How Ireland saved Western Euroupe


Around the end of the 5th century A.D most of Europe was controlled by the great Roman Empire which controlled land from England to Turkey and everything in between. But such a vast empire cannot protect all of its boarders and like all great empires it fell. The fall of Rome was caused mainly by internal struggles and the attacks from Germanic barbarians from the north and north east of Europe. The fall would led Europe into a dark age. However one place was free from the dark ages, Ireland. Ireland was never controlled by the Romans mainly because they saw the Irish as uncivilized, barbarians and would do nothing to benefit the empire. However they still traded with the Irish and spread the Catholic faith and Roman writing techniques to the Irish. One such famous missionary was Saint Patrick who wasn’t born in Ireland but was born in Roman Britain. This conversion of the Irish from pagan to Christian was extremely unique, the Irish never persecuted Christians after Patrick arrived and many people started to convert in huge numbers. This type of conversion was one of the most peaceful mass conversions to Catholicism in history and would led to how the Irish saved the Western Civilization. This quick conversion allowed many monks and holy people to go to Ireland and start setting up monasteries which taught the newly converted monks and people of Ireland to read and write. Another unique ability of the Irish was how quickly they were able to learn how to write and read, along with the unique need to read as many books as they could get their hands on. The Irish monks would read everything from the Bible, to books by cicero, that were seen as evil by some holy men, and even stories of Roman and Greek gods that was heresy but the Irish monks were very open to these books. They did not see them as true they saw them as only stories and these books would not change their faith which was very different from the Roman Catholicism ideas which saw these fables as pagan, satanic works. This great need to read would led the Irish to start writing their own books and create their own writing styles which mixed roman and Celtic writing styles together and form. Two writing styles were formed Irish Half-Uncial script and Irish Minuscule script. Irish Minuscule script became so famous it would be used throughout the middle ages.

KB73B24-fol13-detailSIrish Half-Uncial script

maelbrig2aIrish Minuscule script

Once Rome finally fell guess what place had all the ideas and a lot of the books that came from Rome….Ireland!!! If the Irish did not convert to Catholicism as easy as they did and if they did not want to read and write as much as they wanted to the great literature from Rome could have been lost. After the fall of Rome Ireland would enter a golden age that would end by the 700s and have clans fighting each other until Brian Boru would unify Ireland for ten years until he is killed while praying.

Brian BoruBrian Boru


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