Britain (name)

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Britain (name)

Post  kosovohp on Sat Oct 02, 2010 10:06 am

The oldest mentions of terms related to the formal name of Britain was made by Aristotle (c. 384322 BC), in his text On the Universe, Vol. III. To quote his works, "... in the ocean however, are two islands, and those very large, called Bretannic, Albion and Ierna". The archipelago has been referred to by a single name for over 2,000 years: the term British Isles derives from terms used by classical geographers to describe this island group. Pliny the Elder (c. 2379 AD) in his Natural History (iv.xvi.102) records of Great Britain: "It was itself named Albion, while all the islands about which we shall soon briefly speak were called the Britanniae."

The earliest known name of Great Britain is Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum, from either the Latin albus meaning white (referring to the white cliffs of Dover, the first view of Britain from the continent) or the "island of the Albiones", first mentioned in the Massaliote Periplus and by Pytheas.[26]

The name Britain descends from the Latin name for Britain, Brittania or Brittānia, the land of the Britons. Old French Bretaigne (whence also Modern French Bretagne) and Middle English Bretayne, авBreteyne. The French form replaced the Old English Breoton, Breoten, Bryten, Breten (also Breoton-lond, Breten-lond). Brittania was used by the Romans from the 1st century BC for the British Isles taken together. It is derived from the travel writings of the ancient Greek Pytheas around 320 BC, which described various islands in the North Atlantic as far North as Thule (probably Iceland).

The peoples of these islands of Prettanike were called the Πρεττανοι, Priteni or Pretani.[26] Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term Prydain, Britain, which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic speaking inhabitants of Ireland.[27] The latter were later called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans.

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