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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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Priests and Power

Priests and Power

(p.39) Chapter 3 Priests and Power
Caesar's Druids

Miranda Aldhouse-Green

Yale University Press

This chapter outlines that the Diodorus' testimony showing that the Druids' ability to stop battles is evidence of their immense power. Julius Caesar's statement provides the crucial connection between the Druids and secular authority in the mid-first-century bc Gaul. Caesar's comment about responsibility for the traditions of their people acknowledged the Druids as keepers of the sacred flame of ancestral tradition, giving them enormous influence within their communities. The evidence from Caesar and from the Argentomagus dedication suggests that the vergobrets' combined sacred and secular political responsibilities brought them into close contact with the Druids if, indeed, they were not Druids themselves. It is not without irony that the Roman occupation of Western Europe was instrumental in dislodging the Druids from this prime position at the top of the pyramid so that they, in their turn, were marginalized by the new, intensely civic system on which Roman government was based.

Keywords:   Diodorus' testimony, Druids, Julius Caesar, Argentomagus, civic system, Roman government

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