first gained the permission of the Dalriadan sub-king, Conall.  Then, he had to visit Brude, the High King of Alban, as he was the ultimate power, as Bede described him.  When Columba visited King Brud, he took along his two best friends, Comgall, Abbott of Bangor, and Cinnidd, Abbott of Achabo.  They were both Irish Cruithne, and were ideal ambassadors.  

Brud had heard of this aristocratic Irish monk with a Royal heritage.  His great great grandfather was the celebrated Niall of the Nine Hostages.  He was no doubt curious and eager to meet him.  Apart from the myth and religious connotations, they got along famously.  The future of Dalriada as a Scottish outpost was at stake, and Columba was known to have outstanding diplomatic skills.  Columba soon became Brud's soul friend, and remained so for over twenty years.  The expedition to Inverness achieved many far-reaching results.  The brethren of Iona were given Brud's blessings in their tenure of the island, and the survival of the kingdom of Dalriada (albeit as part of Albann) was assured.

At right, is an unflattering depiction of Brud meeting with Columba. The artist obviously wanted to show the Picts as barbarians clothed in animal skins, while Columba and his retinue were clothed in refined cloth. This scene was meant to glorify Columba, not Brud. This is the type of biased depictions that have permeated stories of the Picts.

Some claim the visit was a failure as there was no land given to the church near the Royal palace.  However, Comgall's disciple, St. Moluag, was given land to build a monastery at Rosemarkie at the mouth of the Inverness Firth, on the east coast.  Isabel Henderson later observed "Some of the most distinguished of the later Cross Slabs were found in Moray and Ross".  This rich flowering of Christian art started at the time of the Columban mission.

Some Scottish authors have claimed that Columba was scornful and hostile towards the Picts, a view contradicted by the Anglo/Saxon, Adomnan's, objective record.  He wrote about many instances where Columba befriended Picts; where he baptized a gallant old warrior Chief from Skye, helping a pauper at Loch Lochy to snare food for his family and comforting a farmer from Loch Rannoch that his family was safe. 

An illustration of his generosity was when he became friends with a Pict farmer named, Polman.  He had only five cows, and he told the Abbot, "If you bless my cows, I know they will increase."  Columba blessed his cows predicting they would increase to one hundred and five.  Columba soon discovered why Polman was so poor.  A pair of Gaelic ruffians, Loan and Conall, were regularly preying on the farmer stealing his cattle.  Twice, he had to start again from nothing.

This pair of scoundrels were descended from Gabhran,  a previous king, and as such, were untouchable by the local law.  Columba, a Gael, unhesitatingly turned on his own people and confronted them at their next foray.  He pleaded with them to relent but they refused.  As they rowed away with their loot, he predicted they would never return.  A squall soon came up and drowned them both. Polman's herd did increase to one hundred and five but did not grow any larger, not because of any natural justice, but because he donated any extra cattle to the poor.

The Picts accepted Columba as one of their own, and he reciprocated by being kind to everyone he encountered.   He forged his "be kind to your neighbour" type of Christianity on all of Albann before his death.  He had lifted a heavy burden from the backs of all its inhabitants, and Albann would never be the same again.
  The Druids had maintained a tight monopoly on knowledge believing it was sacrilegious to write down Celtic culture in their own language.  After Christianity had swept away the Druid's control of learning, many Druids became monks and Priests.  For the first time, Celtic arts and literature were recorded in books and manuscripts.  Celtic art flourished as never before.

The centres of learning moved from the King's palaces to the Churches and Monasteries.  The Church became the twin beacon of religion and learning in the country.  The King's role became restricted to defence of the realm.  The minds and souls of his people were now in the hands of the Church, and in this new religion, kings would meddle in the affairs of the Church at their peril.

Regulas and the Relics of Saint Andrew

Saint Andrew was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ.  Like Jesus, he was crucified for spreading dangerous ideas.  Andrew asked that he be crucified on a cross different than that of Jesus as he considered he was not worthy of the cross of Jesus.  His body was interred in Patrae, Greece.

Four hundred years later, the Christian ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire ordered Saint Andrew's bones be brought to Constantinople.  The keeper of the saint's remains was a Greek called Regulus.

The night before the order, Regulus had a strange dream where he was visited by an Angel who told him the remains of Saint Andrew were in peril, and to take them to the edge of the known world, and build a church there.

The monk dutifully removed a tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap and some fingers from Saint Andrew's tomb, and transported them as far away as he could...  He carried them across Europe to a far off land called Albann.  After a lengthy voyage, Saint Regulus was shipwrecked off the east coast of Scotland, near a Pict settlement that was soon to become known as St Andrews.

The relics were placed first in a small chapel and then later in the Cathedral of St Andrews, which was started in 1160 and took 158 years to build.  And so the town of St Andrews became the religious capital of Scotland and an important site of Christian pilgrimage worldwide.

By this time, the Picts were already Christians so they readily accepted these holy relics and became very proud to claim custody of the remains of Saint Andrew.  It was a proud and very unusual boast for a small country on the edge of Europe to claim it was the resting place of one of the twelve Apostles.  Soon, Saint Andrew took on a special meaning to the Picts, and he eventually became their patron saint.

Over 1,000 years later, in 1969, Pope Paul VI, named Gordon Gray as the first Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation. The Pontiff also gave Gray further relics of Saint Andrew  with the words "Saint Peter gives you his brother." They remain in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, thereby putting to rest any doubts that the remains of Saint Andrew are indeed interred in Scotland.


Albann - the Christian Envy Of Europe

Ancient Albann, comprising the northern Pict kingdom, the southern Pict kingdom, The Orkney and Shetland archipelagoes, and Scottish Dalriada, at the end of the seventh and the opening of the eighth century, was the most Christian and civilized jurisdiction in Europe.  Their Christianity, unlike that of most continental countries at that period, was drawn from the Bible, and was of the kind which goes to the roots of individual and national life.  Instead of expending itself in elaborate rites and ceremonies, it developed in the quiet and enriching virtues of purity, truth, industry, and sobriety—a true civilization.

Iona, in Dalriada, the ritual centre of the Columban  Church, had for a century and a half, been shedding its evangelical light over the entire country.  Five generations had been reared under it.  The land was fairly planted with churches. The pastors who ministered in them were well trained in Divine learning, and were a race of pious, humble, laborious, and, in many instances, studious and scholarly men. The education of youth was cared for in Latin as well as Celtic.
The population, happily relieved from the distractions of war, cultivated the arts of the time, both ornamental and useful. The same men who interpreted scripture to them taught them how to use the pen and the chisel, how to construct their dwellings and cultivate their fields. The sons of princes and nobles were proud to enroll themselves as pupils in the school of Iona.
Scholars from abroad came to visit a land that had become so famous, that  they might increase their stores of knowledge.  Many kings, when dying, commanded that their bones should be transported across the North Sea, ferried over to the island of Icolmkill, and laid beneath the shadow of its saintly towers.

A Papal Envoy Sows Discord in Albann

Oswald, King of Northumbria was converted to the Celtic Church while in his childhood at Iona.  He invited Aiden, (one of St. Columba's disciples), to set up a Monastery at Lindesfairne off the coast of Northumbria.  However, Oswald's Anglo-Saxon Queen was a follower  of the Church of Rome, not Ireland.  In 663, King Oswald invited  representatives of the two church's to  Yorkshire to resolve the dilemma.  Oswald's subsequent decision to go with the Church of Rome over the Columban Church,  changed not only Northumbria, but  also Albann.  

Soon after the opening of the eighth century, Albann was deformed by sudden tempests.  Who or what was it that set Pict against Pict, and Scot, at times, against both?  That age in Albann was not barbarous: on the contrary, it was pious and peaceful; this being the fifth generation which had given the plough the preference over the sword, and cultivated peace rather than war with their neighbours.

These disturbances had a religious origin, and they grew out of the visit of the papal envoy, Boniface, to the court of King Nehhtonn III, of the Southern Picts, and his ridicule of the Columban Church.  He was successful in convincing Nehhtonn to convert to the Holy Roman Church, and to expel all pastors, monks and abbots from his Kingdom on their refusal to have their heads shorn in the Roman "Tonsular" fashion or to accept the Roman date for Easter.   Nehhtonn's attempts to impose, at the sword’s point, submission to the foreign Papal authority on the pastors of the church, in Albann and Dalriada, wrought dissention among his own Kingdom of the southern Picts and tore apart the unity of spirit that had existed between the southern and northern Picts.

At this time, there was a great revolution that tore Albann apart, due to the expulsion of the non-compliant clergy across Albann into Dalriada.  The two great divisions of the Picts, north and south, held together in a tenuous confederation, burst into sudden flame, arraying themselves in arms against each other, followed by a century of strife and bloodshed, thereby weakening both entities and leaving them susceptible to outside interferences.

The sudden change of religion in southern Albann divided the northern and southern Picts into two churches.  The Picts of the northern kingdom continued their loyalty to Iona in religious unity with the Dalriadan Scots.  Their pastors continued to feed their flocks as before, preaching the evangelical faith of Columba, whereas those in the south  had superficially forsaken the faith of their fathers for Roman rites and doctrines, and wore the coronal tonsure in token of their submission to Papal authority.  

The animosities and hatreds which this great schism provoked, festered and resulted in a vicious civil war, with the north supported by the Dalriadan Scots, and the south supported by the Northumbrian Germans.  The crisis was rendered more acute as it imperiled the political independence of the country as well.

It opened the door to invasion of a weakened southern Kingdom by Northumbria, with whom the southern Picts had become one in their religious rites.  On the other hand, it opened the weakened northern Kingdom to an unhealthy Dalriadan influence.   The former unity and strength of a combined Albann, was never seen again, as ambitious chiefs on both sides, under pretext of religious or selfish aims, sought to enlarge their territories.    In the face of this turmoil. Nehhtonn III, a deeply religious man, decided to retire to the seclusion of a monastery in Ireland to escape the tempest he had created.  Unfortunately, he eventually emerged to support an Alpin MacHugh, a half Pict, and claimant to the Pict throne through his mother.  Onnus I defeated him and sent him fleeing across the Irish sea.  Nehhtonn is said to have died of a broken heart.

Six views of Saint Andrews Catholic Cathedral in Inverness, Scotland



Methodology of Names

All Pict King's names have been returned to their unique "North Briton/Pict" formats from the  Latin and Gaelic predominant in all surviving copies of the Pictish Chronicles.  Since the unique Northern Briton P-Celtic language had permeated all of north Britain by 300, all those inhabitants spoke a language very similar to old Welsh after that date.   Some unique Pict names still flourished, such as early local translations of those foreigners they encountered: Greek, Roman, Scandinavian, Irish, and even Germanic names.  Eventually, they entirely succumbed to a Scottish Gaelic milieu.  In the chart below, emphasis is allotted to Pict rather than Brythonic names. 

Pict Royal names and their equivalents

Pict Welsh Gaelic English Latin Meaning
Alpin Alpaidd Elphin Alpine Albinus Roman Emperor, 193-197
AnwylydCaranrod David Cârus Beloved  Alpin
Aduur Groeg Achuir Archibald Achiver Greek 
Artur Arthgwr Giùlain Arthur Arturus "bear-man" in Brythonic.
Beli Bilé   Billings Belenus Celtic god (the Dispatcher)
Byddgar Gwrol Biduineil Gerard Fortis Fearless
Blánn Blaen Priomh Harold Prîmus Foremost
Bonnedd Bonedd Bont Nobility Nôbilis nobility
Bladd Blaidd Faol Wolf Lupus Wolf (Breton translation was Bleiz)
Blevog Blewog Crateric Asper Asperitus Pronounced "Blèvog".  (rough, hairy)
Bran Cigfran Corbidh Corbett Corvus Mythological Brythonic Celtic hero (Raven)
Brud Brenin Breth Brodie, Brett Bridei "High King" from Saxon.  "Seer" from Brythonic
Buddug Buddug Buthut Boadicea Boudica From Brythonic for  "Boudicca".
Carennidd Ceraint Cairdean Clan Cognati From Brythonic for "Kinsfolk"
Cinnidd Cynydd Cinneadh Kenneth Cemoyth From Brythonic for "Hunter", .
Connell Conall Conall MacConnell Lûpus From Gaullish, Conall. (Strong wolf)  
Cynnvar Cynnwrf Carachadb Excitement Custôdia Excitement
Deoord   Dothan Doris, Dortha Diodorus Greek historian, (Dorian)
Der Lei Dár Mán Derile Ackerley Parvus Rôbur  (littlest Oak-tree)
Dinodet   Dinorthetis Dennis Dionysius Thracian god (popularized by Romans)  
Donnell Dwfn Domnach MacDonnell Dunveldus Profound
Drust Cyffrous Drest Tristan DrûsusFamous Roman General in Germany. "Exciting"
Duhhill Duchel Deocilunon Diocletian Diocletianus Roman Emperor,   284-305
Eogan Gwirod Eochaid Hugh Ed Mind, spirit
Enbyd Enbyd Eanfrith Egbert Enfret Saxon warlord (Ecgberht). "Awful" in Welsh 
Galanan Cleddyfwr Gartnaich Gaullish Calgacus "Swordsman" in Latin
Kast CystenninCustantin Constantine Constantius Steadiness, consistency, firmness
Lann Glân Alasdair Allan Fôrmôsus Handsome (from Celtic)
Lutren Lughtrin Cailtran Apollo Apollonius Celtic god, Lugh = Apollo, (Greek god of light).
Mauur Mawr Mórbrec Leonard Magnus From Mawr, Brythonic for Great
Murdoc  Muredach   Murdock Mare-aeternus  Seafarer 
Munnudd Mynydd Mor Monty Mons Mountain
Nehhtonn Neifion Nechtan Naughton Nectonius God of the Sea.   "Neiton" in Welsh. 
Onnus Awst Oenghus Angus Augustus Roman Emperor, 31BC-14AD "Honest" in Pict.
Pridol Priodol Cumhaidh Abel Commodus Roman Emperor,  180-192 (proper, suitable)
Runn Haearn Iarunn Steele Ferrum From Gaullish for Iron, Isern.
Talladd Clen Ceanalta Curtis Cômis polite, affable
Tallorggann Taorgan Talorcen   Taorcum Talor-gan = " With Thor" 
Talorh Taor Talore Taylor Taor Norse Father god: Thor
Taran Taran Tharain Daren, Teron Taranis Celtic Thunder God (equivalent to Thor)
Tegid Tegid Tagd Teagan Tacitus Roman Emperor,  275-276  (poet)
Uhhel Uchel Uthoil Earl Nôbilis Brythonic "Uchel" (Nobleman)
Uipid Iau Uipoig Jupiter Iuppiter Father of the Roman gods.
Uist Gorllewin Airde West Occidèns Old Norse word for West
Urb Erb Erc Earp, Erb, Erbe Imbellis Man of Peace
Uunnella Gwynnaidd Càen  (Cân) Fionna Flâvus From Brythonic "Fionn". (fair-skinned)
Uurddol Urddasol Ferthol Adrian Decôrus Noble, dignified, knightly, honoured, exalted.
Uurad Puredig Ferat Terrance Urbanus From Brythonic Uuoret, (Refined, polite, witty)
Uuen Owain Eochaidh Eugene, Owen Evander Owain, son of Urien (warrior of King Alfred)
Uurgus Gwrol Fearghus Fergus Probus Brave, manly.

Understanding the relationship between Celtic and Latin:  Linguists universally agree that Proto Celtic (Gaullish) and Latin were the same language in 1500 BC.  This was proven by their similarities, and the accepted rate of divergence of any family of languages.  For example, in Julius Caesar's time; the phrase, "He has given to the mothers of Nîmes" was "DEDE MATREBO NAMAUSIKABO" in Gaullish.   It was "DEDIT MATRIBUS NEMAUSICABUS" in Latin.  Another example: HORSE in Latin is EQUUS,  in Gaulish it was EQUOS.

Since Q-Celtic was the earlier version of Celtic, it more closely resembles Latin than does P-Celtic.  For example, both Q-Celtic and Latin commonly employed the hard "C".  Although, in the above example (dated 45BC), the Hard C had in the Gaullish example was replaced by a K.   In P-Celtic, this throat-using consonant was often replaced with a lip-using "B" or "P".

Latin names would be more easily adopted into very similar sounding names in Gaelic than they did in Brythonic.  For example; the Latin name for Raven was, Corvus.  In Gaelic, it was Corbidh but in Brythonic it was Bran.  A certain Bran was a mythological Brythonic hero that any Pict mother would be proud to name her son after, and Bran is listed in one version of the king lists.  However, in most versions of the Pict Chronicles, Corbidh or a close approximation is used instead.

The natural progression of words - From a common Indo-European language, scores of progeny were spawned.  The Greco-Latin-Gaulish (GLG) ancestral language diverged about 1500 BC.  For example; HORSE in GLG was EQUOS, in Latin it became EQUUS, in old Greek it became IPPOS, and in Gaulish it developed into: into EQWOS, then EQVOS, then EKVOL, which is reflected in the Welsh CEFFYL, the Breton CAVAL, the Irish CAPALL, the Spanish CABALL, and the French CHEVAL.  In LaTene P-Celtic, it became EPOS, then EPONOS.  Other related horse words emanated from this family such as EQUINE and PONY.  However, at some time, HORSE became commonly known in Gaulish, as MARKA, and that term was carried as a popular alternative choice into Brythonic as MARGH, and Gaelic as MARCH (pronounced in both cases as MARK).

There is a continuity many words such as the Gaullish word for sea; More, Russian and Slavic; More, Irish; Muir and the Welsh; Môr.
Similarly, the Gaullish and Oscan word for people; Touto, Lithuanian; Tauta, Gothic; Thiuda, Irish; Tu'ath and the French: Tout.
Also, the Gaullish word for wood; Vidu, old high German; Witu, old English; Wudu, Irish; Fid, Welsh; Guid, and the Cornish; Guiden.
Also, the Greek and Gaullish word for wood and timber; Dervo, Russian, Derevo, Welsh; Derwen, Irish; Darach and Scottish Gaelic; Darag.

