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The Picts occupied Scotland north of the Forth and possessed a distinctive culture, seen particularly in their carved symbol stones.The stones are roughly divided into three chronological categories.SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Ogam, ogam, Ogham, ogum; Pictish symbol stones CATEGORY: language DEFINITION: A Celtic script used for writing in northwest Europe, probably created in the 2nd-3rd centuries AD, and used for writing Irish and Pictish languages.
It was often the custom, particularly in the south and west in Wales and Cornwall, to provide a translation in Latin minuscule and this has proved important for the translation and dating of ogham.Of the more than 375 ogham inscriptions known, about 300 are from Ireland..The Class I stones (5th-7th century) are rough-hewn, undressed blocks or pillars, inscribed with pictorial symbols of spiral creatures, such as fishes and birds.They are also decorated with strange geometric shapes as well as inanimate objects like mirrors and combs, grouped together in various combinations.
Class II (8th-10th century) stones are regularly dressed slabs which the same range of carvings but with the addition of new Christian elements and humans in animated scenes.
Class III stones (from 9th century) are, in most cases, free-standing crosses decorated with a combination of a distinctive form of interlace as well as some elements of the older motifs.