Of Wilyham Wallas yhe haf Hard beyne tald.

The earliest known reference to Sir William Wallace of Braveheart fame is the Lübeck letter written in 1297 with Wallace’s seal. It informs German merchants that it is safe to do business in Scotland again since the Scotts have won back their kingdom from “the power of the English.” Image from https://www.scottisharchivesforschools.org/WarsOfIndependence/LubeckLetter.asp

So I’ve been focused on gun violence, the random youtube videos I think are informative, and my last post was about how Manson displayed leadership skills. I know some won’t understand why I went down that rabbit hole, so I’ll do a better job (mayhap) on explaining this one.

I’ve thought about leadership all my life. When I was young I was big, I was energetic, and I was ambitious. This combined with my imagination and intelligence to make me seem to myself like a natural-born leader. But then something slipped. I went from being a leader in my class to being….not so much an outsider…I was loved, but the leaders were other people. People wanted me in their group (unless it was an athletic group), but they weren’t going to follow me. From that point on I wondered why. What was it that made people want to follow one person and not another? And what is it that causes people to change loyalties?

The earliest known portrait of William Wallace according to the website for the Society of William Wallace. While nowhere near as ubiquitous as Robin Hood or King Arthur, there really isn’t much known about him. This portrait is of unknown date and origin, it is speculated it may be a portrait referred to by Blind Harry in the earliest known epic poem on Wallace. Image from http://www.thesocietyofwilliamwallace.com/portrait.htm

While I don’t want to pursue this topic too deeply or scientifically here, suffice it to say that I read and think a lot about this topic. And a fair number of my favorite movies demonstrate the leadership ideas that resonate with me. And my all-time favorite movie is Braveheart.

It feels daunting, and frankly like a huge change of gears. Likely most of the success books would scream “This is not your niche!” But it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to. Hopefully my thirty or so followers will be patient, the next few posts, possibly all the way through the rest of the month of July, I intend to devote to the movie, and to the historical William Wallace. I will in part be guided by Randall Wallace (who wrote the original novel and the screenplay of the movie) in his commentary Living the Braveheart Life, which will be one of the books I’m reading this July.

Image from https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/The-Elms-Smithfield/ The plaque was placed near Smithfield, where Wallace was executed. I never thought about this, he was executed a day before what would later be a Tired Blogger’s birthday.

Three things I will quickly relay: first, Dante had already cast judgement on Longshanks. Second, the same year Dante’s Divine Comedy was published, the Scots had written their own “prequal” to the US Declaration of Independence. Third, William Wallace name is strangely absent from printed history from his execution till the Epic Poem The Wallace was published in 1488.

Other than official records, the first thing I can discover in print about the epic struggle for Scottish independence comes from no lesser source than Dante’s Divine Comedy. In the Paradiso, Dante states “What would the Persians say to your kings, when they see that volume opened in which all their ill deeds are recorded?” Several “Christian” kings are mentioned committing atrocious acts similar to those the Christians had condemned Pagan kings for. And on the list, we find Longshanks, a mere thirteen years after his death. “There the pride will be seen that parches, and makes the Scots and Edward’s English mad so that they cannot keep the proper borders.”

The Sixth Sphere of Heaven in the Divine Comedy, where the Just Rulers spend eternity. Their souls are knit together to form an Eagle. Who was there according to Dante? King David, Hezekiah, Emperor Constantine. King Edward I is…somewhere else…

The same year Dante finally published his masterpiece, the Scotts decided that maybe the pen was as mighty as the sword. They scribed The Declaration of Arbroath. And no, Arbroath does not mean independence. It is the name of the monastery where the letter was scribed. In this letter, the Scotts send to the Pope all of the reasons why Scotland should be a free land under a Scottish King. There is no mention of Wallace, but like the American Declaration the grievances of the Scottish people against the English king are listed, and insist that as long as a hundred Scotsmen remain alive, they will fight “solely for freedom which no true man gives up but with his life.” There are those that say the Declaration of Abroath did indeed influence that of the US. I will post some sites that discuss this at greater length.




Wallace name is not in this declaration. In one sense this makes sense, since he would have been dead for thirteen years by now. But in our modern mythology, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace stand hand in hand. You don’t have the Scottish liberation without them both, or so we have been taught.

Robert the Bruce was no saint. He was excommunicated for murdering his rival John Comyn in the church at Dumfries. Was he really Wallace’s friend? If so, why is Wallace not mentioned in The Brus? Image from https://www.thoughtco.com/robert-the-bruce-biography-4174540

I’ve read speculation that Wallace was too much of an outlaw for a king to share the spotlight with him. History is silent about him from the time he died till the publication of The Wallace. According to the BBC, the book would be the second best-selling book in Scotland for centuries. Blind Harry, who composed the poem, claimed he had gotten his material from two sources, one being William Blair, a monk who had grown up in the same village as Wallace and became his personal scribe and confessor, the other source being some distant relation of William Wallace. But the other great epic, and older one, The Brus, makes no mention Wallace. Some speculate that kings have no truck with outlaws. Others say it was politically expedient to give all the glory to the king, and not talk about some common knight. But for whatever reason, Blind Harry made a story of common people following a leader without royal blood, and the Scots, while they love Robert too, frankly loved Wallace more. Whatever the truth, in the heart of us Scots, we want them to be fighting side by side for our liberties.

Great Seal of Robert the Bruce. Whether he knew Wallace or not, he benefited from the life and death of the outlaw. Queen Elizabeth II is a direct descendent of his daughter Marjory. If I’m understanding the very complex family tree correctly, she is not a direct descendant of Longshanks.
Likely too long for most, but if you get the chance and are interested in the history, this is a great documentary to watch. I love the Timeline series.


  1. NorthernOkie says:

    Oh, this should be a good series!
    Write on, good sir! Write on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Curtiswselby says:

      Thank you sir. Worked on the next installment tonight


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