well with what we can learn about the conditions of Ireland early in the Christian era. The tales may certainly have been older; but such basis of historical fact as they contain can hardly have been much later than the date they themselves assign. And wild as they often are, the possibility of a certain substratum of historic fact is an easier supposition than the idea that they sprang into existence without any cause whatever.
Now it is from close about the same period that most of the accounts of the Gauls derived from Roman writers come to us. Poseidonius, a century before Christ, Diodorus, Csesar, or Livy, half a century later, Tacitus in the first century, are giving us details of a condition of things still existing in their own day, and the close correspondence of which with the manners reflected in early Irish literature goes far to prove that in assigning the tales to this age, the Irish annalist, who endeavours to fit them somewhere into history, has not, in fact, been very far out of his reckoning. From both the classical and the Irish point of view, this correspondence is then satisfactory, as confirming alike the accuracy of Roman observations, and the substantial truth of the native records.
Let us take part of the brief account given of the Gauls by Diodorus the Sicilian, a contemporary with Caesar, whose reflections, derived in large part from Poseidonius, are borne out by other writers of his own time. He tells us, after describing the origin and country of the Gauls, that ‘they are fond of personal adornment, they wear bracelets of gold on their wrists and arms, and massy chains of pure beaten gold about their necks, and weighty rings on their fingers, and crosslets (or hooked chains?) of gold on their breasts. In stature they are tall, of pale complexion, red-haired, not only naturally, but they endeavour all they can to make it redder by art. They often wash their hair in a water boiled with lime, and turn it backward from the forehead to the crown of the head, that their faces may be more fully seen . . . by this sort of management, their hair is