Britannia, by William Camden

The Name of

Big B BUT you will say, if Cumero be the primitive name of the Inhabitants, whence then comes Albion? and whence Britain? a name which hath so much prevailed, that the other is almost forgotten. Give me leave, as to this point, to deliver my real thoughts, which, I am satisfied, are the real truth. The same things may be consider’d under various circumstances, and thereupon be express’d by various names, as Plato tells us in his Cratylus. And if you will search into particular instances, both of modern and antient times, you will observe that all nations have been called by Strangers, differently from what they called themselves. Thus, they who in the language of their own Country, were called Israelites, were termed by the Greeks, Hebrews and Jews; and by the Egyptians, Huesi (as Manethon observes,) because they had Shepherds for their Kings. So, the Greeks call’d those Syrians, as Josephus writes, who nam’d themselves AramæansAramaeans, Those who call’d themselves Chusii, were by the Greeks, from their black faces, call’d ÆthiopiansAEthiopians ethiopians. They who call’d themselves CeltæCeltae, the Greeks call’d GallatæGallatae; either from their milk-white complexion, as some will have it, or from their long hair, as I just now observed. So, those who call’d themselves Teutsch, NumidæNumidae, and HellenæHellenae, were by the Romans call’d Germani, Mauri, and GræciGraeci; [Germans, Moors, and Greeks.] So at this day (not to produce too many instances) they who are in their own Tongue call’d Musselmen, Magier, Czechi, Besermanni, are by all the Europeans called Turks, Hungarians, Bohemians, and Tartars. And even in England, we, who in our own tongue call our selves Englishmen, are by the Welch, Irish, and Highland-Scots, call’d Sasson, i.e. Saxons. After the same manner we may imagin that our Ancestors, who called themselves Cumero, were upon some other account, either by themselves, or by others, called Britons; from whence the Greeks fram’d their Greek text, and handed the same word to the Romans. Thus much being premis’d, we will now enquire into the several names of this Island.

As to the name AlbionAlbion., I am not much solicitous about it. For it was impos’d by the Greeks for distinction-sake; all the Islands that lay round it being call’d by one general name, BritannicæBritannicae and BritanniæBritanniae, i.e. the British Isles. The Island of Britain, saith Pliny, so famous in the writings of the Greeks and Romans, is situate to the north-west, at a great distance from, but just opposite to, Germany, France, and Spain, three Countries that take up much the greatest part of Europe. It is particularly call’d Albion; whereas all the Isles about it are nam’d Britanniæ.Britanniæ. Whereupon Catullus, concerning CæsarCaesar, hath this expression,

Hunc Galliæ timent, timent Britanniæ.
Both Gaul and Britain our great Cæsar dread.

Also in the same Epigram, he calls this Ultimam Occidentis Insulam, i.e. the farthest Island of the west. The name Albion seems to have had its rise meerly from a vain humour of the Greeks, and a fondness in that people for fables and fictitious names; which themselves call’d Greek text. For seeing that nation has, in the pure strength of Fancy, named Italy, Hesperia, from Hesperus, the son of Atlas; France, Gallatia, from a certain son of Polyphemus, &c. I cannot but believe, that in the same fanciful humour they invented for this Isle the name of Albion, from Albion, Neptune’s son; as Perottus and Lilius Giraldus have observ’d before me: unless one should chuse rather to derive it from Greek text, a word, which Festus saith, signifies white in Greek, whence the Alps may also have taken their name: for our Island is surrounded with white rocks, which Cicero calls Mirisicas Moles, vast and prodigious piles. For which reason in the (a) Coins of Antoninus Pius, and Severus, Britain is figuredThe figure of Britain., sitting upon Rocks, in a woman’s habit; and by the British Poets is stiled (b) Inis WenInis Wen., that is, the White Island. Not to observe, that Orpheus in his Argonautics (c) (if they be his) calls that Island, Greek text, The white land, which lies next to Jernis, or Ireland, and which can be no other but our Britain; the same, which in a few verses before, he seems to have call’d Greek text for Greek text.FracastoriusLib. 1. de morbis contagiosis. also, in his discourse concerning that pestilential fever which rag’d in England under the name of the Sweating Sickness, delivers it as his Opinion, that it was occasioned by the nature of the English soil, which is very much upon Chalk, or a white sort of Marle; and supposes that from thence our Island took the name of Albion. (d) ⌈So, an Island in the Indian Sea, was call’d Leuca, white; and also another in Pontus, which agreed with this of our’s so far, as to be thought Fortunate , and to be a receptacle of the Souls of those great Heroes, Peleus and Achilles. So a place by Tyber also was call’d Albiona.⌉

(a) One of those Coins of Antoninus Pius, having Britain sitting upon the rocks, is in the hands of Mr. Thoresby of Leeds, with this inscription, Antoninus. Aug. Pius. P. P. Tr. P. xviii. Reverse. Britannia. Cos. 1111-SC.

