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**** FIRST DRAFT****

This is Who We Are (Probably)

by Ted Livingston



The Romans called us Picti: the painted ones.[1]

They called us that, according to some researchers, because of our habit of painting our bodies in blue and green in preparation for combat. The nickname continued with us for many centuries after the Romans left, and actually became our official national name, at least exteriorly. In English we were called Picts, or the Pictish people. As will become evident later, it was an appropriate label: we had a reputation that was tied to it.

We lived here in the land you now call Scotland, in alternate peaceful and turbulent circumstances as family groups and tribes until the Romans came up from England during the first century of the Christian era. When we would not be subjected to the pax romana, the Roman armies eventually withdrew behind walls and then disappeared entirely from the land.[2] But our sometimes allies the Scots replaced them as our next set of enemies in the fifth century,[3] and we of the Pictish tribes used the unity into which the Romans had forced us to hold these Gaelicspeaking invaders in check, even subjugating them to our own authority in the later centuries.[4] Our supremacy over the land continued until the incursions of the Norsemen in the ninth century weakened our resistance so much that the Scots finally broke away from us, then eventually overcame us.[5]

Under domination by the Scoti, here again a Roman nickname, we became the poorest of the poor, working as the stone cutters, the coal miners (colliers), and the soldiers. As later Scottish historians have described us, we were “a shadowy, ill-documented race of people...” who would be well forgotten.[6]

Our new masters were not satisfied with robbing us of our identity, however. They further abandoned us to the incursions of a long list of foreign invaders, including the Angles, the Normans, the Saxons, the Norsemen, and the Britons.[7] Instead of defending our homes for us, they made financially-motivated accommodations with the new oppressors, until there were so many foreigners owning our lands we didn’t know who was in charge. We fought for these rich families to whom the Scots had sold us, farmed for them, worked their mines, and built their cities and towns. We were the labor force for the nobles and their friends.

There was no unity in the land in those days. In attaching ourselves to them, we looked for protection from the nobles who owned us and the lands upon which we lived. When our landowners rebelled against the king of Scotland, we fought beside them against the king of Scotland. If they allied themselves to the Scottish monarch, and fought against the English king, that is where we put our loyalty. There was no real sense of nation, but a sense of survival ruled our lives. Scotland only existed as a loose network of families, called clans, a Gaelic term meaning children. We accordingly gave our loyalty to the clan that owned us.

Our life continued that way until the Scottish hero William Wallace, a man of Welsh descent, and that Norman prince Robert the Bruce, came along. Our very enemies had produced these two visionary leaders. Nonetheless it was their inspiration that would eventually lead to our freedom, and because of them we finally began again to see ourselves as part of a nation. We began to have hope in the future.[8]

The Question That Leads to This Research

The Utah Livingston family descends from a preponderance of tribes of bonded workers. There is no record identifying people of noble birth in our ancestry. The earliest records available to us on specific ancestors with a direct link to us are found in the early eighteenth century, where we were listed in the parish records as stone cutters and coal miners, or colliers, and the wives and children of such laborers. Although overt serfdom had been outlawed a century earlier as the justice courts were allowed more authority and the baron courts were restricted,[9] these early relatives lived in poverty under agreements with landowners that amounted to financial bondage. As bonded servants, they likely found it difficult to see the difference between this arrangement and the serfdom of the past.

Our research has found that there is no documentation on the ancestors of our branch of the Livingstons and its ancillary families prior to about 1700. We have no way of learning our origins beyond that year, how we came into bondage, and how we had entered into the likely serfdom of earlier centuries. In the year 1702, Archibald Livingston was born in Dalgetty, Fifeshire, and his wife, Christian Mure, was born in Coalton (Coal Town) of Dalgetty in about 1704.[10] Their parents are not noted in the parish record, but since Archibald and Christian both grew up in the mines as bonded collier and wife, we can safely assume that their fathers also were coal miners, and possibly stone cutters, bound by heavy debt to a landowner.

As were their grandfathers, and so on back as many generations as you can imagine. But no record of such antecedents can be found.

So where did we come from?

This being the central question of interest, I sought to establish a framework of history in which we could explore the ancient origins of the family. Such an endeavor was to require extensive reading in historical records. The search accordingly took a direction of reading sources of history and archaeology that provide evidence of Scotland’s ancient tribes. Some of these sources admittedly conflict with some of the others, in that they suggest opposing ideas of tribal origin. There has been little opportunity at this time to reconcile these conflicts, but the basic trends of tribal evolution that have been discovered by this reading remain intact.

The tactic being used here, therefore, was to begin as far back as possible, then work forward through the archaeological and written record.

As I read record after record, I discovered what I believe to be a pattern in ancient Scottish history that may answer the question of the family’s origin. It however pointed away from the Scots, who were migrants from Ireland, and to focus on the “original” tribes of the ancient land we now call Scotland. These tribes had a variety of names, and spoke a variety of dialects and languages. Some spoke Celtic of the Brythonic type; others a mysterious non-Indo-European language that has never been deciphered. All were primitive tribes living under the protection of a few wealthy leaders.

These are the peoples whom the Romans later called Picti. The research into the ancient tribes and the circumstances and locations in which they found themselves as Scotland entered the era of written record causes me to believe that they are the true ancestors of our Livingston family.

If this belief is true, then we are not Scots, at least not in the original sense of the label. Instead, we are Picts, a mysterious amalgam of tribes and races who ruled this land long before the Scots took control. You the reader must accordingly shift your point of reference, and allow any possible scenario for the origin of our tribe, as you look at the evidence that follows. So here are some postulations in outline form that may explain who we really were (and are).

We Were Here First

We were here in this land you now call Scotland, and that we probably called Alba,[11] long before the Scots arrived. Indeed, we were here long before the birth of our Savior.[12] It was accordingly our land before it belonged to anyone else, but our relationship to it was something more than one of ownership: it was our kinship. We had an understanding of our relationship with the earth that was similar to that of the ancient Druids: we understood that the land had given us life, and would sustain us throughout life. The land, indeed the earth, to us was the mother of all living souls. All creatures, including humans, were part of an interrelated whole. The land was part of us. We couldn’t own it: we could only make use of its resources.[13]

Our Spiritual Life

Our religion defined this relationship with the land. The earth to us was as much a living soul as we were, and we seemed to know that without being told. We had nonetheless lost sight of that fact by the time God restored His word to His children many centuries later through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and He clearly re-established this knowledge.[14] But in those early days, we knew it naturally, and accordingly we worshiped the earth, and further had reverence for the sun, the moon, the stars, and even the creatures that lived with us in the land.[15] It was not difficult for us to have this reverence, for we saw the interrelationship all creatures and celestial bodies had with our existence.[16]

We had our own prophets in this ancient land: the Gaels called them wicca, the holy people who helped us understand our dependence on the earth and her resources. While the Gaelic word loosely translates to the English word witch, our witches were nothing like the reputation of latter-day witches. The word actually denotes wisdom and holiness, and that is precisely how we meant to describe our holy people.[17]

These wicca were spiritual men and women who held magical powers. They knew how to call upon the earth to benefit her children, and they had studied the ways of the universe sufficiently to be able to predict the phenomenal occurrences of the earth.

Hence, they were the wise and holy ones of our society. Because of their influence, it was not difficult for us to accept the restored Gospel when we heard of it, for we already had a feel for how our ancient religion and the teachings of the Restoration came from the same source. Nibley has emphasized this truth repeatedly as he points out the similarities between ancient myths and religions and the truths of the Gospel. He reports that comparative studies have given ancient beliefs a new status and dignity, placing them within the larger context of true revelation. Even myths contain serious historical reality within the lessons they attempt to teach,[18] and the ancient wise men and women of our Pictish society used the stories that we now call myths to teach morality and virtue.