Gaullish versus Welsh, Irish,  Latin & Greek 

Basque Greek Latin Gaullish Old Irish New Irish Welsh English
adin  hlikia aes aesus ais aois oes an age
  Kassa Capsa bosca bluch box
egur  zulo vîdulus  vidu fid adhmid guid wood
jende   teutoni   teuto tuath daoine gwerin people
  phrazo poëta bardo bard file bardd poet
   oikia tignum tigerno tigerne teach teyrn house, domicile
   allos allus allos aile eile arall other
handi maros  mâgnus mâro mór mór mawr great
  mhlo mâlum aballo Uball úll afal apple
zezen tauros taurus tarvos tarb tarbh tarw bull
aita path'r pater atar athir athar tad father
ama mhtera mãter mãtêr mathir máthair modr mother
ibai axelwos apnis abona aba abhainn afon river
arrain psari piscis eisko éisc iasg pysg fish
ogi artos artopta  ara  arán arán bara bread
katu gata cattus  catta cat cat cath cat 
asto gaizaros asellus asalos  asal asal asyn donkey
zakur skuli canis cuô ci  dog
zaldi ippos equus ekvos, epos ech eapall ebol horse
  cabellus caballo capall capall ceffyl working horse
andre gunarka bene  bena  bean bean benyw woman
  mare mori muir muir môr sea
  genea genus genea gné gné mal species
otso lukos lupus vailo fael faolchu blaidd wolf

Pict Princess Breeding Traditions

1/  Dio Cassius wrote: "The Empress, Julia Augusta, taunted the wife of Argentocoxus, a Caledonian envoy in Rome, accusing the Caledonian women of copulating promiscuously with their husbands.  The Caledonian retorted: "We have openly intercourse with the best men while you Roman women are polluted secretly with the worst men."

2/  Reginald B. Hale, in his The magnificent Gael wrote:  "The Royal Ladies, through whom the sovereignty descended, often chose their consorts outside the nation of Picts.  Brud's mother almost certainly chose King Maelgwn of Gwynedd in North Wales to be the father of her two sons.  He was a cultivated man who  encouraged poetry and art in his court at Degannwy.  He had been a Christian monk in his youth.  However, Brud was brought up and educated by his mother's people in the land of the Picts, and it is doubtful if he ever met his father."

3/  The list of Pict Kings who were the sons of foreign rulers + Pict Princesses, includes many successful monarchs:
Galanan V (Son of king Domnech of Dalriada + Brud I's sister),
Galanan VI (Son of king Domnall of Dalriada + Tallorggan I's sister),
Drust II & Nehhtonn II (Sons of Cynvar of Gododdin + Tallorggan II's sister),
Brud I (Son of king Maelgwn of Gwynedd + Drust V's sister),
Tallorggan III (Son of king Murdoc of Ulidia + Drust III's sister),
Tallorggan V (Son of king Ecgberht of Bernicia + Galanan V's sister),
Galanan VIII, (son of king Gwyddno of Strathclyde + Cinnidd's sister),
Drust VII (Son of king Eochaid of Dalriada + Brud IV's sister),
Kast I (Son of  king Fergus I of Dalriada + Cinnidd I's sister),
Cinnidd MacAlpin (Son of  Alpin MacHugh of Kintyre + Drust IX's sister), 
among others whose pedigrees were not as well recorded).  

4/  The Irish and the Romans were horrified to see Pict women soldiers fighting fiercely alongside men.  This could have been a tradition inherited from those early Celts (i.e. Boudicca)  who came over to Britain as early as 800BC, or it could have been a tradition handed down through the millennia by the earlier Neolithic or Beaker peoples.  The fact remains, the Picts included women in their warrior class, and this situation was recorded by Tacitus, Columba and Adamnan, among others.

5/  Peter Berresford Ellis wrote in his book, The DRUIDS (which has been described as a wealth of material):
"So, once again, the remarkable place of women in ancient Celtic society is reaffirmed."

6.  Tacitus wrote in his Annals that "The Celts freely accept women as their rulers and as their army commanders."

Pict Female Circumstances

The Roman historian Plutarch described a battle in 102 B.C. between Romans and Celts: "the fight had been no less fierce with the women than with the men... the women charged with swords and axes and fell upon their opponents uttering a hideous outcry."   Guinevere. In the movie Guinevere is a brave and determined warrior and a Pict. Women warriors were common among the native people of Britain.  Julius Caesar remarked that it was hard to face the painted tribes people from the North but that their women were even more fearsome and terrible!

The proliferation of Pict kings who were sons of foreign rulers was not accidental.  It was obviously by design, and was a direct result of the remarkable culture and traditions of the Picts.  Pict women were the equal of men in all things except actual accession to the throne.  That did not exempt them from being the power behind the throne.Queen Maev of Connacht The line was drawn between any consorting between Pict Princesses and Romans or Vikings.  No Picts (or Caledonians) were ever recorded as marrying Romans, or fighting for a Roman cause or as Roman allies.  

Before the advent of Roman Catholicism, Pict women were entirely free to enter into fields of endeavour that some modern women still dream of;  i.e. Women were goddesses, priestesses, saints, Druids, soldiers (even battle Commanders), financiers, astrologers, trades-people, et al.

It was only when the Celtic Church became sublimate to the Roman church that the Mediterranean patriarchal system forced women into a position of servitude.  The name of Ireland itself, Éire, is the name of one of the triune goddesses.

With this equality of status, Pict women of power had the tools to select the fathers of their sons, later to be duly tutored, and prepared for the reigns of supreme power, under the supervision of the mother and her trusted circle of elitists, thus, if successful, ensuring the mother a life of luxury and prestige.

Once a suitable sire had been selected, the Princess would contact him and advise she was coming for a visit.  They both got what they wanted out of their brief sojourn.  The Foreign king got a remarkable one week stand with a beautiful Pict Princess, and she got the seeds of a future King of Albann.  No one complained.  In most instances, the son never met his father.  However, his mother knew full well that her son would have an edge, being the son of a great ruler.

When this process worked, the succession of High Kings became a matrilineal succession system, not by design but by clever manipulating by intelligent Princesses.  It is well recorded the High King was selected by a panel of his peers, and was judged solely on his attributes.  It was up to his mother to ensure he had better qualifications than any of his competitors.  This included, genetics, education, training, and the best preparation and background his mother could provide.

This system worked brilliantly, as it appears the best Pict rulers were the progeny of great foreign rulers.  What is surprising, is that invariably, those kings were absolutely devoted to their mother's people, and if necessary, devastated their father's homeland(s) to promote the interests of Albann; i.e. Brude I. 

Pict Succession Traditions

Albann was roughly divided into seven provinces, each ruled by a king who was capable of becoming a high king.  Each provincial king ruled over seen lesser lords and their retainers.   There were about half a million subjects scattered throughout the country with the bulk of them living in the north and east.

The early Celtic traditions inherited by the Picts provided that the best candidate from the ruling family should succeed rather than simply the first borne son of the former king.  Primogeniture played no part in the selection of a new Pict King.  The departed king was more often succeeded by a brother, nephew or cousin.  High Kings were elected in a limited hereditary system.  First, a recommendation by the clan, with a heavy input by the high Druids, then, by an actual election by the sub-Kings and District Chiefs.

Although the new king was chosen by the family of the former ruler, after he was chosen and took his throne, they believed he was destined to be the leader.  They believed the former ruling family and the Chief Druids were guided by the gods in their quest.  The king was believed to be a sacred, semi-divine being.  He was immensely important to the well being of his people.  However, if he failed to measure up to expectations, he would be set upon by his own family.

This Pict ancient belief in a divine selection to rule was passed on through successive generations of Albann/Scottish kings, and was the basis of the Stuart Dynasty's well known "Divine Right To Rule" philosophy.   It was used by the Stuarts in their insistence the King answered to no one but God.  That idea did not sit well with the English Parliament, and it eventually spelled the downfall of the Stuarts.  The English king, John, had singed the Magna Carta in 1215, which above all, stipulated the king was not above the law.

All things considered, given personalities and the stakes involved, in actuality, the time-honoured system of succession was occasionally the victor in a life and death family squabble, with as many soldiers partaking as each side could muster.  Sometimes it pitted brother against brother, at other times it was a case of regions vying for supremacy.Pict Kings were chosen in the old Celtic tradition where he had to prove he was the best qualified to rule.

A very important aspect of a Pict King's succession duties was his mandatory inaugural punitive expedition into an enemy's territory to prove his mettle in battle.  If he was deemed unfit by his peers, his reign would be tumultuous and short.  Challengers would appear from within his extended family, until someone else would ultimately prove he was worthy of the position.  The long list of Pict Kings is littered with conflicts between siblings, cousins and nephews.

The early Celts had no hesitation to promote qualified women to be rulers and/or Battle Commanders. However, the Picts had no record of this.  The reasons for this absence of women rulers amongst the Picts probably stemmed from the traditions (or prohibitions) of the majority pre-Celtic elements in Pict ancestry.  Although the Picts generally inherited a Brythonic culture, some of the old pre-Celtic traditions remained.

Due to the tumultuous times and the absolute necessity for a sovereign to be able to adequately defend his kingdom against a variety of land-hungry adversaries, Pict Kings had to be well qualified.  A Pict Prince's early life would be filled with serious training and preparations for his eventual trial of wits and courage.  

The sole claim that Pict succession was strictly matrilineal was made by the Northumbrian historian, Bede, in a ridiculous fantasy that the Picts had no women, and obtained 150 maidens from an Irish king on the condition that Pict Royal succession would be determined by the women. In 1993, Lloyd and Jenny Lang, in "The Picts and the Scots", claimed this was merely Irish propaganda. 

Of all the various quirky versions of the Pictish Chronicles, one thing is constant; the mothers of all listed Pict kings, without exception,  were Pict Princesses, not Irish or Dalriadan Scottish women.  So where does this silly Irish claim on the Pict throne (connected through fictitious Irish mothers) come from?

All the facts point to a very adroit female side of the Pict establishment, who knew what was necessary to be done to obtain, and retain power unto their particular families.  Their power webs reached far into Dalriadan society, as well as their own Pict circles.  Time and time again, existing records tell of so and so marrying a Pict Princess.  For the sake of veracity, most of those isolated versions of certain Pict kings being the son of (the sister or daughter of a former king) are not included in this list.

I am not convinced many of those (new) claims are at all accurate because of several inconsistencies:
1/  Those instances are all new, and are not well documented.
2/  I have come across four instances where a Pict mother was allotted an imaginary wife (either through an intended duplicity or a Monk's well intentioned cover-up of a single mother situation).
3/  In some instances, the supposed mother would have been far too elderly to begat the subject king.
Therefore, the records of descendancy from the first "A" version are generally listed herein.

To believe that the Pict aristocracy were a group of mountain hillbillies who knew nothing of the outside world is pure gibberish.  Records have proven they maintained envoys in Rome, Pict women of Royal blood travelled all over the British Isles seeking the best fathers for their sons, they even named some of their sons after Greek, Roman, and Viking gods and Rulers, and they definitely spoke any number of languages, amongst them: Pict, P-Celtic, Q-Gaelic, Latin and a smattering of Anglo/Saxon.  How else could they have held liaisons with those foreign gentlemen?

A quick review of the list of Pict Kings, verifies that in many cases, a brother succeeded to the throne;  a son or grandson succeeded.  Then, there are the obvious cases of matrilineal succession.  In some cases, the father was an unknown, or in some instance not even mentioned, although the mother was always a Pict Princess, invariably descended from some previous king.  This is sufficient proof that the female line was at least as important as that of the father in the High (national) monarchy. 

With their fair skin, long limbs, and light  blonde or red hair, Pict women were an attractive item as prospective wives for Scot, Briton and Anglo/Saxon Kings alike.  The power of those Pict women is self-evident in the Pict names of their sons, despite the questionable presence of the foreign fathers. 

The Pict Fostering Out Tradition: The question begs to be answered; How could a son of a foreign King become a nationalist for his Pict mother's people?  Simple:  It is known for certain that in aristocratic Celtic societies (as well as Roman and Greek), sons of Rulers were fostered out to the care and tutoring of their mother's trusted circle, and not allowed to rejoin their father's company until they were at least 17 years of age, the age when they could join the military as a cadet.  By 17, any person has been molded by the sum of his youthful experiences.

This tradition dates back to Spartan society and beyond.  In the Eurasian Steppes, where our ancestors' culture evolved, warrior fathers were often away fighting, and did not have the time to care for their children.  It was merely a convenient arrangement for satisfactory foster parents (or private schools) to ensure the raising of a son steeped in the culture of his mother's people.

It was only after urban centres arose with their accompanying relative security and coherence that fathers could actually find the time to raise their sons.  It must be remembered that all Celtic societies from Anatolia to northern Britain, and from North Africa to northern Germany, unilaterally practiced a self-sufficient agricultural rural lifestyle.  The Celts never formed cities nor did they form any Empire.  They were united in culture only, and were consequently in a continual state of war or tension until the next war.

This cultural facet of Pict social life explains why Kings from Brud I to Kenneth MacAlpin were Albann nationalists, in spite of claims otherwise in the (Scottish Monk written) Pictish Chronicles when relating to the sympathies  of  Kenneth MacAlpin.  The most outstanding objective record that verifies Kenneth's true sympathies is that in the Ulster Annals, where it was written in Latin -  856 Cemoyth rex Pictorum moritur..-  translated into English = "Kenneth King of the Picts was killed in 856".  Note: There was no mention of "King of the Scots" or "King of Scotland".

Where The Only Parent Mentioned Was The Mother

"Brud, son of Buddug":  Buddug" was (and remains) Welsh for Boudicca  (the Breton version is Budog).  At the time of the Roman conquest of southern Britain Queen Boudica and her husband, King Prasutagus, ruled the Iceni tribe of East Anglia (modern Norfolk and Suffolk).  Boudicca was a striking looking woman. -  Tacitus wrote: "She was very tall, the glance of her eye most fierce; her voice harsh.   A great mass of the reddest hair fell down to her hips.  Her appearance was terrifying." - Definitely a lady to be noticed! Boudicca is taken from the Gaulic feminine adjective; boudka (victorious), and was derived from the Celtic word, bouda, meaning victory (Welsh = buddugoliaeth).  She was probably part (or all Pict) as striking red hair was common amongst the Picts and was a rarity amongst the Celts.  When the Roman governor rejected her succession to her husband's position, she was publicly flogged and her daughters were raped.

Dio Cassius wrote: "She was huge of frame, terrifying of aspect, and with a harsh voice. A great mass of bright red hair fell to her knees: She wore a great twisted golden necklace, and a tunic of many colors, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her...…"

She led a revolt against the Roman invaders.  When her army was defeated, she committed suicide by taking poison, rather than be taken prisoner.  Any Pict mother was honoured to be named after the original one.  "Buddug"  was the proper Welsh name of the original Briton heroine.  Buthut is the phony Gaelic version which appears in the Pictish Chronicles.  Although taught in schools, Boadicea is the Anglicized version.

"Brud V, son of Der-Lei":   In most earlier Pictish Chronicles, brothers, Brud IV and Nehhtonn III, were listed as being the sons of "Derile" or "Derelei".  Then, a version was printed listing them as the sons of Der Lei, the sister of Brude III.  This later lineage statement has been accepted as being the accurate one by most historians today, merely because Der-Lei means "littlest-Oak Tree" in P-Celtic (an obvious feminine name), and Derile and Derelei have no translation whatsoever in either P-Celtic or Q-Celtic.

"Nehhtonn III, another son of Princess Der-Lei".

"Drust VII, another son of Princess Der-Lei".

"Galanan V, son of Allidd":  Allidd meant "charming" in Pict, and was obviously a feminine name. There is no similarly spelled word or name in Irish.  The Pictish Chronicles listed her as Aleph, which was an amateurish attempt to Gaelicize the original.  There is nothing resembling "Aleph" in any Irish, Welsh, Breton or Scottish dictionaries.  

"Nehhtonn II, son of Uunnella":  All the lists show Nehhtonn II as a son of Cano.  Cano is a Gaelic concoction, and is not in any dictionary, the closest name in Q-Celtic is Càen (pronounced Cân), meaning "fair and white", hardly a masculine attribute.  The Brythonic equivalent was Fionn.  Since Picts always replaced an "F" with two "U"s , it became Uunnella (pronounced Fen-ella), neatly conforming to Pict demands for double consonants, and no mixing of vowels.

How do we know Uunnella was a bonafide Pict name?  This is where we get lucky and refer to actual historical events.  In 995, at Fettercairn in Mearns, a Pict noblewoman, "Finella", lured King Kenneth MacAlpin II into an outbuilding where he was assassinated by her cohorts.  The reason?  Kenneth had previously arranged for the execution of her son, for supporting his rival (and successor), Kast IV (a Pict). 

History does not record what her fate was, but there is a lesson here.  Perhaps this is the basis of the famous maxim: 
Don't underestimate the  power of a woman! In this particular case, the monks added an "O" to the name, the way the Spaniards do to make it  masculine.  The fact these four mothers were the only parents listed in each case, indicates they were the only parents who mattered, and the father in each case was insignificant.  This tells us something of the mindset of Pict culture. To make things interesting, one Pictish Chronicle conjured up fictitious female mates for these mothers, in a silly attempt to list them as males.  In that case, Buddug was listed as "Muthut".

Lychnis Alba
Lychnis Alba

Understanding the term - "Brud": The first verifiable Brud to appear in Albann as a Pict king was Brud Mauur, filius King Maelgwn of Gwynedd   The Anglo/Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria was expanding northwards, threatening all non-Germans in its way.  There was no room for Picts or Britons in an Anglo/Saxon Britain.

Only Strathclyde offered any real protection through its strong army.  Twenty years of peace was shattered at the Battle of Camlan in 537.  In 546, King Rhydderich was driven into exile from Strathclyde by a pagan revolt.  In 548, the Yellow Plague struck all of Britain bringing death to many.  Albann needed a miracle.

