The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; the term entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east, is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq, meaning "the east, where the sun rises". In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Syria-Palestine, Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice; the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire; the name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I.
This is the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more to refer to modern Syria, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking. Today the term is used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references, it has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam, the area, bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east. It does not include Anatolia, the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia and the Sinai Peninsula are sometimes included; the term Levant was used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century. Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now used to describe the ancient and modern culture area called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology; the Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, northeast Africa", the "northwest of the Arabian plate".
The populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, history. They are referred to as Levantines; the term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497 meant the East in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy". It is borrowed from the French levant "rising", referring to the rising of the sun in the east, or the point where the sun rises; the phrase is from the Latin word levare, meaning'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή, in Germanic Morgenland, in Italian, in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish and Catalan Levante and Llevant, in Hebrew. Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin source oriens meaning "east", is "rising", deriving from Latin orior "rise"; the notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage and understanding. While the term "Levantine" referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups; the term became current in English in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region.
The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant". In early 19th-century travel writing, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire, as well as independent Greece. In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture; the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon was called the Levant states. Today, "Levant" is the term used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a "wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus" that does not have the "political overtones" of Syria-Palestine; the term is used for modern events, states or parts of states in the same region, namely Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Turkey are sometimes considered Levant countries.
Several researchers include the island of Cyprus in Levantine studies, including the Council for British Research in the Levant, the UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department, Journal of Levantine Studies and the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus and mainland Levant to the early Iron Age. Archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation, neither biblical n
Robert the Bruce
Robert I, popularly known as Robert the Bruce, was King of Scots from 1306 until his death in 1329. Robert was one of the most famous warriors of his generation, led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England, he fought during his reign to regain Scotland's place as an independent country and is today revered in Scotland as a national hero. Descended from the Anglo-Norman and Gaelic nobility, his paternal fourth great-grandfather was King David I. Robert's grandfather, Robert de Brus, 5th Lord of Annandale, was one of the claimants to the Scottish throne during the "Great Cause"; as Earl of Carrick, Robert the Bruce supported his family's claim to the Scottish throne and took part in William Wallace's revolt against Edward I of England. Appointed in 1298 as a Guardian of Scotland alongside his chief rival for the throne, John III Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, William Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews, Robert resigned in 1300 due to his quarrels with Comyn and the imminent restoration of John Balliol to the Scottish throne.
After submitting to Edward I in 1302 and returning to "the king's peace", Robert inherited his family's claim to the Scottish throne upon his father's death. In February 1306, having wounded Comyn, rushed from the church where they had met and encountered his attendants outside, he told them what had happened and said, "I must be off, for I doubt I have slain the Red Comyn." "Doubt?" Roger de Kirkpatrick of Closeburn answered, "I mak sikker," and, rushing into the church, killed Comyn. For this Bruce was excommunicated by the Pope. Bruce moved to seize the throne and was crowned king of Scots on 25 March 1306. Edward I's forces defeated Robert in battle, forcing him to flee into hiding before re-emerging in 1307 to defeat an English army at Loudoun Hill and wage a successful guerrilla war against the English. Bruce defeated his other Scots enemies, destroying their strongholds and devastating their lands, in 1309 held his first parliament. A series of military victories between 1310 and 1314 won him control of much of Scotland, at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Robert defeated a much larger English army under Edward II of England, confirming the re-establishment of an independent Scottish kingdom.
The battle marked a significant turning point, with Robert's armies now free to launch devastating raids throughout northern England, while extending his war against the English to Ireland by sending an army to invade there and by appealing to the Irish to rise against Edward II's rule. Despite Bannockburn and the capture of the final English stronghold at Berwick in 1318, Edward II refused to renounce his claim to the overlordship of Scotland. In 1320, the Scottish nobility submitted the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, declaring Robert as their rightful monarch and asserting Scotland's status as an independent kingdom. In 1324, the Pope recognised Robert I as king of an independent Scotland, in 1326, the Franco-Scottish alliance was renewed in the Treaty of Corbeil. In 1327, the English deposed Edward II in favour of his son, Edward III, peace was concluded between Scotland and England with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, by which Edward III renounced all claims to sovereignty over Scotland.
