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The Picts

Benjamin Hudson

ISBN: 978-1-118-59832-0 January 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 280 Pages


The Picts is a survey of the historical and cultural developments in northern Britain between AD 300 and AD 900. Discarding the popular view of the Picts as savages, they are revealed to have been politically successful and culturally adaptive members of the medieval European world.


  • Re-interprets our definition of ‘Pict’ and provides a vivid depiction of their political and military organization
  • Offers an up-to-date overview of Pictish life within the environment of northern Britain
  • Explains how art such as the ‘symbol stones’ are historical records as well as evidence of creative inspiration.
  • Draws on a range of transnational and comparative scholarship to place the Picts in their European context

List of Figures and Tables vi

List of Lineages and Maps vii

Preface and Acknowledgments viii

Methodology x

Abbreviations xii

Introducing the Picts 1

1 Picts and Romans 15

2 Myth and Reality 40

3 The Early Middle Ages 57

4 People and Work 95

5 Spirituality 134

6 Art 162

7 Conquest and Obscurity 182

8 Literature and Remembrance 207

Conclusion 233

Select Bibliography 240

Index 255

“This exercise completes a superb and comprehensive survey of what is currently known about the Picts. The book also contains a lucid summary, and will be useful for both scholars and the general public.”  (Hereditasnexus, 6 October 2015)