In the beginning
The Wall and the Picts
Timeline so far
The next 450 years:
A.D. 350 - A.D. 794
A.D. 795 - A.D. 1260
A.D. 1260 to
History Main Page
In the late third century the maetae once again became strong enough to storm and breach Hadrians Wall. In fairness to the Roman defenders, they were distracted by trouble on their Eastern frontiers, but by 360 A.D the Picts were roaming freely across Britannia. In fact the Picts along with their Irish allies had reached as far south as Londinium.
In 369 A.D. the Roman authorities decided to re-impose thier absolute rule in the area and sent General Theodosius to restore order and repair Hadrians Wall. He was relatively succesful in this quest but when he left, Hadrians Wall was once again breached and was not repaired. In A.D. 407 the Roman Empire was in dire need of all their armies, as they faced the onslaught of the Huns and the Goths and recalled all their legions from Britannia.
Of course the Picts took advantage of this situation and streamed across the unguarded wall. In some ways this marked the start of the "dark ages" for Scotland, although some scholars would argue that as Scotland had never experienced "Pax Romana", then the dark ages were in fact ending.
While the Picts were never conquered by the Romans, it would be inaccurate to suggest that they were not influenced by them. Kings for example had started to use the Latin term "rex" or ruler. There is also some evidence to suggest that minor and outlying tribes had traded with the Romans and in some limited ways became "Romanised" through this. A good example of this trade was the Hebridean Wool trade which began as a result of Roman demand.
The amount of "Romanisation" is of course always open to arguement and discussion. The tribes of the South (Votadini and Damnonii), made and broke a series of pacts with the Romans, living in close proximity to them but seemingly unchanged by this.
Questions could also be asked regarding whether the civilising nature or effect that the Romans had, may have made the arrival of Christianity somewhat easier.