Robert died in June 1329. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart was interred in Melrose Abbey and his internal organs embalmed and placed in St Serf’s Chapel, site of the medieval Cardross Parish church. Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, the first of the Bruce, or de Brus, line arrived in Scotland with David I in 1124 and was given the lands of Annandale in Dumfries and Galloway. Several members of the Bruce family were called Robert, the future king was one of ten children, the eldest son, of Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale, Marjorie, Countess of Carrick, claimed the Scottish throne as a fourth great-grandson of David I, his mother was by all accounts a formidable woman who, legend would have it, kept Robert Bruce's father captive until he agreed to marry her. From his mother, he inherited the Earldom of Carrick, through his father, a royal lineage that would give him a claim to the Scottish throne; the Bruces held substantial estates in Aberdeenshire, County Antrim, County Durham, Essex and Yorkshire.
Although Robert the Bruce's date of birth is known, his place of birth is less certain, although it is most to have been Turnberry Castle in Ayrshire, the head of his mother's earldom. However there are claims that he may have been born in Lochmaben in Dumfriesshire, or Writtle in Essex. Little is known of his youth, he was brought up in a mixture of the Anglo-Norman culture of northern England and south-eastern Scotland, the Gaelic culture of south-west Scotland and most of Scotland north of the River Forth. Annandale was feudalised and the form of Northern Middle English that would develop into the Scots language was spoken throughout the region. Carrick was an integral part of Galloway, though the earls of Carrick had achieved some feudalisation, the society of Carrick at the end of the thirteenth century remained emphatically Celtic and Gaelic speaking. Robert the Bruce would most have become trilingual at an early age, he would have been schooled to speak and write in the Anglo-Norman language of his Scots-Norman peers and his father's family.
He would have spoken both the Gaeli
Adulterine castles were fortifications built in England during the 12th century without royal approval during the civil war of the Anarchy between 1139 and 1154. During the civil war of the Anarchy, fought between the factions of Stephen of England and the Empress Matilda, both sides built a number of new castles to defend their territories and act as bases for expansion motte and bailey designs such as those at Winchcombe, Upper Slaughter, or Bampton by the Empress's followers. Stephen built a new chain of fen-edge castles at Burwell, Rampton and Swavesey – all about six to nine miles apart – in order to protect his lands around Cambridge. Many of these castles were termed "adulterine", meaning unauthorised, because no formal permission was given for their construction. Traditionally the King retained the right to approve new castle construction, but in the chaos of the war this was no longer the case. Contemporary chroniclers saw this as a matter of concern. Matilda's son Henry II assumed the throne at the end of the war and announced his intention to eliminate the adulterine castles that had sprung up during the war, but it is unclear how successful this effort was.
Robert of Torigny recorded. Many of the new castles were transitory in nature: historian Oliver Creighton observes that 56 percent of those castles known to have been built during Stephen's reign have "entirely vanished"; the term "adulterine" has been challenged in 21st century scholarship. Some argue that it gives too strong a sense of royal authority and authorisation in the years running up to the Anarchy and gives a misleading impression of the process of gaining permission for castle construction; the practice of the licence to crenellate Slighting Castles in Great Britain and Ireland Bibliography
Corfe Castle is a fortification standing above the village of the same name on the Isle of Purbeck in the English county of Dorset. Built by William the Conqueror, the castle dates to the 11th century and commands a gap in the Purbeck Hills on the route between Wareham and Swanage; the first phase was one of the earliest castles in England to be built at least using stone when the majority were built with earth and timber. Corfe Castle underwent major structural changes in the 13th centuries. In 1572, Corfe Castle left the Crown's control. Sir John Bankes bought the castle in 1635, was the owner during the English Civil War, his wife, Lady Mary Bankes, led the defence of the castle when it was twice besieged by Parliamentarian forces. The first siege, in 1643, was unsuccessful, but by 1645 Corfe was one of the last remaining royalist strongholds in southern England and fell to a siege ending in an assault. In March that year Corfe Castle was slighted on Parliament's orders. Owned by the National Trust, the castle is open to the public and in 2017 received around 247,000 visitors.
