Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

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Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby BadgerJelly on December 1st, 2012, 10:06 pm 

Someone mentioned to me yesterday that they heard a theory about the Picts building Hadrian's wall to keep the Romans out.

Obviously the wall was constructed mainly by the Romans but have you heard of this idea?? Is it complete nonsense or is there some evidence to back it up?

I want to add I personally think this is rubbish! That said I can consider the possibility that the Picts grouped together to construct some kind of defense to keep the Romans out ... maybe by copying Roman building techniques.

Note : Communities built Stonehenge and these people were not savages. "Barbarians" means literally "blah blah arians" meaning they didn't speak Latin/Greek, NOT that they were savage and wild.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby sponge on December 2nd, 2012, 1:11 pm 

Hi Badger,

I did know a Scotsman who used to joke that the Scots employed immigrant Italian labor to build Hadrian’s wall to keep the English out.

Perhaps your acquaintance met the same Scotsman?
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby BadgerJelly on December 2nd, 2012, 1:51 pm 

For starters the Scots were Gaelic. They were more culturally connected to Ireland than what became "Scotland".

The Pict culture was a completely different thing ... their culture disappeared when Scotland was formed.

Written historical information from this time is politically motivated by the Romans for the most part and everything else is buried in other forms of mythology.

It is clear that the Picts were not "savages".

Like I said someone mentioned to me that some people take this theory seriously but I have yet to see any evidence whatsoever other than here say.

I was hoping for some actual archaeological data that could back up this theory even slightly??

The only information I can find is that which is related to their artistic ability showing they were very capable and culturally advanced ... tenuous to say the least considering their building were mainly based on waterways and made of timber NOT stone.

The Romans "stole" Parma ham from Wales so I am willing to believe they may have also built upon a previous foundation/idea laid down before them ... IF there is more evidence.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby Forest_Dump on December 2nd, 2012, 2:34 pm 

Well certainly the Picts and other cultures of the British Isles shouldn't be considered overly primitive and hypothetically there is little reason to a priori presume they couldn't build such a structure. However, there is lots of documentation of the Romans doing it and we do know that the Romans built plenty of other things that were similarly labour intensive and that they had the infrastructure and the inclination to do it. But, as far as I know, there is not indication that the previous peoples there built anything of a similar scale (all the henges known do not quite add up to the same amount of investment and the henges were built over a much, much longer period of time). So, while I am not adverse to alternate ideas being forwarded and tested, I don't think there is enough offered here to really take seriously. You might as well propose that the Picts also built the Egyptian pyramids.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby BadgerJelly on December 2nd, 2012, 3:33 pm 

That is exactly my thinking.

Next time I see the person who mentioned this I will ask WHERE exactly he heard of this and see if he can point me to something with actual evidence.

The Picts have always interested me regarding their art and culture so thought I'd ask here. Probably just another crackpot "theory" with nothing to back it up other than pure speculation ... interesting thought all the same. I like anything that questions accepted views (WITHIN REASON!)

Thanks
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby Watson on December 2nd, 2012, 3:44 pm 

From wiki:
The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Mediaeval Celtic people living in ancient eastern and northern Scotland.[1] There is an association with the geographical distribution of brochs, Brythonic place name elements, and Pictish stones. Picts are recorded from before the Roman conquest of Britain until the 10th century, when they are thought to have merged with the Gaels. They lived to the north of the rivers Forth and Clyde, and spoke the extinct Pictish language, thought to have been related to the Brythonic languages spoken by the Britons to the south. They are assumed to have been the descendants of the Caledonii and other tribes named by Roman historians or found on the world map of Ptolemy. Pictland, also known as Pictavia, gradually merged with the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata to form the Kingdom of Alba (Scotland). Alba expanded, absorbing the Brythonic kingdom of Strathclyde and Bernician Lothian, and by the 11th century the Pictish identity had been subsumed into the "Scots" amalgamation of peoples.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby BadgerJelly on December 2nd, 2012, 4:37 pm 

Pictland, also known as Pictavia, gradually merged with the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata to form the Kingdom of Alba (Scotland).


The culture of the Picts, including their language, was overrun quite suddenly. I would expect their descendants survived but culturally they disappeared after attracting too much attention by being so wealthy/affluent. The Gaels and Christianity pretty much stream rolled them into nothing.

