Blast from the Past (Column)

JK Rowling, writer of the Harry Potter novels, has dropped her role as patron of the MS society due to strife between English, and Scottish leaders after ten years.  A conflict has ensued between the Scottish charity and management, but Rowling says she will continue to fund future research to aid in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis in Scotland which is the MS capital of the world.

This year inside the Endeavour, I’ll be taking you on a journey through historic events dating back to the time of Adam and Eve.

Our first appearance in time takes us back to the dark ages dark ages to highlight a famous victory by the most mysterious people in the history of Scotland in one of the many strife’s that took place between England, and Scotland.

The Picts were called the painted people, who were known for placing tattoo’s upon their body, and a fierce warrior culture.

Despite their barbaric nature, the Picts were an advanced, and cultured society.  Slavery did not exist, and Pictish women had a higher standing than in roman society.

They were so mysterious that the Vikings used to call them magical creatures who could not come out during the day.

They were the wild-men of the Scottish Highlands, who struck fear into the hearts of Romans, and eventually forced the building of Hadrian’s Wall, to keep the Picts out.

The first known accounts of the Picts comes from roman writer Eumenius who described their fierceness, and skill in battle in 297 AD.

After a roman invasion, a Pictish chief was captured, and he spoke the following,

“We, the most distant dwellers upon the earth, the last of the free, have been shielded…by our remoteness and by the obscurity which has shrouded our name…Beyond us lies no nation, nothing but waves and rocks”

According to Victorian history, Rome’s most famous fighting force, the Ninth legion was sent north to relieve Pictish pressure on Hadrian’s Wall, and legend has it that the legion was massacred.  The Ninth Legion never did not appear in Roman history thereafter.

In 685 AD the Picts were nearly obliterated by Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, who had placed the Picts under constant subjugation.

The Northumbrians placed a puppet king to rule over the Picts, but 20 years later a rebellion was lead by Bredei who took back his succession to the thrown of Pictavia after the puppet king Oswine had been assassinated.

The Pictish King Bredei had split his army in two.  Bredei sent the weaker half of his army down to meet the Northumbrians head on, but hid the stronger half of his force on Dunnichen Hill.   Outnumbered, and outflanked, the Picts fled up Dunnichen Hill with Ecgfrith chasing behind.

The Northumbrians scaled Dunnichen Hill and were met by the bulk of Bredei’s forces,  who were lying in wait, and easily pushed the Northumbrians down the hill.

The Northumbrians retreated back down Dunnichen Hill, but found they were trapped by by the muddy marsh of Nechtansmire in front, and Dunnichen hill, full of angry Pictish soldiers at their backs. The few who did escape the swords and spears of the Pictish Army, drowned in Nechtans Mire.

The Picts were vastly outnumbered, but had won a great victory, ending Northumbrian domination.

Firstly, the battle forded the survival of the Picts, the greatest mystery in Scottish history, and the foundation for what is now known as Scotland.  To begin with, the Picts had shifted the balance of power among Germanic tribes occupying Britain, and in the process setting up later wars between Scotland, and England.

Secondly, the power of the Angles was broken, leaving them unable to conquer what is now Scotland.  If the Picts had lost the Battle of Dunnichen, Scotland would have never existed, along with the heroism of William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce lost from reality, forever.


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