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It begins with the mythical voyage of Scota, the Pharaoh’s daughter, from Egypt with the Stone of Destiny.
The land that her sons discovered in the Western Ocean was named after her: Scotland.
It goes on to describe the turbulent events that followed, among them the wars of the Scots and the Picts; the poisoning of King Fergus by his wife; Macbeth’s usurpation and uneasy reign; the good deeds of Margaret, queen and saint; Bruce’s murder of the Red Comyn; the founding of Scotland’s first university at St Andrews; the ‘Burnt Candlemas’; and the endless troubles between Scotland and England.
Weaving in and out of the events of Bower’s factual history, like a wonderful pageant, are other subjects that fascinated him: harrowing visions of hell and purgatory, extraordinary miracles; the exploits of knights and beggars, merchants and monks; the ravages of flood and fire; the terrors of the plague; and the answers to such puzzling questions as what makes a good king, and why Englishmen have tails.
This selection from the complete nine-volume edition of Scotichronicon puts Bower’s epic of Scotland into the hands of the general reader. It is a marvellous and unforgettable story.
Donald Watt was an Aberdonian who taught for many years