"The Great Heathen Army,"

Part III,"

by Ronald Ginther

Romano-Celtic Britain--from St. Paul, Julius Caesar, and Emperor Claudius to the Great Germanic Tribal Migrations

Prefatory Remarks:

A different kind of Britain existed before the alien Angles, Jutes, Saxons or Germanic tribes of the Continent invaded and conquered much of the Island of Britain. It was, for one thing, Celtic (pronounced with a hard "K"), not Germanic. These two races, Celtic and Germanic, were quite different and antipathic in some respects, and remain so today quite different, though they are not now at war as they often were in past centuries. The Celts were an Indo-European race, fair skinned, hot-blooded, impulsive, highly creative, warlike, fiercely independent, individualistic, tribal, unstable and generally hateful or uncooperative toward kings, despots, final authorities. In other words, they prized personal freedom most of all (even above life itself), and certainly prized it above all other hierarchical institutions and complex organizations such as the state and government and kingship and royalty, which were not recognized as high priorities for any ordinary man worth his salt, and so were despised by Celts, and suffered neglect accordingly. They did not much like or cultivate well-organized cities and ports and a complex network of roads that supported them (this was what the Romans brought to Britain, not what they found there), which required a high degree of individual subordination and cooperation, and preferred instead, as the Celtic Irish did until the Vikings), a free nomadic or tribal life, with occasional, very loose confederations presided over by a "High King" who was probably more a lofty figurehead, or a Chief among chiefs, than a thorough-going king or despot whose authority was unquestioned and to whom absolute obedience was due by all.

Enter this northern but verdant paradise of rugged individualists and independently run tribes, with only a few cities and mosly small villages or hamlets to speak of, with intervening, vast tracts of untamed forest and large areas of waste or desolate ground dividing them and keeping them separate and suspicious of each other and each other's affairs. Why should they unify? What was the benefit? The land was rich enough, wide enough, for all sorts of men and their various lives. Able to make their way well enough without organization and other people, the Celtic male preferred life as a Lone Ranger, so to speak, though his tribe was something he was born into and never thought to rid himself of, since his tribe thought and acted the same way he did. Even bounded by the traditions and customs of a tribe, with the ties of brotherhood and blood, Celts had no life and death need of each other--they were autonomous, self-sufficient men, if need be. A man could always protect himself from a superior foe by jumping into the nearest swamp and forest and get away from a more powerful foe. Such an independent, rugged individualistic man was not to be tamed. You had to have his cooperation, to tame him. But Julius Caesar, the great Roman army leader, wasn't interested in taming wild men--he could crush them, then enslave the survivors, and make them work hard for Rome in innumerable construction projects. If they cooperated, they could be made useful for their working life, and perhaps molded into a Roman society in time, but on his visit to the Island, he wasn't particularly in a colonizing mood, since the "pacification of Gaul and even western Germany was uppermost in his mind. Since the Island of Britain was an island fortress for the Celts, he decided to make an exploratory and military visit that would give the Celts there something to think about and remember for some time to come.

Having fought and exterminated tens of thousands of Celts already in Gaul, he was assured he could do the same thing to the Celts of Britain.

As his written accounts of his wars, the Commentaries, attest, he learned how to use their independent spirit and inability to organize against them. Though numerous and widespread, brave to the point of fearlessness, equipped with chariots, the Celts could be defeated by exploiting their chief weakness, as Julius Caesar saw it.

He had started his campaign to subjugate them in northern Italy and proceeded northward across the Alps into Gaul, where he continued his campaigns against the Celts, attacking and defeating them wherever they assembled to fight him.

Successful, he drove the remnants of Celtic resistance before him all the way up to the "English Channel," and still victorious he crossed to the big island of Britannica, as it was called even then by the Romans and Greeks. It was the beginning of a new era for Britain and the Britons--though they did not know it. Even the Romans did not know what God had planned for the Britons--that the Gospel would come to the Island in couple more generations under the protecting banners of Imperial Rome!