Our Language

There is significant confusion about our language: the predominant, and likely the earliest, tribes are thought to have spoken a language that was not related to any European tongue. The Romans tried to decipher it and declared it not only the language of all tribes in the north of Britain, but non-Indo-European.[19] It makes sense to surmise that the reason the Romans attributed this language to all the tribes of the land was because it was the language spoken by the majority in the north. By contrast, the Romans identified twenty distinct tribes south of the Forth, mostly south of the river Tweed that has traditionally marked the boundary with England, that spoke Celtic.[20] While Celtic is fairly well known today, scientists are puzzled by the origin of the predominant language we spoke in the north. Of course, the Celtic spoken by the British in the south was what we know today as Welsh, Breton, and Cornish, while one researcher says that Gaelic, also a Celtic language, was spoken by the Irish, Scots, and Manx.[21] All these languages, however, appear to have been dialects of the same language, known as Common Celtic.

The confusion comes in the form of disagreement over the language family to which our predominant northern tongue belonged. It is nearly impossible to analyze a language that is not only no longer spoken, but for which little written record remains. Today all we have are the place names that contain Pictish words, and such ancient writings as that of Bede, in his Pictish Chronicle, written long after the Pictish language had faded. Some inscriptions have been found, but these are not any more translatable than rock art in America. As a result, we have nothing but speculation: some scholars declare that Pictish seems to be Celtic along the lines of Gaulish and Brythonic, as opposed to the Goidelic strain, from which Gaelic springs; others, however, declare in favor of the Roman version, which says our language was not only non-Celtic, but non-Indo-European. Without some definitive discovery of documents, this confusion will likely continue,[22] and it should be clearly understood that some scholars are quite opposed to the Roman position, notably Cummins, who seriously questions the theory of any non-Indo-European peoples living in the north during this period at all.[23]

Dr. Cummins, however, does mention the declaration by ancient annalists of the Picts being a multi-racial nation. He appears to accept the description by the Roman historian Dio Cassius of the Maeatae and Caledonii as entirely distinct races.[24]

Researchers have indicated that the Celtic language which other tribes spoke, those who were probably a minority in our northern land, was introduced into Pictish territory around 500 B.C. It belonged to the Gaulish and Brythonic family of languages mentioned in the previous paragraph, which the Ritchies called P-Celtic Gallo-Brittonic,[25] and was closely akin to that of the Britons who lived south of the Tweed.[26] This theory seems accurate, but the Britons were also known to have spoken Latin after the withdrawal of the Romans from Britain, so it would be difficult to substantiate the claim.[27] Celtic languages are found in two main divisions, called Continental and Insular. Gaulish was a Continental language, while Goidelic, including the more modern strains of Irish, Scottish, Manx, and Gaelic, are of the Insular variety. All these trace back to common Celtic, a definite member of the Indo-European family of languages.[28]

Our Celtic neighbors therefore spoke Gaulish, rather than Gaelic. The two were related, and may have even been somewhat mutually understandable, such as Italian and Spanish today; but to say that we all spoke Gaulish in the north is a definite conflict.

I believe the conflict exists because researchers have confused our Celtic neighbors with us: it is probable that the Britons to the south and some of the tribes in the north spoke a related Gaulish tongue; the difficulty, however, is that the Romans saw our predominant language as different from Gaulish, and given their bent for thoroughness it would seem likely that their assessment of our language is accurate. We were not Celts, and, while this is admittedly a romanticist position to take, I do not think we spoke a Celtic language.

It is, however, clear that we were speaking Gaelic before the ascension of Kenneth mac Alpin to the Pictish throne.[29] It was likely a Gaelic highly influenced by the languages of our tribes from the time before the arrival of the Gaels, which would have included Gaulish and the non-Indo-European language studied by the Romans. Thus our brand of Gaelic was likely one mixed with both another Celtic tongue as well as with our non-Celtic Pictish.

From Where Did We Come?

So, if we are not of Celtic origin, what are we?. Where was our original home, if not in common with the Celts? The researchers spend a great deal studying our past in the evidence dug up in archeological sites trying to answer this question. Somerset Fry declared that the chroniclers of the eighth and ninth centuries believed we had originated as Scythians, north of the Black Sea.[30] How these ancient writers learned such a theory is not clear, and there is some thought that the early writers may have confused Scythians with Scandinavians.[31]

However, if the Romans were correct in declaring our language non-Indo-European, it would make sense that we originated outside the realm of that family of languages. Could we have come from the Black Sea area? The Scythians were one of the nomadic Steppe peoples who lived in the area north of the Black Sea. They are thought to have come out of Central Asia or Siberia about six hundred to seven hundred years before Christ, assumed control of the Steppe area, and ruled until they were ejected by the Medes two centuries later.[32] They may possibly have spoken a Ural-Altaic language found in a corner of Iran, which would be non-Indo-European, thus somewhat fitting the description the Romans gave our language three hundred years later. If this speculation is found correct, we could indeed be descendants of the warrior Scythians.[33]

Based on the Roman declaration of our non-Indo-European language, it would be easy to reject the theory of Scandinavian origin.

But then, are we of one of the tribes of Israel? Languages evolve from one generation to the next, so the tongue we were speaking at the time the Romans stumbled onto us might have been a highly changed brand of ancient Aramaic, Arabic or Hebrew. In the northern reaches of the British island, isolated from all other cultures for a number of centuries, we could have simplified and specialized our Semitic language so much that it would have been unrecognizable as having such an origin.

Further, the tribes of Israel were scattered by the Babylonians just about six hundred years before Christ, at about the same time that the Scythians migrated into the Steppes. Migrating tribes are thought to have arrived in our land at about the same time the Medes ejected the Scythians from the Steppes two centuries later. Are these facts coincidental? Or were we scattered, first by the Babylonians around 600 B.C., then later by the Medes around 400 B.C., to arrive on the north shores of Britain?

This question obviously remains unanswered, and the theories advanced above merely speculative. They obviously require more research.

The First Celts

The annals hint that we were a peaceful people, at least after having arrived in Scotland. We must have been so, because when the first Celtic families started arriving from the Continent before the birth of Christ, it appears that we simply moved over and gave them room. We had conducted free trade with them before they started settling in our land, so it was likely that when they started bringing over their families, we were already acquainted and welcomed them as new settlers. We adopted some of their language, likely intermarried with them, and continued trading with them. Our archeological digs show that we used beakers, household items, tools and weapons the European tribes brought from the Continent prior to their settling in our land.[34] It is safe to assume, therefore, that we carried on a friendly relationship both before and after their migration. Further, there was ample room in the land for many tribes in those days, so the conclusion of our peaceful relationship simply comes from the known fact that we lived side by side with these newcomers from the Continent.

The Celts, however, were an aggressive people. They lived in a turbulent society, where raids and armed skirmishes were common. Their warriors used various techniques of noise, including a trumpet in the shape of a boar’s head, to intimidate their enemies, and they were determined to win in combat.[35] We, on the other hand, had not been faced with the need to be aggressive since settling in this land, and had to adapt to this new threat. We therefore began building forts and palisades, likely in imitation of the Celts, for the protection of our families during this period, and gradually began to adopt a defensive stance.

How We Lived

We built homes made of stone, with sod roofs, fireplace hearths, and places to store our valuables. We farmed, and also hunted in the vast forests then covering the Scottish countryside. We lived in family groups, and gave homage to the elders of the family and the holy men and women who gave us hope. Life certainly was not easy, but we took care of our families and the land that sustained us.