(b) The learned Selden (Annot. ad Polyolb. p.20.) thinks this instance the most considerable of all for this purpose; because in Antiquity it is usual to have names among strangers, corresponding to those of the inhabitants. So the Redde-Sea is by Strabo, Curtius, Stephanus, and others, call’d ErythræusErythraeus; and Nile, in Hebrew and Ægyptian aegyptian egyptiancall’d black, is observ’d by that Prince of Learning Joseph Scaliger, to signify the same colour in the word Greek text, us’d for it by Homer; which is inforced by the black statues, among the Greeks, erected in honour of Nile, call’d also expressly Greek text.

(c) See Usher’s Antiquit. Britan. Eccles. p.378. fol.

(d) As Buchanan will not allow that their Albania could come from a Latin word, so neither will Somner let our Albion have that original; but, with Albania, derives it from the Celtick Alpen, Alben, and such like words, intimating a mountain, high hill, &c. which answers the nature of the place, whether we consider the inner parts of the Island, or those moles mirificæ, (mentioned by Cicero) upon the Sea-Coasts.

He had but little honesty, and as little modesty, who was the Inventor of that idle story, not to be heard without indignation, That this Island took the name of Albion from (e) Albina, one of the thirty daughters of Dioclesian a King of Syria, who on their wedding-night kill’d all their husbands, and then coming over hither in a vessel without oars, were the first that took possession of the Island, where a sort of carnal Spirits got them with child; and thence issued a race of Giants. (f) Nor need I be at much pains to enquire, why, in that old Parodia against Ventidius BassusInsula Cæruli., it is call’d Insula CæruliCaeruli; considering that it is surrounded with the Sea, which the Poets stile CærulusCaerulus and CærulumCaerulum. So Claudian, concerning Britain,

——Cujus vestigia verrit Cærulus. ——

——Whose steps the azure sea
Sweeps with his tide.——

I omit, that it is by Aristides call’d the Great and the farthest Island. That it was also call’d RomaniaRomania., seems to be insinuated by those passages in Gildas, where he tells us, that this Island was so absolutely brought under the Roman power, That the name of the Roman slavery stuck to the very soil. And a little after; So that it might now be accounted Romania, rather than Britannia. And within a page or two, An Island, bearing the Roman name, but not observing the laws or customs of the Romans. Nay, Prosper Aquitanus expressly calls it, The Roman Island. Hither also may be refer’d that prediction of the Aruspices or Sooth-sayers, when the Statues of Tacitus and Florianus the Emperors were thrown down with Thunder; viz. That out of their Family should arise an Emperor who, amongst other great actions, should set Presidents over Taprobana, and send a Proconsul intoVopiscus in Floriano. the Roman Island; which the Learned understand of our Britain; tho’ it was a Province Presidial, and never Proconsular, as we shall hereafter shew. If some will still believe that it was also call’d SamotheaSamothea., from Samothes, Japhet’s sixth son, I cannot help it. I know very well whence all that is borrow’d; out of Annius Viterbiensis, who, like all other Cheats, putting specious titles upon bad wares, hath imposed upon the credulous his own forgeries under the name of Berosus.

(e) This is fetch’d out of the Chronicle of St. Albans. But our Author seems here to confound two fabulous opinions into one, making this Albina, at the same time daughter of Dioclesian, and one of the Danaides, daughters of Danaus: for they it were, who are said to have kill’d their husbands, and come over hither.

(f) See Virgil’s Catalects, and Scaliger upon the place. For this reason it is we find, in the Coins of Antoninus Pius, Britain represented by a woman sometimes sitting upon a rock, sometimes upon a sort of a globe in the Ocean. And Prosper the Rhetorician, calls the Britains ÆquoreiAEquorei.

