These pages are based on a book “Scottish Witchcraft, The History & Magick of the Picts” by Raymond Buckland. Many things were reworded and omitted because of space on the web site. My personal comments are usually in brackets.The Highlands of what is now Scotland were earlier inhabited by people known as the Picts, or Pechts. In fact, this area was then known as “Pictland” and did not become “Scotland” until as late as the eleventh century. A second century Roman geographer, Ptolemy, drew the earliest map of the region. On it he showed four tribes: the Venicones, Tazali, Vacomagi and Caledoni. By the third century these four had become two tribes, the Caledoni and the Maeatae, and by the end of the third century merged as one nation, the Picts.These people have long been a mystery, partly because they spoke a language that is now lost. When the Scots became a dominant force in the welding together of medieval Scotland, it was not in their interests to keep alive any Pictish traditions.
The Scots, incidentally, were immigrants from Ireland who, having come first as raiders, by the fifth century had settled in the under-populated areas of the west. By the seventh century they were virtually masters of the lowlands.
The right of succession to the throne was matrilinear-in other words, reckoned through the mother. This practice was in existence for well over three hundred years, that we know of, and probably much longer.
Most of what was learned about the Picts was through their art. They used powerful animal symbols and geometric forms. Jewelry, metalwork, stone carvings: all show the same highly skilled craftsmanship.
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