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Ideology, Literacy And Matriliny: Approaches To Medieval Texts On The Pictish Past

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Chapter Summary

Medieval texts concerned with the origins and history of the Picts comprise some of the more intractable sources in the subject. Often found in texts written by outsiders and surviving in later manuscripts, the difficulty has been to determine what can legitimately be used as evidence for Pictish culture. There are many texts which could be considered historical to some extent, but in this chapter the Pictish king-lists and settlement accounts, sources which are concerned with the ancient history of the Picts, will be focused on. Another area of debate in which it is possible to gain insights is Pictish literacy. In the 1970s Kathleen Hughes argued that the Picts used writing less than other peoples elsewhere, confining its use mainly to liturgical texts and king-lists, rather than more sophisticated genres.

Keywords: medieval texts; Pictish culture; pictish literacy



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