miércoles, 15 de abril de 2009

Lengua Española I (TP I -cohorte 2009)

Trabajo práctico de lengua

El artículo, el sustantivo y el adjetivo

• Señalar a qué clase de palabras pertenecen las listadas debajo e indicar sus especificidades morfológicas y semánticas.

Clase Aspecto morfológico Aspecto semántico género número

• Colocar los acentos y las comas correspondientes en el relato que sigue:

Mi otra madre

–¿Ves? Finalmente salieron sentadas una al lado de la otra en un sofa recuerdo que fue el viejo quien saco la foto. Vos no te acordas porque eras muy chica. Ubico a mama y a la amiga varias veces en distintas posiciones y escenarios hasta encontrar un angulo que el definio como el mas apropiado.

No se convencia de sacarlas de pie o contra la pared. La foto quedo como el queria estoy segura. Las dos vestidas en tonos pastel resaltandose una extraña similitud entre ellas y una complicidad. El se empeño en retratarlas con las manos entrelazadas.

–¿Ves que ellas aparecen mas emocionadas que contentas? Una tenia la ropa de la otra: se habian prestado los pantalones y las remeras. El sofa azul no quedaba bien con los tonos pasteles de la ropa, se ve muy difuso. Ahora que me fijo el pelo lo tienen las dos recogido se nota la diferencia de edad y tambien que es una foto de despedida. ¿Sabes que las enfoco varias veces? Con el zoom las acercaba o las alejaba con la ilusion me parece de manipularlas pero ves que ellas estan posando quietas tristes inalcanzables ante los ojos del viejo. Tengo la impresión de que el quiso cerrar tanta tension vivida y señales evidentes en esa foto. Fue una larga semana de tortas, intercambio de fotos de nosotras y de las hijas de Irma recuerdos regalos. Yo me atreveria a decir que el de alguna manera sabia que entre ellas habia un infinito deseo no dicho.

Laura Piñero

(docente Omar Lobos)

viernes, 10 de abril de 2009

Geography of the British Isles and the Northern Europe (History- Night Shift)

Geography of the British Isles and Northern Europe


In many ways the North Sea is one of the most important seas in the world. Although it is not an enclosed sea in the same way that the Mediterranean, The Red Sea and the Baltic Sea are enclosed, it has only two entrances. The one, and by far the most used, is through the Strait of Dover, only 20 miles wide. The other is between Scotland and Norway, and there the Shetland Isles lie almost half-way across. Even if England and Scotland are counted like one, no fewer than eight countries lie around the shores of the North Sea – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and Britain.

The North Sea is also a great highway. Ships from the Baltic or from Germany and Holland bound for the Atlantic, have to turn either to the south or to the north to avoid the British Isles, which thus guard the entrance to Northern Europe. This was of great importance during the two World Wars.

Britain´s history has been closely connected with the sea., Until modern times it was as easy to travel across water as it was across land (but roads were frequently unusable), and at moments of great danger, Britain has been saved from danger by its surroundings seas. Britain´s history and its strong national sense have been shaped by the sea

Physical features

Although of not great area the British Isles are full of contrasting scenes and variation of land-use, so packed with evidence of centuries of history of man, that there is no monotony in any day´s journey through the landscape.

It is noteworthy that the rocks of the Highlands of Scotland are similar to those of the Highlands of Norway, that the low-lying Fens are opposite the polders of Holland and that the chalk cliffs of Dove face the chalk cliffs of Calais. Facts such as these suggest that Britain was formerly joined to Europe and, indeed, it was not long ago in the geological past that the sea broke through the Strait of Dover and made Britain an island.

If the physical map is compared with the geological map it will be found that nearly all the north and west consist of old rocks, while the south and east consist of younger rocks. It is possible to divide the island of Great Britain – that is England, Wales, and Scotland into tow parts, Highland Britain and Lowland Britain. This division has been important in England history and it is at present.

