Book 1, Chapter 2, Pre 55 BC – The Early Britons – Continued
Druidism, in all probability, was of Oriental origin. Close points of resemblance may be traced between it and the teachings of the Persian magi. The doctrine of the Metempsychosis, which is attributed to Pythagoras, is nearly identical with the Druidical doctrine of transmigration, and some writers allege that the Greek philosopher must in some way have learned it from the Druids. It is not unlikely that Druidism was introduced into Britain by the Phoenicians, at some remote period, and then in process of time, it adapted to itself local traditions and habits, and assumed a distinctive form, just as corruptions of Christianity have appeared in various ages. One thing is certain, that it had secured a wide and firm hold upon the people in the time of the Romans, who, contrary to their usual policy with conquered nations, denounced and prohibited it, on the pretext of the atrocity of human sacrifices, but more likely from a jealousy of its influence. Imperial edicts, and afterwards, the canons of councils, and the fulminations of popes, could not for several hundred years extirpate the ancient faith. Overcome in the south of Britain, the Druids retired to Mona, and to Welsh fastnesses, and when expelled thence, they withdrew northwards, and as will be seen, occasioned the Romans much hard work during their occupancy of the island. And even now after the lapse of nearly twenty centuries, relics of the old system survive, though under other names, in All Hallowmass, in the bonfires of Mayday and of Midsummer Eve in the magical virtues attributed to the mistletoe, and in various superstitions and customs of the country side.
Chapter 2, The Early Britons
Their Probable Origin
Categories: Book 1