Mackie departs from the common belief about our homes, and maintains that we lived in “wattled huts”, or buildings made of interwoven poles.[36] Closer to the truth may be that we lived in a combination of wooden and stone buildings.[37]

The Norwegians wrote of us as being pygmies.[38] They said that we were small in stature, but fleet of foot. On the latter, they were likely correct. But we were probably not small-bodied: Tacitus, for instance described us as red-headed and large limbed.[39] Possibly the Norsemen feared us so much they stayed well in the distance when they first began to make forays into our land. From a great distance, anyone looks small.

The Irish records speak of us in more respectful tones. We made many invasions of the islands to our west, and the writers of that day recorded our incursions with compliments for the skills and courage of both our shipbuilders and our sailors.[40]

Our dress is another item of speculation. The use of Scottish kilts may have come into vogue among the ancient tribes, but we also were known to wear a breechcloth that eventually evolved into breeches by the time of the Scottish era.[41] Not only that, but we wore tunics of bright colors. It is more likely that we adopted the kilts as we became subjected to their originators, our Celtic overlords.

Crannogs, Weems, and Brochs

Scattered throughout Scotland are the archaeological evidences of our attempts to protect ourselves from incursions of Celts, Norsemen, and others, and later the Romans. One example of such an effort was the crannog, an artificial island built in a loch with a causeway running below the surface of the water. We built the island with tunnels and abutments intended to fight off any enemy who tried to assault us over the causeway.[42] Further, there were weems: these were tunnels that we dug as trenches, then covered them over with timber and sod to give them a natural appearance. We built rooms into these tunnel works, where our women and children could conceal themselves while we stood off an enemy in the entrance.[43]

Possibly the most effective measure was the broch. This was a tapered tower that came into use a century before Christ, and that measured sixty feet across at the base, stood sixty feet high, and measured around ten or twelve feet at the top. Some scholars believe the brochs were developed and built by itinerant contractors that roamed all over Alba. Wherever found, it was uniformly designed, which would seem to point to a single source of design. The designers and builders may have been the very Celts from whom we were seeking to protect ourselves. Each one was featured with a narrow entrance into a passageway that was difficult to maneuver because of obstructions we placed in it. Sometimes the obstruction was a large boulder that a man would have to negotiate in order to pass. Over this passageway we often built a guard room with a slit through which our guards could impale an invader with their spears as he worked his way around the obstructions.

The passageway led up into rooms as it circled upward into the tower. The rooms held provisions for long sieges, sleeping quarters, and armories.[44]

We don’t know what we said about ourselves regarding any of these matters. Virtually all the recorded information about us has been learned from exterior sources, such as from the Irish and the Romans. As the Scots subjugated us after many centuries of conflict, they made certain our records were lost.[45]

That is, if we in fact kept any extensive records.

While at first we received them in peace, as the Celts increased in numbers they brought challenges that forced us to shed our peaceful nature and become defensive, then offensive. We met their aggression with equal ferocity, developed metallurgy in order to create weapons of war, and went out on the battlefield armed with long swords that could reach an enemy before he could reach us. Our warriors and those of the Celts used armlets in various forms as decoration more than for protection. A bronze armlet in the form of a spiral with a snake head at the terminal from the first or second century A.D. has been found, and illustrates this fad.[46] Bronze shields were known as well, but leather shields were used in combat because they were more effective in parrying the blow of a bronze sword.[47]

As such things go, we eventually settled back into a co-existence with these other tribes. It was not an entirely peaceful relationship, but we traded with them as we had done before the conflicts had erupted, and we continued to adopt much of their culture. Violence would occur if we couldn’t satisfy our needs by peaceful means, and we would simply steal from them. They would do the same with us. We developed a war approach that was quick, amounting to rapid raids on one another. War to us was therefore much as it was to the native Americans of the nineteenth century, an extension of the peaceful trading that went on among us.[48]

Few people actually died in these warlike activities. There was little effort wasted on hating our enemies, because in many ways we depended on one another. After all, after a few generations had gone by, none of us could remember when the Celts had not been here with us: neither they nor we knew anything of the Continent, except possibly through the stories the old ones would tell around the fires.

We began to speak some Gaulish as well during these centuries, although we know that our own language continued into the first six or seven centuries A.D. The truth of the matter is probably that we mixed the two languages to the point that our speech was only barely recognized as either Gaulish or Pictish. That our language continued into later centuries is demonstrated by the continued existence of Pictish words in Scottish place names.

Next The Romans

Then in the first century of our Savior, the marchers arrived. They came in great numbers with banners and flags flying overhead, and with swords so short we probably thought they were hilarious toys. Their bodies were nonetheless protected by an armor we could not pierce with our swords, and they carried shields that protected them from our archers. The world suddenly changed for us again.

The marchers called our land Caledonia. We know the Latin derivation of our tribal names today only because the Romans recorded them: among the most powerful were the Maetae and Caledonii, as Eumenius called us in his Panegyric of 297. These two tribes occupied the area of the firths of Forth and Tay, the former being the location of the earliest Livingston records. They further were reportedly belligerent toward the marchers,[49] and maintained a successful military alliance to resist the Romans.[50] The invader Agricola recorded contact with the Votadini, who occupied the coastal plain of Lothians and Berwickshire. These people are known to have founded the kingdom of Gododdin at Stirling, Edinburgh, the forerunner of the kingdom of Strathclyde, with its capital at Castle Rock, Dumbarton. They were apparently friendly with the Romans, as were the Selgovae in the beginning, who lived in the upper Tweed Valley.[51] The Novantae occupied the Southwest, and the Damnonii had holdings in the Clyde Valley.[52]

Some tribes to the south among the Britons, who were related to our Celtic tribes, were the Trinovantes of the Essex area, the Catuvellauni of York, and the Atrebates, found in present day Hampshire, Surrey, and Sussex.[53] They were a rapidly expanding set of families whose ancestors had migrated from Belgium, and who were threatening their Celtic cousins.[54] As will come clear later, these tribes were displaced into the areas now known as Wales and Cornwall.

Rome is known to have started military action against dissidents of two tribes of southern Alba known as the Brigantes and the Cheviots, in the period 71 to 74 A.D.[55] During this encounter an episode took place that proved to be an unfortunate pattern among our own tribes later during the campaigns into Caledonia: queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes, headquartered in York, betrayed the British resistance leader in the year 51 in order to curry the favor of the Romans. This leader, Caratacus, was captured and carried to Rome where he successfully argued for mercy and wound up living in Rome as a free man for the rest of his life.[56]

Intrigue, deception, and betrayal also became too much the rule in our early resistance to the Roman invasion of the ancient lands of the Picts.

Another part of the pattern that developed among the Britons and was later true with us was that the tribes did not have the discipline of the Romans. We outnumbered them, but they outfought us. This was illustrated by king Presutagus of the Iceni in the southeast of England, who was pro-Roman. Presutagus had willed half his property to the emperor, but upon his death the soldiers tried to confiscate everything. They flogged his wife, queen Boudica, and raped his daughters. The queen’s tribesmen rescued her, and she began a campaign that killed thousands of Roman soldiers but resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Britons simply because they lacked the discipline of the Roman troops. The last major battle was fought at Mancetter in Warwickshire, and resulted in a significant British defeat.[57]

We were soon to see the same result in our own lands.

