Etymology of Cymru

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Etymology of Cymru

Post  kosovohp on Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:45 am

The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, and Cymru is Welsh for "Land of the Cymry". The etymological origin of Cymry is from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen".[21] The use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the post-Roman Era relationship of the Welsh with the Brythonic-speaking peoples of northern England and southern Scotland, the peoples of Yr Hen Ogledd (English: The Old North). In its original use, it amounted to a self-perception that the Welsh and the "Men of the North" were one people, exclusive of all others.[26] In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage, culture, and language to both the Welsh and the Men of the North. The word came into use as a self-description probably before the 7th century.[27] It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan written c. 633.[28]

In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples (including the Welsh) and was the more common literary term until c. 1100. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh. Until circa 1560 Cymry was used indiscriminately to mean either the people (Cymry) or their homeland (Cymru).[21]

The Latinised form of the name is Cambria. Outside of Wales this form survives as the name of Cumbria in North West England, which was once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd. It is used to represent a geological period (the Cambrian) and in evolutionary studies to represent the period when most major groups of complex animals appeared (the Cambrian explosion). This form also appears at times in literary references, perhaps most notably in the pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth, where the character of Camber is described as the eponymous King of Cymru.

It has occasionally been suggested, both in outdated historical sources and by some modern writers, that the Cymry were somehow linked to the 2nd century BC Cimbri or to the 7th century BC Cimmerians because of the phonetic similarity. Such suggestions have long been dismissed by scholars on etymological and other grounds

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