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Scotland and Arbroath 1320 – 2020

700 Years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence


Edited By Klaus Peter Müller

700 years of people in Scotland, England, Europe, and the world fighting for freedom, sovereignty, independence and justice are investigated in the essential periods and cultures since the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath: the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Early Modern Age, the English Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Cultural, media, political, and social studies, history, the law, art, philosophy, and literature are used for an analysis of the evolution of human rights, democracy, freedom, individual as well as national independence and justice in connection with past and present threats to them. Threats from politics, the economy, digitalisation, artificial intelligence, people's ignorance.


With contributions by Alasdair Allan MSP, Christopher J. Berry, Neil Blain, Alexander Broadie FRSE, Dauvit Broun, Mark P. Bruce, Ewen A. Cameron, Robert Crawford, Ian Duncan, Richard J. Finlay, David Forrest, Edouard Gaudot, Marjory Harper, Sarah Longlands, Ben McConville, David McCrone, Aileen McHarg, John Morrison, Klaus Peter Müller, Hugh O’Donnell, Murray Pittock, Anthony Salamone, David R. Sorensen, Silke Stroh, Christopher A. Whatley and Ben Wray.

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‘He Is Not a Scot—Christ! Who Is Not Pleased with This Book’: Arbroath, Scotichronicon, and the Production of Scottish Identity (Mark P. Bruce (St. Paul))


Mark P. Bruce (St. Paul)

‘He Is Not a Scot—Christ! Who Is Not Pleased with This Book’: Arbroath, Scotichronicon, and the Production of Scottish Identity

Abstract: Walter Bower, in his 15th-century Scotichronicon, inserts identifiably ‘Brucean’ rhetoric into early Scottish history, most notably prefigurations of the Declaration of Arbroath itself. While this rhetorical tactic makes the Declaration appear to be an organic culmination of Scottish history rather than a product of much later partisan concerns, it also threatens to expose the constructedness of the very form of Scottish identity Bower seeks to promote.

Keywords: History; Arbroath; Scotichronicon; identity; Scotland; rhetoric; narrative; Robert Bruce; ideology; myths; John of Fordun

The line quoted above, “Non Scotus est Christe cui liber non placet iste”, is literally the last word in the Corpus Christi College manuscript of Bower’s massive history, a working copy produced under Bower’s own supervision in the mid to late 1440’s.1 It is a fitting summary of the work that precedes it; a work set up from the very beginning as an extended definition of Scottishness and argument for Scottish independence. For a short line, it is a rich one: it identifies Scottishness with narrative; defines that identity as a process of taking pleasure in that narrative; and limits the narrative capable of defining Scottishness to this one, Bower’s own – all under the imperative invocation of He who, for Bower, Abbot of Incholm, is the source of truth itself. That the line does...

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