Friday, 5 May 2017

St Patrick

While out walking today, we visited the ruined St Patrick's Chapel (see image and here) in Heysham. It is possible that:

Patrick came from Ravenglass, further up the Cumbrian coast;
Heysham is where he was shipwrecked on his return from Ireland;
he was buried at the site of the Chapel.

I mention this because Patrick is Sucat (Christian name: Patricius) in Poul and Karen Anderson's The King Of Ys.

We live with history and fiction. George Fox, founder of Quakerism, was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle. While visiting Nottingham, I met the current Sheriff of Nottingham and also a man roaming the streets role-playing the easily recognisable role of Friar Tuck. Legends live.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

County sheriffs used to have wide and sweeping powers in England/Wales. They directly represented the king, and were charged with preserving the peace. These days I think the office has become largely ceremonial.


S.M. Stirling said...

Legends are how we talk to each other (and ourselves) about our past.

S.M. Stirling said...

In St. Patrick's time, the Brythonic language was close enough to Old Irish that it would be easy for a speaker of one to pick up the other -- most of the linguistic peculiarities of Gaelic are of medieval date. What Nial spoke in the 4th century would be grammatically closer to Latin than to modern Gaelic.

S.M. Stirling said...

NB: apparently in Roman and immediately pre-Roman times, the whole of mainland Britain (with the possible and/or partial exception of the Picts) spoke dialects of a common Brythonic-Celtic language.

The uniformity of the Celtic languages at the time the Classical civilizations came in contact with them suggests a very rapid and very recent dispersal from a common center -- in the 4th century CE, the language spoken in Anatolian Galatia (what's now central Turkey) was still comprehensible to someone from Lyons (in Roman Gaul). And the Celtic migration to Anatolia is historically dated; it occurred in 278 BCE at the invitation of Nicomedes of Bithynia.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Given the common Indo/European roots of Brythonic and Latin, I'm not surprised by the similarities those languages had with each other.

I'm reminded of how Poul Anderson, in his THE LAST VIKING, had messengers from Anglo/Saxon England being able to speak with Harald Hardrede of Norway without interpreters. Old English and Old Norse were probably much alike.

And I have read about the curious case of the Celtic speaking Galatians of Asia Minor. Mostly from reading Anderson's THE GOLDEN SLAVE.