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TITLE
'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, circa 1695' (3)
EXTERNAL ID
AB_LL_MARTIN_MARTIN_03
DATE OF RECORDING
2008
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Martin Martin
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
1406
KEYWORDS
audio
literary landscapes

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This audio extract is from 'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland circa 1695' by Martin Martin, first published in 1703. It is read here by Grant Butchart.

'Way of Fighting

The ancient way of fighting was by set battles; and for arms some had broad two-handed swords and head pieces, and others bows and arrows. When all their arrows were spent they attacked one another with sword in hand. Since the invention of guns they are very early accustomed to use them, and carry their pieces with them wherever they go. They likewise learn to handle the broad-sword and target. The chief of each tribe advances with his followers within shot of the enemy, having first laid aside their upper garments; and after one general discharge they attack them with sword in hand, having their target on their left hand (as they did at Killiecrankie), which soon brings the matter to an issue, and verifies the observation made of them by our historians: 'Aut mors cito, aut Victoria laeta.'

Martin Martin was probably born in Bealach, near Duntulm Castle, Isle of Skye, into a minor gentry family associated with the MacDonalds of Sleat. After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1681 he tutored the heirs of the MacDonalds of Sleat and MacLeods of Harris before leaving for London in 1695.

Encouraged by fellow Episcopalians and antiquarian colleagues he undertook ethnographic work on his native Western Isles, setting off for a tour of Lewis in 1696, followed by a trip to St Kilda the following year. 'The Late Voyage to St. Kilda' was published in 1698, followed by his most celebrated work, 'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland' in 1703.

Despite being promised financial remuneration for his work, the money remained unpaid and Martin returned to Skye to tutor once more. At the age of 41 he enrolled as a trainee physician at Leiden University in the Netherlands and on his return to England he continued to practice medicine, finally graduating at Rheims in 1716. He died on 9 October, 1718.

Martin Martin's accounts of life in the Hebrides, before the advent of the Union, the 'Forty-Five', Highland Clearance, and Victorian Romanticism, are amongst the first printed works to describe the history, culture and traditions of an area where the old structures of society still prevailed.

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'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, circa 1695' (3)

2000s

audio; literary landscapes

Am Baile

Literary Landscapes: Martin Martin

This audio extract is from 'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland circa 1695' by Martin Martin, first published in 1703. It is read here by Grant Butchart.<br /> <br /> 'Way of Fighting<br /> <br /> The ancient way of fighting was by set battles; and for arms some had broad two-handed swords and head pieces, and others bows and arrows. When all their arrows were spent they attacked one another with sword in hand. Since the invention of guns they are very early accustomed to use them, and carry their pieces with them wherever they go. They likewise learn to handle the broad-sword and target. The chief of each tribe advances with his followers within shot of the enemy, having first laid aside their upper garments; and after one general discharge they attack them with sword in hand, having their target on their left hand (as they did at Killiecrankie), which soon brings the matter to an issue, and verifies the observation made of them by our historians: 'Aut mors cito, aut Victoria laeta.'<br /> <br /> Martin Martin was probably born in Bealach, near Duntulm Castle, Isle of Skye, into a minor gentry family associated with the MacDonalds of Sleat. After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1681 he tutored the heirs of the MacDonalds of Sleat and MacLeods of Harris before leaving for London in 1695. <br /> <br /> Encouraged by fellow Episcopalians and antiquarian colleagues he undertook ethnographic work on his native Western Isles, setting off for a tour of Lewis in 1696, followed by a trip to St Kilda the following year. 'The Late Voyage to St. Kilda' was published in 1698, followed by his most celebrated work, 'A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland' in 1703.<br /> <br /> Despite being promised financial remuneration for his work, the money remained unpaid and Martin returned to Skye to tutor once more. At the age of 41 he enrolled as a trainee physician at Leiden University in the Netherlands and on his return to England he continued to practice medicine, finally graduating at Rheims in 1716. He died on 9 October, 1718. <br /> <br /> Martin Martin's accounts of life in the Hebrides, before the advent of the Union, the 'Forty-Five', Highland Clearance, and Victorian Romanticism, are amongst the first printed works to describe the history, culture and traditions of an area where the old structures of society still prevailed.