Happy Medieval Monday! This past weekend was our anniversary. My sweetheart and I took a short holiday -- a long weekend -- to celebrate, so I don't have much in the way of a post today. But I was inspired to look up some medieval wedding images.
Priest, no priest. Handfasting. A simple exchange of vows, no witness required. A royal procession. A good number of the marriages were arranged. During the long, medieval era (approx. 500 - 1500), wedding traditions varied widely. They also changed in the course of 1000 years. None of that is surprising, right? Even now, in our modern times, no two weddings are alike, which is as it should be.
My own wedding was 41 years and one day ago. I was 19 and my groom, 25 -- so young and in love. It was a formal occasion, honestly over our heads. I hardly remember a thing. Isn't that crazy? I don't mind, though. It was a happy, exciting day that I think of as our family's birthday. I could not be more grateful.
Most of the medieval paintings and engravings depict royal weddings or, at least, those of the nobility. They were more political alliances than anything else. But I like to think that at least for some of the couples, it was a happy, exciting day.
Just like ours was. :)
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit authors Barbara Bettis and Mary Morgan.
Wishing you a magical week ahead!
Lachlann stared at the Great Falls--Plodda Falls--
wondering how his heart could hammer so hard without
killing him. The name—and everything else—might
have changed, but they hadn’t. They didn’t even look
smaller. How that could be, when they were nearly seven
hundred years older and he was much bigger than he’d
been as a boy, he didn’t know. They seemed the same.
But where was the cave? He studied the rocks, but it was
hard to tell looking straight down from the platform at
the top of the falls. He glanced down the river. He
thought he knew approximately where they had fished,
but the trees were different. It was hard to be sure.
There’d been no platform, of course. They’d approached
the falls from the opposite side, at the bottom.
Rónán, wherever you are, help me.
Happy Medieval Monday! I thought I'd share a little scenery with you along with a scene from Tremors Through Time.
In the fourteenth century, Lachlann and Rónán liked to spend time at the "Great Falls". But when Lachlann visited twenty-first century Plodda Falls, he found that it looked different. The falls were the same, but the trees had changed.
And they had. While Glen Affric is still home to one of Scotland's largest Caledonian pine reserves, between 1895 to 1900, Lord Tweedmouth planted the area with Douglas firs. In other natural areas of Glen Affric, the Forestry Commission is slowly removing non-native species, but the firs around Plodda Falls remain. They are huge and, I must admit, stunning.
My husband and I enjoyed our time in Glen Affric and our day at Plodda Falls. I can understand why Lachlann and Rónán liked the area so well.
Excerpt -- Tremors Through Time
They hiked down and walked along the edge of the
stream, away from the falls in what he thought was the
right direction. Lachlann stared at the opposite bank,
trying to get a feel for his surroundings, to imagine them
as they were in his childhood. Desperately, he turned in
a circle, looking upriver and down.
He stopped instantly.
“Smell that.” Closing her eyes, she breathed in
deeply, then smiled at him. “It’s wonderful.”
“It’ll only take a minute.”
He frowned. Couldn’t they do this later? He had to
find the cave.
Stepping closer, she took both his hands in hers.
“Only a minute,” she repeated. “Breathe. Close your
eyes and breathe.”
He did as she asked, taking several deep breaths,
allowing the fresh, cool air to fill his lungs. He could
smell the trees. The familiar sound of the falls reminded
him of that day so long ago.
He cast his line. Rónán did the same. They usually
did a little fishing before hiking up to their cave. The falls
were a long walk from their homes. Although he would
never have admitted it, he was often surprised that Rónán
had been able to make it. An accident had crushed the
bones in his foot when he was small. It hadn’t healed
properly and still pained him, sometimes a lot. But his
friend was stubborn.
“Shouldn’t we bury our treasures first?” Rónán
asked, even as he collapsed on a boulder.
“We promised to bring trout home,” Lachlann
reminded him. “It’s important that we keep our word.”
“It shouldn’t be hard,” commented his friend,
drawing a hook from his sporan. “I can see them from
He spoke the truth. The clear river was running with
trout. Rónán had collected worms before Lachlann had
joined him that morning, so they were able to cast right
away. Their lines weren’t long and didn’t need to be.
Although it was a hot day, it was cool by the water’s
edge, in the shade of the great pine trees. They sat on
boulders and ate lunch while they fished. They didn’t
talk much, not even Rónán, who knew not to scare the
fish away. Anyway, he was pleasantly occupied eating.
Their lines were hit simultaneously.
