The Historical kings of Pictavia

The king list below is derived from what is known as the Group A version of the Pictish Chronicles (*). The Group A version is the oldest, and most accurate list of kings; the regnal years have been crossed checked against the Irish Annals and therefore the allocated dates are believed to be accurate within five years either way.

There is another Group B version, that contains more kings but correlates very poorly with other sources. The dates derived from the Group B version end up being a 100 years out. But you will sometimes see attempts made to integrate the two with varying degrees of success.

It is also worth noting that these king lists were first written down in the tenth century. (The Picts themselves left no written records.) There are different versions of the actual names in existence which represent the various attempts to render the Pictish names into Scots Gaelic.

Breidei son of Mailcon is the first historically attested king of Pictavia as he is named in both the Irish Annals and the Life of St Columba from which the dates of his reign can reasonably be calculated. He is preceeded by a list of a further 33 kings about whom nothing historical is known on who may or may not be entirely mythological. (Many of them are accorded reigns of 60, 70 or even a 100 years.)

The last recorded king, Kinadius son of Alpin is the same as the Kenneth mac Alpin who appears in the Scottish king lists and represents the time when Pictavia lost its separate identity and became submerged within the Scottish kingdom of Dalriada.

The Mythological kings of Pictavia

Pictish king lists sometimes start with Talorg son of Aniel and compute dates working backwards from the reign of Breidei son of Mailcon based on the regnal years quoted in the Pictish Chronciles. The reason such lists start with Talorg is purely for the reason that the previous king listed, Drest son of Erp is ascribed a reign of a 100 years, which is generally considered to be unlikely. However in reality there is no more reason to believe Talorg is any less mythological than Drest son of Erp.

  • Gud
  • Tharain
  • Morleo
  • Deocilunon
  • Cimoiod son of Arcois
  • Deoord
  • Bliesblituth
  • Deototreic brother of Diu
  • Usconbuts
  • Crautreic
  • Deordiuois
  • Uist
  • Ru
  • Gartnait bolc
  • Gartnait iIni
  • Brethe son of Buthut
  • Vipoig namet
  • Canutulachama
  • Wradech uecla
  • Gartnaich diuberr
  • Talorg son of Achivir
  • Drest son of Erp
  • Talorg son of Aniel
  • Nechton morbet son of Erip
  • Drest Gurthinmoch
  • Galaman erilich
  • Drest son of Wdrost
  • Drest son of Girom
  • Garthnac son of Girom
  • Cailtran son of Girom
  • Talorg son of Muircholaich
  • Drest son of Munait
  • Galam cennaleph

The Brude name pairs

This list is itself preceeded by 14 pairs of names in the format Brude Pant, Brude Urpant and Brude Leo, Brude Urleo for example. These are generally thought not to be the names of kings but rather a record of some type of Pictish ceremonial chant, with perhaps the word Brude being cognate with the Old Welsh word Brut meaning prophecy or chronicle.

(*) And sourced from (as is most of the remainder of this text) from The Age of the Picts by WA Cummins (Sutton, 1995)

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