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Exploring the World of the Druids

(Exploring the World)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In this authoritative account, Miranda Green unravels the truth about the Druids. Examining the archaeological evidence, Classical commentaries and early Welsh and Irish myths, she shows that the Druids were fully integrated into Celtic societyfulfilling varied and necessary roles, both secular and religious. The Roman writers are seen to reflect the double standards of an ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published December 31st 1997 by Thames & Hudson (first published June 1997)
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Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good overview of what is known about druids…actually known, not speculated over.
Very little is known though…and most of that from hostile sources (I’m looking at you Rome!). The rest of the knowledge is from archaeological sources and therefore subject to interpretation.
The quality of the illustrations throughout is fairly mixed, but that’s a minor point. Otherwise a very good book and an antidote to some of the more neo-druid pish that’s out there.
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction
This is a comprehensive, copiously illustrated volume that is sufficiently academically rigorous for the well-informed layperson, but straightforward and sufficiently full of eye candy for the neophyte. Green covers what we actually know about the Druids (not a lot, really), their place in myth and legend, and the Neo-Pagan Druidic movement.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an OK history book. Uses more archeology evidence that I usually like in a history book. Excellent pictures of Druidical items. Recommended
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a very informative, it not also still an ambiguous book. The book attempts to discern the origins and purpose of the Druids. What initially makes the book ambiguous is that the Druids and Celts are almost intertwined; it seems that the Druids were the learned/priestly part of the Celtic society, while the Celts are the general (and largely European) masses. Yet, this inference is not conclusive, nor defined in the book.

Moreover, the geographical lines in Europe that we know today, as w
Lora Shouse
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book does not necessarily tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the Druids.
Actually, there seems to be little hard evidence about them to find out. It does, however, attempt to present as much as possible of what evidence there is. There are vast numbers of pictures included of archaeological artifacts from the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age areas thought to have been inhabited by the Celts, the people with whom the Druids are associated. There are also artists renderings o
Apr 12, 2021 rated it liked it
I picked up this book as a reference for my Irish background which I was researching. I was very surprised to find that my picture of Druids, in the Merlin & Dumbledore mold, was not based in any factual knowledge. It was interesting to find that my vision of them was influenced by the romanticised stories of 18th century writers who were taken with the idea of the "noble savage" & from there constructed an fantasy of these early people & their early religion that endures today.
In reality, mos
Nov 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought that this would be a quick easy read because of the many photos and illustrations. Actually it is incredibly dry. There is zero interpretation of anything, zero opinions, zero conjecture. It is all just dry facts. For the early period where little is known except for Cesar's writings it is mostly just an archaeological history. Even the modern period is just statement after statement. I imagine that this was the author's intention- only what is demonstrably known from first hand writin ...more
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This is like a Doring-Kindersley travel guide - lots of pictures, not so much text. The book is organized well enough, if repetitive, but the bottom line is that from Classical authors, Irish and Welsh legends written in the Middle Ages (but containing story elements likely composed much earlier), and the archaeological record, we just don't know much about pre-Christian or pre-Roman Celtic culture, let alone who druids were or what precisely their function was in society. So if all you've read ...more
Isaac Lambert
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
back in the pre-internet days (published in 1997), books like this provided simple introductions to a variety of interesting topics. it's hard to come to any real conclusions due to lack of actual source texts, but the subject is interesting. this book ends with a chapter on modern druid orders, out of curiosity and to see what still exists, I'm almost motivated enough to look them up. +1 for all the gory descriptions of human sacrifice. ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Druids are not sugarcoated or romanticized in this book, and the author even addresses past romantic writings and fantasies of druids. However, she does not include druid references in modern pop-culture. I also enjoyed the last chapter, which covers the druid orders of today.
Paul Peterson
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Informative, but really served to point out how little we know about pre-Roman history in Europe. Most of our knowledge is inferred from archeological evidence and a few Roman historians, including Julius Ceasar himself.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
a fine introduction, but I do wish it went a bit more into everyday life details.
This book examines Druidism in both ancient and modern times. A most interesting point, which is not made until near the end of the book, is that the modern traditions have very little to do with the ancient. In fact, during the romantic movement of the 18th century, antiquarians such as John Ogilvie, John Aubrey, and William Stuckeley revived the long-dead Druid tradition by completely recreating it, assigning it new rituals and prayers that became new standards of practice. Modern Druids claim ...more
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celtic-history
This book is one of my favorite beginner books on the Druids. It tells the truth about the Druids without romanticism. It gives the descriptions available from the classical writers and tells you why they said what they did. It talks about the possibility of human sacrifices that a lot of books just won't talk about.

