«The Gauls» by Albert Grenier (1970)

To buy the book (in French) : here

Negative points :

_The author does not speak of the word “Keltoï” (who is Greek) who gave the word Kelt/Celt. So he do not speak about the mysteries around the word “Kel”.

_There are no mentions of the extraordinary Keltic legendary creatures (like the dragons).

_On the spiritual part, it’s sometimes a little messy. Is this on purpose? Does the author wanted to hide some elements ?

Good points :

_The author distinguishes between the natives (families present before the Keltic waves coming from the east) and the Kelts. This distinction is fundamental throughout the book. We can talk about a common thread. He uses the word “race” and explains that the natives and the Kelts had little in common. This is why when we talk about Gauls, we sometimes talk about everything and its opposite. Moreover, describing the Kelts is quite easy, given the testimonies of the Greeks and of the Romans. While describing the natives is quite difficult. Gaul is therefore initially composed of two peoples who do not always get along and who are quite different. A mobile people, loving adventures, and quite pirate-likes. And another one, a little still and quite conservative.

_The author talks a little about the spirituality focused on the moon (feminine) and the sun (masculine). He does not mention it directly, but we know that the Gauls believed that the moon was superior to the sun (like the Greeks). See about this, the cults towards the Sacred Feminine.

_The author indicates that the culture of the Kelts is the basis of the chivalry culture.
Page 183 “The German Celtic scholar Windisch found in the Celtic tradition the origin of the chivalrous spirit of the Middle Ages”.

_The author strongly asserts that the Gauls and the Germans are Kelts (and are the same people). But it was their local presence that made them change.
Page 144 “This name of Germans has, we believe, an exclusively geographic and not ethnic meaning”.
Page 177 “Wide, flowing pants among the Gauls at the time of Caesar. Sticky on the contrary among the Germans.”

_Page 299 he speaks of “vampire” goddesses.

_Page 176 “On the gate or on the walls of the native citadel, sculpted heads perpetuated the memory of those who must have once been fixed there”.

_The author emphasizes the civilizational and technological advances of the Kelts. They were not barbarians although they could be extremely savage and violent. Their cleanliness and artistry was legendary.
Page 177 “They have a love of cleanliness.”
Page 174 “The Gaul loves the luxury of weapons”.
Page 178 “The toilet included numerous jewels for both sexes […] Those of the men were simply fewer and more massive than those of the women.”

_The author emphasizes the numerous links between Gaul and Greece.
The official Gaulish documents are written… In Greek (page 130).
Greek objects are very popular (Were they bohemian? The Kelts are described as very curious about the world).

_The author talks about the social classes that have existed in our country since… Prehistory. He talks about slavery. Practiced by the Gauls but also widely practiced by the Romans (we forget this too often). According to him, feudalism is not at all an invention of the Middle Ages, this system has existed since prehistory as well.
What about the word “equality” on the France national motto ? It seems that since the dawn of time we have had social classes…
On the other hand, he insists on the fact that the Gauls accept the principle of order. Contrary to what is said about them : that they are disordered, disobedient, messy by nature.
But he insists on the fact that the Gauls refuse tyranny (see the last speech of Vercingétorix where he says that he took up arms for freedom).
Here for once, the French national motto, by using the word “Liberty” sticks to the Gaulish spirit.

_The author talks about the importance of certain sacred animals like the stag.

_Page 10 […] “In the ancient emergence basin of the Roches source, in Chamalières, wooden ex-votos were discovered, dating from the beginning of the Empire”. We know that there are a lot of ex-votos to thanks Our-Lady in France.

Page 346 “Coming in person, the leader [Caesar] had the spring which supplied the besieged captured and they, convinced that their tutelary divinity was withdrawing from them, ended up surrendering. Caesar had the right fist cut off from all of them”.

_Page 88 the Gauls “did not want to take anything from their victory, neither men nor things […] All the spirits of the earth had their share of the spoils”.
Page 160 “After the victory, the Gauls began to strip the dead and pile up weapons in piles. We know in fact that they were in the habit of offering the spoils to the god of war.

_The Gauls seem especially obsessed with their spirituality, war and business. Which will give the 3 classes. Certainly already present since prehistoric times.

_The author talks about the organization into “clans” (family). Which looks pretty on paper. But which does not resist “network” organizations (religious, sectarian, community, associative, guilds, etc.). He explains that this is the main Achilles heel of the Gauls : not networking enough. What the Romans did for example and what a minority of Gauls did (often in the upper classes).
This clan organization, typically Keltic, is directly opposed to the principle of solidarity and fraternity. Since everyone takes care ONLY of their family.
Page 107 The Cisalpine Gauls “had become peaceful. Only when it was too late did they seek to unite with what remained of the Etruscans and Samnites”.
Page 115 “The example of the Gauls of Italy, the most advanced of all, shows that they have no political spirit, no sense of ethnic solidarity”.
What about the word “Fraternity” in the French national motto. Did it ever exist in our country? The old villagers say yes.

_The author indicates that the unity of the country was ensured by the Druids.

_The author even quote an episode of revolt against the Roman Empire on page 348: “in 69, during the stay in Lyon of Vitellius, pretender to the Empire, (se) grouped, in the region of Autun, seven or eight thousand peasants, around a mystical prophet and miracle worker, Maricc, calling himself champion of Gaul.”
We see once again that the root and unity of a nation is its spirituality.
The story of Jehanne d’Arc confirms this to us.

_Page 110 “Ptolemy summons them to hand over their weapons. The Gauls laugh at his threats. beat and kill him.”

_Page 111, the author speaks of a cult, in Gaul, of “Apollo, Artemis and Latona”.

_Page 119 “It was a common theme in Antiquity, the diversity of the Gauls among themselves”.

_Page 132 “Cave of the fairies”.

_Page 150 “They spoke about Gaul as a living, almost immortal person who had to be served, loved and protected”.

_Page 162 “The Gauls does not fear death. The teaching of his druids teaches him that another life awaits him beyond”.

_Page 177 “Their voice is deep and hoarse. Their language, brief and often enigmatic […]”.

_Page 178 “Men bleached their hair by frequent washing with soda water”.

_Page 179 “The noblest keep only the mustache”.

_Page 179 “They don’t use oil […] they replace it with butter.”

_Page 181 the author deals with diviners. He believes that calling them ovates is incorrect. Their work was “above all (to) explain dreams and predict the future”.

_Page 182 “To a completely different class belong the druids. They are priests religiously forming a congregation. And socially, a caste”.

_The end of the book, concerning the Gallic War, is really interesting. We see to what extent Caesar benefited from the betrayals of many Gauls. And given his arrogant luck, one wonders if he didn’t have a few druids at his service…

_There are some nice anecdotes. As page 128 “A Marseillaise legend told the story of a Gaulish chief Catumandus or Catumandarus, who, besieging the city, saw in a dream a goddess ordering him to make peace with the Marseillais. Then he would have obtained permission to enter the city to worship the gods. Having recognized the statue of the goddess which had appeared to him, he would have hastened to conclude a treaty of perpetual friendship”.

Conclusion :

An essential book. Not that hard to read. Revolutionary in many ways. Essential for understanding many roots of the Kelt culture and its different countries within it.

On certain points, we have the impression of being in one of the “Conan” adventures written by Robert E. Howard.

Alpha Centauri