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Reconsidering Scotland's Past

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posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 04:22 AM
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We are taught our heritage early in Scotland. In school, we learn that the Picts migrated from central Europe around the late iron age, and fought back the Roman invaders. We are taught that the Picts were a tribe of illiterate savages, fond of cattle rustling and with a propensity towards violence. They were semi-clad, painted or tattooed warriors, usually described as having a Mediterranean appearance of olive skin and dark hair.


This has always left me with questions. Why did the original Scots not stop these migratory Picts? We know that Scotland has been inhabited since 8500 BC; over 3000 artefacts were found at a site in Cramond. However, a flint arrowhead found at Islay, has been dated from 10,800 BC, suggestive of even earlier occupation.

And where did the Picts go? We are told they vanished from history or were defeated by the Gaels, who incorporated them under their Gaelic rule, and the nation of Alba was born.

More and more evidence is being unveiled to further unravel the secrets of these enigmatic people, not least by historian Stuart McHardy.
McHardy puts forward the proposal in ‘A New History of the Picts’ (2012) that these people were in actuality a network of clans, who had crossed over the Doggerland ‘bridge’ prior to its immersion by the North Sea around 6000 BC.

A common mistake, he argues, is the misunderstanding of the label ‘Scythians.’ The modern Scots are known to have descended from this area (Bede, 8AD), often thought to mean the area north of the Black Sea. In Bede’s time however, Scythia was known to mean Scandanavia and the area around Denmark.



The Picts then were the indigenous people of Scotland, who lived in clans (from the gaelic clann-children) or family groups, and who probably united in an effort – successfully – to keep the invading Romans out of Scotland. This argument is convincing – up until the mid-18th century, Scotland maintained its clan system. This is a fairly complicated system of kinship bonds, mutual duties and rights rather than governance by an elite King. While the clan chief would lead his people, he would also be of them. Hence there was no separate ‘Pict’ group – the name encompassed all who lived above the Forth-Clyde divide.

Far from being violent savages, these were peoples capable of carving the most beautiful stones; artists and visionaries.






‘A study of one the most important archaeological discoveries in Scotland for 30 years, a Pictish monastery at Portmahomack on the Tarbat peninsula in Easter Ross, has found that they were capable of great art, learning and the use of complex architectural principles. And, in a discovery described as "astonishing, mind-blowing" by architectural historians, it appears that the people who built the monastery did so using the proportions of "the Golden Section", or "Divine Proportion" as it became known during the Renaissance hundreds of years later. This ratio of dimensions, 1.618 to one, appears in nature, such as in the spiral of seashells, and the faces of people considered beautiful, such as Marilyn Monroe. It can be seen in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Alhambra palace of Granada in Spain, the Acropolis in Athens and the Egyptian Pyramids, but was thought to have been too advanced for the Picts.’
The Independant, 2008

The Picts are perhaps best known for their beautifully carved stones.


No consensus has been reached as to the meanings of all the symbols, but consider Bellchamber 's interpretation of the traditional V-Rods, found on many stones. He makes a convincing case for the possibility that it represents a farmer’s almanac, a seasonal sundial.

McHardy also argues convincingly that the name Pict probably comes from a Roman misinterpretation of the word ‘pecht’ meaning ancestor. It has long been taught that it is a translation of the Latin Picti-painted- but McHardy’s position is compelling and seems more likely, in my view.

Nor did these people die out; they walk among us.



“Now new research from Scotlands DNA, an ancestry testing company, has found a marker strongly suggesting for the first time that a large number of descendants of these northern tribes, known as “Picti” by the Romans meaning “Painted Ones”, are living in Scotland.
Dr Jim Wilson, chief scientist at the company, who found a Y chromosome marker arising amongst the direct ancestors of the Picts, said this was the “first evidence that the heirs of the Picts are living among us”.
After testing this new fatherline marker labelled R1b-S530 in more than 3,000 British and Irish men, Dr Wilson discovered it is ten times more common in those with Scottish grandfathers than those with English ­grandfathers. A total of 170 men living in Scotland have been found to carry this marker, although the number is likely to be far higher.
While ten per cent of more than 1,000 Scottish men tested carry R1b-S530, only 0.8 per cent of Englishmen have it.