Lachlann jerked his rod and stilled for a moment.
When his line went taut, he jerked it again and began
pulling in the speckled fish. Rónán did the same.
In less than two hours, they both had plenty of trout
to share with their families. They left their catch in their
nets at the river’s edge, hidden among some grasses.
They weren’t particularly worried about daylight--
the days were long in summer—but they didn’t want to
be too late in case their families were counting on their
catch for supper.
They trudged up the slope, clambering over the
rocks, to the steep path leading to their cave behind the
Lachlann opened his eyes. It all came back to him.
He smiled at his angel before releasing one of her hands
to look around. Then he saw it—the indentation that
marked the narrow path he and Rónán had taken up to
For more Tremors Through Time.
To enjoy more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit medieval ladies Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis!
Wishing you a splendid day and week ahead!
Lachlann walked through the night. Vaguely, in his pain, images flashed before him that he didn’t understand, but he’d ceased being afraid of them. His breath was coming in shallow puffs. His head hurt so much that he couldn’t think clearly. And he was thirsty, so thirsty.
He lost count of how many times he threw up, fainted, slept. But he was in too much pain to be still. He’d either find help or die trying. He didn’t care which.
Stars were just fading as he reached the kirk. It looked different, but it had to be the kirk at St. Michael’s mount in Inbhir Nis. He was going to pass out again. Focusing on the kirk, he dragged himself through the graveyard. He’d never make it to the building. Fighting darkness, he made it to a gravestone before collapsing. At least they wouldn’t have to carry his body far to bury him.
He hadn’t found Rònan to tell him he was alive, to thank him for going after him. He hadn’t been able to save Allasan and their son. He should have been there to help them, at least to be with them when they died.
“I’m sorry. . .” he whispered as darkness swallowed him.
Happy Medieval Monday!
You won't find that scene in Tremors Through Time. During editing, I had to make some ruthless decisions -- as writers so often have to do. It was simply taking too long for Lachlann to meet Deidre. But I like the scene, so naturally, I stashed it away for possible future use.
I chose the Old High St. Stephen’s Church of Inverness to be the location of Lachlann’s modern-day collapse because it’s the oldest church in Inverness. It is believed that as early as 565 A.D., St. Columba converted a Pictish king on St. Michael’s mount, where the church now stands. In the centuries that followed, many wooden churches were erected and burned down. Even once a stone structure was in place, some parts eventually fell into ruin. We're talking centuries, after all. The oldest part of the current structure is the tower base, which dates back to the fourteenth century.
The earliest document that mentions the church is a charter granted by William the Lion between 1164 and 1171.
The Black Friars founded a monastery just north of the church in 1233. It continued until the Reformation (1525-1560), then fell into disuse.
The Church went from ruins to repairs several times throughout the centuries.
In 1746, after the Battle of Culloden, Jacobite soldiers were executed on the church grounds.
When we were there last fall (2022), of course I had to visit it. I found the site to possess a haunting dignity and the location is stunning -- right on the River Ness. Sadly, while the historic building still stands and visitors are allowed on the grounds, services are no longer held there.
The building is up for sale.
Up for sale?
For more medieval fun, be sure to visit Lady Mary Morgan. Our other medieval lady, Barbara Bettis, is having a time with her website right now. We hope she'll be back soon!
May your week be a happy one with bright skies and smiles aplenty!
Crescenza Calendar, c. 1475
Happy Medieval Monday! January means repairs and preparation. Did you know?
Jumping down another medieval rabbit hole in my current examination of medieval calendars, I happened upon this lovely little artpiece. It's from a manuscript printed in the mid to late 1400s and that manuscript was a reprint of an agricultural manual written by Pietro de' Crescenzi between 1304 and 1309.
Of course, gardener and student of the medieval period that I am, I had to learn more about this manual and the man who wrote it.
Pietro de' Crescenzi was born in Bologna around 1235. He became a lawyer and judge, practicing from around 1269 to 1299. In his later years -- he died in 1320 -- his time was spent between Bologna and his country estate. During his retirement, surely inspired by his rural retreat, he compiled a work he called Ruralia commoda, also known as Liber ruralium commodorum -- Book of Rural Benefits.
Frontispiece of the De agricultura in the vernacular edition of Matteo Capcasa, printed in Venice in 1495.
Dedicated to King Charles II of Naples, it became the gardening manual of kings! In 1373, King Charles V of France requested that it be translated into French. It became extremely popular during the High Medieval era into the early Renaissance. Translated into many languages, it eventually became the first agricultural book in print. Henry VIII had a copy in his library. It is said that he consulted it for the design of the gardens at Whitehall (1540s).
