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The Lords of the Isles originated as a number of Viking/Gaelic dominions over the west coast and islands of Scotland in the Middle Ages. Although at times nominal vassals of the King of Norway and/or of the King of Scotland, the island chiefs remained functionally independent for many centuries. Their territory included the Hebrides, (Skye and Ross from 1438), Knoydart, Ardnamurchan, and the Kintyre peninsula. At their height they were the greatest landowners and most powerful Lords in the British Isles following the Kings of England and Scotland.
In this period they provided powerful allied contingents to Scottish independance movements starting with Robert The Bruce. The death of Robert Bruce in 1329 triggered a new phase in the Scottish Wars of Independence with a civil war between the supporters of Bruce and the kinsmen and allies of the former king, John Balliol. In 1332 the son and heir of King John invaded Scotland with a small army and won an unexpected success at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. Despite this victory, Balliol's power base was limited, and he granted an ever greater series of concessions to the Lords of the Isles, cementing their power base in the process.
Balliol's power lay in his backing from England, and the foremost among them John of Clan Donald made approaches to Edward III of England in which he attempted to position himself and his dominion as an equal to Edward - there is much evidence to suggest Edward saw John as an independent prince, different from the other supporters of Balliol. After David II came to the throne in Scotland, he attempted top bring the increasingly independant Isles under closer control, but lacked the power to enforse this intent. After the defeat of the Scots army at the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346, and the capture and lengthy imprisonment of King David in England there was little anyone could do to stop John extending his power. After the death of the childless David in 1371, John's father-in-law succeeded to the throne as Robert II, leading to further gains for the Lords of the Isles.
At the beginning of the 15th Century, th epolitical tide had turned as the Stewart rulers of Scotland sought to wrest back control from the Lords of the Isles through a series of intermarriages and forcible absobtion of territory. The Donalds made their response in 1411 raising an army to oppose and stop royal expansion. On 24 July, the two sides met at the Battle of Harlaw to the west of Aberdeen. It was a savage day, long remembered in poetry and tradition as the 'Reid Harlaw'. Harlaw was a stalemate, which was as good as a defeat for the Donalds, and their problems were compounded when the Stewarts followed up with a further campaign the next year, leading to the Donalds conceding control over large parts of northern Scotland.
The power of the Lord of the Isles recovered under the reign of King James (1424) who incompetently attempted to regain control over Scotland and reign in the power of the Islesmen. After a period of turmoil, the Royal army was defeated at the Battle of Inverlochy in 1431, and made concessions to the Donald clan as a result. But this expansion of power was to be their eventual undoing, as the residence and political capital of the Isles was moved outside their traditional heartlands out to the richer lands of eastern Ross. Against this background the kinship ties of the clans still resident in the Isles began to unravel.
The nadir of the Lord of the Isles dominions came under the politically inept John who in 1462 entered into a treaty with Edward IV of England, in which he agreed to become a vassal of the English king, in return for the promise of aid in conquering all Scotland north of the Fort. In 1476 Edward grassed up John to the Scottish crown (his alliance with Auld Enemy probably didn't go down to well at home either..), and John was summoned before parliament and stripped of much of his lands, conceding also that the title of Lord of the Isles was to be granted by the crown, rather than assumed in the style of an independent prince. John was to prove to be the least competent of his family; in 1493, continuing disorder in the Isles led James IV to forfeit the title, sending John into retirement in the Lowlands, where he died in obscurity.
- The army has only 2 troop types, HF & MF. You can;t take all MF as there aren't enough of them.
- The HF can be spear or heavy weapon, and spear seems the better option for the bulk of the army, although a few units of Hvy Wp will make life difficult for dismounted knights.
- The other troop type - Impact Foot Bow* Swordsmen - sound really cool and rather frightening, but at the end of the day they are loose formation Gallic warband, with an extra point spent (or wasted) on a rather ineffective bow. Don't buy too many, don;t rely on their shooting - but some will make life interesting for you and your opponent.
User-contributed links about this army:
- Scots Isles and Highlands DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
- Scots-Irish DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
- Scots-Irish DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
- put the link text readers will see in here write some more detail about the link here
Put information on allied contingents here - including recommendations on which to use, and why
- There are 2 troop types - close formation spear/heavy weapon men, and also Highlanders. They can be bought as a wide range of irregular looking figures, with borrowed or hand-me-down equipment as woudl be typical of these Viking descendants who lived in a fairly constant state of raiding and border skirmishes.
- The kilt as we now know it did not exist in this period being a much later invention. In practice the front rank would be the chieftans with their immediate kin and could have chainmail (similar to the Islemen) and be noticeably better armed than the rear ranks or humblies who would be lucky to muster a long sark (shirt),dirk and an axe.
- The Romans referred to the scots as "wearing striped cloaks" - which may well mean tartan! At this time simple tartans would be there but in earthy hues and not with any family connection. It could be argued however than certain colours/ weaving trends in an area might give a form of conformity.
This is a list of Viking manufacturers, which would be similar to the Later Scots. Maybe add in a few Later Scots-Irish for local falvour? A full listing of all known 15mm manufacturers for all ranges with details of who supplies what can be found in my 15mm Suppliers directory. You can see some of these figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site
- Essex Miniatures 12 Vikings including a nice mounted warrior carrying off a young lady..
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Gladiator Games) Half-dozen Vikings and many similar figures in the Dark Ages range
- Old Glory 5 packs of Vikings
- Minifigs UK In their Dark Ages range
- Irregular Minis 6 Vikings, sold singly
- Lancashire Games 5 pacs of Vikings
- QRF Models (Feudal Castings range) An extensive range of Irish, Scots, 5 Isleman packs and 8 packs of Vikings would all work for this army.
- Tin Soldier 9 in the range
- 2 Dragons Viking specialists - large range
- Isarus 15 variants, including (unusually) some mounted
- Khurasan New range
- Viking Forge 9 strong range
- Battle Line (NZ) former TTG Ranges, as Isarus
- Camelot Games (Italy) 4 "Vichinghi" !
- MY Miniatures 6 Vikings from the era of American Vinland C.1000AD. Ideal to fight Eskimo's with!
- Gallia 12 figures, sold as singles
- Baueda Now carry the former 50 paces Viking range
Sample army lists for this army
Name of Army / Date
- Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
- This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
- For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
- with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
- 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
- 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
- Dont forget to include your Generals !!!
Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list