The learned Baxter, in his “Glossary of British Antiquities,” and many others are of opinion that the Brigantes were the same as the Briges or Phryges of Strabo, and other ancient geographers; and originally possessed the country called Phrygia, in Asia Minor, near the Euxine Sea. These Phrygians, long before the Christian Era, like the Iberians of Asia, a neighbouring nation, sent a colony through Thrace to Spain, which settled near the Celtiberians; and their chief city was called by Ptolemy and other Greek geographers, Brugantia and Phlaouin Brigantion; by the Romans, Flavia Brigantium; and by Orosius and Ortelius Brigantia and Brigantium, which is now the city of “Corunna,” in Gallicia, in the north of Spain.

The Brigantes of Spain are supposed by others to have been Phoenicians; and there was a celebrated Pharos or “watch tower” built, it is said, by the Phoenicians at Brigantia, or, according to Orosius, the tower was erected by the Tyrian Hercules.[1] This tower was called by the Irish writers Tur-Breoghain or “The Tower of Breoghan,” and was said to have been built by the famous warrior named Breoghan, who was king of North Spain, and uncle of Milesius, a quo the Milesian or Scotic Irish Nation; from this tower the sons of Milesius and their followers set sail for Erin. The descendants of this Breoghan were called by the Irish writers Clann-na-Breoghain—a term latinized Brigantes; therefore, there is a remarkable coincidence between the Irish writers and ancient geographers, as to the origin of the Brigantes: the Irish making them a colony from Scythia near the Euxine Sea, who settled in Spain in very remote times; and various geographers considering them to have been Phrygians, who were Celto-Scythians from Asia Minor, also near the Euxine Sea. The Clan-na-Breoghain came to Ireland with the Milesians, of whom they were a branch; and were powerful and numerous tribes.

As to the origin of the Brigantes of Britain, they are considered by Dr. O’Connor, and by the learned Spaniard, Florian Del Campo (quoted in the Ogygia Vindicata), to have been originally some of the Brigantes of Spain, who first came to Ireland in very remote times, and some of whom emigrated thence to Britain; and Dr. O’Connor, in his Rerum Hib. Script. Vet., states that the Brigantes of Britain are mentioned by Seneca and other Roman writers, under the name of Scoto Brigantes, as being considered of Scotic or Irish origin: they were also designated by the epithet Ceruleos from their bodies having been painted a blue colour. The Brigantes of Britain formed a powerful people in the northern parts of England, and possessed the territories now forming the counties of Lancaster, York, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham; and were celebrated for their valour and long resistance to the Roman legions. The Brigantes of Spain, Ireland, and Britain were Celts or Celto-Scythians, and spoke a dialect of the Celtic language.


[1] Tyrian Hercules: For the Phoenician Hercules, the reputed founder of Tyre, see Note, page 31, Vol. I.