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The Gallic provinces, too, were pervaded by the magic art,1 and that even down to a period within memory; for it was the Emperor Tiberius that put down their Druids,2 and all that tribe of wizards and physicians. But why make further mention of these prohibitions, with reference to an art which has now crossed the very Ocean even, and has penetrated to the void3 recesses of Nature? At the present day, struck with fascination, Britannia still cultivates this art, and that, with ceremonials so august, that she might almost seem4 to have been the first to communicate them to the people of Persia.5 To such a degree are nations throughout the whole world, totally different as they are and quite unknown to one another, in accord upon this one point!

Such being the fact, then, we cannot too highly appreciate the obligation that is due to the Roman people, for having put an end to those monstrous rites, in accordance with which, to murder a man was to do an act of the greatest devoutness, and to eat6 his flesh was to secure the highest blessings of health.

1 More particularly in the worship of their divinity lieu or Hesus, the god of war.

2 This he did officially, but not effectually, and the Druids survived as a class for many centuries both in Gaul and Britain.

3 He alludes to the British shores bordering on the Atlantic. See B. xix. c. 2.

4 It is a curious fact that the round towers of Ireland bear a strong resemblance to those, the ruins of which are still to be seen on the plains of ancient Persia.

5 "Ut dedisse Persis videri possit." This might possibly mean, "That Persia might almost seem to have communicated it direct to Britain." Ajasson enumerates the following superstitions of ancient Britain, as bearing probable marks of an Oriental origin: the worship of the stars, lakes, forests, and rivers; the ceremonials used in cutting the plants samiolus, selago, and mistletoe, and the virtues attributed to the adder's egg.

6 Ajasson seems inclined to suggest that this may possibly bear reference to the Christian doctrines of redemption and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

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