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The Cruithne or Picts


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#1 Raptor

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 05:41 PM

Given that I claim Cruithne blood from two sources, Dyer/Dyss (family tradition) & Muir (verified by DNA research), I thought I'd attempt to write a short history of the people best known by the name "Pict". It should be remembered that any history of the Cruithne is necessarily part legend, part myth, & part archaeological/anthropological research. The only remaining written description of them is by the Roman poet Claudius, who wrote "Venit et extremis legio praetenta Britannis, Quae Scotto dat frena truci ferronque notatas Perlegit examines Picto moriente figuras" or "This legion, which curbs the savage Scot and studies the designs marked with iron on the face of the dying Pict".

The Cruithne never called themselves Pict (from the Roman Pictii or painted) or indeed Cruithne (a Gaelic name for the same people). We have no idea what they called themselves, but it is a fair assumption that they referred to themselves by the name of their respective tribes. What these tribes were named we now have no idea, as we dont even know what language they spoke, although most academics agree that it was most likely a form of Brythonic Gaelic, probably resembling Ancient Welsh. We do know that Scotland's other Celtic tribe, the Gaels, did not understand them, St. Columba needing an interpreter during his talks with the Pictish King Brude.

Most people today view the Cruithne as aboriginal inhabitants of Scotland, who were overcome by the Celts, or as simply another tribe of Celts. Although both viewpoints are probably correct to a point, this is only partially accurate, as originally the Gaels were immigrants from prehistoric Alba, around the end of the last ice-age. Thus, the Cruithne & the Gaels were both descended from the original parent stock, European proto-Celts, who migrated to the British Isles across the land bridge that joined Britain to the continent at that time, and merged with the original inhabitants, the Beaker People. As time passed, the two separated groups evolved separately, resulting in different languages but many similar customs. The journey to Ireland would have been no great feat for the Cruithne, as the Romans feared the Pictish Navy almost as much as the wild men who came down from the Highlands to attack the villages along the wall. This makes the founding of the Kingdom of Dalriada by Fergus Mor somewhat ironic, as it marks the return to Alba by the descendants of her prodigal sons.

It is now well known that the Picts were one of Western culture's rare matrilinear societies; that is, bloodlines passed through the mother, and Pictish kings were not succeeded by their sons, but by their brothers or nephews or cousins as traced by the female line in (according to the scholar Dr. Anthony Jackson) a complicated series of intermarriages by seven royal houses.

It was this rare form of succession which in the year 845 A.D. gave the crown of Alba and the title Rex Pictorum to a Celtic Scot, son of a Pictish princess by the name of Kenneth, Son of Alpin. This Kenneth MacAlpin, whose father's kingship over the Scots had been earlier taken over by the Pictish king Oengus, who ruled as both king of Picts and Scots, and who possibly harbored a deep ethnic hatred for the Picts, and in the event known as "MacAlpin's Treason" murdered the members of the remaining seven royal houses thus preserving the Scottish line for kingship of Alba and the eventual erasure from history of the Pictish race, culture and history.

The Pictish and proto-Pictish people of ancient Alba (now present day Scotland & Northumbria) were undoubtedly a mighty race of people who defied and defeated Rome and who slaughtered the invincible barbarian hordes of Angles and Saxons at Nechtansmere in Angus, and hammered the invading Vikings back home, thus forever preserving a separate culture and race in Scotland.
"We, the most distant dwellers upon the earth, the last of the free, have been shielded...by our remoteness and by the obscurity which has shrouded our name...Beyond us lies no nation, nothing but waves and rocks"
The above words by the Pictish chief Calgacus are recorded by the Roman enemy in the words of Tacitus and are a perfect example of the obscurity and legendary status held by the Picts almost 2,000 years ago.

As a warrior culture, it was a Celtic army which nearly destroyed Rome in her early days and thus forever made themselves an unforgivable enemy of the Latin empire. Because the first historical reference to the Picts appears in 297 A.D., when they are mentioned as enemies of Rome in the same context as the Hiberni (Irish), Scotii (Scots) and Saxones (Saxons), many historians assume that the Picts were simply another Celtic tribe. Although is quite probable that there was much Celtic stock in some of the southern tribes in the loose federation of tribes which eventually made up the Pictish nation, it is my opinion that the vast majority of the Pictish peoples north of the Forth were made up mostly from the earlier, pre-Celtic people of northern Britain. I base this assumption on the common description of the European Celts as "tall, fair-headed, fierce warriors" while the contemporary description of the Picts was "short & dark-haired". This would explain my contention of the picts & Mesolithic Irish evolving from the same source, & gaining the nicknames, often from the Celts themselves, of "Little people" and "Brownies".