"Brud" in Brythonic means; wizard, soothsayer.  The early Celts (and Germans) promoted Seers to lead their armies, so it is not unnatural to surmise that a man referred to as "Brud" would easily slip into a position of great power.  Therefore, it was a powerful word connected to those who had the gift of telling the future; Seers.

We know from references in the Pictish Chronicles, that "Brud" was never spelled with a double "D".  Furthermore, the name was often written as "Bret" or "Breth" by the Gaelic Monks.  This was because that was the phonetic (actual) sound of the name.

By coincidence, the Germanic Anglo/Saxon word for high-King was 'Bretwalda'.  To Picts who had been speaking Brythonic Celt for over 500 years, it sounded like Brud-valda.  As it was a powerful word in both Celtic and German, it impressed the Picts.  True to form, they dropped the valda, and adopted it as their own.  Despite its Gaullish and German roots, there is no written record of a King Brud (or Bred) anywhere in Britain, except Albann.

We know that historical records refer to the King as Brud, but he may have been renamed that by the Pict high Council when he was crowned high king.   Or his Pict mother may have been smart enough to realize the effect that name would carry as High King.  Regardless, it would have been difficult for anyone in that situation to refuse the honour, especially him being the son of a king of a powerful neighbouring kingdom.

Perception was everything, and the Picts knew full well, both the Britons of Strathclyde and the Germans of Northumbria would have been duly impressed.  As it happened, the first king to carry the name, Brud I, was a resounding success, ensuring there would be many more Bruds to follow and emulate him.

In today's southern Wales, rural people still pronounce a "u" as an "i".  This is an ancient holdover that was no doubt widespread throughout north Britain in ancient times.  In "The Pictish Chronicles", the Gaelic monks often phonetically translated the Briton/Pict word, Brud, as "Bred",  or "Breth",  Bred being the phonetic sound of the name, and Breth, a satisfactory Gaelic translation.    Later English translators, in order to amplify the "U", (unnecessarily and incorrectly) added an "E" to spell it Brude, losing its true phonetic value. 

Note:  Today's surname of the Scottish descendants of the Brud dynasty is "Brodie".   There are no such names as Brud, Breth, Bred, Brude or Bruide in any phone book I have checked.

Rome begins a 300 year war in Britain it could not win

At the time of Julius Caesar's first small invasion of the south coast of Britain in 55 BC, the British Isles, like much of mainland Europe was inhabited by many Celtic tribes loosely united by a similar language and culture but nevertheless each distinct

He returned the next year and encountered the 4000 war chariots of the "Catevellauni" in a land "protected by forests and marshes, and filled with a great number of men and cattle." He defeated the Catevellauni and then withdrew, though not before establishing treaties and alliances.

In 43, Emperor Claudius sent Aulus Plautius and about 24,000 Gaullish soldiers to Britain, this time to establish control under a military presence.  Although subjugation of southern Britain proceeded fairly smoothly by a combination of military might and clever diplomacy, by 79 what is now England and Wales were firmly under control.

The far North remained a problem. However, Emperor Vespasian decided that Albann should also be incorporated into the Roman Empire.  Under his instructions the governor of Britain, Julius Agricola, subdued the northern Brythonic tribal clans, the Selgovae, Novantae and Votadini by 81.

Tacitus reported; Further to the north, lived loose associations of clans known collectively as the "Caledonians".  Agricola tried to provoke them into battle by marching an army into the Highlands, raping, murdering, burning and pillaging as they went, eventually forcing a battle with the Caledonian leader, Calgacus (Galanan).  That battle took place in present day Aberdeenshire at a place the Romans called "Mons Gramineus" (grassy mountain), and has been popularly misspelled ever since by the British as Graupius, which is not in any Latin dictionary.

Tacitus reported that 30,000 Caledonians were killed, but facts proved the reported victory was a hollow one.  The next day, the Caledonian soldiers melted away into the hills, and were to remain fiercely resistant and independent for the next 300 years.  

Tacitus's reports were proved to be mere propaganda for the consumption of the Roman Senate and people, in a successful campaign to raise Agricola's prestige on his journey to the position of Emperor. 

A List of Pict Kings 
In their proper Brythonic designations -

(With some interesting surprises - maps and extensive explanations)

Traditional Kings of the Picts

Drust I · Tallorggann I · Nehhtonn I · Drust II · Galanan I· Drust III · Drust IV · Galanan II · Lutren I· Tallorggann II · Drust V · Galanan III · Brud I · Galanan IV · Nehhtonn II · Cinnidd I · Galanan V · Brud II · Tallorggann III · Tallorggann IV · Galanan VI · Drust VI · Brud III · Taran I · Brud IV · Nehhtonn III · Drust VII · Alpin I · Onnus I · Brud V · Cinnidd II · Alpin II · Tallorggann V · Drust VIII · Connell I · Kast I · Onnus II · Drust IX · Uuen I · Uurad I · Brud VI · Cinnidd III · Brud VII · Drust X





This first section is a fantasy list, not believed to be factual by anyone

Circinn ruled 40
Fidach 40
Fortrenn 70
Floclaid 30
Caitt 12
Ce 15
Fibaid 24 


This part may be a figment of someone's imagination as there is no external verification of it.  No actual names of Kings or years are given or the length of their reigns.  It appears the early P-Celtic-Pict word for King was "Brud",  This could have been an offshoot from the earlier Gaullish word for King, "Brenin".  This would explain the appearance of several more Bruds later.  The second part of the name could refer to a place or a title.  No one knows for sure.

Twenty Nine Bruds

Brud, Son of Bonnedd (of noble descent), ruled for 48 years, from whom 28 Bruds ruled Ireland and Albany for 150 years.   They were:

Brud, son of Peran Brud, another son of Peran Brud, son of Lleu Brud, another son of Lleu
Brud, son of Emcat Brud, another son of Emcat Brud, son Cinnidd Brud, another son Cinnidd
Brud, son of Enfred Brud, another son of Enfred Brud, son of Parlan Brud, another son of  Parlan
Brud, son of Cinnidd Brud, another son Cinnidd Brud, son of Uipid Brud, another son of Uipid
Brud, son of  Runn Brud, son of  Erilid  Brud, son of Galanan Brud, another son of  Galanan
Brud, son of Cinnidd Brud, another son Cinnidd Brud, son of  Urb Brud, another son of Urb
Brud, son of  Girom Brud, another son of  Girom Brud, son of  Munnudd Brud, another son of  Munnudd


The Non-Historical (Mythical) King List
Note:  All King's names are listed in Pict where possible)

Galanan (75-84) (or Gilgud or Girom), First remembered High King (or Battle Commander) of Albann. Tacitus reported at length on "Calgatus" at the Battle of Mons Gramineus, where the Romans declared they had annihilated the Caledonians.  Later investigations proved Tacitus was never at the scene.  Many of his descriptions of weaponry and tactics have proven to be inaccurate.
Some sources make the ridiculous claim his name was Corbhid, a Q-Celtic name for Raven.  If his English equivalent name was Raven, his popular (P-Celtic) name would have been Bran, and that name is not even close to Calgatus.

Taran  (85-95).

MAUUR  Co-ruled 95-120NIDNET Co-ruled 95-120.

Duhhill (120-142)  Between 122 and 128, the Romans built Hadrian's Wall between the Solway Firth and the Tyne.  It was 112 kms long, two and a half meters wide, and its walls were over 4 meters high.  Auxiliary troops from Europe (Belgians, Basques, Germans and Gauls), manned the wall 24 hours a day.  Their numbers fluctuated throughout the occupation but may have been around 9,000 strong in general, including infantry and cavalry. The new forts could hold garrisons of 500 men, while cavalry units of 1,000 troops were stationed at either end.
The total number of soldiers manning the early wall was probably greater than 10,000.  In the years after Hadrian's death in 138, the new emperor, Antoninus Pius, essentially abandoned the wall, leaving it occupied by non-Roman auxiliaries in a support role.

CINNIDD  (142-148)  Grandson of Taran.  In 142AD, the Romans occupied southern Albann again. This time they built the Antonnine Wall between the Clyde and the Forth, to cut the Picts off from the  Britons, who lived south of it.

Now, two monstrous walls were implanted on Albann soil - to hold back an army the Roman propaganda machine had claimed was annihilated at Mons Gramineus 57 years earlier.   The result of this defacement would be a permanent state of war between the Picts and the Roman Empire.  Only the departure of one or the other party from Britain would bring peace - and the Picts were going nowhere.

The question begs to be asked; Why would the Romans invest in a 10,000+ man garrison to hold back an enemy that was supposedly annihilated at Mons Gramineus?   

In war, the first casualty is truth - California Senator Hiram Warren Johnson


TUDUUAL (148-158) Brother of Duhhill

Deoord  (158-162) The Antonnine wall was abandoned after only twenty years, when the Romans withdrew to Hadrian's Wall in 162.  They had reached an accommodation with the Brythonic tribes of the area who they had fostered as buffer states to hold back the Picts.   Part of this agreement was a humiliating yearly bribe not to attack Hadrian's Wall.

BlIESBLITUTH  (162-177)

Bran  (177-184)  Son of Cinnidd (also known as  Carvorst, founder of the kingdom of Strathclyde) (Also known as Corvus in Roman history) (gr-gr grandson of Caratacus, High-king of Britain, 40-43).  He was killed in 184 fighting the great Roman General, Ulpius Marcellus.  Bran's authority in Albann was only recognized in the south.

Blevog (185-195)

CARENNIDD (195-205)   After a series of attacks in 197, the Roman Governor of Britain, Lupus,  was forced to pay a humiliating price to purchase peace from the Picts, while the Emperor was busy putting down a rebellion in Gaul.  

DEEDRIC (205-210)  Named after Theodric, (the flame bearer), the Germanic god of war.  After an attack by the Picts in 208, Emperor Septimius Severus was forced to personally intervene (208 - 211) and went to the Albann frontier, where he repaired parts of the Antonnine wall.  However, this re-occupation only lasted a few years.  Herodian reported that these Picts fought naked and painted their bodies with designs of animals.  In 250AD, Solinus reported a similar practice by a section of the conquered Briton population.

USCOMBUTS  (210-225)

Artur  (225-230)  The powerful Brythonic legend of Arthur  (Bear man) , popularized this name.  

UIST  230-235)

RUNN  (235 - 240)   Irish sources reported a battle in 237AD where Irish forces defeated the Cruithni.  It is impossible to determine whether those "Cruithni" were Irish Cruithni or Albann Picts.  The Annals of the Four Masters reported: The fleet of Cormac sailed across the sea, and fought the battle of Magh Techt, where he obtained the sovereignty of Albann."  This was no doubt news to Runn.   A previous Irish monarch, whose death is placed in the beginning of the sixth century BC, Ugaine Mort, is described as " king of Ireland and of the whole of the west of Europe as far as the Muir Toirrian".

URB (240-250)  

Galanan I  (250-258)

Brud  (258-275) Son of Munnudd 

UpidD  (275-295) 

CANUTULACHAMA  (305-335) Son of Catluan.   In 310AD, a Roman orator spoke of a defeat of the Caledonians and "other Picts" by Constantius Chlorus, referring to a military campaign of 306AD.

Blann  (335-337)

Talladd  (337-343)

Utalec  (343-351) Son of Uuandal 

Uurad I (351-361)  Brother of Utalec

Onnus I  (361-369) Son of Uurgus  In 367AD, an alliance of Picts, Saxons and Irish Cruithni overwhelmed the garrisons at  Hadrian's Wall.  For a year, the raiders overran Britain and pillaged at will, until Emperor Theodosius brought over an army and chased them back.  Most historian's believe Niall of the nine Hostages, who ruled Ireland from 367 to 395AD, led the attack.   

Galanan II (369-398)  Son of Donnell.     In 387AD, in Kilmarnock, near Dumbarton, north of Hadrian's Wall, a male child was born who would change the face of Ireland and Britain forever.  In his early childhood, Maewyn Succat (warlike) was kidnapped by Irish Cruithni soldiers serving under Niall, and taken to Antrim in Ulster, where, he was sold into slavery.  Like many young Picts, he worked as a shepherd, and spent most of his spare time in prayer.  He eventually escaped and fled to the continent, where he studied in several monasteries, and because of his demeanor, was baptized "Patricius" (aristocratic).  He eventually became a Bishop and was sent by Pope Celestine back to Britain to evangelize England and Ireland.  He was most successful in Ireland, and completely converted Ireland to Christianity within 33 years.  In the Middle Ages, Ireland became known as the Land of Saints, and during the Dark Ages, its many monasteries were the sole repositories of learning in Europe - all because of Saint Patrick.  He died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 493 AD. 

In 370AD, nine cohorts of north Britons enlisted in the Roman army as auxiliaries.  One corps were "Attacotti" from the Hebrides.  They were sent to Gaul under a military contract, and were reported to have shared their wives, and they "infected" other Celtic auxiliaries with this mentality.

In 383AD, Governor Magnus Maximus was proclaimed Emperor at York.  He became "Augustus of the West", and took his legions to the continent where he was slain in 388.

TallorH I  (398-414)  Son of Aduur.  In 405AD, St. Patrick was kidnapped from Kilmarnock by Irish Cruithni.  By 410, the Romans had entirely left Britain.  The 300 year war had finally ended with victory for the Picts.  Now was the time for revenge.  Tallorggann led several devastating raids into southern Britain.  Their lingering hatred of the Romans and their puppet regimes in the south, spurred the Picts to send war parties into southern Britain.  With the power vacuum left by the withdrawal of the Roman army, the Picts could roam and pillage at will.

Drust MAUUR I (414-457) Son of Urb.  Well known in legend as the hero, "Iron-Fist" of 100 battles.  In the 19th year of his rule, Saint Patrick arrived in the island of Ireland.   St. Patrick arrived in Ireland in 432.   In North Britain, the sun was rising on a new superpower in Britain.  The curtain of Roman oppression had lifted, resulting in a Pict Empire reminiscent of what had been before the Romans forced them out of Northumbria.  The Picts devastated southern Britain.  They went on a killing spree, after their long oppression by the Romans.  With the Romans gone, their frustration was vented against the Roman underlings, the Britons, who had helped them torment the Picts.

It is believed that Drust  was the Pict leader when they burned Londinium, and left it a smoking ruin - as a final act of retribution for all the suffering and hardship the Picts had endured under a ruthless Roman military oppression.  In 444AD, a plague swept Britain.

Uurtgorn (Vortigern), the leader of the Romanized Britons, hired three shiploads of Anglo/Saxon pirates, led by Hengist,  to assist in beating off the Pict marauders.   His son, Octa, pushed the Picts back to beyond Hadrian's Wall, then settled beside the River Tweed, calling it their "sword room".  This was the birth of Northumbria, an area that would later give nightmares to Picts, Britons and Scots alike.  The progeny of these "Saxons", as the Celts called them, would come to usurp the Albann crown, dominate Scotland, and eventually ensure the end of Celtic civilization in Britain.  A terrible plague (probably Scarlet Fever) descended on Britain in 444. 

In 450, continental Europe was convulsed.  Out of Asia, came Attila and his Huns.  They were unstoppable, with their tough little ponies, and their fighting skill on horseback.  They swept across Germany and Gaul.  Terrified Germanic Angles, Saxons and Friesians fled across the channel for refuge.  Many refugees would return to the continent after the Huns had left, but to the Britons, this mass influx of strange Germans represented a danger, and they resisted.

A Roman army cavalry officer in Brittany, named Illtud, came across the Channel to organize and train the Britons in resisting the Anglo/Saxons.  A peace of twenty years arrived as the Anglo/Saxons were held in check behind a series of fortified towns.

The historical "dark ages" were descending on Europe.  The Scotti were still a mere curiosity, and the German refugees were no threat for the time being.  The future looked bright for a people free to pursue their destiny.  For the next 400 years, the Picts would dominate North Britain.

The Semi-Historical King List

This list includes eleven kings that several Pictish Chronicle begin with.  Their reigns are determined working back from the known reign of Brud Mauur, son of Maelgwn.  Their accuracy is lessened the further distant from Brud.

TallorH II (457-461) Son of Cinnidd 

Nehhtonn MAUUR I (461-486) Son of Urb In the third year of his rule, Darlugdat, the Abbess of Kildare went into exile from Ireland to Britain for the sake of Christ.  In the second year after her arrival, Nehhtonn consecrated Abernethy to God and Saint Brigid in the presence of Darlugdat, who sang alleluia over that offering.  The following sentence is lifted from the "other" Pictish Chronicles".

"And so Nehhtonn, king of all the Pictish provinces, offered Abernethy to Saint Brigid, until the day of judgment, together with its territories, which are positioned from the stone in Apurfeirt as far as the stone near Lethfoss, and from there onto the high ground as far as Athan. This is the reason for his gift. Nehhtonn living in a life of exile, when his brother Drust expelled him, went all the way to Ireland and beseeched Saint Brigid to make a request to God on his behalf. However, as she prayed for him she said: If you return to your homeland the Lord will have pity on you: you will take over the kingdom of the Picts in peace."  This story is chronologically impossible, and is so much nonsense.   Counting the reign lengths puts it before the time of St. Brigit.  This story was an invention.

Drust II (486-493)  Son of Cynnvar, King  of Gododdin.   A prosperous peace came to the Britons for the last twenty years of the fifth century.  Ambrosius Aurelianus, king of Strathclyde, halted the Anglo/Saxon advance.  Britain was now bisected north to south by a line from Edinburgh in the north to Southampton in the south.  The Anglo/Saxons controlled the east, and the Britons controlled the west.  Meanwhile, on the western shore, in Argyle, the Scotti were implanting their standards in their new "Dalriada".  They hoped to have come to stay.  All Roman references to "Scotti" before this point in time were actually Irish Cruithni of Ulster.

