Caesar's Druids An Ancient Priesthood Miranda Aldhouse-Green

Publication date:
20 Mar 2010
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156mm
80 b-w
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Ancient chroniclers, including Julius Caesar himself, made the Druids and their sacred rituals infamous throughout the Western world. But in fact, as Miranda Aldhouse-Green shows in this fascinating book, the Druids’ day-to-day lives were far less lurid and much more significant. Exploring the various roles that Druids played in British and Gallic society during the first centuries B.C. and A.D.—not just as priests but as judges, healers, scientists, and power brokers—Aldhouse-Green argues that they were a highly complex, intellectual, and sophisticated group whose influence transcended religion and reached into the realms of secular power and politics. With deep analysis, fresh interpretations, and critical discussions, she gives the Druids a voice that resonates in our own time.

Miranda Aldhouse-Green is professor of archaeology, Cardiff University. A world expert on Druids, her publications include Exploring the World of the Druids, Dying for the Gods, The Celtic World, and Boudica Britannia.

"Caesar and classical authors described pre-Roman Britain much as Victorians discussed 'darkest Africa'. This book lifts the veil of imperial condescension to reveal the lost world of an extraordinary priesthood: the Druids." - Francis Pryor

"If any book can succeed in getting close to the reality of the ancient Druids, it must be this one. The author deploys for the task her full tremendous resources as a scholar: expertise in ancient religious culture, a firm grasp of anthropological parallels, and a deeply humane and perceptive imaginative sympathy." - Ronald Hutton

"With Caesar's Druids Miranda Aldhouse-Green supersedes every other volume on this elusive and nettlesome subject." - James MacKillop

"The Druids never cease to fascinate. In this remarkable book the author has combined her intimate knowledge of the classical sources, the archaeological background and anthropological theory to provide a rich and compelling vision of a religious elite who challenged the might of Rome. For all interested in the roots of our culture this is a book that must be read." - Barry Cunliffe