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Re: Braveheart

Xavier writes:
>treat history like any other statistical extrapolation from a data >set that
is substantially less than the population

Except this really doesn't work, for two reasons.  One is general to all
history, in that statistics do not account for the human element.  As Oscar
Wilde once said, "it is personalities, not principles, that move the age."

The second is more specifically related to medieval history, though it has
repercussions in other fields as well, especially since "quantitative
history" is part of the scene is most historical fields.  A statistical
extrapolation assumes that there are numerical data, or at least potentially
quantifiable data for a given historical incident or era.  What in the story
of Sir William Wallace or Robert Bruce is quantifiable?  We don't even have
exact figures for the soldiers who fought or the casualties from any given
battle.  There are no data that can be statistically or demographically
analyzed.  This is a particular problem in medieval history, because of the
nature of the documentary record, but it applies to other periods as well.
 Some may have heard of the "Peggy Eaton affair" that brought about the
dissolution of Andrew Jackson's cabinet during his first term in office.
 That too is a story of personalities, not numbers.  There isn't anything to

>Out of curiosity what are some good sources to read about the >REAL story
that braveheart is "based" on?

A good one-volume history of Scotland is J.D. Mackie's _History of Scotland_,
published by Penguin, I think, and in print.  You might also check out the
biography of Robert Bruce by G.W.S. Barrow.  Prof. Barrow has recently
retired, but is still the dominant scholar in Scottish medieval history.

-- Alianora