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Strategic Estimate of the Baltic Region

The Inauguration of Alexander III, King of Scots (1249)

[Gesta Annalia 2 in John of Fordun, Chronicle of the Scottish NaKon (Edinburgh, 1872), volume ii, 289-90)]

Gesta Annalia’s “Yearly Deeds” is a significant medieval chronicle that provides a comprehensive account of Scotland’s history. Moreover, this period was divided into the first and second sections. The first chronicle was written before the World Wars, while the second was written after the wars. Nevertheless, this analysis will focus on the second chronicle since it offers valuable information on the Scottish kingdom, unlike the first one, which is a bit sketchy. Gesta Annalia II’s author is still mysterious, though the chronicles were written around 1363.

Conversely, Gesta Annalia II consists of a reconstruction of similar events of Alexander III’s life that resemble reality. The two chronicles were later combined in a single manuscript to provide a comprehensive kingdom story. ‘Gesta Annalia II by John of Fordun’s analysis starts from Alexander III‘s marriage in 1285, which is the primary source used in evaluating the inauguration of Alexander III as King in 1249. Fordun’s excerpt offers a valuable understanding of medieval Scottish’ inauguration ceremonies, cultural identity, and political system


Fordun’s excerpt focuses on a Scottish priest and historian at the end of Alexander III’s reign between 1241 and 1286. Additionally, the text was documented towards the end of the 14th century, which was a watershed moment in Scottish history.[1] The text highlighted the end of Alexander III’s reign, creating some questions on its credibility since Fordun heavily depended on existing sources, like oral traditions and written documents, which may contain some bias. The story’s context is based on an era of political and social turmoil in Scotland since the country was experiencing internal conflict, which influenced its historical legacy and cultural identity. Hence, Fordun’s text uses several credible sources to prove its antiqueness.

Fordun is considered a reliable historical writer based on his background research that influenced his writing. Fordun used various sources, including prior chronicles, oral traditions, and historical records.[2] Like other historical narratives in the medieval era, Fordun incorporated legendary and mythological elements in his text. Furthermore, Fordun’s comprehension of events could have been influenced by his personal bias and the prevailing political situation during that era. Although the text has significance in the study of medieval Scottish history, modern historians treat it with discretion since they carefully compare its material with other sources in the same era and later build a more precise and in-depth understanding of the historical events in this source.


Fordun’s text is considered a primary source because it depicts historical events and periods of the Scottish empire. Further, this text is a historical narrative that presents a detailed description of Scotland’s history by blending factual records and legendary stories in its interpretations. Furthermore, Fordun’s text is expected to highlight many historical events in Scotland from its publication in the 14th century, including conflicts, monarchial rulers, and remarkable political events.[3] Like most historical fiction, Fordun’s work is expected to narrate stories and myths commonly used in the medieval era. For instance, the text can include Scotland’s origins, anecdotes on saints, and other mythical individuals. Moreover, this text is expected to offer a profound understanding of the Scottish medieval era’s societal and religious traditions and rituals.

The genre is historical fiction since it documents events for future generations, providing valuable observations on political, social, and religious customs. Nevertheless, historical fiction is characterized by focusing on specific agendas and manipulating the tales to align with political or ideological objectives.[4] Unlike the common perception, historical fiction can involve true and fictional traditional stories. Based on future writings, Fordun’s text is expected to cover a retroactive veneration of Scottish monarchy and national identity based on Scotland’s political situation during that era, which was littered with prolonged conflicts with the English who desired to assert its authority.


Fordun’s target demographic presumably comprises Scotland’s educated and governing elites, with a vested interest in the nation’s history and cultural identity. Fordun’s intended audience was the elites, such as clergy members and the Scottish aristocracy.[5] Fordun’s text provided a comprehensive and remarkable story of Scotland’s history, which would have been especially appealing to these elites due to the prevailing political and social situation during that era. Additionally, the text was written for a target group of people interested in Scotland’s historical events and cultural legacy. Due to its comprehensive record of genealogy, events, and mythical beginnings, this text was valuable to researchers and historians interested in studying the era.

The text received a good reception due to the prevailing political and cultural situation since it helps confer legitimacy and instil a sense of pride among the Scottish leadership and general public. Fordun’s text initially had less audience, but it substantially influenced Scottish history since it was one of the earliest writings that provided a thorough explanation of Scottish history, which had a significant effect on later historians. The later historians, especially Walter Bower, continued to develop and extend Fordun’s text in his renowned publication “Scotichronicon.”[6] This shows that Fordun’s writings were valued by researchers, which enhanced its historical relevance.

