Sculptured Stone Number II - Factsheet
The carved symbols stones of the Picts rank amongst the
greatest artworks of Dark Age European culture. One of the
finest examples is the so called Battle Stone that stands
in Aberlemno churchyard, 4 miles north of Dunnichen, in
may have been carved in the decades after 700 AD and seems
to depict the events of the nearby Battle of Dunnichen fought
against the Angles of Northumbria in 685AD.
stone stands 2.3m high and is known as a Class II Pictish
Stone due to the finesse of the carving and the elaborate
cross on its reverse side - features that are missing
in the cruder Class I Stones that probably date from around
II Stones may to date from after 710 AD when the Pictish
king, Naiton, invited Northumbrian masons to built churches
in Pictland. The Aberlemno Battle Stone was probably erected
to mark the site of a church or monastery, possibly built
in thanks to stone God for the Picts' victory over the
remarkable stone shows an encounter between two sets of
warriors. One set, on the right, wear typical Angle helmets,
while the others, on the left, have archetypal Pictish
are four scenes shown from top to bottom of the strone.
At the top a Pictish warrior, so skilled in horsemanship
he doesnt require to hold onto the horse's reins,
chases away an Angle who has clearly thrown away his sword
and shield in the panic of his flight.
that, a group of three Pictish warriors on foot confront
an Angle horseman armed with a spear. The three Picts are
armed with swords, spears and shields. Some historians believe
that this may show how the Picts actually fought in battle.
The front rank wielded sword and shield, covered by the
second rank with their spears lowered to protect the swordsmen
and ward off mounted warriors. Behind that the third rank
of the Pictish battle line would stand in reserve.
these three Picts, two mounted warriors do battle. Some
historians have speculated that the Angle rider may be
the Northumbrian King Ecgfrith. If this is the case, then
perhaps the Pictish rider could be King Bridei - kind
of like a Bayeux Tapestry in stone.
the bottom right of the stone, a Northumbrian warrior
lies dead. Perhaps this is also King Ecgfrith, slain on
the field of battle with a raven pecking at his body.
A dark but popular motif in Scottish Dark Age art.
Aberlemno Stone is just one of the hundreds of Pictish
stones that have been discovered across northern Scotland.
for Dunnotar Castle
to the Kingdom of the Picts
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