The Roman Invasion of Alba

The Roman governor of Britain, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, marched his legions north on orders from Rome in 80 A.D., and met no resistance from the Votadini,[58] who lived in the lowlands. The Selgovae, in the upper valleys of the River Tweed, however, had apparently had a change of heart, and were less accommodating. These tribesmen are thought to have begun making hostile attacks on the army.[59]

When Agricola crossed the Tay in 83, we became alarmed at his continued invasion, and started offering more resistance. We had likely heard that our cousins the Britons had been subjected to him, and there may have been a growing fear of his intentions. So we fought, and he sent his fleet ahead along the coast in 84 in an attempt to intimidate us, but all that served to do was to consolidate our resistance. That same year he marched north through what is now called Strathmore and Mearns, into the land later named Aberdeenshire.

We of the Maeatae and Caledonii held council with the Celts and other native tribes in the land. Some names we know of not yet mentioned are Vacomagi, Venicones, Boresti, and Boresti.[60] We sat down with these neighbors, perhaps for the first time peacefully with some of them, and decided together that we would need to combine our resources in order to meet this new threat face to face. This decision held interesting implications for our future. But for then, we accordingly pulled together an army of thirty thousand warriors. In keeping with our tradition, we painted our faces and bodies in blue and green with fearsome images of animals and other designs. It was probably our belief that this tattooing would not only strike fear into the hearts of our enemies, but would give us magical power to defeat the invaders.

We went out into the field of battle prepared to intimidate the might of Rome. It is reasonable to conjecture that we had a spirit of party as we faced the solid ranks of soldiers, with their shields and body armor. Our experience in war for centuries had certainly been that it was a relatively safe enterprise, and that the most that would happen would be a lot of posturing. We weren’t prepared for the sort of war the Romans were accustomed to waging.

The Latin recorders called the site Mons Graupius, “the strength of the tribes.”.

Our war chief, known to us as the Swordsman, was likely a Pict of the ancient tribes, of non-Celtic blood. We were the majority party of the time, so it makes sense to assume we were able to place one of our own in the leadership of the combined Pict and Celtic force. Calgacus being his Latin name, he made an impassioned speech in front of us and the Roman troops, listing our rights and demands. We probably could hear the Latin translators, and we must have been distracted by the strange beauty of their language, because we never recorded what he said.

Their war chief, Agricola, made a response in Latin, a language we could not understand. The interpreters who translated the words into Celtic and our own non-Indo-European language must have lost some of the meaning and intent, for we were not impressed. We were likely too busy being amused with the coat of mail each of the marchers wore, the helmets, and their shields.

But those short swords were probably too much for us to take.

If the reader is even partly acquainted with the nature of the Scottish people, it would not be difficult to picture many of us on the ground in laughter. We may also have strutted in front of our ranks, flexing our muscles and showing off the tatoos that adorned our bodies.

The Romans were truly frightened by our appearance according to their record. That occasion was likely when they started calling us painted ones, picti. They could not have imagined that the name would remain with us for so many centuries.

We were confident of victory. We could likely see the fear in their eyes from across the field. Adrenalin coursed through our veins, and the excitement was thick in the air. We knew we would emerge victorious in this battle: we knew the Romans would give up this ill begotten enterprise, walking off the field without firing a shot, and leave our land. In all our hilarity, however, we forgot to take notice of the fact that the marchers’ fear did not cause them to break ranks or to abandon their rigid training.

We also probably did not take into account that these Romans were known for their ferocity. They did not go into battle for the mere capture of booty, or to show off their armor or uniforms, or to gain attention.

They came out to battle us for the sole purpose of destroying us.

We began the attack without knowing this. Our archers’ arrows struck shields, but few bodies. Their arrows, meanwhile, took a tremendous toll on our ranks.

We sent our chariots against them, and the Roman cavalry broke up our charge. The Roman historian Tacitus describes a disarray of horse-drawn, but driverless, chariots going in all directions following the Roman rout. His account indicates that the reckless horses charging around through the Roman ranks caused more damage than our swords and arrows.

When our infantry closed with them, our long slashing swords proved ineffective against the armor of our enemy, and when we got in close we learned why they carried the short swords. We were destroyed as an army, and the survivors, perhaps frustrated over the rudeness of the Roman attitude in combat, simply fled into the Highlands.[61]

We had been defeated. There was no doubting it: we could not have had any hope that life would ever return to normal for us.

But we were also not ignorant: we had learned a valuable lesson, first that the Romans had no intention of walking off the field without destroying us, and, second, that we could not defeat their incredible discipline.

From that time forward, therefore, our approach to the Romans was to fight them with guerrilla tactics, to hit them when they weren’t prepared, to steal weapons, to keep them off guard. They countered by building forts, so we proceeded to take over their forts. When we started that outrage, the emperor made the fatal mistake of sending his Ninth Legion north to punish us in the year 115.

He, and we, found out just how well we had learned our lesson.

We destroyed the Ninth Legion in its entirety, and Rome heard not one word of news on the fate of its soldiers.[62] The Roman record merely states that the legion marched north and was not heard from again.

Our tactic eventually paid off, and the Romans retired to the south countries. Later in the second century they built two walls, called Hadrian’s Wall along the Tyne-Solway line, and the Antonine Wall further north between the Firth of Forth and Old Kirkpatrick on the north bank of the Clyde. These were built to keep us from invading them or the tribes of Britons, Angles, and Saxons they had pacified.[63]

The outlanders made little attempt to invade our land again. One major campaign led by Septimus Severus in 208 resulted in nothing concrete for them,[64] for we melted into the hills again and fought them on our terms, which meant that their tactics for major battle had little effect. Severus had landed at Cramond Harbor, marched through Fife and northeastern Scotland, then turned south amidst numerous guerilla attacks from our warriors.

It was during this time that our crannogs, weems, and brochs came into good use. The Romans, however, were resourceful in countering these defensive measures: they built siege machines by which they could reach the tops of our brochs, and virtually made these towers ineffectual. Other machines they engineered countered the crannogs and weems, and we found ourselves in pitched battles in spite of all our efforts to avoid them. Simple guerrilla warfare proved to be the best tactic, and the vast forests that covered the area in that day made the tactic work.[65]

When Severus died in 211, the legions continued south to Hadrian’s Wall, and never returned. From that point, the relationship our southern tribes had with the Romans actually became cordial and peaceful.[66] They were known from that time to patrol north of Hadrian’s Wall in mixed cavalry and infantry units that were garrisoned at forts near High Rochester, Risingham, Bewcastle, and Netherby, but never to attempt another invasion.[67]

But we had learned a great deal from them. While we sat on hilltops and watched their soldiers train behind the protection of Hadrian’s Wall, saw them operate the siege machines with which they had defeated many of our tribes who tried to take a stand in our towers, we made notes, and we thought through what we were seeing. We not only watched, and we not only studied, but we began to formulate an entirely new society for our tribes.[68]

A fourth century Roman historian by the name of Ammianus Mercellinus, records raids on the frontier by the Picts and the Scots in 360 and 364 A.D. The weakening of the Roman resolve that accompanied the repeated assaults they were sustaining from the Gauls on the Continent must have emboldened us. As we increased our raids, we were even assisted by some of our other enemies, the Attacotti and the Saxons. Then in 367 Emperor Valentinian sent an able general, Theodosius, to put down the fighting. It didn’t do much good, however, for more raids were recorded, and by 401 or 402, the might of the Roman Empire had withdrawn entirely from Britain. We had succeeded in resisting Roman domination in Pictland, and were now free of them.[69]

But we were not free from invasion.