The mountainous west and north of Britain became a refuge of those early settlers who were driven from the rich earth and mature forests of the southern and eastern plains by the sea-faring nomads from Eastern Europe.On the other hand, the plain and fertile south has always concentrated most of the population of Britain since ancient times.

It is well known that climate makes character. The equable climate produced the equable British character, softer and most English in the warmer south, tougher in the cooler north, more tempestuous in the wild mountains of Wales. Thus, we can say that Britain was moulded into mood and shape by the physical limits of seas and mountains.

Most of the areas of highland are in the north and west and except for the Irish Plain and Scottish Lowlands, the largest stretches of lowlands are in the south and east. Lowland Britain is the best area for agriculture and it has always been settled and farmed.

The geography of Ireland describes an island in northwest Europe in the north Atlantic Ocean. The main geographical features of Ireland include low central plains surrounded by a ring of coastal mountains.

In the Stone and Bronze Ages, Ireland was inhabited by Picts in the north and a people called the Erainn in the south, the same stock, apparently, as in all the isles before the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. About the 4th century B.C., tall, red-haired Celts arrived from Gaul or Galicia. They subdued and assimilated the inhabitants and established a Gaelic civilization. By the beginning of the Christian Era, Ireland was divided into five kingdoms—Ulster, Connacht, Leinster, Meath, and Munster. Saint Patrick introduced Christianity in 432, and the country developed into a center of Gaelic and Latin learning.

England and the English (History-Night Shift)

On England

Extract from a speech by Earl Baldwin, Prime Minister of England ‘1920 / 30

• Contradiction about the english  “as a nation they are less open to intelectual sense than the latin race”
* He says that there is no nation that has the same talent or ability of producing geniuses.

• Personal characteristic

They always grumble, but they never worry
Grumbling is more superficial, leaves less of a mark on the character
This absence of worry keeps their nervous system sound and sane
Englishman is made for time of crisis and emergency
He is serene in difficulties but he is persistent to death and ruthless in action

• For the author when he is overseas England comes to him through the ear, the eye and certain scents such as… e.g. from the text…

• He grieves that these things that made England are not the inheritance of the people of those days, he thinks they ought to be…

• One of the strongest features of his race is the love of home, that makes his race seek for new homes in the Dominions overseas  they take with them what they have learned at home: love of justice, love of truth and the broad humanity

• He hopes that just as in those days people talk about the great Romans perhaps in the future these traits of the english people survive and the men who are then on this earth may yet speak of the english race as honourable, upright and persevering men, lovers of home, of their brethen, of justice and of humanity.

A Pilgrim Observes the People

Extract from His Letters from England by Karel Capek, Czechoslovakian writer

• The most beautiful things in England are the trees, the herds, the people and the ships… including those rosy old gentlemen and old ladies  on the whole, the country has produced the finest childhood and the finest old age

• Every Englishman wears a mackintosh, a cap and a newspaper in his hand, and the Englishwoman carries a mackintosh or a tennis raquet

• To know what an English gentleman is you have to be acquainted with an English club-waiter, a booking clerk or with a policeman  a gentleman is a combination of silence, courtesy, dignity, sport, newspapers and honesty

• People always manage to help each other, but they never have anything to say to each other, except for the weather, a joyless and reticent people.

• In the place of taverns they invented bars, where one can stand, drink and hold one’s peace

• The more talkative people take to politics or to authorship

• If you get to know them closer they are very kind and gentle, they never speak much because they never speak about themselves

• They are: free-and-easy as young whelps,
Hard as flint
Incapable of adapting themselves
Conservatives, loyal and always uncommunicative

• You cannot speak to them without being invited to lunch or dinner

• You can trust them more than yourself

• You would be free and respected there more than anywhere else in the world.

Britain's prehistory (History- Night Shift)


Prehistoric Britain was a period in the human occupation of Great Britain that was the later part of prehistory, ending with the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, though some historical information is available about Britain before this, derived from archaeological research.
Britain has not always been an island, it became one only after the end of the last ice age. The temperature rose and the ice cap melted, flooding the lower-lying land that is now under the North Sea and the English Channel. The Ice Age was not just one long equally cold period. There were warmer times when the ice cap retreated, and colder periods when the ice cap reached as far south as the River Thames.