The Scotsman, 2013


Only a fool would argue that this is a case for ‘pure’ blood – one of the foulest myths in man’s history. Each baby born has the same right as the next to live with the earth. We are now a nation of Picts, Britons, Vikings- and many, many more. The first written records of these people come from Roman sources in the first century – our enemies – and so it should not then be surprising that viewing our past through foreign eyes will lead to many misconceptions and slanders.

I would argue instead that it is time to allow for the possibility that our pecht – our family- were not illiterate savages. Warriors, yes, and by no means perfect, but also artists, poets, craftsmen, mathematicians and astronomers.




posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 04:47 AM
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Only a fool would argue that this is a case for ‘pure’ blood – one of the foulest myths in man’s history. Each baby born has the same right as the next to live with the earth. We are now a nation of Picts, Britons, Vikings- and many, many more. The first written records of these people come from Roman sources in the first century – our enemies – and so it should not then be surprising that viewing our past through foreign eyes will lead to many misconceptions and slanders.

I would argue instead that it is time to allow for the possibility that our pecht – our family- were not illiterate savages. Warriors, yes, and by no means perfect, but also artists, poets, craftsmen, mathematicians and astronomers.



Similar to how the Vikings were portrayed. Savages or barbarians was always a good way of depicting people who you didn't perceive as being as advanced as yourself, or with different social nuances.

Not to say it's entirely unfounded or doesn't exist today. The same prejudice kind of shows its head with how upper class looks down at lower class peoples today.

Edit to add: Vikings held a different religious belief system which I believe is one of the reasons they were portrayed the way they were in history books and even in recent times in popular media the caricature kind of stuck. When they were finally assimilated it's not much different than how pagans were looked at once Christianity took dominance.

Those dirty pagans and their sex parties and devil worship and all that.

www.vikingrune.com...
edit on 14-1-2014 by boncho because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 04:53 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


This is a great read. Recently ATS member 'pronto' put onto a site where it was alleged the original inhabitants of New Zealand were picts and that there are decendents and ruins on the islands. The saga of their arrival and survival prior to the polynesians is apparently well known. They died horrible deaths. Red haired Maoris are said to be their decendants and the likeness of the tattoo's quite astonishing. Not to mention the 'haka'.

Look up Picts and New Zealand. Allegedly there is documentation.

Thanks. Nice OP.

Bally.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 04:56 AM
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Thank you for an interesting post. My grandfather researched the Picts and was firmly of the belief that our family were descended from them. He himself had jet black hair and tanned beautifully and hailed from Aberdeenshire.

His research took him along the lines of skull shapes - specifically the rounded bit at the back middle which usually drops down in a smooth line to the neck. He, my mother and I all had/have a large indentation at the normally smooth point.

That's as much as I remember sadly - I always thought the Picts may have joined with the Neanderthals at some point or at least interbred as their history of repelling invasion suggests great strength and perhaps larger people ?



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 04:59 AM
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reply to post by boncho
 




Not to say it's entirely unfounded or doesn't exist today. The same prejudice kind of shows its head with how upper class looks down at lower class peoples today.


The Vikings is a great comparison. I think you're spot on; sheer snobbery is a timeless human trait.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:01 AM
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reply to post by bally001
 


Thanks Bally, I'm going to look into that, pronto!



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:07 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 

In fact the standard histories agree that the Picts were there before the Scots, who colonised the west from Ireland.
As for where they went- I think the people of southern Pictland got mixed with people of Scots and Anglo-Saxon descent, got a dynasty from the first and a language from the second and just stopped thinking of themselves as Picts.
The history of the early mediaeval kingdom shows various rebellions in Moray against the ruling house, and in part this represents northern Pictdom holding out against absorption.
So Malcolm IV is supposed to have re-settled Moray and distributed the original inhabitants elsewhere.




edit on 14-1-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:07 AM
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reply to post by slidingdoor
 


Aberdeenshire is prime Pictland, a huge amount of artifacts have been found there. Just south is Dunnottar Castle at Stonehaven, which was a major stronghold.

It's good to hear of your grandfather having researched, I'd love to know what conclusions he came to.