By studying the Roman accounts of the Pictish Wars as well as later accounts, it appears that the Pictish lands were essentially north of the Forth-Clyde line, north of the Antonine Wall. Roman pacification, and Celtic and Saxon migration from the south would have erased any Pictish claims to people or lands south of the wall. In the west, Pictish presence in Argyll must have disappeared quickly after the arrival of the Scots of Dalriada around 500 A.D., although as evidenced by the standing stone near the entrance to Inveraray castle in Campbell country, they were there at one point in their history. In the north, Pictish influences reached as far north as the islands went and stones have been found in nearly all of them. This land was defended many times after the departure of Rome's legions. The Picts fought invasions by the Scots in the west, the Britons and Angles in the south and the Vikings in the north. They sometimes lost great battles and huge chunks of land, only to regain it in the vicious warfare of the Dark Ages. In the 7th century the Scots pushed their frontier far north, and a victorious Celtic army came within a half-day march of the Pictish capital of Inverness in the north before it was crushed. In the south, the Angles marched their Teutonic armies north and held Pictish lands for thirty years before they were butchered and sent fleeing south by a united Pictish army.

As one would expect, the information available as to the history of the kings of Pictland or Alba is as full of mystery, legends, hearsay as the origins of the people themselves. The fact is that most of what is known about the kings of this ancient race comes from lists and chronicles generally written by other peoples, some of whom were enemies of the Picts.

The only historical writing which may have been a Pictish version of events is the document known as "The Pictish Chronicle". As the only possibly Pictish-written historical record, it is a sad reminder of the incredible lack of Pictish records, for the Chronicle is nothing more than a list of kings. Thus, historians try to use other documents of the time to attempt to reconstruct and verify some claims from the Chronicle. There are Irish documents and legends, the writings of Bede in 731 A.D. and other missionaries tales, Roman reports, Greek maps, etc.

The Legends

In the beginning of time, there was a Pict king named Cruithne, son of Cing, and Cruithne reigned for 100 years. He had seven sons (the number seven is the key to many Pictish mysteries, and as the work of Jackson shows a key element to understand the Pictish stones - more later). His sons were called Fib, Fidach, Foclaid (or Fotla), Fortrenn, Caitt (or Cat), Ce and Circenn. The names of Cruithne's seven sons were also equated to the seven provinces of Pictland detailed in an ancient account of Scotland called De Situ Albanie (possibly written in the 14th century according to F.T. Wainwright). Of note, Argyll, which was the beachead of the invading Scots, is not listed as a Pictish province.

The list of kings does verify one area which is the largest obstacle to those who seek the Celtification of the Picts - The list delivers clear evidence that the Picts were a matrilinear society - that is: the bloodlines passed through the mother, and rarely did a son succeed a father to the crown of Pictland. This is rare enough in western society and not recorded in any Celtic society (although the Scots, once they assumed the Pictish throne, curiously kept a matrilinear descent of the crown, but within the MacAlpin dynasty). This Pictish matrilinear evidence is confirmed by Bede, who wrote that the Pictish succession went through the female line. Bede also re- affirms the existence (at least at the time of his writing in the mid 700's) of two kingdoms of the Picts - a northern and southern king.

The Historical Kings

Many Pictish kings were named Bridei (or Brude). In the writings of St. Columba's biographer (who was no friend of the Picts) we learn of one of the most powerful of these Bridei kings.

The writer (Adamnan) details the journey of the Irish saint to the court of Bridei near Loch Ness. The legendary monster of the lake makes its historical debut in this same story, and we are told that King Bridei (ruled 554-584) was an exceptionally powerful king. We are also told that Columba needed interpreters to speak to the king, clear evidence that the Picts did not speak the Celtic language of the Irish and Scots (or at the very least not the Gael version of the Celtic tongue). King Bridei also defeated the Scots, in battle against their king Gabran and laid waste to the Scottish holdings in the west. Had he pressed on and expelled the Scots from Argyll, Scotland may still be Pictland or Alba today.

Bridei was succeeded by Gartnait IV, the 37th king in the list, who reigned for about 20 years. Sometime during this period, the son of the defeated Scottish king, Aedan MacGabran (who may have been married to a Pictish princess), began warring against the Picts in his northern frontier (and the Northumbrians to his south) once more. The Scottish king was defeated in his southern expansions, by the great Anglo-Saxon king, Aethelfrid of Northumbria. It was this same Teutonic king who then marched into Pictland and conquered it as far as the Firth of Forth; suddenly, the Picts had a new worry in the nearly invincible Germanic tribes who had conquered most of Celtic England by this time.