Roman Conquest by Julius Caesar and Emperor Claudius

What did the Celts call their Island? They may have had no single name like Britain or Britannica, but it has taken their name, more or less, since Britannica has meant the land of the Britons or British, and even the province of Brittany in France retains that ancient ancestral name. So, whether created by them, or accepted by them in lieu of one of their own, the name stuck, and stuck to this very day.

The Romans' view of the Celts has come down to us vividly in Julius Caesar's Commentaries and also in the writings of other Romans. The Romans have told us that the Celts were a highly virile, vigorous, rich, flourishing tribal people and they populated the whole continent of Europe, not just the Island of Britannica In body they were tall, blond or light haired, athletic, and active, and the men preferred as few clothes as possible, perhaps to show off their magnificent physiques, and they had full heads of hair, which they preferred as long as possible, and wore gold collars or necklaces of coiled gold as their chief adornment. Beside them, the Italic Romans were inferior, dark, squat or short-legged men, with little to recommend them in appearance. In religion the Celts were pagan, worshiping many gods. The pagan Druidic priesthood, with a great deal of human sacrifice, dominated the Celts' religious life. They must have had many special ceremonial centers based on sacred groves of trees, tall or strangely shaped rocks that were considered haunts of gods or spirits, waterfalls or rivers or pools that were the abodes of powers or spirits, and a spiritual meaning, sign, or portent attached to most everything in the terrain, and the sky, or in the stars and sun and moon, and the world of plants and animals. Stonehenge--and many other huge, circular Megalithic monuments in Britain and Gaul that seemed to be designed for the predictions of the Winter Solstice, no doubt had practical uses for establishing the seasons of the calendar and the times of the plowing, planting, and reaping cycles that governed the lives of agricultural people and the cultures of these agrarian societies--remains a symbol of lasting symbol or icon of pre-Christian, pre-Roman Britannica (though whether the Celts built Stone Henge, it is not for me to speculate here).

Again, the Celts were men of action. The elite and small class of priestly Druids had their incantations, spells, maybe even books of magic, along with rites of animal and even human sacrifice to the heathen Celtic gods--but generally the people were uneducated and left learning to the Druidic priesthood. The main body of Celts were great horsemen and had thousands of chariots and wagons, so they were highly mobile people. Their encampments, villages, and horse-drawn mobile "cities" were innumerable, containing tens of thousands of people at times, and it seemed unthinkable that they would be swept away or subdued by outsiders--especially by a smaller, dark race of men who came in small numbers too--making their victory all the more bewildering and humiliating.

But Roman armies, with their superior, superb training and organization led by such brilliant commanders as Julius Caesar, defeated and exterminated them, regardless of their looks and superior athletic bodies and love of freedom and individualism. Julius Caesar wrote detailed accounts of the wars he had with the Celts, which have survived to tell us how ruthlessly he treated the Celts--it was unconditional surrender, but the Celts usually fought, so he usually exterminated them, it did not matter how many to him died by his order. Under Julius Caesar's command, his ten legions dealt Gaul's Celts (who may have numbered a half million in fighting men) a tremendous blow which they could not parry despite their great personal courage, each man fighting like a great Greek hero of old and despite their long acquaintance with the lay of the land. Though Julius Caesar envied or admired their personal qualities of undaunted courage, recklessness, and fine physiques, he considered them ignorant barbarians and showed them no mercy whatsoever. Roman sculptors certainly admired the Celts' physique and their dynamic presence and spirit, even when dying, as the famous statue, "The Dying Gaul," signifies. Gaul was crushed, and the Celts became Roman, and mixed with their Italian masters to produce the Gallic race. Britain was next. Julius Caesar's invasion in 55 B.C. was just a foretaste of what was in store for the Kelts of Britain. With only 50,000 soldiers, he sailed across the Channel in fair weather on his warships, landed in the Island, then sallied forth and attacked an enemy many times larger in size, but yet the vast Celtic numbers were not sufficient to stop a determined Roman commander and proconsul such as this one. Caesar had the winning edge in strategy and the military organization of his expeditionary force. The Celts must have been shocked and a bit bewildered when they found they could not defeat and drive this dark, short, skirted alien into the sea. After defeating all the armed forces he cared to deal with, Julius Caesar quitted the Island, left on his own accord, as the Romanization and pacification of Gaul was a more pressing concern than Britain, and he was on his way to be the chief of state in Rome, not a mere proconsul.

