Hector Boece lived from 1465 to 1536. He was a philosopher, historian and academic, and was the first principal of what became the University of Aberdeen. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Hector Boece was born in Dundee where he was schooled. He later became a student at the University of Paris, where he attended the Collège de Montaigu, part of the University's Faculty of Arts. While there he was a contemporary and close friend of the Dutch theologian Erasmus of Rotterdam. Boece went on to become secretary to the Master of the College, Jan Standonck. In 1497 he was appointed to the post of professor of philosophy at the University of Paris.
Meanwhile, in 1495, William Elphinstone, the Bishop of Aberdeen had gained papal agreement to the establishment of Scotland's third university, King's College, Aberdeen. In 1500 Hector Boece accepted a very generous financial offer from Elphinstone, made on behalf of James IV, to leave Paris and become the first principal of King's College. Under his leadership the college rapidly established itself as a leading academic institution, modelled closely on the the University of Paris. As well as acting as principal, Boece gave lectures on medicine and divinity.
Hector Boece also established himself as a historian. In 1522 he published Vitae Episcoporum Murthlacensium et Aberdonensium, or "Lives of the Bishops of Murthlack and Aberdeen". In 1527 he published the much more ambitious Historia Gentis Scotorum or "History of the Scottish People", charting the history of Scotland from its origins right through to the accession of James III of Scotland.
By modern standards, Boece's approach to history was rather credulous. He tended to uncritically blend historical fact with myth and folklore, and he also tended to write with an eye to ensuring he stayed in good favour with James V. This meant he tended to set the Stewart dynasty in a very flattering light, and play down the merits of their enemies. One famous result was his historically unfair treatment of King Macbeth, and it was Boece's version of history which was later enshrined in the plot of William Shakespeare's play about Macbeth. By the very dodgy standards of early Scottish histories, however, Boece's was not only comparatively accurate, it was also written in an unusually accessible style and achieved considerable popularity, especially after its translation from the original Latin into French and Scots.