Back to the Pictish kings, Gartnait IV followed was Nechtan II, son of Irb (Canonn in the Irish lists). He was succeeded by Ciniath (around 630), son of Lutrin. He was in turn followed by Nechtan III, son of Uid, Bridei/Brude II and Talorc IV. In 637, Pictish warriors may have fought on Irish soil as part of a multinational host of Britons, Saxons, Scots and Picts assembled by the Ulster nobleman Congal Claen to take over the crown of Ireland. Back in the Anglo- Saxon borders, Oswald had become King of Northumbria, and by 668, his brother Oswiu had conquered part of Dalriada and more of southern Pictland. In the free north, another Gartnait had ruled and died in 663 to be succeeded by Drest, who revolted against the Anglo-Saxon invaders, but was crushed by a Northumbrian host led by King Ecgfrith, who had succeeded Oswiu. After the defeat, Drest was removed as a king by another Bridei. This great Pictish king began his reign by taking the great ancient Pictish fortress at Dunnottar in 681.

He then assembled a Pictish fleet which sailed north and destroyed the growing Orcadian sea power in 682 and finally laying waste to the Scottish capital of Dunnadd in 683. Two years later, on 20 May 685, the Pictish King 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 English and Dunnichen by Caledonians, remains one of the most significant turning points in ancient history and has shaped the character of the land for the next 1300 years.

It was at Nechtansmere that Bridei made his name great. The invincible Anglo-Saxons had defeated every force which they had faced, and by now had occupied southern Pictland for 30 years. The Picts won that day, and massacred the entire English Anglo-Saxon host including its proud king as well as "cleansing" the land by killing or enslaving the remaining Northumbrians who had settled in Pictland. Had Bridei lost that great battle, the Scotland of today would not exist and all of Britain would have been English.

Bridei was followed by Taran, son of Enfidach and he was in form followed by Brude/Bridei IV, possibly the grandson of the Brude of Nechtansmere fame. He also fought the Northumbrians (this time far south of Pictland) and is thought to have destroyed yet another Northumbrian host and killed a Teutonic sub-king in the Lothians. Legend has it that this King endorsed (along with 51 other tribal kings of Britain) "The Law of the Innocents," which prohibited women from fighting in battle and in turn protected them, children and the clergy from the viciousness of the war itself. It is interesting to know that the "Law" had been proposed by Adamnan, whose mother Irish legend has it was horrified to see Pictish women fight viciously in war and made Adamnan promise that he'd stop women from taking their place on the battlefield. Brude was succeeded on his death in 706 by Nechton mac Derile. It was this King who rejected the Celtic Church and embraced the Roman Church.

After Nechton, the Pictish List King becomes muddled by in-fighting and rapid successions (the ugly problem of matrilinearity and the large numbers of aspiring and eligible would-be kings). In 724 Nechton entered a monastery for a few years and was succeeded by Drust, who was removed two years later by Alpin. In 711 a Pictish army is routed by a Northumbrian host on the plain of Manaw, probably somewhere in West Lothian; this marks the last known threat from these southern neighbors as Northumbrian power declines soon after that and ends with the fall of York to the Danes in 866.

Alpin was in turn replaced by Oengus (Angus), who defeated the old retired king Nechton, as well as his successor Drust, whom he killed in battle in 729. Oengus comes to us as a true warrior king. Upon taking the Pictish throne from his contenders, he turned his attention to the Scottish problem. Together with his son (called Brude) he laid waste to the Scottish fortresses of Dunnadd and others, and after brutalizing the Scots on British soil, he invaded Ireland and massacred them on their ancestral homeland by defeating them in two great battles in 741. Nearly invincible, he captured and drowned the King of Atholl, conquered the remaining Dalriada Scots on Britain and after beheading the Scottish king, became the first King of Picts and Scots.