~ 250, 000 BC

• Our first evidence of human life is a few stone tools, dating from one of the warmer periods.

• There were two different kinds of inhabitant:
* The earlier group made their tools from flakes of flint, similar in kind to stone tools found across the north European plain as far as Russia.
* The other group made tools (hand axes) from a central core of flint, probably the earliest method of human tool making, which spread from Africa to Europe.

• However, the ice advanced again and Britain became hardly habitable until another milder period, probably around 50,000 BC. During this time a new type of human being seems to have arrived, who was the ancestor of the modern British. These people looked similar to the modern British, but were probably smaller and had a life span of only about thirty years.

~ 10, 000 BC

• As the Ice Age finally ended, there was a gradual amelioration of climate leading to the replacement of tundra by forest.

• Britain was peopled by small groups of hunters, gatherers and fishers. Few had settled homes, and they seemed to have followed herds of deer which provided them with food and clothing.

~ 5000 BC
• The rising sea levels caused by the melting glaciers cut Britain off from continental Europe and Britain had become heavily forested. For the wanderer-hunter culture this was a disaster, for the cold- loving deer and other animals on which they lived largely died out.
• Humans spread and reached the far north of Scotland during this period
~ 3000 BC (Neolithic or New Stone Age)

• People crossed the narrow sea from Europe in small round boats of bent wood covered with animal skins. These people kept animals and grew corn crops, and knew how to make pottery. They probably came from either the Iberian (Spanish) peninsula or even the North African coast. They were small, dark, and long-headed people, and may be the forefathers of dark-haired inhabitants of Wales and Cornwall today. They settled in the western parts of Britain and Ireland.

• These were the first of several waves of invaders before the first arrival of the Romans in 55 BC.

• Industrial flint mining began, with evidence of long distance trade, this period are mainly defined by technological advances and changes in tools or weapons.

• The great "public works" of this time, tell us a little of how prehistoric Britain was developing. The earlier of these works were great "barrows", or burial mounds, made of earth or stone. Most of these barrows are found on the chalk uplands of south Britain. They were airy woodlands that could easily be cleared for farming, and as a result were the most easily habitable part of the countryside. By 1400 BC, the climate became drier, and as a result this land could no longer support many people.

After 3000 BC

• The chalkland people started building great circles of earth banks and ditches. Inside, they built wooden buildings and stone circles. These "henges", were centres of religious, political and economic power.

• By far the most spectacular, was Stonehenge, which was built in separate stages over a period of more than a thousand years. The precise purposes of Stonehenge remain a mystery. It was almost certainly a sort of capital, to which the chiefs of other groups came from all over Britain.

• In Ireland the centre of prehistoric civilisation grew around the River Boyne and at Tara in Ulster.

After 2400 BC

• New groups of people arrived in southeast Britain from Europe. They were roundheaded and strongly built, taller than Neolithic Britons. It is not known whether they invaded by armed force, or whether they were invited by Neolithic Britons because of their military or metal working skills. Their influence was soon felt and they became leaders of British society. Their arrival is marked by the first individual graves, furnished with pottery beakers, from which these people get their name: the "Beaker" people.

• The Beaker people:

* They brought with them from Europe a new cereal, barley, which could grow almost anywhere.

* They probably spoke an IndoEuropean language and seem to have brought a single culture to the whole of Britain.

* They also brought skills to make bronze tools and these began to replace stone ones. But they accepted many of the old ways.

~ 1300 BC onwards

• The henge civilisation seems to have become less important, and was overtaken by a new form of society in southern England, that of a settled farming class. At first this farming society developed in order to feed the people at the henges, but eventually it became more important and powerful as it grew richer.

• The new farmers grew wealthy because they learned to enrich the soil with natural waste materials so that it did not become poor and useless. This change probably happened at about the same time that the chalk uplands were becoming drier.