Telling conflicts with both the Angles and the Vikings, late in their history, appears to be the main factor in their downfall. After the conflicts they seem to have been too weak and this led to them being essentially ethnically cleansed by the Gaels.

From what I have read they did not "gradually merge" at all with the Gaels. Their cheiftains were butchered and their druids replaced with Christian priests ... although a little cultural cross over has happily remained for us to splendor at :

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=pictish+cross&hl=en&safe=off&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=xrq7UIyXC4isiAfA8IDIDw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAA&biw=1366&bih=705#imgrc=http%3A%2F%2Faw2-static.artweb.com%2Fusers%2F252%2Fm_164033_pictish_cross.jpg%3Bhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.artweb.com%2Fartwork%2F164033_pictish-cross%3BI77yH7WpZHQBfM%3BI9W-6r3tfABd0M%3A%3B108530629181396858482%3B382%3B650
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby moranity on December 3rd, 2012, 10:25 am 

so the Picts were celts? do you know if they were part of the first or second wave of celts? the first being the iberians, i think.
also, do you know why the gaels suddenly decided to invade scotland?
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby Watson on December 3rd, 2012, 1:47 pm 

Looking back, history in general seems to be so violent, compared to now. But I expect history will look back on this time period as equally violent.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby BadgerJelly on December 4th, 2012, 12:57 pm 

moranity wrote:so the Picts were celts? do you know if they were part of the first or second wave of celts? the first being the iberians, i think.
also, do you know why the gaels suddenly decided to invade scotland?


To term the Celts under one cultural tradition I believe is VERY misleading. The Gales did not invade "Scotland" because Scotland did not exist and neither did Ireland. It can get very misleading when we start to refer to modern day names for land masses. Christianity played a big part in this and some fragments of history have been preserved in mythology. Trying to divide the original myth from Gaelic myth is something else ... and then we have to find meaning in the mythology too which is not a particularly wise thing to do in many circumstances. Just because Troy existed does not mean ALL myths refer to "real" things. All myths do refer to one common factor though and that is humanity.

One thing is clear enough from the evidence. The Picts were very competent artisans. The world back then was not as open and many "clans"/"tribes" existed with many different cultures. To get a glimpse of this it is worth comparing to other untouched cultures such as in North America where we stumbled on a vast and diverse land full of strange and unique "tribes"/"clans" within the last few centuries ... although sadly we did wipe out many of them before we were able to record much about them all.

I personally believe what we today term the "Celtic culture" is a spin off of the various neolithic sites that dominated western Europe ... but I just guessing. Neolithic sites are certainly more prevalent in the west and "Celtic culture" today is more or less only in this part of Europe (as far as I know). That said it could easily be said that other sites in the East were simply overrun by other cultures and buried in time.

We can only really be sensible and make VERY vague speculations. Etymology is a reasonable key ... unfortunately we have no record of the Pictish language but I guess a few words will be buried somewhere in the Gaelic language.

Were the Picts "celtish" in nature? I am sure they held many similarities but they also had many differences as did each "celtic" culture of the time. It is like saying all Europeans are the same and all Asians are the same today only in a more vague sense.

Much of "history" written by the Romans was pure propaganda and on the fringes of the Empire "facts" are sketchy.

As an aside there are peoples in the far east whom wear tartan and there are distinct cave paintings of white men in tartan with red hair in China.

I remain open minded and cautious ... spoke to the guy who mentioned this to me about the Picts building Hadrian's Wall and he said it was something he heard quite a few years ago so I suspect it was just a flash in the pan piece of speculation someone decided to run with. I guess it went nowhere though because I cannot find any article of substance referring to this.

I suspect there are many people hear who know I lot more than me about this subject. I love ancient history and prehistory but I am not an expert by any means.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby moranity on December 4th, 2012, 1:48 pm 