The book is well researched and documented. It is written in simple language and makes for an interesting read. There are a lot of pictures in it to corroborate the text and it is be
Leah Markum
This book is very comprehensive in the historical documents by Greek philosophers and Roman authorities and the archaeology of the Druids and Celts. Certainly this is an eye-opener if you think Druids are adventurous sorcerers with nature empathy and Celts are the Irish of antiquity--an unfortunate stereotype that I, as a gamer, had fallen into. Miranda Green addresses a little bit of all topics and supports her composition with a myriad of quotes from Pliny the Elder, Cicero, Julius Caesar, Str ...more
Jun 01, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a literary and archeological overview of what is actually known about the Druids role in early (think a couple of centuries straddling 'year zero') Celtic society, which isn't a heck of a lot. It's actually a bit refreshing in its straightforwardness, and even traces the the contemporary romanticization and rise of Druidic societies from the 18th century to present day. A neat trick, given the evidence that the real druids had a penchant for violent sacrifice. And Stonehenge? Not Druidic ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was well written and has lots of graphics to interest the reader. Its not meant to be a reference work but the bibliography lists many authoritative works that are reference works should one need to delve deeper into the topic of Druids and Druidry. Like many cults, the early Druids seem to be particularly barbaric; later Druids seem to be reluctant to share the how-to's of their wisdom; but its really quite difficult to know this particular group of individuals since they had no written la ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forget about the thinner volumes stuffed with mystical whimsy and photographs of Stonehenge and dark forest glades. This is probably the most comprehensive , academically rigorous and readable survey of what is known and supposed about the Druids, from ancient to modern times. What's more, there are lots of images - the artefacts, the sources and the myth that now sticks the topic like half masticated toffee. ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
It was a good read - a bit redundant at times but that is how history can be, many things criss-crossing over themselves. One thing became clear to me - no one really knows much about the druids, and the accounts are based on limited historical accounts that very well may have been sensationalized to make the indigenous Druids unpopular. This happens all the times when history is written by the so-called "conquerors". ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well presented overview of the Druids backed up with by both Roman written records and archaelogical evidence from all over the Celtic world. A fascinating insight into the belief systems, rituals and practices of the Druids with a whole host of illustrations and photographs to help the imagination.
An easy read, set out like a kid's Eyewitness book with illustrations on every page and information boxes. It examines the evidence, written and archaeological, in a balanced and accessible manner. It even addresses the Druid renaissance (or reinvention depending on your viewpoint) of the 18th century and its progression into the 1990s. A good overview. ...more
A detailed, interesting look at ancient druids using the very limited information we have on them. A great final section on modern druidry. This includes a awkward mention of shamans, who recite, and I quote, "mumbo-jumbo." Ouch. ...more
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
It was alot of information to absorb but I now know alot more than what I did about the history of the Druids. It wasn't too easy of a read yet, the artwork was well placed. I thought the illustrations were the best part of the book. ...more
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've come across that introduces Druids and Druidism. There's a nice balance between text and pictures and just about every subject that pertains to the people and religion is covered. ...more
Stephanie Cover2CoverBlog
A lot of useful information, best with art, artifacts, and possible time lines for further study.
Oct 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting information, print font is way too small especially in the sidebars plus they are italicized. Sometimes dry to read, but still interesting to skim through.
Angie Curtis
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I learned about the druids, who they were, what they believed and how important they were to the Celtic people. I thought she did a good job providing a great overview of the Druids.
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May 27, 2014
B. Justin Shier
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Oct 08, 2011
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Apr 14, 2012
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Miranda Green was born in London and educated at Greycoat Hospital, Westminster. She took an Honours degree at University College, Cardiff and an M. Litt. at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She gained a research scholarship at the Open University and was awarded a doctorate in 1981 for her thesis on Romano-Celtic sun-symbolism. She has received research awards from the Society of Antiquities of London ...more

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