Legendy herbowe Krwawego Serca i Płotu – heraldyka a kultura historyczna szkockiego rodu Douglasów
Selected contents from this journal
Armorial Legends of Blood-red Heart and Fence – Heraldry and Historical Culture of the Scottish Family Douglas
Languages of publication
The Douglas family gained huge importance in Scotland during the war between England and Scotland in the years 1306-1329, during the reign of Robert Bruce. The founder of its greatness was James Douglas, one of the most important military leaders in the conflict. The subject of armorial legends of Blood-red Heart and Fence are Douglas’s two chivalrous deeds. The analysis of the stories’ narration, preserved in historical works and in those from the field of heraldry (especially in John Barbour’s poem The Bruce) reveals several motifs both interesting and useful to the family. They express for instance James’s intimacy with the person of the ruler (Robert Bruce), Douglas’s knightly valour or his military cunning and skillfulness in using stratagems. With time armorial legends underwent a particular heroisation. In traditions of subsequent Douglas generations ideological content of the aforementioned motifs was visibly emphasized. However, it does not change the fact that the stories in question refer to the events which are known to us also from document sources as well as the ones not directly connected with the Scottish family. Thus Douglas armorial legends hold the collective memory of the glorious past of the family community. Preservation of these oral traditions throughout the centuries was to a large extent a result of linking them with widely spread iconographic motifs – heraldic figures of a heart and a fence. The Douglas family encoded and communicated the history of their family in the language of heraldry (Blood-red Heart), and also secondarily noticed the signs of family history on their seals and shields (Fence). The analysis of the coats of arms in question and the legends accompanying them discloses an advanced culture and historical awareness of the Scottish family.
Publication order reference