London, May 19 : A controversial book has claimed that Scottish history is based on myths and falsehoods.
According to a report in The Times, this book was written by Hugh Trevor-Roper, one of the world's most eminent historians, and is due to be published five years after his death.
Titled "The Invention of Scotland: Myth and History", the book argues that Scotland's history is weaved from a "fraudulent" fabric of "myths and falsehoods".
Due to be published at one of the most pivotal periods in Scottish political history, it will provide an inflammatory contribution to the constitutional debate as it debunks many claims upon which the argument for independence is founded.
In the book, Trevor-Roper claims that Scotland's literary and political traditions, which claim to date back to the Roman invasion of Scotland in the first century AD, are in fact based on myth and were largely invented in the 18th century.
The Declaration of Arbroath, presented to the then Pope in 1320 to confirm Scotland's status as an independent state with an ancient constitution, has been dismissed by the book as being loaded with inaccuracies.
It also contains information on "imaginary" kings of ancient Scotland, created by historians, to provide false evidence that the Scots arrived north of the border from Ireland in the third century AD, before the Picts.
Scots have also been accused of fabricating their own literary tradition, culminating in the publication of The Works of Ossian.
These were claimed to have been translated from ancient sources in Gaelic about the lives of Celtic heroes, but have long been suspected of being a figment of the imagination of James Macpherson, the 18th-century Scottish poet who claimed to have translated them.
In his book, Trevor-Roper also declares that when the Scots were looking for a writer and poet to rival Shakespeare, following the Act of Union in 1707, they found nothing, leading to ancient writings being forged and passed off as Scottish literature.
"It was natural that Scots, seeking compensation for the end of their independent history and politics, should turn to discover and appreciate their native literature," Trevor-Roper writes in his book. nfortunately when they looked for it, they could not find it.
"In Scotland, it seems to me, myth has played a far more important part in history than it has in England," writes Trevor-Roper.
"Indeed, I believe the whole history of Scotland has been coloured by myth; and that myth, in Scotland, is never driven out by reality, or by reason, but lingers on until another myth has been discovered to replace it," he adds.