04 August 2014

Uncommon Commentary #415: Being Ignorant of History Is Worse than Letting the Bannock Burn

(“Bannock” has been used, in New England, to apply to a “thin cake baked on a griddle”.)
That this year marks the seven-hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn presumably is the reason why Scottish nationalists have chosen 2014 for the holding of their hubristic and pointless referendum on independence.  Here are a couple of facts that you probably didn’t know about the circumstances of that engagement:
  1. During those feudal times, loyalty was to one's overlord rather than to one's country; whether that overlord, for instance, the King of England (to whom the Bruce and all the other candidates for the crown of Scotland had sworn fealty in 1291), was of a different nationality from one's own was irrelevant.  Robert the Bruce and his adherents were motivated not by patriotism but merely by his dynastic ambition.
  2. During Bannockburn, it appears, not only the Bruce (who had committed either murder or attempted murder inside a church) but the whole of Scotland was under excommunication by the Pope.
The above might prove enlightening to those Scottish patriots who like to believe that Robert the Bruce's side had the moral high ground!