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.
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.
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!
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.
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