Picts, after coming into contact with the more advanced Roman Empire, developed a form of written language

Picts, after coming into contact with the more advanced Roman Empire, developed a form of written language

The Picts were a collection of tribes that lived in the late Iron Age and early Middle Ages between 270 and 900 AD in present-day East and North Scotland.

They formed a tribal confederation whose political motivation was based on a ban on common enemies such as the British and the Romans.

They have long been regarded as fearless savages who fought off Rome's toughest legions, refusing to give up their freedom to live in conventional society.

This wild call, however, could be undeserved.

In fact, they established a sophisticated culture in the north of Scotland and were in many ways more advanced than their Anglo-Saxon rivals.

Mel Gibson's blue complexion in Braveheart (picture) is an allusion to the Pictish tradition of body color

Mel Gibson's blue complexion in Braveheart (picture) is an allusion to the Pictish tradition of body color

Research has shown that as humans, they were highly developed, diligent and qualified in many ways.

We are increasingly finding that these "lost" peoples, who have disappeared from history, were capable of great art and built beautiful monasteries.

The Roman name for the people – Picti – means "painted people". It is not known how they called themselves.

Mel Gibson's blue face paint in Braveheart is an allusion to the Pictish tradition of body color – but the real Picts fought naked, and there are records of it until the 5th century.

The habit of fighting naked, especially in the cold Scottish climate, did not harm the tribe's reputation for ferocity.

Picts held the territory north of the Firth of Forth in Scotland – and was one of the reasons why even heavily armored Roman legions could not conquer Scotland.

The picts mysteriously disappear from written history around 900 AD.

Experts suggest they may have teamed with the Southern Scots, who already had a written history at the time, and combined the two clan stories.

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