Taking a quick break before I continue with the “researching” part of this blog series to deal with some points that are beginning to show up on my Facebook page: comments about blue paint/blue tattoos, and the origins of the name “Pict”.
What do we know for sure? The earliest surviving known use of the term “Picti” was the year 297 by Eumenius, a Roman of Greek descent. The word “Picti” is generally assumed to mean “painted or tattooed people” and may have initially referred to all of the people in Great Britain. Since no tatoos are evident on any of the stone carvings attributed to the Picts, it is now thought that the “paint” interpretation may be the more accurate one.
As for who they were when the Roman’s arrived, as Sally M. Foster noted, “Much ink has been spilt over what the ancient writers meant by Picts, but it seems to be a generic term for people living north of the Forth–Clyde isthmus who raided the Roman Empire.” That means the Picts lived in Scotland, mostly in the eastern half. Who they were before the Roman’s discovered them is a topic that I plan to discuss at a later time, so back to research!
Last time I mentioned “The Art of the Picts” as a reliable and academically plausible source of information. But where else can we go for information about the Picts?
The vast majority of quality information that I have found about the Picts has come from Dissertations and Academic Journals. I do not currently have any academic affiliations, so I am not able to access the academic journal services, and to be honest, with prices of at least $35 an article, purchasing academic journal articles is not generally in my budget. If you have access to any of the professional journal services, through work, or school, that would probably be the first place that I would go to.
Knowing how to search, once you get there is also important. PICTS. It seems like an easy enough search term, until you understand that it is an acronym for The Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking Styles (PICTS). Ooops! Not exactly what we are looking for. I have run across this type of problem before where my search term either is an acronym, or has an alternative meaning in a specialized field. Sometimes adding more information to the search, like “Picts in Scotland” is enough to eliminate items from the criminal justice system, but sometimes you may just have to wade through the individual search entries. If you have a lack of experience doing academic searches, I suggest that you read my blog series. It is fairly comprehensive, and it will cover a good number of the major points for doing online research.
Next Time: Is there an easy way to locate sources?