Galanan III  (498-513) Son of Cynydd of Strathearn.  The Anglo/Saxons revolted against the Britons at the beginning of the sixth century.  The Picts sided with the Anglo/Saxons, as they were constantly under pressure for living space by the Britons, and the Anglo/Saxons were eager to confront them.



Lutren I (540-543)  Another son of Girom.  Southern Albann came under the influence of Strathclyde, which had become the dominant military power in north Britain.

Tallorh III (543-546)  Son of king Murdoc of Ulidia.   In 548AD, the Yellow plague swept Britain.

Drust V  (546-548)  Son of Mùnnudd. 

Galanan V (548-550)  Son of Allidd.

The Battersea Shield, a magnificent example of the LaTene culture found in the Thames River.
It is undated but may be from the first century BC or the 1st century AD. 

  Sixth Century Britain & Ireland

This point in time marks the first known externally verifiable record of any King of the Picts.
At this time, the Kings of Albann were subordinate to the Kings of Strathclyde.



Brud MAUUR I  (550 - 584) Son of King Maelgwn of Gwynedd and a maternal nephew of Drust III.  King Brud became agitated at the impetuousness of the Scots, and in 559, he defeated them in battle, and drowned their king, Gabran. He laid waste to Dalriada, then followed the rival king over to Ulster, caught up with him and slew him also. He became absolute ruler of both Albann and an annexed Dalriada.   He also separated half of Dalriada, and re-incorporated it into Albann proper, as Dalriadic rulers had routinely seized parts of Albann to illegally expand their territory.

Had he pressed on, and expelled the Scots from Argyll altogether, Scotland would still be known as Albann.  However, he left them in peace in an arrangement with a puppet king who was subservient to him. Little did he know that, due to their stubborn Christian religion, they would become a beacon of light to all Christians in Britain, and would in the end, consume a greater war-ravaged Albann.

The Albann annexation of Dalriada was a mixed blessing.  It maintained an uneasy truce, and temporarily suspended the land stealing but it also opened up Pict Royalty to Scottish infiltration through marriages, usually a Scottish man to a Pict Princess.  Gradually, many Pict Royal families had Scottish blood lines and visa versa.  As long as Albann remained in a strong military position, Dalriada remained uneasily annexed but whenever Albann's military weakened, Dalriada might revolt.

According to Bede, Columba arrived at Iona in 563AD, and arrived in Albann in 565AD, the 9th year of Brud's reign,  and in the eighth year of his rule, he was baptized by Columba. Adamnan, Abbot of Iona (no friend of the Picts), in his "Life of St. Columba" wrote that Brud was never converted by Columba, although he did give Columba space to build a church.  Adamnan,  wrote about the visit of the Irish saint to the court of Brud near Loch Ness, and he wrote that Brud was an exceptionally powerful king. 

Columba needed interpreters to speak to the king, clear evidence that the Picts did not speak the Q-Celtic language of the Irish and Scots, and perhaps not even mainstream Brythonic Celt, which was still spoken by the Ulidians across the Irish Sea in north-east Ireland.  Since Columba had two Cruithne compatriots from Ulidia with him, this is one of the great puzzles of history.  Just how imbedded was the pre-Celtic Pict language in Pict society?

Brud transforms himself from Warrior to Manipulator:  As old age weakened Brud's grip on his kingdom, the Orkney pirates and the Maeatae Picts began to raid the eastern coast again.  The Maeatae Picts were a once powerful lowland tribe heavily influenced by Pre-Celtic Picts.  Their original homeland was immediately north of the Antonnine Wall, where they led numerous raids against the Romans.  They were severely weakened by their heavy losses to Roman armies in the 2nd century AD, and Alclyde Britons had overrun their homeland.  They turned to piracy.

Upon Brud's request,  sub-king Aédan of Dalriada,  led a Scottish war-fleet against resurgent Orkney pirates in 580, and brought them under control of the central authority again.  In 582, Aedan sought a favour from Brud, and received Brud's blessing, and chased the Ulidians out of the Isle of Man.  This brilliant manoeuvre brought the Isle of Man, the geographical centre of the British Isles, within the Albann Empire at no cost to Brud.  Although the Dal Riatans were in fact his surrogates, he could innocently explain to his  overseas Pict "brothers" in Ulidia, that he had little control over Scottish "adventurers".   This marked the first time in history that the Isle of Man was subject to a Gaelic-speaking entity.

Brud had succeeded where the Ulidians had failed; he had harnessed the new Dal Riatan War fleet to do his bidding.   Aed ruled new Dal Riata as a de-facto  governor on Brud's sufferance, and he knew it.  Aed had penetrated the Albann Royal family by marrying one of Brud's nieces.  He was only too happy to support Brud and simultaneously further his own agenda.  In 583, Aed repaid Brud by throwing back a Saxon raid on Manaan in Stirlingshire.  The only negative aspect about this mutually beneficial relationship was - it was only feasible while Brud lived.  With Brud out of the picture, Aed could feel free to challenge a successor, perhaps in the process, he or his half Pict son would become the new High King of Albann.  Brud died in 584.

Brud had been the greatest High King in Albann's history.  He had brought the Scottish problem under complete control.  He had brought the northernmost part of Albion, the Orkney and Shetland Isles, into the realm of Albann, and also the southernmost part of his kingdom, the Isle of Man.  He had also established a fool-hold on the island of Hibernia.  He had also made Albann safe for Christian missionaries.  Whether these advances could be sustained, would depend on his successors.  They would soon prove they were not up to his standard.

A Note about Maelgwn of Gwynedd
From Welsh sources)

Maelgwn, more commonly known as Maelgwn Gwynedd was a historical figure who, like so many other great historical figures, has been brought into the limelight to appear larger than life.  Maelgwn was a son of Cadwwallon Llawhir, also known as Maelgwn Hir (The Tall), and ruled Gwynedd from circa 520s, and emerged as one of the most influential rulers of 6th century Britain.  By native sources he was said to be a great patron of the arts and a skilled lawgiver.

What is certain is that Maelgwn established court at Deganwy (the hill-name Bryn Maelgwn preserves his name there) where he surrounded himself with the best bards and artisans of the Kingdom, all of whom wrote glowingly of their patron's achievements.  By the time of his death, Maelgwn had established himself as the preeminent ruler of the region, and his sons, Runn and Brud, would inherit  both Gwynedd and the lands of the Picts in southern Albann.  The Annales Cambriae claim he died from the yellow plague that swept Britain in 547-549.

Galanan VI (584-595) Son of Aédan MacGabran, sub-king of Dalriada.  He moved his capital to Abernethy.  Aedan was married to a Pictish princess, and had been a great friend and ally of Brud Mauur, began raiding Pict settlements on his northern frontier (and the Northumbrians to his south).  

In 585AD, Aedan won a battle against the Maeatae Picts and Saxons.   Aedan bit off more than he could chew, and was soundly defeated in his southern plundering by the great Anglo/Saxons king, Aethelfrid of Northumbria.  Aethelfrid led a punitive expedition into Dalriada, where he burned and destroyed every structure he could find, sparing none, not even the Monasteries and Churches.  In the past, the Picts had sided with the Anglo/Saxons in their mutual fear of the Britons.  This was because the Britons were the greatest threat, and the Briton's enemy became the Picts' friend.  However, through a series of battles, the Anglo/Saxons had seized most of Brythonic territory south of Albann.   Now, there were new refugee Brythonic Kingdoms being set up in southern Albann, which deprived the Picts of their south.

Suspecting the Picts had put Aédan up to it, Aethelfrid then marched north, and devastated Albann as far as the Firth of Forth.  Suddenly, the Picts had a new worry in the seemingly invincible Germanic Anglo/Saxon tribes who had already conquered the eastern half of Celtic England by this time, and were on their way to conquering all of Albann.  These former southern Pict allies had become too powerful, and now, suddenly had become a threat that could mean the absolute end of  both Brythonic and Pict society.  The southern Picts allied themselves with the most powerful Brythonic kingdom, Strathclyde.

In 590AD, St. Mungo visited Pope Gregory in Rome.   The Pope's seven emissaries travelled to Iona.

Nehhtonn II (594-621) Son of Uunnella + Urb.  Nehhtonn was also known as King Neifion of Strathclyde.   Albann was very much under the influence of the Strathclyde Britons in the early seventh century.  Saint Columba died at Iona in 597AD.  In 616AD, Aethelfrid captured Chester, isolating Strathclyde from Wales.  Aethelfrid fell in this battle, and consequently, his son, King Ecgberht of Bernicia, fled into exile among the Picts.  The real power in southern Albann was Ecgberht.  Albann kings became puppets of the Northumbrians.

The southern Picts fell under the domination of the Northumbrian Angles from 616 to the Battle of Nechtansmere in 685.  From this point in time, the kings of Albann were determined by the Kings of Northumbria.   During this period, Saint Cuthbert visited the Picts, who he referred to as "Niduari" (in Latin).

CINNIDD I (621-631) Son of Lutren, and husband of a sister of Galanan  VI.
Over in Ireland, things were happening that profoundly affected Albann, and its aspirations for overseas territory that Brud Mauur had began.  In 627, Congal Claen, son of Scannlan, King of Ulidia, became the military overlord of Ulster, and in 628, he killed the High King, Suibe Menn, beginning a long war between the Gaels of the south and the Ulidians and their Albann allies.  Domnall Aed then became High king of Ireland.  In 629 AD, Domnall defeated Congal at the Battle of Dun Cethirn.  Congal fled to Albann to seek help from King Domnall Brecc of new Dal Riada (a sub-kingdom within Albann that included Ulster territories). 

Galanan VII (631-635) Son of Uurad (King Gwyddno) of Strathclyde (grandson of Brud).   Ecgberht was the King of Bernicia at this time (632-634).   Edwin, king of Northumbria, was killed at the battle of Hatfield by king Cadwalla of Gwynedd, about 633.  During this time, the sons of Edwin's predecessor, King Aethelfrid,  lived in exile among the Picts, and were converted to Celtic Christianity.  The eldest son, Ecgberht, married a Pict Princess and begat a son, Tallorggann.  Upon Edwin's death, Ecgberht inherited the Northumbrian sub-kingship of Bernicia.

Brud III (635-641)  Brother of Galanan VII.  In 637, Pict warriors fought on Irish soil as part of a multinational host of Kemry, Anglo/Saxons and Irish Cruithni assembled by a vengeful Congal Claen.  This was predominantly a battle to determine the future of Ulster; either as an entity independent of the Gaelic south but as an "associate" of Albann or as an integral part of the Irish federation, with no political connection to Albann.  The Irish forces won the Battle of Magh Rath (Moira) but enough damage was done to the Gaels to slow down their expansion in the north.  Congal Claen fell in battle.  This was a historically important battle over the control of Ulster, in which Albann and its Scottish sub-kingdom of New Dalriada lost its Irish territories. 

Tallorggann I (641-653)   Another brother of Galanan VII. 

Tallorggann II (653-657) (son of sister of Tallorggann IV  + King Ecgberht of Bernicia.   

In 654, Tallorggann defeated and killed Dúnchad mac Conaig, king of Dalriada, in battle at Strath Ethairt.  This battle was part of a traditional "inaugural raid" against hostile neighbors to mark the beginning of a king's rule.  Tallorggann was the nephew of the powerful King Oswiu of Northumbria.  

Galanan VIII (657-663) Son of Donnell (King Domnall Brecc) of Dalriada.  At the end of Tallorggann V's reign,  Oswiu attacked southern Albann and part of Dalriada, and occupied it for thirty years.  Galanan ruled the free north 6½ years.  By 678, an Anglian Bishopric was established in Albann under Bishop Trumwine at Abercorn on the south shore of the River Forth.

Drust VI  (663-672)  Another son of Donnell.  Expelled in 673 by Ecgberht.  (Picts revolted against the Anglo-Saxon invaders in 672, but were crushed by a Northumbrian army.  Ecgberht made  a bridge of Pict corpses so that his cavalry could ride dryshod and slaughter the fleeing Pict soldiers.  

The Northumbrian story as told by Bede in the 9th century:  In documenting  the Anglo/Saxons's victory over the Picts, Bede wrote "filling two rivers with corpses, so that, marvelous to relate, the slayers, passing over the rivers dry-shod, pursued and slew the crowd of fugitives".  

In 678, Ecgberht appointed Trumwine (with his retinue of Monks) at "Abercorn" (Abernethy) to act as bishop for the Picts, a clear indication the victory of 672 had bought all southern Albann within the control of greater Northumbria.

In 684, Ecgberht sent an expedition to Ireland under his general, Berht, which seems to have been unsuccessful in the sense that no Irish land was conquered by the Northumbrians.  However, the expedition was successful in that Ecgberht's men did manage to seize a large number of slaves and made off with a significant amount of plunder.  Bede wrote that not even the monasteries and churches were spared.

Perhaps encouraged by his expedition against Ireland, and frustrated by his lack of success in the south, Ecgberht decided that another military foray against the Picts was in order.  Early in 685, "rashly leading his army to ravage the province of the Picts", he met the Pict army at the Battle of Nechtansmere.  Ecgberht lost both his life and most of his army in one of the most devastating defeats ever suffered by an Anglo/Saxon (English) king on British soil.

The Battle of Nechtansmere was a disaster for Northumbria, ending whatever pretensions it had to be the dominant military power in Britain. It marked a turning point in the history of Northumbria, as it brought an end to the expansionist era that had begun eighty years before in the time of Aethelfrid.

The legacy of the Warrior King, Ecgberht,  of Northumbria, who instilled so much terror into North Britain, became etched into the Welsh language forever, as the Welsh translation was "Enbyd", which became meaningful as "dangerous, awful".

Brud MAUUR IV (672-693)  Son of Beli (King of Strathclyde 614-633), who was a son of Nehhtonn II.  In 678, the death of Drust.  In 682, he assembled a Pict fleet which sailed north and destroyed the growing Orcadian sea power, and finally laid waste to the Scottish fortress of Dunnadd in 683, annexed Dalriada, making him king of both Albann and Dalriada.  Two years later, on 20 May 685, Brud faced the huge host of the Anglo-Saxon invader on the plains of Dunnichen, in Angus.  The battle which followed, called the Battle of Nechtansmere by the Anglo/Saxons, remains one of the most significant turning points in ancient history and shaped northern Britain for the next 1300 years.

The invincible Anglo-Saxons had defeated every force which they had faced, and by now had occupied southern Pictland for 30 years.   It was at Nechtansmere that Brude made his name great.  They met in battle on May 20 near Dunnichen; the Picts pretended to retreat, drawing the Northumbrians into the swamp of Nechtansmere.  The pent up fury of suffering under the arrogant Anglo/Saxons for 30 years exploded, and his army massacred the entire Anglo-Saxon host including its proud king, as well as "cleansing" the land by killing or enslaving the remaining Anglo/Saxons who had settled in Albann.  Had Brud lost that great battle, the Scotland of today would not exist, and all of Britain would have been English.

Adamnan, chronicler of Columba, tells us Brud's father was Beli, son of Neifion (Welsh for Nehhtonn), a former king of Albann and Strathclyde.  His brother, Owain, had also ruled Strathclyde, and had previously defeated and killed Domnall Brecc, king of Dal Riada at the battle of Strathcarron in 642.  It was this victory that confirmed Strathclyde as the dominant power in northern Britain in the mid-seventh century, and it is this dominance that explains how a Brythonic prince such as Brud was able to impose himself on the neighbouring kingdom of the Picts.

Brud's father, Beli, played an important role in this victory with a substantial numbers of Strathclyde troops.  This victory marked the ascendancy of the Kingdom of Strathclyde as the paramount military power in the north, eclipsing Northumbria.  That hegemony lasted 185 years, and ended in the year 870, when Vikings under Olaf and Ivar sailed up the Clyde and defeated a Strathclyde army, sacked Dumbarton, and occupied the country for a year.  The King, Artgal, escaped to the court of Scottish King Constantine, who had him murdered as per a secret agreement with the Vikings.

In 688AD, Abbot Adomnan of Iona wrote "Life of St. Columba".

Taran II  (693-697)  Son of Llann.  Expelled in 697, and retired to Ireland with his retinue in 699.

Brud V  (697-706).  Elder son of Princess Der-Lei  (a sister of Brud III).  He also fought the Northumbrians (this time far south of Albann) and is thought to have destroyed yet another Northumbrian host, and killed a Teutonic sub-king in the Lothians. Died in  706.  Saint Adomnan, the 9th Abbot of Iona, and head of the Scottish Church, attempted unsuccessfully to persuade Brud IV to adopt Roman Catholic Tonsular usage, and to change the date of Easter to conform to the recent changes in Rome.







Women Lose Their Equality Under The Guise of "Protection

The most famous legal gathering of those times was in 697, when fifty-one kings of Ireland and Britain gathered under the sponsorship of Adamnan (a proto-Geneva Convention for "the protection of women") to declare "The Law Of the Innocents"  wherein it was declared that women and children, the elderly, and (of course) the Clergy would be protected from the ravages of war, since these groups  were deemed to be the apparently innocent victims of men's wars.  Women were to be banned from actually fighting in battle.

It is interesting to know that this "Law" had been proposed by Adamnan, whose mother (according to Irish legend) was horrified to see Pict women fight viciously in war, and made Adamnan promise that he would stop women from taking their place on the battlefield.  Tacitus wrote that Celtic  women  enjoyed far more equality than either the Greeks and Romans allowed their women.  This ran totally against Greek and Roman thinking.

Celtic sagas tell us of many women Warriors, Druidesses, Ambassadors and otherwise Leaders of society; Amongst them were Medb of Connacht, Boudicca of the Iceni, Scathach, Aoife, Credne, Fianna, Coinchend, Estiu, Cartimandua of the Brigantes, Onomaris of the Gauls, Eponima of the Lingones, Chiomara of the Tolistoboii and Camma of Galatia.  According to Irish sources, Macha Mong Ruadh, became ruler of all Ireland (337-331BC).  Tacitus commented in his Annals, that the Celts had no hesitation in accepting females as their rulers or in the command of their armies.

