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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886395424

From: John Giacoletti <>
Subject: Malcolm & Mary
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 1998 23:57:04 -0500

Some notes of cultural and historical interest:

Fm. "Highland and Traditional Scottish Dances:"

There is no Highland Dance older or better known than Gille Calum, or the
Sword Dance. The tradition is that this Gille Calum was no less a
personage than Calum-a-Chinn Mor (Malcolm Canmore), a Celtic prince, who
was a hero of a mortal combat against one of MacBeth's chiefs at the battle
near Dunsinane, in 1054, when he took his opponent's sword and crossed it
with his own on the ground, symbolising the sign of the Cross, and danced
over them in exultation.>>>>

Some time after he had gained the throne as King Malcolm III, this monarch
provoked the displeasure of the Highlanders by removing his Court of the
Scots from Dunstaffnage Castle, its ancient seat in Argyll, and
establishing it at Dunfermline; further, by marring the Saxon Princess
Margaret, which led to the changeof the Court language from Gaelic to

It may be worthy of note that in the retinue of the High Chiefs of Clans
were certain attendants, who were all gentlemen chosen from the finest
youths of the Clan, and each had one attendant of his own, or more,
according to his position. Gille Mor was the bearer of the Chief's
broadsword. They were all well trained in the use of the sword and targe,
the bow and arrow, in wrestling, dancing, swimming, leaping and military
exercises, and always accompanied the Chief when he went abroad.

During the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, new types of dances were
introduced to Scotland by her numerous court followers, noblemen and ladies
who accompanied her from France. ... As is generally known, the Calvinists
were making their influence felt at Mary Queen of Scots' Court and
throughout the country, denouncing dancing and music as sinful. In this
the famous John Knox and other preachers were the most vehement leaders.
... On the other hand, on 3rd December, 1580, King James VI of Scotland,
paid L100 to William Hudson for his 'extraordinary painstaking in teaching
us to dance.' >>>>

John Giacoletti

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