Though there are records of deity names, and archaeological remains including altars, little is known about the specific religious beliefs of the Celts. Their burial practices included burying food, weapons, and ornaments with their dead, which suggests a belief in life after death. The druids, the early Celtic priesthood, were said by Caesar to have taught the doctrine of transmigration of souls along with astronomy and the nature and power of the gods. Transmigration is a philosophy of reincarnation incorporating the specific belief that after death, the soul of a living being is then transferred (or transmigrates) into another living form and thus takes birth again.
The Irish believed in an Otherworld, which they described sometimes as underground and sometimes located on islands in the Western Sea. This Otherworld was believed to be a country where there was no sickness, old age, or death, where happiness lasted forever, and a hundred years was as one day.
According to classical authors, the Celtic religion was based in three professional classes: the Druids, the Bards, and the Vates.
The Druids were the Celtic version of modern priests, but were also philosophers, scientists, lore-masters, teachers, judges and counsellors to the kings. The Druids linked the Celtic peoples with their numerous gods, the lunar calendar and the sacred natural order. In Commentarii de Bello Gallico Caesar gives the most complete account on the Druids. According to him the Druids constituted a "priest like" class, and were guardians of the unwritten ancient customary law. They had the power of executing judgments; the most dreaded being the exclusion from society.
The caste of the Druids was not hereditary, although the...
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...pire ended with the abdication of Emperor Romulus Augustus in 476, Christianity survived it, with the Bishop of Rome as the dominant religious figure.
Cunliffe, Barry, (1997) The Ancient Celts. Oxford, Oxford University Press
Caesar, Julius. De Bello Gallico. Book V, § XIV
MacKillop, James (1998) A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Paul-Marie Duval. 1993. Les dieux de la Gaule. Éditions Payot, Paris.
Patrick K. Ford (ed/trans). 1977. The Mabinogi and other Medieval Welsh Tales. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Augustinus Hibernicus. "De Mirabilibus Sacrae Scripturae". King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings edited by John Carey. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000
MacMullen, Ramsay, 1984. Paganism in the Roman Empire
1997. Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries
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