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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

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7 results for "customs"
1. Aristotle, Politics, None (4th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 144
2. Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico, 2.4 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 145
3. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 5.28.5-5.28.6, 5.29.4-5.29.5, 5.31.1-5.31.5, 5.32.3-5.32.7 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 144
5.28.5.  They invite strangers to their feasts, and do not inquire until after the meal who they are and of what things they stand in need. And it is their custom, even during the course of the meal, to seize upon any trivial matter as an occasion for keen disputation and then to challenge one another to single combat, without any regard for their lives; 5.28.6.  for the belief of Pythagoras prevails among them, that the souls of men are immortal and that after a prescribed number of years they commence upon a new life, the soul entering into another body. Consequently, we are told, at the funerals of their dead some cast letters upon the pyre which they have written to their deceased kinsmen, as if the dead would be able to read these letters. 5.29.4.  When their enemies fall they cut off their heads and fasten them about the necks of their horses; and turning over to their attendants the arms of their opponents, all covered with blood, they carry them off as booty, singing a paean over them and striking up a song of victory, and these first-fruits of battle they fasten by nails upon their houses, just as men do, in certain kinds of hunting, with the heads of wild beasts they have mastered. 5.29.5.  The heads of their most distinguished enemies they embalm in cedar-oil and carefully preserve in a chest, and these they exhibit to strangers, gravely maintaining that in exchange for this head some one of their ancestors, or their father, or the man himself, refused the offer of a great sum of money. And some men among them, we are told, boast that they have not accepted an equal weight of gold for the head they show, displaying a barbarous sort of greatness of soul; for not to sell that which constitutes a witness and proof of one's valour is a noble thing, but to continue to fight against one of our own race, after he is dead, is to descend to the level of beasts. 5.31.1.  The Gauls are terrifying in aspect and their voices are deep and altogether harsh; when they meet together they converse with few words and in riddles, hinting darkly at things for the most part and using one word when they mean another; and they like to talk in superlatives, to the end that they may extol themselves and depreciate all other men. They are also boasters and threateners and are fond of pompous language, and yet they have sharp wits and are not without cleverness at learning. 5.31.2.  Among them are also to be found lyric poets whom they call Bards. These men sing to the accompaniment of instruments which are like lyres, and their songs may be either of praise or of obloquy. Philosophers, as we may call them, and men learned in religious affairs are unusually honoured among them and are called by them Druids. 5.31.3.  The Gauls likewise make use of diviners, accounting them worthy of high approbation, and these men foretell the future by means of the flight or cries of birds and of the slaughter of sacred animals, and they have all the multitude subservient to them. They also observe a custom which is especially astonishing and incredible, in case they are taking thought with respect to matters of great concern; for in such cases they devote to death a human being and plunge a dagger into him in the region above the diaphragm, and when the stricken victim has fallen they read the future from the manner of his fall and from the twitching of his limbs, as well as from the gushing of the blood, having learned to place confidence in an ancient and long-continued practice of observing such matters. 5.31.4.  And it is a custom of theirs that no one should perform a sacrifice without a "philosopher"; for thank-offerings should be rendered to the gods, they say, by the hands of men who are experienced in the nature of the divine, and who speak, as it were, the language of the gods, and it is also through the mediation of such men, they think, that blessings likewise should be sought. 5.31.5.  Nor is it only in the exigencies of peace, but in their wars as well, that they obey, before all others, these men and their chanting poets, and such obedience is observed not only by their friends but also by their enemies; many times, for instance, when two armies approach each other in battle with swords drawn and spears thrust forward, these men step forth between them and cause them to cease, as though having cast a spell over certain kinds of wild beasts. In this way, even among the wildest barbarians, does passion give place before wisdom, and Ares stands in awe of the Muses. 5.32.3.  The most savage peoples among them are those who dwell beneath the Bears and on the borders of Scythia, and some of these, we are told, eat human beings, even as the Britons do who dwell on Iris, as it is called. 5.32.4.  And since the valour of these peoples and their savage ways have been famed abroad, some men say that it was they who in ancient times overran all Asia and were called Cimmerians, time having slightly corrupted the word into the name of Cimbrians, as they are now called. For it has been their ambition from old to plunder, invading for this purpose the lands of others, and to regard all men with contempt. 5.32.5.  For they are the people who captured Rome, who plundered the sanctuary at Delphi, who levied tribute upon a large part of Europe and no small part of Asia, and settled themselves upon the lands of the peoples they had subdued in war, being called in time Greco-Gauls, because they became mixed with the Greeks, and who, as their last accomplishment, have destroyed many large Roman armies. 5.32.6.  And in pursuance of their savage ways they manifest an outlandish impiety also with respect to their sacrifices; for their criminals they keep prisoner for five years and then impale in honour of the gods, dedicating them together with many other offerings of first-fruits and constructing pyres of great size. Captives also are used by them as victims for their sacrifices in honour of the gods. Certain of them likewise slay, together with the human beings, such animals as are taken in war, or burn them or do away with them in some other vengeful fashion. 5.32.7.  Although their wives are comely, they have very little to do with them, but rage with lust, in outlandish fashion, for the embraces of males. It is their practice to sleep upon the ground on the skins of wild beasts and to tumble with a catamite on each side. And the most astonishing thing of all is that they feel no concern for their proper dignity, but prostitute to others without a qualm the flower of their bodies; nor do they consider this a disgraceful thing to do, but rather when anyone of them is thus approached and refuses the favour offered him, this they consider an act of dishonour.
