Monday, March 19, 2012
Was St Patrick a slave-trading Roman official who fled to Ireland?
The classic account of St Patrick’s life tells us that he was abducted from Western Britain in his teens and forced into slavery in Ireland for six years before escaping, during which time his faith developed.
However, a new article looking at Patrick’s own writings in their historical context argues that the saint may have in fact fled to Ireland deliberately to avoid becoming a ‘Decurion’ – a Roman official responsible for tax collection.
“In the troubled era in which Patrick lived, which saw the demise and eventual collapse of Roman government in Britain in 410, discharging the obligations of a Decurion, especially tax-collecting, would not only have been difficult but also very risky,” says Dr Roy Flechner of the University of Cambridge.
Read the rest of this article...