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THIS priesthood flourished in Gaul and in Britain, and in the islands which encircled them. In whichever country they may first have struck root we at least know that the British Druids were the most famous, and that it was a custom in the time of Julius Cæsar for the Gallic students to cross the British channel to study in the seminaries of the sister island. But by that time, Druidism had begun to wane in Gaul, and to be deprived of many of its privileges by the growing intelligence of the secular power. It is generally acknowledged that there were no Druids in Germany, though Keysler has stoutly contested this belief and has cited an ancient tradition to the effect that they had Druidic colleges in the days of Hermio, a German Prince. The learned SeIden relates that some centuries ago in a monastery upon the borders of Vaitland, in Germany, were found six old statues which being exposed to view, Conradus Celtes, who was present, was of opinion that they were figures of ancient Druids. They were seven feet in height, bare-footed, their heads covered with a Greek hood, a scrip by their sides and a beard descending from their nostrils plaited out in two divisions to the middle; in their hands a book and a Diogenes staff five feet in length; their features stern and morose; their eyes lowered to the ground. Such evidence is mere food for conjecture. Of the ancient German priests we only know that they resembled the Druids, and the medicine-men of the American aborigines in being doctors as well as priests. The Druids possessed remarkable powers and immunities. Like the Levites, the Hebrews, and the Egyptian priests they were exempted from taxes and from military service. They also annually elected the magistrates of cities: they educated all children of whatever station, not permitting their parents to receive them till they were fourteen years of age. Thus the Druids were regarded as the real fathers of the people. The Persian Magi were entrusted with the education of their sovereign; but in Britain the kings were not only brought up by the Druids, but also relieved. by them of all but the odium and ceremonies of sovereignty. These terrible priests formed the councils of the state, and declared peace or war as they pleased. The poor slave whom they seated on a throne, and whom they permitted to wear robes more gorgeous even than their own was surrounded, not by his noblemen, but by Druids. He was a prisoner in his court, and his jailors were inexorable, for they were priests. There was a Chief Druid to advise him, a bard to sing to him, a sennechai, or chronicler, to register his action in the Greek character, and a physician to attend to his health, and to cure or kill him as the state required. All the priests in Britain and all the physicians, all the judges and all the learned men, all the pleaders in courts of law and all the musicians belonged to the order of the Druids. It can easily be conceived then that their power was not only vast but absolute. It may naturally excite surprise that a nation should remain so barbarous and illiterate as the Britons undoubtedly were, when ruled by an order of men so polished and so learned. But these wise men of the West were no less learned in human hearts than in the triplet verses, and oral of their. fathers. They imbibed with eagerness the heathen rites of the Phœnician Cabiri, and studied to involve their doctrines and their ceremonies in the deepest mystery. They knew that it is almost impossible to bring women and the vulgar herd of mankind to piety and virtue by the unadorned dictates of reason. They knew the admiration which uneducated minds have always for those things which they cannot understand. They knew that to retain their own sway they must preserve these barren minds in their abject ignorance and superstition. In all things, therefore, they endeavored to draw a line between themselves and the mass. In their habits, in their demeanor, in their very dress. They wore long robes which descended to the heel, while that of others came only to the knee; their hair was short and their beards long, while the Britons wore but moustaches on their upper lips, and their hair generally long. Instead of sandals they wore wooden shoes of a pentagonal shape, and carried in their hands a white wand called slatan drui' eachd, or magic wand, and certain mystical ornaments around their necks and upon their breasts. It was seldom that anyone was found hardy enough to rebel against their power. For such was reserve a terrible punishment. It was called Excommunication. Originating among the Hebrews, and descending from the Druids into the Roman Catholic Church. It was one of the most horrible that it is possible to conceive. At the dead of night, the unhappy culprit was seized and dragged before a solemn tribunal, while torches, painted black, gave a ghastly light, and a low hymn, like a solemn murmur, was chanted as he approached. Clad in a white robe, the Arch-Druid would rise, and before the assembly of brother-Druids and awestricken warriors would pronounce a curse, frightful as a death warrant, upon the trembling sinner. Then they would strip his feet, and he must walk with them bare for the remainder of his days; and would clothe him in black and mournful garments, which he must never change. Then the poor wretch would wander through the woods, feeding on berries and the roots of trees, shunned by all as if he had been tainted by the plague, and looking to death as a salvation from such cruel miseries. And when he died, none dared to weep for him; they buried him only that they might trample on his grave. Even after death, so sang the sacred bards, his torments were not ended; he was borne to those regions of eternal darkness, frost, and snow, which, infested with lions, wolves, and serpents, formed the Celtic hell, or Ifurin. These Druids were despots; and yea they must have exercised their power wisely and temperately to have retained so long their dominion over a rude and warlike race. There can be little doubt that their revenues were considerable, though we have no direct means of ascertaining this as a fact. However, we know that it was customary for a victorious army to offer up the chief of its spoils to the gods; that those who consulted the oracles did not attend them empty-handed, and that the sale of charms and medicinal herbs was a constant trade among them. Although all comprehended under the one term DRUID, there were, in reality, three distinct sects comprised within the order. First, the Druids or Derwydd, properly so called. These were the sublime and intellectual philosophers who directed the machineries of the state and the priesthood, and presided over the dark mysteries of the consecrated groves. Their name was derived from derw (pronounced derroo) Celtic for oak, and ydd, a common termination of nouns in that language, equivalent to the or or er in governor, reader, &c.;, in ours. The Bards or Bardd from Bar, a branch, or, the top. It was their province to sing the praises of horses in the warrior's feasts, to chant the sacred hymns like the musician's among the Levites, and to register genealogies and historical events. The Ovades or Ovydd, (derived from ov, raw, pure, and ydd, above explained) were the noviciates, who, under the supervision of the Druids, studied the properties of nature, and offered up the sacrifices upon the altar. Thus it appears that Derwydd, Bardd, and Ovydd, were emblematical names of the three orders of Druidism. The Derwydd was the trunk and support of the whole; the Bardd the ramification from that trunk arranged in beautiful foliage; and the Ovydd was the young shoot, which, growing up, ensured a prospect of permanency to the sacred grove. The whole body was ruled by an Arch-Druid elected by lot from those senior brethren who were the most learned and the best born. At Llamdan in Anglesea, there are still vestiges of Trér Dryw the Arch-Druid's mansion, Boadrudau the abode of the inferior ones, Bod-owyr the abode of the ovades, and Trér-Beirdd the hamlet of the bards. Let us now consider these orders under their respective denominations-Derwydd, Bardd, Ovyd; and under their separate vocations, as philosophers musicians, and priests.

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1 Sara Di Diego = "This refers to the past section that can be found here on Deily."
2 Sara Di Diego = "This is a group of minor Greek deities.  Learn more here."
3 Sara Di Diego = "Learn more about the Derwydd on Deily here."