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p. 504. Enter the Druids: the first contactslocked

  • Barry Cunliffe

Abstract

‘Enter the Druids: the first contacts’ observes that information about the Druids in the surviving Greek and Roman sources is tantalizing and fragmentary. The material is biased, incorporating observations made over many centuries and often repeated third or fourth hand from some vanished text. The picture that emerges is of a powerful intellectual elite with a philosophy centred on the transmigration of the soul, the keepers of astronomical and herbal wisdoms. To the Greek world, the Druids were the wise men who controlled the lives and wellbeing of ‘noble savages’. As such, they deserved respect: they were, after all, neighbours and trading partners.

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