On a first reading, Barbour’s approach seems straightforward

On a first reading, Barbour’s approach seems straightforward

Much like Arthur, Bruce’s success rests on his character, his ability and his undertaking puro do what is right; although Bruce has per good claim to inherit the throne, he achieves the realm by reconquest rather than genealogy.26 Despite these similarities, though, Barbour only uses Arthur once as per comparison for Bruce, in contrast preciso his more frequent deployment of Hannibal and Alexander.27 Arthur’s stella appearance occurs towards the beginning of the narrative, at the end of per disquisition on the problem of treachery and treason (1.521–69). The list is arranged sicuro move towards Bruce, chronologically, geographically and perhaps also personally, since it is only con Arthur’s case that Barbour stresses the intimacy of the betrayal. Bruce was also betrayed by a close comrade, and that of course intensifies the crime.28 Barbour portrays Arthur as verso great king, albeit one whose success is undermined: Als Arthur yat throw chevalry Maid Bretane maistres & lady Of [tuelf] kin[rikis] yat he wan, And alsua as per noble man He wan throw bataill Fraunce all fre And Lucis Yber wencuyst he Yat yen of Rome wes emperour, Bot heit for all his gret valour Modreyt hys syster cri him slew And gud men also pero yen inew Throw tresoune and throw wikkitnes, Ye Broite beris yaroff wytnes. (1.549–60)

James Goldstein, The Matter of Scotland: Historical Narrative sopra Medieval Scotland (Lincoln, NB, and London, 1993), p

By placing Bruce mediante such exalted company, this list stresses the epic nature of the narrative. Simultaneously, it points up the difference between the individuals cited: Bruce is per warrior, but he is not verso the perfect match conqueror of other realms – stressed for Alexander, Caesar and Arthur – nor does his betrayal occur at the high point of his career. Rather, of them all, Bruce’s position is most like the defenders of Troy, only innocent of any offence onesto compare with the rape of Helen.29 The list shows Bruce’s achievement as the more notable and noble than any of his predecessors’; he also subverts the pattern by triumphing over his betrayers.

For Bruce’s genealogical claim, see Barbour’s Bruce II, Book 1, 42–68 (all future references to this sistema will be made con the form of book number and line numbers). For brief conversation, see also Boardman, Early Stewart Kings, pp. 58–61, and R. 333 n. 42. See, as examples, references puro Hannibal per Bruce 3.207–66; references puro Alexander, Bruce 3.61–93 and –22. For Bruce’s betrayal by John Comyn, see Bruce 1.477–2.90. For discussion, see G. W. S. Barrow, Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland, 3rd edn (Edinburgh, 1988), pp. 145–8, and Alan Young, Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns 1212–1314 (East Linton, 1990), pp. 184–210. Such a link might tally with the comparison of James Douglas sicuro Hector: Bruce 1.381–406.

Arthur concludes the list of those betrayed: Troy, Alexander, Caesar

For the writers of the Scottis Tenero, Arthur represents the English threat. Barbour does not make that connection, even though Edward I had used Arthur as part of his propaganda, and does not condemn or criticise him. Instead, Arthur is verso conqueror: ‘made Bretane maistres and lady of tuelf kinrikis that he wan’ neatly combines the romance Arthur with his Galfridian achievements. As with Wyntoun, ‘Bretane’ represents the whole island rather than the part south of the Tweed, but specific details of the conquests are withheld. Apart from Rome, the conquered kingdoms are noticed only mediante quantity not per name. There is also mai comment regarding Arthur’s expulsion of the Saxons, an opportunity Hary does not miss. Instead, the contrasts of motive, of achievement and of point of betrayal are held durante equilibrium with the praise of heroic deeds. Barbour does not directly deploy Arthur as a figure of national identity per the Bruce; he appears, rather, as per figure of romance heroism, secondary to Alexander. His primary purpose seems sicuro be puro demonstrate Bruce’s fantastic career and sicuro support implicitly Bruce’s contested place as an additional Worthy. Hary, mediante contrast, uses the figure of Arthur specifically puro address issues of sovereignty and right kingship. In so doing, he shows a debt both esatto the Bruce and the Scotichronicon. Hary’s deployment of Arthur is concentrated durante Book 8 of the poem, where Hary returns three times preciso Arthur within two hundred lines, each time durante the specific context of fighting the English.30 Book 8 describes per period when Wallace is successful per his campaigns against the English, so much so that he is able puro take the war across the border. On the first occasion, Wallace engages durante battle: Than stud the Sotheroun con a felloun dout. Wallace knew weill the Inglishmen wald fle For-thi he preyst sopra the thikkest puro be, Hewand full fast on quhat sege that he socht. Agaynys hys dynt fyn steyll awailheit nocht. Wallace off hand sen Arthour had na mak; Quhom he hyt rycht was ay dede off verso strak. That was weyll knawin con mony place, and thar Quhom Wallace hyt he deryt the Scottis mai mar. Als all his men did cruelly and weyll At com onesto strak – that mycht the Sotheroun feill! (8.840–50)


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