[PW] Accurate depictions of Catholic Saints

T.F. Mills phasco at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 26 18:09:29 PDT 2015

On 26 Oct 2015 at 12:10, Elizabeth Barksdale wrote:

> St. Patrick-- According to the stories, St. Patrick was a missionary in
> Ireland. He's usually portrayed in rather formal and ornate Bishop's
> clothing. However, he probably wouldn't have dressed so formally to do
> missionary work in rural Ireland in the 5th century.

There is "accuracy" and then there is verisimilitude (the historian's art and task.)  Obviously 
nobody took a photo of Patrick, so we have no idea what clothes he owned and wore.  But we 
do know from his _Confessions_ that he was a Romano-British noble, so that would very much 
dictate his style of attire.  I think all you need is a costume book covering the 4th-5th century 
Roman world, and there are some good ones out there.

That said, this looks closer to verisimilitude than most depictions of Patrick (disregarding the 
shamrock and snake and the iconic Irish greenness):


Another consideration:  most depictions of Patrick put him in something more resembling 
11th-13th century clerical garb, just as his near-contemporary and legendary King Arthur is, 
and that has more to do with the emergence of the legends (many centuries later) than the 
period when these people supposedly lived.  Of course, the further removed we are from an 
event, the more the centuries tend to blur in most people's minds. 

T.F. Mills 
(Colorado, USA)

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