Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick was a Briton

Most of the pictures of St. Patrick I could find on the web are for some reason done in a Byzantine style -- there seems to be a modern artistic/devotional movement inspired by the traditional icons of the eastern churches.

So I decided to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a different kind of popular image.

Something I like to point out to people who feel more Irish than me is that even though Patrick was the apostle of the Irish and is now their patron saint, he was a Briton, or a Roman, or both. In any case, he came from the other big island next door. Don't be deceived by the possibility (see the old Catholic Encyclopedia) that he was born in present-day Scotland. Patrick was not a Scot. In his time, the 5th century, "Scotia" was a name for Ireland. The name has migrated.

And to be quite clear, Britons in the 5th century were not English. The English (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) back then mostly lived in present-day Germany and Denmark, in the Angle, though a few pesky immigrants were showing up in Roman Britain.


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