Henry VIII's copy of Ruralia Commoda, Royal Collection Trust
The work is divided into twelve sections, but surprisingly (at least, I was surprised), the sections don't represent months. Each section focuses on a certain task or tasks, the last chapter being a calendar of the agricultural year. It's evidently a very interesting read, with both sage advice and wild explanations. Crescenzi studied and sorted information, some dating back to ancient times.
I can't seem to find an English version or if there even is an English version. You might disagree, but I think a copy, possibly even a modern one, would be a lovely addition to a gardening or medieval library.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to stop by Mary's Tavern, author Mary Morgan's beautiful blog.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!
Oh, the gorgeousness! The sumptuousness! Happy Medieval Monday 2023!
I love calendars. In our modern times, we have a vast and wonderful variety to choose from. But medieval calendars, illuminated medieval calendars? Mini-masterpieces.
Plenty of them, like the Duc de Berry's Très Riches Heures, were prayerbooks, but not all. A great many did include saints' days and church feasts. Like our calendars now, many reflected the season or time of year, the "labours" of each month. While doing a bit of research for this particular post, I was surprised to note the zodiac was often included right along with the saints. In Queen Isabella's breviary (first one below), the little naked guy top left is Aquarius.
Just in case you don't "hover", left to right are Isabella's Breviary, Joanna of Castile's Book of Hours, Jame's IV of Scotland's Book of Hours, and a foldable, Norwegian calendar that even notes what days are good and bad.
Knowing that it was all done by hand thrills me every time. Precise work, delicate work, surely tedious at times, all done for the glory of faith, art, or - let's face it - sometimes simply for the commission.
One thing I know for sure. It would be hard to find a newly hand-drawn, illuminated calendar nowadays.
Here's to you, Medieval Calendariographers!
Yes, I did have to look that up! :)
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit authors Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis.
Wishing you a wonderful 2023!
I’m thrilled and honoured to be hosting my dear friend author Mary Morgan today of all days – the launch day for her new book, Wishes Under a Highland Star. It's a brilliant, beautiful story. Congratulations, Mary!
As chieftain for his clan, Alex MacFhearguis struggles with the burden of an unwanted responsibility. With the midwinter feast approaching, he flees his castle to find comfort and solitude within the forest. Yet on his quest, Alex stumbles into a world filled with magic, mysteries, and a woman with beguiling eyes who could capture his heart.
When half-Fae Aine Fraser makes a powerful wish, her simple request unlocks the magic she possesses and brings forth a Highlander into her world. Though the man has lost all his memories, she finds her attraction growing for this brooding warrior with each passing day. Unable to deny her feelings, Aine risks everything when she confesses her greatest secret.
Can a beauty who wished for a champion tame the beast of Leòmhann Castle?
Alex grumbled a curse and walked away. Striding with intent, he gave a curt nod in passing when Aine stepped from her safe haven.
She hurried after him. “Ye are bleeding.”
“Aye,” he returned, making long strides through the bailey and ignoring her concern.
“The cut requires tending to. Glenna is a healer. I can take ye there,” she suggested, doing her best to keep up with him.
“What do ye mean?” she pressed.
Alex clenched his jaw. Rory’s talk about marriage settled like a nettle’s sting. Without a clear path in front of him, he had no intention of luring any woman into his life with false hope. Especially the one who smelled like wildflowers on a spring day with enchanting eyes that beguiled him.
“The wound will heal in time,” he gritted out, sweeping past a yew tree and heading toward the sounds of a nearby stream.
Aine grasped his arm with a force that surprised him. “Can ye stop for a moment!”
Halting his stride, he glared down at her. The look he gave her would singe the hair from any warrior or animal. “Do ye have more to say?”
“Why do ye refuse aid?” she demanded, fisting her hands on her round hips.
Her stubborn refusal to leave intrigued Alex. Would she flee if he challenged her? He lowered his head near hers. “Why do ye care?”
Her eyes widened, and her luscious lips parted. “Because I do,” she whispered.
Alex’s breathing became shallow and the air around them thick. Her pink lips begged to be kissed. Would they be as sweet as berries? Or as heady as the wine he drank last evening? An ache to take her in his arms filled him.
He wrestled with the conflict—duty, honor, possession. She was pure as new-fallen snow on a crisp morn, and he no better than a rutting stag. Though his hands shook to hold her in his arms, Alex steeled his emotions and moved away from her.
