In the final quarter of the seventh century the Picts were a vassal nation. Regular offerings of livestock, agricultural produce and other material resources were sent to their powerful neighbour to the south as tribute. The Romans had been unable to subdue them, but now they no longer seemed formidable. Even the way they practised their religion was being determined by outsiders. But in these dark days a king emerged who was to lead the Picts to a momentous victory, his triumph at the Battle of Dunnichen ranking as one of the great events of Scottish history.