As such, today I carefully wrote a thread, on Twitter, in which I poured all my past experience as a Medievalist, and as much knowledge as I could muster, about the crucial importance of this document, as well as its larger context in Medieval European History. I have decided to collate those tweets together into a single text and post it here too – so, bear in mind the media that it was written for (original thread here, if you care to like / retweet it: https://twitter.com/wgsaraband/status/1247099903781875713
Remember that if we are to make sense of our present and prepare ourselves for the challenges of our future, we must never forget the lessons of our past. History is a discipline that we all ought to pay attention to, read about and cherish.
Declaration of Arbroath – context
Today, 6th of April 2020, marks the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath (1320), one of the most important documents in Scottish history.
Here’s a wee thread, from someone who had to study this document at university, in Lisbon, as part of my degree in History:
The Declaration of Arbroath is a letter, written in Latin, and signed by almost 40 Scottish barons & earls, addressed to Pope John XXII.
The Pope was a major political figure throughout most of the Middle Ages, and this was a bit like sending a letter to the United Nations.
Whilst many countries have a foundational story based on biblical myths, Scotland presents here a uniquely realistic tale that shows how some elements of oral history from this time survived in the collective memory for long.
The Scotii were migrants who fought their way here.
The other fascinating part of the Declaration of Arbroath, and why Medieval academics across the world study it, is its assertion of sovereignty. It states that it lies with the people, rather than the King of Scots.
But who, exactly, are the “people”?
In simple terms, what did the Declaration of Arbroath seek to achieve?
To recognise Robert the Bruce’s military victories and his rightful claim to Scotland, to reject Edward II’s claim to overlordship of Scotland, and for Scotland’s sovereignty to be legitimised by the Pope.
Declaration of Arbroath today
Don’t let your ignorance become a blindfold. Don’t let your cringe stop you from valuing a fascinating piece of your own history.
If people from outwith Scotland can see the worth of your people, culture and history, then please ask yourself: what’s stopping you?
Scotland’s history is not exceptional or superior to anyone else’s, but, like the history of any other country, it is unique. And if we are to find our way into the future, we must never forget the paths in our past that we have trodden.
Read your history. #DeclarationofArbroath