Scottish history is riddled with myth and falsehood, says eminent historian

A new book, written by an eminent historian, says that the Scottish kilt was invented by an Englishman (although I already kew that) and that Scottish history is riddle with myth and falsehood...

Kilts were invented by the English in Lord Dacre's book

By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Correspondent
The Telegraph
18th May 2008

The Scottish kilt was actually invented by an Englishman

Kilts were invented by an Englishman, according to an eminent historian who claims Scots history is riddled with “myth and falsehood”.

The last book written by the late Lord Dacre of Glanton also states that the Declaration of Arbroath, which confirmed Scotland’s independence in 1320, is plagued with inaccuracies and details of “imaginary” kings.

He argues that Scotland’s literary, cultural and political traditions, which are claimed to date back from Roman times, were largely invented in the 18th century.

The book, titled The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History, is to be published at the end of this month, five years after Lord Dacre died of cancer.

Its controversial findings debunk many of the cultural arguments for Scottish independence, and are likely to fuel the current heated political debate over the country’s constitutional future.

Lord Dacre, formerly Hugh Trevor-Roper, concludes in the book: “In Scotland, it seems to me, myth has played a far more important part in history than it has in England.

“Indeed, I believe the whole history of Scotland has been coloured by myth; and that myth, in Scotland, is never driven out by reality, or by reason, but lingers on until another myth has been discovered to replace it.”

He claims that the “myth” of the ancient Highland dress was perpetuated by historians to provide a symbol by which Scots could be universally identified, as well as to support the country’s textile industry.

The traditional dress of the Highlanders was in fact a long Irish shirt and a cloak or plaid, he states, and only the higher classes had woven in stripes and colours creating tartan.

“The kilt’s appearance can, in fact, be dated within a few years,” he reveals in the book.

“For it did not evolve, it was invented. Its inventor was an English Quaker from Lancashire, Thomas Rawlinson.”

He claims Mr Rawlinson decided to shorten belted plaids after workmen in the Highlands, where he was staying, said they were uncomfortable.

Scots are also accused in the book of fabricating their own literary tradition, culminating in the publication of The Works of Ossian.

These have been claimed to have been translated from ancient sources in Gaelic about the lives of Celtic heroes.

But historians have long suspected them of being a figment of the imagination of James Macpherson, the 18th-century Scottish poet who claimed to have translated them.

Lord Dacre also declares that when the Scots were looking for a writer and poet to rival Shakespeare following the Act of Union in 1707, they found nothing.

This led to ancient writings being forged and passed off as Scottish literature.

He concludes: “It was natural that Scots, seeking compensation for the end of their independent history and politics, should turn to discover and appreciate their native literature.

“Unfortunately when they looked for it, they could not find it. There was none.”

Lord Dacre was one of the world’s most respected historians prior to his death, and was professor of Modern History at Oxford University for 23 years.

But his reputation was damaged when he claimed that forged diaries, purportedly written by Adolf Hitler and serialised in the Sunday Times, were authentic.

Michael Fry, an eminent Scottish historian, claimed Lord Dacre was not “a very reliable guide to Scottish history”, Tartan was worn in the Middle Ages and his claims about the kilt “prove absolutely nothing.”

“Lots of things emerge in history and just because we can’t pin down their origins it doesn’t follow from that everything about it is phoney,” Mr Fry said.

“There is a distinguished school of medieval Scottish literature, and poetry in something that is recognisably Scots was being written in the 14th century.”
This isn't surprising to see, the Scottish are a very supersticious people, folklore and myth are ingrained in their society. With all the clan wars, famine, clearing of the highlands, and persecution by the Brits many years ago it is surprising we know anything about these plaid tongued devils.

Don't think the arguement for Scottland's independence is going to stop anytime soon either, not unless you somehow get rid of every last Scott and even that's been tried with limited success, it just created Nova Scotia, bloody Scott's are everywhere now.
It's not surprising in the least that a Brit male invented a skirt
Dexter Sinister
Um... so, whose history isn't full of myth and falsehood? Mythology is among the many things people use to define themselves and distinguish themselves from others, it's not reasonable to expect much of popular history to be objectively verifiable. Some Scots are still brooding about the Battle of Culloden for crissake, and that was over 250 years ago. Jeez, get over it.

Kilts were invented by an Englishman, according to an eminent historian who claims Scots history is riddled with “myth and falsehood .

What an insult. It's like saying Canada invented hockey .
Last edited by china; May 19th, 2008 at 04:50 AM..

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