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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886582931

From: Burnside< >
Subject: Picts and racial myths
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 04:02:11 -0500


Just catching up on the ol' e-mail and found this thread. And I hope I'm not
stepping on what someone else has already said. Sometimes I only get part of
the S.I. list and several messages on this thread I never got. Anyway--

Racial myths are fine as long as we realize that they are most often
politically driven. The question is "who composed the myth about whom and
who does the myth serve?" So, I am willing to entertain, for entertainment's
sake, myths such as our Irish ancestors'journey through Egypt or the Welsh
myth of origins in Troy. However, we don't need the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
It seems to me our Celtic ancestors have perfectly entertaining stories of
their own.

Some time ago I found a book on the subject which I found rather interesting:

"Racial Myth In English History: Trojans, Teutons and Anglo-Saxons" by Hugh
MacDougall, paper, University Press of New England ISBN 0-88772-212-1.

As far as the Picts go, there are several studies on this people. The one I
have here is Laing and Laing "The Picts and the Scots" Alan Sutton Pub 1994
ISBN 0-7509-0677-4

In their estimation the Romans invented this term and used it broadly, to
describe any north Briton who was struggling against Roman domination. That
they might not have been tribal groups as such, but the ruling class of
certain Celtic tribes in the north. The Gaelic Irish knew them as Cruithni
which in Brythonic Celtic was Pritani or Priteni in which the word Britain
originates. If I'm not mistaken there were also Cruithni or Picts in north
Ireland. This culture in north Britain can be traced to the Bronze Age. The
language of the Picts seems to have been essentially British Celtic, like
that of the rest of the island.

As far as the English, even Camden refuted the A.S. Chronicle and Bede on
this fantasy that the Picts came from Scythia.
Even though it is said that the continental Celts early on borrowed much
from their eastern neighbors. Camden had the Picts as Celtic Britons who
fled the Roman advance. The Laings state rather emphatically that there is
no evidence whatsoever for an influx of any foreign peoples in north Britain
in later pre-history.

It seems important to at least try to understand who the Picts actually were
over and against the myth of their origins. Many of our ancestors came from
this people. Certain Scottish clans claim descent from them and surely their
blood runs in the veins of many of our families in Scotland and abroad. It
seems to me an important part of our history.


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