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Tanner Yerkey




Location: Venango,PA
Joined: 25 Oct 2006

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri 03 Nov, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject: Picts?         Reply with quote

Picts? History, weapons, locations. Could someone tell me more about them and lead me to some good sorces such as some good books, sites,etc.
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Joe Maccarrone




Location: Seattle, WA USA
Joined: 19 Sep 2003

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sat 04 Nov, 2006 12:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For a quick, but well-researched primer, see Paul Wagner's Osprey title, Pictish Warrior.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Nov, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Tanner,
You might want to try to find The Picts and the Scots at War by Nick Aitchison. It might be hard to find (I believe it's out of print), but it would be worth it in a study of the military aspects of the Picts. Unfortunately, the book talks more about what we don't know than what we do, but there is some interesting information nevertheless. It has a decent discussion about warriors, weapons, and warfare, including an analysis of the arms and armour shown on the Pictish stones.
I hope this helped!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Sat 04 Nov, 2006 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try the Age of the Picts by W.A. Cummins. It was the most informative source that I've come across.
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Kenneth Armstrong




Location: Alexandria, VA (for the moment)
Joined: 24 Aug 2006

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat 04 Nov, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allen W wrote:
Try the Age of the Picts by W.A. Cummins. It was the most informative source that I've come across.


I have to agree with Allen, that's a good book. It's also quite short, but well done.

I also have that Osprey book, more pictures than written information, but the Age of the Picts book does good to help fill in with that.
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Richard Fay




Location: Upstate New York
Joined: 29 Sep 2006
Reading list: 256 books

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Posts: 782

PostPosted: Sat 04 Nov, 2006 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

There is some information about the Picts in Ancient Celts by Tim Newark. I can't completely vouch for the accuracy of the information in the text, but it seems to match fairly well what I read in the Aitchison book The Picts and the Scots at War. The colour plate by Angus McBride may be a bit more "speculative" and "dubious" than the text, but it gives a decent general impression of how the Pictish warrior may have looked. Here's the excerpt from the text describing the Picts, from the description of "Picts watching the Scots at Dunadd, 8th Century AD":
Tim Newark wrote:

The Picts were a mysterious people about whom very little is known. Mainly Celtic, they appear to have spoken a language that included an older tongue of the aboriginal people they displaced. Pict is a Roman name referring to "painted people", indicating that they followed the Celtic custom of either painting or tattooing their bodies with blue patterns. The Picts were a fiercely independent people who appear to have succeeded in their battle agtainst the Romans, being the descendants of the Caledonian tribes that the Romans first encountered. Having lived without Roman domination, they then had to contend with the Gaelic speakers of Dunadd.

The Pictish style of warfare has been recorded on a few engraved stone slabs. Keen horsemen, like all Celts, they used both javelins and longer lances. There foot soldiers fought with longer spears or pikes and may have formed a kind of phalanx in battle, just as Scottish soldiers did centuries later under William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. They also carried characteristically Pictish square shields decorated with swirling Celtic patterns. Such a shield is carried by the warrior on the right of the painting. He wears a spangenhelm-style helmet with a nasal piece which may have been derived from the Germanic Angles they fought against on the Scottish border. Such helmets are depicted on the Aberlemno stone, but they may have been used there to signify their Germanic enemies. The other warriors in the painting are lightly clad, carrying axes, spears, and swords. The older La Tene style appears to have survived in the form of Pictish sword hilts. The warrior in the middle wears a combination cloak and hood that is similar to that worn by the crossbow-carrying warrior on the Drosten stone, and this weapon should be added to the Pictish arsenal.

The Picts and the Scots fought for centuries for control of northwest Scotland. In 740, the Irish Annals of Ulster recorded a major campaign by the Picts against Dalriada. Led by Angus macFergus, they captured several strongholds, and a Scots warlord was savagely drowned, forcing the others to flee back to Ireland. The Angles took advantage of this incessant conflict and invaded the eastern highlands, but the Picts met them at the battle of Dunnichen or Nectansmere in Scotland. It is this victory that may be commemorated on the Aberlemno stone. In the end, however, the Scots triumphed over the Picts and a Scots king succeeded to the Pictish throne around 843 AD. As a result, the highlands now bear their name rather than being known as Pictland.

Aitchison talked about square and rectangular shields in his book, but he felt that round shields were more common. He also mentioned the depiction of crossbows on four Pictish stones, and it seems likely that they used them in warfare. He says that the evidence of Picts using axes in warfare is slight, and their is little or no evidence that they typically wore armour. Their often used spears with a knobbed butt. And, Pictish swords shown on the few stones that show the swords blades out of their scabbard tend to be short, broad, straight-sided, and probably double-edged.

Here's what Aitchison said about Pictland:
Nick Aitchison wrote:

Pictland comprised most of what is now northern Scotland and its limits are recorded by contemporary commentators. Its southern boundary was marked by the Firth of Forth and, before the Scots extended their settlement into this area, the Firth of Clyde...The western boundary of Pictland was marked by what contemporary sources refer to (in Irish and Latin respectively) as Druim Alban or Dorsum Britanniae, the "Ridge of Britain", the southwestern extension of the Grampian mountains. Beyond Druim Alban lay the kingdom of the Scots of Dal Riata. From the Forth-Clyde isthmus, Pictland extended north and west to include the Outer Hebrides and the Norhtern Isles.


I hope this was helpful! Later, I could post more from the Aitchison book if you like!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Tanner Yerkey




Location: Venango,PA
Joined: 25 Oct 2006

Posts: 24

PostPosted: Sat 04 Nov, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks alot guys. It really does help. I'll definetly look into the book. I'll check some of the libraries and a friend of mine may it. He has a great collection of military history like books.
Those who live by the sword, Die by the spear
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