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The Druids

Duration:
43 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 20 September 2012

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Druids, the priests of ancient Europe. Active in Ireland, Britain and Gaul, the Druids were first written about by Roman authors including Julius Caesar and Pliny, who described them as wearing white robes and cutting mistletoe with golden sickles. They were suspected of leading resistance to the Romans, a fact which eventually led to their eradication from ancient Britain. In the early modern era, however, interest in the Druids revived, and later writers reinvented and romanticised their activities. Little is known for certain about their rituals and beliefs, but modern archaeological discoveries have shed new light on them.

With:

Barry Cunliffe
Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Oxford

Miranda Aldhouse-Green
Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University

Justin Champion
Professor of the History of Early Modern Ideas at Royal Holloway, University of London

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Miranda Aldhouse-Green, ‘Caesar's Druids: Archaeology of an Ancient Priesthood’ (Yale University Press, 2010)

    Justin Champion, ‘Republican Learning: John Toland and the Crisis of Christian Culture’ (Manchester, 2009)

    Barry Cunliffe, ‘Druids: A Very Short Introduction’ (Oxford University Press, 2010)

    Miranda J. Green, ‘Exploring the World of the Druids’ (Thames and Hudson, 1997)

    Michael Hunter, ‘John Aubrey and the Realm of Learning’ (Duckworth, 1975)

    Ronald Hutton, ‘Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain’ (Yale University Press, 2009)

    Stuart Piggott, ‘Ancient Britons and the Antiquarian Imagination’ (Thames & Hudson, 1989)

    Sam Smiles, ‘The Image of Antiquity: Ancient Britain and the Romantic Imagination’ (Yale, 1994)

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