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Re: Bruce's heart

Bruce Carlyon asked:

>> 2. With regard to Robert the Bruce was having his heart
>> returned to Jerusalem.  I am wondering why?
>> This might be answered with religous motivations, but what would they be?
>> Was it because it was the site of Christ's crucifixion or for other
>> Such as the Holy City and site of the Temple was the spiritual heart of
>> Knight Templar who assured his victory at Bannockburn?  This seems more
>> likely than the above christain convictions, considering that he was
>> excummunicated by the Pope, and isolated from most of Christain Europe.
>> If my hunch about this is correct then the speculation as to why his heart
>> was going to Jerusalem becomes much more meaningful.
>> The implications would still be greater than those that I have provided
>> above, but it starts a platform that others might like to help build on.

The significance of the Holy Land in medieval thought and sentiment was
much greater than it is to people nowadays, due partlyto a couple
hundred years of Popes and others stirring up people to ride over there
and fight for it.  There's nothing particularly remarkable in a
Christian king such as Bruce having dying wishes regarding the Holy
Land.  And Bruce was apparently as Christian as any other king of his
day.  I don't know why you say that he was isolated from most of
Christian Europe.  There is much evidence of letters and people coming
and going between Scotland and the continent during this period.
However, as to whether he even mentioned the Holy Land or Jerusalem or
anything in either of them, see below.

>> Comments form you all would be appreciated, particularly Niven, Tim
>> Wallace-Murphy, John Quarterman and Bill Buhler.
>> The last point on this is that at the time of his death, Jerusalem and the
>> Holy Land had been lost to the Muslims.  The Templars had had been psuhed
>> out of their holdings there and later dissolved.
>> Just how the hell did the Sinclairs and Douglasses expect to get into
>> Jerusalem?

Two answers:

a) Just because the main Crusades were over was not enough reason to stop
various adventurers from mounting their own private wars against Muslims.
See, for instance, King Peter's Crusade of 1365, in which Peter of Lusignan
(the house of the Christian Kings of Jerusalem), King of Cyprus, sacked
Alexandria.  As previously discussed on this list, it is at least plausible
that Baron Henry Sinclair of Rosslyn, the future Prince Henry of Orkney,
was on that Crusade.

b) The dirty little secret of the Crusades was that it had usually not been
all that difficult for Christians to visit Jerusalem under Muslim rule,
and for that matter in the Sixth Crusade of 1228-1229
the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen
had gained agreement with Muslims permitting Christians free
access to the Holy Places.

>> Would it be like burying an Englishman in Berlin during the battle of
>> Britain.
>> Even if they could get in to the city, how would they get permission to
>>bury the heart of a christain king?

Well, the Church of the Holy Sepulchur was usually under Christian control
even during times of Muslim rule of Jerusalem.

>> But the biggest question seems to me is WHERE EXACTLY did they intend to
>> bury the heart of Robert the Bruce??  Can anyone answer this one?  It
>> really important in understanding what was going on.  A trip like this
>>would have been meticulously planned.

Um, most of the Crusades themselves weren't what we would call
"meticulously planned".

For example, St. Louis, King of France, attempted in 1248-1254 to
defeat the Mamelukes of Egypt.  He was captured, largely because he had
no real idea of what he was up against and no real plan for how to win.

Nothing loath, Louis tried again in the Eighth Crusade of 1269-1270,
and that time died in Tunis.  Robert Bruce the Contender (grandfather
of King Robert I of Scotland) was with him, as was Prince Edmund of
England.  Meanwhile, on the Last Crusade of 1270-1272, Prince Edward,
the future King Edward I Longshanks of England, reached Acre, only to
discover Louis was in Tunis.

>>  I suspect the ports of call would be old
>> Templar holdings until Jerusalem and then, they must have had a safe-house
>> in Jerusalem or an continuing agreement with the Muslims regarding certain
>> property held in Jerusalem.

The actual route is recorded by Barbour.

Laurel remarks:

>Dear Bruce,
>   Answering #3 first.   I have wondered that also.  It doesn't make sense
>to me either.  I have wondered what the exact words were that Bruce said.
>Surely he wouldn't have sent his dearest commrades to their certain deaths
>and even, as you say, they did sneak into Jerusalem dressed in disguise,
>they could easily have been discovered when they started digging.  This just
>seems inconsistent with what we know about his love for his fellow knights.
>    So, what were the exact words that Bruce said on his death bed?   Could
>it have been, "Promise me that you will carry my heart into battle against
>the Moors(or Moslems or enemy)?"  In the case of a battle, it would be
>assumed that these men would have enough Knights with them to protect  them
>and be able to return again.

As you know, according to Barbour, what the Bruce said when he realized he was
dying, but had a little time before the end, was:

        He said, 'Lordingis, sua is it gayn
        With me that thar is nocht bot ane,
        That is the dede withoutyn drede
        That ilk man mon thole off nede.
175     And I thank God that has me sent        171
        Space in this lyve me to repent,
        For throuch me and my werraying
        Off blud has bene rycht gret spilling
        Quhar mony sakles men war slayn,
180     Tharfor this seknes and this payn       176
        I tak in thank for my trespas.
        And myn hart fichyt sekyrly was
        Quhen I wes in prosperite
        Off my synnys to sauffyt be
185     To travaill apon Goddis fayis,  181
        And sen he now me till him tayis
        Sua that the body may na wys
        Fullfill that the hart gan devis
        I wald the hart war thidder sent
190     Quharin consavyt wes that entent.       186
        Tharfor I pray you everilkan
        That ye amang you ches me ane
        That be honest wis and wicht
        And off his hand a noble knycht
195     On Goddis fayis my hart to ber  191
        Quhen saule and cors disseveryt er,
        For I wald it war worthily 
        Brocht thar, sen God will nocht that I
        Haiff power thidderwart to ga.'

Now Barbour may not be the best of witnesses, but so far as I know he's
all we have for any version of the actual words of Bruce on this event.
I'll be happy to see any better version if someone can produce it.

In this version, the Bruce clearly says that he's thankful for the time
he has left, so he can repent for all the spilled blood and men slain
in war that he has caused.  Remember, this is a man who killed his main
rival in a church so he could be king (that was why the Pope excommunicated
him).  And he spent most of his life fighting one war or another.  So he
might well have meant what he said.

He goes on to say that he failed when in health to go on God's fights,
which in context must mean a crusade of some kind, and that he wants to
have his heart sent to do that even after he's dead.  Note that the fight
in Spain against the Moors would have counted as just as much a crusade
as the previous ones in Palestine.  In other words, carrying Bruce's
heart into battle at Teba should have fulfilled Bruce's wish as recorded
by Barbour.  Note that Barbour doesn't say anything about any further
attempts to carry the heart any farther, nor about any lamenting about
not reaching Jerusalem with it.

Why would he care about such a thing?  Well, both his grandfather and
his greatest enemy, Richard Longshanks, had been crusaders.  Yet he had
not done the same, so he apparently thought he had not fulfilled all
his responsibilities.  And it was a grand gesture such as would be in
character for him.

As you've pointed out before, there's nothing in this version about Jerusalem
or directions to bury the heart in the Church of the Holy Sepulchur, so I
don't know where those details of the legend of Bruce's heart came from.
Does someone else know?


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