David of Scotland: vir tam necessarius mundo

Huntington, Joanna (2009) David of Scotland: vir tam necessarius mundo. In: Saints' Cults in the Celtic World. Studies in Celtic History . The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, pp. 130-145. ISBN 9781843834328

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Famously, James I of Scotland allegedly said that David I’s extreme generosity towards the Scottish church had rendered him ‘ane sair sanct for the Croune’. David was also explicitly a saint for Walter Bower, who was reliant for material on John of Fordun, who in turn borrowed heavily from a eulogy written shortly after David’s death by Aelred of Rievaulx. The sanctity attributed to David in these later medieval sources does not, however, simply reiterate or reflect the image of him that is in their twelfth-century source, but rather adapts it to suit the mores and requirements of the authors in their later medieval contexts. Aelred’s David is certainly virtuous and to be emulated, but he is not a saint. This makes him particularly interesting, especially as he was presented as an exemplar to Henry of Anjou, shortly before he was to become Henry II of England. What type of kingship was Aelred recommending to the king-in-waiting? What were the pitfalls of which he believed Henry needed to beware?

This paper examines this virtuous but flawed David in the context within which he was created. It is now generally accepted that saints’ lives can provide valuable insights into the concerns and requirements of the cultural and political landscape from which they emanate. I argue here that subjects who could not be seen as saintly could be equally (and perhaps still more) valuable tools in attempts to shape the behaviour of others.

Keywords:hagiography, anglo-norman england, kingship, monasticism, exemplars, Digitised
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V130 Medieval History
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q612 Medieval Latin
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q500 Celtic studies
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q630 Latin Literature in Translation
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
ID Code:2773
Deposited On:05 Jul 2010 14:46

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