Guest Post by William McCorbin of literatipub.com
Scotland is rich with diverse histories. As a child, I knew I was Scots-Irish. As a teen, I felt different, somehow. As an adult, I learned I share a bloodline with ancient Picts of the Scottish Highlands.
The Picts were self-educated in all forms of nature from weather patterns to rainfalls, from plant life to waterways. They could traverse the most complex marshes and survive to tell others how to do so. The culture survived the iron age and into Medieval Europe. The culture did not survive Christianity’s purge of Western Europe. Because Picts did not record their lives, all that is learned about the Pict culture comes from other groups who encountered them and archaeological artifacts discovered in the moors of north-eastern Scotland. Whether they were killed off or assimilated is up to interpretation.
The term ‘Pict’ translates ‘colored ones’. During the first millennial AD, Picts kept the Angles at bay and defeated the Romans. The Hadrian Wall, a 73-mile long barrier was constructed to separate Roman lands from those undefeated. It was built in the years AD 122-30 by order of the Emperor Hadrian. Men and women fought side-by-side. This astounded many attackers as women were otherwise considered best suited for motherhood and household duties.
Today, the colored ones are relegated to the pages of fiction, fantasy, and historic drama. It has been hypothesized that Picts transformed into what is now called the Scottish Highlanders. The Pict culture has nearly faded from reality, but their legacy lives on in every page of a story that memorializes the culture.
Superstition kept the Picts safe for generations. The blue spiral patterns were frightening to others; their druid magick terrifying to everyone. Frightening, that is, until Christianity dominated the British Isles. When the Catholic church took power of the isles, priests began a campaign against anyone considered heathen or against the church. Because the Picts were believed to possess magick and worshiped multiple gods, they were called demons, evil, of the Devil, and brutally attacked. The Pict culture was wiped out, converted to Catholicism.
Today, the marshes of the northern and eastern areas of Scotland are much like they always were, raw and native; the Picts are a part of Scottish history that will never be forgotten as long as their stories are told. Their culture is only one of myriad histories of this ancient and proud land. The fantasy of the Picts, their magick, scholarship, and traditions will live on far past many more modern cultures.