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From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795$
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James Fraser

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748612314

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612314.001.0001

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The Later Roman Iron Age and the Origins of the Picts

The Later Roman Iron Age and the Origins of the Picts

Chapter:
(p.43) Chapter 2 The Later Roman Iron Age and the Origins of the Picts
Source:
From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795
Author(s):

James E. Fraser

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612314.003.0003

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

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