Chapter

Lords and Communities: Political Society in the Thirteenth Century

Michael Brown

in The Wars of Scotland 1214–1371

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780748612376
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672301 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748612376.003.0006
Lords and Communities: Political Society in the Thirteenth Century

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The character and organisation of political life, its key issues, and the level of participation in government and politics all underlay the successes and difficulties of Scotland's rulers. The obvious starting-point for a discussion of Scottish politics is kingship. To inhabitants and outsiders Scotland was most easily defined as a kingdom. The sense of being a realm and a people was built and developed by a royal dynasty. The consistent aim of the kings was the creation of a common political society with limits that matched the borders of their own authority. Relations between the kings and their greatest subjects were largely free of major disputes. The fifty or so lords and prelates closest to the king were mostly the heirs of men whose status had been achieved or confirmed in alliance with the crown. Yet this group only represented the summit of Scottish political activity. The political life of Scotland involved a much wider group of men and women who had a share in the structures, customs and relationships that, alongside royal rule, also defined the realm.

Keywords: Scottish history; political life; Scottish politics; kingship; lordship

Chapter.  10420 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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