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The Druids Essay

1946 words - 8 pages

Templa Druidum "The mazes of wild opinion [about Stonehenge] are more complex and intricate than the ruin" (Mass 8). There couldn't have been a better way to perfectly sum up Stonehenge's mysterious and ambiguous history than the way this observant visitor described it. The name Stonehenge can be traced back to words meaning "circle of stones", "hanging stones", or "stone hinges" (8). Henry of Huntingdon is credited with the first known account of this word in its Latin form "Stanenges" (8-9). Henry of Huntingdon stated, "Stanenges, where stones of wonderful size have been erected after the manner of doorways, so that doorway appears to have been raised upon doorway; and no one can conceive how such great stones have been so raised aloft, or why they were built there" (9). Stonehenge's landscape contains possibly the largest accumulation of prehistoric burial mounds in the world (9). Stonehenge's construction is estimated to have begun around 3100 BC to 1100 BC (10). Stonehenge was originally only a single building that consisted of walls but never had a roof. It was believed that it was in a constant state of construction throughout its usable period (9-10). Stonehenge is located about thirty miles north of the English Channel and eighty miles west of London in a county called Wiltshire (Chippindale 10). Originally, Stonehenge was constructed from an estimated 162 stone blocks of various sizes (10). The giant sandstone uprights, called sarsens, are the most commonly recognized stones of the remnants of Stonehenge. They are thirteen and one-half foot tall, seven foot wide, and three and three-fourths foot deep (12). The summer solstice was is a big attraction to a lot of the people who visit Stonehenge. As Terence Meaden stated, "The story of the beliefs of the Stonehenge People at the time of the summer solstice is compelling and dramatic: it involves the celebration of life in a way that everybody who is close to nature and appreciates the human condition can understand" (Meaden 11). The question that is still left to be answered is, who could have created this great monument and why? "Druids were involved in politics, sacrificial ritual, prophecy and the control of the supernatural world. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, they were feared and venerated because they had the ear of the divine world" (Green 7). Basically, the Druids were a regular structured prehistoric society, with strict religious undertones, that kept history by word of mouth. The typical Druid was believed to wear long white robes, have short curly hair, and have a short beard as seen in the figurines that have been found that model the Druids (58). Also, the Druids wore large, golden necklaces called torcs (58). The earliest accounts on the Druids were from the Greeks and Romans. The main writers of these accounts were Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, and Julius Caesar (14). Caesar who was appointed to the Roman...

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