• Family villages and fortified enclosures appeared across the landscape, in lowerlying areas as well as on the chalk hills, and the old central control of Stonehenge and the other henges was lost.

• From this time, power seems to have shifted to the Thames valley and southeast Britain. Except for short periods, political and economic power has remained in the southeast ever since.

• Hill-forts replaced henges as the centres of local power, and most of these were found in the southeast.

• There was another reason for the shift of power eastwards. A number of better-designed bronze swords have been found in the Thames valley, suggesting that the local people had more advanced metalworking skills.

Around 700 BC  another group of people began to arrive: the Celts

Anglo-saxons (History- Night Shift)

Anglo-Saxons – Government and Society

• During the 8th century, the Saxons created some institutions. One of these was the king’s council called THE WITAN. The Witan probably grew out of informal groups of senior warriors or churchman to whom the kings asked for advice or support on difficult matters.
• By the 10th century, the Witan was already a formal body issuing laws and charters (estatutos) but was not democratic at all since the king could decide to ignore the Witan´s advice. However, he knew that without the support of the Witan his authority was in danger because the Witan had the right to choose kings and to agree the use of the king’s laws.
• The system of the Witan remained as part of the system of government till these days, since at present the queen or king has a Privy Council, a group of advisers on the affairs of state.

• By the end of the 10th century the Saxons divide the land and established the SHIRES (Saxon word for the Norman word county). These shires were administrative areas over each of which a Shire Reeve, a king´s administrator, was appointed. Later it would be called the sheriff.


• At the end of the 10th century, a technological change in the Saxon’s agriculture system altered the land ownership and organization.
• The Saxons introduce a PLOUGH far heavier than that of the Celts. It was particularly useful for cultivating heavier soils, but it required a team of 6 or 8 oxen to pull it and it was difficult to turn as well.
• In order to make best use of village land this was divided into 2 o 3 very large fields, and these were divided again into LONG THIN TRIPS. Each family had a “holding” of almost 20 acres. Ploughing these long straight strips was easier because avoided the problem of turning, and since few families could afford a whole team of oxen, they had to cooperate with each other.

• Each field was used for different purposes at each time: one of them for planting spring crops, another for autumn crops, a third field would be left to rest for a year and the rest of the areas, after harvest, would be used as common areas for animals to feed on.
This system was the origin of CROP ROTATION or CROP SEQUENCING, one of the main methods in use in agriculture nowadays which has several advantages:
o Avoids a decrease in soil fertility as growing the same crop repeatedly in the same place eventually depletes the soil of various nutrients.
o Farmers can keep their fields under continuous production
o Reduces the need for artificial fertilizers since rotating crops adds nutrients to the soil.
o Is also used to control pests and diseases since plants within the same taxonomic family tend to have similar pests and pathogens.

• In each district it was a MANOR OR LARGE HOUSE, a building were villagers went to pay taxes, were justice was administered and where men met to join the Anglo-Saxon army, the fyrd.
o This fyrd was called out and led by the sheriff and was integrated by every able-bodied free male. There were fines for neglecting the fyrd which varied according to the status of the individual: landholders received the heaviest fines and common laborers the lightest. So, we can see they were not very democratic but they had a well sense of social justice.

• The lord of the manor had to organize all this and make sure village land was properly shared. This was the beginning of the manorial system which reached its fullest development under the Normans.
• The class system was made up of KING – LORDS- SOLDIERS- WORKERS OF THE LAND and later, the MAN OF LEARNING who came from the Christian Church.

