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Chivalry and warfare in medieval Scotland
Dr Callum Watson explores the contrast between the idealised portrayals of medieval Scottish knights and the brutal realities of being involved in long-running conflicts.


Chivalry was a powerful motivator for the late medieval nobility, influencing their behaviour in warfare, politics, and social interactions. Authors from across western Europe produced extensive - if often varied - literature expounding the perceived benefits of a chivalric lifestyle, and detailing what virtues a truly chivalrous knight ought to embody.

Scotland was no exception to this trend. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Scotland's chivalric literature tended to be informed by the experiences of the long-running Anglo-Scottish conflicts of the 14th- and 15th-centuries. As such, Scottish chivalry often placed greater emphasis on prudence, planning, and calculation than in other kingdoms, promoting qualities that were best suited to the kind of guerrilla warfare that proved so useful in the defence of the realm in this period.


This live illustrated talk by Dr Callum Watson will examine the connections between the practicalities of Scottish warfare in the late medieval period and the ways in which Scottish writers presented idealised forms of knighthood during this period.

This 45-minute live talk will be followed by a 30-minute audience Q&A, chaired by Dr Allan Kennedy, History Scotland’s consultant editor. The talk will be recorded and made available to ticket holders for 7 days after broadcast.

Nov 15, 2022 06:30 PM in London

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Dr Callum Watson
Dr Callum Watson completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh on attitudes towards chivalry in Barbour’s Bruce and Blind Hary’s Wallace. He runs the ‘Knight of the Two Ls’ blog (http://drcallumwatson.blogspot.com), where he writes about various aspects of medieval Scotland.