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Russian Scottish History
The Fighting for the Saving of Independence of Scotland in the Middle Ages


Alexey sent this into us and said...  "I learned at the Historical faculty of Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University. I had defended my student historical composition about two weeks ago. This work is named: "The Fighting for the Saving of Independence of Scotland in the Middle Ages. The Beginning of Appearing of Scottish Nation in the late 13th - early 14th centuries."

Heartily thank you for information and other help, renderred in preparing this composition by your site. May be, you will interest about some original final thesises of this composition. So, there is it (from "Conclusion") in the attachment.

(This translation from Russian was made special for you. So please forgive my bad English)"

It is always interesting to see what other cultures make of Scotland and so we present Alexey's composition for you to enjoy...

"...Scottish historians, who wanted to give due to Fatherland, often approach its level of development with English. Examples of that we may see in books about any period, as from the Early Mid Ages: there leads a speeches about men's military service as a condition of keeping of "feods", about presence of "vassality" relationships and etc. before 11-12 centuries. But there is no conclusive evidences, and it is nearly impossible for the concrete data wanted. A little we know, for example, in "Laws of Britons and Scots", is in oppose - indicates absolutely mastery of the kin's relationships in Scottish society. To speak about Scottish feudalism before the border of 11-12 centuries, or more so before the beginning of Norman conquest is presented premature. The social-economical backlog of Scotland from England was significant and we even can say how much: English cities noticeably grows already in 11 century, and in 12 there are trade guilds appears in here; in Scotland burghs have appeared to 12 c. only, but their trade guilds - in the beginning of 12 c. Here is breakup is measured nearly by the hundred years. Beside it is impossible to forget that most southern, rich, leading area of Scotland - Lothian - looked like a most northern, become poor, retarded area of England - Northumberland.

Let we pay attention to main particularities of Scottish feudal building. The spreading of new relations was more slow and irregular, than in England - because the Norman Conquest is deeply reflected on histories of both countries, but differently at all. In England (under external consideration) its consequences is more appreciable: it passed rapidly and violently, bringing about changing of the ruling dynasty and (in some much) aristocracies. However these changes were not a social-economical, but more political and cultural. England was certainly continued a motion on thy way of feudalisation, which has begun long before the coronation of William the Conqueror. "The Conquest" in Scotland was concluded in pacific bicentennial settling in the country of anglo-norman and flemish immigrants, which alongside with gaelic nobles were formed the lords estate. This "norman transformation" meant a resolutely step onward, as far as Scotland practically only has enterred on the way of feudalisation. By other words, the beginning of feudalism to Scotland in greater degrees is stipulated by the influence from outside.

Thereof, however, does not follow that feudalisation of Scotland was purely external, obtruded by the will of throne. For the first time having appeared on the South-East at the late 11 - early 12 centuries, new social-economic forms not quickly, but inconvertible and organically were promoted on the North and West, were superimposed on already existing social relations and intertwined with it, while finally in 14 century they did reach the most removed mountain and insular areas. Scottish feudalism was not shown halfway and undeveloped, as somebody of English historians confirmed. On the general signs it corresponded with West-European model. On the other hand, in the comparison with England and countries of continent, feudal formation in Scotland was inherent many original lines.

Unlike England and number of other states, an economy of Scotland was founded mainly on stock breeding, the peasants in the majority saved a personal liberty, the city had first of all trade value under comparative weaknesses of craft production. And there was more other private particularities (gratuitous of the church possessions, the naval variety of an knight's service and etc.). The Scottish feudalism was less complex and hierarchic, less "bureaucratic", than English. Signor was less closer to the common people, notion of "nobility" was broader and available than usually, but horizontal structure of society quite often turned out to be more strong vertical. And though history of Scotland less possible to call calm, but a period of the Late Middle Ages in that country did not occur no one any large peasant's or town's rebellion of class's or antifeudal's nature. Certainly, medieval Scottish society was far from the social harmony and prosperity, but does not subject the doubt that class contradictions in him were less strong, than in England or France.

The most original, unless unique, line of medieval Scotland - is the neighbourhood and interaction of feudal relations with kin-based. Notion "clan" already is long ago used as a synonym of word "kin". But in the strict sense a clan - not any kin, but only if that is packed on scottish ground in the 6-12 centuries. Regrettably, because of the rarity of the early gaelic sources hard to form a full belief about this rack and archaic social form. Anyway, from that known, possible conclude that clan system in Scottish understanding was not neither in Ireland, nor in Wales, nor in England more so.

