This determination closes the first chapter of his life; the second, from 1304 to 1314, is occupied by his contest for the kingdom, which was really won at Bannockburn, though disputed until the treaty of Northampton in 1328; the last, from 1314 to his death in 1329, was the period of the establishment of his government and dynasty by an administration as skilful as his generalship. It is to the second of these that historians, attracted by its brilliancy even amongst the many romances of history and its importance to Scottish history, have directed most of their attention, and it is during it that his personal character, tried by adversity and prosperity, gradually unfolds itself.
Such of them as are not genuine relics of the 12th century are either poetical versions of the leading episodes in the hero's life as contained in the Chronicle, that Chronicle itself having been doubtless composed out of still earlier legends as sung by the wandering juglares, or pure inventions of a later time, owing their inspiration to the romances of chivalry.
In fact, it does for the Robin Hood cycle what a few years before Sir Thomas Malory had done for the Arthurian romances - what in the 6th century B.C. Peisistratus is said to have done for the Homeric poems.
Meanwhile in addition to many legal works of high standing, he had begun the publication of that long series of histories and historical romances which has made his name a household word in Germany.
Not less important than his histories are the historical romances, the best-known of which, Ein Kampf um Rom, in four volumes (Leipzig, 1876), which has gone through many later editions, was also the first of the series.