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PortmahomackMonastery of the Picts$
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Martin Carver

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748624416

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748624416.001.0001

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A holy place in history

A holy place in history

(p.191) Chapter 10 A holy place in history

Martin Carver

Edinburgh University Press

Although it is fertile land and actively farmed, the Tarbat peninsula remains today as a very special holy place steeped in history, comparable to Iona. In the final chapter of the book the author advances his theory about the reception of Christianity by prehistoric peoples, supposing it to be through a process of cautious intellectual and political choice by the Picts, not force of argument by individual missionaries. The later symbol stones on the peninsula are proposed as memorials to local saints, holy men and women, carrying on their obverse face an excerpt from the lives of those commemorated – in short hagiographies in stone. The Picts emerge from this book as highly intelligent and creative people, cautious in political alliance and for good reason. The Norse, the English and finally the Scots all had designs on their beautiful and productive lands.

Keywords:   Prehistoric religion, Christianity, conversion, missionary, Pictish cross slabs

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