It is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Corfe Castle was built on a steep hill in a gap in a long line of chalk hills, created by two streams eroding the rock on either side; the name Corfe derives from the Old English ceorfan, referring to the gap. The construction of the medieval castle means that little is known about previous activity on the hill. However, there are postholes belonging to a Saxon hall on the site; the hall may be where the boy-king Edward the Martyr was assassinated in 978. A castle was founded at Corfe on England's south coast soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066; the royal forest of Purbeck, where William the Conqueror enjoyed hunting, was established in the area. Between 1066 and 1087, William established 36 such castles in England. Sitting as it does on a hill top, Corfe Castle is one of the classic images of a medieval castle. However, despite popular imagination, occupying the highest point in the landscape was not the typical position of a medieval castle.
In England, a minority are located on hilltops. Unusually for castles built in the 11th century, Corfe was constructed from stone indicating it was of high status. A stone wall was built around the hill top, creating an inner enclosure. There were two further enclosures: one to the west, one that extended south. At the time, the vast majority of castles in England were built using earth and timber, it was not until the 12th century that many began to be rebuilt in stone; the Domesday Book records one castle in Dorset. There are 48 castles directly mentioned in the Domesday Book, although not all those in existence at the time were recorded. Assuming that Corfe is the castle in question, it is one of four the Domesday Book attributes to William the Conqueror. In the early 12th century, Henry I began. Progressing at a rate of 3 to 4 metres per year for the best part of a decade, the work was complete by 1105; the chalk of the hill Corfe Castle was built on was an unsuitable building material, instead Purbeck limestone quarried a few miles away was used.
By the reign of King Stephen Corfe Castle was a strong fortress with a keep and inner enclosure, both built in stone. In 1139, during the civil war of Stephen's reign, Corfe withstood a siege by the king, it is thought that he built a siege castle to facilitate the siege and that a series of earthworks about 290 metres south-southwest of Corfe Castle mark the site of the fortification. During the reign of Henry II Corfe Castle was not changed, records from Richard I's reign indicate maintenance rather than significant new building work. In contrast, extensive construction of other towers and walls occurred during the reigns of John and Henry III, both of whom kept Eleanor, rightful Duchess of Brittany who posed a potential threat to their crowns, in confinement at Corfe until 1222, it was during John's reign that the Gloriette in the inner bailey was built. The Pipe Rolls, records of royal expenditure, show that between 1201 and 1204 over £750 was spent at the castle on rebuilding the defences of the west bailey with £275 spent on constructing the Gloriette.
The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England noted the link between periods of unrest and building at Corfe. In the early years of his reign, John lost Normandy to the French, further building work at Corfe coincided with the political disturbances in his reign. At least £500 was spent between 1212 and 1214 and may have been focused on the defences of the outer bailey. R. Allen Brown noted that in John's reign "it would seem that though a fortress of the first order might cost more than £7,000, a medium castle of reasonable strength might be built for less than £2,000"; the Pipe Rolls show. Additional records show. One of the secondary roles of castles was to act as a storage facility, as demonstrated by Corfe Castle.
Siege of Leith
The Siege of Leith ended a twelve-year encampment of French troops at Leith, the port near Edinburgh, Scotland. The French troops arrived by invitation in 1548 and left in 1560 after an English force arrived to attempt to assist in removing them from Scotland; the town was not taken by force and the French troops left peacefully under the terms of a treaty signed by Scotland and France. Scotland and France had long been allies under the "Auld Alliance", first established in the 13th century. However, during the 16th century, divisions appeared between a pro-French faction at Court and Protestant reformers; the Protestants saw the French as a Catholic influence and, when conflict broke out between the two factions, called on English Protestants for assistance in expelling the French from Scotland. In 1542, King James V of Scotland died, leaving only a week-old daughter, proclaimed Mary, Queen of Scots. James Hamilton, Earl of Arran, was appointed Regent and agreed to the demand of King Henry VIII of England that the infant Queen should marry his son Edward.