Ye deserve a better man, Aine. Ye are a beauty, and I am but a beast.
Aine’s smile came slowly as she took a step toward him and did the unthinkable. Standing on her tiptoes, she brushed a kiss along his bearded cheek. “Is it wrong to care for ye?”
Indecision plagued him as he regarded her—disbelieving, curious as to what his real fear might be. Shoving aside the conflict within, Alex grasped her around the waist. He nuzzled the spot below her ear. “Ye tempt your fate with a kiss, Aine? With a man ye do not ken?”
She lifted her gaze to his—her cheeks flushed with a rosy hue. “Did I tempt ye?”
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/Do71DuMcO98
Meet Mary Morgan
Multi award-winning paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary's passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic and Norse mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of fantasy, then travel back in time within the pages of her books.
I thought I'd seize this opportunity to learn a bit about this talented author's writing life!
Mary, I'm so glad you are with us today! Thank you for agreeing to this little interview!
Hello, Anastasia! Thank you for the warm welcome. I’m delighted to be here on my special day. Now for your fascinating questions…
1) What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
When I was ten or eleven years old, I devoured the Nancy Drew series. I would curl up on the floor between me and sister’s beds and read how Nancy solved a mystery. This was a magical time, until my mom would come in and make me go outside for some fresh air.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
Since I write historical fantasy, specifically medieval, I’m always eager to read out of the period I’m writing in. I’m a huge fan of regency romance, historical fiction and non-fiction books, and anything on Celtic or Norse mythology.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
I’ve been writing stories since I was a young girl. I’d write about daily happenings in my diaries, poems about animals, and pen plays for my siblings to perform for our parents.
There’s always been a book percolating in my mind. Yet it was on my first trip to Scotland in June 2000, when I had an overwhelming desire to write stories. The Dragon Knights were created on hilltop at sunset, and the rest is magical history.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
My first published book, Dragon Knight’s Sword. I’m an introvert, so stepping outside my comfort zone into an arena where others would read and review my book was a huge personal milestone.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I’m a constant daydreamer, Anastasia. There’s always a running story and/or characters fighting for control of a scene. As a young girl, I was told to get my ‘head out of the clouds’ and pay attention. Ha! My mom is extremely happy I chose not to listen to her and follow my daydreams.
6) What’s your writing space like?
I have this lovely corner in my bedroom that overlooks the garden. I write all my stories on an antique writing desk. I’m surrounded by all my favorite reference books, crystals, stones from my travels, and nature. Perfect for me!
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
For me, my writing works best in the early afternoon to evening hours. Before any writing begins, I take three deep cleansing breaths to calm and bring in the muse. If I don’t do this little quirk, the writing doesn’t seem to flow.
8) Congratulations on your new release, Wishes Under a Highland Star. It is such a beautiful story. You amaze me. How did you come up with the idea for book? Please tell us all about it.
I always wanted to give Alex MacFhearguis his story—his happy ever after. But his gruff demeanor made it difficult on finding the one woman who could stand beside him. Ironically, I was watching a children’s holiday show in December 2019, and the word misfits resonated strongly with me that evening. I dashed to my writing desk and started writing down the prologue for Wishes Under a Highland Star. And yes, the title came to me instantly.
9) I realize you’ve just published a new book and I know what that takes. But I believe you have another book in the works? Please, won’t you tell us about it, even just a little?
You’re so kind to ask, Anastasia, and I’m happy to share. I’m writing Steinar’s story, the third book in The Wolves of Clan Sutherland series. Here’s a teaser:
This man is known for his exceptional battles fought at sea. In his search to seek the ultimate treasure for Scotland—a prize valued by both Norse Gods and Kings—Steinar MacDougall must surrender what he treasures the most.
Yesss! I confess to doing a little happy dance over here!
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’ve learned this journey of writing can be a solitary path. Yet I’ve met so many wonderful readers and author friends along the way. I feel I’ve been blessed, even with the hardships, to find readers who enjoy my stories. They are one of the main reasons why I continue to weave tales.
Mary, thank you for sharing your time, talent, and this exciting day with us! You know I adore both you and The Dragon Knights! Congratulations, again! I wish you continued joy and success.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit Mary's Tavern and Barbara Bettis!
Holly is one of my very favorite plants. No only is it easy to take care of, evergreen, and provides food and shelter for wildlife, it's gorgeous in winter. We have a postage stamp sized lot filled with oak trees, yet I've added five holly trees to our landscape. Frankly, I've been a bit upset because our new lawn service guys trimmed them ruthlessly a few weeks ago. I had not asked them to do so. Now the birds and I have far less holly branches and berries to make use of. But I expect we'll get through it and can only hope that in typical holly fashion they will respond by growing stronger and fuller than ever.
