From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

It is well known that Romanization gave rise to the union of the Celtic and Roman pantheons. In animist restoration, it is also hypothesized that the Romans brought an emphasis on imagery and idol-worship to an essentially non-idolatrous, animist culture. Basically, the reconstructionist Romanization hypothesis is as follows:

  1. Romans expressed religion through stonework and the written word. Celts usually did not.
  2. When the Romans came to Britain, they brought their "civilized" religious practices with them.
  3. Celts were forced to adopt Roman religion or, wanting to "civilize" themselves, they modified their traditional practices to conform to the Roman practices.

The main things that need to be proven is that there was a significant difference between Roman religion and Celtic religion that could account for a social gap, and that this difference included writing and idolatry especially.

Evidence Roman religion was quite different from Celtic religion

"The Romans however put a stop to these customs [of displaying the heads of captured enemies], as well as to their manner of offering sacrifices and practising divination, which were quite contrary to our established ritual." Strabo, Geographica IV.4.5.198
Recall that the word "religion" as we understand it did not have a strict equivalent in Latin. The true meaning of this sentence is that the Romans suppressed Celtic religion in order to civilize the country with Roman religion-- no different from how Christians suppressed paganism. So much for "Polytheist Compatible"!
"[Claudius] very thoroughly suppressed the barbarous and inhuman observances (religionem) of the Druids in Gaul, which in the time of Augustus had merely been forbidden to Roman citizens." Suetonius, Claudius 25.5
Note that this suppression came about in phases. At first, Roman authorities simply forbade Roman colonists from participating in Celtic rituals. To someone who conflates all forms of polytheism, this may seem strange for several reasons: (A) some Romans might want to join Celtic cults, (B) this was unacceptable, (C) it was not socially unacceptable but a ban had to be imposed from on high. You can imagine some Puritans making a law to prevent Roger Williams types from associating with the natives. It cannot be clearer that Roman religion was quite different from Celtic religion. Then Suetonius claims Claudius actually banned it outright: cultural imperialism. He is probably wrong (references to Druids continue after Claudius' time) but apparently it made sense to the historian.

Writing and idolatry specifically

Retrieved from ""

This page has been accessed 2,503 times. This page was last modified on 7 April 2009, at 20:59. Content is available under Attribution 2.5 .