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Druids Conclusion Update[edit]

I sadly just read your conclusion section of the article on Druids. I appreciate that you quoted properly Stuart Piggott, Barry Cunliffe and Miranda Alhouse-Green, but I wish you would have at least included Peter Berresford Ellis in part of your summary, as he offers a well researched alternative to your conclusion. His view that the use of human sacrifice by the Druids was based more on anti-Druid Roman prejudice than on actual documented truth is compelling. Most of the Roman sources relate to Poseidonios (whether he is given as source or not) including Julius Caesar, and the fact that the Romans never forgave the Celts for sacking Rome in the 300's BCE. While to say that there was not any human sacrifice may be overstressing the point, I feel it is fairer to state that the use of human sacrifice was probably only used sparingly and during times of great national stress (i.e. the Roman invasion of Britain) if it was used at all.

Charles Kilker99.100.130.90 (talk) 18:22, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

The Romans were notorious for making up honorific stories about enemies. The same baby-eating human sacrifice stories were invented about the Carthaginians after Hannibal's exploits. The Tudors were notorious for it, too. (talk) 02:43, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but the "honorific" evidence is not the only evidence. (I don't think that word means what you think it means!) That Iron Age Celts performed ritual executions is well-attested, by the bog bodies if by nothing else. Just what they mean, and whether the Druids were involved, is now really impossible to say. Modern opinions (as above or as mentioned in the article) that Druids could only have resorted to sacrifice on rare occasions sound like so much special pleading -- propaganda like the Roman accounts, but in the other direction. Solid evidence either way is lacking. The truth is we simply don't know, and are never likely to know. -- Elphion (talk) 04:46, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Ellis an Unreliable Source[edit]

Regarding the unreliable source? tag just before source 33 under Sacrifice, the sentence reading " Peter Berresford Ellis, a Celtic nationalist who authored The Druids (1994), believed them to be the equivalents of the Indian Brahmin caste, and considered accusations of human sacrifice to remain unproven,[unreliable source?][33] ...":

The issue seems to be that some readers consider Ellis to be an unreliable historian because he writes for wider audiences and doesn't cite his sources as often as more academic historians would. But in this particular case, the sentence isn't talking about any factual claim he made (e.g. "The druids practiced this."). All it's saying is that he himself, in his book, made a comparison to the Indian Brahmin caste and he himself didn't consider the claims of human sacrifice to be reliable. So this isn't a case of someone needing to go look in the book and then find the source he used, like it would be if we were talking about a factual claim, rather than his own opinions.

Based on this, I don't think it makes sense to keep the unreliable source? tag there. I think we should either remove the tag, or remove that part of the sentence that states his opinions, but continuing to have the tag there for no reason doesn't make sense to me. Aduff01 (talk) 03:22, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Or better still find a more acceptable source. A broad comparison with the Brahmins as a hereditary group of priests is not an especially speculative claim or opinion I would have thought, though evidence is lacking. Johnbod (talk) 14:09, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
Find a better source, let's not use Ellis. Dougweller (talk) 14:52, 11 February 2013 (UTC)
A more acceptable source that just happens to have made the same speculation as him? That doesn't sound likely to me. That's why I'm suggesting just removing that sentence altogether as one of the options. Aduff01 (talk) 10:05, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree, let's just remove it. If someone comes along with a decent source then maybe it can be replaced then. Dougweller (talk) 11:18, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Made the change, since I didn't receive any other feedback. If anyone has a problem, feel free to roll the page back and we can discuss it some more. Aduff01 (talk) 01:20, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Druids in popular culture[edit]

Although this is not historically relevant, is there an interest in adding a short subsection that can overview the depiction of druids in popular culture, such as in fantasy-themed RPGs like D&D and Diablo (series)? ozhu (talk·contribs) 23:46, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

Druid religion[edit]

I have just met a person who practices the druid religion. I was surprises to see that there was little information on the modern day religious practices and beliefs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:10, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

See the section"Romanticism and modern revivals" and associated articles. Dougweller (talk) 06:27, 8 September 2013 (UTC)


Several editors have been adding assertions that the ancient Druids included both men and women. Do we have any ancient testimony to support that point? Thomas Amory's Memoirs of several Ladies of Great Britain (1755) is not exactly a reliable source: 18th century authors were notorious for inventing Celtic history out of whole cloth. I find no mention of female Druids in Caesar's account; are there any good sources? Otherwise, this claim should be removed. -- Elphion (talk) 13:58, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

A little googling digs up a couple of references to female druids in Roman texts - however, they're all in the Historia Augusta, which is late (late 3rd-early 4th century) and notoriously untrustworthy in a lot of ways. (Loads of websites list the Historia Augusta, Flavius Vopiscus and Aelius Lampridus as separate sources, when in fact they're all the Historia Augusta.) All the other evidence presented is from medieval Irish tradition, when the word druí had come to mean little more than "wizard". And I'd agree, an 18th century sentence (with no context and evidently lifted from a dictionary citation) claiming Caesar did something that doesn't match any ancient source is obviously worthless as a source for Iron Age practices. The ancient sources simply don't give us enough to be able to say whether or not there were female druids, so the article shouldn't definitely say there were in its first sentence. I'll remove it. --Nicknack009 (talk) 14:40, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
ageed Johnbod (talk) 17:42, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
I also agree. Thomas Amory is not a reliable source for this and as for the OED, the existence of the English word "druidess" only shows that people have thought there were female druids, not that there actually were. So far as I can tell, there are no contemporary sources connecting any woman with the term "druid". There are sources for male druids, and sources describing women as priestesses and such, but nothing for female druids specifically. As Nicknack says, female druids appear commonly in medieval Irish literature and other later material, but this is long after the period druids existed in Celtic societies. As such there's no real evidence for them; the possibility should be discussed in the article body, but it certainly shouldn't be included without caveat in the introductory sentence.--Cúchullain t/c 01:15, 18 November 2013 (UTC)