It’s not only Vikings we get to have fun with at Re-enactment events. We often find ourselves fighting alongside Picts too.
Shiltron of Fortriu are a fabulous bunch of people, very knowledgable about all things Pictish and very distinctive on the battlefield with their H shaped shields. They are based in Staffordshire but can be seen at events we attend all over East Anglia throughout the year. Shiltron means sheild-troops which is very fitting as that more than anything makes them stand out from the rest of the field. Fortriu was a Pictish kingdom that existed in Scotland between the 4th and 10th centuries, it most likely translates as people of the fortress.
It’s great to see Picts being portrayed at events, as they are much closer to the native Britons who were around before the Romans, Vikings and Saxons arrived and took over most of the country. It’s easy to forget that there was already a succesful culture here before all the waves of invaders and conquerors. Looking at the Picts gives us plenty of clues to what those lives were like. Like the Ancient Britons, the Picts weren’t a single people, they were a hegemony of Celtic speaking tribes living in what is now Scotland, particularly the east and north areas.
Lke the Vikings they erected impressive stone monuments which have been a useful source of information to historians. Also like the Vikings a lot of what we know about them comes from the writing of Roman historians, although the best known tome for Pictish history is Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum by the Venerable Bede.
One of the things I particularly admire about Shiltron is the amount of time and effort they put in to researching all things Pictish. Much of which they share on Facebook so we can all be more informed. I’ve learned so much from reading their posts.
Hopefully it won’t be long before we’er back to seeing friends like these at events.