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 Celtic Beliefs

      Lundy, Isle of Avalon         Historical Stuff

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'Samothrace and Delos were Eastern cells of the same priesthood, the same rites being observed as in Britain, and embassies at stated periods exchangeing visitations.' - 'Artemidorus, quoted by Strabo, the Orphic Hymns; Avienus de Britannia.'  from 'St.Paul in Britain'

Around 30 AD Strabo recorded one of the stories of Artemidorus;- "There is an island near Britain where they offer sacrifices to Demeter and Kore, like those in Samothrace." (Strabo, Geography, Bk.IV, ch.4, sec. 6.)

" We might be inclined to dismiss this story if we had not already realised that the statements of Plutarch and Pomponius Mela regarding the supernatural beliefs of the inhabitants of the western world were amply confirmed."

There is a quite overwhelming array of evidence to confirm this statement from archaeological sources, from literature and from folk traditions.

There had been a close relationship between the Hellenic world and the British Isles from early times. 

Links were established between the silver miners of the Severn Estuary and Carthage as early as 450 BC. The earliest British coinage is derived directly from the gold stater of Phillip II of Macedoni (382-336 BC). Writing circa 445 BC Herotodus speaks of the British Isles as the Tin Isles or Casserides

The veracity of Herodotus' dedication to recording exactly what he had heard, irrespective of whether he believed it or not is demonstrated in his account of a Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa. The Phoenicians reported that 'as they sailed around Africa they had the sun on their right.' Herodotus doesn't believe this possible, but adds 'perhaps others may.'

In 352-323 BC Pytheas mentions the tin trade, as does Polybius 160 BC. Diodorus Siculus gives us a detailed description of the trade. The labyrinth design carved on a stone in the Wicklow Mountains echoes Cretan coins made between 200 and 67 BC. Significant resemblance's in the heroic legends, especially the Homeric and Arthurian traditions, have been demonstrated at great length by many scholars.

We know that the abduction of and the search for the earth goddess formed part of the Samothracian festivals. Even as far away as 'an island near Britain' any cult of Demeter and Kore which resembled that of Samothrace would certainly retain this feature. The abduction story is one of the most firmly established traditions of Celtic and Arthurian legend. 

Plutarch for instance says: 'One Demeter is in the earth, lady and mistress of that which is on the earth, and the other is in the moon, and is called by those who live in the moon, Kore or Persephone." (De Facie Lunae, LXX.)

'Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that other cults besides the Samothracian were carried by merchants or colonists into the Atlantic isles Writing in the second century the geographer Ptolemy referred to 'Heracles Promontory', universally identified with Hartland Point. He also mentions under the name of 'Heraclea', an island corresponding to Lundy.' ( credit lost )

'The visit of the British druid, Abaris, was long remembered at Athens. Greek fancy converted the magnetic needle by which he guided his travels into an arrow of Apollo which could transport him at wish whithersoever he pleased.' ( credit lost )


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