Ireland and the Druids


Druids were an ancient class of people within Celtic cultures. Here’s what we know about them:

Druids held various roles, including scholars, priests, and judges. They were considered invaluable to the societies they served. Their influence extended to religious practices, legal matters, and education.

The earliest known references to druids date back to the 4th century BCE. Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallicoprovides one of the oldest detailed descriptions of druids.

Other Roman writers, such as Cicero, Tacitus, and Pliny the Elder, also mentioned them. Druids left no written accounts, but their beliefs and practices are attested by contemporaries from other cultures.

They were associated with oak trees, and Pliny the Elder suggested that the word “druid” meant “oak-knower.”

However, some scholars now interpret it as “one with firm knowledge” or “a great sage” instead. Following the Roman invasion of Gaul, the druid orders were suppressed by the Roman government.

By the 2nd century CE, they had disappeared from written records.

In medieval tales from Christianized Ireland, druids were often portrayed as sorcerers opposing the spread of Christianity. 

During the 18th and 19th centuries, a movement called Neo-Druidism emerged.

Fraternal and neopagan groups were founded based on ideas about the ancient druids.

Many popular notions about druids, influenced by 18th-century scholars, have been revised through more recent study. 

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