PICTISH CAVALRYMEN

An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


31 & 32.      PICTISH CAVALRYMEN

Many illustrations of Picts from this period are shown in 'Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome'. These 2 are armed with lance or javelins and circular, convex shields averaging about 18 inches in diameter with prominent spiked bosses. The pattern on that of 31, who is undoubtedly a chieftain, probably represents the heads of rivets securing the grip extension. He carries a short sword in a scabbard with a typical u-shaped silver chape, and wears a long-sleeved mail corselet and a helmet with nape-guard and nasal, similar to those of 52 and 64. Both men are barelegged but wear shoes. Long hair and trucculent beards were characteristic.

The last mention of Picts painting themselves appears to be an early-5th century Roman panegyric, and by the time Picts appear in the early Saxon chronicles there is no indication that the practice was still current, despite somewhat later Welsh sources describing the lands north of Hadrian's Wall as Prydein, the Land of the Painted Men. Probably woad went out of widespread use some time around the beginning of this era but could still be found in isolated areas for the next century or more.
[Based on the Aberlemno Stone]



Next: 33. PICTISH CHIEFTAIN