Warfare of Scotland in the High Middle Ages

Warfare Of Scotland In The High Middle Ages

Warfare of Scotland in the High Middle Ages

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The Scottish army of the High Middle Ages for the purposes of this article pertains to the fighting men and military systems that existed in Scotland between the death of Domnall II in 900, and the death of Alexander III in 1286, which fell before and indirectly led to the military conflict known as the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Warriors and warfare

After the "Norman Conquest" of David I, the warriors of Scotland can be classed as of two types. Firstly, the native exercitus Scoticanus (i.e. "Scottish army", also 'common army'); and, secondly, the exercitus militaris (i.e. "feudal army").

Gaelic army

The Common Army army formed the larger part of all pre-Stewart Scottish armies, but in the wider world of European (i.e. French) chivalry the feudal section was the more prestigious. The native Scots, like all early medieval Europeans, practiced organized slave-raiding, though this would seem to have disappeared by the middle of the 12th century. Presumably, they did so with each other. However, our main record of it comes from when they practised it against their Norman and pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon neighbour. John Gillingham argues that this was one of the things which made the Scots (and other Celts) particularly barbarous in the eyes of their "Frankish" neighbours, because the French had largely abandoned this form of warfare. Symeon of Durham writes,

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