Tag Archives: Picts

King Kenneth MacAlpin and the Alban kings

King Kenneth MacAlpin and the Alban kings


The centre of administration of the Pictish kingdom in the 9th century was Forteviot on the River Earn. Close by the Dunkeld, King Kenneth MacAlpin (Cináed mac Ailpín) set up a new religious centre about 850AD. This was an acknowledgement of the fact that Iona was now no longer tenable as a religious capital, although the monastery was eventually re-established and it remained the burial place of Pictish kings until the time of Donald Ban.

Pictish society

Pictish society

The Romans classified some fifteen tribes in the north and loosely identified the territories they occupied. They also observed that tribal chiefs had a religious as well as a royal function. Women could have such a role, as was the case with Boudicca of the Iceni. The succession of leaders was matrilineal: it mattered more who their mother was than who their father was. Since it is possible that women may indeed have more than one husband, the matter of succession could be complex. later Romantics sometimes regarded this Pictish society as democratic, but it was in fact full of social differentiations.