The great military victories of Oengus once more gave the Pictish nation the chance to rule unhindered by the Scottish menace. The Dalriada Scots had been beaten on Argyll and on Ireland, and a Pict ruled over them as king and liege lord. Drunk with victory and mad with power, Oengus unwisely looked south for more territory to conquer, in the lands of the Britons of Strathclyde, the kingdom formed south of the old Roman Wall. He fought them in 744 and may have defeated them in open battle. Six years later (in 750) he fought them again, in a battle in which the Picts may have been led by his brother Talorcan (possibly in contention for the Pictish throne); in any event, some historians feel that Talorcan, not Oengus may have been leading the Pictish armies. Regardless, Talorcan was killed, as was the British king Tewdur, Son of Beli at the battle of Mocetwawc. The Britons held and Oengus had to retreat. Again in 756 the Pictish King marched his tattooed host south, to the great Briton fortress at Dumbarton Rock, where he was joined by a Northumbrian ally intent on destroying the Strathclyde kingdom. 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 Oengus retreated north where he died five years later.

His brother Brude V succeeded him for two years, and then Ciniod (who may have had Scottish blood as well as Pictish), son of Wredech reigned until 775. Meanwhile, in the nearly forty years since Dalriada had been wasted by Oengus, the Scots had been rebuilding under the leadership of Aed Finn, son of Eochaid, who by 768 was invading the 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. We also know that Aed Finn repealed Pictish laws and managed to regain freedom for the Scots in 768, and by the time of his death, Dalriada was independent again.

Confusion reigns in the List of Kings now. Three Pictish kings are listed in a period of seven years (Alpin II, Drust VII and Talorc II). He is succeeded by Talorc III, possibly a son of Oengus, and in turn Talorc III is followed by Conall. The next Pictish king was to rule for 35 years, again as the second King of Picts and Scots.

Castantin son of Uurguist possibly won the Pictish throne by defeating and killing Conall and he also wore the crown over the Scots of Dalriada, who by now may have been a significant part of the Pictish royal lines through intermarriage. He was succeeded by his brother Oengus II, who is reputed to have brought the relics of St. Andrews back to Scotland. Oengus II was followed by Drust VIII and Talorc.

Uven, who may have been a son of Oengus II, followed Talorc and is listed as the King of both Picts and Scots. He was killed in 839 by the great new menace in the north, at a great battle where the northern Pictish armies were destroyed by the new enemy: the Vikings. He is the last Pictish king to be recorded in the Irish versions of the list of Pictish kings. Other lists record Uurad, son of Bargot and Brude, son of Ferath. He is followed by Kenneth, son of Ferath and Brude's brother, yet another Brude, son of Fethal and finally Drust IX, yet another son of Fethal.

This list of 69 Pictish kings ended with Drust IX, when he was killed by that dark, shadowy figure of Kenneth MacAlpin, the first Scot to become King of Picts and Scots in an episode known as "MacAlpin's Treason."

Most historians agree that around 839 a huge battle took place in which the Pictish king died while leading his men against the Vikings. This shattering defeat also took the life of his brother (and thus successor to the crown) as well as "others almost without numbers." This decimation of the Pictish warrior class by the Vikings is perhaps the most decisive point which swings the pendulum of control to the Scots. The Pictish defeat at the hands of the Norsemen ranks as the most significant in Pictish history, and was ironically repeated many centuries later by the destruction of the Scottish nobles at Flodden. This culling of the Pictish royal houses and its warrior elite, delivered the decisive shift in the pattern of succession, and handed the Pictish crown to the Scottish House of MacAlpin.
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#2 Glaisne

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 05:55 PM

That was great, Chilli! Where was this info found? Further study does seem appropriate. :lol:
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#3 Raptor

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 01:13 AM

Jim, the best you can hope for is piecing together info from every printed & online source you can find. Even the "King List" is hotly debated by scholars. For example, a Pictish settlement in the Orkneys shows similarities to Mesolithic Egyptian structures, & it has even been suggested that it was built by shipwrecked Egyptian sailors. The Cruithne however, were acknowledged as a naval force long before the Egyptians were, & I believe that their explorers visited Egypt rather than the other way around. For example, the number of red-haired Egyptians... Even their God Set is credited with pale skin & red hair, a warrior & God of chaos who arrived from the sea of Chaos (significantly, he also ruled the West: by sea from Egypt, the trade routes lay west, through the straights of Gibralter... where does that direction put you?) Although Set is described as having the head of an mythical composite animal, it is strikingly similar to Pictish animals carved on standing stones. Although these animals are classed as unidentified, my personal belief is that they are representations of the Celtic "water horse".

Lots more research is needed into this subject, but it is going to be long & difficult, given that, like the Celts, all Cruithne traditions were oral: there are no available texts by the people themselves on which to base a belief.
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#4 Doc Hudson

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 01:58 AM

Outstanding!!

Most informative and highly entertaining as well!!