But, as to the name and original of Britain, the various opinions concerning it, have made it a very doubtful point; for which reason, I here apply my self to our Britains, for leave to interpose my judgment among the rest; and that they would put a favourable construction upon what I do; that as they desire to know the truth, so they would pardon those that search after it, and allow me the same liberty that Eliot, Leland, Llwyd, and others, have taken. For if Humphrey Llwyd, a learned Britain, was not blam’d, but commended, for producing a new Etymology of Britain, different from the common one of Brutus, without prejudice to that story; I hope it will be no crime in me, who here meddle not with the History of Brutus, if I briefly enquire after another original. And where can I so properly search, as in our British language? which as it is pure and unmix’d, so extreamly ancient: and on this double account, we may promise our selves considerable assistance from it. For antient languages are highly serviceable to the finding out the first originals of things; and Plato, in his Cratylus, tells us, that the primitive names of things, long since worn out of use, are still preserv’d in the barbarous Tongues as the most antient. And, though those matters are so very obscure by reason of their great Antiquity, that we rather earnestly wish for the truth, than have any reasonable hopes to discover it; yet I shall do my utmost to clear this point, and shall briefly propound my own judgment, not magisterially imposing it upon any man, but being ready to admit, with the highest satisfaction, any other opinion that shall be more probable. For I love Truth of another’s discovery, altogether as well as my own; and equally embrace it, where-ever I find it.

In the first place, I will take it for granted, with the Reader’s leave, that all antient nations had their own proper names from the beginning, and that the Greeks and Latins, afterwards, fram’d names for every Country out of those of the People, with variation enough to accommodate them to their own Dialect. Or, to explain my self further, that the People were known and distinguish’d by names, before the Countries they inhabited; and that the Countries were afterwards denominated from the People. Who can deny but the names of the Jews, the Medes, the Persians, Scythians, Almans, Gauls, Getulians, Saxons, English, Scots, &c. were in being, before those of JudæaJudaea, Media, Persia, Scythia, Almaine, Gaul, Getulia, Saxony, England, Scotland, &c? Nor is any thing more evident, than that these last were coin’d out of the first. We read, that from the Samnites, the Insubres, and BelgæBelgae, Livy and CæsarCaesar were the first that call’d the Countries themselves, Samnitium, Insubrium, and Belgium. From the Franks (in the time of Constantine the Great, as appears by the Coins of that Emperor) the Country where they were seated, first took the name of Francia or France. And Sidonius Apollinaris was the first, that framed the name of Burgundy from the Burgundians. Now, we have all the reason in the world to believe, that after the same manner the Inhabitants, or else the Gauls their next Neighbours, gave this Island the name of Britain. For there are circumstances, which make it probable, that the Natives were called Brit or Brith in the old barbarous Language; especially, that Verse, which passes under the name of Sibyl,

Greek text

The British tribes and wealthy Gauls shall hear
The purple waves come rowling from afar,
While tides of blood the wond’ring Pilots fear.

Next, the authority of Martial, Juvenal, and Ausonius: This Island’s being also by Procopius call’d Britia; then, the ancient Inscriptions, set up by the Britains themselves, in which we read Brito, Britones, Brittus, COH. BRITON ORDINIS BRITTON, and at Rome, in the Church of S. Maria Rotunda, NATIONE BRITTO. Together with an Inscription to be seen at Amerbach in Germany; which I will here insert, because it mentions Triputium, some place in Britain, not yet known,

* 7. LEG. XXII.* Centurionis.

The Saxons also themselves, in their own Language, called the Britains Saxon: Brits, and particularly Witichindus the Saxon, throughout his History, uses the wordBRIT. BritæBritae. So that, without all doubt, Brit is the primitive, from whence Brito is derived; and from whence we may expect some light towards the original of the name of Britain.

Now, it was the general custom of all nations, to apply to themselves such names as had respect to something wherein they either excell’d, or were distinguish’d from the rest. Some, from the dignity of their Founders, as the Jonians from Javan, the Israelites from Israel, the Chananites from Chanan the Son of Cham. Others, with respect to their particular Natures, Customs, or Employments; as the Iberi, according to the Hebrew derivation, because they were Miners; the Heneti, because they were Wanderers; the Nomades, because they employ’d themselves mostly about Cattel; the Germans, because they were accounted stout and warlike; the Franks, because free; the Pannonians, in the opinion of Dion, from Pannus, as wearing cloath-coats with long sleeves; the ÆthiopiansAEthiopians ethiopians from their blackness; and the Albans, as born with white hair. From whence Solinus remarks, That even the Colour of the hair did give name to a nation. And our Country-men, who, passing under the general name of Cimbri or Cumeri in common with the Gauls, had no other mark or character so proper to difference and distinguish them from the rest, as that peculiar Custom of painting their bodies: (For the best writers that are, Cæsar, Mela, Pliny, &c. do all agree, that the Britains us’d to paint themselves with Glastum, or woad; and the word GlasGlas., signifies Blue in Welch to this day:)

