Even though it’s 40 years since I last sat an exam, I still sometimes have anxiety dreams about them. Last night I dreamt that there was only a week to go until my finals, but for some reason I hadn’t even started to revise.
The dream may have been caused because I was reading a history book, Trevor Royle’s Culloden: Scotland’s Last Battle and the Forging of the British Empire, before going to sleep.
I didn’t manage to go to Royle’s talk at the recent Edinburgh Book Festival due to being ill that day. I did, however, make it to another talk about Culloden given by Murray Pittock, but decided to read Royle’s book first.
In fact, less than half of his book deals with the battle of Culloden. The rest concerns other wars, battles and conflicts on the continent, in North America and India. One thing which becomes obvious is how many of the people who fought at Culloden went on to fight elsewhere. Culloden seems to have been a training ground, as names of officers crop up in the years following who were present at Culloden and its aftermath, who subsequently featured in important battles elsewhere. Most of these battles were against the French or their Native American or Indian supporters. One peculiarity is that a fair number of those Highlanders who fought against the government at Culloden proceeded after a short while to join the army or navy and help expand the British Empire overseas in these same battles.