This policy was soon reversed, through the influence of Mary's mother Mary of Guise and Cardinal Beaton, Regent Arran rejected the English marriage offer. He successfully negotiated a marriage between the young Mary and François, Dauphin of France; the English King Henry VIII, angered by the Scots reneging on the initial agreement, made war on Scotland in 1544–1549, a period which the writer Sir Walter Scott christened the "Rough Wooing". In May 1544 an English army landed at Granton and captured Leith to land heavy artillery for an assault on Edinburgh Castle, but withdrew after burning the town and the Palace of Holyrood over three days. Three years following another English invasion and victory at Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, the English attempted to establish a "pale" within Scotland. Leith was of prime strategic importance because of its vital role as Edinburgh's port, handling its foreign trade and essential supplies; the English camped on Leith Links. The military engineer Richard Lee scouted around the town on 12 September looking to see if it could be made defensible.
On 14 September the English began digging a trench on the south-east side of Leith near the Firth of Forth. William Patten wrote that the work was done as much for exercise as for defence, since they stayed only five days. In response to the English invasion the Scottish Court looked to France for assistance, on 16 June 1548 the first French troops arrived in Leith, soon to total 8,000 men under André de Montalembert sieur d'Esse; the infant Queen Mary was removed to France the following month and the English cause was lost. Most of their troops had left by the end of 1549, In the following years the French interest became dominant with increasing numbers of French troops in Scotland, concentrated in Haddington, Broughty Castle and Leith. From 1548 onwards work began fortifying the port of Leith with a bulwark at the Kirkgate and at the chapel by the harbour designed by the Italian Migliorino Ubaldini; the rest of the new fortifications were certainly designed by another Italian military engineer, Piero di Strozzi, these represent the earliest use of the trace italienne style of artillery fortification in Britain.
In August 1548 Strozzi directed the 300 Scottish workmen from a chair carried by four men because he had been shot in the leg at Haddington. In 1554, Mary of Guise, the Catholic French widow of James V, was appointed Regent in place of the Earl of Arran, made Duke of Châtellerault by Henry II of France. Guise continued the pro-French policy. In September 1559 she continued to improve the fortification at Leith with works which were designed by Lorenzo Pomarelli, an Italian architect and military engineer. Meanwhile, the Protestant Scots became restless after the marriage of Mary and François in 1558. A group of noblemen, styling themselves the Lords of the Congregation, had appointed themselves leaders of the anti-French, Protestant party, aligning themselves with John Knox and other religious reformers, they raised 12,000 troops in an attempt to oust the French from Scotland. Arran changed sides at this point. Meanwhile, Henri II of France was accidentally killed in a jousting tournament and Mary's husband became King of France on 10 July 1559.
During 1559 the Lords of the Congregation dominated most of central Scotland and entered Edinburgh, forcing Mary of Guise to retreat to Dunbar Castle. However, with the aid of 2,000 French troops, she regained control of the capital in July. A short-lived truce was made with the Articles of Leith on 25 July 1559. Guise received further military aid from France, thanks to the influence of Jacques de la Brosse and the Bishop of Amiens; the Lords considered this assistance a breach of the Leith articles. Châtellerault wrote to summon other Scottish lords at the start of October 1559 to resolve their situation:...it is not unknawin how the Franchmen hes begun mair nor 20 dayis to fortifie the toun of Leyth, tending thairthrow to expell the inhabitantis thairoff and plant thame selffis, thair wyffis and bairnis thairintill suppressing the libertie of this realme. Mary of Guise responded to these letters by making a proclamation on 2 October and writing to Lord Seton, Provost of Edinburgh, that it was well known that Leith was fortified as a response to the Congregation's intent to come in arms to Edinburgh on 8 October 1559, rather than to accommodate French troops and their families.
