Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kiss it if you please


George Buchanan. portrait by Arnold Bronckorst, 1581. National Gallery of Scotland.

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George Buchanan was born in Killearn, Scotland, in 1506. He became a scholar, famous throughout Europe.

In the 1530s, Buchanan had the job of educating the illegitimate children of James V of Scotland.

Buchanan lived at a time when 'Christians' were often mad and violent fundamentalists, who went in for a variety of sneaky conspiracies.

In 1538, Buchanan was accused of heresy and narrowly escaped being burned. He fled to Portugal.

In Portugal, Buchanan was accused of heresy. He was imprisoned by the inquisition, but managed to escape.

When the young James VI (who later became James I of England) came to the throne, Buchanan became his teacher.

On one occasion, Buchanan gave the young king a beating.

Reportedly, the Countess of Mar wished to rescue the lad, but Buchanan called out: "Madam, I have whipped his arse - you may kiss it if you please!"

Buchanan died in 1582.

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