• The Anglo Saxons belonged to an older Germanic religion.
• In 597 Pope GREGORY THE GREAT sent the monk AUGUSTINE, to re-establish Christianity in England
• According to the “Ecclesiastical History of the English People" written by the monk and historian BEDE, THE VENERABLE, Augustine and his companions landed on the Isle of Thanet, at the east of KENT.
o At the beginning, ETHELBERT, the king of Kent ordered them to stay in that island until he decided what to do with them; apparently he was afraid that these men practiced some kind of magical art.
o Some days later, the king went to the island and he listened to Augustine´s prayers about the Lord and the eternal salvation. After hearing all this, Ethelbert, whose queen was already a Christian herself, said to Augustine that his words were fair enough but that they were new and uncertain for him and that he could not approve them and forsake all in he had believed till then.
o However, Ethelbert said that he would allow them to stay in Canterbury, the metropolis of his dominions; that he would supply them with the necessary sustenance; and that he would not prevent them from preaching their religion.
o Agustin was very successful and within a year almost 10.000 of the king’s subjects, and the king himself, underwent baptism.
o Ethelbert became the first Anglo-Saxon king to convert to Christianity.
• But the problem of Augustine arose with ordinary people since they were reluctant to the rules of the new faith.
o Here is where Celtic Church comes into action. Celtic bishops started to walk from village to village teaching Christianity and they were immediately accepted by Anglo-Saxons despite their differences.
o The reason was that CELTIC CHURCH was more interested in the hearts of ordinary people while ROMAN CHURCH was interested in authority and organization.
• The competition between the Celtic and Roman Churches reached a crisis because they disagreed over the date of Easter.
• Bede wrote about this disagreement as well: apparently, after years of controversy it was agreed that a synod (a meeting) should be held where the difficulty might be settled.
• In 663 at the SYNOD (MEETING) OF WHITBY the king OSWIU OF NORTHUMBRIA decided to support Roman rather than Celtic practices.
• Since that moment Rome extended its authority over all Christians, even in the Celtic areas.
• Saxon kings helped the church to grow but the church also increased the power of the kings by giving them its support which made it harder for royal power to be questioned since kings had “GOD`S APPROVAL”. This was very important especially in terms of royal succession. For example, when KING OFFA arranged for his son to be crowned as his successor he made sure that this was done at a Christian ceremony led by a bishop, which suggested that his son was chosen not only by people but also by God.
• A lot of MONASTERIES, or minsters, where established. These were places for education in which men were trained to read and write so they had the necessary skills for the growth of royal and church authority.
• ALFRED, the king who ruled Wessex from 871-99 was the one who made most use of these literate men of church to help establish a system of law, to educate the people and to write down important matters. He started the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of early English history which together with the work of Bede was the most important written records regarding British history of that time.
• Those who could READ AND WRITE became more powerful and this increased the DIVISION OF CLASSES.
o Landlords who had been given land by the king were empowered because their names were written down.
o On the other hand, peasants who could neither read nor write could lose their traditional rights on their land only because there was not written register.
• Villages and towns grew around the monasteries, and local trade was enlarged. Many bishops and monks from France and Germany were invited by English rulers who whished to benefit from economic contact with Europe since these bishops used Latin, the written language of Rome.
• Anglo-Saxon England became well known in Europe for its EXPORTS of woollen goods, cheese, hunting dogs, pottery, and metal goods. And imported wine, fish, pepper, jewellery and wheel made pottery.

The Romans (History - Night Shift)


For four centuries, Britain was an integral part of a single political system that stretched from Turkey to Portugal and from the Red Sea to the Tyne and beyond. Its involvement with Rome started before the conquest launched by Claudius in AD 43 (It had established diplomatic and commercial relations with the Romans since Caesar’s expeditions in 55 and 54 AC).
We are dealing with a full half-millennium of the history of Britain.

The name “Britain” comes from the word “Pretani”, the Greco-Roman word for the inhabitants of Britain. The Romans mispronounced the word and called the island “Britannia”.
The Romans had invaded because the Celts of Britain were working with the Celts of Gaul against them. There was another reason. Under the Celts Britain had become an important food producer because of its mild climate. It now exported corn and animals, as well as hunting dogs and slaves, to the European mainland. The Romans could make use of British food for their own army fighting the Gauls.

