“A somewhat too cruel vengeance was taken for the blood of the slain”: Royal punishment of rebels, traitors and political enemies in medieval Scotland, c.1100-c.1250

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

The kings of twelfth- and thirteenth- century Scotland faced prolonged opposition from families and individuals who fought either to assert their independence from centralising authority, or for the throne itself. The insurrections that arose as a result were all successfully defeated by an increasingly confident Scottish monarchy. Current historiography describes such royal victories as bloodthirsty affairs, with Scotland’s kings exacting excessively violent revenge on the bodies of their enemies. Historians of medieval England have drawn parallels between such acts and the political violence of contemporary Wales and Ireland, with England alone providing an example of a more civilised royal response to rebellion. This chapter reconsiders the actions of Scotland’s kings and reassesses the violent paradigm that has been accepted to date, examining cases of non-violent response as balance. It suggests that, instead of being violent avengers, Scottish kings behaved in a more acceptable and accepted contemporary manner than previously understood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTreason
Subtitle of host publication Medieval and Early Modern Adultery, Betrayal and Shame
EditorsLarissa Tracy
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill
Chapter5
Pages119-146
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9789004400245
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

Publication series

NameExplorations in Medieval Culture
PublisherBrill
ISSN (Print)2352-0299

Keywords

  • Medieval
  • Scotland
  • Treason
  • Punishment
  • Rebellion

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  • Cite this

    MacInnes, I. A. (2019). “A somewhat too cruel vengeance was taken for the blood of the slain”: Royal punishment of rebels, traitors and political enemies in medieval Scotland, c.1100-c.1250. In L. Tracy (Ed.), Treason: Medieval and Early Modern Adultery, Betrayal and Shame (pp. 119-146). (Explorations in Medieval Culture). Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004400696_007