Undergraduate Course: The Picts (SCHI10035)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||In the course of late Antiquity (AD 250-750), the Pictish peoples of lowland Scotland knitted themselves together to form a nation, and their high kings achieved dominion across the north of Britain. By the 8th century, the Picts had become a powerful and influential force in Insular politics, religion and culture. The diplomatic and military reach of their high kings extended across Britain and Ireland. Rarely in its history has Scotland been so prominent on the Insular international stage.
This full-year Special Subject (4MA) course involves students in a detailed examination of this success story, obscured since the Middle Ages by the gaelicisation of the Pictish realm in the last quarter of the 1st millennium. Students are introduced to a range of key issues and challenges involved in the study and evaluation of different categories of primary textual and material evidence, the close handling of which is a feature of the course. The Autumn Semester covers the origins and rise of the Picts, including such topics as the origins of ethnic and political Pictishness; the Pictish language; nation- and kingdom-building; and christianisation. The Spring Semester covers the 8th- and 9th-century kingdom of Pictavia in detail, including such topics as expansion and imperialism; ecclesiastical developments; elite, non-elite and ecclesiastical material culture; and the nature of the obsolescence of ethnic and political Pictishness.
Despite its focus on a single significant group, the course is something of a case study in the Antique/Medieval transition. As such, it may be taken profitably by students with broader interests in that phenomenon.
1. Introductory class
UNIT 1: THE ORIGINS AND RISE OF THE PICTS
2. Pictish origins
3. The Pictish language
4. Symbols & symbol-stones
5. The matriliny question
6. Pictish lands, realms and peoples
7. Conversion: processes and narratives
UNIT 2: FORTRIU AND THE VERTURIAN HEGEMONY
9. Northern Picts: hegemony and history
10. Southern Picts: conquest, history and identity
11. Fortriu and the primacy of Iona
UNIT 3: REGIME-CRAFT AND SOCIETY IN THE EIGHTH CENTURY
12. Onuist and the eighth century
13. Towards a social and cultural history of the Picts
14. Word and example: towards a history of the Pictish Church
15. Aspects of Pictish political culture
16. Archaeological case studies
UNIT 4 THE END OF PICTISHNESS
17. Pictishness at the 'peripheries': Argyll and Atlantic Scotland
18. Pict and viking
19. Dynastic change, pseudo-history and the transformation of Pictish Scotland
20. The kingdom of Alba and the Pictish legacy
21. Origins and ethnonemesis
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| By the end of the course, students will have become familiar with the principal methodologies involved in building up a picture of northern Britain in late Antiquity from the surviving evidence. Upon completion, it is intended that students will be able to:
* produce a sound and competent essay, in accordance with the Common Marking Scale;
* demonstrate, by way of essay and examination, recognition of the potential and limitations of written and material evidence in the study of the Picts;
* demonstrate, by way of essay and examination, critical awareness in the evaluation of primary texts;
* demonstrate, by way of essay and examination, critical awareness in the evaluation of modern scholarship, including work at the fringes of academic study;
* demonstrate the following transferable skills: independent gathering of relevant evidence pertaining to a posed problem; critical consideration of evidence in order to arrive at sound conclusions; evaluating the work of others, including peers; presenting evaluations and conclusions clearly in both written and oral form; independent management of personal timetable, workload and other priorities in order to meet established deadlines.
|Course organiser||Dr James Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 4034
|Course secretary||Miss Clare Guymer
Tel: (0131 6)50 4030