I doubt that many medieval citizens worried about someone over-trimming holly trees and bushes. If on a grand estate, the gardeners would have known it would be used for decoration. Rural peasants could find it growing abundantly in the wild -- free holiday decor.
But why decorate at all and why use holly? Looking over my research, it seems that to many cultures -- Romans, Celts, Norse -- it was a symbol of fertility and eternal life. It's evergreen, after all. The Romans also associated it with Saturn, the god of agriculture, harvest, and fertility and used it to decorate their homes for the Saturnalia celebration. It was such a popular holiday that rather than attempt to abolish it completely, Pope Gregory the Great changed it to the Christian celebration of Christmas. Holly was still abundant and evergreen and the berries still red and so it continued to be used for decking the halls. Over time, the spiky green leaves were to be compared to Christ's Crown of Thorns and the red of the berries as a symbol of His blood.
The holly tree was as sacred to the Druids as the oak. It was said that the oak controlled the light (daylight) in summer while the holly controlled it in winter. Druids held that holly had protective powers. While they considered it sacrilege to cut down the trees, folks were allowed to cut boughs and branches to set inside their homes for protection.
Since holly is apparently lightening-resistant, both the Celts and the Norse associated it with their thunder gods, Taranis and Thor respectively. They planted the trees near their dwellings for added protection against lightening and evil.
I don't know why I'm surprised that holly has been used in and around homes for over a millennium. I love it. Why wouldn't anyone else?
Be sure to visit medieval ladies Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis for more medieval fun!
Happy Medieval Monday!
Happy Medieval Monday! Happy Thanksgiving Week!
I can hardly believe that the holidays are upon us! I am grateful for so many things and look forward to celebrating with loved ones.
Preparations, of course, can be really hectic, and sometimes they don't go as planned. Check out this scene from Tremors Through Time.
Lachlann stood with Deidre and Jackson beside the hospital bed and stared down at his friend and landlord, fighting panic. The doctor had assured them that he would be all right.
A kitchen fire…Joe had been trying to cook too many things at once, preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, plus cooking up a big batch of fried chicken for lunch. Somehow, he’d hit the handle of the frying pan, catapulting boiling oil all over his shirt and, if that wasn’t bad enough, he had been close enough to the gas stove for his shirt to catch fire. He had first and second degree burns on his stomach, chest, right arm, and right hand.
“I’ve ruined Thanksgiving,” he groaned as the three of them stood there.
“Nonsense, Joe,” Deidre said briskly. “As long as you’re all right, we’ll have plenty to be thankful for.”
“I’m going home for Thanksgiving. Ain’t none of us going to spend it here in this hospital. But what are we going to eat?”
“Don’t worry, Joe. We’ll manage,” Lachlann assured him. His voice sounded shaky, even to himself.
“We’ll be fine,” Jackson agreed.
“It’s a holiday,” Joe persisted.
“I’ll cook,” Deidre said, “using your recipes. Rest now, cher, because I’ll be bothering you tomorrow.”
Jackson agreed to go home and clean while Lachlann and Deidre stayed with Joe through the night.
Lachlann was more grateful than he could express for her calming presence.
Fire. Just thinking about it made his insides coil. He pulled a chair close to the bed while Deidre sat nearby on the sofa.
“Lachlann, Joe’s going to be all right,” she said quietly. “He has some bad burns. He’ll be in pain for a while. But it could’ve been much worse. Joe’s tough. He’ll be okay.”
“What about infection?”
She shook her head. “They’ve given him antibiotics, and his burns have been cleaned and covered with antibacterial cream. When he goes home, we’ll make sure they stay that way until his skin is healed.”
He nodded, silently reminding himself that it was the twenty-first century. Deidre rubbed his arm soothingly. He covered her hand with his own.
“Until you…” His voice shook and he stopped. “Joe is family to me. He gave me work, a home, food, advice when I needed it.”
“None of us are going anywhere,” she said firmly.
It was a long, miserable night. He dozed in a chair, his feet propped on another.
Suddenly, Allasan was in front of him, angry. “Lachlann, go to Inbhir Nis! I want the dye! You’ll only be in my way here!”
Her face loomed close to his. As he stared at her, it Anastasia Abboud 104 became covered with boils.
“Och,” he murmured. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Allasan.”
