The Picts: “The Painted People” Julius Caesar himself was fascinated by the culture. Upon meeting them in battle, he recorded that they “dye themselves with woad, which produces a blue color, and makes their appearance in battle more terrible.
So, where did the idea about the Picts painting themselves blue originate from? Julius Caesar once noted that the Celts got blue pigment from the woad plant and that they used it to decorate their bodies. They needed an outlier, and the Picts had always been a military threat to Roman Britain.
In Britain, Celtic warriors wore tattoos & designs painted on their bodies using woad, a blue dye.
As Caesar wrote in his account of the Gallic Wars, “All the Britons dye themselves with woad, which produces a blue colour, and makes their appearance in battle more terrible.” Such was the effect of their appearance that they became known throughout Europe as the Pretani, a Celtic word meaning the ‘painted’ or the ‘
The only source of blue colouring throughout history has been indigo and woad (Isatis tinctoria) was its source in Europe. Grown in Europe since the Stone Age it has a long association with East Anglia, notably with Boudicca and the Iceni tribe who used woad to colour their faces before going into battle.
Upon meeting them in battle, he recorded that they “dye themselves with woad, which produces a blue color, and makes their appearance in battle more terrible. They wear long hair, and shave every part of the body save the head and the upper lip.”
By 900 AD Pictland ceased to exist. The reign of Donald is listed in the Chronicle of the Kings of Alba as a king of Alba. Pictland and Dál Riata had gone and in their place Alba – a Gaelic word for Scotland – was created.
They didn’t paint themselves at all. It’s so cold in parts of Scotland, particularly the Highlands, that people are naturally blue. This is 100% true and you will find it often substantiated by Sir William Connolly during his numerous public address speeches.
They know that Viking’s used bold colours to be seen. They also know that Vikings used colour pigments from numerous sources, such as ochre and charcoal, which they blended together along with a binding agent so that the colour adhered to the material.
The Gaels are the people who speak Gaelic, understand and take part in Gaelic culture. Most Nova Scotia Gaels can trace their families back to people that came from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to Nova Scotia between the years 1773 and 1850.
Ah, the Celtic tribes – they painted themselves blue with woad and ran naked into battle. Got high as a kite to scare the bejaysus out of their enemy and improve their ferocity because, as we all know, woad is a powerful hallucinogen.
Woad and Tartan Scottish troops are seen wearing blue woad face paint – a habit of the ancient pre-roman Celts and Picts, not medieval Scots – and tartan kilts, a fashion that would only be invented hundreds of years later.
When the Picts became Christians, they adopted the Roman term “Pict.” The Scots, on the other hand, were a branch of the Irish Celts or Gaels.
Isatis tinctoria, also called woad (/ˈwoʊd/), dyer’s woad, or glastum, is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. It is occasionally known as Asp of Jerusalem. Woad is also the name of a blue dye produced from the leaves of the plant. Woad has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
As I understand it, Pictish warriors would paint themselves blue to be more fearsome in battle. They used a substance called woad. Druids were basically the “ priests” and thus were the part of the “ clergy.” They were the community of preservers and enforcers of the TRADITION.
Woad Plant Information In most of Europe, woad plant dyes became the predominate blue dye of choice and, in fact, is sometimes referred to as “dyers woad.” The blue dye from woad plants was used by ancient peoples of the British Isles to paint their bodies in the hopes of frightening their foes.