The Picts, literally "the Painted People", is a name given to the tattooed tribes of northern Britain, usually but not exclusively identified in Sutcliff's fiction with the Caledones of eastern Scotland.

The Eagle of the Ninth (126-9 CE)Edit

Guern, a Roman adopted into the Selgovae, is heavily tattooed and described as one of the Painted People.

The Mark of the Horse Lord (180s CE)Edit

Gault the Strong of a southern clan of the Dalriadain, sometime-rivals of the Caledones, bears the heavy warrior tattooing that inspires the name of the Painted People (ch. 3).

The Silver Branch (292-5 CE)Edit

The Picts inhabit Valentia north of Hadrian's Wall and are said to be darker and more heavily tattooed than the Dalriad who lives among them.

Frontier Wolf (342 CE)Edit

The Picts under king Bruide ally with the Attacotti, the Damnonii, and the Votadini to invade Valentia. The Frontier Wolves retreat in the path of a Pict warband that devastates Selgovae territory, and a group of Picts join the Votadini warband hunting the Wolves.

Sword Song (980s-90s CE)Edit

The Picts of Caithness ally with Jarl Sigurd of Orkney and Red Thorstein of Mull to settle the Norse in Caithness in defense from king Harald of Norway and the Picts of Sutherland. Thorstein marries his daughter Groa to Dungadr of Duncansby, chief of the Pict fortress on Pentland Firth. Sigurd dies after defeating Melbrigda Tusk, the leader of the Sutherland Picts.


  • Bruide
  • Dungadr


  • Duncansby
  • Valentia