19th June 2019
The 23 and 24 June 2019 mark the anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn (The Bannock Burn in Scots) fought on those dates in 1314 between King Robert I ‘The Bruce’ of Scotland and King Edward II of England. It is probably well known in most history textbooks – and deservedly so because the Scottish victory resulted in long-term cultural, political and social effects for the different nations across these islands and beyond.
Perhaps much less well known, at least outside Scotland, and Scots language circles, is the epic poem The Bruce which was written during the 1370’s by John Barbour (died 1395) who was archdeacon of Aberdeen and a courtier at the court of King Robert II (1371-1390) during which reign literature in Scots began to be encouraged. The Bruce has as its theme the exploits of King Robert I and his right hand commander Sir James Douglas, known to Scots as The Guid Sir Jeems, and to the English as The Black Douglas.
An excellent and accessible edition of The Bruce is the 1997 Canongate Classics version edited by the historian AAM Duncan which gives both the original text in Scots with facing page English version and extensive notes about the language and the people, places and themes explored in the text.
In the meantime why not download the SLC’s account in Scots of the reign of Robert The Bruce which forms part of our Scotland’s Ain Kingly Hooses series. See PDF below.