The Second Celtic Invastion

Our experience with these Latin invaders only prepared us for a greater challenge to come: the migration of the Scoti, those Celtic tribes who came from the island of Ireland, which the Romans called Scotia.[70] This Latin word refers to darkness, and the name likely reflects the habit of the Irish tribes of raiding the Roman camps in the darkness of night. Indeed, the Romans used the word to refer to pirates in a generic sense.[71] Thus the name Scotsmen was given to the Irish by the Romans. At that time, however, the Scots of Ulster in the north of Ireland referred to themselves as Dalriadans, and at least the northern extreme of their island as Dalriada, or more nearly accurate, Dàl Riata.[72]

The Scots tried to name western Scotland, or Argyll, Dalriada as well, especially in later years when they transferred their capital about the year 500 to our land.[73] We were probably not thrilled with that prospect, however, and it took these new interlopers about another three hundred years to finally get their way with us. It was around then that they apparently accepted the name of Scotsmen. Further, the name Dalriada had been forgotten in both lands, and that part of Scotland they so named was by then known as Argyll, or the land of the Gaels. It is possible in the meantime that we had chosen to adopt the Roman name of Pictland, while the Scots for the same reason adopted their name. It is not difficult to envision the pride of both peoples carrying them away to the point that they had begun to enjoy the notoriety that was associated with these labels. And, while there is no documentation that we had actually accepted it within our own kingdom, we were known to the outside world as Pictland from about the fifth century A.D. into the ninth. Our kingdom is also thought to have been called Pictavia during this period.[74]

As for the Scots, we were likely calling them Gaels, for the Celtic language they brought with them from Ireland.

Rise of the Pictish Kingdom

Having learned a great deal from the marchers, we carved out an alliance with our neighbors. This alliance eventually grew into the Kingdom of Pictland, and covered virtually all of what is now known as Scotland. The Ritchies indicate that the Pictish kingdom was a cohesive one throughout the region, apparently well governed by a central monarch who granted authority to sub-monarchs, or mormaeri, who were the local governors. This cohesion could not have been easily attained when all indications from the archeology are that the distinct tribes that formed the kingdom were different in culture and habits.[75]

A legend arose in the land in those days, probably in the way of propaganda. The main character featured in this legend was Cruithne, who is billed as the father of the Picts. His seven sons, Fib, Fidach, Fotlaig, Fortrenn, Cait, Ce, and Circinn, divided his kingdom and ruled as united provinces, forming the Pictish kingdom. Researchers who have studied this legend wonder, perhaps too loudly, if Cruithne and his seven sons do not represent the tribes that united to form the kingdom, and that the legend itself was initiated and spoken throughout the land as a rallying cry to fight off the incursions of the Romans and the Irish. The eight names may indeed be original tribal names.[76]

During this time, our tribes would have had some intermarriage. But more than that, the passing centuries would have brought about a potpourri of many cultures. Thus, a “pict” would have been anyone from the races of the Celts, Picts, Britons, Angles, Saxons, Norsemen, Scots, and all the other tribes that had migrated into the area.

Could these tribes be the basis of the legend of Cruithne?

The lessons of the Roman invasions, nonetheless, gave incentive to all the tribes to unite. Scholars have suggested that this theory is so, and that the incentive did indeed lead to the rise of the Pictish kingdom.[77] There was likely a great deal of arm-twisting that went on to bring tribal chiefs into line with a central monarchy, but it definitely came into being. This conflict to achieve unity was probably slight compared to the turmoil to follow.

The Gaelic incursions took place while our union developed. The Irish Gaels, or Scots, who started migrating into Pictland long before the Romans quit Britain, settled in an area of our land on the west coast, and began to grow in numbers in about the third or fourth century.[78] They made their incursions at about the same time as the Saxons were colonizing England, and the Angles were spreading throughout ancient Lothians on the east coast of northern England and southern Scotland. Lothians later became known as the kingdom of Northumbria as these races from the Continent took full control.[79]

This movement of Germanic tribes into our land can be attributed to the destruction of the empire of the Huns by Chinese armies in about 36 or 35 B.C. The displaced but fierce Huns became nomadic as they fled the Chinese, and they made incursions into the lands later known as Germany, which created a domino effect as the German tribes in turn migrated away from them.[80] These Germanic tribes included the Teutonic Angles and Saxons, and their cousins the Jutes, who wandered throughout Europe, but largely settled on the east coast of England.[81]

The ancient tribes of our southern east coast, our Celtic cousins the Britons, fled from the Teutons into Wales and Cornwall. There they became the people we now know as the Welsh, but first they had their own battles to fight to establish themselves in that new land: the legend of King Arthur, a Christian, has him fighting pagan bands who invaded into the area from the east.[82]

In 501 meanwhile, the Scots anointed Fergus, son of Erc, king of Dalriada in the newly transferred capital of that kingdom, recently established on our Pictish soil. Fergus had come over from Northern Ireland,[83] possibly to escape persecution or prosecution in Ireland as the Dalriadan kingdom deteriorated from invasions by other Celts and from the Norsemen, and now he and his Scots were establishing a kingdom on our land.

The Scots had also brought with them a new religion, even before Fergus was anointed. The earliest known Christian missionary to arrive at Strathclyde and Galloway was St. Ninian, a British born minister who founded a church at Whithorn in the 390's, and sent emissaries across the island to the Picts during the fifth century to begin converting us.[84] In the early sixth century, the Scottish missionary St. Kentigern, or Mungo, conducted work with the Picts at Strathclyde and is thought to have been the first bishop at Glasgow.[85]

The Pictish Kings

Scottish and Pictish kings have no crowns. The Pictish ceremony of enthronement took place at Scone on Moot Hill, probably in a barrow or a chambered cairn. The priests seated the candidate on the Stone of Destiny and invested him with a scepter and a robe, then married him symbolically to the land and the people. Someone would then recite his ancient genealogy, and the nobles who were present demonstrated their allegiance to him. There may have been ancient practices such as sacrifice or ritual bathing.[86]

The practice of marrying the king to the land and the people is the obvious basis for the tradition of the king’s ownership over both. The king had absolute authority over the people and the distribution of land. His priestly inauguration was an ordination to that authority, thus his power came not from man but from God, and rare was the individual who dared challenge him. He accordingly granted and withdrew land at his pleasure.[87]

The only Pictish writing left to us is the king list, which, unfortunately, is in Latin rather than the Pictish language. The earliest copy available is thought to be a ninth century translation from an original document that has since been lost.[88]

Brude, or Bridei, most likely a crown name, son of Maelchon, is the first king on the list whose name also appears independently in other sources.[89] He was the king who in about 563 received St. Columba, when the priest petitioned the Picts for land to settle. Brude is thought to have converted to Christianity under Columba’s tutelage; for certain, he likely granted the island of Iona to the missionary.[90]

Evidence of our ancient language

Columba noted in his record that he needed an interpreter to carry on dialogue in the court of king Brude.[91] It is interesting to consider this necessity, for the Irish Celts surely encountered European Celts who had lived many centuries in Pictland. The languages of the two would have been different by then, but recognizable one to the other, for they were in origin the same language.[92] They should have been able to conduct at least rudimentary business with one another. If it is true that Columba needed an interpreter, however, Brude must have spoken a totally different language, possibly Celtic, but also possibly a language which our ancient migrants brought with them from the Black Sea, or from some other Mediterranean homeland.