But the intelligentsia and the imperial classes of Rome did not forget the far northern Island of Britain. Later, under the Emperor Claudius, and while much trade was going on with the Island by traders and businessmen from Roman Gaul, state of the art legionary armies were sent in, and the full-scale conquest of the Island was commenced, with the Emperor's prestige hanging on the outcome. This conquest succeeded, except for scattered fringes considered not really important or desirable for thorough colonizing, such as the northern part of the Picts and Scots which we call Scotland today, and Wales (where the Celts are called Welsh today, and which sometimes is called West Wales), and the southeast part of the Island, called Cornwall, where the Cornish Celts resided (sometimes called South Wales), and the coastland of France adjoining Normandy, called Brittany (a variant of Britannica), which was convenient for refugees from Britain, both then and later. Ireland, also, remained free of Roman rule, and never knew Rome's ways, as no Roman army was ever ordered to go there.

Civilization, defined by the Romans, was installed in the Romanized parts, which comprised most of the main or middle part of the Island, which happened to be the most cultivated (though not the most fertile as in the still forested clay soils in the valleys and along the rivers, most cleared of forest, and thus easily traversed, the mountainous, difficult, less productive and cultivated parts retained by the vanquished but still rebellious Celts and other British tribal peoples in the North.

Such were left alone by the Romans. The Celts in the Romanized part soon learned they had much to gain by submission to the superior military organization of Rome--they had more to gain from Rome, than Rome from Brittanica initially. They learned to bow the knee, address their masters respectfully, and in return for service, they received all the manifold benefits of Roman roads, cities, civil institutions, Pax Romana, commerce and world trade, and postal and highway connection with the rest of the Empire across the Channel.

They became "civilized," in the Roman sense, but in a real sense as well--as before they had been truly barbarous people. To go stark naked and paint their whole bodies a startling iris blue (they took blue chalk from their own abundant chalk deposits, or they could extract the color from flowers or even plants they knew)--to heap up captives in huge stacks of sticks and straw and burn them as sacrifices to their gods--to fight one another and rob each other, back and forth, back and forth, and never achieve unity and peace on the Island--that was barbarism among the British. The Romans brought that to an end, and, even though there was the brief, traumatic episode of Queen Boadicea of the powerful tribe of the Isei who revolted against certain excessively cruel, immoral Roman commanders and almost ended Roman rule before she was slain and her forces annihilated) the Celts of Romano Celtic Britain must have thought it an improvement for they never looked back.

Despite the setbacks in the Queen Boadicea insurgency, Roman civilization triumphed in the main part of the Island, and there was peace, so Celtic Britain soon became Christian, a epochal event which made the Island more civilized than even the Romans could have managed with their pluralistic, polytheistic state that allowed for worship of all sorts of gods and goddesses. Apostles, or at least men of God who had known the Apostles and even the Lord hismelf, may well have visited and witnessed of their faith in Christ on the Island.

The Christian Faith Comes to the Uttermost Isles of Britannica

The missionary apostle Paul was eager to take the Gospel, we know by his own words in the New Testament, to the ends of the Roman Empire in the west, to Spain. Hispania, as it was called, which is the Iberian peninsula that contains Spain and Portugal today and borders France on the north, was the ancient seafaring and trading Phoenicians' stopover for their ships as they made their way to their destination, Brittanica's chief tin port, Iktis (which today is the picturesque isle, tourist village, and ancient abbey called Mount St. Michael). Apostles followed the main trade routes, West to East, and East to West. Here on the West, they could have hopped on any one of a hundred or thousand trade ships sailing to Iktis in Brittanica (the extreme southwestern part called Cornwall nowadays). It is less likely that they did not do so--as the ways were open and had been for untold centuries. Paul had taken the Gospel all through Asia Minor in the eastern portions of the Roman Empire, then he crossed the Aegean Sea to Macedonia in the north of Greece, which was Achaea the Roman province. From there he had proceeded to Rome, but on other journeys he evangelized Illyricum, the country we used to know as Yugoslavia--which occupied the eastern shores of the Adriatic.

