"The whole nation of the Gauls is greatly devoted to ritual
observances, and for that reason those who are smitten with the more
grievous maladies and who are engaged in the perils of battle either
sacrifice human victims or vow so to do, employing the druids as
ministers for such sacrifices. They believe, in effect, that, unless for
a man's life a man's life be paid, the majesty of the immortal gods may
not be appeased; and in public, as in private life they observe an
ordinance of sacrifices of the same kind. Others use figures of immense
size whose limbs, woven out of twigs, they fill with living men and set
on fire, and the men perish in a sheet of flame. They believe that the
execution of those who have been caught in the act of theft or robbery
or some crime is more pleasing to the immortal gods; but when the supply
of such fails they resort to the execution even of the innocent."
The author appears to suggest that the general public conducted the
sacrifices, whereas the Druids acted as clergy.
However, Julius Caesar apparently never witnessed such a sacrifice or spoke to
someone who had. Although there is a great deal of archaeological evidence to
support Celtic executions of criminals, there is none that verifies ritual
Writings on Druids and War
"The druids usually hold aloof from war and do not pay war
taxes with the rest; they are excused from military service and exempt from
This would imply that since the Druids are not employed in military service,
they would not perform the sacrifices.
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