One of my all-time favorite medieval figures would be my ancestor Robert the Bruce, King of Scots. Everyone of my mother’s side of the family is a descendant of Robert the Bruce. Because of our blood ties to this king, my uncle’s first name was Robert and his middle name Bruce. Also, I call Robert the Bruce “Ancestor Robert” like I would address one of my aunts or uncles. Apart from his legitimate heirs, Ancestor Robert also had five illegitimate children, which is where we likely trace our descent. If we were descended from Ancestor Robert’s legitimate bloodline, everyone in Scotland would have heard of us.
Before he became King of Scots, Ancestor Robert was the Earl of Carrick and had a long-lasting rivalry with John Comyn, who had a claim to the Scottish throne that was as strong as his. When William Wallace rebelled against England, Ancestor Robert initially joined him, but would occasionally switch sides depending on which side benefited his claim to the Scottish throne more. After William Wallace was executed, Ancestor Robert briefly submitted to English rule before instigating another revolt.
To quell any further opposition, Ancestor Robert murdered his rival John Comyn in a church. For this, the Pope excommunicated Ancestor Robert until he was absolved by the Bishop of Glasgow. With his rival dead and his excommunication reversed, nothing stood in Ancestor Robert’s way to claim the Scottish crown for himself. Sadly, even though the crown gave Ancestor Robert all the legitimacy he could ever want, his position was far from secure.
Shortly after being crowned, Ancestor Robert suffered multiple defeats at the hands of both the English and rogue Scottish factions. It was not until the Battle of Loudoun Hill that Ancestor Robert completely turned the war around. After Loudoun Hill, Ancestor Robert won battle after battle against both the English and his enemies in Scotland. During this period, Ancestor Robert adopted some of the unorthodox military tactics that William Wallace invented and utilized them to devastating effect. With each victory, Ancestor Robert’s power and hold over Scotland grew.
The battle that would decide the outcome of the war took place in Bannockburn. At the start of the battle, Ancestor Robert dueled against an English knight. The duel ended with Ancestor Robert cleaving the knight’s skull open. He hit his foe so hard that the shaft of his battle axe splintered. Even though the English greatly outnumbered his own forces, Ancestor Robert not only crushed the English armies, but also destroyed England’s hold over Scotland for good.
With the decimated English forces in full retreat, Ancestor Robert’s own battle-hardened armies were free to engage in other campaigns. While Ancestor Robert campaigned in Ireland, he sent his deadliest general the Black Douglas to direct multiple raids across Northern England in order to discourage any future invasions. Ultimately, Ancestor Robert won the war and secured Scotland’s independence when the Pope acknowledged his status as king. Shortly afterward, Ancestor Robert made a peace agreement with Edward III, who surrendered all claim to Scotland. The last two years of Ancestor Robert’s reign were arguably the most peaceful years of his reign. He ruled as King of Scots for twenty-three years and spent most of that time at war.
Generations later, Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudors, died without an heir. This resulted in Ancestor Robert’s descendant, James VI, to inherit the thrones of both Scotland and England. Ancestor Robert won Scotland’s independence and his descendants took the English throne as well. On the other hand, Edward I and his Plantagenet bloodline withered and died out. Due to those factors, Ancestor Robert got the last laugh against the English.
To pay homage to my ancestor and reconnect with my roots, I will be modeling the main character of my spin-off fantasy trilogy after Ancestor Robert