Illyricum, which got its name by being settled by a vigorous barbarian Illyrian people who were soon civilized by Rome, produced good soldiers and some of the finest military commanders.

If not for these illustrious and courageous Illyrians, Rome would have fallen to the barbarians decades before she did in 410 AD.

Paul had brought the Gospel to Illyricum not long after 50 A.D, (which was not long after Britannica was conquered by Rome under the Emperor Claudius's rule). From that time to the 4th century, the Gospel had plenty time to spread its roots, and produce many churches. Thus, there is no reason not to think that Christian Illyricum saved the Roman state at a time when such help was most desperately needed.

Composed by Paul himself, Romans 15:18-20 chronicles Paul's evangelism in Illyricum:

"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient--in mighty signs and wonders , by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.

Paul, speaking of his desire to visit the church in Rome, also mentioned his desire to journey to Spain as a missionary:

"Whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you [Christians in Rome]. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my sway there [to Spain] by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while."--Paul's Letter to the Romans, 15:24.

We Americans or Westerners of the 21st century may wonder what it matters to us that Illyricum (just down from Venice, Italy, today is Croatia, Slovenia, and perhaps Bosnia, with Austria and Hungary lying to the north of these newly created nations), was Paul's mission field. He had other mission fields too, so why was this one anything of special significance?

The fact is that Illyricum was highly significant for a number of reasons. This region produced Rome's last chance to keep control in the West and hold back the barbarian tribes pressing in from the east and the north. But that is the least part of its significance. God knows the full significance of Paul's missionary activity and his advance into those formerly pagan strongholds. We can guess, however, that the Christian faith was firmly established there, that never quite was driven out, no matter how many barbarians ultimately swept through after Rome's final collapse, burning, slaying everyone alive, and enslaving the survivors. Those lands remain Christian today (at least in name, with the exception of Moslem Bosnia, Albania, and parts of Macedonia).

The greater significance, however, is this: Illyricum was a strategic, physical and spiritual launchpad, the vital land bridge from the Eastern world to Gaul, and Gaul was the land bridge to the Island of Brittanica. If Illrycum was blocked, the whole route was disrupted. With the way open, Illyricum served to tie the East and West together using long-established and Roman roads laid on the ancient trade routes.

As we already noted, by sea the Gospel quite possibly reached Brittanica from round Hispania (Spain) and up to Iktis, Cornwall.

By land, Illyricum was the crossroads Roman province boasting the main east-west Roman road that led from the Western Roman Empire to the Eastern Roman Empire. From Illyricum the Gospel would have gone with the apostles to Gaul and thence to Brittanica. Either way, Britannica was going to be reached, and it is probably that both vital land and sea routes were fully utilized in evangelizing Britannica.

Once Britannica was penetrated by the Gospel of Christ, it would never be completely driven out (though the German tribes of the Saxons, Jutes, and Angles nearly extinguished Christianity in most of the Island).

Centuries before the Germanic tribes of the Continent would turn their land-hungry eyes on the Island, however, Britannica became Christian. Then in the 4th and 5th centuries when Britannica was subjugated, except for the fringes, by the heathen Germanic tribes, it may have held a few scattered Christians, but there was little evangelization, if any, going forth from the British-held areas where the original inhabitants clung to life in hard circumstances of poverty and barbaric living conditions. Churchill states that it may not have been possible to convert the Germanic tribes, even if the British Christians had tried. In any event, they did not convert them. It took something new to happen first (which we will describe in Part IV).*

But let us go back to describing Celtic Britannica, before and after the two Roman invasions and the creation of a new Roman province.

