The Religion of the Ancient Celts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 445 pages of information about The Religion of the Ancient Celts.
in the hand of a dancing warrior.[997] The latter are ritual acts, and resemble that described by Spenser as performed by Irish warriors in his day, who said prayers or incantations before a sword stuck in the earth.[998] Swords were also addressed in songs composed by Irish bards, and traditional remains of such songs are found in Brittany.[999] They represent the chants of the ancient cult.  Oaths were taken by weapons, and the weapons were believed to turn against those who lied.[1000] The magical power of weapons, especially of those over which incantations had been said, is frequently referred to in traditional tales and Irish texts.[1001] A reminiscence of the cult or of the magical power of weapons may be found in the wonderful “glaives of light” of Celtic folk-tales, and the similar mystical weapon of the Arthurian romances.


[953] Lucan, Pharsalia, iii. 399 f.

[954] Dio Cass. lxii. 7; Tac. Ann. xiv. 30.

[955] Strabo, xii. 51. Drunemeton may mean “great temple” (D’Arbois, Les Celtes, 203).

[956] Antient Laws of Ireland, i. 164.

[957] Holder, ii. 712.  Cf.  “Indiculus” in Grimm, Teut.  Myth. 1739, “de sacris silvarum, quas nimidas (= nemeta) vocant.”

[958] Livy, xxiii. 24; Polyb. ii. 32.

[959] Caesar, vi. 13, 17; Diod.  Sic. v. 27; Plutarch, Caesar, 26.

[960] See examples in Dom Martin, i. 134 f.; cf.  Greg.  Tours, Hist.  Franc. i. 30.

[961] See Reinach, “Les monuments de pierre brute dans le langage et les croyances populaires,” Rev. Arch. 1893, i. 339; Evans, “The Roll-Right Stones,” Folk-Lore, vi. 20 f.

[962] Rh[^y]s, HL 194; Diod.  Sic. ii. 47.

[963] Rh[^y]s, 197.

[964] Joyce, OCR 246; Kennedy, 271.

[965] Lucan, i. 443, iii. 399f.

[966] Cicero, pro Fonteio, x. 21; Tac. Ann. xiv. 30.  Cf.  Pomp.  Mela, iii. 2. 18.

[967] O’Curry, MS. Mat. 284; Cormac, 94.  Cf. IT iii. 211, for the practice of circumambulating altars.

[968] Max.  Tyr. Dissert. viii. 8; Lucan, iii. 412f.

[969] Antient Laws of Ireland, iv. 142.

[970] Rev. Arch. i. pl. iii-v.; Reinach, RC xi. 224, xiii. 190.

[971] Stokes, Martyr. of Oengus, 186-187.

[972] See the Twenty-third Canon of Council of Arles, the Twenty-third of the Council of Tours, 567, and ch. 65 of the Capitularia, 789.

[973] Mabillon, Acta, i. 177.

[974] Reinach, Rev. Arch. 1893, xxi. 335.

[975] Blanchet, i. 152-153, 386.

[976] Justin, xliii. 5; Strabo, xii. 5. 2; Plutarch, de Virt.  Mul. xx.; Livy, v. 41.

[977] Cormac, 94.

[978] Keating, 356.  See also Stokes, Martyr. of Oengus, 186; RC xii. 427, Sec. 15; Joyce, SH 274 f.

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