Cimbrians and Britons

The Cimmerii of the Roman writers, called by the Greeks Kimmeroi, were an ancient people who inhabited the territories near the Euxine sea, on the borders of Europe and Asia, about the Cimmerian Bosphorus, called the Palus Meotis, now the “Sea of Asov.” The term Cimbri, according to Plutarch, signified “robbers,” or, according to Mallett, the word “Cimbri” means warriors or giants; and “Cimber,” in the Gothic and German language signified a robber. According to some writers, the Cimbri were a Gothic or Teutonic race, but others consider they were originally Celts, and descended from the Cimmerians above mentioned; but, becoming mixed with the Teutonic tribes of Germany, were afterwards a mixed race of Celts and Germans or Celto-Scythians, and their language was a compound of the Celtic and Teutonic.

In very remote ages, according to the “Welsh Triads,” in the Celtic Researches of Davies, and other ancient records, the “Cymry,” who were said to have been the first inhabitants of Britain, are stated to have come from the east, near Defrobani, now Constantinople, under a chief called Hu Gadaran; and other colonies of the Cymry are stated to have come from Gaul under a chief named Prydan, who was the son of Aed Mawr[1] (which is the same as the Irish Aodh Mór), or “Hugh the Great,” and from this Prydan the country was called Inis Prydain, or “The Island of Prydan,” from whom it is said came the name of “Britain;” but, according to Camden, the name was derived from Brit, which in the Celtic and Irish signifies “painted,” or “variegated,” as the ancient Britons painted their bodies; according to O’Brien, the name was derived from Brit, “painted,” and tan, “a territory,” signifying “the country of the painted people;” and according to others, the name was derived from Briotan Maol.[2] The Cymri or ancient Britons, who were settled in the north of England, were called Cumbri, and gave its name to Cumbria or “Cumberland.” From these accounts it therefore appears that the ancient Britons were chiefly Celts, but mixed with the Germans or Teutonic race.


[1] Mawr: For fuller information respecting this Aed Mawr, see the Paper, No. 115 in this Appendix.

[2] Maol: See p. 46, Vol I.