London, June 29 (ANI): A new research has suggested that medieval Scottish soldiers fought wearing bright yellow war shirts dyed in horse urine rather than the tartan plaid kilts depicted in the film ‘Braveheart’.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the research, done by historian Fergus Cannan states that the Scots armies who fought in battles like Bannockburn, and Flodden Field would have looked very different to the way they have traditionally been depicted.
“Instead of kilts, they wore saffron-coloured tunics called “leine croich” and used a range of ingredients to get the boldest possible colours,” said Cannan.
“What the Scottish soldiers wore in the country’s greatest battles is an area that, up until now, has not been properly studied,” he added.
“A lot of historians quite rightly stated that the film Braveheart was not terribly accurate, but what they didn’t admit was that they didn’t have a clue what would be accurate,” he explained.
Cannan, a military history specialist, scoured original medieval eye-witness accounts, manuscripts, and tomb effigies for his research.
Using these and other sources, he built up a picture of what members of Robert the Bruce’s forces would have worn in 1314.
Numerous accounts cited by Cannan in his new book, ‘Scottish Arms and Armour’, refer to the distinctive linen tunics, usually worn with a belt round the middle.
“Forget about the plaid and tartan,” he said. “The yellow war shirt is never shown in any film or popular image and yet it is something that all the original writers comment on,” he added.
“Highlanders wore the tunics throughout the Middle Ages and right up until the end of the 16th Century,” he said.
Because Saffron was expensive, poor clansmen dyed the linen with horse urine or bark and crushed leaves to get the rich yellow colour.
On top of the leine croich, they would wear a deerskin or cowhide jerkin, which would be waxed or dipped in pitch to make it waterproof.
According to Dr Clare Downham of Aberdeen University said that Cannan’s analysis fitted with her own knowledge of Celtic Scotland.
“The tartan kilt as we know it today is part of a romantic and more modern imagining of Scotland’s past,” she said. (ANI)