You also justified all the oral history projects ever launched. Like most, I've often regreted not writing down all of the stories handed down in the family. As a kid, I greatly enjoyed getting the older members of the family talking about their childhood, and about their ancestors. Now that generation is long gone and so are most of the old family stories. Chronicles, grave registrations, or marriage and baptismal records can tell us who lived, but without the oral traditions, we don't know much about how they lived and what they did.

You've done a helluva job bringing all those lives back into the light. Well done, sir, well done!

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#5 Highland Rogue

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 10:32 PM

To understand who the Picts actually were requires an understanding of the history and habitation of the Isle of Great Britain. The Isle of Britain and indeed the Britons themselves took the name from the word "Prydain" with its root "Pryd" meaning to "mark or draw" - a possible reference to the Britons custom of decorating their skin with marks or tattoos. In his 1st century B.C. visit to Britain, recorded in his Journal "The Gallic Wars" the Roman General Julius Caesar describes the inhabitants of Britain, saying:

"The mainland of Britain is inhabited by a people who claim to be indigenous to the island, but on the coast live the immigrant Belgae, who crossed over for war and pillage, but settled to cultivate the land....Those living inland do not sow grain but live on milk and meat and wear clothes of animal hides. All Britons paint their skin with woad which makes them blue and more terrifying to confront in battle. They do not cut their hair but shave all the rest of the body except the head and upper lip."

Thus, the Picts were most likely descendants of the earliest Stone Age inhabitants of Britain, and genetically would have been closely linked through their R1b DNA to other pre-Indo-European inhabitants of Western Europe such as the Celts the Basque.

Later, after the collapse of the Roman Empire at the begining of the Dark Ages when the Angles and Saxons came from Germany as mercenary soldiers to Britain, they called the native Britons "Wealas" an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "foreigner" and it is from this Anglo-Saxon word that the words "Welsh" and the Scottish surname "Wallace" comes from. Prior to the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain in the 400's A.D., there would have been no difference between the "Britons of Strathclyde" in Scotland and the inhabitants of the country that is Wales today. It was the cultural displacement caused by the Germanic Anglo-Saxons who gained control of much of the political power in what is now England, that caused Britain to be devided into what were at one time separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Wales.



#6 Tartan Jack

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 10:46 PM

Thanks for that post, Raptor.

The origin of the name "Pict" is a matter of serious debate in academic circles.
It doesn't really fit into the supposed Latin origins to well.
So, it is supposed it is derived from a "Pictish" source, rather what they called themselves, a tribal name, a leader's name (like Herman/Germanus gave the Deutsch the name Germany/German), or the like. It could have even been a negative comment in some non-surviving language or dialect.

Also, the language spoken by the "Picts" is hotly debated, as little survives complete enough to analyze and compare. Some think it is one or another form of Gaelic, while others think it is a separate branch or a precursor of Gaelic ("proto-Gaelic"), or even a completely unrelated language.

So, we really don't know what they called themselves . . .

Anyways, thanks for the post.
I found it interesting.
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#7 Highland Rogue

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 08:57 AM

The main difference between the Picts (Prytani) who inhabited northern Britain (Prydain) and the rest of the Britons, was largely due to two factors: (1) the Picts had limited exposure to the Cimbri who came over from Belgium and settled along the coasts of southern Britain, bringing their Indo-European language and culture to the island, which was to play a significant role in the development of the Cymru (Welsh) culture. (2) Lack of Romanization in northern Britain. The Romans found the inhabitants of northern Britain too wild and hostile, and sought to isolate them from Romanized southern Britain, by building barriers such as Hadrian's Wall in an attempt to confine them. Thus the cultures of the Prytani of the north developed somewhat differently from that of their kinsmen to the south, whose descendants make up the Welsh and Cornish populations of today.

#8 Scottish Hog

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 02:39 PM

Here is an excerpt from a family name search I did awhile back
a link to the article Click Here

The surname Craig is one of great antiquity. It originated in the area of the Picts, the eastern portion of Scotland, where they (Picts) were allowed to settle on condition that all their Kings agree to marry an Irish Princess. The Picts are considered to be among the most ancient of the founding races of Scotland. Bede, a respected historian (born 673), estimated that they came to Scotland some fifteen centuries BC, from France. From some early documents researched such as the Inquisito, 1120 AD., the Black Book of the Exchequer, and others, records of the name Craig were produced in Aberdeenshire where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066.
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#9 Tartan Jack

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 02:41 PM

Craig means "rock" in Gaelic.
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#10 KT

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 10:16 AM

wow..that is great!

