King Robert the Bruce (1274-1329)


Penman MA (2005) King Robert the Bruce (1274-1329). Etudes Ecossaises, 10, pp. 25-40.

First paragraph: The initial concerns of this study were twofold. Firstly, that it would find that Robert Bruce only existed in the shadow of his predecessor in Scotland's fight against England, the purer patriot William Wallace (d. 1305). Secondly, in working through works of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries, that it would find that Bruce's image had become fossilised as a result of the acceptance and perpetuation by writers like Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) of Archdeacon John Barbour's poem, The Bruce, of the 1370s. A glance at the structure of most works on Bruce from the late fourteenth-century to the present seems to justify this fear. Barbour's poem, some 14,000 lines long, takes over three-quarters of its length to follow Bruce from his seizure of the throne in 1306 through many struggles to his triumph in battle against England at Bannockburn in 1314: the remaining fifteen years of « Good King Robert's » reign is then covered quickly by Barbour (Duncan, 1997). This shape to the story of Bruce can be found in general histories, biographies, fiction, poetry and even visual imagery to the present day.

Reputation; Robert I; Historiography; Identity; Robert I, King of Scots, 1274-1329; Scotland History Robert I, 1306-1329; Scotland Kings and rulers

Etudes Ecossaises: Volume 10

Publication date31/12/2005
PublisherUniversite Stendhal-Grenoble 3
Publisher URL