The Romans brought the skills of reading and writing to Britain. The written word was important for spreading ideas and also for establishing power. Further the toga (the Roman cloak) came into fashion. The Celtic peasantry remained illiterate and only Celtic-speaking.
Latin completely disappeared both in its spoken and written forms when the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain in the Fifth century AD. Britain was probably more literate under the Romans than it was to be again until the fifteenth century.

Julius Caesar first came to Britain in 55 BC, but it was not until almost a century later, in AD 43, that a Roman army actually occupied Britain. They had little difficulty, apart from Boadicea’s revolt, because they had a better trained army and because the Celtic tribes fought among themselves.

The Romans established a Romano-British culture across the southern half of Britain, from the River Humber to the River Severn. The areas were watched from main towns. Each of them was held by a Roman legion of about 7.000 men. The total roman army in Britain was about 40.000 men.

The Romans could not conquer “Caledonia” (Scotland), although they spent over a century trying to do so. At last they built a strong wall along the northern border, named after the emperor Hadrian who planned it. At the time, Hadrian’s wall was simply intended to keep out raiders from the north. But it also marked the border between the two later countries, England and Scotland.

Romans control of Britain came to an end as the empire began to collapse. The first signs were the attacks by Celts of Caledonia in AD 367. The Roman legions found it more and more difficult to stop the raiders from crossing Hadrian’s wall. The same was happening on the European mainland as Germanic groups, Saxons and Franks, began to raid the coast of Gaul. In AD 409 Rome pulled its last soldiers out of Britain and the Romano-British, the Romanised Celts, were left to fight alone against the Scots, the Irish and Saxon raiders from Germany. When Britain called to Rome for help against the raiders from Saxon Germany in the mid-fifth century, no answer came.

 The most obvious characteristic of Roman Britain was the towns, which were the basis of Roman administration and civilization. Broadly, there were three different kinds of towns in Roman Britain. These were the Coloniae, towns peopled by Romans settlers, the Municipia, large cities in which the whole population was given Roman citizenship, and Civitas, through which the Romans administrated the Celtic population in the countryside.
The Romans left about 20 large towns of about 50.000 inhabitant, and almost 100 smaller ones. Many of these towns were at first army camps, and the Latin word for camp, castra, has remained part of many town names to this day (with the ending chester, caster or cester). This towns were built with stone as well as wood, and had planned streets, markets and shops. They were connected by roads which were so well built that they survived when later roads broke up. Six of this roads met in London, a capital city of about 20.000 people.

Outside the towns, the biggest change during the Roman occupation was the growth of large farms called “villas”. Each villa had many workers. The villas were usually close to town so that the crops could be sold easily. There was a growing difference between the rich and those who did the actual work on the land.

In some ways life in roman Britain seems very civilized, but it was also hard for all except the richest. The bodies buried in a Roman graveyard at York show that life expectancy was low. Half the entire population died between the ages of twenty and forty, while 15 per cent died before reaching the age of twenty.

It is very difficult to be sure how many people were living in Britain when the Romans left. Probably it was as many as five million, partly because of the peace and the increased economic life which the Romans had brought to the country. The Saxon invasion changed all that.

The Story of Boadicea/Boudica

Boudica (also spelled Boudicca, formerly known as Boadicea - d. AD 60 or 61) was a queen of the Iceni tribe of what is now known as East Anglia in England, who led an uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

Boudica's husband, Prasutagus, an Icenian king who had ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor in his will. However, when he died his will was ignored. The kingdom was annexed as if conquered, Boudica was flogged and her daughters raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.

In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey in north Wales, Boudica led the Iceni, along with the Trinovantes and others, in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (Colchester), formerly the capital of the Trinovantes, but now a coloniae and the site of a temple to the former emperor Claudius, built and maintained at local expense, and routed a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, sent to relieve the settlement.

On hearing the news of the revolt, Suetonius hurried to Londinium (London), the twenty-year-old commercial settlement which was the rebels' next target, but concluding he did not have the numbers to defend it, evacuated and abandoned it. It was burnt to the ground, as was Verulamium (St Albans). An estimated 70,000-80,000 people were killed in the three cities. Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated Boudica in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis had led the emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from the island, but Suetonius's eventual victory over Boudica secured Roman control of the province.

