The names of the Picti and Scoti appear only in late writers, by whom they are spoken of as two allied people. The Picts seem to have been identical with the ancient Caledonians ( “Caldonum aliorumque Pictorum,
silvae et paludes,” Eumen. Pan.
6.7), and dwelt N. of the Firth of Forth
(Beda, H. Eccl.
1.1). Ammianus Marcellinus represents the Picti as divided, in the time of the emperor Constans, into two tribes, the Dicalidonae and Vecturiones, and as committing fearful ravages in conjunction with the Attacotti and Scotti (27.8.4.) Their ethnological relations have been already discussed [BRITANNICAE INSULAE
Vol. I. p. 438].
The name of Picti, or painted,
is commonly supposed to be derived from their custom of painting their bodies, and would thus be only a translation of the British word Brith,
signifying anything painted, and which, according to Camden ( Gen. Descr.
p. xxxvi.), is the root of the name Briton.
Such an etymology favours the notion that the Picts were an indigenous race ; but on this point nothing positive can be affirmed. (Comp. Amm. Marc. 20.1
; Beda, H. Eccl.