He tells us that all men of any rank and dignity in Gaul were included among the Druids or the nobles.
In other words, the Druids constituted the learned and the priestly class, and they were in addition the chief expounders and guardians of the law.
We are, however, informed by Diodorus and Strabo that this class was composed of Druids, bards and soothsayers.
Hence Caesar seems to assign more extensive functions to the Druids than they actually possessed.
Cicero remarks on the existence among the Gauls of augurs or soothsayers, known by the name of Druids, with one of whom, Divitiacus, an Aeduan, he was acquainted.
In Strabo we find the Druids still acting as arbiters in public and private matters, but they no longer deal with cases of murder.
Under Tiberius the Druids were suppressed by a decree of the senate, but this had to be renewed by Claudius in A.D.
In Mela we find the Druids teaching in the depths of a forest or in caverns.
According to this writer the Druids held the mistletoe in the highest veneration.
After this the continental Druids disappear entirely, and are only referred to on very rare occasions.
When we turn to the British Islands we find, as we should expect, no traces of the Druids in England and Wales after the conquest of Anglesea mentioned above, except in the story of Vortigern as recounted by Nennius.
After being excommunicated by Germanus the British leader invites twelve Druids to assist him.
In Irish literature, however, the Druids are frequently mentioned, and their functions in the island seem to correspond fairly well to those of their Gaulish brethren described by classical writers.
The functions of Caesar's Druids we here find distributed amongst Druids, bards and poets (fili), but even in very early times the poet has usurped many of the duties of the Druid and finally supplants him with the spread of Christianity.
In the heroic cycles the Druids do not appear to have formed any corporation, nor do they seem to have been exempt from military service.
The Druids are represented as being able to foretell the future and to perform magic. Before setting out on the great expedition against Ulster, Medb, queen of Connaught, goes to consult her Druid, and just before the famous heroine Derdriu (Deirdre) is born, Cathbu prophesies what sort of a woman she will be.
He is given a potion by some Druids, which banishes all memory of his recent adventures and which also rids his wife Emer of the pangs of jealousy.
The following description of the band of Cathbu's Druids occurs in the epic tale, the Cattle-spoiling of Cualnge (Cooley): "The attendant raises his eyes towards heaven and observes the clouds and answers the band around him.
We are further told that at the court of Conchobar no one had the right to speak before the Druids had spoken.
In other texts the Druids are able to produce insanity.
The Irish Druids seem to have had a peculiar tonsure.
ORDER OF DRUIDS, a friendly society founded, as an imitation of the ancient Druids, in London in 1781.
The traditions of the Druids perished with them.
The Druids claimed the dread power of excluding offenders from sacrifice (Caes.
In religion, the chief feature was the priesthood of Druids, who here, as in Gaul, practised magical arts and barbarous rites of human sacrifice, taught a secret lore, wielded great influence, but, at least as Druids, took ordinarily no part in politics.
13) attests this belief among the ancient Druids of Gaul.
Like the Gallic Druids, they recited their laws in a kind of sing-song to prevent their being forgotten, a practice still in existence in the days of Aristotle (Problemata, xix.
As in the case of Stonehenge, the purpose for which the Avebury monument was erected has been the source of much difference of opinion among antiquaries, Dr Stukely (Stonehenge a Temple restored to the British Druids, 1740) regarding it as a Druidical temple, while Fergusson (Rude Stone Monuments, 1872) believed that it, as well as Silbury Hill, marks the site of the graves of those who fell in the last Arthurian battle at Badon Hill (A.D.
On the occasion of famine the druids advised that the son of a sinless married couple should be brought to Ireland to be killed in front of Tara and his blood mixed with the soil of Tara.
We might naturally expect to find the druids active in the capacity of priests in Ireland.
D'Arbois de Jubainville maintains that in Gaul the three classes of druids, vates and gutuatri, corresponded more or less to the pontifices, augurs and flamens of ancient Rome.
In ancient Irish literature the functions of the druids correspond fairly closely to those of their Gaulish brethren recorded by Caesar and other writers of antiquity.
The Druids were believed to have the power to render a person insane by flinging a magic wisp of straw in his face, and they were able to raise clouds of mist, or to bring down showers of fire and blood.
Whether or not the Irish druids taught that the soul was immortal is a question which it is impossible to decide.
There is one passage which seems to support the view that they agreed with the Gaulish druids in this respect, but it is not safe to deny the possible influence of Christian teaching in the document in question.
After the death of St Patrick the bond between the numerous church families which his authority supplied was greatly relaxed; and the saint's most formidable opponents, the druids, probably regained much of their old power.
Like the Gaulish druids described by Caesar, the poet (fili) and the druid possessed a huge stock of unwritten native lore, probably enshrined in verse which was learnt by rote by their pupils.
With regard to tonsure it would seem that the druids shaved the front part of the head from ear to ear.
In this battle Diarmait is stated to have employed druids to form an airbe druad (fence of protection?) round his host.