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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Title: Head, Body and Heart: Legitimating Kingship and the Burial of Robert Bruce, Scotland's 'Leper King', CA 1286-1329
Author(s): Penman, Michael A
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Keywords: Robert Bruce
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2014
Date Deposited: 13-Aug-2014
Citation: Penman MA (2014) Head, Body and Heart: Legitimating Kingship and the Burial of Robert Bruce, Scotland's 'Leper King', CA 1286-1329. Micrologus, XXII, pp. 229-252.
Abstract: This paper examines an aspect of the long struggle of the body politic of the medieval kingdom of Scotland to secure its freedom from English overlordship. It relates the efforts of Robert Bruce earl of Carrick to legitimise his usurpation of the throne as Robert I (1306-29) by associating his person and rule with the 'Beata stirps' of his predecessors: the royal saints, major churches and wider relics of the realm. It illustrates the faith and strategy of the king and his ministers in their conflict not only against England but also papal excommunication and interdict as well as accusations that Robert suffered and died from the ‘unclean sickness', leprosy (with evidence assembled to show that he probably suffered from tuberculosis or syphilis). This would culminate in the carefully choreographed ritual and iconography of Robert I's funeral at the Benedictine abbey of Dunfermline in 1329, home to the shrine of St Margaret (d.1093); this was allied to the Bruce dynasty's successful defence of Scottish sovereignty, recognised by a papal grant of the rite of full coronation and anointment in 1329.
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