WhatBritons, whence took of their name., if I suppose then, that our Britons had that name from their painted bodies; for the word BrithBrith, what it is., in the antient language of this Island, signifies any thing that is painted and coloured? Nor can any one in reason censure this, as absurd, or over-strain’d, seeing it has the proper marks of a just Etymology; the words sound alike, and the name (which is as it were the picture of the thing) expresses the thing it self. For Brith and Brit are very near in sound; and the word Brith, among the Britains, expresses to the full what the Britains really were, that is, painted, stained, died, and coloured. These Epithets the Latin Poets use to give them;Lib. 1. Cynegetic. and Oppian terms them Greek text, i.e. having backs of several colours.

Nor will it be improper here (though, it may seem of no great moment) to set down an observation of my ownOld Britains names drawn from colours., That in the names of almost all the antient Britains, there appears some intimation of a Colour, which, without doubt, arose from this custom of Painting. The Red Colour is by the Britains call’d Coch and Goch; which word, I fansy, is part of these boadicea caratacus names, Cogidunus, Argentocoxus, Segonax. The black colour they call ; of which methinks there is some appearance in Mandubratius, Cartimandua, Togodumnus, Bunduica, Cogidunus. The white colour is called Gwyn, the plain footsteps of which word, methinks, I see in Venutius and Immanuentius. Gwellw, in Welch, signifies a Waterish colour, and this discovers it self evidently in the names of Vellocatus and Carvillius, and Suella. Blue in British is Glas; and that plainly appears in the name of King Cuniglasus, which Gildas interprets Fulvus, or, as it is in some other copies, Furvus Lanio, a dark colour’d Butcher. Aure, the name for a Gold colour, is plain in Cungetorix and Arviragus. A lively and brisk colour is by them call’d Teg, whereof we have a slight hint in Prasutagus, and Charactacus. And, if we allow that the Britains borrow’d the names of mixt colours, together with the colours themselves, from the Romans (as they did certainly their Werith for Green, from Viridis; and Melin for Straw-colour, from Melinus;) then I may have leave to fansy, that I discover somewhat of the colour call’d Prasinus, or Grass-green, in the name of Prasutagus; and of the colour call’d Minium, i.e. Vermilian, in that of Adiminius, son to King Cunobelinus. Rufina also, that learned British Lady, took her name from the Latin Rufus, the red or flame-colour: as Alban, the first Martyr of Britain, from Albus, i.e. White. If any person, skill’d in that antient language, would in like manner examine the rest of the British names that occur in old Writers (of which sort there are not above four or five remaining) it is very probable he would find in every one, some signification of a Colour. Nor ought we to omit, that the most common names at this day among our Britains, Gwyn, Du, Goch, Lluid, were taken from the white, black, red, and russet Colour. So that it cannot seem strange, that a nation should derive its (g) general name from Painting, where all the people painted their bodies; and where in old time it was, and at present is, the fashion among the Inhabitants, to take their names from Colours. But to return to our business; if all this can be thought foreign to it.

(g) Mr. Somner, not without some colour of reason, has express’d his dislike of this Original. For 1. It does not appear (how generally soever the Opinion may be receiv’d) that the old Britains did paint their bodies. Glasto inficiunt, quod cæruleum efficit, atque hoc horribiliores sunt in pugna aspectu, &c. says Cæsar, and agreeably, Pomponius Mela, Vitro corpora infecti; to both which, Pliny’s words do very well suit, Simile plantagini glastum in Gallia vocatur, quo Britannorum conjuges nurusque toto corpore oblitæ, quibusdam in sacris & nudæ incedunt Æthiopum colorem imitantes. Now, there is a great difference between barely dying, or dawbing the body (which implies no more than colouring,) and painting, which necessarily supposes certain figures drawn upon the body. Besides, supposing some of the Britains did paint themselves, and Cæsar (the best authority of that kind) be interpreted in this sense; yet it is only the Albion he speaks of; whereas all the Isles in our Ocean were call’d, by one general name, Insulæ Britannicæ; and therefore, unless it appeared that all the rest followed the same Custom (as it does not) Britannia under that notion cannot properly be applied to them.

