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History of Braveheart



William Wallace
King Edward
Robert Bruce
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William Wallace

William Wallace was one of the greatest patriots in the history of Scotland and as little is known of his life, except for the short period which saw his rebellion, victory, defeat and execution, his legend has an untouchable quality about it that in spirit at least captures the true atmosphere of his struggle. He was, it seems, the second son of a petty landowner whose fields lay not far distant from the present town of Paisley, almost in the middle of Scotland's lowland belt. He was described by one chronicler as a 'former chief of brigands' but as we bitterly know from our own times the terrorists and criminals of yesterday are often such only in the nomenclature of their enemies. He may have been of Strathclyde British stock and if this is so he carried a more ancient residential lineage than the Scots whose eponymous land he fought and died for. 
   We know for sure that in 1297 he killed the Sheriff of Lanark. Legend says this was in revenge for the slaying of his wife. Whether it was so is of little consequence except to romantics, for in committing such an act Wallace pushed himself and his followers into open rebellion. It was a rebellion already in progress and was not started by Wallace.
He led several successful raids of English garrisons and led the Scots to victory against the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. For this victory he was dubbed Sir William Wallace High Guardian of Scotland by Robert the Bruce. He was later outnumbered and defeated at Falkirk and narrowly escaped his life.

Letter from Wallace to the Pope The next few years Wallace spent fighting the English not with the sword, but with the pen. He wrote numerous letters, and took many trips to persuade other countries to join the fight against England but he had no success.
He returned to Scotland in order to rejoin the rebellion and was betrayed turned over to the English by one of his own men, though nobody knows exactly who the betrayer was. Then Wallace was shipped to London and tried for treason. His only defense was that he never swore loyalty to England; therefore was not-guilty of treason. Nonetheless he was quickly sentenced to death and publicly executed at the Elms in Smithfield London. Edward I had such hatred for Wallace that he ordered his body be chopped up and scattered, in those days it was believed that when Christ came again, someone with no body could not rise therefore being doomed to hell. His head was set on a spike atop London Bridge. His right leg was taken to Berwick, and his left to Perth, his left arm to Stirling and his right arm hung above the bridge at Newcastle. Longshanks also did this as a warning to the Scots as if to say,

" This is what happens to all who oppose England". But as stated in the film it did not have the effect that Longshanks planned.

"William Wallace is seven feet tall!"

Wallaces claymore Most of what is known about William Wallace is myth and legend. Some of these myths are portrayed as fact in Braveheart, some are portrayed as myths, such as Wallace's rumored height. Actually this is believed to be a fact, Wallace's claymore on display at the William Wallace Memorial Monument at Stirling Castle is five and a half feet long. It is highly unlikely that a man of average height could have wielded such a weapon in battle.

Did William Wallace inspire Robin Hood?

Robin Hood As silly as this may seem some scholars believe that the legendary English outlaw wasn't English after all but William Wallace. The similarities, I must admit are uncanny.

Whether or not Wallace really was the basis for the Robin Hood legend nobody will ever know for sure. A good deal of the similarities could be said about many outlaws of the middle ages. This much like the film itself relies on what one wants to believe.

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