Much like Arthur, Bruce’s success rests on his character, his ability and his undertaking preciso do what is right; although Bruce has per good claim sicuro inherit the throne, Ricerca profilo dill mil he achieves the realm by reconquest rather than genealogy.26 Despite these similarities, though, Barbour only uses Arthur once as per comparison for Bruce, con contrast preciso his more frequent deployment of Hannibal and Alexander.27 Arthur’s sole appearance occurs towards the beginning of the narrative, at the end of verso disquisition on the problem of treachery and treason (1.521–69). The list is arranged to move towards Bruce, chronologically, geographically and perhaps also personally, since it is only per Arthur’s case that Barbour stresses the intimacy of the betrayal. Bruce was also betrayed by per close comrade, and that of course intensifies the crime.28 Barbour portrays Arthur as a great king, albeit one whose success is undermined: Als Arthur yat throw chevalry Maid Bretane maistres & lady Of [tuelf] kin[rikis] yat he wan, And alsua as verso noble man He wan throw bataill Fraunce all fre And Lucis Yber wencuyst he Yat yen of Rome wes emperour, Bot heit for all his gret valour Modreyt hys syster son him slew And gud men also tuttavia yen inew Throw tresoune and throw wikkitnes, Ye Broite beris yaroff wytnes. (1.549–60)
By placing Bruce sopra such exalted company, this list stresses the epic nature of the narrative. Simultaneously, it points up the difference between the individuals cited: Bruce is a warrior, but he is not a conqueror of other realms – stressed for Alexander, Caesar and Arthur – nor does his betrayal occur at the high point of his career. Rather, of them all, Bruce’s position is most like the defenders of Troy, only innocent of any offence to compagno with the rape of Helen.29 The list shows Bruce’s achievement as the more notable and noble than any of his predecessors’; he also subverts the pattern by triumphing over his betrayers.
For Bruce’s genealogical claim, see Barbour’s Bruce II, Book 1, 42–68 (all future references puro this work will be made in the form of book number and line numbers). For brief discussion, see also Boardman, Early Stewart Kings, pp. 58–61, and R. 333 n. 42. See, as examples, references esatto Hannibal durante Bruce 3.207–66; references to Alexander, Bruce 3.61–93 and –22. For Bruce’s betrayal by John Comyn, see Bruce 1.477–2.90. For conciliabule, see G. W. S. Barrow, Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland, 3rd edn (Edinburgh, 1988), pp. 145–8, and Alan Young, Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns 1212–1314 (East Linton, 1990), pp. 184–210. Such per link might tally with the comparison of James Douglas sicuro Hector: Bruce 1.381–406.
For the writers of the Scottis Nuovo, Arthur represents the English threat. Barbour does not make that connection, even though Edward I had used Arthur as part of his promozione, and does not condemn or criticise him. Instead, Arthur is a conqueror: ‘made Bretane maistres and lady of tuelf kinrikis that he wan’ neatly combines the romance Arthur with his Galfridian achievements. As with Wyntoun, ‘Bretane’ represents the whole island rather than the part south of the Tweed, but specific details of the conquests are withheld. Apart from Rome, the conquered kingdoms are noticed only sopra quantity not per name. There is also no comment regarding Arthur’s expulsion of the Saxons, an opportunity Hary does not miss. Instead, the contrasts of motive, of achievement and of point of betrayal are held per equilibrium with the praise of heroic deeds. Barbour does not directly deploy Arthur as per figure of national identity in the Bruce; he appears, rather, as verso figure of romance heroism, secondary sicuro Alexander. His primary purpose seems puro be onesto demonstrate Bruce’s fantastic career and onesto support implicitly Bruce’s contested place as an additional Worthy. Hary, con contrast, uses the figure of Arthur specifically preciso address issues of sovereignty and right kingship. Con so doing, he shows per debt both esatto the Bruce and the Scotichronicon. Hary’s deployment of Arthur is concentrated con Book 8 of the poem, where Hary returns three times to Arthur within two hundred lines, each time sopra the specific context of fighting the English.30 Book 8 describes verso period when Wallace is successful sopra his campaigns against the English, so much so that he is able onesto take the war across the border. On the first occasion, Wallace engages con battle: Than stud the Sotheroun sopra per felloun dout. Wallace knew weill the Inglishmen wald fle For-thi he preyst mediante the thikkest preciso be, Hewand full fast on quhat sege that he socht. Agaynys hys dynt fyn steyll awailheit nocht. Wallace off hand sen Arthour had na mak; Quhom he hyt rycht was ay dede off a strak. That was weyll knawin in mony place, and thar Quhom Wallace hyt he deryt the Scottis no mar. Als all his men did cruelly and weyll At com preciso strak – that mycht the Sotheroun feill! (8.840–50)