Sueno’s Stone

Sueno’s Stone is a 7-meter high stele (cross stone) originating from the Pictish era and located in Scotland.

Sueno's Stone

Sueno’s Stone is a 7-meter high and approximately 1.35-meter wide flat stone stele (cross stone) made of red sandstone, originating from the Pictish era. The stone is located at a crossroads in the northeastern Scottish town of Forres. Since the 1990s, it has been encased in a bulletproof glass housing to protect it from vandalism and erosion.

The stone was first described by the Scotsman Alexander Gordon in 1726 in his work “Itinerarium Septentrionale” (Latin for Northern Journey or Description), noting that Lady Anne, Countess of Murray, had the stone straightened and supported with a stable foundation at her own expense to prevent it from toppling over. The engravings on the eastern surface of the stone depict battle and war scenes, while the western side features a carved Celtic cross. The narrow sides are adorned with ornaments. Judging by the condition of the surface, the stone must have lain in the ground for a long period during its existence.

The name “Sueno” is believed to refer to the Danish King Sweyn I Forkbeard (Danish: Svend I Tveskæg, Norwegian: Svein I Tveskjegg or Tjugeskjegg), though it is not historically connected to him.

According to current knowledge, the battle or war scenes on the stone, which have sparked much speculation, depict an unknown victory of the Picts over another tribe from eastern Scotland. Older theories suggested that the stone carvings represented a victory of Máel Coluim mac Cináeda (Malcolm II, King of Scotland from 1005 to 1034) against invading Danes or Norsemen, or the defeat and death of Dub mac Maíl Coluim in 966/967.

  • References

    Image source: “Sueno’s Stone, Forres” by hapticflapjack is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Retrieved from https://openverse.org/image/1a870708-49b8-4f4e-be72-30966ee573f3

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