This phenomenon of similarity among languages is illustrated by a striking experience of a Polish soldier in the Highlands of Scotland, as told by the canon Anthony Duncan. The soldier, in training during World War II, found that as long as he spoke his native Slavic and the Highlanders held to their Gaelic, they could understand one another and carry on at least a basic conversation.[93]

The succession of kings

Brude is known as Brude or Bridei I mac Maelchon. He died in the year 585.[94] His Scottish contemporary was Aedan mac Gabrahain, who was king of Scots from 574 to 608. In 653 Talorgen I, ascended, then Drest in 657, Bridei II in 671, and Nechtan in 708. Oengus I was enthroned in 721, and then became king of both Picts and Scots in 736. He served in that capacity till 761.

The next two kings, Constantine mac Feargus and Oengus II were kings of both Picts and Scots until 834. Seven years of struggle began when Kenneth I mac Alpin declared a separate kingdom of Scots and himself the king in 840, then ascended the Pictish throne in 847.[95]

Scottish Deceptions

It is doubtful the Scots really wanted a grant of land as sought by Columba, but more likely intended to take what they wanted. It is also possible that Columba was sincere in wanting to have peaceful coexistence with the Picts, but it seems likely that his countrymen couldn’t have cared less about that: they settled Iona, then spread into the western portion of the main island, naming the land they were taking after their homeland, Dalriada. King Aedan mac Gabrahain is known to have been aggressive in his policy of spreading into Pictland and Anglia. He even forged an alliance with the Britons of Strathclyde in order to invade deeper into the lands of the Picts and Angles, but was defeated in battle with the Angles in 603 by king Athelfrith of Northumbria at Liddesdale.[96]

The growing complications of the various kingdoms worsened when Domhnall Brec mac Eochaid became king of Scots in 630. He managed to lose the ancestral lands of Dalriada in Ulster, the final death of the kingdom in Ireland, and died leading the Scots against king Owen of Strathclyde in 642. Owen was troublesome enough that we and the Scots sought assistance in an alliance with Northumbria’s king Oswy, son of Athelfrith. This alliance led to Oswy’s nephews, whose mother was a Pict of noble birth, becoming Pictish kings, the second of which, Drest, being expelled in favor of Bridei II in 671. The latter lost a battle and some territory to Egfrith of Northumbria in 672, so it can be safely assumed that the alliance with the Northumbrians did not hold for long after we expelled Oswy’s nephews.[97]

In 683 the Irish Scots besieged Dundurn Fort at Perthshire,[98] but nothing conclusive came of it, for the Picts were still running the country after that date. I have been unable to locate a record of why the Scots retired from the siege.

Brude II meanwhile held court at Inverness, near the River Ness. He moved the capital south where it remained until the Northumbrians succeeded in their incursions, and the capital was returned again to Inverness. In 685, however, the Northumbrians wanted more of Pict lands, and invaded deeper into the north. The record states that Bridei, son of Bile, who must be Brude or Bridei II and certainly had learned some lessons in battle tactics, defeated them at the battle of Nechtanesmere, near Dunnichen, Forfarshire, and ran them entirely out of the Pict country. With their expulsion, this successor to the son of Maelchon re-established the capital in the south of Pictland,[99] probably at Scone Castle north of Perth.[100]

Bridei must have been ruthless, for he is thought to have massacred the entire Northumbrian army, including king Egfrith, in the battle at Forfarshire.[101] He may have arrived at a clear realization of his sin, and accordingly attempted to redeem himself by supporting the church, for, as a result of this development and with his sponsorship, the Pictish church leaders returned to the south and expelled the Celtic, or Scottish, version of Christianity. In 710, this trend continued when king Nechtan, son of Derilei, ordered the church to fall entirely in line with Rome, which amounted to a full breach with the Scottish Christians.[102] Nechtan then abdicated in 724 to pursue religious objectives, and the country fell into civil strife.[103]

Religious Reversals

An interesting but confusing note about Northumbria: in the sixth century as all the developments noted above unfolded, the Angles, speaking a strange Germanic tongue called Angle-ish or English, had great success in colonizing that area, which had previously been called Lothians. The region is now known as the counties of Berwick, Selkirk, Peebles, and Roxburgh. The Britons, or Welsh, during the same period occupied the area between Solway Firth and the Clyde Firth.[104] The Welsh found themselves alternately subjugated by the Scots, the Northumbrians, and the Picts. At the beginning of the seventh century, Edwin, king of Northumbria finally lost his Christian kingdom to the pagan Angles. His nephew, Oswald, however, who had been educated by the Scots at Iona, defeated the Angles at Hexham in 633 and brought Scottish missionaries in to rebuild Christianity and convert the pagans.

Then, in 663 or 664, Oswy, son of Oswald, ordered the adoption of Roman Catholic communion. This being contrary to the Scottish, or Celtic, church, the Scots left Northumbria, leaving the entire eastern portion of the island, including the Picts and the Northumbrians, to Roman Catholic influence. The Welsh, meantime, were slowly being converted to the brand of Christianity that would eventually become the Anglican communion, or the religion of the Angles. The Angles, who would eventually give their ancient name to this religion, were at that time converting to and practicing the Roman communion.

And thus the world turns.

Pax Pictorum

From 736 into the ninth century, the Picts controlled all the north of the land of Alba. Life became good for the ancient tribes, and their Celtic, Angle, Saxon, and Briton additions, as they settled into relative peace that lasted better than a century. With the Scots of Dalriada falling under Pictish control as well, there was likely much less conflict. The king of Pictland, Angus, is known to have ruled over Dalriada on the same basis we would understand a province to be today.[105] As noted above, he is also known as Oengus I, who captured the Scots’ fortress of Dunadd in order to rule without question both Picts and Scots.

But as the ninth century began, a new threat came down with an old enemy out of the north.

The Vikings

The Danes, Norwegians, and other Scandinavian raiders had been visiting Pictish islands and shores for many centuries. These forays were intended only to obtain booty, which the Vikings carried back to their homelands. Some Norsemen stayed on in Pictland, merged into the tribes of the area, and became Picts themselves; most, however, returned to their homelands.

Around 800 this all changed as Viking ships descended on the Orkneys and Shetlands for a more ominous purpose than mere raiding: beginning then, they came to stay. Danish colonies started showing up in the islands, and eventually on the north shores of our main island.[106] King Oengus II, king of both Picts and Scots, rallied the troops and sent them into the north to fight off this threat, but the only accomplishment of this mobilization was to bring the invasion to a standstill. His successor, Eoganan, was killed in a battle with the Danes while certain individuals back home were creating mischief.[107]

In a significant illustration of the mischief going on, Dalriada took advantage of the confusion, and seceded from Pictland, declaring its own monarchy.[108]

This period was when Kenneth, son of Alpin, or mac Alpin, became king of Dalriada. He is thought to have worked out an agreement with the Danes to pull off seceding from Pictland and assuming the Dalriadan throne.[109] Having a Pictish mother of royal blood, he had some claim on the Pictish throne as well. While the Dalriadans followed a patriarchal form of ascension to royalty, the Picts had always wanted to avoid child kings, and accordingly created matriarchal order in the royal family. This order made it possible for a deceased king’s brother to ascend the throne in his place, instead of requiring that the successor be a son. It also made it possible for the son of a noble woman to assume kingship in the absence of any other contender. MacAlpin’s claim was based, therefore, on his mother’s relation to Pictish nobility.[110]

In addition, Kenneth made use of an ancient Celtic law called tanistry.[111] In this tradition, a tanist was chosen by the tribe as the chief’s heir apparent. Kenneth needed only to make certain that he would be chosen by the Celts living under Pictish rule. To accomplish this certainty, it is thought, Kenneth meticulously eliminated all or most of the other contenders for the throne.[112] One researcher characterizes his preparation for assuming control of the Picts, as a power play wherein he “overcame the Picts.”[113] Kenneth then more than likely arranged through the Celtic members of Pictish society to be chosen heir apparent to the last Pictish king.