The landbridges and sea routes all made the conquest of Britannica by Rome possible and even inevitable. Britannica had been known for a millenium at least to the civilized world surrounding the Mediterranean with various trading empires, particularly Carthage and Tyre and Egypt, Minoan Crete and Greece's chief city states. Tin was the most valuable asset of Britain, obtained at Cornwall, for it was dug out of Cornish mines from the earliest times. We may assume that there were other products too that were valuable, but tin must have been the major commodity, for tin was used for the manufacture and smelting of bronze. Until that process was discovered and used, copper was the metal for weaponry, but it was soft. Tin made copper bronze--a much harder metal for weapons and body armor. Until iron came into wide use, bronze dominated, and so tin was highly sought after, and probably commanded a price high enough to make a long sea voyage, with many hazards from weather and pirates, worth the trouble and effort and investment. For thousands of years the world-famed Cornish mines were worked and remained lucrative and profitable, and only now in the 21st century are they a thing of the past, a tourist attraction, but though they have been delved very deep, more than a mile down in many cases and even under the seabed, they are not yet all played out, so there is still metal ore in them.

So, even before Julius Caesar, the world had long known about Britannica, and valued its ores highly. Surely, Rome, even without Julius Caesar's visit, would have thought it worthwhile to acquire the Island and annex it into its Empire.

It took a hundred years, however, before the unwieldly Imperial administration to get around to the task. When Claudius came to the throne in AD 41 at the time of the assassination of Caligula, it was considered the time to make a conquest of Britannica, and 20,000 troops were allotted for that task. The Roman forces found the Island in disunity, which aided them. Various kinglets of the Celts held sway, but they were not able to made a defense that mattered, and they lost battles with the Romans. Pitched battles were a losing affair for the British, so they retreated to fight a rearguard action, a war of attrition. Perhaps the enemy would grow tired of chasing after them in the swamps and forests and go home, just as Julius Caesar had done. This was their hope. One kinglet, Caractacus, had more stature than all the others, and would not give in. He escaped from defeat among the Welsh where he had operated as an insurgent, and fled northward to seek aid with the Brigantes, but their queen turned him over to the Romans. It was the end of British liberty, when he and his wife and family were taken to Rome as hostages and spoils of war, along with booty, to parade before the Emperor and all his assembled nobility and the Roman people. Noble and once rich and powerful, and apparently highly intelligent and cultivated, he made a speech and addressed the Emperor and his court as a peer, and gained their respect. Appealing for clemency, he was given it. But his country was now Roman, even with this fine gesture by the conqueror.

In return for this conquest of Roman arms under his leadership (though it was his generals who did the actual fighting), Claudius was awarded the title "Britannicus" by the Senate.

Since this is not a history, we need not go into the history of Roman-Celtic period, though it lasted from circa AD 50 to the beginning of the 5th century, when Emperor Honorius sent his message in AD 410 that "all cantons should take steps to defend themselves." With the withdrawal of Roman Government, such steps were taken, more or less, but it would not be sufficient to hold back the vast migrations of millions of Asian born barbarian tribal peoples moving steadily from East to West, eventually driving the Germanic tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes off the Continent and onto Romano Celtic Britain.

The important thing for us about the whole Romano-Celtic period in Britain is that the Gospel was preached there and received (some scholars say the apostles landed and ministered first at Gloucester in the southwestern part of Britannica), and the people were converted to the Christian faith from their native paganism and much of their heathen practices (though there are always survivals of heathen practices and various pagan festivals, though they are usually given new Christian names and Christian meanings to an extent). Church foundations have been found from that time. Many more await discovery, to be sure. Droughts are most helpful in finding these church foundations, as they show up clearly greener in aerial pictures than the surrounding ground.

As ground is excavated for modern buildings, Roman ruins of all sorts of structures have been brought to light, and house churches might well have been prevalent too, for only late in the Roman period was Christianity recognized by Constantine as one of the officially recognized religions (in the Edict of Milan which he issued). Then churches could be built, but homes containing the "underground church" were far safer places for Christians to meet together up to that time.

