Who/what are the Druids?

By Athena6767, in 'Latin Culture', Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Athena6767 New Member

    I'm reading and translating Caesar's druids... and I missed the lesson where my teacher explained what they were so I'm pretty confused.

    1. What/who are the druids?

    2. Are they good/bad... from what I'm reading, Caesar keeps praising them. Is he one of them?

    3. Why did Caesar write about them?

    4. What are the importance of the Druids?

    Feel free to add any other useful information. =)

    Thank you very much!
  2. Iohannes Aurum Technicus Auxiliarius

    • Technicus Auxiliarius
  3. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    It is very unwise to try to categorise people or institutions in the past as good or bad.
    Our values are very different, even to those of people 50 years ago. In fact, our own culture would be considered to be licentious, effete and amoral by a large proportion of our ancestors.

    You need to try to understand these institutions in the context of the moral values and cultures of the time you are studying.
  4. Labienus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I happened to have spent a lot of time with and worked with a chap called Peter Ellis many years ago (when I was very interested in studying Druidism), who is a very well respected academic regarding Celtic Druidism; so, if you have any other questions, I might be able to offer some insight :)

    1. Their functions within societies, and their beliefs and practices, were many and varied from order to order; you would benefit from a quick read of wikipedia (or, ideally, from a more respectable piece of literature) more than from me trying to sum them up in a brief paragraph.

    2. See Cinefactus above.

    3. Caesar wrote about them most likely because he found them very interesting. They held very privileged and prestigious positions and, as such, were often very influential in politics. If I remember correctly, Druids first arise in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico when he encounters one Diviciacus, with whom he worked very closely in his contact with Gallic tribes. Due to the Druid's eminent position, he would have been welcomed openly by various tribes and so provided a means for Caesar to exert some influence.

    4. This question is a bit open ended; however, for Caesar, it was most likely for political reasons.

    Interesting fact: Winston Churchill was a [neo-]Druid. Installed into the Albion Lodge in 1908, I believe.
  5. Akela dat affluenter

    • Princeps Senatus
    There is an academic area studying not only Druidism in general but Celtic Druidism specifically?

    I am missing some major pieces of information in this world :solution:
  6. Labienus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    It's definitely worth the venture, Akela :) I haven't read this particular one, but it's a starter:


    He also wrote a much more indepth one called 'The Druids'-- imaginative, I know-- which is brilliant. I couldn't find it from my 20 seconds scanning Amazon but it might be on there somewhere. Fascinating beliefs and practices, which, no doubt, is probably what attracted Caesar to write about them in the first place.

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