Pictish Names

Initial note: 
Heather Rose Jones (Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn) has provided an excellent summary of Pictish names and naming conventions in her article   “A Consideration of Pictish Names” and while almost all of the names covered are male names, I highly recommend reading that article as well as the below.

Men’s Names

The set of definitively Pictish men’s names is fairly small, but does have several good sources. HRJ’s paper above collects most, if not all of the male names. While I am generally hesitant to cite Wikipedia, their list of the Pictish Kings can also be an good place to check, particularly if you want to get a quick summary of what little information we have attached to each king’s name. Hagiographies (such as the later portions of the Life of St Columba) are also excellent places to look for men’s names, particularly if you are willing to look at names that might have been known in Pictland, even if they were not explicitly Pictish. Also, several of the warriors mentioned in Y Gododdin may have been Pictish and it’s fun reading, even if it won’t bring many new possibilities to light.

 

Women’s Names

In contrast to the men’s names, women’s names are somewhat harder to come by. J.M.P. Calise’s Pictish Sourcebook (an excellent source that you should absolutely acquire if you are interested in the textual sources about the Picts) includes a glossary of Pictish names which includes several feminine names. It also provides some biographical information about people who had contact with the Picts and some of those names could reasonably be used by a female Pict. Other sources include hagiographies, annals, and even a Pictish stone – see the complete table for the historical source for each name.

 

Potentially Pictish Women’s Names

(See also the complete table with information about where the names are found and a fuller explanation of each name’s history.) 

Name  Culture Approximate years, if known Why appropriate Likelihood
Alpia Pictish? Arabian? 7thc Possible Pictish princess Excellent
Coblaith Pictish d690 Daughter of Pictish prince Excellent
Darlugdach Irish d525 Irish saint who visited Pictland Excellent
Derile (Derelei, Der-Ilei) Pictish c650 Close relation to Pictish king Excellent
Domelch Pictish c550 Mother of a Pictish King Excellent
Drusticc Pictish 6th c Pictish princess Excellent
Eithne (Eithni) Pictish d778 Pictish princess Excellent
Kentigerna (Caintigern, Cáintighearnd) British d734 Saint active in Pictland Excellent
Mael Muire Pictish c850-913 Pictish princess Excellent
Modwenna (Monenna, Modwen) Irish 7thc Saint active in Pictland Excellent
Mongfind Pictish legendary Probable Pictish princess Excellent
Nadbroicc Pictish legendary Reported as Pictish Excellent
Æbbe Northumbrian c615-683 Æbbe grew up in exile in Dál Riata or Pictland Good
Brigid Irish 455-524 Notable saint with Pictish ties Good
Conchenn Pictish/Dal Riatan c550 Family members identified as (probably) Pictish Good
Ethne Irish c500 Mother of a famous saint who was active in Pictland Good
Eurgein Welsh c525 The name of the Pictish King’s sister Good
Ligach Pictish/Irish c875 Daughter of a Pictish princess, raised in Ireland Good
Maithgemm (Gemma) Pictish/Dal Riatan c550 Family members identified as (probably) Pictish Good
Nectudad Pictish c600-800? Possible female name on a Pictish cross slab. Good
Aife Scottish? legendary Legend mentioning her likely known in Pictland. Moderate
Eanflæd (Enfleda) Kentish 626-after 685 Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/Pictland Moderate
Feidelm Dál Riatan c550 Relative of multiple notable Picts Moderate
Fial Irish legendary Named in an Irish story and the Pictish origin legends Moderate
Fína (Fín) Irish c645-? Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/Pictland Moderate
Findchoem Irish legendary Possible legendary ancesstress of the Picts. Moderate
Fotla Irish legendary Name shared by legendary female figure and legendary Pictish king Moderate
Lonceta Pictish/Irish legendary Legendary ancesstress of the Picts Moderate
Luan Welsh c550 Relative of multiple notable Picts Moderate
Rieinmelth British Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/Pictland Moderate
Ronnat Irish c600-? Mother of a famous saint Moderate
Scáthach Scottish? legendary Legend mentioning her likely known in Pictland. Moderate
Tea Irish legendary Name appears in the Pictish origin legends Moderate
Ælfflæd Northumbrian 654-714 Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/Pictland Poor
Æthelthryth (Æthelreda, Æþelðryþe) Northumbrian c636-679 Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/Pictland Poor
Banba Irish legendary Legend mentioning her likely known in Pictland. Poor
Darerca British 4th-5thc Might have been of enough note to be known in Pictland Poor
Eire (Eriu) Irish legendary Legend mentioning her likely known in Pictland. Poor
Eormenberg (Iuminburgh, Iurminburgh) Northumbrian c650-c700 Connected with Oswiu, who grew up in Dál Riata/Pictland Poor
Findscop (Findscuap) Irish legendary Legend mentioning her likely known in Pictland. Poor
Lebarcham Irish legendary Legend mentioning her likely known in Pictland. Poor

If you are aware of or come across any potentially Pictish female names and are willing to share, please do contact me! (See the contact form below the bibliography.)

If none of the above appeal, there is also an index of feminine names in Irish annals which could be plausible, if not documentable, for a Pictish woman to have (just be sure to choose from the two earliest time periods). Reasonable arguments could also be made for Anglo-Saxon women’s names, particularly if they were Northumbrian or the name of a saint who has ancient churches and holy places in Scotland. There is also an interesting online database of Anglo-Saxon names.

Happy name hunting!

 

Bibliography:

Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England:. Accessed July 15, 2016. http://www.pase.ac.uk/.
Aneurin. “Y Gododin.” Project Gutenberg. March 30, 2009. Accessed July 11, 2016.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/9842/9842-h/9842-h.htm.
Calise, J. M. P. Pictish Sourcebook: Documents of Medieval Legend and Dark Age History. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Jones, Heather Rose. “A Consideration Of Pictish Names.” A Consideration of Pictish Names. Accessed July 11, 2016. http://heatherrosejones.com/names/pictish/.
Krupp, Christina. “Anglo-Saxon Women’s Names from Royal Charters.” Anglo-Saxon Women’s Names. Accessed July 15, 2016. https://www.s-gabriel.org/names/marieke/anglosaxonfem/.
O’Brien., Kathleen M. “Index of Names in Irish Annals: Feminine Names.” Index of Names in Irish Annals: Feminine Names. Accessed July 15, 2016. http://medievalscotland.org/kmo/AnnalsIndex/Feminine/.
“Life of St. Columba.” Life of St. Columba. Accessed July 11, 2016. http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T201040/.
“List of Kings of the Picts.” Wikipedia. Accessed July 11, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_the_Picts.

Comments, Questions, or Suggested Additions: