Thursday, 27 September 2007

And so another year of study begins.....

Well, I've been cheating somewhat. The submission date for my dissertation is the end of January so I've been doing some long overdue study the past few weeks. Originally it was going to be a vast work looking at the concepts of individual and community within the context of the reigns of James IV, V and VI of Scotland. It would be a work encompassing gender, social and cultural identity within the royal court and the outside world of Scotland, excluding the Highlands. Nothing personal against the Highlands but the events going on during the periods I was looking at would be a dissertation within itself.

My supervisor took a look at my proposal and told me "There's too much here for 10, 000 words." As a result, my labour of love has been cut down to studying certain individuals (the three James) and within the confines of the political community based in Edinburgh. I seem to be developing a fondness for James V. Scottish historians seem to adore James IV. I don't. I think he's a sneaky little arsehole who helped killed his father then used religious acts to pretend he was sorry. I do have some respect for James VI but find certain aspects of his character rather amusing. In Elizabeth I's final years he was practically rubbing his hands in glee at becoming king of England. In between burning witches of course.

But James V was a different kettle of fish. The main reason I like him is the way he played Henry VIII and the Papacy off against each other. The Vatican were a tad nervous that Henry would convince his nephew to join the new faith. So what did James do? He screwed the Papacy for a hellva lot of cash and had a lot of power over appointments of archbishops. Then sucked up to his uncle in return for even more cash. It may sound mediocre by today's standards but, if you had power over the clergy, you had power over most of the political community. Who were the most educated people in Scottish society? The clergy, hence their roles in administration within the political sphere.

He also got to shag Marie of Guise who was one tough lady. Unfortunately she didn't do an extremely good job of passing her wisdom onto her daughter who would become Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, cousin to Elizabeth I and more right to the English throne than her. Elizabeth wasn't called a witch's bastard for nowt ya know.

So, instead of waffling so much I have to produce a well argued dissertation on the above topics.

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