The Druids (History-Night Shift)


The word druid is an anglicized and probably latinized form of the Gaulish "druvis." The word itself has been subject to intense speculation as to its origins, though most scholars associate it with the Greek "drus" meaning oak. An alternate, and perhaps better explanation is based on the Indo-European roots *deru, meaning "steadfast" or "strong," and *wid connected with knowledge, and wisdom, presented by Edred Thorsson, Ph.D. Hence, the original word may have been something like *deruwid, meaning "one of steadfast knowledge.

The Roman occupation of Britain lasted from 43AD to around 400. Before the Romans invaded, the druid priesthood was the undisputed power in the land. For the previous two or three centuries the druids had been a dominant force throughout what was then the Celtic world, which included France, the Netherlands and parts of Scandinavia as well as Britain.

History is written by the victors; that is why it is difficult to obtain a true account of the Druids. When the Romans conquered the Celts and Ancient Britons, they gave unflattering descriptions of the druids. Some sources describe the druids as bloodthirsty barbarians who were addicted to human sacrifice. Others maintain that they were gentle and peaceful, and that they derived their authority from being in touch with nature.

There are a few things we can say for certain.


held ceremonies in oak groves
saw mistletoe as a sacred plant with healing powers
practised divination and believed they could foretell the future

Their powers of divination underpinned the druids' authority. Their supposed ability to foretell the future made the druids a vital source of information, equally able to advise the community on when to start the harvesting and the king on when to go to war. The druids brandished a power based on their superior insight into the workings of the universe.

Information about druid practices can also be gained from archaeological evidence. The Gundestrup Cauldron was preserved for 2000 years in a peat bog in Denmark. It was made of solid silver and strangely carved. The carvings on the cauldron suggest human sacrifice.

More gruesome - and mysterious - evidence is supplied by Tollund Man. The body of Tollund Man was found in 1950 in a Danish peat bog, where - like the Gundestrup Cauldron - it had been preserved since the 1st century BC. Tollund Man was about 40, and it was presumed that he had been killed.

Tollund Man was not the only victim. Other bog bodies have been found in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland - and Britain. In 1984, a 2000-year-old body was found in a peat bog in Cheshire: Lindow Man. This time the signs of human sacrifice were unmistakable. There were traces of mistletoe in his stomach suggesting a definite druidical connection.

The druids' political authority was severely limited under Roman rule. However, druidical practices and Roman religion seem to have coexisted. In particular, the druidical arts of divination appear to have survived into the Roman era: one Romano-British burial site in Colchester has been found to contain equipment for a divining ritual.

Knowledge of the Druids comes directly from classical writers of their time. Julius Caesar, made a description of their political and social organization and also of their beliefs.

Caesar describes them as one of the two classes of dignity, the other being the knights (which are of course the warriors of the Celts). The common folk, he says are less than nothing and "treated almost as slaves." (Caesar 335) He goes on to say that these Druids are "concerned with divine worship, due performance of sacrifices, public and private, and the interpretation of ritual questions: a great number of young men gather about them for the sake of instruction and hold them in great honor." (Caesar 335-337)

Next Caesar describes the Druid role in the Celtic justice system. Druids, as described by Caesar, settle all disputes ranging from property disputes to murder. Druids are also responsible for the punishment to be issued to the criminal. Druids from different tribes are respected with the same power as Druids from other tribes, allowing them to punish foreigners.

"Of all these Druids one is chief, who has the highest authority among them. At his death, either any other that is prominent in position succeeds, or if there be several of equal standing, they strive for the primacy by the vote of the Druids." (Caesar 337) This excerpt from Caesar's descriptions show that the Druids actually held a democracy. It is known that the Celts were in the north of Italy about 400 BC and that that they even lay siege to the Capitol of the Roman Empire. It is also interesting to note that Rome was founded as a Republic. Perhaps there could be a connection between the two through transliteration.