B x



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:14 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


This is just the start of the story. Its a long read,


Ancient Celtic / Scottish
Viking sites

in New Zealand!(?) (Last Update 11/10/2003)

Unbelievable to orthodox historical opinion? Yes! But so were any New Zealand dinosaurs thirty or so years ago. Now there are many books on such creatures and they have been accepted by orthodox institutions in NZ.

So what is the probability of old pre-Maori, Celtic sites?

If you have an open and inquiring mind there are many facts, artifacts and oral and written histories that confirm the existence of pre-Maori populations in NZ. Our archaeology has yet to be properly investigated by archaeologists that do not have pre-conceived or politically motivated agendas.

Very ancient written records in Europe and the old world confirm knowledge that New Zealand and Australia existed. However getting access to and acknowledgement of these records is difficult. Concocted historical opinion has been based on deliberate intent to discredit and cover up such knowledge. NZ and Australia are not the only countries bound up by such conspiracies. However this article is about a particular NZ example, with some general observations thrown in.

The following is an example of an oral history supported by records held in Scotland. A book about this particular story, with supporting documentation is due for release sometime in the year 2000. As information is slowly released and clarified the story on this page is kept updated. For now it is simply an interesting saga with all the intrigue, and bravery of any Icelandic Saga. The heroes in it eventually suffer horrific deaths though this does not prevent their genes from carrying on generation after generation in a new land. In that, perhaps it was a more successful settlement than was the Viking settlement at Brattahild in Greenland.

(Taine Rory Mhor ) Taine Ruaridh Mhor (the big cattle farmer) was delivered by three seagoing longships (birlinns?) to NZ in the 12th Century, with 95 of his family and kinfolk and followers. And sons Rory and Ruaridh. It was deliberate but not by choice. Banishment was not an uncommon feature of the times and in this case the term was for seven generations after he had been incacerated in a dungeon for three years already by his friend King Alexander I of Scotland (reigned 1107-1124AD). Both Islands of New Zealand were chosen because one of the criteria was that the land for the banishment had to be uninhabited at the time (? this seems strange). After 160 years (7 + 1 generations), Scots/Vikings (there were three ships, two of whose captains were Johansen and Christiansen - though the names are Nordic Scandinavian they were probably based in the Firth of Forth) were requested by folk in Scotland to call and see if any of Taine's people had survived. This would have been probably just after the reign of King Alexander III of Scotland (reigned 1249-1286) and during the reign of Edward I of England. He invaded Scotland in 1296. This was a turbulent time in Scotland. It was the time of Wallace, of Bruce, the battles of Stirling Bridge and Falkirk. The execution of Wallace and eventually the Coronation of Robert the Bruce and leading up to the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Times perhaps when no-one had the time or resources to maintain communication with kinfolk a world away. So back to the story.
Men in Taine's lineage were often well over 7 foot tall and generally had red hair, blue eyes and fair complexions. They had been provided with a very small number of sheep and cattle, and enough provisions to last three months, but no tools. Why such treatment was metted out remains the knowledge of modern descendants. The survival of Taine's group was initially in their own hands and by the will of God. Their existence was meagre. Eventually some tools were obtained by trade with visiting Portuguese, and the colony grew. It is said Taine was responsible for introducing particular trees and that there may be connection between Taine and "Tane" the name used by Maoris for the God of the forest. Taine in old Gaelic is apparently pronounced the same as Tane in Maori.

(The written Maori language is just an Anglicised/Germanic spelling of the oral language Maoris were using when the English language oriented modern European settlement started. Early European documents and manuscriptions use quite different spellings for many Maori words and it is only through later standardisation that current spellings are used.)


Regards,

Bally
edit on 14-1-2014 by bally001 because: (no reason given)
edit on 14-1-2014 by bally001 because: Quote



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:18 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


It's my contention that they never thought of themselves as Picts. A nation state would not be familiar with clans - there would be no need to think outside of one's own 'region', and I use the term purely geographically.

Just as the indigenous people absorbed the Vikings in the North, it's probable that the Scots in Argyll joined with eastern clans, to repel both the Romans, and the Northumbrians.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:24 AM
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beansidhe
I would argue instead that it is time to allow for the possibility that our pecht – our family- were not illiterate savages. Warriors, yes, and by no means perfect, but also artists, poets, craftsmen, mathematicians and astronomers.


