Battles of Invernhaven And Perth – 1300s
That said, let me try and redeem myself for picking on Scott. We will say we can assume he had been attempting to be as accurate as possible about the history of the battle in his story. Even then, however, we must bear an important fact in mind: Scott was writing 400 years after the event had taken place! Of course, truth be told, if he had come on the scene a few centuries earlier, he would likely still have had only fragmentary documentation from which to derive his accounts and reflections. Poor preservation, the changing of monarchies and their need to influence history, shifts from home to foreign rule (events, incidentally, often leading to purposeful omissions by the new regimes), variations in language and what was lost in translation, and so on had already left a mark on the historical records. If there are gaps to be filled, well, there’s nothing better than the stuff of “educated” imagination. The passage of 400 years is more than enough time to dilute fact with fiction in any case, but, if Scott studied and wrote about it, it must be accurate, right? Thus begins a pattern of holding to the “facts” spawned by a cherished national figure and, coupled with the age-old tradition of handing down and embellishing stories, a trend toward the diversion and elaboration of details.
Therefore, we begin with an already romanticized account as a launching point. Then, with a twist here, a tweak there, and a bit of assumption thrown in – just for taste – we find ourselves confronted with a good many variations on a theme as time goes by. Some have at least small overlaps, possibly pointing toward a semblance of “truth,” but this is the greatest problem: which version is true or, at least, has the most truth to it (if indeed any do)? Which has the proof to back it up? As already mentioned, the
written records Scott studied were fragmentary and previously “interpreted.” History, however, seems discontent to remain in the realm of supposition and guesswork. In fact, if we