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The Druids

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Introduction

THE DRUIDS In my coursework assignment, I am going to talk about an ancient creed of people who are known as the Druids. The identity of this group of people is debated by scholars today, but I would like to focus on the vital questions of; who were the Druids, where did they originate from, how did they live their lives and most importantly, how did their vital roles in society compare to those of ours. An important source that we have of gaining knowledge about the Druids is undoubtedly that of Julius Caesar. As we know, he led an adventurous life dominated by a lot of expeditions to several important countries in today's world. While on one of his expeditions to Gaul (now known as France), he managed to discover about the Druids and the influence they had on Gaul. Caesar also included his observations of the Druids in his famous book entitled 'The Gallic Wars'. I would now like to look into Caesar's account of the Druids in more detail. Caesar starts by commenting on their roles in society by saying 'The Druids' job is to perform sacrifices, worship the gods and interpret religious matters' (Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars). By reading this, I get the impression that the Druids are very similar to priests and monks of our day and age. ...read more.

Middle

I raised the question concerning the origin of the Druids; this question is answered firmly by Julius Caesar who relates that "It is thought that the Druids' way of life was brought over from Britain to Gaul". (Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars). Julius Caesar is also known to have made historic expeditions to Britain, however, he didn't discover anything of note about the Druids there. He also clarifies this by abruptly stating that "Today anyone who wants to find out more exactly what the Druids are like, goes across to Britain" (Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars). This information that Caesar gives us that he is trying to emphasise that not only do Druids come from Britain, but have some kind of headquarters and possibly more mysteries over there. The Druids were known to keep themselves very much distant from warfare so much so that they excused themselves from paying war taxes and joining military services. This attracted many young men to join Druidism simply due to the prospect of not going to war. However, Tacitus recalled having a strange experience of the Druids when taking part in the attack on the island of Mona, he said "At the same time a circle of Druids raised their hands to heaven, screaming out terrible curses. The troops were dumbfounded by this strange spectacle" (Tacitus, Annals). ...read more.

Conclusion

And they pass on this learning to the younger generation" (Julius Caesar, The Gallic Wars). This learning and teachings of the Druids really makes me admire the Druids very much, maybe because of my love of interest in the universe. In conclusion, the Druids were very respectable people in society because of their excellent handling of issues in society. The fact that they were feared makes my admiration for them increase, because at the end of the day, they demonstrate to us a clear example of what we lack in today's world to prevent atrocities occurring. Maybe their choosing of leaders rarely was inappropriate (fighting and bloodshed), but it always seemed to work and run successfully. To prove this, their beliefs and restrictions always attracted more people to join them (although it was to avoid war). In the Druids' beliefs and practices, I see a clear comparison with them and the Spartans. Both had vigorous training which lasted very long, and didn't fear death, but ironically, a stark contrast comes in, which is that Sparta's life very much depended on warfare and dieing in battle, which as we know, completely contradicted the Druids. Researching Julius Caesars' works on the Druids, I feel that Caesar probably contained the same views about the Druids as of those of mine. Caesar should get a lot of credit for his works on the Druids, but I think that there are probably is much more mysteries about the Druids which we will never find out. ...read more.

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