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A Spider Had a Leading Role in the Story of Scottish Independence


Inspiration can come in all sizes and shapes. But the story of the downtrodden Scottish nationwide hero Robert the Bruce, who dominated Scotland in the 14th century, being motivated to proceed his wrestle for Scottish independence by a lowly spider actually takes the biscuit.

The 1300s have been a powerful time for the Scots. The famed William Wallace , a chief in the combat for Scottish independence, was captured in August 1305, earlier than being hung, drawn and quartered on the orders of King Edward I of England , who was trying to ascertain English rule over Scotland. In 1306 it appeared that the destiny of Robert the Bruce was heading in the similar route.

Portrait of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, by Jacob de Wet II. (Public domain)

Portrait of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, by Jacob de Wet II. ( Public area )

It had been a troublesome 12 months. After stabbing his rival to the Scottish throne, John Comyn, at Greyfriars church in Dumfries, Robert the Bruce was first excommunicated by the Pope, after which topped king of Scotland in March 1306, incurring the wrath of the English king. He then suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Methven in June, an occasion which pressured him into exile. Meanwhile, a lot of his household was both executed or imprisoned.

Illustration depicting Robert the Bruce and the spider in a remote Scottish cave. (Public domain)

Illustration depicting Robert the Bruce and the spider in a distant Scottish cave. ( Public area )

It is throughout his time in hiding that the purported spider incident is alleged to have occurred. While mendacity low in a secluded cave contemplating his future, native legends declare that Robert the Bruce grew to become fixated on a spider stubbornly weaving its internet between one aspect of the cave and one other. After each failed try, the spider would recuperate its composure and proceed till it had attained its goal.

Drawing parallels along with his personal failures and struggles for Scottish independence , it’s believed that this straightforward expertise impressed Bruce to proceed the combat. He ended up beating the English at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn , a landmark occasion throughout which the outnumbered forces of Robert the Bruce received out in opposition to the English. It was however solely in 1328 that the English accepted Bruce and his heirs as rightful successors and acknowledged the independence of Scotland.

King’s Cave on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. (marsupium images / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

These days the story of Robert the Bruce and the spider has attained legendary standing. In truth, a number of areas have tried to money in on the consideration, from Rathlin Island off Northern Ireland, the King’s Cave on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland and even Bruce’s Cave in Dumfriesshire. Historians nonetheless doubt the veracity of the spider story.

“It’s time somebody swatted that spider once and for all!,” urged historian Dr. Louise Yeoman when chatting with the BBC. It appears that the story was first recorded a few hundred years later in the seventeenth century, claiming that it was really Sir James Douglas, one of Bruce’s few surviving supporters after Methven, who tried to bolster Robert the Bruce with the story of the persistent spider.

Top picture: Legend has it that Robert the Bruce was impressed to proceed his wrestle for Scottish independence by a spider in a cave. Source: pedro / Adobe Stock

By Cecilia Bogaard

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