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p. 13110. So, who were the Druids?locked

  • Barry Cunliffe

Abstract

The elite class of ‘the wise’ — Bards, Vates, and Druids — was rapidly changing in the early 1st millennium AD — even in Ireland, where the impact of the Roman world was slight. Changes in society and the influence of Christianity were chiefly responsible for the demise of druidism; the Viking incursion and Anglo–Norman settlement completed the process. All that remained in the Celtic fringes of Britain and Ireland were itinerant bards, ballad players, and storytellers. ‘So, who were the Druids?’ insists that they were a phenomenon of the past. Those who, since the 17th century, have called themselves Druids cannot claim any degree of continuity with ancient druidic practice.

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