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Author Topic: Saint Patrick and the "Snakes"  (Read 727 times)

AuroraWillow

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Saint Patrick and the "Snakes"
« on: February 21, 2012, 12:49:42 pm »
So, I'm having some trouble sorting out fact from historical misinformation, and modern acceptance and perpetuation of said misinformation.

For years and years and years, I've heard the tale that the "snakes" St. Patrick drove out of Ireland were in fact the Druids. In the last few years, I've seen a number of CR people arguing this supposed fact that's been accepted by the Pagan community.

Where does the truth lie in all this? As far as I know, tales of saints were unlikely to be seen as allegorical in nature at all, and this story was written much later after his death. Not to mention the fact that Paganism survived in Ireland well after St Patrick's death.

Can anyone point me to some historical resources that can shed some light on this?
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RandallS

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Re: Saint Patrick and the "Snakes"
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 06:49:44 pm »
Quote from: AuroraWillow;43644
Can anyone point me to some historical resources that can shed some light on this?

As far as  know, there aren't any such sources. Just as there weren't any snakes in Ireland for Patrick to drive out.  As far as I know, how the legend arose (let alone is meaning, if any) is unknown.
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Micheál

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Re: Saint Patrick and the "Snakes"
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 03:28:50 am »
Quote from: AuroraWillow;43644
So, I'm having some trouble sorting out fact from historical misinformation, and modern acceptance and perpetuation of said misinformation.

For years and years and years, I've heard the tale that the "snakes" St. Patrick drove out of Ireland were in fact the Druids. In the last few years, I've seen a number of CR people arguing this supposed fact that's been accepted by the Pagan community.

Where does the truth lie in all this? As far as I know, tales of saints were unlikely to be seen as allegorical in nature at all, and this story was written much later after his death. Not to mention the fact that Paganism survived in Ireland well after St Patrick's death.

Can anyone point me to some historical resources that can shed some light on this?

It has always been apparent that there are no snakes in Ireland(The land bridge between Ireland&Scotland was underwater by the time snakes migrated to the rest of the British Isles from the Continent), and since the myth came about after St. Paddy's time, it is likely Medieval.

I've heard that it could be Anglo-Norman, a reference to pagans in general, or as a friend of mine thinks a reference to expelling Vikings&invaders since the life of Paddy was written when they were impacting& influencing the rest of Europe.

None the less however, it's modern myth&lore in reference to pagans now.

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