story of the saltire  by Calgacus


Small (22.1" x 16.4")


Sizing Information

Small 22.1" x 16.4"
Medium 31.5" x 23.4"
Large 44.7" x 33.2"
Note: Includes a 3/16" white border


  • Printed on 185gsm semi gloss poster paper
  • Custom cut to three maximum sizes – A2, A1 & A0
  • 5mm white border to assist in framing
  • Tack them to your bedroom door, or frame

Who put the blue in the Scotland flag ? Who put the blue un the Union Jack?
The Picts of course,and it is fitting that they are the background colour of the flags, for they are the foundation of the nation. Here is the story of the Scotland flag, known as the saltire.

By the ninth century AD, according to the chronicles of the kings, Pictland, the oldest kingdom in Europe, was almost two-thousand years old. The Picts were fiercly independant and resisted Rome like no other race, but now the native control of northern Britain was nearing an end, yet still Pictland had one last achievement that left a striking mark on national history. Early in that century King Unust of the Picts ruled over a shrinking native kingdom being attacked jealously on all sides by Scots, Britons, Anglo/Saxons, and latterly the Vikings. The Anglo/Saxons, who would become known as the English, were coming to the fore as the supreme force in Britain, with the cruel dominion of ‘Angle-land’ now intruding far north into former Pictish strongholds at Edinburgh and the Forth Estuary.
King Athelstan of the Angles marched northwards to destroy the Picts with a huge force, brave King Unust of the Picts went to meet him with a battle-depleted army. In the Lothian region King Unust found himself hemmed in by a huge English army. By nightfall he Picts were surrounded by Athelstan’s massive host , it seemed certain that the Pictish king and his nation would die in the morning, and all Albion knew that with the Pictish warriors gone, Angle-land would roll out its dominion over all Britain and Ireland forever..
On the eve of certain destruction as the Picts felt the enemy all around them, King Unust knew that whether he ran or fought, he and his men were doomed, and so that night he offered no customary war-cries for the morning’s battle, but simply knelt and earnestly prayed for God to spare his people one more time, ‘but even so Lord – Your will be done.’
In the morning the dark hordes of English moved in on the hopelessly smaller enemy, the Picts though had their eyes drawn to the sky, for it was turning such a glorious blue, heavy Pictish hearts lifted as a luminous formation of white clouds crossed the sun with a St Andrew’s cross right above the battlefield, beams of light bursting through on the small army of Picts so that they glowed with an eary lustre.
Unease spread through the ranks of the enemy as the small ghostly army ploughed fearlessly through the front lines and dissapeared into the dark sea of English warriors, and all the while the shining diagonal cross remained in the sky overhead. The Picts worked into a frenzy and carved a path right to the heart of the enemy and at the ford of the Peffer Burn they beheaded King Athelstan, and with this the English scattered southwards for their lives.
This all took place at Athelstanford, now a beautiful village nestled in the rolling Garleton hills of East -Lothian. Back then, King Unust’s spectacular victory was seen as a great miracle that became etched into the national psyche, and the symbol of that victory, the white cross of Saint Andrew on a blue background, survived the transition from Pictland to Scotland, and through a thousand years of turbulent history, it remains the flag of the nation. .


  • April Webb
    April Webbover 6 years ago

    Wow this is cooooooooool! I love the strokes and the image of the men on horse back looking like they are going into battle, a challanging battle with that spikey baricade.

  • thanks so much april, yes it must’ve been scary, i dont know how medieval warriors done such a thing, i would definately prefer to be an archer at the back : )

    – Calgacus

  • Tahnja
    Tahnjaover 6 years ago

    oh Matthew, everything about this is special. My heart warmed to overflowing reading this amazing tale of incredible faith and God’s answer to that faith. And yet tales such as as this are never told to our children, instead they get plenty of the gruesome and grizzly stuff like Hitler and so on. I want my daughter to read this and see this image, she would appreciate it in a very special way.

    Yet again you have inspired me and filled my heart with God’s love by your amazing work dearest brother in Christ

  • wow thankyou so much for your wonderful comment dear sister, i hope your daughter does like it too, lol it is so true tales like these we do not hear at school, i thought hitler was history at school, your words inspire me to go on with my historical meanderings

    – Calgacus

  • Jeff Schauss
    Jeff Schaussover 6 years ago

    You took the Blue Ribbon hands down with this one Matt.And with comments like April’s and Tahnja’s, you know you’re going in the right direction, With the story and the painting,If you told me you were actually at the battle I’d believe you. Excellent Work !

  • lol thnks jeff, and thats an interesting idea though, one could paint it and write it as if one was there in the flesh, and i suppose in spirit i am there, fighting with my brush and pallete as sword and shield

    – Calgacus

  • pijinlane
    pijinlaneover 6 years ago

    A truly stunning work of art.

  • thankyou jen, and thanks for feature, it is with pride i see my saltire fly in the awesome scots group

    – Calgacus

  • Tom Gomez
    Tom Gomezover 6 years ago

    A fabulous and inspiring work of art with a narrative to stir the blood of any Scotsman …

  • Calgacus
    Calgacusover 6 years ago

    thankyou so much tom, it lifts me too to know that others are stirred by these native tales

  • Ben Pendleton
    Ben Pendletonover 6 years ago

    Excellent. Inspirational painting and telling of the story.

  • KazM
    KazMover 6 years ago

    Brilliant creation. Bravo

  • thankyou so much crazy doodling kaz

    – Calgacus

  • danita clark
    danita clarkover 6 years ago

    Far out!
    LOVE IT LOVE IT ! Absolutley spectacular swirls of light…
    Thankyou for the explanation and inspiration.

  • so many thanks danita for your appreciation of this piece, such comments are a driving force to my artistic efforts

    – Calgacus

  • Amanda Gazidis
    Amanda Gazidisover 6 years ago

    Really stunning artwork with a strong message,you are one mega talented artist!Amazing brushstrokes creating spirals of spirit!You are wonderful.

  • oh thankyou for such praise amanda, i am bleeding wonderful aren’t I lol, spirals of spirit forever

    – Calgacus

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