4. Livy, History, 22.57 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 158
5. Plutarch, Marcellus, 3.4 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 158
3.4. βαρβαρικὸν μὲν γὰρ μὲν γὰρ Bekker, after Coraës: μέν . οὐδὲν οὐδʼ ἔκφυλον ἐπιτηδεύοντες, ἀλλʼ ὡς ἔνι μάλιστα ταῖς δόξαις Ἑλληνικῶς διακείμενοι καὶ πρᾴως πρὸς τὰ θεῖα, τότε τοῦ πολέμου συμπεσόντος ἠναγκάσθησαν εἶξαι λογίοις τισὶν ἐκ τῶν Σιβυλλείων, καὶ δύο μὲν Ἕλληνας, ἄνδρα καὶ γυναῖκα, δύο δὲ Γαλάτας ὁμοίως ἐν τῇ καλουμένῃ βοῶν ἀγορᾷ κατορύξαι ζῶντας, οἷς ἔτι καὶ νῦν ἐν τῷ Νοεμβρίῳ μηνὶ δρῶσιν Ἕλλησι καὶ Γαλάταις ἀπορρήτους καὶ ἀθεάτους ἱερουργίας. 3.4. For though they have no barbarous or unnatural practices, but cherish towards their deities those mild and reverent sentiments which especially characterize Greek thought, at the time when this war burst upon them they were constrained to obey certain oracular commands from the Sibylline books, and to bury alive two Greeks, a man and a woman, and likewise two Gauls, in the place called the forum boarium, or cattle-market; and in memory of these victims, they still to this day, in the month of November, perform mysterious and secret ceremonies.
6. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of The Philosophers, a b c d\n0 2. 2. 2 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 144
7. Strabo, Geography, 4.4.2-4.4.5  Tagged with subjects: •customs, celtic Found in books: Gruen (2011) 145
4.4.2. The entire race which now goes by the name of Gallic, or Galatic, is warlike, passionate, and always ready for fighting, but otherwise simple and not malicious. If irritated, they rush in crowds to the conflict, openly and without any circumspection; and thus are easily vanquished by those who employ stratagem. For any one may exasperate them when, where, and under whatever pretext he pleases; he will always find them ready for danger, with nothing to support them except their violence and daring. Nevertheless they may be easily persuaded to devote themselves to any thing useful, and have thus engaged both in science and letters. Their power consists both in the size of their bodies and also in their numbers. Their frankness and simplicity lead then easily to assemble in masses, each one feeling indigt at what appears injustice to his neighbour. At the present time indeed they are all at peace, being in subjection and living under the command of the Romans, who have subdued them; but we have described their customs as we understand they existed in former times, and as they still exist amongst the Germans. These two nations, both by nature and in their form of government, are similar and related to each other. Their countries border on each other, being separated by the river Rhine, and are for the most part similar. Germany, however, is more to the north, if we compare together the southern and northern parts of the two countries respectively. Thus it is that they can so easily change their abode. They march in crowds in one collected army, or rather remove with all their families, whenever they are ejected by a more powerful force. They were subdued by the Romans much more easily than the Iberians; for they began to wage war with these latter first, and ceased last, having in the mean time conquered the whole of the nations situated between the Rhine and the mountains of the Pyrenees. For these fighting in crowds and vast numbers, were overthrown in crowds, whereas the Iberians kept themselves in reserve, and broke up the war into a series of petty engagements, showing themselves in different bands, sometimes here, sometimes there, like banditti. All the Gauls are warriors by nature, but they fight better on horseback than on foot, and the flower of the Roman cavalry is drawn from their number. The most valiant of them dwell towards the north and next the ocean. 4.4.3. of these they say that the Belgae are the bravest. They are divided into fifteen nations, and dwell near the ocean between the Rhine and the Loire, and have therefore sustained themselves single-handed against the incursions of the Germans, the Cimbri, and the Teutons. The bravest of the Belgae are the Bellovaci, and after them the Suessiones. The amount of their population may be estimated by the fact that formerly there were said to be 300,000 Belgae capable of bearing arms. The numbers of the Helvetii, the Arverni, and their allies, have already been mentioned. All this is a proof both of the amount of the population [of Gaul], and, as before remarked, of the fecundity of their women, and the ease with which they rear their children. The Gauls wear the sagum, let their