Picti: from Roman Name to International Identity

Nicholas Evans* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent scholarship has become increasingly sceptical about the importance of Pictish identity in the first millennium A.D. It has been suggested that Picti was an external Classical general label for people inhabiting northern Britain only adopted internally in the late seventh century. This article reviews the references to Picti in Late Antique and subsequent Insular sources from the late third century to A.D. 700. It proposes that the term was adopted in northern Britain by the end of the Roman period and maintained afterwards through the usage of Latin, due to imperial influence and conversion to Christianity.While not the only ethnic identity upheld in the region, the concept of Picti was used by the Kings of Fortriu for their wider realm in the late seventh century because it was already known and significant.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medieval History
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Sep 2021


  • medieval
  • scotland
  • late antiquity
  • ethnic identity
  • roman Britain
  • britain
  • picts
  • historical sources


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