War Women and Druids

War, Women, and Druids

War, Women, and Druids – Philip Freeman

For me, this was a library book, and perfect, at that. Slim volume of mostly academic material about perceptions in the ancient world about the Celts, the Duids, those pale — Northern European Natives — roots, for some of us. Skinny and fierce.

So that’s where the term is from?

“Athenaeus also relays Posidonius’ comments on Gaulish poets. The Greek word parasitos (“parasite”) literally means “dining companion” (Deipnosophistae 6.246):”

‘Posidonius of Apameia says in the twenty-third book of his Histories that the Celts have with them in war and peace companions whom they call parasites. These men recite the praises of their patrons before gatherings and to all those listening in turn. They are called bards—poets who sing praise.’ Page 33.

Short e–Book, way I read it, with mostly secondary sources from the classical historians, quoting what some other author was quoting he read, makes me unsure of the original material. However, that’s pretty much how history has been written, “I know a guy who knew this guy, who said,” and the rest? As they say? “Is history.”

The Celts were feared as warriors, as well, in a nod towards current political issues, women fought right alongside the men, and frequently, either gender, took lovers that were the same gender.

Still they search it out with great diligence and then will cut it only on the sixth day of the moon’s cycle, because the moon is then growing in power but is not yet halfway through its course (they use the moon to measure not only months but years and their grand cycle of thirty years). Page 46.

Herb: Mistletoe — the sacred plant for Celts. The sixth day of the lunar cycle?

From the secondary accounts of the Celts and their Druids, it’s readily apparent that the Druids used the phase of the moon to help with their “magic.” One passage detailed how the Celtic calendar was moon phases, then epochs were 30 years long. Made me pause, Saturn — or a progressed moon in a more modern term — is 28 to 31 year cycle. Not passing judgement, just observe possible similarities.

One Roman historian suggests that the Celts worshipped Mercury, of similar lineage to the Mercury we still talk about. He governs knowledge, and commerce, and although communications and electronics weren’t thusly employed, it’s easy to see the fit is a proper update. Going “intra-linear,” it would be easy to see how the Druids were cast as visionary with only a rudimentary understanding of planetary mechanics.

I wasn’t sure how the slim text’s title fit in with its contents, though. War. Sure, got that. Women, though, weren’t as thoroughly discussed, and in some versions of the various societies, the females were no better than their Roman counterparts.

Some, of course, some of the women went into battle. There’s always that famous British warrior–queen, Boudicca.


War, Women, and Druids – Philip Freeman

War, Women, and Druids: Eyewitness Reports and Early Accounts of the Ancient Celts

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