Meanwhile, the highly organized political structures of Greco-Roman societies had no place for women in power.  The Romans looked upon women as bearers of children and objects of pleasure.  That attitude became solidly imbedded into the very foundations of religious and cultural institutions throughout the Mediterranean and middle East.  Due to the monopoly of Italians in the role of Pope, it was that attitude that surfaced in the Universal Church of Rome, and eventually sublimated women throughout its global sphere of influence. 

This far-reaching law signaled a drastic retreat from the ancient Celtic attitude towards women.  Instead of protecting women from the ravages of war, it stripped them of any rights whatsoever.  Instead of being participants, they became victims.  Soon, they were not only denied any meaningful participation in the Church, but they were denied ownership of property, succession, access to the professions, and eventually became mere property themselves.

It is ironic that 287 years after the Romans were forced to leave Britain, their twisted patriarchal attitude towards women was proclaimed into law under the guise of religious and moral ethics.  It would be another 1,250 years before women would partially regain their equality with men.  

Women were not considered persons until the 20th century in most democracies.  Only recently, in relative terms, are we revisiting the notion that  women are the absolute equals of men.  The United States Congress has just recently passed a bill to enforce equal pay for women.  That measure will undoubtedly eventually trickle down to other "enlightened" countries.  It took 1,302 years for our "western democracies" to begin to reinvent the notion of equality for women.

Nehhtonn III (706-724).  Another son of Princess Der-Lei.  He built 1,000 stone churches, and firmly established Albann as a Christian country with its mother church in Dunkeld.  He also established the idea that the sovereign was the head of the national church.  This idea spread to England and influenced King Henry VIII, when he proclaimed himself head of the Church of England.  That idea is still in effect, as the British sovereign continues to be ceremonially proclaimed "defender of the faith" when crowned in Westminster Abbey.  In 711, his army was routed by a Saxon army on the plain of Manaw in West Lothian.

After a visit by Boniface, an envoy of the Pope, Nehhtonn changed the date of Easter to conform with that of the Roman church, and rejected the Celtic Tonsular habit.  However, this decision was mostly due to the dangerous authority exercised by the Scottish Columban church over Albann.  In 717, he expelled the Columban Clergy who resisted his decree that they conform to Roman Catholic church rules.  In exercising his authority to break the Pictic Church from the Scottic Church, he paid a heavy price.  A popular uprising in 724 against his religious meddling forced Nehhtonn to abdicate and enter a monastery. Imprisoned by Drust in 726, he returned in 728, and died in 732.  Nehhtonn's religious decrees caused a severe rift between north and south, resulting in the loss to Albann of the Northern Kingdom, thereby severely limiting the southern Pict's ability to enforce its authority against ever increasing threats from within and outside the Kingdom.

Drust VII  (724-726)  Another son of Princess Der-Lei.  He repealed Nehhtonn's religious decrees, and re-instituted the Columban Clergy due to popular demand.  He was deposed by Alpin I.

Alpin I  (726-729) Son of Uuen.  In 727, Drust attempted to regain the crown but was defeated in three battles.  In 728, Alpín I, Onnus I and Nehhtonn III, fought a three way civil war. Onnus was victorious in 729, Alpín was killed in battle.

Onnus I  (729-759) Son of Uurgus. Onnus was a true warrior king, founder of a new dynasty, and nearly invincible.  His reign was particularly bloody and ruthless.  Upon seizing the Pict throne from Drust, he captured and drowned the sub-King of Atholl. In 732, a Greek Monk from the Byzantium Empire, named, Regulas, landed at Mucros on the north-east coast of Fife in AD732, with some of the relics of Saint Andrew, where he and his companions set up a church, eventually becoming a magnificent stone Cathedral, called Saint Andrews. In 736, Onnus turned his attention to the Scottish problem.  He stormed the citadel at Dunnadd, and occupied the city.  He followed the Dalriadic king, Alpin,  to Ulster, slew him and defeated the rebel Dalriadan forces.  Onnus made the Prince regent, Eogan II, a vassal-King but three years later, in 739, he deposed Eogan and annexed Dalriada to Albann.  The futures of Albann and Dalriada became inextricably entwined.

In 741, Onnus quelled another rebellion in Dalriada, killing king Indrechtach.  The war against Strathclyde (750-756) went badly for the Picts, which encouraged another uprising in Dalriada.  He defeated his two remaining enemies in two battles in Ireland, but lost his son, Brud.  After ten years of conflict, he became king of both Albann and Dal Riata.  The defeat of the Pict army at the Battle of Mygedawg, in Strathclyde in 750, caused a rebellion in Albann, during which Onnus lost control of the country for two years (750-752), during which the Scots, under king Aedh I, expelled the Pict garrison army.   In 752, King Teudebir of Strathclyde was killed fighting the Northumbrians.  King Onnus recovered his kingdom, and taking advantage of Strathclyde's weakness, he attacked again in 752.  He fought them in 754, and defeated them in open battle.  However, the Britons held.  Again in 756, Onnus marched his army south to the great Briton fortress at Dumbarton, where he was joined by Scots and Northumbrians intent on destroying the powerful Strathclyde kingdom once and for all.  This time, the combined armies nearly succeeded in capturing the great rock fortress, but in a stunning reversal, they were nearly destroyed in battle, and Onnus made a humiliating retreat.  However, a weakened Strathclyde became a vassal state of Northumbria.  Onnus died in 761.

Brud V  (759-761 He was king of both Albann and Dalriada.  In the nearly forty years since Dalriada had been wasted by Onnus, rebellious Scots had been rebuilding under the leadership of Aed Finn, son of Eochaid, who by 768 began raiding Pictish territories again. However, a blanket of historical darkness engulfs both Pictish and Scottish history though the latter years of the eight century and the ninth.  Nonetheless, according to The Annals of Tigernach, no less that 150 Pictish ships were wrecked by a storm near Ross Crussini, perhaps a hint of a war fleet raised against northern enemies.


CINNIDD II  (761-773)  Son of Uurad of Lorne, in Dalriada  Aed Finn (king of Dalriada) defeated Cinnidd in battle, temporarily regaining independence in 768.  Cinnidd died in 775.

Alpin II (773-777)  Another son of Uurad.  Deposed. Died in 780.

Drust VIII (777-778) Son of Tallorggann II. 

Tallorggann III (778-782) Son of Drust VIII. 

Tallorggann IV (782-785) Son of Onnus II. 

Connell I  (785-790) (also ConalI V of Dalriada)  Son of Tegid.  He fled after losing a battle against Kast in 789.  He later became King of Dál Riata, and was killed by Conall, son of Áedán, in 807.

Kast I  (790-820) Son of Uurgus (of Albann and an annexed Dalriada (811-820).  He defeated and killed Conall of Dalriada.  He placed his son, Donnell (Domnall in Gaelic), on the throne of Dalriada.  Kast was a strong leader. The Dupplin cross at Strathearn bears the inscription in Latin, "CUSTANTIN FILIUS FIRCUS", an obvious reference to this King.  The Scots by now had been a significant part of the Pict royal lines through intermarriage.    Note: His sister, Princess Urgusticc, was the wife of Eogan IV of Dalriada & mother of Alpin of Kintyre.  By 820, Norse and Danish pirates were intensively raiding the coasts of all Britain.

Onnus II (820-834)  Another son of Uurgus.  King of Albann including Dalriada.  Another grand nephew of Onnus I, he was responsible for one of the great miracles of AlbannAn army under Onnus had been on a punitive raid in Northumbrian territory in East Anglia, but were confronted by a larger force of Anglo/Saxons under their king, Ethelstan.Panel at the Saltire Memorial

Trapped and surrounded by their enemy, defeat seemed almost certain, but after Onnus and his men had prayed for deliverance, the appearance in the blue sky above them of a white cloud in the shape of a saltire or St Andrew’s Cross seemed to promise that their prayers had been heeded. 

Thereupon, Onnus vowed that if they were victorious that day, Saint Andrew would forever be their patron saint.  Feeling God was on their side, the Picts charged with great enthusiasm and courage against the bewildered Anglo/Saxons.  Victory was theirs.

Onnus remembered his vow, and he declared the pure white saltire cross of Saint Andrew on a sky blue background to be the new symbol of the Picts, replacing the Highland bull.  This was the first appearance of such a banner in the history of nations.  The date is believed to have been 832.  Onnus died in 834. 


Drust IX (834-837)  Son of Kast, with -
(834-837) Son of Uurddol; co-reigned for three years.  Upon the death of Onnus II, in a terrible defeat by the Norse, Alpin Mac Hugh of Kintyre, a half-Pict, married to a Pict Princess, claimed the throne of Albann through his mother's line.  Drust was attempting to gather his forces when Alpin led a sneak attack on Easter Sunday, the only holy day of the year for both Picts and Scots.

From every moral point, this attack was inexcusable.  In the Autumn of that year, he was defeated by a vengeful Pict army led by Uuen, a son of Onnus II, and was publicly beheaded in a traditional Pict ceremony of retribution reserved for traitors.Albann at the beginning of the 9th century.  Beset by Vikings all along the coast and even inland, it had shrunk to a battered state with five distinct peoples, all striving for living space, the Northern Picts, the southern Picts, The Scots of Dalriada, the Britons of Strathclyde and the Angles of Lothian.

Uuen (837- 839)  Son of Onnus II.  Uuen was King of both Albann and an annexed Dalradia.  A major Viking force had landed in Galloway, and marched inland near St. Fillian's where they gave battle to a combined force of Picts and Scots.

In 839, Uuen was killed along with the sub-king of Dalriada, Eoganan mac Boanta and most of the male Pict and Scottic aristocracy, at the Battle of Forteviot.  

With the death of Sub-king, Eoganan, of Dalriada, elder son of Alpin of Kintyre, his younger brother, Cinnidd, inherited the throne of Dalriada as sub-king.  This defeat at the hands of the Norsemen ranks as the most significant in Pict history, and was ironically repeated many centuries later by a similar annihilation of almost all the Scottish nobles at Flodden.  

Uurad II (839- 842) Son of Barggot.  He was murdered, upon which his two elder sons, Brud and Cinnidd claimed the throne.

Brud VI  (843) Son of Uurad II -  He ruled for one month, and was also  murdered.

CINNIDD III Mac Uurad (843) Another son of Uurad II -  Co-ruled with -  CINNIDD MAC ALPIN Son of Alpin, one year.  Both were deposed by Brud VII.

Brud VII (843-844) Another son of Uurad II -  Deposed by Drust X.



Drust X  (844-848)   Another son of Uurad II. Under attack by Anglo/Saxons, and Danes.  According to Scottish revisionists, he led a severely weakened Pict army, and was eventually killed fighting rebelling Scots under Cinnidd MacAlpin in the "2nd" Battle of Forteviot in Perthshire.  This battle is pure fiction as there is no evidence it ever took place.  It was only conjured up 377 years after the battle supposedly took place.  At this point in time, the remaining southern Pict aristocracy held a council and decided to end the continuous bickering with the Scots of Dalriada by electing Cinnidd MacAlpin as King of a united Albann (southern Picts and Scots).  He was proclaimed "Rex Pictorum" in the year 850, in the traditional Pict ceremony with a simple gold crown.

The MacAlpin Dynasty

CINNIDD I (848-858)  (Cináed mac Ailpín in Gaelic)  A younger son of Alpin MacHugh of Kintyre + Drusticc, a sister of Drust IX.   And so (due to a series of political intrigues), Cinnidd, the son of Alpín, officially ruled the kingdom of Albann for eight years. In the seventh year of his rule, (to save them from Viking raiders) he transferred the remains of Saint Columba to the church in Dunkeld.  He attacked  Lothian six times; and he burned Dunbar and captured Melrose.  However, the Britons of Strathclyde burned down Dunblane, and the Danes laid waste to Albann, as far as Cluny and Dunkeld.

The Annals of Ulster reported in their entry, 858.2: "Cinaedh m. Ailpin, rex Pictorum, Adulf rex Saxan, mortui sunt." Translated, this would read: Kenneth son of Ailpín, king of the Picts, and Ethelwulf, king of the Saxons, died."  Cinneadh was killed  in a battle near Loch Earn.  Despite his considerable diplomatic skills, he had to constantly lead excursions to fight off threats to his Kingdom.  Under his rule, Albann lost vast areas of Sutherland, Caithness, all of the Hebridies and most of Dal Riata to the Norse. 

Cinneadh MacAlpin  was the founder of a Pict dynasty, not his father, Alpin.   Alpin was never king of Dalriada and to verify this, the Annals of Ulster never mentioned him.   He was a minor noble who lived in Kintyre, his presence there being tolerated by the High King of Albann. The average length of the nine reigns since the death of Onnus II in 834, was only two years.  This was due to the chaos caused by incessant raids by Vikings along the coasts and even deep inland.  This section of the Pictish Chronicle verifies that Albann had lost control of vast areas of the west and north to Vikings, and that Strathclyde and Lothian remained hostile.  Moray remained a separate Pict Kingdom under its own dynasty.

Was Kenneth a success as ruler of southern Albann?  In one sense (the integrity of Albann territory) he failed miserably, but in the sense of establishing a foundation for a lasting nation, he certainly was successful.  The integration of the Picts and Scots (which was the necessary foundation of the country) began long before his time but he accelerated the process, and in many Scottish records, he is (falsely) given full credit for it.  It would merely be a matter of time before the forces of the national government overcame the Norse overlords in the west and the Pict northern Kingdom, and brought those areas back within the traditional Albann national fold.

The "Prophecy"  of  Saint  Berchan

It was not a prophecy at all, but a sly way of rewriting history long after the fact.  The earliest date ascribed to these "prophesies" was in the late twelfth century, about 250 years after Kenneth entered the scene of Albann politics.  By giving them a name such as "Prophecy", they took on a semi-legendary mystique of their own.  They were designed to put Kenneth on a pedestal and thereby began the fairy tale of him annihilating the Picts.

A son of the Clan of his son will possess
The kingdom of Albann, by virtue of his strength,
A man who shall feed ravens, break battles,
His name was the Ferbasach [conqueror].

He is the first king who possessed in the east
of the men of Erin in Albann,
It was by the strength of darts and swords,
By violent deaths by violent fates.

By him who deceived in the east the fierce ones,
He shall dig in the earth, powerful the art,
Dangerous goad blades, death, pillage,
On the middle of Scone of high shields...

According to the Prophesies of St. Berchan,  Alpin Mac Hugh married a Norse Princess after his first wife (a Pict) died.  The account includes a quick description of Kenneth's reign as follows"

Seventeen years of warding valour,
In the sovereignty of Albann,
After slaughtering Cruithneach [the Picts],
after embittering Galls [the Norse],
He dies on the banks of the Earn.

It was bad with Alpin then,
Long ere another like him shall come,
It was a short time till took the kingdom
The wanton son of the Gaillsighe [Norse woman].

This verse strongly indicates the Scottish Monks were not entirely happy with Kenneth nor his son, Donald.  Perhaps he wasn't nationalistic enough for their liking.

The Loss of Pict Culture in southern Albann

The real reason the Picts were overwhelmed by the Scots was through sheer desperation, not military conquest.  Diplomacy was one of Kenneth's talents.  That more than anything else was what won him the throne of southern Albann.  The shift of Dal Riatan power from the west coast to the east happened in coincidence as Norse raiders and settlers were pouring into the Western Isles., Ireland and Dalriada.  Kenneth should have been their keenest enemy, but his relationship with the Norse was ambivalent at best.

The Scots in Dal Riata became little more than desperate refugees fleeing the giant Norse.  Their choice was simple, stay and become imperiled subjects of a distant heathen Norse King or flee to sanctuary to their fellow Christian Celtic cousins, the Picts. There was only one place for them to go - to the heavily militarized plains of the east where great Pict Naval defensive sites such as Burghead, Green Castle and Portknockie on the southern shores of the Moray Firth were situated.  Then there were the great inland stone-walled fortresses at Bruce's Camp, Inverurie, Mither Tap, Tillymuick, Tap o' Noth near Rhynie,  Dunnottar, south of Aberdeen, Dunnicaer and Doon Hill all provided them with sanctuary.  There was nothing like these mighty fortresses in Dal Riata. 

Suddenly, the bulk of the Scots found themselves in the midst of a Pict country with strange laws, a strange language and at a disadvantage in their religious rights.  As Gaelic and Pictish speaking people intermingled as never before, the Pictish language gradually faded from use.  No doubt there was a substantial period of bilingualism before it ceased to be spoken by the farming community, but it probably disappeared within a few generations at court. 

Kenneth was recorded (however inaccurately) as using devastating Viking raids into Pictish territory to his advantage, and as a Raven, he went in afterwards to clean up what was left.  Kenneth's successor was his half brother, Donald mac Alpin, the son of a Norse Princess.  Possibly Kenneth was raised in the care of his Norse stepmother. 

Although there was nothing new in such marriage alliances between opposing nations, Alpin's marriage was the first to be recorded between a Scot and a Norse, and it appears his strategy was built on that connection.  

Later, Kenneth married one of his daughters off to the powerful Olaf the White, Norse king of Dublin and York.  He made full use of his connection to Olaf to consolidate his own position.  Kenneth's other son, Causantin, helped Olaf in his harrying of Strathclyde.  Suddenly, there was a far more dangerous type of Viking coming on scene, the Danes.  They made no pretext of settling down, as they were only interested in murder and plunder.  When the Danes first arrived in Northumberland, Kenneth allied himself with the Norse in Dublin against them.

In 866, the Irish Annals recorded that Olaf of Dublin led a force of Irish and mixed Scottish/Norse  against Fortriu.  Here Olaf was not at war against the Scots, but the Picts, from whom he took hostages and exacted tribute for years to come.  These were the Picts who lived north of Mounth in the  Pictish kingdom of Fidach, which included Moray and parts of Inverness and Ross.  That period is so poorly documented that nothing much is known about it.  However, it is known that the primary reason the Norse established Dublin and Belfast was as slave trading centres in their thriving business of selling abducted Pict children down into the Mediterranean countries as slaves, where they were in high demand.

