List of Kings of the Picts

List of Kings of the Picts

The list of kings of the Picts is based on the Pictish Chronicle king lists. These are late documents and do not record the dates when the kings reigned. The various surviving lists disagree in places as to the names of kings, and the lengths of their reigns. A large portion of the lists, not reproduced here, belongs with the Matter of Britain or Irish mythology. The latter parts of the lists can largely be reconciled with other sources.

Pictish kings

Pictish kings ruled in northern and eastern Scotland. In 843 tradition records the replacement of the Pictish kingdom by the Kingdom of Alba, although the Irish annals continue to use "Picts" and "Fortriu" for half a century after 843.

The list opens with Drest son of Erp, a legendary king who supposedly reigned a hundred years and fought a hundred battles. In his reign the king lists supply their first synchronism, stating that in Drest's nineteenth year Saint Patrick came to Ireland. The king lists are thought to have been compiled in the early 8th century, probably by 724, placing them in the reigns of the sons of Der-Ilei, Bridei and Nechtan. [Woolf, "Pictish matriliny reconsidered", p. 153.]

Irish annals (the Annals of Ulster, Annals of Innisfallen) refer to some kings as "king of Fortriu" or "king of Alba". The kings listed are thought to represent overkings of the Picts, at least from the time of Bridei son of Maelchon onwards. In addition to these overkings, many less powerful subject kings existed, of whom only a very few are known from the historical record.

Mythical kings of the Picts are listed in the "Lebor Bretnach"'s account of the origins of the Cruithne. The list begins with Cruithne son of Cing and his sons Fib, Fidach, Foltlaig, Fortrend, Caitt, Ce and Circinn.

The dates given here are drawn from early sources, unless specifically noted otherwise. The relationships between kings are less than certain and rely on modern readings of the sources.


Orthography is problematic. Cinioch, Ciniod and Cináed all represent ancestors of the modern English name Kenneth. Pictish "uu", sometimes printed as "w" corresponds with Gaelic "f", so that Uuredach is the Gaelic Feredach and Uurguist the Gaelic Fergus. As the Dupplin Cross inscription shows, the idea that Irish sources Gaelicised Pictish names may not be entirely accurate.

Kings of the Picts

Colouring indicates groups of kings presumed to be related.

Early kings

The kings before Drest son of Erp are omitted to reduce the length of the lists.

Kings of the Picts 839–848 (not successively)

The deaths of Eógan and Bran appears to have led to a large number of competitors for the throne of Pictland.



"For primary sources, see" External links "below"

* Adomnán, "Life of St Columba", tr. & ed. Richard Sharpe. Penguin, London, 1995. ISBN 0-14-044462-9
* Anderson, Alan Orr, "Early Sources of Scottish History A.D 500–1286", volume 1. Reprinted with corrections. Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1990. ISBN 1-871615-03-8
* Bannerman, John, "Studies in the History of Dalriada." Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh, 1974. ISBN 0-7011-2040-1
* Bannerman, John. "The Scottish Takeover of Pictland and the relics of Columba" in Dauvit Broun and Thomas Owen Clancy (eds.) "Spes Scotorum: Saint Columba, Iona and Scotland." Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1999 ISBN 0-567-08682-8
* Broun, Dauvit, "Dunkeld and the origin of Scottish identity" in Broun & Clancy (1999).
* Broun, Dauvit, "Pictish Kings 761–839: Integration with Dál Riata or Separate Development" in Sally M. Foster (ed.), "The St Andrews Sarcophagus: A Pictish masterpiece and its international connections." Four Courts, Dublin, 1998. ISBN 1-85182-414-6
* Clancy, Thomas Owen, "Caustantín son of Fergus (Uurgust)" in M. Lynch (ed.) "The Oxford Companion to Scottish History." Oxford & New York: Oxford UP, 2002. ISBN 0-19-211696-7
* Herbert, Máire, "Ri Éirenn, Ri Alban": kingship and identity in the ninth and tenth centuries" in Simon Taylor (ed.), "Kings, clerics and chronicles in Scotland 500–1297." Fourt Courts, Dublin, 2000. ISBN 1-85182-516-9
* Smyth, Alfred P. "Warlords and Holy Men: Scotland AD 80-1000." Reprinted, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1998. ISBN 0-7486-0100-7
* Woolf, Alex, "Pictish matriliny reconsidered" in "The Innes Review", Volume XLIV, Number 2 (Autumn 1998). ISSN 0020-157X
* Woolf, Alex, "Ungus (Onuist), son of Uurgust" in M. Lynch (2002).

External links

* [ CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts] at [ University College Cork]
**The Corpus of Electronic Texts includes the "Annals of Ulster", "Tigernach", "the Four Masters" and "Innisfallen", the "Chronicon Scotorum", the "Lebor Bretnach" (which includes the "Duan Albanach"), Genealogies, and various Saints' Lives. Most are translated into English, or translations are in progress
* [ "Annals of Clonmacnoise"] at [ Cornell]

ee also

* Origins of the Kingdom of Alba
* List of Kings of Dál Riata
* List of Kings of Strathclyde

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