The Picts were a people of northern Scotland who are defined as a "confederation of tribal units whose political motivations derived from a need to ally against common enemies" (McHardy, 176). They were not a single tribe, nor necessarily a single people, although it is thought that they came originally from Scandinavia as a cohesive group. Since they left no written record of their history, what is known of them comes from later Roman and Scottish writers and from images the Picts themselves carved on stones. They are first mentioned as "Picts" by the Roman writer Eumenius in 297 CE, who referred to the tribes of Northern Britain as "Picti" ("the painted ones"), ostensibly because of their habit of painting their bodies with dye. This origin of their name has been contested by modern scholarship, however, and it is probable they referred to themselves as some form of "Pecht", the word for "the ancestors". They were referenced earlier by Tacitus who referred to them as "Caledonians" which was the name of only one tribe.

More about: Picts


  • 83 CE
    The Battle of Mons Graupius in which Agricola defeats Calgacus of the Picts.
  • 112 CE
    Hadrian's Wall built as boundary between Roman Britain and Pictland.
  • 142 CE
    Antonine Wall built further north as boundary between Romans and Picts.
  • 367 CE
    Picts, Scots, Saxons, and Franks attack the Roman Empire.
  • 397 CE
    St. Ninian begins conversion of Picts to Christianity.
  • c. 406 CE - c. 451 CE
    Reign of Drust I, King of the Picts.
  • 410 CE
    Romans leave Britain; Picts remain unconquered.
  • 563 CE
    St. Columba begins missionary work among the Picts.
  • 670 CE - 706 CE
    Reign of Brude Mac Derile, King of the Picts.
  • 685 CE
    The Battle of Dun Nechtain; Picts defeat Angle invading force.
  • 710 CE - 724 CE
    Nechtan's reign and beginning of religious wars among Picts.
  • 724 CE - 734 CE
    Internecine strife between Celtic Christian Picts and Roman Catholic Picts.
  • 734 CE - 761 CE
    Picts are united under King Oengus who leads them against the Scots.
  • 780 CE - 820 CE
    Reign of Constantin son of Fergus who unites the Scots and the Picts.
  • 820 CE - 834 CE
    Reign of Angus son of Fergus who defeats the Angles.
  • c. 843 CE - 858 CE
    Kenneth MacAlpin unites the Picts with the Scots to become the first king of Scotland.
  • c. 845 CE
    Viking raids on Pictish lands increase.
  • 899 CE
    Death of Giric, the last King of the Picts.