SNAPSHOTS FROM THE PAST
is known about the Picts (Picti) who were so designated
by the Romans, according to a writer in the third century
A.D., from their practice of painting or, rather, tattooing
their bodies. Possibly calling themselves Priteni (i.e.
the people of designs), they probably included at least
two tribes with sub-tribal groups organised into a kingdom
or kingdoms which came under threat not just from the Romans
but from the Scots, Angles and Vikings. These external threats
helped to unify the Picts and it seems likely that they
had formed a single kingdom under Brude mac Bile by the
is no evidence to suggest Brechin was ever the capital of
Pictland but that it was a centre of considerable importance
seems undeniable. Throughout Strathmore there are many indications
showing that the area was one of the most populous within
the land of the Picts and it also appears that Angus (including
the Mearns) was a province under the rule of a Mormaer (i.e.
possibly king's deputy or even sub-king.) It seems likely
that Brechin was the religious/cultural, if not the regal,
centre for at least the province of Angus and probably had
wider importance. When, in the tenth century, by which time
the Picts had merged with the Scots, King Kenneth II dedicated
the town to God he referred to it as a 'great city'.
Copyright Brian Mitchell 2000