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p. 1007. Renaissance and rediscoverylocked

  • Barry Cunliffe


‘Renaissance and rediscovery’ reveals that in the 16th century, Classical texts were rediscovered and, with them, the Celts and the Druids. The French and British embraced the warrior Celts, hard-drinking and freedom-loving, as worthy ancestors. Druids as philosophers presented no real difficulty. But there was no escaping the descriptions of human sacrifice and the fact that Druids were pagans. Antiquarians became interested in the physical remains of the past and saw them as a potential source of evidence. Aubrey popularized the link between Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments and Druids. By the mid-18th century, the rediscovered Druids had been positioned carefully within an intellectual context relevant to the time.

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