hi BadgerJelly,
yeah, ancient history of this green isle is a favourite topic of mine, too. It is generally agreed that the celts entered europe from the east in two waves, one about 1000 bc and the next about 500 bc, the first wave mainly ended up in spain and the later wave made up the celts that the romans encountered, the gauls and britons etc, infact, the first encounter the romans had with celts was them holding rome to ransom for a huge pile of gold. The later wave is what people would think of as celts, knotwork, torques, dyed hair, brightly coloured woolens.
It is generally agreed that the people in the UK before the celts came were the beaker folk(so called because all we know about em is that they made beakers, pretty much), and it seems these were responsible for stone henge and the other stone circles, not the celts. The beaker folk seem to have been ousted by the celts, so the picts would have been descended from the first or second wave of celts, or the beaker folk.
Actually, it seems that the beaker folk were absorbed into celtic culture, rather than invaded, from the latest evidence.
wikipedia wrote:Genetic studies have supported the prevalence of native populations. A study by Christian Capelli, David Goldstein and others at University College, London showed that genetic markers associated with Gaelic names in Ireland and Scotland are also common in certain parts of Wales and England (in most cases, The Southeast of England with the lowest counts of these markers) are similar to the genetic markers of the Basque people, who speak a non-Indo-European language. This similarity supported earlier findings in suggesting a large pre-Celtic genetic ancestry, likely going back to the Paleolithic. They suggest that Celtic culture and the Celtic language may have been imported to Britain by cultural contact, not mass invasions around 600 BC. In the 1970s a "continuity model" was popularized by Colin Burgess in his book The Age of Stonehenge which theorised that Celtic culture in Great Britain "emerged" rather than resulted from invasion and that the Celts were not invading aliens, but the descendants of the people of Stonehenge. More recent genetic studies regarding Y-DNA Haplogroup I2b2-L38 have concluded that there was some Late Iron Age migration of Celtic La Tène people, through Belgium, to the British Isles including north-east Ireland.

The archaeological evidence is of substantial cultural continuity through the 1st millennium BC,although with a significant overlay of selectively adopted elements of La Tène culture. There are claims of continental-style states appearing in southern England close to the end of the period, possibly reflecting in part immigration by élites from various Gallic states such as those of the Belgae.Evidence of chariot burials in England begins about 300 BC and is mostly confined to the Arras culture associated with the Parisii.
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby BadgerJelly on December 5th, 2012, 1:42 am 

Thanks for that.

Really I guess we only have etymology, psychology/neurology, ecology, climatology and genetics to paint a picture of the distant past.

I find it intriguing to distinguish between myth, fable and what is innately human. I see some obvious connections connects between shamanism and what it is to be "human". In Greek mythology it is quite obvious these are fables to "teach" and/or past down knowledge from one generation to the next.

I personally have found it an interesting exercise to compare a vast variety of mythology and fable from many cultures and find a "common" theme and then try to extrapolate this and impress it on prehistoric artifacts and guess at some kind of inherent meaning.

I have not seen the movie yet but a friend of mine mentioned "The Gods Must Be Crazy" ... this is the kind of thing I like to think about regarding ancient history and prehistory. I do not believe the "wise men/prophets/shamans/seers" of ancient times and beyond really believed in "Gods" the way we term them today. I truly believe that they were just representations of the human psyche combined with mneumonic techniques ... this has really been my main area of study.

"Magic" is not "magic". It is common sense instilled with self hypnosis to emphasis and give import to techniques of survival and community (both in the individual internal environment and in the external interactive environment).

I mention "magic" because I see this psychological technique as the prominent movement and adaptation of "religion/tradition/art/thought" throughout cultural and etymological history. Entities "exist" (substantially or not) when we imagine them and when we do not.

In a sense it is the very art of "speculation" I see as key to understanding the progress of cultures by the use of speculation!

Anyway for now 1+1=2 and I would rather not go down this road again or I'll go round in circles. My eventual aim is to find a mathematical model that fits into the patterns of these developments as best I can to either prove or disprove to myself I am "correct" or not so.

Basically I know what I am looking for but I have to not look for it to find it ... if it isn't there then it isn't there and hopefully I'll stumble across something to change my rigid ideas and speculations.

Sorry for rambling just reminding myself to be cautious as well as brave in my investigations. Time to get back to the maths books ...
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Re: Hadrian's Wall Built By The Picts??

Postby bruce99 on March 18th, 2014, 8:32 pm 

Hadrian's Wall looks like a fortified road to me. Like someone stuck walls on an elevated Roman road. Gets you from one side of the island to the other with some protection from bandits, and you don't have to circle the island by sea. If a lot of trade followed it, Picts (=loosely, locals a little north) and Roman Britons (=locals a little south) would both have strong cause to build it. Back in Rome they might call it a defensive wall, and might be right from their point of view.
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