The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Scotland

-Andrew DiSalvo Continue reading

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A Comparison of Scientific Advancement in Scottish Universities and the Royal Society

The seventeenth century was a period of exciting scientific growth in Scotland and England. However, the platforms for this progress were different for each kingdom: in Scotland, it was within its universities that new science first took hold, whereas in England, scientific advancement was largely occurring within the Royal Society founded in 1660. The fact that one of these platforms were universities, and the other a private club, led to key differences in the transition and outcomes of scientific growth in the two kingdoms. The universities being a center of scientific inquiry was both a hindrance, due to the ability of church and state to exert control, as well as a benefit to Scotland because it enabled new knowledge to spread to students. While science in the Scottish universities seems to have lagged behind the Royal Society in taking on the new science at first, it accounted for Scotland’s uniquely prominent Enlightenment in the proceeding century, marking a different experience than in England. Continue reading

James VI and I: “Great Britain’s Solomon” or the “Wisest Fool in Christendom”?

The Union of the Crowns of 1603 was an historic event: James VI of Scotland, England’s neighbor and neutral ally since 1560, acceded the throne of England after Elizabeth I’s death, making him James VI of Scotland and James I of England and Ireland. Since James’ rule now extended over three different kingdoms, he aimed to find a way to unify them in order to ensure a solid footing during his reign. However, there have been varying opinions of how effective James was at doing this, but also how competent a king he was in the first place. These varying of opinions are evident when looking at the vastly different epithets that James earned, ranging from “Great Britain’s Solomon” to the “Wisest Fool in Christendom.” These diverging historiographical viewpoints raise the obvious question as to why there are so many varied opinions concerning James and his effectiveness as a ruler. Continue reading

Celtic Lore and James VI and I’s Attempts at Union

In Westminster Abbey, underneath the coronation chair, there lays a plain stone. The stone, commonly known as the Coronation Stone, or the Stone of Scone, serves primarily as the place where English monarchs are crowned. However, before being used by the English crown, the stone was used by the Scottish kings according to legend. During Edward I’s war with Scotland in 1296, the stone was taken as a spoil of war and placed in Westminster Abbey. In the 1328 Treaty of Northampton, one of the terms was the restitution of the stone to Scotland. Despite the agreement of these terms, the stone remained in Westminster.[1] Thus it was notable when James VI of Scotland was crowned king of England in 1603 on this Scottish relic. Continue reading