It was pretty much the view of everyone who the wasn't Roman or Hellenic at the time, which carried over into the modern conciousness, that they were savages, but the Celts, Germans and Britons all had sophisticated societies, with exceptional craft skills including metal and stone working.

Also, the conclusion that the "Picts walk among you" is definitely true, as is the story of everyone on these Isles and I dare say Europe is one of migration, mingling, some conquest and lots and lots of shagging....

All in all though, it is a bit far for anyone to claim they are descended from a single group - I find it tends to be the "nationalist " types who do this the most - as we're all pretty much the result of millennia of interbreeding with multiple ethnic backgrounds. A sample of anyone in the UK - barring maybe the most remote Islands - will show a healthy mix of ancient Briton, Roman (and Imperial subjects), Anglo-Saxon, French and Norse.

On this subject, you will find that Lowland Scots are quite indistinguishable, genetically, from those "bastard English" because they are actually of the same descent. Lowland Scotland used to be an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Edinburgh was an Anglo-Saxon town and modern Scots is actually a derivative of Old English, not Gaelic.

Quite often, you will find, when one group moved into the area's of another, they simply replaced the leadership and interbred with the common folk, so we're all essentially the same people who have always lived here, with a bit of spice thrown in.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:32 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 

Oh yes, i entirely agree as far as local self-understanding is concerned.
But the kingdom (at court level) would have had a sef-identity over against other kingdoms, so in a sense they cease to be Picts when "Picts" drops out of the king's official title.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 05:47 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Unfortunately for me, I didn't have a progressive history teacher like you when I was at school. A quick look at the education syllabus today shows fairly stagnant prose about our ancestors.

I'll add a link to the book I mentioned in the OP, in case you're interested.

B x

Book



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 06:10 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 

I've already got a copy on my shelves.
Thanks to family caravan holidays above the Highland Line, I got interested enough to have more awareness of Scottish history than most other English people.



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 06:32 AM
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posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 06:32 AM
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The table of Nations in Genesis 10 for me constitutes a starting point and where we are now is the point at which we stand to view back through the some times dark history of man and the man made historic record ..They say the victors of conquest write the history and that is quite true but if you study their history books one can see they need revising to get a clear picture .

Tim Osterholm has a article has this piece that is well worth the read www.soundchristian.com... This is a good pod cast some may wish to listen to ,,God said Man said www.godsaidmansaid.com... Peace



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 06:47 AM
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reply to post by the2ofusr1
 


Good points, thanks for replying. I need to really sit down and read through your link, since it's quite long and I'm a sociologist primarily, psychotherapist latterly, and never a geneticist!

This bit though, jumped out:

The Britons (also Brythons), Cambrians and Albans populated the British Isles, which later endured multiple invasions, beginning with successive waves of Celts about 700 B.C. The Celts (or Gaels) called the land Prydain, their name for Briton. Those Celts (descendants of Gomer) integrated with the descendants of Elishah and Tarshish (sons of Javan), creating what some scholars called "a Celticized aboriginal population" in the British Isles. Some of the invading people groups were Scythians, descended from Magog, who became known as the Skoths or Scots. The name for the Celts or Cymru was "Weahlas," from Anglo-Saxon origins, meaning "land of foreigners"—Wales. The Welsh still call themselves Cymru, pronounced "Coomry." Later the Romans referred to the land as Britannia, invading there about 50 years before the birth of Christ. By the third century A.D., Jutes, Franks, Picts, Moors, Angles, Saxons and other groups were invading from surrounding Europe.


I would argue, or rather support McHardy, that the Picts did not invade from the 3rd century; it was a misrepresentation of a word understood by the Roman recorders of history. They were not a separate tribe, rather the indigenous neolithic people. The term 'Pict' became a slander, propaganda if you will.
I'll have a proper read through, though, thanks.