hair grow, and wear short breeches. Instead of tunics they wear a slashed garment with sleeves descending a little below the hips. The wool [of their sheep is coarse, but long; from it they weave the thick saga called laines. However, in the northern parts the Romans rear flocks of sheep which they cover with skins, and which produce very fine wool. The equipment [of the Gauls] is in keeping with the size of their bodies; they have a long sword hanging at their right side, a long shield, and lances in proportion, together with a madaris somewhat resembling a javelin; some of them also use bows and slings; they have also a piece of wood resembling a pilum, which they hurl not out of a thong, but from their hand, and to a farther distance than an arrow. They principally make use of it in shooting birds. To the present day most of them lie on the ground, and take their meals seated on straw. They subsist principally on milk and all kinds of flesh, especially that of swine, which they eat both fresh and salted. Their swine live in the fields, and surpass in height, strength, and swiftness. To persons unaccustomed to approach them they are almost as dangerous as wolves. The people dwell in great houses arched, constructed of planks and wicker, and covered with a heavy thatched roof. They have sheep and swine in such abundance, that they supply saga and salted pork in plenty, not only to Rome but to most parts of Italy. Their governments were for the most part aristocratic; formerly they chose a governor every year, and a military leader was likewise elected by the multitude. At the present day they are mostly under subjection to the Romans. They have a peculiar custom in their assemblies. If any one makes an uproar or interrupts the person speaking, an attendant advances with a drawn sword, and commands him with menace to be silent; if he persists, the attendant does the same thing a second and third time; and finally, [if he will not obey, ] cuts off from his sagum so large a piece as to render the remainder useless. The labours of the two sexes are distributed in a manner the reverse of what they are with us, but this is a common thing with numerous other barbarians. 4.4.4. Amongst [the Gauls] there are generally three divisions of' men especially reverenced, the Bards, the Vates, and the Druids. The Bards composed and chanted hymns; the Vates occupied themselves with the sacrifices and the study of nature; while the Druids joined to the study of nature that of moral philosophy. The belief in the justice [of the Druids] is so great that the decision both of public and private disputes is referred to them; and they have before now, by their decision, prevented armies from engaging when drawn up in battle-array against each other. All cases of murder are particularly referred to them. When there is plenty of these they imagine there will likewise be a plentiful harvest. Both these and the others assert that the soul is indestructible, and likewise the world, but that sometimes fire and sometimes water have prevailed in making great changes. 4.4.5. To their simplicity and vehemence, the Gauls join much folly, arrogance, and love of ornament. They wear golden collars round their necks, and bracelets on their arms and wrists, and those who are of any dignity have garments dyed and worked with gold. This lightness of character makes them intolerable when they conquer, and throws them into consternation when worsted. In addition to their folly, they have a barbarous and absurd custom, common however with many nations of the north, of suspending the heads of their enemies from their horses' necks on their return from tattle, and when they have arrived nailing them as a spectacle to their gates. Posidonius says he witnessed this in many different places, and was at first shocked, but became familiar with it in time on account of its frequency. The beads of any illustrious persons they embalm with cedar, exhibit them to strangers, and would not sell them for their weight in gold. However, the Romans put a stop to these customs, as well as to their modes of sacrifice and divination, which were quite opposite to those sanctioned by our laws. They would strike a man devoted as an offering in his back with a sword, and divine from his convulsive throes. Without the Druids they never sacrifice. It is said they have other modes of sacrificing their human victims; that they pierce some of them with arrows, and crucify others in their sanctuaries; and that they prepare a colossus of hay and wood, into which they put cattle, beasts of all kinds, and men, and then set fire to it.