Between 1460 and 1603 all Scotland’s monarchs came to the throne as minors, and three of the five were infants under two years. While the extensive length of time Scotland spent under minority rule is well known, the impact upon the realm and its rulers is still very much open for debate. Each of the male monarchs who ‘came of age’ after accession – James III, James IV, James V and James VI – has acquired significantly different reputation in the annals of history. The new direction being pursued here intends to pull on parallel themes of manliness, coming of age, and the visibility of the monarch to offer a new angle of comparative analysis on these Scottish Renaissance monarchs. Displays of manhood were central to Renaissance power politics (even arguably for female rulers such as Elizabeth I) but manhood in this era did not just denote ‘male gender’ and the ability to show prowess in ‘manly’ activities. The prime state of manhood was also linked to age, stability, the owning of property, and social and marital status. This paper intends to introduce the idea of manhood and gender as a manner of exploring the early modern period in Scotland (an area surprisingly underexplored), and present some initial findings from a case study being undertaken for this project on James V.