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Caesar's DruidsStory of an Ancient Priesthood$
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Miranda Aldhouse-Green

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300124422

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300124422.001.0001

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The Moon and the Mistletoe

The Moon and the Mistletoe

In Search of Ancient Druids

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Moon and the Mistletoe
Caesar's Druids

Miranda Aldhouse-Green

Yale University Press

This chapter explains that the Druids of ancient literature were dynamic, their character changing according to chronology and to their chroniclers' perceptions. The Druids described by the Greek historian Timaeus in the fourth and third centuries bc were not the same as those whom Caesar and Cicero encountered in the mid-first century bc. Classical authors who help to place the Druids in time—those of the so-called Alexandrian Tradition, of whom many were Christian writers oddly enough—harked back to the Druids as examples of Noble Savages. A recent Time Team programme took as its theme the confrontation between the Druids and the Roman governor Suetonius Paulinus on Anglesey in ad 60 and possible archaeological evidence for these Tacitean Druids. Druids contributed to the professional religious ritual and doctrine of Britain and Gaul during the later first millennium bc and early centuries of the first millennium ad.

Keywords:   Druids, ancient literature, chronology, Timaeus, Caesar, Alexandrian Tradition, Noble Savages

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