Pictish “Transition” Stones

Later Pictish Symbol Stones appeared with carvings representing Christian belief but also included Pictish-Mithraic carvings as seen on earlier Stones.

Aberlemno header
V-Rod & Crescent plus Z-Rod & Double Disc on one side of this Stone; a Christian Cross on the other side

These pages explore whether these so-called Class 2 Stones achieved success as “Transition” Stones from Pictish-Mithraic to Christian belief.

The term “transition” has been used by authors referring to the introduction of Christianity preceded by pagan belief, an unspecified religion or by none at all.

This is the first text to specifically state that the belief preceding Christianity was based on a form of Mithraism researched and defined by the author as Pictish-Mithraism™.

Carvings representing Pictish-Mithraic beliefs were made initially on the surfaces of what are generally referred to as Class 1 Stones. Class 2 Stones appeared with carvings representing Christian belief but also included Pictish-Mithraic carvings as seen on the earlier Class 1 Stones. Both Classes of Stone often have particular animal, bird and fish carvings decoded as suggesting Celtic personal attributes (more-so than religious beliefs) and other carved objects.

If “transition”, in the context of Pictish Symbol Stones, relates to a move from one belief to another then there are only two sets of considerations:

Class 1 & Class 2 Stones and

Pictish-Mithraic & Christian beliefs.

So-called Class 3 Stones that have no Pictish Symbol objects but purely Christian representations are therefore beyond transition.

For a Class 2 Stone to have achieved success as a Transition Stone each one would have had to serve three purposes:

  • to continue representing the Pictish-Mithraic belief Symbols seen on Class 1 Stones,
  • to introduce the Cross and, in some cases, biblical scenes associated with Christianity enabling that belief to be pursued in a stand-alone fashion and
  • to enable the move from one set of beliefs to another with a time period overlap.

Such Class 2 Transition Stones would not only have provided a “shared space” surface for carved objects representing different beliefs but also a physical meeting place – a place of worship. Some of these Stones could well have led to being the locations where Christian churches first appeared in Pictland.

Having compiled a stand-alone list of Class 2 Stones a comparison was made by “aspects of physical locations” with the comprehensive list comprising both Class 1 and Class 2 Stones. The result was finding “differences” and “similarities” of physical locations of Class 1 and Class 2 Stones.

Where Stones were erected and their positioning relative to natural and built environment is covered fully in Aspects of Physical Locations.

Class 2 Stones – a detailed exploration introduces the webpages which investigate ways in which Class 2 Stones could be considered to have been “Transition” Stones.