Upon the death of that last king, Kenneth appeared at the Stone of Destiny at Scone, where all Pictish kings had been enthroned, and all their Scottish successors were thereafter ordained. With little or no opposition presenting itself to the priests, he became, in the year 843, king of Scots and Picts.[114]

The name Dalriada disappeared. It might have been dropped to appease Pictish nobility. The two kingdoms of Scotland and Pictland thus existed side by side under the same king for a period that is apparently lost to history at this time. Some scholars say that Kenneth named this union the kingdom of Alba.[115]

The Pictish name continued to exist for at least three more kings after Kenneth, and likely more than that. His brother Donald ascended the throne upon his death, and Donald’s two sons in turn succeeded Donald. Each of these successors was referred to as rex pictorum in the record of the day, evidence that we still had some influence in our own land.[116]

The name may have continued in use into the eleventh century reign of Duncan. This king had ruled Strathclyde, a kingdom by then of Angles and Britons covering the southernmost regions of what is known as southwestern Scotland. He was also grandson of the Scottish king Malcolm III. When the latter died, Duncan ascended the throne of Scotland, and it is thought that he was declared king of Scots, Picts, Angles, and British.[117]

He was, indeed, the first king of a united kingdom of all Scotland, and he likely ruled over the masses of British people who were fleeing England to escape the forces of Danish king Ivar, who had captured most of the country and had installed Egbert as king.[118]

It had been prior to this period during the tenth century that the name Scotland was first applied to all the land north of the Cheviots.[119]

Eighth century Kenneth and his successors also apparently had greater loyalty to their Scottish supporters than to the Picts. As the usual jockeying for power went on, as it always did with a new king, the lands owned by Pictish nobles and commoners were likely forfeited to Scots who moved in to support Kenneth and the kings that succeeded him. As a matter of official policy, it appears, the king rewarded the loyalty of these newcomers by gradually evicting Pictish families, noble and otherwise, and granting their lands to his supporters. By the end of the tenth century, most Picts were likely working for Scottish overlords.[120]

Kenneth’s dynasty sought alliance with the noble families of Angles, Saxons, and Britons who had fled from outside Scotland. He needed their hatred of the Danes to fight the Norsemen and resist Ivar’s attempts to subjugate the entire island of Britain. There were accordingly more nobles to reward with more lands, and from what better source to get them than from the newly subjugated Picts?

Partly as a result of this necessary alliance, in 920, Pope Constantine III recognized king Edward the elder of England as “father and lord” over both England and Scotland.[121] That poorly considered act of the Catholic prelate caused more trouble for Scotland in centuries to come than any other single act of any man or woman: it was thereafter cited each time the English kings tried to exercise their claim of overlordship, and gave succeeding English and Norman nobles what they saw as just cause in their fight to subjugate Scotland.

Another view of how the Picts lost their land to the Scots is given by W. A. Cummins. This scenario is a convincing one in which the Picts and Scots are characterized as two converging groups that eventually formed a single nation and, as I mentioned above, became known to the outside world as “Picts.” When the son of Alpin assumed the throne of Pictland, it was not by invasion or armed conflict. It was simply the natural order of how things were done in those days. Cummins does not dispute that there may have been some dissenting local rulers, the mormaeri that are discussed above, and that Kenneth had to lead or send his forces around the countryside getting everybody’s attention. His position is simply that the assumption of power by the Scots was one that occurred gradually, possibly as noteworthy as a change in the residents of the American White House. The only real change, Cummins notes, was in the gradual predominance of Gaelic in the land, and an eventual labeling of all residents as Scotsmen.[122]

Cummins may be correct. His style and scholarship are certainly impressive, and I enjoy reading his work. But my conclusion remains the same: the Scots took control, either in a burst of secessionist activity or by gradual metamorphosis, of our lands, and we found ourselves at the bottom of the pecking order.

Another New Language

The Anglo-Saxon-Briton incursion into our land brought the scourge of that Germanic language, Angle-ish, or English. We found it to be an extremely difficult language to learn, and preferred Gaelic, even though the latter was also a foreign language to us. But we were forced to learn the new language in order to survive under our English overlords. Fortunate were those Picts who fell under the control of Celtic landowners and clan leaders, and were allowed to continue speaking the Gaelic to which we had grown accustomed.

Among these landless Picts was a family that lived from about the thirteenth century under the feudal authority of a man named Loef.[123] The landowner left his lands in present day Fifeshire, north of the Forth where the Maeatae were known to inhabit, to his eldest son. The suffix -ing was the Gaelic indication of son: thus this son’s surname was Loef-ing. In time, the town this noble family started, and in which its Pictish servants lived and worked, became know as Loefing’s Town, or Loefingston. As generations passed, and the town’s name held, the spelling evolved, and the town was eventually known as Livingston.

The servant family, former Maeatae tribesmen who by then had grown into a large extended tribe on their own, continued in bondage to the noble family of Livingston, and identified itself as belonging to Livingston. The landowners, however, were the first true Livingstons, and they merely granted the right to their servants to use the appellation in their various dealings, mostly with the church parish. Thus the servants identified themselves as being “of” Livingston, or d’Livingston. As the use of surnames became both popular and necessary, the family members retained the appellation as their surname.

We therefore became Livingston. Even as we continued generation to generation as the bonded servants to the noble family Livingston, we saw ourselves as the Livingston family. That was our identity from about the fourteenth century, and was continuing in 1702 when the earliest documented ancestor of our family, Archibald Livingston, was born in the coal mines of Fifeshire.

As is the case today, most of us married our own kind in those days. We married into families that were related to our own. We traveled only short distances, so the likelihood of our marrying into families outside our immediate tribe was slim. There was some intermarriage with the Scots and others, but for the most part we likely retained our family integrity. We therefore continued with our Pictish bloodline from the first century A.D. right up to the time of Archibald and beyond.

We continued to be Picts, but had forgotten our original culture as we assumed that of the powerful Scots. By the nineteenth century, we and the Scots had lost all memory of our religions, and of who we had been. We could not have remembered how we worshiped the earth as a living soul, and all the celestial bodies of the universe. We had forgotten our reverence for the animals and the environment. But then a young prophet named Joseph Smith became the instrument by which God restored His eternal Gospel. God further used this prophet in restoring our ancient truths about the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars. We probably knew what we were hearing when we heard the declaration that the Spirit of Christ gives life to all God’s universe; that the earth is the mother of all God’s children; and that the earth mourns our iniquity. The youthful prophet declared that God’s Spirit permeates all matter and gives it life, that, literally, “God is everywhere.” He did this against a secular opposition to this teaching in the traditional Christian world, when such teaching was highly unpopular. Now, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other documents, the Cabalic doctrine has confirmed it, and more of our Christian brothers and sisters are accepting it.[124] To us it had always been a familiar teaching, for we had always known that the earth, truly, is a living soul, that all animals are God’s children, and that all the universe is sustained by the self-same spirit.

We accordingly took hold of the declared restoration, and became a part of it. That conversion led us to a new land, and a new life where liberty is abundant.

But before that the Romans called us Picti, the painted ones.

And after we had soundly driven them from our land, we ruled ourselves in a place we called Pictland.