It is most certain, that in the British Histories, an Inhabitant of Britain is call’d in that language Brithon.

The note of aspiration is not to be regarded, since the Britains (whose tongue, St. ChrysostomIn Serm. Pentecost. saith, was lingua Sibila, a hissing tongue) were always pleas’d with aspirations, which the Latins as studiously avoided: and as Brito came from Brith, so did Britannia also, in my opinion. Britannia (saith Isidore) was so called from a word of that Nation. And whereas the most antient Greeks (the first who gave the name of Britain to our Island) whether on account of Trade or Piracy, were wont to make long voyages, keeping always close to the shore (as Eratosthenes hath observ’d;) they might either be inform’d by the Natives, or learn from the Gauls who spoke the same language, that the people of this Island were call’d BrithTania.
So the Germans now add Landt to the names of Countries.
and Brithon, and thereupon, to the word Brith might add Tania, a termination, which in Greek (as the (h) Glossaries tell us) signifies a Region or Country. Out of these two words, they compounded the name of Greek text, corruptly written Greek text, i.e. the Country of the Britons. Lucretius and Cæsarcaesar have nam’d it more truly Britannia; and they are the first of the Latins that make mention of it.

(h) The learned Casaubon has express’d himself dissatisfy’d with the bare authority of Glossaries in this point, unless it also appeared that some writer had us’d the word Greek text in that sense. What he imagins might occasion such a Mistake in the Glossographers, is the Greek text, used to signify a little slip or tongue of land or shore. See Camden’s Epist. p.60.

That the matter stands thus as to Britain, I do the more firmly believe, because we find not in all the world besides, above three Countries of any considerable largeness, the names whereof do end in Tania; and these lie in this Western part of the world, to wit, Mauritania, Lusitania, and Aquitania; (i) of which, I question not, but that the Greeks who first discover’d those countries, were the Inventers, and that from them the Latins afterwards receiv’d them. For, from the name of the Mauri, they made Mauritania, The country of the Mauri; which, according to Strabo, was by the natives called Numidia. From Lusus, the Son of Bacchus, they framed Lusitania, that is, the Country of Lusus; and perhaps they call’d Aquitain by that name, ab aquis, as Ivo Carnotensis thinks, since it is a country seated upon the water. In which sense also (as Pliny tells us) it was formerly called Armorica, i.e. upon the Sea-coast. As for Turditania and Bastitania, names of smaller countries in Spain (and consequently lying also in these Western parts of the world) they may be very properly reduc’d under the same head, and seem to signify no more than the countries of the Turdi, and the Basti. Nor is it unusual for Names to be compounded of a Foreign and a Greek word. Words are compounded, (saith Quintilian)Lib. 1. either of our own (i.e. Latin) and a foreign word, as Biclinium; or just the contrary, of a foreign word and a Latin tack’d to it, as Epitogium and Anticato; or of two foreign words, as Epirrhedium. And this is the most usual sort of Composition, in the names of Countries. Is not the name of Ireland a manifest Compound of the Irish Erin, and the English Land? Is not Angleterre, a name made by the conjunction of a French with an English word? Was not the name of Franclond (for so our old Saxons called France) a Compound of the French and Saxon Language? Came not Poleland likewise from a Polish word, signifying a plain or level, united with a German? Lastly, was not the name of Denmark compounded of a Danish word, and the German March, which signifieth a bound or limit? But in a matter so evident, more Instances are needless.

(i) There are two more which have the same termination, Capitania, and Occitania. Ibid.

Nor is it at all to be wonder’d, that the Greeks should give our Isle this addition of Tania; when St. Jerom, in his Questions upon Genesis, proves out of the most antient Authors, that the Grecians had their Colonies and Plantations along all the Sea-Coasts in Europe, and in all the Islands, even as far as Britain. Let us, saith he, look into Varro’s Treatise of Antiquities, and that of Sisinius Capito, and into the Greek writer Phlegon, and several others eminent for their learning; and we shall see, that almost all the Islands and Sea-coasts over the whole world, with the lands bordering there-upon, were generally possessed by the Greeks. For that people (as I have said before) possessed all the Sea-coasts, from the Mountains Amanus and Taurus, as far as the British Ocean.