After Strathclyde was devastated by Vikings (with Scottish assistance), it was ruled by a Scottish puppet king from Constantine's reign onwards.  It took well over a century to bring the Germanic Lothians into the Albann fold, albeit with  Norse help.  By then, southern Picts had integrated firmly into the Scottish mold but in spite of Scottish propaganda to the contrary, history records the country officially remained Albann in name until the death in 1057 of king MacBethad.  Historians now believe that a process of integration between the Gaelic-speaking Scots and Picts, who spoke a language similar to Welsh, took place over several centuries.

As for the "2nd Battle of Forteviot in 843" when Kenneth MacAlpin supposedly killed the Pict King, Drust;  This was pure invention promulgated about 1220AD.  There is no evidence this battle ever took place.  Kenneth MacAlpin was a Pict king, not the first King of Scotland.  Actually, the first official King of Scotland was Lulach, another Pict, and a stepson of MacBeth of the hereditary Moray dynasty.  One must bear in mind, the Picts were not an exclusive society, they readily mixed with other races and they traced their ancestry back through their mothers, the most important element in their lives.  Therefore, the descendents of Alpin considered themselves in every sense - Picts.  They bore Pict names, and they had Pict mothers.

A forthcoming book by St Andrews University historian, and specialist in Scottish Royalty, Alex Woolf, claims that all the evidence suggests MacAlpin was actually a Pict himself and stories about him as a great Scottish war leader were made up in later centuries.  This expert in early Scottish history said all contemporary sources referred to MacAlpin as "king of the Picts", and they gave the same title to the four kings who succeeded him.  He also said both Kenneth and Alpin were Pictish rather than Scottish names.  It was upon the death of Grig, the official title of the King went from Rex Pictorum (King of the Picts in Latin) to Ri Albainn (King of Albann in Pict), a title only the Picts would understand, as king in Scottish Gaelic was, and remains, "Righ".

The venerable B.B.C. has introduced a series on the history of Scotland where they have established once and for all that the MacAlpin dynasty was indeed Pict.  Several Scottish writers keep referring to the change in name after Grig, from Pictavia to Albann, when the Pict aristocracy were again firmly in control.  To interpret that as a Scottish name change is patently false, as the name was Albann beforehand.  Pictavia is merely a fanciful English invention, and never appeared in any of the contemporary Annals of the time.

Editor's Note:  The term "Albann" was simply a modification in Pict of the original Greek term for the area; "Albion", dating back to before 325 BC. when only the Greeks new about the Albiones.  It did not mean "Britain".  Based on the classical Greek word for white (which is Alba), Albiones meant "White skinned people".  We know the Picts were greatly influence by the early Greek merchantmen; they adopted Greek names, Greek gods, the Greek alphabet and Greek technology.  The Greeks were never seen as a threat to the Picts, Greeks merely traded with them, and never colonized them.  Life was better because of the Greeks.

It has been repeated in this Chronicle several times that the Picts did not use more than one vowel together, and they most often doubled up on loose consonants; thus "Albion" became "Albann".  To prove this, check out old Latin, Greek and Celtic.  You will find there was absolutely no doubling of any consonants until the European Celts entered the British Isles, and encountered the" pre-Celts" there, the most numerous element who developed the later part Celt, part pre-Celt, Pict language. That fact has been reported and described by many historians, including Nicholas Ostler in his authoritive "A Language History of the World" (ISBN 0-06-621086-0).

Today, the principle remnants of that resultant "hybrid language are Welsh and Breton, where both dialects often double up on consonants.  One thing that is so frustrating in researching Pict culture, is the deplorable derogatory attitude most British historians have placed on everything the Picts did.  Even their art has been relegated to someone else.  One can be excused to wonder how the Picts ever managed to stand upright.


The Vikings

Across the North Sea, in Norway, people lived along the many narrow fiords, where land was scarce. their living space becoming cramped by too many people and too little land.  They concentrated on fishing, and built splendid high seas wooden vessels.  They came in three waves:
1/  Norse settled in the Shetland and Orkney islands, and intermarried with the local Pict communities.
2/  Others peacefully traded goods with the locals along the coasts, much as they had done for centuries.
3/  Then there were the fierce giant Vikings, who came in their long boats to murder, rape, steal and destroy.

The first recorded raid was in 793, on Lindisfarne.  There was no escaping them as they methodically looted and destroyed any settlements in their path.  They not only devastated Pict society, but also Scottic, Celtic and Anglo/Saxon societies of Ireland and Britain.  Their only goal was to acquire wealth.  At first, they plundered the coasts of Albann and Ireland, where they destroyed monasteries and carried away priceless works of art that had accumulated since Saint Patrick's time.  Soon, they turned their attention inland, and the entire populations of both Albann and Ireland were terrified of them.  Entire communities were obliterated with their former inhabitants annilhilated or enslaved.


For example;  The holy sanctuary of Iona suffered the most.  They raided Iona in 795, 802 and 806, murdering all inhabitants and stole all the treasures that were donated there by Princes from throughout Europe.  On a far greater scale, in 875, there was a great massacre of Picts and Scots in Dollar.  In 905, Ivar I, led his  Danish hordes against Fortriu.  To make matters worse, Kenneth MacAlpin married a Norse Princess and some records claim he used this connection to jointly defeat northern Picts at every opportunity. 

Viking attacks continued throughout the 9th and 10th centuries.  The six main results of these attacks in North Britain were:
1/   The destruction of almost all Pict intellectual achievements from their first conversions to Christianity.  Monasteries were destroyed with such items as illuminated manuscripts, thousands of pages of Celtic art and literature. 
2/  The obliteration of Pict, Scottish and Irish rural agricultural lifestyle.  People found it necessary to form larger communities .
3/  The weakening of the Pict military and aristocracy, leaving the Picts vulnerable to usurpation by the Scots.
4/  The obliteration of Saxon Northumberland, and its replacement by the Danish Kingdom of York.
5/  The obliteration of Scottish Dalriada and its replacement by the Norwegian kingdom of the Isles.
6/   The severe weakening of the Welsh kingdom of Strathclyde, rendering it susceptible to assimilation into a united Albann.

Norse Vikings seized control of, and settled in, all the Hebridies, all the west and north coast, and the Orkney & Shetland islands, separating those areas from Picto/Scot control for over four hundred years, until 1263.  In Ireland, Dublin and Belfast became Norse slave trading centres in 841, where Pict slaves were assembled and shipped off to Mediterranean countries, where they were in high demand.  

To Christian Pict villagers throughout Albann, these giant heathens appeared as monstrous demons from Hell.  There was no escaping them, or the carnage and death they brought upon the land. The "Albann Empire" ceased to exist (in name only) with the death of King MacBethad in 1057.  At that time, the title, "Ri Albainn", was dropped in favour of "the Scottish Empire" until King James VI became James I of England, and coined the phrase "Great Britain" in 1603.

Before the advent of Christianity, The Picts revered the Nordic Thunder God, Thor.  Thor was the red-haired,  bearded god of Thunder in Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and Continental Germanic paganism.  Thor was appealed to for protection on numerous archeological objects found from various Germanic tribes.

Translated into Brythonic, the name became Taor or Talor.  The Picts added gan (with) so it became literally "With Thor".  In their consummate consonant doubling, the Picts spelled it,  Tallorggann, and it was one of the most common names chosen for Pict Kings.

Gradually, the Viking raiders settled down, intermarried with the previous inhabitants, and converted to Christianity.  There were significant battles in both Albann and Ireland where Viking armies were soundly defeated bringing a long sought peace to both countries; in Albann in 905, the Viking leader Ivar II, attacked Fortriu and the rich church at Dunkeld, and was defeated, and in 961, when King Indulf  defeated the Danish King, Eric of the Bloody Axe, at the Battle of the Bauds in present day Banffshire, and in Ireland in 1014, at the Battle of Clontarf near Dublin.

DONNELL I (858-862).  (Dòmhnall mac Ailpein in Gaelic),  Also a son of Alpin, he was described at the time as "the wanton son of the foreign woman" (Norse).  He extended Dalriadic law into Pict areas and died of natural causes near Scone, Perthshire.  The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says that Domnall reigned for four years, matching the notices in the Annals of Ulster of his brother's death in February 858, and his own in April 862. The Chronicle notes:  "In his time the Gaels with their king made the rights and laws of the kingdom, that are called the laws of Áed, Eochaid's son in Forteviot.

The laws of Áed Find are entirely lost, but it has been assumed that, like the laws attributed to Girig and Cystennin II, these related to the church and in particular to granting the privileges and immunities common elsewhere.  The significance of Forteviot as the site of this law-making, along with Kenneth's death there, and Cystennin's later gathering at nearby Scone, may point to this as being the heartland of the sons of Alpín's support.

CYSTENNIN I (Kast in old Pict) (Causantin in old Gaelic) (Chòiseim mac Cináeda in modern Gaelic) (862-878)  Son of Kenneth I.  History records that, in a great battle with the Danish Vikings in 876, at Inverdovet, Cystennin MacKenneth was slain with most of his Dalriadic army.  The Pict establishment, had been reinvigorated, and it was their turn to control events.

Aedh (Hugh)  (878).  Another son of Kenneth I, and brother of Cystennin I, he was killed by Girig, a son of Dungal of Fortriu, soon after being proclaimed king by his father's courtesans.

GIrig Mauur I, (878-889) Son of Dungall of Fortriu. 

Other translations of his name are: Gregorius Magnus (classical Latin title), Ciricius (old Latin), Gireg (Breton), Grig (Pict), Grigor (Welsh), Grioghair (or Girig) (Gaelic), Cirig, Giric or Girg, (stylized Picto/Latin forms), Gregor (English)?  No other ancient Albann monarch brings such debate and emotion to the fore than this mysterious Rex Pictorum.  His existence effectively obliterated the fanciful claim that the MacAlpin dynasty annihilated the Pict leadership, and ruled Albann uninterrupted for over 200 years (848 - 1057AD).

Cystennin's younger son, Hugh MacKinet, took the crown but was slain at Glenartney by an unrelated Grig MacDungall, a Pict of Fortriu (Moray).  As the Scots had been severely weakened, there was an opportunity for the Pict establishment in the north to step up and demand one of their own assume the throne.

On Hugh's grave, the Gaelic inscription said he was fair-haired, the Latin inscription said he was swift-footed.  The original Pict Chronicle stated boldly in Latin "Ed MacKinet uno anno.  Interfectus in bello in Strathalin a Girg filio Dungal".  Translated into English, this reads "Hugh MacKenneth ruled for one year.  He was slain in war in Strathearn by Grig MacDunegal."   

The time honoured method of ascending any throne in those days was to slay the opponent.  Gregor was no relation to Hugh, nor Constantine, nor Kenneth, nor of Alpin.  His father was Dungal, a Pict of Royal lineage of Fortrenn. Some historians leaned toward the suspicion that Grig killed his own nephew but this was rubbish.  The truth of the matter was - with the Scottish army nearly annihilated, the tables were now turned, and the Pict elite were able to insist on naming a successor.

About 300 years later, Scottish historians  tried to revise history, and lamely claimed Grig was actually a third  son of Kenneth MacAlpin, others said he was adopted by Kenneth, others said he was a nephew on Kenneth's sister's side - all of which were doubtful, and were not substantiated by any contemporary Chronicle of the day.  

Pict glory burst forth for a final glorious moment when Girig, seized the united  throne, and ruled for 11 years (an impressive accomplishment for those days).  During his rule, he became the world's first ecumenical monarch by decreeing equality to the Scottish Church versus the Pictic Church.  Alas, it was his own race that did away with Grig, in their spiteful refusal to accept the Scottish church as an equal partner.  The actual spark which gave them the opportunity was an unexpected  total eclipse of the sun.

King Grig is recorded as "the conqueror of Anglia." Of course, this does not mean England, but is the old name for Tynedale and Lothian, populated by the Teutonic Anglo-Saxons, in a region that covered an extensive area in the southeast of Scotland (including Edinburgh).  Gregor is also recorded as being successful in conquests in "Hibernia" (Ireland).  These conquests may have been propaganda or simply battles that constituted face-saving for the Picts.

In all likelihood, he would have been supporting the Dalriadic Scots in Ulster, relatives of his own subjects in Albann-Dalriada.  He also managed to obtain a free hand from the Anglo-Saxons in Northumbria to crush the invading Danish Vikings there.  These military successes signified an upsurge in Pictish military power, backed up by the fierceness of the scattered Dalriadic Scots. 

Gregor was well known for his attempt, well before his time, to become the first ecumenical monarch in history.  His position as state head of the Pictish Church, granted him the authority to grant equality of status to the Scotic (or Columban) Church.  It is obvious he wished to gain the goodwill of his Scotic subjects and effectively unite the nation.  Backstabbing by the Pictish clergy during and after a momentous solar eclipse in 885, provided the superstitious Picts and their jealous clergy with an excuse to condemn him and have him eventually deposed and executed.

How did Ciricius (in Latin) become Grig in Pict, In Latin naming practices, "ius" or "us" were added to root names to embellish them, so outside the Roman sphere of influence, Ciricius would revert to Ciric.  In Latin and Celtic, a "C" was always pronounced as a "K", so Ciric was pronounced as Kirik in Latin, and Girig in Celtic, as Celts tended to pronounce a "k' more harshly.  Then, it was shortened to Grig in Pict.   In later Celtic societies, Christian monks were the people who maintained literacy.  Using the Latin alphabet, Celtic words were spelled phonetically.

King Girig In Historical Records

The contemporary records of the day: Nomina Regum (List of Kings), Chronica Regum, the Chronicles of Melrose, the Chronicles of Elegies, and the Chronicles of the Picts made no mention whatsoever of Hugh Mac Run, a grandson of Kenneth, who is alleged in the Chronicles of the Scots to have reigned over the Picts and Scots for eleven years.  But the first four of the above speak of Grig MacDungal, of his civic and military achievements, and of his deposal and death.

None of these five above-mentioned historical chronicles even hinted that Grig was related in any way to the Alpin family.  Yet, many modern historians often insist Grig was of the Alpin family in a selfish attempt to establish the Alpin dynasty as being all-powerful and enduring.  After Grig's eleven year reign (a significant duration in those chaotic days), the name Grig surfaced in many records, indicating the name was not proscribed or shunned in any way.

From Wikipedia encyclopedia:
Giric, King of Picts and Scots (ruled 878–889). The sources for the succession in what became the Kingship of Alba are meagre and confused following the peak of Scandinavian devastation in 875-6.  The descendants of Cináed mac Ailpín in the male line lost the kingship between 878 and 889. Two names of possible kings in this period are Eochaid and Giric.  Giric is very obscure; he may have been Eochaid's guardian; and he may have lost power following a solar eclipse.

By the 12th century, however, he acquired legendary status as liberator of the Scottish church from Pictish oppression and (fantastically) conqueror of Ireland and most of England.  As a result Giric, was later known as Gregory the Great. This tale appears in the variant of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba which is interpolated in Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland.  Here Giric, or Grig, is named "Makdougall", son of Dúngal. Giric and Eochaid are omitted from the Duan Albannach, but they are not unique in this.

A.A.M. Duncan wrote:
The association of Giric and Eochaid (Hugh) in the kingship is spurious, that Giric alone was king of the Picts, which he claimed as the son of daughter of Cináed mac Ailpín, and that the report that he was Eochaid's guardian (alumpnus) is a misreading of uncle (auunculus).

A.P. Smyth wrote:
Giric was a nephew of Cináed mac Ailpín, the son of his brother Domnall, which appears to rest on what is probably a scribal error.   If the entry is accurate, then it would seem reasonable to accept the remainder, which states that an otherwise unknown Causantín mac Domnaill (or mac Dúngail) was king.

Benjamin Hudson wrote:
Giric, rather than being a member of Cenél nGabráin dynasty of Cináed mac Ailpín and his kin, was a member of the northern Cenél Loairn-descended dynasty of Moray.

The Chronicle of Melrose and some versions of the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba:
Giric died at Dundurn in Strathearn.

Thomas Owen Clancy:
There lies an authentic 9th century Litany. The significance of this Litany for the question of Giric's authenticity and kingship is contained in an old Albann prayer
in Latin for the king and the army:
"Ut regem nostrum Girich cum exercito suo ab omnibus inimicorum insiidis tuearis et defendas, te rogamus audinos."
The king is clearly named as Giric.

Elizabeth Sutherland wrote in her book, In Search of the Picts:
, the Pict, is said to have freed the Columban Church from Pictish rules and burdens. 

DONNELL II (Dòmhnall mac Chòiseim in Gaelic), (889-900).  During his reign, much of northern Albann north of  Moray was held by the Norse Earl Sigurd, based in Orkney.  Donnell was a son of Cystennin I, and was described as rough and cunning.  He was killed by men from the Northern Kingdom near Dunottar and, like most of the early kings of Albann, was buried on Iona.  The Vikings wasted Albann at this time.  In his reign, a battle occurred between Danes and Scots at Innisibsolian, where the Scots had victory.  He was killed at Opidum Fother [modern Dunnottar].

It has been suggested that the attack on Dunnottar may have been associated with the ravaging of Scotland attributed to Harald Fairhair in the Heimskringla.  The Prophecy of Berchán places Donnell's death at Dunnottar, but attributed it to Gaels rather than Norsemen, which may have been a Gaelic revolt against a Pict ruler; other sources report he died at Forres.  Donnell's death was dated at 900 by the Annals of Ulster and the Chronicon Scotorum, where he was referred to as "Ri Albainn", rather than "Rex Pictorum".

The change from king of the Picts to king of Alba is seen as indicating a step towards changing the name to the kingdom of the Scots, but historians, while divided as to when this change took place, do not generally attribute it to Donald in view of his epithet. The consensus view is that the key changes occurred in the reign of Causantín II but the reign of Giric has also been proposed.

