THE STONE OF SCONE: OPPOSING VIEWS ON THE NATIONAL SCOTTISH ICON
For hundreds of years, stories about the Stone of Scone have remained in the oral tradition of Scotland. “In the absence of written records, legends come to us in spoken and written form. Each of these accounts varies in detail and spellings change, but parts of the story and many names remain consistent.” Within history, the Stone of Scone becomes the stone “upon which the kings of Scotland used to be set at their coronation at Scone.” This stone takes its name from the inauguration place of the Scottish kings, where Edward I seized it in 1296. Many myths and legends surround the Stone of Scone, forming the legacy influencing England to seize the stone, thus gaining all monarchal control over Scotland and consequently affecting the lives of many individuals. The balance of power between Britain and Scotland was deeply influenced by the Stone of Scone. “’No stone ever had so wonderful a history.’ The Stone, also known as the Stone of Scone and the Coronation Stone, occupies an exceptional place in British history.” It is internationally famous, as the sacred stone on which successive English and, after the union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603, British monarchs have been crowned. This symbolic role stretches across the centuries from the coronation of Edward II in 1308 until, most recently, the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. “The Stone, however, is of considerably greater antiquity than this and is at least as well known as the most ancient, emotive and enigmatic symbol of Scottish nationhood.” By comparing the works and opinions of two different authors this essay, will demonstrate the tensions produced between Scotland and England due to England’s capture of the Stone of Scone. Nick Aitchison’s Scotland’s Stone of Destiny was compared to The Search for the Stone of Destiny, written by Pat Gerber. Pat Gerber’s book sets out to trace the story of the symbolic Stone of Destiny. With the help of historians and archaeologists, it is suggested how the Stone might be recognized, where it might be found and its role as witness to ideas, coronation, kings, queens and invasion. As the author of multiple historical books, Nick Aitchison’s work is packed with information not just about the Stone of Destiny and its genuine and mythological history, meanings and symbolism, but it also provides a detailed look at the relations between Scotland and England. As a symbol of Scottish nationhood and independence from England, the Stone of Destiny is critical, and Aitchison places the Stone in context, separating the truth from the myth. Though there are numerous topical areas surrounding Scotland and its Stone of Destiny, this paper will examine three specific areas: the legacy that the Stone provided through myth and legend, the monarchal control that England obtain through obtaining the Stone and the consequence that the Stone of Scone and comprising power has on the lives of many. Both the myths and legends formed about the Stone of Scone aided in the creation of a legacy, dictating the future of this relic. Both the English and Scottish had myths for the origins of the Stone of Scone, but the nation’s myths often suited their political purpose. In order to protect the English monarchy, the Stone of Scone was stolen, for it was believed that the Stone possessed great powers. Both authors agree that it was the prophecies surrounding the Stone of Scone that caused England to strain the national relationship with Scotland. Firstly, in Scotland’s Stone of Destiny, Aitchison provides not only the origins of the Stone of Destiny, but also the English interpretations of these prophecies. Some of the Stone’s most popular names have been derived from the prophecy associated with it. The Stone is now most widely known as the Stone of Destiny, inspiring the extent to which these sources have dominated the Stone’s popular perception....
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