Later, Christianity was endorsed as the state religion, but for most of Romano Celtic Britain's history, the Christian faith was probably a persecuted belief, with interludes of peace and tranquility, with freedom to spread the Gospel. Unopposed, it must have spread quickly across Britain, creating hundreds of house churches. Even in times of persecution, with Christians fleeing or driven out of one city to another, the Faith spread quickly along the fine Roman roads, no doubt! We see this phenomenon in China today, in the vast house church movement that has brought fifty million Chinese into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Britannica was clearly a predecessor of this (and there were many other instances as well in the world).

In any event, even before the nominally Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine, made it safe to be a Christian by his Milan Edict of Toleration in the 4th century, Christianity had reached most of Britain. It was this Christianized Island that had to deal with the onslaughts of the unwashed heathen, barbaric, uncouth, violent, vile-living Germanic tribes whose language was unknown to Britain's civilized people. This must have been the Christians' worst foe, for even the Romans were not able to exterminate them, though they had tried in repeated persecutions from the 1st century on up to Constantine.

The Barbarian, Heathen German Tribes Conquer Brittanica

What a shock! When these two peoples met, it was not going to be a pleasant or easy encounter. They represented two diametrically different worlds. Once the British had lived quite similar to the Germanic tribes, but they had long forgotten that horrible experience--and certainly did not wish to be subjected to it again!

We post-modern Christians (with many generations of civilization behind us) cannot possible imagine the visceral horror the Romanized Celtic Britains must have felt when faced by the unwashed, heathen, illiterate, uncivilized, warlike Germanic tribes.

The Celtic Romans were a varied mixture of two peoples, with Celtic features blending with Italic and Roman features. But the German tribes were one homogenous race, with their startlingly light blue eyes, unkempt, unwashed hair hanging in their faces, both men and women going about indecently bare limbed, violent and immoral in behavior, horribly gross or coarse in manners, unintelligible in language.

The Celts had all once been tall, blondish or blond, athletic, vigorous, individualistic, freedom loving, chaotic, self-exalting and vainglorious boasters. You see these people portrayed in literature, for we have little artistic remains or portraits of them, except for Scythian gold jewelry and bracelets which show the Scythian tribesmen of the South Russian or Ukrainian plains, who might have been Celtic people, or relatives, as they seem to have such a close resemblance to them in their looks and manner of life and highly mobile society.

The Scythians appeared a thousand or more years before Christ, crushing the Hittite Empire and overunning Assyria and even leaving their name in Scythopolis in Israel (perhaps the farthest south they penetrated). These hordes of raiding horse-mounted warriors And nomads may have been ancestors of the Roman era Celts. They acted much the same (and the equestrian Indo-European Mitannians, contemporaries of the Hittites and the Pharaohs of Thebes and Amarna may have been relatives too). But in the Greek and Roman eras, both Scythians and Celts entered the time of written history, and historians recorded in their books and scrolls what they were like. In time Roman and Greek literacy penetrated the Celtic culture, and when they became Christian, their minstrels or entertainers who could sing long epic poems recalling the exploits of Celtic warriors wrote them down eventually, though for centuries they transmitted these tales orally, without any need for writing. These boasting warriors and nobles and chiefs of the German tribes were named individually and by tribe and pictured in fine detail in Beowulf, the ancient epic of Britain. This Christian-composed epic gives us a picture of them from the earliest Christian times when there were still many vestiges of the pagan Celtic traditions and heroic deeds alive at least in memory for minstrels to sing about in the halls of the chieftains and nobles.

But the folk epic of Beowulf marks only a passing transitional stage. After Beowulf, a new England arose, one that was Christian and Saxon, not Christian and Celtic Roman. At the onset of the transitional stage there was invasion, chaos, and extermination going on, with the Germanic tribes seizing most of the cultivated lands of Britain and driving out or killing the Celtic-Roman Christian Britons.