B x



posted on Jan, 14 2014 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by stumason
 


Couldn't have put it better myself Stu



The first people arrived back in Britain about 12,000 years ago after our long holiday in the south of France and Spain (it was a tad warmer down there during the ice age!) There have been various other peoples arriving since, mainly in small numbers, but all have merged into the genetic pool to make the modern Britain, and there's little if any evidence of any wholesale 'invasion' - rather, we've adopted varying cultures/languahes/political leaders: Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Belgic, Norman and, most recently American. But the people have always been the same underneath. Britons. Albions.

Getting back to the OP, the idea of the 'Picts' being barbaric and unciviised is just a Roman myth. It was the Greeks who first referred to the people of Albion (as Britain was originally called) as Prettanike - painted people. And that most likely referred at the time to more southern tribes with whom the Greeks had trading links. From this, the Romans derived the name Pict - which came to refer to the unconquered tribes in the north. Meanwhile, from the same source, they referred to the island as a whole as Britania, from which we get the modern Britain. It's quite possible (likely?) that over time the people of northern Albion/Britain adopted the name the Romans used for them - Pict - in much the way the Welsh later adopted the name the English speaking peoples of eastern and southern Albion/Britain later used to described the Brythonic speaking peoples of the west (Welsh - waelsh - meant foreigner or stranger, with derogatory undertones - as in the still current phrase "to welsh" on a bet, ie not pay out - and in turn comes from proto-Germanic walhaz). And, indeed, as we all adopted Britain in place of Albion (although the name Alba continues to be used in gaelic, albeit usually - erroneously - to mean Scotland rather than the whole country).

All fascinating stuff - and not quite what we were taught at school!

btw I recommend any of Alistair Moffat's books if you're interested in the early history of northern Britain



posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 04:38 AM
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stumason

beansidhe
I would argue instead that it is time to allow for the possibility that our pecht – our family- were not illiterate savages. Warriors, yes, and by no means perfect, but also artists, poets, craftsmen, mathematicians and astronomers.


All in all though, it is a bit far for anyone to claim they are descended from a single group - I find it tends to be the "nationalist " types who do this the most - as we're all pretty much the result of millennia of interbreeding with multiple ethnic backgrounds. A sample of anyone in the UK - barring maybe the most remote Islands - will show a healthy mix of ancient Briton, Roman (and Imperial subjects), Anglo-Saxon, French and Norse.


A while ago I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly, but then I found the following really interesting:




Dr Wilson, who is also a senior lecturer in population and disease genetics at the University of Edinburgh, said this difference is highly statistically significant and can be applied to the general population as clear evidence of a very Scottish marker. He said: “The finding just popped out of the analysis. While there have been hints of this from previous data, what was surprising was the really huge difference between Scotland and England.
“It is a clear sign that while people do move around there remains a core who have remained at home. Perhaps this was due to farming or that moving would have to have been done on foot.”

Dr Wilson added: “As you go up your family tree there are all sorts of paths. But if we can see that about 10 per cent of fatherlines look to have a Pictish origin, then we can make the prediction that probably a lot of the other lines do.”


3% in N.Ireland and 0.8% in England, compared with 10% in Scotland might suggest that there is fairly significant evidence of McHardy's theory being correct. Rather than all being the result of lots of mixed ethnicities, it would seem that the indigenous marker is still alive and well today, with a significant number of Scots carrying it. It would be really interesting to see the Welsh population included as there is some speculation that the Picts would have spoken a P-Celtic language, much like Welsh.

It seems like there is evidence that some are descended directly from a single group, but I agree with you (I think that's where you're going) that when 'rights' and 'birthright' start appearing alongside results like these, for political gain, then it can take us to some very ugly places indeed. I should maybe point out that I am interested only in so far as understanding our past, and in clearing the slur on the Picts gifted us by the Romans.



posted on Jan, 15 2014 @ 05:05 AM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


I was perhaps generalising to make an overall point, but yes, you can find regional variations so the good Professor is of course quite right. For example, in the North of England you will have a higher instance of Scandinavian origins, owing to the Danelaw of pre-Norman England for example, whilst in the South West, you will find a higher propensity towards Brythyonic origins which are closely related to the Welsh.

And yes, that was "where I was going" with the general thrust, it being an important year and all with regards to Anglo-Scottish relations
.. At the end of the day, we're all cousins on this greatest island of them all





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