One thing I find amazing is how the book of my family's genealogy which my great great great aunt wrote back in 1929 has the same Pictish lineage, starting with Fergus Mor, going up through Kenneth MacAlpine and on to late 19th century new england.

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#11 Raptor

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 04:15 PM

KT, the Muir lines of my family go back to ol' Fergus. We're distant cousins! smile.gif
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#12 Kilted Carver

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 11:52 AM

Can't believe I missed this one Chilli , my cousin. I just finished watching a 6 parter on Youtube called the Picts of Scotland : http://www.youtube.c...TheTrueScotland by Neil Oliver . It helps out with alot of the myths and legends. Our ancestors didn't make tracking them easy. I wish Grandad Kenneth and his kin had kept better records! :)
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#13 Raptor

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 03:06 PM

Eric, that youtube series is the first disc of a box set called The History Of Scotland. It was shown down here on SBS tv. The set is worth every cent of it's price.
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#14 felipescotland77

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 12:22 PM

I think it is great that the poster and many people from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc have taken a lot of interest in my country and the poster is to be highly congratulated and further encouraged, however I am only a few lines into it and I have to remind the poster that there is no such thing as "Brythonic Gaelic", ...I read a LOT of posts online from enthusiastic people from outside Scotland, Ireland etc who seem to regularly confuse the term Gaelic with the word Celtic. Celtic is an umbrella term used to generally describe certain types of varied European peoples and languages, whereas Gaelic is a very specific term within the larger spectrum of the Celtic world. 

 

Brythonic Celtic people (aka Britons) can very loosely be described — using the more modern term — as being Welsh. Gaelic (or Goidelic) is the anglicised name currently used to describe the native languages and dialects of a VERY different type of Celt called Gaels ...spoken as Irish from Ireland, Manx in the Isle of Man and Scots Gaelic in Scotland.

 

The current day descendants of the Brythonic dialects are spoken in Wales (Welsh), Cornwall (Cornish) and Brittany* (Breton — in north western France) there are some small areas in the north of England where isolated Brythonic words still linger in various forms (often altered by time and other external linguistic influences)

 

*Some would argue that Breton owes much of its make-up to the now extinct Gaulish language in addition to Brythonic (both of which are from the same branch of Celtic)

 

It is VERY important for anyone from outside these countries — who are interested in western European Celts — to realise that Brythonic/Welsh people are from a very, very different branch of Celts than those of us who are descended from Gaels (Scots, Irish and Manx people) so much so that the two linguistic branches have almost no historical connection despite being geographically close ...due to the close proximity of all these peoples there is indeed evidence of borrowed and adapted words over the centuries, but thats as far as it goes according to academics who specialise in this area.

 

On a final note I would just try to impress that the aforementioned academics really cant formulate a definitive answer as to what Celtic linguistic branch the Picts belonged to (if any). Said academics refer to Brythonic people as being part of what they call the 'P-Celtic' categorisation and the Gaels are described as 'Q-Celtic'. As of 2013 many highly qualified historians and linguistic professors are leaning towards the notion that the long dead Pictish language and/or dialects MAY loosely be related to the 'P-Celtic languages' as opposed to 'Q-Celtic' ...if there was indeed any relation to be had in the first place. However, a number of scholars and professors say there is possibly an argument that the Picts may be more closely related to the Gaels ('Q') than many would assume, moreover there are even suggestions that the dialects or language that the Picts may have spoken could actually have roots in the more Germanic dialects of Europe including old English — so it seems that no one really has a clue what the answer is! ...and it is unlikely we will ever know, as it is currently understood that the Picts had no written language!



#15 Raptor

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for the added clarification! Some of the academic sources I used quantified the P-Gaelic groups as "Brythonic Type A" so I used this theory as a viable likelihood. My personal theory is that the Picts are more likely an offshoot of the Mesolithic Beaker People, as they were the people to colonise lands over the Western Europe land bridge during the last ice-age & thus the most likely to have reached the extremes of the British Isles first. But anyway, you raised some valid points which I enjoyed reading very much & look forward to more posts from you on our history (I was born in Aberdeen)


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#16 branmakmorn

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:53 PM

WA Cummings wrote " The Age of the Picts" which is a pretty good read for Pictophiles like me. Personally I like RE Howard's history of the picts he writes of in his Bran Mak  Morn stories. It may not be totally accurate but as Randal Wallace said never let history get in the way of a good story. O



#17 kickman

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:08 PM

I find all of this fascinating! Thanks for sharing : )
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