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god of eloquence, mentioned by Lucian. Onuava was an unknown god with a winged female head and the body of a fish.*
Paragraph 5.-Religious rites of the Celtic nations.
Of all Pagan nations the Gauls and Britons appear to have had the most sanguinary rites. They may well be compared in this respect with the Ashanti, Dahomehs, and other nations of Western Africa. Cæsar says that in threatening diseases and the imminent dangers of war they made no scruple to sacrifice men, or engage themselves by vow to such sacrifices: in which they made use of the ministry of the Druids; for it was a prevalent opinion among them, that nothing but the life of a man could atone for the life of a man, insomuch that they had established even public sacrifices of that kind. "Some prepared huge colossal figures of osier-twigs, into which they put men alive, and setting fire to them, those within expired amidst the flames. They preferred for victims such as had been convicted of theft, robbery, or other crimes, believing them the most acceptable to the gods; but when real criminals were wanting the innocent were often made to suffer." Strabo says, "Other immolations likewise of men are talked of: for some they shot with sacred arrows or hung upon crosses, and a colossus being made of rushes fastened with wood, sheep and beasts of every kind, and men were burned together." Saint Foix, in his Historical Essays upon Paris, printed there in 1766, says, "There are still some towns in the kingdom where the mayor and sheriff's cause to be put into a basket one or two dozens of cats, and burn them in the bon-fire of the eve of St. John. This barbarous custom," he adds, "of which I do not know the origin, subsisted even in Paris, and was only abolished there at the commencement of the reign of Louis XIV." "The practice of burning cats," says Ritson, "in use among the modern French may have some relation to the human sacrifices of the Gauls, their predecessors."+
According to their natural cruelty, they were as impious in the worship of their gods; for their malefactors, after having
St. Martin, Religion des Gaulois, part ii. Adelung, Mithridates, b. ii. p. 65. + Ritson's Memoirs of the Celts, p. 81.
been kept close prisoners five years together, were impaled upon stakes, in honour of the gods, and then with many other victims, upon a vast pile of wood, were offered up as a burnt-sacrifice to their deities. In like manner they used their captives also as sacrifices to the gods. Some of them cut the throats of, burned, or otherwise destroyed both men and beasts which they had taken in time of war."*
The funereal rites of the ancient Gauls and Britons, like those of other nations, were connected with their notions respecting the state of the dead. Most nations who have held the doctrine of metempsychosis, with the exception of the Egyptians, have burned their dead. The funerals of the Gauls were, as Cæsar informs us, according to their means, magnificent and sumptuous: they brought to the funeral pile all the objects to which the deceased had been most attached, even his favourite animals;+ and a little before the age of Cæsar it had been the custom to burn with the dead even slaves and dependents who were known to have been objects of his affections. It is added by another writer that these immolations were sometimes voluntary, and that friends and relations cast themselves upon the funereal pyre willingly, in order to live in a future world with the deceased.‡
The Britons like Eastern nations had sacred animals which they kept, but abstained from eating from a religious scruple.
The Celts believed in a future state and in the transmigration of souls. The opinion of Pythagoras, says Diodorus, prevails among them, that the souls of men are immortal, and live again after a certain time in other bodies. This belief, he says, is supposed to excite greatly to valour and contempt of death. The dogma of the Druids was simply that of metempsychosis; that of Pythagoras metensomatosis, as distinguished by Plato. This doctrine was connected by the Druids with that of cycles and renovations of the series of events, and the system of cataclysms discoverable in so many other ancient nations. Strabo says that they taught, in common with many
Ritson, ubi supra, from Diodorus.
+ In some of the barrows opened by Sir Richard Hoare, the bones of stags were found buried under or in a separate part of the tomb. Pomp. Mela, lib. iii.
other ancient nations, that the soul is indestructible as well as the world itself, and that fire and water are destined at periods to prevail. "They dispute much," says Cæsar, "concerning the heavenly bodies and their motions, and the magnitude of the world and of regions, concerning the nature of things, and the power and dominion of the immortal gods." Their astronomy was connected with notions respecting fate and destined periods. It was in fact rather astrology than anything really constituting science. In this relation it is mentioned by Cicero: "Eaque divinationum ratio ne in barbaris quidem gentibus neglecta est; siquidem et in Gallia Druidæ sunt, è quibus ipse Divitiacum Æduum hospitem tuum laudatoremque cognovi; qui et Naturæ rationem, quam physiologiam Græci appellant, notam sibi esse profitebatur, et partim auguriis, partim conjectura, quæ essent futura dicebat."*
SECTION XVI. Of the physical Characters of the Celtic Nations.
It seems strange that such a subject as the physical character of the Celtic race should have been made a theme of controversy. Yet this has happened, and the dispute has turned not only on the question what characteristic traits belonged to the ancient Celtæ, but what are those of their descendants the Welsh and the Scottish Gaël.