  1. Ritchie, Graham and Anna (1991). Scotland Archaeology and Early History. Edinburgh University Press, Page 159. 
  2. MacLean, Fitzroy (1966). Scotland, A Concise History. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., Page 11. 
  3. Ibid, Page 151.
  4. Ibid, Page 152.
  5. MacLean, Page 21.
  6. Ibid, Page 22.
  7. Ritchie, MacLean, and various renditions of historical accounts found in such works as Encyclopedia Britannica.
  8. Fry, Plantagenet Somerset (1990). Kings & Queens of England and Scotland. London: Dorlink Kindersley Ltd, Page 112. 
  9. Pryde, George S. (1962). Scotland From 1603 to the Present Day. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., Pages 15 - 16. 
  10. Parish register of Dalgetty, Fife, Scotland (Genealogical Society Files 102, 185, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah)
  11. MacLean, Page 14 & 15; and Moncreiffe, Sir Ian. The Highland Clans. New York: Bramhall House, Page 10.  (it should be noted that Moncreiffe labels Alba a Gaelic speaking kingdom, which it eventually became; but you must remember that Alba existed before the Gaels arrived)
  12. Ritchie, Page 13, and other sources. The length of time that people inhabited Scotland is in debate among archaeologists; the most likely scenario, however, holds that the first migrants arrived in the fourth millenium B.C. More migrations occurred right up to the time of the Roman incursions of the first centruy A.D.
  13. Buckland, Raymond (1997). Scottish Witchcraft. Llewellyn Publications, Page 40. 
  14. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Doctrine and Covenants, 88:18-26; 123:7; and The Book of Moses, 7:48, 49, 61, 64.
  15. Duncan, Anthony (1992). The Elements of Celtic Christianity. Shaftesbury, Dorset, U.K.: Element Books Ltd., Page 6. 
  16. Buckland, Page 40.
  17. Buckland, Page 17.
  18. Nibley, Hugh; John W. Welch (Editor), Gary P. Gillum (Editor), Don E. Norton (Editor) (1986). Old Testament and Related Studies (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley). Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, Pages 37-47. 
  19. Ritchie, Page 142.
  20. Kearney, Hugh (1989). The British Isles, A History of Four Nations. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, Page 16. 
  21. Cummins, W.A. (1995). The Age of the Picts. Gloucestershire, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd., Page 3. 
  22. Encyclopedia Britannica, The New (15th Edition) Vol. 9: Page 428. (1998). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
  23. Cummins, Page 33.
  24. Ibid., Page 29.
  25. Ritchie, Page 89.
  26. Mercer, Derrik (1991). Chronicle of the Royal Family. London: Chronicle Communications Ltd., Page 10. 
  27. Mackie, R.L. (1962). A Short History of Scotland. Oliver and Boyd, Ltd., Page 4. ; and MacLean, Page 14.
  28. Encyclopedia Britannica, The New (15th Edition) Vol. 3: Page 17. (1998). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
  29. Cummins, Pages 42 - 47.
  30. Somerset Fry, Page 112.
  31. Cummins, Page 5.
  32. Farkas, Ann. (1996). "Scythians". The 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc..
  33. Austerlitz, Robert. (1996). "Ural-Altaic Languages". The 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc..
  34. Ritchie, Page 89.
  35. Ibid., Page 118.
  36. Mackie, Page 4.
  37. The Ritchies have weell explained the archaeological evidences of our home building habits.
  38. Anonymous, Historia Norvegiae, Twelfth Century writing to which the Richies refer.
  39. Cummins, Pages 47 and 48.
  40. According to the Ritchie work.
  41. Mackie, Page 4.
  42. Ibid., Page 5.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Ritchie, Pages 101 - 115.
  45. Ibid., Page 159.
  46. Ibid., Page 120.
  47. Ibid., Page 80 and 81.
  48. Moncreiffe, Sir Iain (1967). The Highland Clans. Bramhall House, Page 13. 
  49. Ritchie, Page 22.
  50. Cummins, Page 29.
  51. Ritchie, Page 159.
  52. Ibid., Page 142.
  53. Mercer, Page 6.
  54. Kearney, Page 18.
  55. Mackie, Page 1.
  56. Mercer, Page 6.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Ritchie, Page 121.
  59. Ibid.
  60. Cummins, Page 33.
  61. Ritchie, Pages 119 - 123.
  62. Mackie, Page 2.
  63. Ritchie, Pages 125 - 133.
  64. Mackie, Page 3.
  65. Maclean, Page 11.
  66. Ritchie, Page 141.
  67. Ibid., Pages 133 - 135.
  68. Ibid., Page 138.
  69. Ibid., Page 142.
  70. Andrews, Allen (1976). Kings & Queens of England & Scotland. London: Marshall Cavendish Publications Ltd, Page 118. 
  71. Ritchie, Page 151.
  72. Ibid.
  73. Ibid.
  74. Cummins, Page 7.
  75. Ritchie, Page 163.
  76. Cummins, Page 11.
  77. Mann, J.C. (1974). "The Northern Frontier after A.D. 369". Glasgow Archaeological Journal Vol. 3: Pages 34-42.
  78. Mackie, Page 6.
  79. Ibid., Page 9.
  80. Davies, Norman (December 1, 1996). Europe, A History. NY: Oxford University Press, Page 215. 
  81. The World Book Encyclopedia Vol. 19: Page 183. (1993). World Book, Inc.
  82. Mackie, Page 9.
  83. Ibid.
  84. Somerset Fry, Page 113.
  85. Cummins, Page 60.
  86. Mercer, Page 16.
  87. Ibid., Page 35.
  88. Ritchie, Page 170.
  89. Ibid. The name "Brude" or Bridei" is likely a crown name; further, since the Picts followed a matriarchal lineage for the crown, I wonder if the parent named, such as Maelchon, is the mother of the king. Cummins says not.
  90. Ibid., Page 171.
  91. Cummins, Page 45, quoting Anderson, A. O.; Anderson, M. O. (eds/trs) (1961). Adomnan's Life of St Columba. London, Edinburgh, New York: Thomas Nelson, n.d., pp. 275, 397.. 
  92. Kearney, Page 18.
  93. Duncan, page 18.
  94. Mercer, Page 10. I should note that Cummins' work contains a much more comprehensive study of the king lists; its comprehensiveness, however, exceeds the needs of this current work.
  95. Ibid.
  96. Ibid.
  97. Ibid.
  98. Ritchie, Page 176.
  99. Ibid., Page 171.
  100. Moncreiffe, Page 10.
  101. Mercer, Page 10.
  102. Ritchie, Page 171.
  103. Mercer, Page 10.
  104. Mackie, Page 9.
  105. Ibid., Page 16.
  106. MacLean, Page 21.
  107. Mercer, Page 10. Cummins, on Page 43, articulately disputes the resumption of a monarchy in Dalriada being characterized as a secession.
  108. Found in various sources, but you should read Cummins, Page 43, for an opposing view.
  109. Mercer, Page 10.
  110. Ritchie, page 152.
  111. Encyclopeda Britannica. I failed to note the edition and volume when I read this account; the edition, however, was from the 1950s.
  112. Ritchie, page 152.
  113. Somerset Fry, Page 111.
  114. MacLean, Page 21.
  115. Mercer, Page 10.
  116. Ritchie, Page 159.
  117. Encyclopedia Britannica. See note 111.
  118. Mercer, Page 12.
  119. Mackie, Page 10.
  120. Moncreiffe, Page 27. Cummins would dispute this claim, but other researchers, including the Ritchies, according to my reading of their work, would likely support it.
  121. Encyclopedia Britannica. See note 111.
  122. Cummins, Pages 138 - 144.
  123. This name, and the following claims, are from my memory of previous reading, and are still being researched as this writing proceeds.
  124. Welch (Nibley), Page 131.

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