Today is St. Patrick's Day, a celebration of the one of the most-famous escaped slaves in history.
He's much better known for spreading Christianity in a pagan land. And for driving snakes out of Ireland. (Was that story symbolic of a clash with a snake-worshiping group of Druids? A symbolic reference to evil spirits of some kind? Or just a folk tale that developed out of imagination?)
Patrick's long association with Ireland that nation during the struggle for independence.
Thus, a Latin-speaking Briton born in Wales became a symbol of Ireland.