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St Patrick

20 21 Into the dark ages with the vestiges of empire One RomanoBritish group used extreme violence against Patricks mission, doubtless justifying this slaughter of other Christians by the Augustinian idea of the just war. He had given the sacraments to a large Irish group, presumably a tribal gathering, when they were attacked by the soldiers of Coroticus, Ceredig in Welsh, a name which appears in British king lists as that of two subRoman rulers, in Strathclyde and north Wales. The soldiers then distributed baptised young women as prizes, sold other captives to pagan Scoti and Picts, and replenished their homes with spoil from dead Christians. Patrick sent priests to demand the baptised womens release but the soldiers only laughed, so Patrick excommunicated them in his Letter as not citizens of the Holy Romans but of demons. As for the tyrant Coroticus the riches he has unjustly collected will burst out of his stomach, the angel of death drags him, he will be ripped apart by raging dragons, a serpents tongue shall kill him, and unquenchable fire engulf him. The Scoti are once again central to our story. These events must have happened in Ulster for Irish Scoti and Scottish Picts to feature, which makes a Strathclyde involvement feasible. Ironically the RomanoBritish world was dying its organisation and industry had disintegrated, towns were half derelict, villas had become ruins or rough farmyards and British tyrants ruled from strengthened hill forts, until an AngloSaxon revolt broke their rule in eastern Britain later in the century. Patrick however talks of Roman culture and order as normal, not realising, perhaps, the irreversibility of its decline.
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