Britain could never go back to what it had been under the Celtic-Romanized and Christian Britons. The conquest of Britannica by the Germanic tribes wiped the slate clean, except for the edges. What resulted was a dark period, when heathendom reigned in the Island. As Churchill pictures this period, where there once was a civilized country, with cities, networks of roads, commerce, schools, academies, shipping, ports, literary, libraries and fine villas and beautiful gardens, we see nothing but a ruined landscape, cut into a thousand pieces, over which hundreds of Germanic tribal chiefs ruled as "king for a day" in whatever little territory they seized for themselves and the bands of tribal warriors.

Britannica vanished from the world, and a barbaric land took its place--a horrible place, overrun by an illiterate, pagan, tribal mass of conflicting, almost constantly fighting tribes and clans and short-lived principalities ruled by the strongest brigands. The more powerful of the kinglets and brigands could manage to hold on with their personal strength of leadership and also promises of booty and lands. Why would anyone serve them, if not for personal gain? But there were probably no enduring dynasties to speak of--few such holdings lasted to the second generation, as the ephemeral rulers were assassinated or defeated in battle and disappeared. It was eat or be eaten, as one shark sought to devour its neighbor shark, but was gobbled up by an even bigger shark the very moment it engulfed its weaker neighbor. A unified country cannot be built on such a foundation, so chaos and darkness reigned across Britannica.

What was going to make a nation of this? There was no hope for it, but yet God provided a way, in the person of Patrick, a Celtic Roman Christian Briton, who lived, it is thought, in a village or small town located somewhere in the Severn River valley on the western side of the Island opposite Ireland. Before Patrick, there was indeed no hope for Britain after the Saxon-Jute-Angle mass invasion and conquest. With Patrick, there was a bright gleam of hope that would grow brighter every year he lived. We know this from written accounts, for Patrick was literate and wrote his own account, which reads surprisingly modern, as he was a unique personality who expressed himself so acutely and finely we can actually feel his feelings and think his thoughts as he relates them.

This unlikely person had to undergo a most traumatic reversal in his life, however, before we see the Patrick who rose as a towering man of God with the Gosepl of Christ to save the lost souls of Ireland (Celtic, pagan, and barbaric, unRomanized and uncivilized Ireland). His conversions in Ireland created the first Christian nation from scratch. Ireland became a bastion of Christianity that would eventually break out into heathenized Britain across the Irish Sea, turning the clock forward again for this island mother of nations we now call Britain or England.

Thus we see a strange thing happen, that was most critical. It is one of history's turning points, focused in the life of one human being. The light had gone out for Celtic Roman and Christian civilization in Britain. But yet one ember remained, and God Almighty had a plan for that one bit of fire. But first he must fashion a man of God out of that little spark left lying in the ashes of a ruined Britannica.

*Christianity returned to full flower in Britain (now Anglo-Saxon England) with the Celts carrying the Cross of Christ from Ireland (after Ireland was brought the Gospel by a Celtic-Roman preacher named Patrick).

Thanks to his efforts, Britain was regained and returned to the Christian faith, through Celtic missionaries, and it remained Christian from that time on up to our own time, when it was subjugated by secular fundamentalists with their pagan, atheistic religion of multiculturalism, Darwinian evolution, relativistic ethics, and hedonism. Before the secular fundamentalists took control in the 19-21st centuries, however, a mission-mothering England spread the Gospel with thousands of vibrant, courageous, Christ-preaching missionaries across the world, to Afica, Asia, India, and the Middle East, not to mention North America.

America became Christian, thanks to England's Christian faith, which was once vibrant and flourishing. So we owe Christian Britannica, St. Patrick and the monk-missionaries who followed him, not to mention all Christian England for a thousand and five hundred years following St. Patrick, a debt we can never repay. But going all the way back to the 1st century A.D. Apostles, this grand story has its roots in Paul's epic 1st century missionary journeys to Illyricum, Rome (and, he intended, God willing, from Rome to Spain), some of which had to have cleared the way to Britannica by land and possibly by sea as well. Paul himself may have visited not only Spain but Britannica, and preached in the Island, though we do not have a written account of it. Surely, we can ask him in heaven and settle the question once and for all--and it ought to be asked!


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