The Druids operated largely without writing, following the tradition of many early peoples by using an oral tradition of learning and history Thus the earliest appearances of The Druids come from Greek and Roman writings The Druids were seen as a philosophising, priestly caste, also somewhat of a civil authority Indeed, both Julius Caesar and Cicero mention The Druids in their writings, and one Druid ambassador even addressed the Roman Senate in search of an alliance against the barbarian Germanic tribes Caesar, however, with intent to conquer Gaul, persuaded the Senate to support the Germans so as to facilitate the conquest of Gaul of course, shortly thereafter the Germans became the enemies of Rome, and would remain so for the most part for the rest of Roman history.
Ellis examines The Druids from many vantage points, looking at the writings about The Druids by both insiders Celts and outsiders Ellis also examines the religion, rituals, and wisdom of The Druids, which includes subchapters on schools, books, philosophy, law, history, poetry, music, medical knowledge, art, astronomy and astrology, and mysticism.
Ellis argues in his final chapter that The Druids never truly disappeared As a social class, rather than as a narrowly defined group of wizards and priests, The Druids as an intelligensia remained under a new classification, but this social strata was slowly destroyed by the nations who conquered the Celts and made strides to assimilate or eliminate the Celtic peoples Ellis traces the literary historical chain of events that led to the identification of The Druids as a small subset of this intelligensia, mostly those dealing with religion and the arts, most commonly associated with secret rites or witchcraft, which is present in today s thinking about The Druids Celtic and Druidic truth of every description from arcane knowledge, karmic destiny, the true path, to mystic awareness are solicited in the commercial deluge of New Age philosophies The Druids and the Celts were there when our seventeenth and eighteenth century ancestors sought Romanticism as a counter balance to the Age of Reason and industrialisation It is not surprising that they are still being reinvented at this time because, in our sad and sorry contemporary world, people still want a quick fix on spirituality This is a fascinating and highly readable text on the history of The Druids, and the history of the way The Druids have been portrayed and misrepresented.
If you want to know about The Druids and what they were really like, look no further Mr Ellis establishes himself as an authority, and his clear demonstration of knowledge taught me a lot that is missed in pop culture If you want serious and thorough information about who The Druids were and what they stood for, here is the book for you.
I was expecting THE answer to the question of the historical Druids, only to realize that I now have questions In fact, Ross Nichols, along with all the romantics that Ellis tries to shoot down, aren t saying much different from what Ellis speculates Ellis uses the Romantics fantasies to help shed light on who the Druid s may have been I suggest buying and reading books by Ross Nichols and Michael John Greer.
Great read, but a little to much non essential filler Too many suppositions and tangents for my taste Still very interesting, but I would suggest it for someone who has already sought a in depth knowledge of the Celts and has a greater understanding Ellis points out a lot of things I hadn t known, especially the relationship between Christianity and Druidism Very interesting.
The author appears somewhat biased and confused at times, but very valuable resource.
Love history and this book is packed with it.