CYSTENNIN II (Chòiseim in Gaelic) (900-943)  A grandson of Kenneth MacAlpin, began his life as an exile.  In 878 AD, his father, Áed, had been slain by  Giric, son of Dungal of Fortrenn.  Cystennin and his brother, Donald, who were young boys at the time, were spirited off to Ulidia where they were brought up by monks surrounded in Gaelic culture.  Although the Cruithni (Picts) of Ulidia were in a majority, they had become Gaelicized for over 450 years.  This exposure to a Gaelic upbringing resulted in the first Pict monarch who was not raised in a Pict milieu, and the repercussions would change Albann forever. 

In 889 AD, he returned with his cousin Donald to wreak revenge on Giric.  The eldest, Donald, took the kingship of the Picts initially, but shortly afterwards, he was slain by the Vikings - Dark Age kingships were often painfully short! So it was that in his early twenties, Constantine became King of Albann.

The kingdom had been nearly destroyed by the Vikings, but its peoples, Picts and Gael, faced with the prospect of Viking conquest, had drawn together. In 902 AD, the Vikings, under Ivar the Younger of Dublin, returned to seize Dunkeld, where St Columba's relics were kept, and the rich farmlands around the River Tay. Cystennin caught up with Ivar at Strathcarron in 904 AD, and, in a bitter struggle, Ivar and his Viking army were massacred.

With the defeat of the Vikings, regeneration of the kingdom was Cystennin's top priority.  He remodelled the church along Gaelic lines and brought in a system of powerful local governors called, "Mormaers" to defend the kingdom more efficiently.  He also renamed the territory, its old name, Albann, which was remade in a Gaelic image.

Cystennin continued to extend Albann's influence across northern Britain. The east coast, south of the river Forth and modern-day Edinburgh, was Anglo-Saxon territory, and often very hostile at that, until 918 AD, when Cystennin led his army into northern Northumbria.  At the Battle of Corbridge, he forced Ragnall, the Viking King of York, to withdraw from that part of Northumbria that stretched from Lothian to the Tyne.

In return, the restored Saxon Earl, Eadred, recognized Cystennin as his overlord.  For the first time, much of the land in modern-day Scotland was either under the direct kingship of the King of Albann or was under his rule as overlord.

In 934 AD, Aethelstan marched north, forcing the Earls of Northumbria and the Kings of Strathclyde to acknowledge him as overlord. Albann had never seen so vast an army: Aethelstan had brought with him three Welsh kings and six Viking chieftains as Brigade Commanders.

Cystennin was forced into retreat and was besieged at the rock fortress of Dunnottar, south of Aberdeen. The fortress was too strong for Aethelstan to take, however Constantine was forced into recognition of Aethelstan's claims.

After the defeat by Athelstan of the Vikings at York in 928AD, Cystennin considered the Wessex king a considerable threat to Albann and so began forging alliances with his neighbouring countries.

Cystennin married his daughter to Olaf Guthfrithsson the King of Dublin and York, which created alliances with the Earls of Northumbria. Owein of Strathclyde was related to Constantine, and took little persuasion to join  in a pre-emptive strike against Athelstan.

In 937 AD, the combined Pict/Scottish/Norse/Briton army invaded Aethelstan's England.  At the Battle of Brunanburh, at an unknown location deep in England, they fought one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the Dark Ages.  Aethelstan and his brother Edmund, were victorious over the combined armies of Constantine II; King of Albann, Olaf III Guthfrithson; Norse King of Dublin,  and Owen I; King of Strathclyde + Irish, Welsh and Cornish mercenaries.  However, both sides were devastated, Owein of Strathclyde was killed, and the Anglo Saxon Chronicle revelled in Cystennin's defeat:  

"The hoary man of war had no cause to exult in the clash of blades; he was shorn of his kinsmen, deprived of friends, on the meeting place of peoples, cut off in strife, and left his son on the place of slaughter, mangled by wounds, young in battle. The grey-haired warrior, old crafty one, had no cause to boast"

If this battle had gone the other way, Albann/Scotland would have extended south to the Humber River.  Despite the Pict/Scot defeat, Aethelstan was severely weakened and never recovered.  He was too weak militarily to follow Cystennin back to Albann.  Cystennin's diplomacy and network of allies had freed Albann and Strathclyde from the southern Anglo-Saxon threat for the foreseeable future.  Olaf Guthfrithsson later restored Viking rule to York, and Aethelstan's grand schemes lay in ruins.

The Battle of Brunanburh was a significant as Æthelstan had been successful in rallying for the first time, all the Saxon noblemen throughout England to his cause for the defence of England.  The myth of Albann military invincibility had been broken for the first time since the Pict raids on the south after the Roman withdrawal.  These national adversaries would meet again many times in England and Scotland.

In 943 AD, after reigning for 43 years, beset by Viking raids, elderly and feeble, Cystennin retired from the throne, and for the final nine years of his life, became a monk at St Andrews in Moray.

He was Albann's most successful Dark Age king, a success won through a combination of strength in battle and diplomacy.  He had succeeded where all the Great Picts Kings had failed.  He had successfully drawn together all the diverse petty kingdoms in northern Britain.  His combined forces approximated something very close to a northern powerblock, one which pitted itself against another powerblock to the south - a story which was to repeat itself many times throughout the next millennium as the southern menace grew in strength and numbers.

Of course, no one at that time expected the Angles of Lothian and the Welsh of Strathclyde  (who were forcibly brought into the Albann fold) to some day unite as "lowlanders" with the Normans of a later time, to usurp the Picto-Gaelic throne, and pursue a program of genocide against the Picts and Scots.  But that was in the distant future.  Albann had become Gaelicized under a strong Pict ruler, and the Pict language disappeared within a few centuries.

A more immediate problem festered inside the MacAlpin dynasty.  The sons of Donald and the sons of Cystennin began a centuries long family feud that ripped Albann apart, and delivered it to the waiting hands of the English.

MaElcolm I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill in Gaelic) (942-954).  Son of Donald II.  He ascended the throne of Albann after his uncle, Causantin abdicated, and enrolled as a monk).  In 945, Edmund of Wessex, having expelled Olaf Sihtricsson from Northumbria, devastated Cumbria and blinded two sons of Domnall mac Eógain, king of Strathclyde.  He then "let" or "commended" Strathclyde to Máel Coluim in return for an alliance.   However, Máel Coluim had already been the overlord of Strathclyde, and that Edmund recognised this while taking lands in southern Cumbria for himself.  

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says that Máel Coluim took an army into Moray "and slew Cellach".  Cellach is not named in the surviving genealogies of the rulers of Moray, and his identity is unknown.  Cellach may have been an army commander or a figment of someone's imagination.

Máel Coluim raided Northumbria as far south as the Tees taking "a multitude of people and many herds of cattle" according to the Chronicle.  The Annals of Ulster for 952, report a battle between "the men of Alba and the Britons of Strathclyde, and the English" against the foreigners, i.e. the Northmen or the Norse-Gaels. This battle is not reported by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, and it is unclear whether it should be related to the expulsion of Olaf Sihtricsson from York or the return of Eric Bloodaxe.

The Annals of Ulster reported that Máel Coluim was killed in 954.  Other sources place this most probably in the Mearns, either at Fetteresso following the Chronicle, or at Dunnottar following the Prophecy of Berchán.  He was buried on Iona.  Máel Coluim's two sons Dub and Cináed were later kings.

ILduB (954-962)  (Indulf in Gaelic) (Nicknamed An Ionsaighthigh, "the Aggressor").  Son of Cystennin II.  His mother may have been a daughter of Earl Eadulf I of Bernicia, who was an exile in Albann.  He defeated the Danish King, Eric of the Bloody Axe, at the Battle of the Bauds on the Muir of Findochty), in present day Banffshire, in 961. 

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba says: "In his time oppidum Eden", usually identified as Edinburgh, "was evacuated, and abandoned to the Scots until the present day." This has been accepted as indicating that Lothian or some large part of it, fell to Indulf at this time.  However, the conquest of Lothian is likely to have been a process rather than a single event, and the frontier between the lands of the kings of Albann and Bernicia may have been south and east of Edinburgh many years before Indulf's reign.

Indulf's death is reported by the Chronicon Scotorum in 962, with the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba adding that he was killed fighting Vikings near Cullen, at the Battle of Bands.  He was buried on Iona.

Dubh (or Duff) (962-966)  Son of Maelcolm I, and father of Kenneth III.  Died in battle.

Culen (966-971)  Another great-great-grandson of Kenneth I, and a son of Ildub, he was killed by a treacherous booby-trap at Fettercairn, set by the daughter of the Thane of Angus.

Amlaíb, (971) Son of Ildub.  The feud which had persisted since the death of King Ildulb mac Causantín) between his descendants and Kenneth's family persisted.  In 977, the Annals of Ulster reported that ", King of Albann, was killed by Cináed mac Domnaill." The Annals of Tigernach give the correct name of Amlaíb's killer: Cináed mac Maíl Coluim, or Kenneth II.  Thus, even if only for a short time, Kenneth had been superceded by the brother of the previous king.

CINNID II (971-995)  (With a brief interruption by Amlaíb, son of Ildub, see below) Son of Maelcolm I. (Cináed mac Maíl Coluim in old Gaelic, Coinneach mac Mhaoil Chaluim in Modern Gaelic: Anglicized as Kenneth II), and nicknamed An Fionnghalach,Kenneth II "The Fratricide") Son of Malcolm I.

The Chronicle of the Kings of Alba was compiled in Kenneth's reign, but many of the place names mentioned are entirely corrupt, if not fictitious.  Whatever the reality, the Chronicle states that "he immediately plundered Strathclyde in part. Kenneth's infantry were slain with very great slaughter in Moin Uacoruar." The Chronicle further states that Kenneth plundered Northumbria three times, first as far as Stainmore, then to Cluiam and lastly to the River Dee by Chester.  These raids may have been around 980, when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records attacks on Cheshire.

In 973, the Chronicle of Melrose reports that Kenneth, with Máel Coluim I (Máel Coluim mac Domnaill), the King of Strathclyde, "Maccus, king of very many islands" (i.e. Magnus Haraldsson (Maccus mac Arailt), King of Mann and the Isles) and other kings, Welsh and Norse, came to Chester to acknowledge the overlordship of the English king Edgar the Peaceable. It may be that Edgar here regulated the frontier between the southern lands of the kingdom of Alba and the northern lands of his English kingdom. Cumbria was English, the western frontier lay on the Solway. In the east, the frontier lay somewhere in later Lothian, south of Edinburgh.

He was killed in a clever plot of family retribution, using as an instrument of deceit, a Pict woman, who wanted revenge for the killing of her only son.  Her name was Finella, (or Finnguala also called Fimberhele), daughter of Cuncar, Mormaer of Angus, in revenge for the killing of her only son.  She managed to induce Kenneth to enter an outbuilding on her farm where he was killed by her co-conspirators.  Cystennin III masterminded the plot.

One of Kenneth's less admirable nicknames was "Kenneth the family slayer".

CYSTENNIn III (995-997)  Son of Culen, and grandson of Cystennin II. Having arranged for the assassination of Kenneth II, he made himself king.  His reign was brief, and he was killed in 997, probably by Kenneth III.

Kenneth III (997-1005).  Son of King Dubh.  He was nicknamed "Donn" or brown-haired. He was defeated and killed at Monzievaird by his cousin, Maelcolm II.  None of his sons became king.

MaElcolm II (1005-1034).  Son of Kenneth II but, due to disputed succession, he did not come to the throne until ten years after his father's death, having killed his cousin Kenneth III. The last of the House of Alpin, he did not have any sons to succeed him so he arranged good marriages for his daughters. His daughter Bethoc married the Abbot of Dunkeld and their son became Duncan I. Another daughter married Earl Sigurd of Orkney and their son Thorfinn brought the lands of Caithness and Sutherland under the control of the King of Alba. Malcolm made an alliance with the King Owen the Bald of Strathclyde and together they defeated King Canute at the Battle of Carham in 1018. When King Owen died without an heir, Malcolm claimed Strathclyde for his grandson, Duncan. His enemies disliked this and murdered him at Glamis in 1034.

Duncan I (1034-1040).  Grandson of Malcolm II.  He first became King of Strathclyde, and then Albann on the death of his grandfather. He married the cousin of the Earl of Northumberland, and his two sons, Malcolm III and Donald III, eventually also became kings. He was defeated in battle by his cousin Thorfinn, Earl of Orkney and failed in an unsuccessful siege of Durham in the north of England. He was defeated and killed by Macbethad near Forres in Moray.

Macbethad (1040-1057) His origins are obscure.  His mother was a daughter of Kenneth II or III or possibly Malcolm II and his father was Finlay McRory, Mormaer of Atholl and lay abbot of Dunkeld.  He killed Duncan I but unlike the Shakespearean Macbeth, he was a powerful and successful monarch.  His Queen, Gruoch, was a grand-daughter of Kenneth II.  Macbeth was defeated by Malcolm Canmore, with an English army, at Dunsinane in 1054.  A second invasion in 1057 saw his defeat and death at Lumphanan, near Aberdeen by Malcolm and his English allies led by Earl Siward of Northumbria.  This alliance with the English was the seed to disaster in later years.

Lulach (1057-1058) Stepson of Macbeth, nicknamed "The Fool", Lulach was the first Pict/Scot King to be crowned King of "Scotland".  He became king on his stepfather's death.  He was the first recorded monarch to have been crowned at Scone but was defeated and killed by Malcolm Canmore less than a year later.

Malcolm III (1058-1093)  Son of Duncan I.  Malcolm "Canmore"  ('ceann' means head or chief and 'mor' means great). He went into exile in Northumberland when his father was killed by Macbeth. With English support, he defeated and killed Macbeth at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire in 1057 and Lulach, Macbeth's stepson, the following year. He founded the dynasty of the House of Canmore which lasted until the House of Stewart.  By his first marriage to Ingibiorg (daughter of Thorfinn of Orkney) he had two sons, Duncan II (see below) and Donald.  Following Ingibiorg's death he married Margaret, the sister of Edgar Atheling, who would have become King of England if William the Conqueror from Normandy had not over-run the country.  By this marriage there were six sons, four of whom (Duncan, Edgar, Alexander and David) would become king. Malcolm made raids into Northumbria and Cumbria but William marched north and Malcolm was forced to submit and sign the Treaty of Abernethy in 1071.  A final incursion in 1093 led to his defeat and death at Alnwick.  His son and heir, Edward, died in the same battle and Queen Margaret died four days later.

The Northern Pict Kingdom Continues Until 1130

(What Some Historians Don't Want You To Know)

How the North maintained its Pict culture and dynasty

The split between the Northern and Southern Pict Kingdoms -

When Nehhtonn III decided to eliminate the Scottic influences on the Celtic church in Albann in 717, he assumed the title of "Protector of the Faith", and drove out any church Clerics who refused to abide by his reforms.  New Dalriada and the Northern Pict Kingdom of Greater Moray immediately revolted, which eventually led to Nehhtonn's forced abdication, and his  expulsion to a remote monastery.

Nehhtonn's successor, his brother Drust, immediately rescinded Nehhtonn's controversial decrees.  However, the repercussions remained.  The Northern Kingdom remained independent for over 400 years, and the anxiety caused in New Dalriada simmered for centuries, and was only diminished when Grig decreed the Scotic church was equal to the Pict Church, and Scottish clerics could have access to Pict Church positions.

This split between the two most powerful regions of Albann, was the main element in the MacAlpin usurpation of the throne of the Southern Kingdom.  Dalriada and the northern Kingdom became religious allies in their opposition to Nehhtonn's decrees.  Subsequently, many Scots migrated into the relatively empty and more secure plains of Moray to escape the pagan Norse invaders.

The Vikings wipe out the Pict Nobility in the north -

The dominant kingdom in Albann before the Viking Age was the northern Pictish kingdom of Fortriu, later Moreb (in Latin) or Moray (in English) on the shores of the Moray Firth.   By the ninth century, the Gaels of Dalriada were subject to the kings of Fortriu of the family of Constantín mac Fergusa.  His family dominated Fortriu after 789, and no doubt Constantín was a kinsman of Ónnus I of the Picts, from around 730. The dominance of Fortriu came to an end in 839 with a defeat by Viking armies reported by the Annals of Ulster in which King Uen of Fortriu and his brother, Bran, Constantín's nephews, together with the king of Dál Riata, Áed mac Boanta, "and others almost innumerable" were killed.

These deaths led to a period of instability lasting a decade as several families attempted to establish their dominance in the Northern and Southern Pict Kingdoms of Albann.  By  848, Kenneth MacAlpin had emerged as the winner in the south.

The House of Moray -

Throughout their history, the kings of Moray were faced by powerful enemies to the north and south.  In the north they struggled to resist the Norse Earls of Orkney and Sutherland, eager to control the rich woodlands of northern Scotland as a supply of timber for their ships.  In the south, they strenuously resisted the ambitions of Scottish kings, who sought to make Moray part of their realm.  Although the original Pict Moray ruling families were infiltrated by Scots on the male side, their inherent independent spirit was not extinguished by conquest, colonization or expulsion until 1230AD, when David I (1124–53), to pacify the area, appointed a Flemish family as Mormaer, and they took the name Murray.

Despite conquest, colonization, interbreeding and expulsion, the leading families of Moray continued to resist the kings of Scots until 1230. The days were over, however, when Scotland was a patchwork of regional kings. The king of Scots, the greatest regional power in northern Britain, brought all of the mainland north of the Tweed and Solway within his realm, and Moray was dominated by a Flemish family, introduced by David I, who took Moray as their name.

The so-called House of Moray is used to illustrate the succession of rulers whose base was in Moray and who sometimes ruled all of Albann, and later, Scotland. 

