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The Picts were ancient inhabitants of Scotland whose forebears probably came from the European continent around 1000 B.C.[1] Their confederation of tribes in northern Scotland eventually ran from Fife to Caithness. The Picts were in general agrarian, living in small communities, similar in culture to most other celts including Pagan animistic polytheism. In 843 A.D. they united with the kingdom of the Scots and were assimilated into the Scottish nation.

Writing & Language

The Picts had their own system of writing, Pictish. However, little survives today, so the history of the Picts themselves is a largely "academically recreated" history from other sources.

The Pictish language was first mentioned by Bede in the 8th century, and the categorization of this language as well as its relationship to other language in Britain was historically the subject of intense debate. The late 20th and early 21st century consensus that the language was a Brittonic one closely related to Welsh, is now generally accepted. This is on the basis of Welsh words appearing in Pictish place-names, such words including aber, caer and pen, inscriptions on Pictish monuments being interpreted as Brittonic (e.g. Pictish cuhett vs Welsh cyhyd), and Picts recorded as having borne Brittonic names including Mailcon, Resad, Talorc and Wrgust.


In battle, the Picts used to dye their faces and skin with blue woad, giving them a fearsome appearance.[2]


The New American Desk Encyclopedia, Penguin Group, 1989


  1. The name "Pict" is not the native name of the people, which remains unknown today, but is rather the name given to them by the Romans
  2. History of Woad