Analysis of the Text

The excerpt comprehensively explains Alexander III’s inauguration, highlighting the value of the sacred rite and the active involvement of prominent church leaders like the bishops. For instance, the Stone of Scone is valued due to its historical and symbolic significance in understanding the Scottish monarchy and national identity.[7] Additionally, these stones are currently displayed for tourist attraction since they have deep spiritual connections. There are claims that the biblical prophet Jacob used them as a pillow while dreaming of the ladder linking heaven and earth. Moreover, a Highlander who recited the king’s genealogy in Scottish “Gaelic” is remarkable in indicating a profound value of royal ancestry and a blend of cultural aspects in Scottish cultural values. Additionally, the stones were considered valuable in protecting the Roman Empire since they were used to build the Roman Antonine Wall. Furthermore, Fordun intended to document historical events by highlighting the legitimacy of the Scottish monarchy and demonstrating a unique Scottish identity in response to English resistance. The author incorporated a comprehensive description of the inauguration ceremony, and the reference to the Highlander indicated a deliberate effort to include the diverse Scottish cultural aspects like Gaelic and Norman-Scottish into the royal identity. Gesta Annalia II was drawn from earlier sources that indicate it interpreted recent information, which fits Fordun’s knowledge of the identity of the Scottish kingdom. Hence, Fordun explained the culture of the Scottish people through their roles in church and language in defining Gesta Annalia II. However, the interpretation lacks some consistency with every text in developing ideas on the Scottish identity during that era. Nevertheless, Gesta Annalia II established territorial integrity through geographical boundaries, which helped foster their mutual background, traditional practices, and political allegiances. For instance, Gesta Annalia II indicates that some regions, like Galloway and Argyll, have stronger regional identities that exclude them from Scotland.

Broader Historical Significance

This excerpt enriches people’s understanding of medieval Scottish coronation rites, demonstrating their cultural identity and Christian religious values. Furthermore, Fordun’s excerpt mirrors the intricate political and cultural environment of 14th-century Scotland, characterized by the interplay between different factions in Scotland, like the Gaels and Norman Scots, and foreign influences from England.[8] This excerpt gives fundamental depictions based on historical legitimacy by offering essential perspectives on the tradition and symbols linked to the Scottish monarchy. Conversely, the excerpt may change some historical aspects to enable the story to flow. Nevertheless, historical fiction focuses on the themes around monarchy, religion, and national identity, which can be observed from the excerpt. Fordun’s text is currently used in Scotland to understand their national identity and historical heritage. Hence, this text is vital in understanding Scottish culture since it incorporates myths and facts.

Therefore, Fordun’s excerpt from “Gesta Annalia II” has been analyzed to explore the Scottish kingdom and highlight their tradition after Alexander III’s inauguration. Conversely, some biases have been highlighted based on changes that may have been done to the original story to make it flow. Nevertheless, this text effectively outlines the medieval Scottish kingdom, vital in understanding their national identity by elaborating on rituals, political dynamics, and cultural values. This helps improve people’s understanding of Scotland’s history and cultural tradition in medieval Europe. Moreover, this text is classified under the historical fiction genre because it comprises recorded political, religious, and social events. This excerpt analyses the inauguration of Alexander III, which indicated elements like the Stone of Sones and established the legitimacy of Scottish kingship’s genealogy and cultural activities. Also, this excerpt has been discussed based on its historical significance in understanding the medieval Scottish culture to help preserve their traditional values and religious beliefs.


Broun, Dauvit . “The Earliest Occasion When the Declaration of Arbroath Was Copied after 1320? | the Community of the Realm in Scotland, 1249–1424.”, January 20, 2020.

Fordun, John. John of Fordun’s Chronicle of the Scottish NationGoogle Books. Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2022.

Glatch, Sean. “What Is Historical Fiction?”, February 13, 2023.

MacInnes, Iain A. “5 ‘a Somewhat Too Cruel Vengeance Was Taken for the Blood of the Slain’: Royal Punishment of Rebels, Traitors, and Political Enemies in Medieval Scotland, C. 1100–C. 1250 119.” Brill, April 18, 2019.

The NRI Nation. “Famous Stone of Scone Moved to London for King Charles’ Coronation.” The NRI Nation, April 29, 2023.

[1] John Fordun, John of Fordun’s Chronicle of the Scottish NationGoogle Books (Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2022),

[2] Dauvit Broun, “The Earliest Occasion When the Declaration of Arbroath Was Copied after 1320? | the Community of the Realm in Scotland, 1249–1424,” cotr., January 20, 2020,

[3] John Fordun, John of Fordun’s Chronicle of the Scottish NationGoogle Books (Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2022),

[4] Sean Glatch, “What Is Historical Fiction?,”, February 13, 2023,

[5] Dauvit Broun, “The Earliest Occasion When the Declaration of Arbroath Was Copied after 1320? | the Community of the Realm in Scotland, 1249–1424,”, January 20, 2020,

[6] Iain A. MacInnes, “5 ‘a Somewhat Too Cruel Vengeance Was Taken for the Blood of the Slain’: Royal Punishment of Rebels, Traitors, and Political Enemies in Medieval Scotland, C. 1100–C. 1250 119,” (Brill, April 18, 2019),

[7] The NRI Nation, “Famous Stone of Scone Moved to London for King Charles’ Coronation,” The NRI Nation, April 29, 2023,

[8] John Fordun, John of Fordun’s Chronicle of the Scottish NationGoogle Books (Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2022),


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