The so-called house of Loairn or of Moray was supposedly distantly related to the Scottish House of Alpin on the male side, its rival in southern Albann.  They both claimed a mythical descent from the founder of New Dalriada, the part Pict/part Firbolg; Loarn mac Erc (or Erp).  Some of its members became the last kings of the Picts while three centuries later, three members succeeded to the Scottish throne, ruling Scotland from 1040 until 1078.

At times when their rivals held the throne of Albann, the Loairn leaders however maintained their effectively independent state of Moray, where a succession of kings ruled.

The Loairn succession followed both the female and male succession rites, resulting in practice to outcomes where branches of the leaders' extended family rotated on the throne, possibly keeping a balance between important branches.  For example, MacBeth descended from one branch and his stepson, Lulach, from another. King Onnus, the last independent King of Moray, however was the son of the daughter of Lulach. indicating that matrilineal succession was used at least to some extent, contrary to most historical reports.

The most famous Moray king was Macbethad, who successfully turned the tables on the southern Albann kings, and became king of Albann after killing Duncan I in 1040.  Even though Duncan's son Malcolm (III) killed Macbethad in 1057, it was Lulach of the Moray dynasty who became the first King of Scots.  Malcolm slew Lulach the following year, but he had to recognize Lulach's son, Mael Snechta, king of Moray, as heir to the Scottish throne.

Only when Malcolm Canmore defeated Mael Snechta in 1078, can it be said that Moray's chances of dominating the Scottish kingdom peacefully were brought to a halt. Mael Snechta was exiled to Ulidia.  However, Moray's hopes of regaining power were not fully extinguished.  

Moray Invades Scotland and Pays the Price -

Ónnus mac inghine Lulaich, ri Moréb ruled Moray until his death in 1130.  He attempted the impossible, and paid for it with his life.  He led 5,000 of his troops in an invasion of Albann, only to be defeated decisively at Stracathro (25 miles north-east of Dundee).

Orderic Vitalis wrote that in the year 1130, Ónnus with Máel Coluim mac Alasdair invaded Scotland with 5000 warriors. The Moravians were met by King David's general, an old Anglo-Saxon noble named Edward Siward. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reported "a great slaughter".  The Annals of Ulster reported: Bellum itir fhiru Alban & feru Moreb i torcradar .iiii. mile d'fheraibh Moréb im a righ .i. Oenghus m. ingine Luluigh; mile imorro & uel centum quod est uerius d'fheraibh Alban i frithghuin.  Translated, that would read: "War between Albann and Moray.  About 4,000 Moray casualties with their king Onnus, son of the daughter of Lulach, and about 1,000 Albann casualties fell in a counterattack"  The Annals of Innisfallen made clear that the battle took place in southern Scotland, and was actually an invasion.

The Scots then invaded Moray, which, as Orderic Vitalis puts it, "lacked a defender and lord."  After Ónnus's defeat, Moray's governorship was probably granted to William fitz Duncan.  After the death of William Fitz Duncan, in 1147, Moray was colonized by King David I's French, Flemish and English followers (In the longer term, most of those became Gaelicized), and many Picts were forcibly uprooted and exiled to the south.

Several minor Pict led revolts occurred afterwards in Moray but were quickly snuffed out by those loyal to the Scottish king.

Some other entries in the Annals of Ulster associated with Moray:

In 1032AD, Gilla Comgán son of Mael Brigte, King of Moray, was burned together with fifty people (in a house) .

In 1085, Mael Snechta, son of Lulach, last king of Moray, and a superior of Corcach, in Ulster, died peacefully.

In 1116, Ladhmann son of Domnall, grandson of the king of Albann, was killed by the men of Moray.

In 1118, Maria, daughter of Mael Coluim (Malcom Canmore), daughter of the king of Albann and wife to the king of England, died.

List of Kings of Moray (Fortriu) -

UUEN, ( 837 -  839)


Feradaich, Son of Fergusa.






CUNCAR  (xx-995)


Findláech mac RuaidrH, (1010 - 1020)  At the naval Battle of Clontarf, in 1014, Jarl Siguðr of Orkney fought a battle with the Moravians, who were led by a "Finnle" (i.e. Findláech).  He was murdered in 1020 by his nephews.  The Annals of Tigernach say the sons of his brother, Máel Brigte, were responsible.  One of these sons, Máel Coluim, son of Máel Brigte, became King, and died in 1029.  A second son, Gille Coemgáin, was killed in 1032. He was burned in a house with fifty of his men.  He had been married to Gruoch with whom he had a son, the future king Lulach. It has been proposed that Gille Coemgáin's death was the doing of Mac Bethad, in revenge for his father's death, or of Máel Coluim son of Cináed, to rid himself of a rival.

MAEL Coemgáin, (1020 - 1029). Son of Mael Brigte.  Killed in 1029.

Gille Coemgáin, (1029 - 1032.  Another son of Mael Brigte.  His death in 1032 was blamed on MacBethad.

Mac Bethad,  (1032 - 1057). Son of Findlaech + a grandaughter of Malcom II.   Also became king of Albann - 1040 - 1057. Known as the "Red King".   Killed by a son of Duncan.  Died 15th August 1057.  

Lulach mac Coemgáin, (15 August 1057 - 17 March 1058). Son of Gille Coemgain + Queen Grouch of Albann.  He was the first monarch to be proclaimed "King of Scots" .  Lulach was the son of Gruoch of Scotland, from her first marriage to Gille Coemgáin, Mormaer of Moray, and thus the stepson of Mac Bethad mac Findlaích. Following the death in battle of Macbeth in 1057, the king's followers placed Lulach in the throne. Lulach ruled only for a few months before being assassinated and succeeded by Malcolm III.

Mael Snechta, Son of Lulach + Finnghuala of Angus. Born in 1057.  He is credited in a near-contemporary Irish source as being king of Scotland.  Although his name does not appear in medieval Scottish king-lists.  It is possible that his reign was suppressed or, that he was initially recognized as Malcolm III's successor but was exiled to Ulidia.  Mael Snechta was a rebel leader in Moray.  He suffered a serious defeat by Malcolm III which broke his power.  He died in Ulster peacefully in 1085.

Onnus, (1078 - 1130). Son of daughter of Lulach. (Invaded Albann). Died in battle - 1130.

Some remarkable facts about Moray:

Moray has the tallest people on the average than anywhere in Scotland.

Northern Scotland has the largest percentage of people with red hair than anywhere on earth.

Note:  Since Moray was the centre of population and power of ancient Albann, these two facts speak volumes about the physiology of the Picts.

The End of  -  Chronicles Of The Picts    (Corrected and Revised by Hal MacGregor)


Author's Editorial

The Scottish Chronicles (which picked up where the Pictish Chronicles ended) claimed Cinnidd died of injuries after fighting the Vikings in 858 on the third day of February in the palace of Forteviot.  Others made the preposterous claim that Kenneth ruled for 24 years.   However, the Ulster Annals (a far more reliable source with fewer axes to grind)  reported in Latin: "856, Cemoyth rex Pictorum moritur".  Translated into English = Kenneth, King of the Picts was killed in 856.

For some historians to refer to Cinnidd MacAlpin as the "First King of Scots", is rubbish.  He was the verifiable son of a Pict mother and the verified grandson of a Pict Princess, thus making him at least 3/4 Pict.

In that age of anarchy, the Picts and the Scots amalgamated to fight off the Vikings, to re-integrate the Britons of Strathclyde & Gododdin, and to reassert their control of Lothian.  Neither entity could possibly have accomplished those feats without the other.  The Scots and the Picts needed each other desperately.  It was simply a matter of unite or perish, and they survived.

The Picts represented a much older civilization than did the Scots but that did not prevent them from borrowing that which enabled them to survive.  In 800 BC, they began to learn Brythonic Celtic, and in 500 AD, they began to learn Scottish Celtic.  Call them what you may but they merely used the tools available.  The sun finally set on the knell of the Empire of Albann.  To rediscover the Picts of Albann, just look into the face of any Scot today. 

Were Pict contingents retained in the Albann (and later) Scottish army?   As late as the twelfth century, the English chronicler, Richard of Hexham, recorded that Pict contingents were present at the Battle of the Standard, and fought in Yorkshire, Northumberland, in 1138.  This independent reporting puts the lie to claims that all Picts were forced to become Scottish.

It is an incontrovertible fact that as long as the Picto/Scot line of kings ruled North Britain, it was called Albann.

Cinnidd's successors also reigned as Rex Pictorum until after the death of Giric MacDungal, when the High Kings of Albann took the title of "Ri Albainn" (a Pict title, since an Irish Gaelic title would have been Righ). 

The first "King of Scotland" was officially declared after the death of King MacBethad, in 1057, thereby ending the long line of Pict/Scot Kings, began by Kenneth MacAlpin, and eroding any real influence they held at court.










The Sun Sets on ALBANN

The sun sets over a Royal graveyard in Albann.

After the Anglo/Norman kings usurped the old line, a determined pogrom of genocide began to eliminate any possibility of further rebellions from the restive Celtic north.  The majority population of Picts/Scots in the northern two-thirds of Scotland, were systematically subjected to forced relocations to the south, with expropriations and murder, running well into the 17th century.

This pogrom was due to naked racism and the advent of feudalism to Scotland by the Normans, with its accompanying unyielding doctrine of the unitary state, where there was no need for petty provincial kings nor of strong regional clan Chiefs.


What is the most remarkable monument in Britain?  Is it Nelson's monument, or maybe a First or Second World War monument?  No, it is Sueno's monument in Forres, Moray.  Everyone who has seen it is stunned by its size, beauty and its hidden message.  It is 23 feet high by four feet thick.  It weighs about 7 tons.  Historians are still puzzled by its message. 

Description:  The story it tells is a sombre one.  The uppermost panel contains five men in tunics facing us and holding swords at the ready.  Below there are three rows of mounted warriors, all facing to the left.  The next (lower) panel contains five men holding raised swords and spears.  The centre warrior seems a shade larger than the others and is wearing a kilt (both Picts and Scots wore the kilt).  Below is a row of eight warriors, all except two are facing left.  The central couple are fighting, the battle has begun.

Below, still on the second panel, is an execution scene.  There are seven decapitated bodies lying on the left with the seventh torso centre-right of the others.  This warrior has just been killed by the man who appears to be holding a sword in one hand and a head in the other.  

Under a quadrangular Celtic bell which has a clapper, there are five more heads and there are two more heads on the ground below two fighting couples beneath the row of torsos.  Behind the executioner, there are three men blowing the dreaded battle carnyx trumpet.  Below, there are three rows with two mounted soldiers in each row appear to be leading a pair of archers and six foot soldiers.

The third panel shows a tent-like structure with finials at the top ends.  This is sheltering a row of corpses with seven severed heads.  The central scene is surrounded by combating couples.

The fourth panel contains  two identical rows of eight infantrymen.  The first eight are being chased by the second group who have raised swords and shields.  The front of the stone appears to repeat the same message in less bloodthirsty terms.  The lowest panel contains a group of five men, two of whom are larger than the others, possibly representing St Andrew and St. Columba.

There are many theories about the exact message but it is definitely telling a story of a great victory of one army over another.  The number seven in Celtic (and Pict) lore is significant.  It could represent Kenneth's victory over the Picts, a southern Pict victory over northern Picts, a northern Pict victory over a southern Pict force, a Pict victory over the Norse or a combined Pict/Scot victory over the Norse.  There is no consensus on this as its exact age has never been determined. 

In 1991, it was all enclosed in a glass and steel structure for its preservation.  At night it is lit up by floodlights adding to it splendour.  The towering height, the elaborate cross, and the superb gruesome decorations inspire so much awe that one feels like kneeling before it.  Its impression on the citizens of Moray when it was new must have been overwhelming.

The images on the stone may refer to the life of Kenneth MacAlpin, or it may have been dedicated to the life of his grandson, Constantine I, or Kenneth may have built it to honour a previous Pict King (Brud or Onnus) who ruled both the Northern And Southern Picts and had acted in their best interests.

Common sense dictates it was erected in the heart of Moray, the military centre of the Northern Picts, with the whole-hearted cooperation and enthusiasm of the local residents - or else its existence would have been very short.

The End of Celtic Civilization In Britain

The Roman gods of War would have been pleased to look down and see the ruin of Celtic society in Britain in 1745 at Culloden not that far from Mons Gramineus.  The Hanoverians and their Saxon underlings in Lothian succeeded where the mighty Roman army had failed.

After the Battle of Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland issued an order to disarm any clan that refused to surrender.  A camp was established at Fort Augustus, whereby several detachments were sent out to ruin and depopulate the rebellious country.  The devastation was so great that within a space of fifty miles radius, neither man nor beast nor house was left standing.  These were the descendents of those who had stood up to Augustus at Mons Gramenius, the only ones in all of Britain who had the guts to do so..

This was the entire subjugation of a fierce and proud people, whom neither the Romans nor the Saxons could reduce, and who often had bid defiance to their own native kings.

Tacitus reported he had written the pre-battle speech by "Calgacus" (Galanan) at Mons Gramineus in 88 AD.  Whether he actually heard these words or he made them up, the truth is that they meticulously captured the desperation of the Caledonians in the face of a relentless Roman aggression.

"The extremity of the earth is ours . . .
But this is the end of the habitable world . . .
The Romans are in the heart of our country . . .
No submission can satisfy their pride . . .
While the land has anything left, it is the theatre of war . . .
They make a desert and call it peace."

That epitaph could very well have been attributed to the English as well.

A note of realism:  St Andrews University historian, Alex Woolf, claims Kenneth MacAlpin was actually a Pict, not a Scot, and that the Picts were not defeated in a battle by a Scottish army, but gradually, over many generations,  adopted Gaelic customs and names.  This was also the claim made by many other objective historians down through the centuries.

Cinnidd was crowned in 850 with a plain gold circlet In the Pict style to gain the acceptance of his Pict subjects.  Even after his coronation, he had to struggle to maintain his Kingdom.  He was crowned Rex Pictorum, and was never referred to as King of Scotland, because it had not been invented yet.  Dalriada had long ago been submerged into Albann. 

As several pure Picts became rulers of Albann after Kenneth MacAlpin, including Grig MacDungal, it is utter nonsense to even consider that Cinnidd might have assassinated all the district kings at a single dinner.  Their sons and relatives would have rose up in a mass revolt, and that never happened.

History records that Kenneth MacAlpin did not remove the Pict church's monopoly on religious affairs in Albann.  That edict was enacted by the Pict, Grig MacDungal.  So, contrary to the Pictish Chronicles, Kenneth was not vindictive towards his mother's people.  In all previous instances of a King being proclaimed over the Picts, with a foreign father and a Pict Princess for a mother, no efforts were ever made to punish or to alienate the Pict people. 

There is no plausible reason to believe the MacAlpin dynasty was any different.   The claims by some later historians that  Picto/Scot kings, beginning with Galanan VIII, (657-663) and ending with MacBethad I (1040-1057), purposefully suffocated the Pict language and culture are highly over-rated. 

The themes that ran through the Picto/Celtic civilization were simple; love of nature, respect for one another, loyalty to a leader, and personal honour.  Today more than two million people speak a Celtic language.  In the past few years there has been yet another revival of  the Celtic spirit in music, dance, Broadway shows, movies and television.  Celtic civilization never died out completely.  As long as men and women are free, there will be a spark of Pict and Celtic in all of us.

Hal MacGregor

Clan Gregor by Forbes MacGregor.
Discover Scotland's History by A.D. Cameron.
Empires of the World by Nicholas Ostler.
The Magnificent Gael by Reginald B. Hale.
The DRUIDS by Peter Berresford Ellis.
Scottish Kings by David Hughes.
The Pictish Chronicle by A. Weeks.
The Annals of Ulster by Ruaidhrí Ó Luinín. 
Scottish Clans and Tartans by Ian Grimble.
The CELTS by Allison Lassieur.
Myths & Legends of the Celtic Race by T. W. Rolleston
In search of THE PICTS by Elizabeth Sutherland.
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Collins Irish Dictionary by Lorna Sinclair.
Breton-English Dictionary by J. F. Conroy.
Gaelic Dictionary by Malcom MacLennan.
Welsh-English Dictionary by H. Meurig Evans.
An Historical Account of the Diocese of Down and Connor, Ancient and Modern by Author unknown
Wikipedia on-line dictionary
Discover Scotland's History by A.D. Cameron
BBC Scotland History Series.

While every effort has been made to trace copyright holders of material used in this book, sources have been sometimes impossible to locate.  The author and publisher would be pleased to hear from anyone who feels that their material has not been given due acknowledgement.

All rights reserved

Explanation of front cover

Albann was the first country in the world to incorporate a religious cross as its national symbol, in 832AD.  That was the saltire cross of Saint Andrew; a pure white cross on a sky blue background.  Other Brythonic peoples followed with the cross of Saint David (a Welsh Christian Martyr), a gold lateral cross on a black background.  The Brythonic people of Cornwall and Bretagne also embraced fellow Brythonic, Saint David, as their patron saint, with a black cross on a white background.

England and the city of London adopted the Genoese flag, a read lateral cross of Saint George ( a Greek Christian soldier martyr) on a white background in 1190.  Ireland's patron saint was Saint Patrick; the British designed a red saltire cross on a white background to represent a united Ireland under British rule, as the cross of Saint Patrick (although Saint Patrick was not a martyr) in the 16th century.

The archipelagoes of Orkney and Shetland came under Norwegian control in the 10th century.  As Pict and Scottish influences died out, Scandinavian culture dominated the islands.  The Orkney were Norwegian in character, and Shetland was Danish, after the Kalmar union between Denmark and Norway in 1397, effectively reduced Norwegian influence.   With the advent of Christianity in Scandinavia, the Nordic cross became the universal symbol of all Scandinavian countries without exception.  The Orkney adopted the flag of Norway with its colours reversed. Shetland adopted the flag of Denmark with its colours reversed.

The modern symbol of the County of Down, the core of Ulster, is a red and black bicolor flag.  The red stands for the long period of bloodshed spent in defence of its sovereignty.  The black stands for