(k)That the Greeks came into Britain. That the Greeks did land in this Island, and made their Observations on the situation and nature of it, will be a point past all question, if we observe what AthenæusAthenaeus hath written concerning Phileas Taurominites (of whom more anon) who was in Britain in the 160th year before the coming of CæsarCaesar: Next, if we remember the Altar, with an inscription to Ulysses, in Greek Letters: And lastly, if we consider what Pytheas hath related before the time of the Romans, concerning the distance of Thule from Britain. For who should discover to the Greeks, either Britain, or Thule, or the Countries of Belgium, especially their Sea-coasts; unless the Ships of the Grecians had been in the British and German Ocean, and given their Geographers an account of them? Can we imagin, that Pytheas could have known any thing of what lay six days sail beyond Britain, but that some of the Greeks gave him information? How else could the Greeks come to know, that there were such places as Scandia, Bergos, and Nerigon, from whence the passage lay by sea to Thule? These very names seem to have been much better known, even to the most antient among the Greeks, than to Pliny, or any of the Romans. Accordingly, Mela tells us, That Thule had been celebrated by the Grecian Poets; and Pliny saith, Britain was an Island famous in the writings of the Greeks and Romans. By this means, so great a number of Greek words have crept into the British and French language; as also into the Belgic or Low-Dutch; and therefore, Lazarus Bayfius, and BudæusBudaeus, have taken occasion to value their Country upon this, that the French were in old time Greek text, i.e. Great admirers of the Greeks, building upon a few French words, which discover some marks of the Greek: And Hadrianus Junius seems no less pleas’d, when he can light on a Belgick word that will admit of a Greek Etymology. By the same rule, our (l) Britains may also glory in their Language,Greek words, in the British language. since it hath a great many words which are deriv’d from a Greek original. But the learned Sir Thomas SmythIn his book of English Orthography., Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, attributes it rather to this accident, that when all the rest of Europe was disturb’d and harrass’d with wars, a great number of Greeks fled hither for safety.

Thus, you have my thoughts, (m) and perhaps my mistakes, concerning the original of the Britains, and the name of Britain. If they are false, may the discovery of Truth show it. In this intricate and obscure search after Antiquities, he merits who errs but a little; and it often happens, that things which at first sight are judged false, appear very true upon a more serious consideration. If I were standing before Truth her self as my Judge, I could say no more. As for our Country-men the Britains, I do with all earnestness intreat the learned among them, to employ their utmost care and diligence in this enquiry; that so, at the appearance of Truth, all Conjectures may vanish, like mists before the Sun.

(k) Concerning the knowledge the Greeks and Romans seem to have had of Britain, see more hereafter, under the title Britannorum mores.

(l) And if that be a good bottom, so may the English too, several of whose Words are shewn by some late Lexicographers to have a near affinity with the Greek. But, which is more, even in point of Idiom, there do not want instances to shew an Analogy between them. For, Greek text, in Hesychius, is our heart of a tree; Greek text, to take in hand with us; Greek text, to put in mind; Greek text, in Lucian, to be led by the nose; Greek text, in Diogenes Laërtius, to make water; Greek text, he left speaking; Greek text, in Isocrates, his tongue runs before his wit; Greek text, (among the Greek Adagies collected by Schottus) a rope of sand; Greek text, a rowling-stone gathers no moss.

(m) The same Author, that has express’d his dissatisfaction in Mr. Camden’s Brith-tania, has left us a Conjecture of his own, no less plausible than learned, viz. that it comes from Brydio, signifying in British fervere, æstuare, fervescere, calefacere, calefieri, &c. pointing out the heat and violent motion of this Sea, so much talk’d of by Authors. By one it is call’d Oceanus barbaris fluctibus fremens; by another it is said, horrendis attolli æstibus. And the Irish Sea is called by Solinus, undosus & inquietus; toto in anno (so he goes on) non nisi pauculis diebus est navigabile. Giraldus Cambrensis follows him, and gives us almost the same description of it: and Camden, in his account of this matter, has shown these Seas to have been famous for their ruggedness. See him in Kent, and in his Discourse upon the British Isles. Now, since this Quality of our Seas has been in all ages so eminent; since also the British Brydio so fully expresses that Quality, we must at least allow this Conjecture some share of Probability. Doubtless, from the same original was their Brydaniaeth, iracundia, fervor, &c. which leads us naturally to Brydain, in Saxon Saxon: Brytane, and with us Britain.


Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06