"By God, Sir Earl, either go or hang." - Edward Longshanks
From their very beginnings, England and Scotland fought each other. Emerging as unified nations from the early medieval period, their shared border and related aristocracy created endless causes of conflict. Every century from the 11th to the 16th was colored by such violence, and there were periods when not a decade went by without some act of violence marring the peace. Out of all of this, the most bitterly remembered conflict is Edward I's invasion during the late 13th century.
Eventually beaten back after Edward's death at the famous Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, this was the period of some of Scotland's greatest national heroes, including William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. It still resonates in the Scottish national memory, all the more so following its memorable but wildly inaccurate depiction in the 1995 film Braveheart, which had Scottish audiences cheering in cinemas.
Though the fondly remembered heroes of this war are Scottish, the man who defined it was an English monarch, a man whose ruthless efficiency and brutality would earn him the title Hammer of the Scots. This was, for better or for worse, Edward I's war.
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Brief and superficial
- L. Stone