She wrote "we could do no less than provide ourselves with some sure retreat for ourselves and our company if we were pursued." The French, she said, had not brought thei
Mamluk is an Arabic designation for slaves. The term is most used to refer to non-muslimslave soldiers and Muslim rulers of slave origin. More it refers to: Ghaznavids of Greater Khorasan Khwarazmian dynasty in Transoxiana Mamluk dynasty Mamluk Sultanate Bahri dynasty Burji dynasty Mamluk dynasty The most enduring Mamluk realm was the knightly military caste in Egypt in the Middle Ages, which developed from the ranks of slave soldiers; these were enslaved Turkic peoples, Egyptian Copts, Circassians and Georgians. Many Mamluks were of Balkan origin; the "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior class, was of great political importance. Over time, Mamluks became a powerful military knightly caste in various societies that were controlled by Muslim rulers. In Egypt, but in the Levant and India, mamluks held political and military power. In some cases, they attained the rank of sultan, while in others they held regional power as emirs or beys. Most notably, mamluk factions seized the sultanate centered on Egypt and Syria, controlled it as the Mamluk Sultanate.
The Mamluk Sultanate famously defeated the Ilkhanate at the Battle of Ain Jalut. They had earlier fought the western European Christian Crusaders in 1154–1169 and 1213–1221 driving them out of Egypt and the Levant. In 1302 the mamluks formally expelled the last Crusaders from the Levant, ending the era of the Crusades. While mamluks were purchased as property, their status was above ordinary slaves but they were not allowed to carry weapons or perform certain tasks. In places such as Egypt, from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be "true lords" and "true warriors", with social status above the general population in Egypt and the Levant. In a sense they were like enslaved mercenaries; the origins of the mamluk system are disputed. Historians agree that an entrenched military caste such as the mamluks appeared to develop in Islamic societies beginning with the ninth-century Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad; when in the ninth century has not been determined.
Up until the 1990s, it was believed that the earliest mamluks were known as Ghilman and were bought by the Abbasid caliphs al-Mu'tasim. By the end of the 9th century, such warrior slaves had become the dominant element in the military. Conflict between these ghilman and the population of Baghdad prompted the caliph al-Mu'tasim to move his capital to the city of Samarra, but this did not succeed in calming tensions; the caliph al-Mutawakkil was assassinated by some of these slave-soldiers in 861. Since the early 21st century, historians suggest that there was a distinction between the mamluk system and the ghilman system, in Samarra, which did not have specialized training and was based on pre-existing Central Asian hierarchies. Adult slaves and freemen both served as warriors in the ghilman system; the mamluk system developed after the return of the caliphate to Baghdad in the 870's. It included the systematic training of young slaves in military and martial skills; the Mamluk system is considered to have been a small-scale experiment of al-Muwaffaq, to combine the slaves' efficiency as warriors with improved reliability.
This recent interpretation seems to have been accepted. After the fragmentation of the Abbasid Empire, military slaves, known as either mamluks or ghilman, were used throughout the Islamic world as the basis of military power; the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt had forcibly taken adolescent male Armenians, Turks and Copts from their families in order to be trained as slave soldiers. They formed the bulk of their military, the rulers selected prized slaves to serve in their administration; the powerful vizier Badr al-Jamali, for example, was a mamluk from Armenia. In Iran and Iraq, the Buyid dynasty used Turkic slaves throughout their empire; the rebel al-Basasiri was a mamluk who ushered in Seljuq dynastic rule in Baghdad after attempting a failed rebellion. When the Abbasids regained military control over Iraq, they relied on the ghilman as their warriors. Under Saladin and the Ayyubids of Egypt, the power of the mamluks increased and they claimed the sultanate in 1250, ruling as the Mamluk Sultanate.
Throughout the Islamic world, rulers continued to use enslaved warriors until the 19th century. The Ottoman Empire's devşirme, or "gathering" of young slaves for the Janissaries, lasted until the 17th century. Regimes based on mamluk power thrived in such Ottoman provinces as the Levant and Egypt until the 19th century. Under the Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo, Mamluks were purchased while still young males, they were raised in the barracks of the Citadel of Cairo. Because of their isolated social status and their austere military training, they were trusted to be loyal to their rulers; when their training was completed, they were discharged, but remained attached to the patron who had purchased them. Mamluks relied on the help of their patron for career advancement, the patron's reputation and power depended on his recruits. A Mamluk was "bound by a strong esprit de corps to his peers in the same household."Mamluks lived within their garrisons and spent their time with each
Inchkeith is an island in the Firth of Forth, administratively part of the Fife council area. Inchkeith has had a colourful history as a result of its proximity to Edinburgh and strategic location for use as home for Inchkeith Lighthouse and for military purposes defending the Firth of Forth from attack from shipping, more protecting the upstream Forth Bridge and Rosyth Dockyard. Inchkeith has, by some accounts, been inhabited for 1,800 years. Although most of the island is of volcanic origin, the island's geology is varied; as well as the igneous rock, there are some sections of sandstone, shale and limestone. The shale contains a great number of fossils. There are several springs on the island; the island has the lowest average rainfall in Scotland at 550 millimetres annually. The island has an abundance of springs. James Boswell noted two wells on the island during his visit, speculated as to the former existence of a third within the Castle; the name "Inchkeith" may derive from the medieval Scottish Gaelic Innse Coit, meaning "wooded island".