To define the place of Scotland in the medieval Europe helps its geographical position in the triangle: Ireland - England - Norway. All three country not only renderred on it strong and long-lasting cultural-history influence, as well as steels revenge of upshot in the Scotland of multiple migrants. Thereof nowhere near does not follow, however that culture to Scotlands - is the "patchwork quilt", the total of mechanical joining of the unoriginal traditions. Let recall about cultural originally of local tribes of Picts and Britons. The cultural development of Scotland is a result of interactions of ancient traditions of all folk, formed the population of the country. Scottish culture is wholly originally. We find in its an unique moments, not having place in any other "national" traditions of medieval Europe. Conditions to Scotlands are unique, and already are soon appears a significant divergences with a nearby states.

Not less important, that is observed far enough strong national-state maturity in Scotland, that not in the example in Ireland and Norway, it is not appeared in the foreign holding. On Anglo-Scottish differences we are know many things. Due to national-state maturity Scotland won in First War of Independence.

There's hardly to say and, may be, to search the answer to the question, to which wants to answering some authors: what estates must we thanks for the success of the War of Independence, and, more so, to select a merits of some one of them. Without the participation by any one of them the victory was highly doubtful: without neither wailled leaderships of barons and knight's cavalry, nor ideological managament of clergy, nor goods and supplieses, which delivered by townsfolks, nor, finally, peasants-soldiers - on who based the Scottish army.

There are many documents and chronicles, Scottish and English, convince that the War of Independence of Scotland was really public, general liberation motion. Its total has proved; proven toughness of Scottish state, which has born all test and does not disintegrate in the most heavy times of the intestine strifes even and wailled defeats.

The toughness of the Scottish statehood is a total and indicator of national development in precedings. Religious, economic, cultural and political-territorial unification of the country have been brought about increasing an authority of royal authorities already in XII century. How G.W.S. Barrow has shown, in the mind of contemporaries it could not be distinguished from the "Scottish kingship" and the "kingdom of Scotland". This knowledge of Scots mens was based on the understanding universal unalternative political centre - a sovereign royal throne - it was unflinching. It was saved even under the temporary when the king was out of the throne.

Feeling of unity of Scottish society with the monarchy has served a base for the development of feeling of national unity already in the reign of Alexander III, and it's greatly shown in the course of the First War of Independence. How much ingrained these two interconnected feelings at the end of 13 century, we can see in look, how aptly used idea of national monarchy for country governing in the time of Guardians regency. Its use has brought about the unprecendented unity of interests of Scottish society. The base for the saving of united society at interregnum was served not once noted its "sound conservatism", which thereby has played a good role to the national development.

How events of 1286-1306 have shown, the society could exist without the king. However, feudal minds contemporaries were required authority of legitimacy monarchy for the confession of country by sovereign state. Besides, royal throne from a time of Alexander III exactly become the symbol of social unity. After the king's death in 1286 by the danger of subservience for England in the ten years definitively appear an idea of identity of Scottish monarchy and society. National unity became universally recognized under the symbols of royal blazon and figure of St. Andrew. This idea was supported and developed by propaganda, which was winnowed documentary and verbally from 1297 practically. Theoretical motivations of idea of national unity were clearly presented in Bisset's Processus 1301, the Declaration of 1309 and 1310, the Negotiator's test of 1321. But the most clearly and eloquent national feelings denominated in The Declaration of Arbroath of 1320.

Some historians were concluded, that process of appear of Scottish nation was finished already by the end of Robert I's reign. And even if we'll accuse they of exaggeration, but certainly at all that the beginning initially 14 century Scottish people was promoted far on the way of conversion from simply united society to the nation.

There's a main particularities of development of Scotland to the beginning of 14 century. Its summa was a main reason for steadfast and successful Scots's opposing to the foreign invasion in the years of The First War of Independence and other following external interferences. And this is an answer to the question, why Scotland didn't conqested by England in the difference of Wales and Ireland. The national identity, the unity by universal symbols on the base of ancient traditions and history of Scotland (it was distant from the abstractly feeling of unity of society, stipulated social-economic and cultural-political circumstances) - these phenomenon characterized the development's level of Scottish nation at the early 14 century. It has made seamingly impossible: Scotland has defended independence, in spite of that yielded an adversary practically on all comparative quantitative parameters: number and well-being of population, wealth of natural resources and advantage of agriculture, level of "urbanization" and development of trade, number and preparednesses of the army. So, that is more striking and more significant the victory, which was made by Scotsmen over Englishmen in XIV century, and that's more arguments for studying a history of the "small" countries (Russian historical term), stayed nearly outside the attention of Russian historical science. The example of Medieval Scotland convinces us once again to do not leave aside excluding which not inserting in "rules". After all each such exception reminds us that there's no single development line in history and only right causal relationships."

With a heartiful thanks and a respect to you, always yours

Alexey Vladimiroff,
Chelyabinsk, Russia.


 

 


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