Monday, March 19, 2007

Was Robert Bruce a Leper?

The Roving Medievalist linked to an article today about the leprosy of Robert Bruce. "The Bruce" took up the fight for Scottish independence after the death of the great William Wallace. The horrific murder of Wallace stirred the wealthy young noble into risking everything in the struggle for liberty. From the moment he was crowned King of Scots he became embroiled in a conflict with the English and with many of his countrymen. At one point, he was a fugitive in the wilderness; most of his family, including his wife and daughter, were imprisoned by his enemies. Robert Bruce, through sheer determination and brilliant strategy overcame all the odds. At Bannockburn on June 24, 1314, he defeated the English army, although greatly outnumbered.

King Robert had promised to go on crusade in order to atone for a past sin, but died before he could fulfill his vow. His friend, Black Douglas, undertook to fulfill the vow for him. With the heart of Robert the Bruce in a small casket around his neck, he rode against the Moors in Spain. He flung the heart of the Bruce at the Saracens, saying, "Lead on, Brave Heart, as thou hast led so many times before. Lead on, and I will follow thee." Black Douglas was slain in battle and the heart of Robert Bruce was transported to Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Bruce was the one originally given the name "Braveheart." Share

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