Druids and Their Magic: the Evidence and Its Problems
18 June 2009 (Thursday)
A lecture by Dr Mark Williams (Cambridge)
Treadwell’s Bookshop. 7.15 for 7.30 start
Druids appear frequently in the rich saga literature of Early Ireland, engaged in a variety of eerie magical practices: clairvoyance, psychometry, cloud-divination, shape-shifting, and going into prophetic trances wrapped in the dripping hides of freshly-slaughtered bulls. And yet these actions, superficially so powerfully redolent of the pagan past, occur within literary texts which are products of a profoundly Christian, Bible-saturated medieval culture. How did early Irish monk-litterateurs envision the magic of their one-time rivals, the druids, and why on earth was imagining pagan magic of any interest for these ‘saints and acholars’? Mark Williams of the University of Cambridge attempts to provide some answers.
Seats are reserved by payment in advance, phone 0207 240 8906. Treadwell’s Bookshop, 34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden London WC2E 7PB http://www.treadwells-london.com/lectures.asp.