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Gauls, Celts, Goths, Teutons, Picts and Scots

Celtic knot tattooGreek and Roman historians reported that Britons, Iberians, Gauls, Goths, Teutons, Picts and Scots bore tattoo marks.

The Celts were a tribal people who moved across Western Europe between C.1200 and 700 BC. They reached the British Isles around 400 BC and most of what has survived from their culture is in the areas now known as Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The Celtic culture celebrated body art and permanent body painting was done with woad, which left a blue design on the skin. Spirals were a common motif and appeared single, doubled or tripled. Knot work is probably the most recognized form of Celtic art, with lines forming complex braids which weave across themselves. Celtic knots symbolize the connections in life and the step or key patterns, like those found in early labyrinth designs, can be seen both in simple borders and full complex mazes. Designs are symbolic of the various paths that life's journey can take.

In his 1925 book, THE HISTORY OF TATTOOING AND IT'S SIGNIFICANCE, W.D. Hambly wrote, "It seems clear that the Picts tattooed by puncture and that animals were the chief subject portrayed. The forms of beast, birds, and fish which the Cruithnae, or Picts tattooed on their bodies may have been totem marks. Certain marks on faces of Gualish coins seem to be tattoo marks. Tattooing by puncture was possibly known among such Gualish tribes as Ambiani, Baiocasses and Caletes. The markings of Picts is historically important in showing the advances of tattoo by puncture to an extreme northerly point of Great Britain before the Christian era."


Pict warriors
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The Picts were the tattooed tribal nations of the north of Britain, the area now known as Scotland. In 600 AD, Isadore of Seville makes reference that the Picts took their name from the fact that their bodies had designs pricked into their skin by needles.

The Picts were known to have existed from about 7000BC until about the year 845 AD.

The Romans referred to them in Latin as "Pictii", which translates as "The Painted Ones". This was in reference to the elaborate tribal tattoos with which the Picts decorated their entire bodies.

In the third century AD, Herod of Antioch, wrote: "the Britons incise on their bodies colored pictures of animals, of which they are very proud."

In the seventh century AD, St. Isidore of Seville reported that:

The Scots derive their name in their own language from their painted bodies, because these are marked with various designs by being pricked with iron needles with ink on them and the Picts also are thus named because of the absurd marks produced on their bodies by craftsmen with tiny pinpricks and juice extracted from local grasses.

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