Apart from the 79 Kings listed, the Pictish Chronicles also give a list of 28 kings (though they describe it as 30) called Brude, who supposedly reigned for a total period of 150 years; (there’s that 150 again) Their reigns followed Cruithne and his seven sons and preceded King Gede. (No. 1)
Most historians are doubtful that these ‘Brudes’ were actual kings. They believe that, as they were all improbably called by the same name and occur as they do in pairs, it is more likely that they were some sort of slogan or jingle, intended to be chanted repeatedly as a form of rallying cry. Certainly, their lay out gives the impression that they may have been designed to be an aid to memory for some ritual or other whose meaning has ironically been lost to us. They are given below.

Brude Pant                                  
Brude Leo                                      
Brude Gant                                      
Brude Gnith                                             
Brude Fecir                                             
Brude Cal                                        
Brude Cint                                       
Brude Fec                                        
Brude Ru                                         
Brude Gart                                      
Brude Cinid                                               
Brude Uip                                        
Brude Grid                                      
Brude Mund                                             

Brude Ur Pant
Brude Ur Leo
Brude Ur Gant
Brude Ur Gnith
Brude Ur Fecir

Brude Ur Cal
Brude Ur Cint

Brude Ur Fec
Brude Ur Ru
Brude Ur Gart
Brude Ur
Brude Ur Uip

Brude Ur Grid
Brude Ur Mund

It has been suggested by some linguists that the prefix ‘Ur’ may be similar to the Welsh ‘Guor’, meaning ‘high’ or ‘over’, and the Gaelic prefix ‘Fior’ meaning ‘true,’ ‘pure’ or ‘noble.’ Other linguists have suggested that Ur may be a Pictish form of the Celtic ‘Ua’, meaning ‘descendant’ or ‘son’. Others yet that ‘Brude’ may not be a personal name so much as a title, like Lord or Sir. Brude Ur Leo, for example, may mean ‘Leo, the Lord High’.
It will not have escaped the reader’s attention that many of the Brudes have names that also appear in the King Lists in a similar or approximate form. See below.

Brude List      King List (Position in list)  

Brude Leo  
Brude Gant
Brude Gnith
Brude Cal
Brude Cint
Brude Fec
Brude Ru
Brude Gart
Brude Cinid
Brude Grid                                      
Brude Mund





If we take into account the realistic probability that the southern Picts spoke a form of P-Celtic similar to Old Welsh (while not forgetting the other learned arguments that have been put forward to the contrary), then it may be that these ‘Brudes’ are simply a ‘P’ form (hardened to a B) of the Irish and Gaelic word ‘Cruth’ or ‘Cruithne’, meaning ‘of the Picts’.

The Irish text in the 14th century ‘Book of Ballymote’ says,

“Bruide adberthea fri gach fir dib, randa na fear aile; ro gabsadar L. ar C. ut est illeabraibh na Cruithneach”.

This translates as;

“And Brude was the name of each man of them, and of the divisions of the other men. They possessed an hundred and fifty years, as it is in the many books of the Cruithneach”.

The implication is that everyone in Pictland was a ‘Brude’ and indeed this, or something similar, may have been what the Picts originally called themselves. As for those other kings called Brude in the main King List, like Brude the son of Bile (48), and Brude the son of Uurguist (59), they may simply have been named Brude in the same way that many Scots of today are called ‘Scott’.

The list of 28 Brudes might have been Pictish Kings after all.



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© Ron Henderson 2008-09