She didn’t answer, only looked at him accusingly. Fire lit her hair and began searing her face.
A soothing voice, a calming touch dispelled the image. He shifted uncomfortably and kept dreaming.
For more Medieval Monday, be sure to visit medieval ladies Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and happy holiday season ahead!
image credit: Christopher Rynn, University of Dundee
Happy Medieval Monday!
In 2017, Professor Susan Black of the University of Dundee, Scotland, was on an archaeological dig on Black Isle, Ross-shire, Scotland with Dr. Christopher Rynn and three PhD students when they discovered the remains of a man buried in a cave.
According to Professor Black, he had been brutally beaten to death, but buried carefully, laid in an unusual position, and in a protected location in the back of the cave.
Despite his battered skull, researchers at the University of Dundee were able to reconstruct his face using digital imaging. To me, the man looks strikingly modern. Why do I feel a bit surprised? What else should I expect of anyone without worldly trappings affecting their appearance?
It's so easy to dehumanize others -- whether in the past or, worse, even in the present. He might have been a bad guy. He might have been cruel. He might have been a great leader, betrayed. We will probably never who he was. But from now on, when I think of the Picts, his face will come to mind.
There've been a lot of archaeological discoveries all over Scotland the past few centuries. One very impressive site is the hillfort at Burghead. Radiocarbon dating shows that the fort's construction began as early as the 3rd century, and it's presumed to have flourished between the 4th and 9th centuries. Over 12 acres, it's the largest pictish settlement ever discovered and surely a main center of power for the Picts. Findings at the site show it was a center of both commerce and religion.
I owe it to the Picts to write at least one more post about them -- about their writings, their art, their body-paint. But it will be a few weeks. I'll be away and mostly offline for a little while. I can hardly wait to tell you all about it!
Be sure to visit the marvelous, medieval ladies Mary Morgan and Barbara Bettis!
Wishing you a happy, wonderfully medieval Monday!
"The True Picture of a Woman Picte", engraving by Theodor de Brys, 1588
Happy Medieval Monday!
It's been a fascinating time, learning, un-learning, and repeating the process several times over as I've made the acquaintance of the ancient people called the Picts. I have to say, I absolutely love them.
No one seems to have a really firm grasp as to who they were, where they were from, or how their language sounded. Possibly the biggest mystery of all -- since they were a known people during recorded history -- is what happened to them?
It would seem that someone should know something. Right? Yes, I'm a bit cranky about it. To be fair, it's only because the Picts didn't leave a lot for us to work with -- at least, not a lot has been uncovered yet. But archaeologists continue to make amazing discoveries.
They lived in northern and eastern Scotland. Growing evidence shows they were there in the Iron Age which, in Britain, was from roughly 750 BC to when the Romans invaded in the first century AD.
It's hard to even know which question to address first! I've decided to go with their name. After all, that is usually first in order when getting to know someone. Then, since it sort of ties in, I will add a few words about where they came from.
It's worth pointing out that no one is even sure what they called themselves. I've found a few resources that suggest they might have referred to themselves as the albidosi, as in of the Kingdom of Alba (Scotland). I like that.
So where does the name "pict" come in? The most popular theory is that the Romans gave them the name. “Pict” or “Picti” in Latin means “painted people”. It is assumed that this would have been the Romans' way of painting them (no pun intended, but HA) as savages, referring to their blue war paint.
But there’s another theory out there that I personally prefer -- that "pict" might be a word of proto-Celtic origin. Cruithni (Irish), prydyn (Welsh), and pretani all mean "ancestors". It's been suggested that pict or pecht (Scottish Gaelic) comes from these old, indigenous words.
That brings me to where they came from. Some sources suggest that they came from Scythia. Others, from Ireland. These are the most popular theories, but not the only ones.
There's one theory gaining steam that I personally feel is the obvious right choice. Of course, all the work has been done for me. Moreover, what do I know? I'm just getting to know these folks. But I appreciate the suggestion that the picts were indigenous to the land -- indigenous to what is now Scotland. To me, that makes the most sense.
Ancestors. Right. To say nothing of Iron Age evidence... I'm going with it.
But that's just me.
Before I go, I thought to share this astonishing, digital image (University of Dundee) created from the well-preserved remains of a Pictish man. He was handsome and died a violent death. I'll tell you more about him next week.
For more medieval fun, be sure to visit these medieval ladies, Barbara Bettis and Mary Morgan.
Wishing you a great week ahead!
The digitally recreated face of the Pictish man. (Image credit: Christopher Rynn/University of Dundee)
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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