Notes on the Picts and Pictish society

Pictish, are said to carry the carry the R1b-S530 marker
See The Truth about the Picts and The Picts are alive and well and living in Scotland

On the Origins of the Picts and Scots:

PICTS Flourish in “Alba”part of the Brodgar Ring in the Orknies

They are recorded to have reached Scotland by the first millennium BC, and chose the best areas for themselves. They called themselves “Kaldis” or “Kaltis.” (The later British Celts had to take second best.) They absorbed the earlier tribesmen who were known as Orcades (who were definitely Celtic), and soon dominated the northern half of Scotland. The first to record their existence in Alba were sea-faring Greek merchant, who called them “Albiones” (pale-skinned ones).

When the Romans ventured into their domain, these warrior people were called “Caledonii”, then “Picti” (painted or tattooed ones.) They were well organized, fierce warriors, and had several unique characteristics which differentiated them from other Celts, so some historians have not considered them Celts at all.

Bedes reported they recorded their family genealogies along their female lines, similar to the Scythians. They also included female warriors in their standing armies as did the Scythians, but not the Scottish or Germanic peoples. They were not as quarrelsome amongst themselves as were the Scoti. They painted their bodies blue for battle, as was the ancient custom of the Celts. (This practice had died out in the more central areas of Celtic civilization.) They constructed huge hill forts of timber and stone. Their language was not identical with other Celts and, some scholars believe that the Picts were not Celts at all.

Picts had a tradition their ancestors were from Scythia. There are several confirming clues as to this claim:

Relief’s of Pictish warriors on Orkney gravestones have a decidedly ‘Assyrian’ appearance. Oriental bronze bridle found in Celtic settlement in Mindelbeim, Bavaria

The Pictish wood-built burial chamber under a barrow was similar to that of the Scythians.

After the Scythians were overwhelmed by the nomadic Sarmatians, many migrated into Hallstatt (early Celtic) territory in Styria in present day Austria.

Both Scythians and Picts had an extreme equestrian culture, (more so than other Celtic tribes.)

Trousers and woolen cloaks were worn by Picts and other Celts, which were especially convenient when riding horses. They were not derived from the Mediterranean nor from temperate Europe. They were obviously from horsemen of the cold eastern steppes, probably the Scythians.

Both Pict and Scythian armies used women warriors, other Celts did not.

Celtic, and Scythian societies were agricultural-pastoral as each tribe was engaged in its own food production. Therefore no large urban centres were realized.Pictish ‘Broch’ (hillside fort)

The Celts achieved a standard in arts and crafts unparalleled amongst the ancient inhabitants of trans/Alpine Europe, rivaled only by their Eurasiatic neighbours and mentors, the Scythians.

At about 700 BC, there appeared in the vicinities of Celtic Hungary, Bavaria, and Austria, bronze horse-bits, and bridle mounts, which were identical to types found in Scythia.

Who were these early Hallstatt Iron age Chieftains? Their horse-gear is an elaboration of their predecessors from the east.
(quote from ‘The Celts” by T.G.E. Powell).


Pict Society

The Picts, including the Irish Cruithne, put more emphasis on female ancestry than on the male line, though they did not allow a Queen to rule over them as did the Ikeni and Brigantes of Britain, whose queens were almost demi-goddesses. The ‘practical’ Picts realized that a boy’s best friend was his mother, and his father sometimes only a very fitful factor.
A great Pict King, Onnist, was fighting the Saxons, who were encroaching on Pict territory, when he had a dream of Saint Andrew bearing his cross in a saltern manner against a blue sky. The next day he beat the Saxons in a mighty battle and in gratitude proclaimed the Saltern cross (white on a blue background) as his national banner. It still is the national flag of Scotland.

Most of the names we now associate with being Scottish were in fact Pictish, i.e. Angus, Bili, Kenneth, Donald, Duncan, Hugh, Malcom, Ronald, Bryden, and many others which are unpronounceable in English. The surname Alpin is Pictish and means mountain. It began as ‘Ailphin’, then ‘Elphin’, then ‘Alpin.’
Similarly, the “Alps” in Europe were originally named by the Kelts. In today’s English, the term “Alpine” is synonymous to “mountainous”.

The Picts maintained a system of succession whereby the crown was passed down to a brother or a nephew through the mother’s line.

The Picts favoured two forms of execution: Drowning was reserved for unwanted Kings. Beheading was reserved for the most shameful of deaths and was used in a ceremony of retribution. The Picts compared very favorably with later peoples and their diabolical execution methods

They drank from drinking horns
Medieval bronze bells arrived late (relative to the Eastern cultures), attributed to the Picts.

The earliest descriptions of the Picts are Roman, the two tribes the Caledonians and the Maetae were collectively known as the Picts from the 4th century onwards. Tacitus was the first Roman historian to describe the Picts and he believed they were no different from the other Celtic tribes found throughout Britain and Gaul. Cassius Dio was the Roman historian of the Severan period and he gave a very inaccurate description, “The Caledonians and the Maetae dwell among inhospitable hills, between which the land is damp and swampy. The native people have no forts or towns, nor do they engage in agriculture.” Archaeological evidence proves him wrong, he also went on to say “The men of the tribes are warlike, enjoying nothing better than joining a raiding party to seize plunder. Their horses are small but swift and some of the warriors fight from chariots. The infantry, armed with daggers, spears and shields are remarkably swift moving and tough: they can live for a very long time by eating only bark and roots, and they know the secret of preparing a special food which, if taken in very small quantities, relieves them of all hunger and thirst. When danger threatens they submerge their bodies in the marshes and survive for days with just their heads showing above the surface.”

The Picts (Alba) ay have had a common origin with Albanoi tribes, Albanians who moved southwards originally from Maeotia. Albanians, like the Picts, too had R1b Y-DNA (21pct.

A study by Peričić et al. in 2005[Wikipedia] found the following Y-Dna haplogroup frequencies in Albanians from Kosovo with haplogroup E1b1b and its subclades representing 47.4% of the total:

N E-M78* E-V13 E-M81 E-M123 J2 I R1b R1a P
114 1.75% 43.85% 0.90% 0.90% 16.70% 7.96% 21.10% 4.42% 1.77%


From The Picts: Throughout the 4th century Picts raided the Roman forts above the wall and there were several skirmishes and battles. In the middle of the 4th century Picts were described as divided into two kingdoms, the Venturiones (Maetae) in the South and the Dicalydones (Caledonians) in the North. The political system is unclear and at various points Pictland is divided into two equal kingdoms, sometimes one of the kingdoms appears to have been in overall charge under one king.

Picts and Maeotae came to Albania from Scythia, according to MacGregor and Calise’s ”
Pictish Sourcebook: Documents of Medieval Legend and Dark Age History

Their architecture consisted of brochs and souterrains and they farmed pit arable lands. They grew oats and barley
See The Picts by Benjamin Hudson

Strangely there are several similarities between Kofun Japan tumulus period’s warriors and the Picts:

They painted their faces and tattooed their bodies. They wore trousers.
Pictish symbols included the triskele-like symbols, cross-knotted motifs (chokkomon in Kofun Japan tombs)
They rode small, short horses
They were skilled metal-workers using daggers, spears and axes.
They liked farming their grains, especially barley.
They were good at surviving on bark and roots of plants, in damp swampy marsh areas (ma for marsh is the same in both languages)
They drank from drinking horns. They knew how to survive in battle on portable small portions of food.



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