DEEP WOODS AND VAIN OARCLES: DRUIDS, POMPONIUS MELA AND TACITUS Cover Image
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DEEP WOODS AND VAIN OARCLES: DRUIDS, POMPONIUS MELA AND TACITUS
DEEP WOODS AND VAIN OARCLES: DRUIDS, POMPONIUS MELA AND TACITUS

Author(s): Robert Wiśniewski
Subject(s): History
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: DRUIDS; POMPONIUS MELA; TACITUS; GREEK

Summary/Abstract: The title of the present article may elicit boredom from a classical scholar. For it is true that much has been said about the Druids. Even if we pass over the huge literary production that falls short of scholarly criteria, the number of papers trying to answer who the Druids were, what the main area of their activity was, why they were persecuted by the Roman administration and when they finally disappeared from Gaul, not to mention minor questions, is vertiginous. Still it seems that a modest dossier of classical sources dealing with Druids, though profoundly exploited, has sometimes been read and analyzed separately from its literary context. My paper is focused on the value of two historical accounts which have come to us from Pomponius Mela and Tacitus, the last authors to have some actual knowledge about the role of this emblematic institution of the Gallic civilization in their own times. My minimal objective is to assess the veracity of their narratives. The more ambitious goal is to contribute to answering the question of how long the Druids survived in Gaul, even if this contribution will not be very constructive. A seemingly additional but, in a sense, essential aim is to show how little the literary existence of some religious institutions may have in common with their real life.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 143-156
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English