‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Respect for learning, and Druids

(pic source)

I have long felt that Celts have greater respect for learning than Anglo-Saxons. It seems to me that the descendants of the latter would far rather have their children become worldly successes (such as professional sportsmen) than university professors.

Whereas according to Peter Berresford Ellis, the Druids, whose knowledge was never written down in pre-Christian times and who took twenty years of study to qualify, had enormously high status. For example, in the ancient Irish text Leabhar na hUidre the king of Ulster stands up to speak to his assembly, but is forced to stand in needle-drop silence, unable to utter a word, until his druid Cathbad asks him, "What is the matter, O King?"

It is said that the druid Merlin caused Stonehenge to be built; he also starts the great Arthurian cycle by casting a spell on Uther Pendragon to make him resemble the just-slain Duke of Cornwall, so gaining entrance to the bedroom of his enemy's wife Igraine and begetting the future King Arthur.

Is learning worthwhile, even though it may not make us rich or rulers?


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