The Library of History

Page 189

Page 189 break the Flesh; and when the Dart is drawn out, it tears and rents the Wound most miserably.

These People are of a most terrible Aspect, and have a most dreadful and loud Voice. In their Converse they are sparing of their Words, and speak many things darkly and * figuratively. They are High and Hyperbolical in trumpeting out their own Praises, but speak slightly and contemptibly of others. They are apt to menace others, self-opinionated, grievously provoking; of sharp Wits, and apt to learn.

Among them they have Poets, that sing melodious Songs, whom they call Bards, who to their Musical Instruments like unto Harps, chant forth the praises of some, and the dispraises of others.

There are likewise among them Philosophers and Divines, whom they call Saronidae, and are held in great Veneration and Esteem. Prophets likewise they have, whom they highly honour, who foretel future Events, by viewing the Intrals of the Sacrifices; and to these Soothsayers all the People generally are very observant.

When they are to consult of some great and weighty matter, they observe a most strange and incredible Custom; for they sacrifice a Man, striking him with a Sword near the Diaphragma cross over his Breast, who being thus slain, and falling down, they judge of the Event from the manner of his Fall, the Convulsion of his Members, and the Flux of Blood; and this has gain'd among them (by long and ancient usage) a firm credit and belief.

It's not lawful to offer any Sacrifice without a Philosopher; for they hold that by these, as Men acquainted with the nature of the Deity, and familiar in their Converse with the Gods, they ought to present their Thank-Offerings, and by these Ambassadors to desire such things as are good for them. These Druids and Bards are observ'd and obey'd, not only in times of Peace but War also, both by Friends and Enemies.

Many times these Philosophers and Poets stepping in between Two Armies, when they are just ready to ingage near at Hand, with their Swords drawn, and Spears presented one against another, have pacify'd them, as if some wild Beasts had been tam'd by Inchantments. Thus Rage is master'd by Wisdom, even amongst the most Savage Barbarians; and Mars himself reverences the Muses.

And now it will be worth while to declare, that which Multitudes are altogether ignorant of. Those who inhabit the Inland Parts beyond Massylia, and about the Alps, and on this side the Pyrenean Mountains, are call'd Celts: But those that inhabit below this part call'd Celtica, Southward to the Ocean and the Mountain Hyrcinus, and all as far to Scythia, are call'd Gauls. But the Romans call all these People generally by one and the same Name, Gauls.

The Women here are both as Tall and as Couragious as the Men. The Children for the most part from their very Birth are gray-headed; but when they grow up to Mens Estate, their Hair changes in Colour like to their Parents. Those towards the North, and bordering upon Scythia, are so exceeding Fierce and Cruel, that (as Report goes) they eat Men, like the Britians that inhabit Iris.

They are so noted for a fierce and warlike People, that some have thought them to be those that anciently overran all Asia, and were then call'd Cimmerians, and who are now (through length of time) with a little alteration call'd Cimbrians.

Anciently they gave themselves to Rapine and Spoil, wasting and destroying other Countries, and slighted and despis'd all other People. These are they that took Rome, and rob'd the Temple at Delphos. These brought a great part of Europe and Asia under Tribute, and possess'd themselves of some of the Countries of those they subdu'd. Because of their mixture with the Grecians, they were at last call'd Gallo-Grecians. They often routed and destroy'd many great Armies of the Romans.

According to their natural Cruelty, they are as impious in the Worship of their Gods; for Malefactors after that they have been kept close Prisoners Five Years together, they impale upon Stakes, in honour to the Gods, and then with many other Victims upon a vast Pile of Wood, they offer them up as a burnt

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books