Pictland by Matthew Scotland

Acrylic on canvas

Calgacus – The Last of the Free

Awake o Pictish warrior, defender of the faith, keeper of the symbols, defier of empires and religions.

In 84 AD, Calgacus, chief swordsman of the caledonians faced the mighty Roman General Agricola and thirty thousand of Romes finest and made this rousing exhortation.

“We,” cried Calgacus, “the choicest flower of British manhood, were hidden away in her most sacred place, we, the last of the free, have been shielded by our very remoteness. But there is now no kingdom beyond us, nothing is there but waves and rocks. And the Romans still more savage than these, for there is in them an arrogance which no submission or good behaviour can appease. Neither East nor West has contented them. Alone, of all men, they covet with equal rapacity the rich and the needy. Plunder, murder, and robbery they call ‘empire,’ and when they make a wilderness, they call it ‘peace.

The Picts lost that day, ten thousand of them fell in the battle.
the national disaster should have taught them peace, but news of the atrocity and the glory rushed through Pictland like wildfire, burning a far deeper hatred of Rome into every heart and mind. Round the fires and meeting places, the Picts lamented the loss of their kinsfolk, and made their most
solemn oaths of revenge.
For another three hundred years the Picts continued sacrificing their lives for freedom until the gloriuous campaign of the early fifth century saw them march as far as london and drive the hated Roman empire onto their boats and away from Britain forever.


  • Robert O'Neill
    Robert O'Neillalmost 7 years ago

    “They make a desolation, and they call it peace.”

  • Matthew Scotland
    Matthew Scotlandalmost 7 years ago

    nice line rob, and my swordsman is tthe perfect northern complimet to your inspiring 3-d boudicca

  • Alleycatsgarden
    Alleycatsgardenalmost 7 years ago

    Still they come – the treaty of Rome

  • Matthew Scotland
    Matthew Scotlandalmost 7 years ago

    well said, Rome that greatest of nimrods decendants is still alive and well desolating the free world, i pray the prophecies of Daniel Nostradamus and Malachi come to fruition and we see that unholy system fall in our lifetime

  • LetThemEatArt
    LetThemEatArtover 6 years ago

    Hey, cool. I see you’re a man after me own heart with the history lessons. Interesting. Those cultural links with the past and deep ancestral yearnings are a real part of us. I think it was all over for the Romans by 5th C. in any case, their empire was in trouble by then. There were other battles, though, where the Picts defeated the Romans.

  • yeah i enjoyed yours too, especially with a pythonesque slant, i agree with you on the Roman demise, but being rather partisan for the Picts i find no shame in elevating them as anti-Roman super-heavyweights, the fallen legions and generals of Rome im sure would concur. those deep layed roots of extreme Roman hatred put down by the Picts, affected the later years of civil and religious unrest in the post-Pictish nation.

    – Matthew Scotland

  • Ariane
    Arianeover 6 years ago

    Love your work and the history I am learning via the commentaries on it – I cannot beleive the things I DID"NT learn at school!

  • tell me about it, it is an area of history not easy for established history to deal with, thankyou so much for that it means a lot, and i am loving your art also

    – Matthew Scotland

  • Tahnja
    Tahnjaover 6 years ago

    you are an extraordinary person Matthew. Gosh I wish that you were closer, I reckon you’re the sort of person I could REALLY enjoy hanging with and learning from. Oh well, just have to appreciate your friendship from afar lol

  • Yes i suppose i am rather extraordinairy aren’t i, this could go to my head lol – well it takes one to know one – or as we would say in these parts ‘it taks yin tae ken yin’ – if i had airfare i’d be at yer door tomorrow sayin that-and you’d say what? and i’d say ‘ye dinnae ken wha it is lassie ? – and then we’d talk like old friends reunited until the sun went doon : )

    – Matthew Scotland

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