> In the list of Pict kings (Chronicum Pictorum) there is a "Bredei filius
> Bili", also shown as "Brude filius File" who died in 693. Does this not
> demonstrate that the "b" has mutated to the fricative "bh"? He is
> shortly thereafter by "Bredei filius Derelei" and "Nechtan filius
> which I would interpret as "son of daughter of Beli", where the fricative
> "bh" has now mutated to be silent. This inheiritance of the crown through
> the female line (through the daughter of Bili to a grandson) would be in
> keeping with Pict tradition as described by ancient historians.
I wouldn't put too much stock into the Pictish king lists, as many of the
forms seem to be corrupt. In any case, I think most of the Pictish names
that we have recorded in various sources are of Neo-Brittonic (or, in some
cases, Latin) origin, though some forms of names in Irish sources simply
represent Irish spellings (or even substitutions) of Brittonic names.
I don't know that we can prove the Neo-Brittonic name Beli/Bili is related
to the Irish root Bel- in Beltaine (if that is even the correct form root -
Xavier Delamarre, in his Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, mentions that
Beltaine may come from Proto-Irish *beltinia:, perhaps related to the
Gaullo-Brittonic root *belatu- "slay"[?], which seems to occur in the Old
Irish words at-bail, epeltu [=*eks-beltu]).It is quite possible that Old
Welsh Beli and Old Breton/Pictish Bili come from an entirely unrelated root.
- Chris Gwinn