The Picts inhabited Pictavia or Pictland - Caledonia (Scotland), north of the River Forth - prior to the invasion of the Scotti (Sgaothaich) from Ireland.
The name Pict first appears in a panegyric written by Eumenius in 297 AD. Although Picti is usually assumed to mean painted or tattooed (as in Latin) it may have a Celtic origin. The Goidelic Celts called the Picts Cruithne and the Brythonic Celts knew them as prydyn, whence Britain.
Many archaeological remains in the form of buildings and jewelry have survived to give an impression of the society of the Picts, but little in the way of writing has survived. Pictish society seems to have comprised a number of small kingdoms which occasionally clashed.
Scholars believe that Pictland comprised all of modern Scotland north of the Forth and Clyde except for Argyll. It appears that two over-kingdoms existed: one north of the Mounth with its core in Moray, the other to the south with the capital at Forteviot.
Irish sources recorded that seven ancient Pictish kingdoms existed:
Cait -- situated in modern Caithness and Sutherland
Ce -- situated in modern Mar and Buchan
Circinn -- situated in modern Angus and the Mearns
Fib -- situated in the modern Fife and Kinross (Fife remains known to this day as 'the Kingdom of Fife')
Fidach -- situated in modern Moray and Ross
Fotla -- situated in modern Atholl and Gowrie
Fortriu -- situated in modern Strathearn and Menteith (also known as 'Fortrenn' and as the Verturiones to the Romans)
However, good archaeological evidence and some written evidence suggest that a Pictish kingdom also existed in Orkney.
Christian missionaries completed the conversion of Pictland in the 7th century, having converted southern kingdoms in the 5th or 6th centuries. Although the Britons of southern Scotland...