"'Our Hielandmen': Scots in Court Entertainments at Home and Abroad 1507-1616

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This article pays attention to the ways in which Highland identity was co-opted and constructed through Renaissance court entertainments both at home and further afield in Europe. Analysis of the Tournament of the Wild Knight and Black Lady staged by James IV (1507/8) reveals the tropes of wildness and blackness to underpin a particular representation of Highland identity that is appropriated and adapted by the Stewart Crown. These associations are shown to be enduring, and championed by the Scottish Crown to negate a long established negative discourse of Northerness, albeit these pejorative resonances continue to resonate and are eventually displaced onto depiction of Irish national identity in court culture. Pitscottie’s description of the temporary hunting lodge constructed by the Earl of Atholl to host James V and the papal ambassador (1529), and Mary Stuart’s festival at Stirling Castle (1566) to celebrate the christening of her son, show the Scottish Crown’s deliberate evocation of the Highland characteristics of wildness to proclaim indigenous Stoic and martial virtues justifying Scottish imperial ambition to the North and South of the border.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185
Number of pages19
JournalRenaissance Studies: Journal for the Society of Renaissance Studies
Issue number3
Early online date31 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2018


  • Highland (Scotland)
  • Court
  • Entertainment
  • mask
  • Highlander
  • 25ref2021


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