Mr. Pinkerton, a learned but dogmatical and paradoxical writer, advanced the assertion that the Celta and the German or, as he termed it, the Gothic race, were originally and generically different; that this difference has been always uniformly maintained in their physiognomy, as well as in their psychological and moral character. The external peculiarities of all Gothic or German nations are, as he says, red or yellow hair, blue eyes, fair complexions, large limbs, and tall stature; those of Celtic tribes universally dark hair, dark eyes, swarthy complexions, small stature. In describing the mental character of the Celts, Mr. Pinkerton is still more "tranchant." The Celts, he says, are natural savages, and were regarded as
• Cicero de Div. lib. i.
such by all writers of all ages. such is a Goth to a Celt."
"What a lion is to an ass,
Dr. Macculloch, who however was a writer of a very dif ferent class from Mr. Pinkerton, has adopted his notions concerning the physical characters of the Celts, and has confirmed them as far as general and somewhat vague assertions can be thought to afford confirmation.*
The opinions of Mr. Pinkerton and Dr. Macculloch have been fully discussed and refuted in an ingenious work written expressly with that view by the Rev. T. Price. To that work I beg to refer my readers who are desirous of estimating the merits of this controversy; and I should now go on to collect what evidence the ancients have given respecting the physical characters of the Celts, were it not in the first place necessary to advert to what has been said on this subject by a writer whose opinions are on all occasions entitled, though not to implicit confidence, yet certainly to a most attentive and deferential consideration. In the first edition of Niebuhr's Roman history, published in 1812, there is an admirable and striking portraiture of the Gauls who attacked Rome, containing the general results of the information left by the ancient writers respecting the physical character and habits of the Celts. Niebuhr's expressions are so concise and characteristic that I am unwilling to weaken them by translation. In describing the personal attire of the Gauls, he says, "Mit Gold schmückte sich jeder wohlhabende Gallier, und wenn er in der Schlacht nackt erschien, so trug er doch goldne Ketten an den Armen, und dicke goldne Ringe um den Halz. Ihre bunten, gewürfelten, mit Regenbogenfarben schimmernden Mäntel sind noch die mahlerische Tracht ihrer Stammgenossen
• Dr. Macculloch, though highly informed and distinguished on subjects connected with geology, was so ignorant of ethnography as to suppose the Celtæ a Semitic race. I mention this circumstance in order to prove that the characteristic distinction of human races was a subject to which he only directed his attention incidentally. A writer under such circumstances who was led to make for a particular purpose some not very profound inquiries into the history of the Highlanders, was likely to prefer the authority of such a man as Pinkerton, of clear and strong sense, though somewhat peremptory and wrong-headed, to the weak and childish dreams of the Celtic antiquarians who had preceded him, and who descant with amazing absurdity through entire volumes upon their Phoenician, Punic, Scythian, Spanish, and Magogian ancestry.
der Berg-Schotten, welche die Brakken der alten Gallier abgelegt haben. Grosse Körper, ein langes struppichtes gelbes Haar, wilde Züge, machten ihren Anblick furchtbar: ihre Gestalt, ihr wilder Muth, ihre unermessliche Zahl, der betäubende Lärm einer ungeheuern Menge Hörner und Trompeten bey ihren Heeren, und die grässlichen Verwüstungen welche dem Siege folgten, lähmten die Völker welche sie überzogen mit Entsetzen."*
In the last edition of his Roman history Niebuhr has made some change in his description of the Gauls, but none, as it appears, in his opinion. He says that on this subject he had been honoured by a letter full of information from an anonymous British scholar, who assured him that all the Celts now have black hair, and hence infers that in all those passages quoted in the first edition which ascribed to that people yellow hair, the Celts must have been confounded by ancient writers with the Germans. Niebuhr professed himself inclined to concur in this view; but he found the evidence of Ammianus Marcellinus, who himself had resided in Gaul, so very decisive on the subject, that he adheres to the opinion which ascribes to the ancient Celtic Gauls yellow hair, "until some one shall have solved the difficulty how Ammianus could possibly be so mistaken as to ascribe a sanguine or xanthous complexion to the people among whom he was constantly living, and who, according to the hypothesis maintained, were a black-haired swarthy tribe."
There is a passage in Strabo which might have furnished. some explanation of this difference to M. Niebuhr, and it is singular that it should have escaped him. Strabo in describing the Britons, distinguishes their physical character from that of the Gauls, and says that, with other differences, they were not so xanthous or yellow-haired as the Gauls. The difference
"Every wealthy Gaul adorned himself with gold: even when he appeared naked in battle, he wore golden chains upon his arms and golden rings around his neck. Their mantles, checkered, and displaying all the colours of the rainbow, are still the picturesque costume of their kindred race the Highlanders, who have laid aside the bracca of the ancient Gauls. Their great bodies, long shaggy yellow hair, uncouth features, made their appearance frightful; their figures, their savage courage, their immense numbers, the deafening noise of the numerous horns and trumpets in their armies, and the terrible devastation which followed their victories paralysed with terror the nations whom they invaded."