Monday, June 23, 2008

Today In History: Not just A Bruce, The Bruce.

On this day in 1314, the armies of Edward II spent a fruitless afternoon attempting to dislodge the Scottish schiltrons (squares of spearmen) from the slopes above the Bannock Burn. They didn't succeed at much of anything except getting killed in large numbers for no gain at all. In fine medieval fashion, they naturally tried again the next day, with a repeat of the previous day's performance.

When the sun went down on the 24th, Robert the Bruce had solidified his claim as King of Scotland, and Edward the Second would ride home in defeat to England, where he would eventually come down with a fatal case of red-hot poker up the poop chute.

15 comments:

DWMF said...

Harrumpf. The meeting of English and Scottish forces at Bannockburn was to sign the treaty sealing the victories of Edward I while putting down William Wallace's rebellion.

The English force was of a diplomatic size, no more than symbolic. The Scots turned up with heavy weapons and massacred them. It was a military and political mugging.

Please don't confabulate from "Hollywood history".

Tam said...

Edward II was at the head of a feudal army larger than the English forces at Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt combined.

Who's being revisionist here?

Matt G said...

Not the first time that your posts have evoked shameful curiosity about the appearance of people's poopers.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many wars in how many places have been fought for freedom in the history of mankind?

If they lose, they have to fight again later or wait for the system to rot. If they win they get lax and lazy and put on chins voluntarily.

Be interesting to know the number.

Anonymous said...

Chins and chains. First they get fat and lazy. Then they wake up one day and realize they are slaves.

Oops! gotta put out my cigarette, buckle up my seatbelt and drive my registered, inspected, licensed car over to pay my property tax while tuning the radio to see if the Supreme court is going to declare another amendment of the Bill of Rights invalid!

Legman688 said...

Strictly speaking, schiltrons appear to have been *circles* of pikemen, not squares. It's a small matter, the end result is the same either way.

Also, don't forget that the Scots chose their ground carefully and then improved it with hidden trenches and stakes. Very important, that.

Anonymous said...

Some claim of "freedom" de Bruce was a French speaking Norman, born and brought up in Hartlepool (HANG ABOUT; much as the English try to deny it, Hartlepool is in England), not the porridge wog portrayed by hollywood.

Is freedom being able to have your own Norman, complete with divine right?

Ask the Irish about de Bruce, he invaded them.

LawDog said...

Robert Bruce was born in Ayrshire. While his father (born in Essex) was of Norman extraction, his mother -- Marjory of Carrick, daughter of Niall, Mormaer of Carrick, granddaughter of Donnchad and great-granddaughter of Gilla Brigte mac Fergusa of Galloway -- was Gaelic to the core.

While Robert was fluent in Norman French (as was any educated person at that time) his fluency in both Gaelic and Latin is a matter of record -- his name is found several times in the Carrick lists of Gaelic notaries.

Steve Skubinna said...

Fat lot of good it did them, now they're in the EU. Poor silly bastards.

And I have to second dwmf's interpretation. It was totally unfair of the Scots to show up with an army and keep on fighting. Invalidates the moral strength of their so-called "victory."

In re: poker, hot, anally holstered, I presume you have read Florence King's When Sisterhood Was in Flower?

LawDog said...

Harrumpf. The meeting of English and Scottish forces at Bannockburn was to sign the treaty sealing the victories of Edward I while putting down William Wallace's rebellion.

The English force was of a diplomatic size, no more than symbolic. The Scots turned up with heavy weapons and massacred them. It was a military and political mugging.


Are we thinking of the same Battle of Bannock Burn? The one where the English showed up with 20,000 warm bodies versus the 6,500 of the Bruce?

The one that opened with Sir Henry de Bohun -- in full armour and riding a destrier -- mounting his lance and charging Robert the Bruce -- who was not only riding "ane palfray, litil and joly", but was only armed with an axe?

While I'm familiar with the concept of "mugging", the battle I'm familiar with took two days -- a very long mugging, indeed.

Rabbit said...

Feh.

As a proud lineal descendant of The Black Douglas, I must say that the English had it coming. They always have it coming.

Regards,
Rabbit.

T.Stahl said...

Bannockburn.
Saul David mentions it as an example for Meddling Ministers in his book Military Blunders - The how and why of military failure.
Eddie II's 20,000 (2,500 knights from all over Europe, 3,000 Welsh longbowmen and 15,000 foot soldiers) against 5,000 Scots.

It's a nice example for an over-confident political leader who thought he was better at leading an army than a real military leader and who ignored the principles of combine arms warfare.

workinwifdakids said...

Wikipedia:

This savagery [burning of poop chutes and so forth]... also reflected the general malaise, anger, and pessimism of the new age of global cooling.

Oh. My. God. Tam, you have uncovered the first assassination of a public official caused by man-made global climate change!

HTRN said...

I'm with Rabbit - the Sassanach got what a dose of what they deserved. The thieving bastards stole the stone, among other things.

Remember, this all got started because Edward I, the socalled Hammer of the Scots, injected himself into a dispute over who the new Scottish king was, and took advantage of the internal strife to "grab a little real estate".

Robert said...

"...where he would eventually come down with a fatal case of red-hot poker up the poop chute."

Having read that I have to ask: know any good ways to clean coffee from a glossy MacBook screen?