St Patrick: one of the earliest Irish writers

St Patrick: one of the earliest Irish writers

Sometimes people are surprised that St Patrick is confirmed as a historical figure in the records, given that his mission to convert the pagan Irish began in 432 AD. He was born in modern-day  Wales to a Romano-British family. At the age of 16 he was taken by raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland.

A couple of interesting writing facts about St Patrick:

1. Patrick wrote in Latin.

2. Two works are accredited to him: the Confessio (or Declaration) and the Epistola (or Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus).

His Confessio begins very simply:

My name is Patrick...
I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.
My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae.
His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner.
I was about sixteen at the time.

 3. Many modern historians admire the writings of Patrick:

Since his writings have come to be better understood, it is increasingly recognized that, despite their occasional incoherence, they mirror a truth and a simplicity of the rarest quality. Not since St. Augustine of Hippo had any religious diarist bared his inmost soul as Patrick did in his writings. As D.A. Binchy, the most austerely critical of Patrician (i.e., of Patrick) scholars, put it, “The moral and spiritual greatness of the man shines through every stumbling sentence of his ‘rustic’ Latin.” Source: Britannica.com