St Patrick was a Slave Trader and Tax Collector #stpatricksday

st Pat with shamrock

And I thought my post last week about St Patrick was controversial! If you enjoyed it, you might want to read this!

St Patrick was likely a slave trader and tax collector says new british evidence


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23 thoughts on “St Patrick was a Slave Trader and Tax Collector #stpatricksday

  1. Enjoyed reading your post. It’s worth looking at the changes made to Brehon Law following St Patrick to understand just how much was taken from women. Regarding the slave business, some researchers have suggested that slaves in the Mediterranean/Roman sense might differ as ‘slaves’ under Brehon Law who were indentured – paying back for a wrongful act.
    Great blog. I’ll be back.
    Mary Conama The Well of Fire

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    1. Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments! The slave trade is not something I know much about, to be honest, but it’s certainly an aspect kf early civilisation that would be worth investigating. Funnily enough, I was just reading Brehon law in relation to women, but it was a C19th interpretation filled with the view of its (male) interpreter!Needless to say, he didnt dwell on the subject, nor did he explain it clearly! I need to get myself a direct translation, I think.

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      1. Hello Ali. Such a quick response! I found Celtic Women by Peter Beresford Ellis (yes, a man) surprisingly interesting. In particular he didn’t make assumptions and base his theories on the writings of the Invaders (the incoming Christians) but looks deeper at archaeology and questions the changes to Brehon Laws. On another note I’ve just found your blog and been reading it for the past couple of hours as I’m writing a novel on the preChristian Celts in Ireland. So loved that you have so much authenticity in your blog.

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        1. Thanks for the tip about Peter’s book, sounds like something I’d enjoy reading. I’m glad my blog is helping with your research… that’s how this blog came into being. I found so much interesting stuff whilst researching for my own books, which I couldnt include in them, that I started blogging about it. And the more you learn, the more you begin to question.

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    2. Hey Ali, Ailbhe explained this very thing to me, that there was quite a difference between slaves as under the Roman empire and slaves under Brehon law which were more like indentured servants. Just wanted to pass that on! And if you do come across a great translation of the Brehon laws online, could you send me the link?

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    1. Lol! Same old same old, eh? Couldnt they think up anything a bit more original? 😀 Gosh, I’ve just looked at my other comments and realised how cynical I’m getting as I get older!!!

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    1. That is certainly one way of looking at it, David. Shows his human side, and how even the great and good can fall from grace and make mistakes. Mind you, it probably wasnt his fault… he was probably led by Satan at the time. Still, alls well that ends with a confession and a few hail marys, and you do get the option of redemption right at the end as you lie on your death bed, conveniently…

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    1. Hi Noelle. You know, its more believable than the original story. A shepherd has rather a lot of freedom to come and go, its hardly slave labour. His story of escape is such an easy one, too easy. However, its all supposition… where is the evidence to support this new theory? I think until they produce it, most Irish, especially the Catholics, will claim its propoganda spread by the nasty English! I’m open to learning more. What’s your view?

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  2. St. Patrick as a Slave Trader and Tax Collector? Makes a lot of sense to me. I can imagine the Soul Tax and the Right2Souls marches at the time. Some things do not change much do they?.

    Just read that Montserrat Island celebrate February 17th as the day they rose and revolted against their Irish slave traders, 7 out of 10 white slave traders on the island were Irish. Having said that, it must also be remembered that a lot of Irish were also slaves around the Caribbean, and they did not live for long.

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    1. Yes much is made of all the poor Irish who were sold as slaves by the nasty Brits but mouths are sealed about all those Irish who joined in the fun and became slave traders! Perhaps old St Pat had a change of heart when he found God. He made it his business to convert women and slaves to Christianity. The way I see it Christianity made slaves of free Irish women, and as for those who were already slaves of labour, not much changed for them after. They were still slaves but to a different master.

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        1. And the church still has quite a tight hold on women’s freedom, not to mention makes life unnecessarily and sometimes tragically difficult for anyone whose sexual orientation/gender preferences don’t fit natural law theory (which was all too incidiously crafted to produce domination and control, in my opinion.) I’ve read arguments on it, as well as Vatican declarations. One reason I quit Catholicism and then Christianity entirely, besides all the other reasons I personally needed to leave to stay true to myself, is the lack of female leadership in the church, let alone female deities. The mythology around Mary is quite similar to that of Isis and Osiris, say, or other mother/child deity pairs, and yet she is not a goddess in her own right, but a mere mortal who can’t get recognition on her own spiritual merits but must have them by proxy as mother of god. Digression, sorry. Great post, I agree with you that I’d like to see more solid evidence about Patrick one way or another, but the alternative viewpoint is probably really helpful either way. It’s important to question the people you look up to and the more dialogue there is on the subject, the more likelihood of truth or at least greater plausibility. Personally the idea that Patrick made up the runaway slave story and traded some slaves himself sounds very plausible, and yes I am probably also synical, but perhaps for good reason in this case. At least I think so. 🙂

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          1. Wow! Now it’s my turn to say ‘Well said’! Although I’ve always thought that women were oppressed by Christianity, I had never really considered Mary in that light. What an eye-opener! You are so right!

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