Chapter

The Later Roman Iron Age and the Origins of the Picts

James E. Fraser

in From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780748612314
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672158 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612314.003.0003
The Later Roman Iron Age and the Origins of the Picts

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By the beginning of the fourth century, the Severan settlement in northern Britain was in tatters, and in the middle third of the century Roman Britain was probably mortally wounded. In the sole surviving native account, De excidio Britanniae, ‘On the Destruction of Britannia’, written by the sixth-century cleric Gildas, the end of Roman government in Britain is brought about in no small part ‘by two exceedingly savage overseas peoples’: Scoti or Gaels ‘from the northwest’, and Picti or Picts ‘from the north’. This sixth-century reconstruction of the end of Roman jurisdiction in Britannia is highly rhetorical, simplistic, and melodramatic, and a poor guide to that complex process. Its broad thrust is worthier of closer attention than the minute details.

Keywords: Brittania; Roman Britain; Roman government; Gildas; Scoti; Gaels; Picti

Chapter.  10296 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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