Saint Patrick

April 1999
344 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Celtic History
ISBN: 9780851157337
Format: Paperback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037010

Saint Patrick

David N. Dumville

Extremely scholarly and contains many important studies... impossible to do justice to the depth of scholarship which is on display here. BRITANNIA
Anyone working on Britain and Ireland in the fifth century should pay close attention. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY A fascinating work, which sheds light on a number of dark corners. EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPE
St Patrick's place in Irish history is celebrated, but is also the subject of intense controversy - even as to his death. Although the 1500th anniversary of that event was originally celebrated in 1961, there is every reason to think the death date of 461 unsustainable. This collection of essays commemorates a different date, 17 March 493, and takes stock of other difficult issues which require reassesment. These include Patrick's own account of his career, his impassioned apologia pro uita sua, and the later Irish sources which may not reveal much about Patrick but possibly contain material about Palladius, sent from Rome in AD 431 as first bishop for Irish Christians: the invention of two Patricks seems to belong, at the latest, to the 8th century, and may be a reflex of a 7th-century conflation of the careers of Palladius and Patrick. The continuing mediaeval development of the legend and cult of St Patrick and a wide variety of other associated historical and literary-historical issues are also explored.
DAVID DUMVILLE is Professor of Palaeography and Cultural History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Girton College.


[DD's preferred] Dumville succeeds in his ambitious aim of bringing clarity into an area of great complexity and obscurity... [He] applies a very valuable multidisciplinary treatment to what is extremely difficult source material [and] by deploying historical and linguistic skills succeeds in stripping the evidence of ill-founded accretions and weighing up the issues with admirable objectivity. Clarity of treatment, careful balance, scrupulous attention to the sources, and a finely tuned insight are all plentifully in evidence. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY

Also by Author

Also in Series