The latter element coit, in Old Welsh coet, is from the Proto-Celtic *cēto-, "wood". The late 9th century Sanas Cormaic, authored by Cormac mac Cuilennáin, suggests that the word had disappeared from the Gaelic of Ireland by that period, becoming coill. Although Scottish Gaelic was closer to Brythonic than Irish was, the Life of St Serf calls the island Insula Keð, suggesting the possibility that the specific element in Inchkeith was not comprehensible to that hagiography's anonymous author or translator. Since Gaelic had all but disappeared as a language spoken natively in southern Fife by the mid-14th century, there is no continuous Gaelic tradition for the name, but the modern form is Innis Cheith; such a rocky and exposed island can however never have supported many trees so it would be reasonable that the derivation may be otherwise. Early associations between Saint Adomnán and the island may indicate that the second element is derived from the name of his contemporary and associate Coeddi, bishop of Iona.
Nothing is known about the early history of Inchkeith, there is no certain reference to the island until the 12th century. In the days when people were compelled to cross the Firth of Forth by boat as opposed to bridge, the island was a great deal less isolated, on the ferry routes between Leith/Lothian and Fife. Like nearby Inchcolm and the Isle of May, Inchkeith was attacked by English raiders in the 14th century; this was the period when the Scottish Wars of Independence were in full swing, decisive battles were being fought in the Lothians and in the Stirling/Bannockburn region, so the island was in the route of any supply or raiding vessels. It is unknown who owned Inchkeith from the 8th century onward, but it is known that it was the property of the Crown until granted to Lord Glamis, an ancestor of the Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. In 1497, the island was used as an isolated refuge for victims of the'Grandgore', or modern-day syphilis in Edinburgh. The'grandgor' was recognised in the 1497 Minutes of the Town Council of Edinborough "This contagious sickness callit the Grandgor.".
The Grandgore Act was passed in September 1497, causing Inchkeith, as well as other islands in the Firth, such as Inchgarvie, to be made a place of "Compulsory Retirement" for people suffering from this disease. They were told to board a ship at Leith and once there, "to remain till God provide for their health", it is probable. In 1589, history repeated itself, the island was used to quarantine the passengers of a plague ridden ship. More plague sufferers came here from the mainland in 1609. In 1799, Russian sailors who died of an infectious disease were buried here. During the reign of King James IV in the Renaissance, Inchkeith was the site of a language deprivation experiment. According to the historian Robert Lyndsay of Pitscottie, James IV directed in 1493 that a mute woman and two infants be transported to the island, in order to ascertain which language the infants would grow up to speak isolated from the rest of the world, thought to be the'original' language, or the language of God.
According to these accounts, the infants did not speak. James Grant quotes Lyndsay on this topic, he ordered them to take a mute woman and to put her in Inchkeith, to give her two children, to provide her with everything she would need for their nourishment. His goal was to discover what language the children would speak when they were old enough to have "perfect" speech; some say they spoke good Hebrew. In the 16th century, the island suffered further English depredation during the war of the Rough Wooing; the General Earl of Somerset garrisoned the island in 1547 after the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. His force of marines were ordered to reinforce the island, so they built a large square fort, with corner towers, on the site of the present day lighthouse. A French soldier, Jean de Beaugué, described how the building works were visible from Leith in June 1548. De Beaugué wrote that four companies of English soldiers and a company of Italians were ordered to help the English workmen