The Druids

A translation of all 'The Druids' set texts for Latin GCSE

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The Power Of The Druids
The Druids are concerned with divine matters, they look after public and private sacrifices, they
explain religious questions: a great number of young men flocks to them to learn and they are
treated with great honour amongst them. For they make decisions about almost all public and private
disputes, and, if any crime has been committed, if a murder has been done, if there is a dispute about
an inheritance or about boundaries, they Druids settle the matter, they decide the rewards and
punishments. If any private individual or public figure does not obey their decision, they ban them
from their sacrifices: this is the most serious punishment among them. Those who have been banned
in such a way are considered among the number of wicked and criminal men; everyone avoids them,
they flee from their approach and conversation in case they receive any harm from the contact;
neither is any justice rendered to them, nor any honour given, even if they ask for it.
But over all these Druids there is one in charge, who has the greatest authority among them. When
he dies either he who stands out in reputation from the rest succeeds him, or if there are many who
are equal, they compete about the leadership by a vote of the Druids, or sometimes even with
weapons. Their rule of life is thought to have been invented in Britannia, and then to have been
spread to Gaul, and now those who wish to learn about this system more carefully generally set out
to Britannia to learn.
The Druids, Their Education
Druids are accustomed to be exempt from war and they do not pay tributes together with the rest;
they have exemption from military service and freedom from all duties. Encouraged by such great
rewards not only do many come for training of their own accord but also some are sent by parents
and relations. There they are said to learn by heart a great number of verses; and so some remain in
training for twenty years. Nor do they think it right to entrust these verses to writing, although in
almost all the remaining things they use Greek writing. They seem to have done this for two causes,
because neither do they want their training to be published to the general public, nor do they want
those who are learning to pay attention to the writings, relying less on their memory. Especially they
want to persuade people of this, that souls do not perish, but after death they are transferred from
one to another, and by means of this belief particularly they think that men are roused to courage
once the fear of death has been put aside. They discuss many other things besides about the stars
and their movement, about the size of the universe and the world, about the nature of things, about
the might and power of the immortal gods and pass them on to young people.
The Druids, Their Religion
The whole nation of the Gauls is greatly devoted to superstitions, and for that reason those,
who are affected by the more serious illnesses and who spend their time in battles and dangers,
either sacrifice humans for their victims or vow that they will sacrifice them and they use the druids as
assistants for those sacrifices, because unless the life of a man is given up in return for the life of a
man, they do not think that the will of the immortal gods is able to be appeased; and they
have sacrifices of this sort publicly established. Some have figures of a huge size, the limbs
of which woven with branches they fill with living men; when the figures have been set
alight, the men perish, surrounded by flames. They think that the executions of those who

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