Druidism Information

A druid was a member of the priestly and learned class active in Gaul, and perhaps in Celtic culture more generally, during the final centuries BCE. They were suppressed by the Roman government from the 1st century CE and disappeared from the written record by the 2nd century, although there may have been later survivals in Britain and Ireland.

Little contemporary evidence about druids exists, and thus little can be said regarding them with assurance. It is known that they held the cultural repository of knowledge in an oral tradition, using poetic verse as a mnemonic device and to ensure the fidelity of the transmission of knowledge over time. Most of what is known about them comes from the Roman writers. Similar to the monks of the Christian era following, they combined the duties of priest, judge, scholar, and teacher. The core points of druidic religious beliefs reported in Roman sources is their belief in metempsychosis, and their practice of human sacrifice. Their reported reverence for various aspects of the natural world, such as the ritual of oak and mistletoe described by Pliny the Elder, has also been associated with animism.

The earliest record of the name druidae is reported from a lost work of the Greek doxographer Sotion of Alexandria , who was cited by Diogenes Laertius in the 3rd century CE.

Wikipedia, Druidism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druidism (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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