Talk:Celtic Britons

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Old commentary[edit]

''hello I'm a welshy, in all of my books (written 500 ad - 1100 ad so on..) written by welsh people referring to the Welsh as "britons" the kings of the britons - and romano britons all reighned from Gwynedd and powys and other regions of Wales 100% of the time - if anyone is unclear of these regions, they are in Wales (please see map of ancient Wales and also where the kings of the britons (inclusive of kings of the romano-brtions)place of reign - although we did have a strong connection with the Cornish. Leahxx

And me I am a Gall [velsh] from Valha, Vallhe (Gallia; Bro-Gall), it must to delete all these stuffs about celtomania. Why a people from Cymru said he is Welsh, Welsh it's a mutation of Gall = Velsh, Welsh, Guelsh, Uelsh, Elsh; the Velches are, always in 21th century, the French from Switzerland. We are CYMRIC, LOEGRIAN and never these "celtic", insane tribes in thickets, synonymes of carcass, cadaver, hiding place. I don't know what are your readings, but I see everywhere the same stupid things of celtomen since this Iolo Morganwg has created his sect of wrong beird from Wales, now in Kernow (wrong English-Saeson "Cornwall" = Corn, plural Kernow + Wales). Do you know what is PRYDEIN (Britain, Berdaen, Prodiain, Prudëin)? And England = LLOEGR [lwar]? ...
"Britons (Celtic people)", it's a title for illiterates, or churchies scholar. "PRYDEINION, or LOEGRIANS (CYMRIC PEOPLE)", will be so exact and right. You have all in your old-Welsh and us in our old-French to understand where is the true of our history. Groegwr and Romans are satans, saesons, saxons = enemies, that we have destroy after five centuries of resistance, with the Hons (Hun, Iuni, Hyn, Hon = United Caucasians People, or Old-Galli, Welsh, Cymric from East). All is wrong in the books of Holly-joe, copied by writers formated in Schools. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.139.248.6 (talk) 06:34, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

someone else text below- though I have commented along the way sorry Leah again, I forgot to mention that they did reign occasionally outside of Wales Ie near Scotland at times of ruling besides the Pict Kings, 1 in suomerset- a handful outside but mainly all from Wales besides a few — Preceding unsigned comment added by 31.96.67.25 (talk) 08:46, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

In addition the welsh flag (Y ddraig goch)- the red dragon. Was of rememberance of King Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon. One of the Kings of the Britons. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.109.44.28 (talk) 12:50, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

This article is complete rubbish![edit]

What is meant with 'Acient Britons' is the people that lived in the British Isles at the end of the stone-age and the early bronze-age, the people that built Stonehenge!

in response I am welsh and I know!!!! lol (1)-yes the britons built stone henge- the welsh specifically for stone henge as the blue stones were removed from presili mountains south wales- to stone henge some are Cornish also in south England leahxxx


What this article is about is the Celts who replaced (And probably massacred) the 'Ancient Britons' and still populated this land when the Romans conquered it.

(in response (2)- no such massacre I'm afraid the Welsh are 83-89% R1b DNA (paleolithic- debated Mesolithic- in other words early and middle stone age) if you are unclear of celtic DNA and bloodline please see the articles of the Cornish who share 80% of the same DNA so on. It has been clearly stated now that the Britons (Britain- England) received no arrival during the iron age as there is little to no historical evidence of this, its suggests a cultural shift to celtic during the iron age from modern human for at least 29 thousand years. "ancient- briton" refers to after the iron age. it goes- proto-celtic- celtic- hallstat culture(celtic) Briton- Welsh so on... leahxxx)

See: List of famous Britons: These are all Celts, not Britons!

The two have been mixed before, but usually by eight year old schoolboys!

This is the kind of article that gives Wikipedia a bad name and makes it the mock of scholars! 81.245.170.150 00:31, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Au contraire. The article struck me as quite scholarly. I'd always thought the Britons were Celts. Please quote the sources that lead you to be so rude about the article. Millbanks (talk) 21:27, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

In reality few Celts probably even migrated and massacred native Brits. It only takes a ruling caste that is more advanced in warfare and culture to dominate a whole country. It doesn't take long for a ruling castes culture to be adopted and merged with that of the native locals. It took very few Normans to conquer England and subjegate it, they where superior to the Anglo-Saxons in terms of warfare (the Anglo-Saxons didnt even have troops of horseback). In the end their culture and that of the Anglo-Saxons merged to form modern English culture. Yeah there where rebellions however in time the people accepted the change. For most ordinary people a change of who leads them doesn't affect them much, only the disposed ruling caste or families who want to retain their power care. Mabuska (talk) 20:47, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

in response to this (3)- there is no such thing as native Brits- your confused. To put things simply Britain before England was purely Celtic aside from roman empire involvement beginning 1000BC approx. the English genetically have a different DNA structure to Celts (being mostly of German descent) and are a separate entity to Britons , Briton is Celtic and has been stated as this on the article you dislike-, THOUGH, further speculation over the "split" would be wonderful, as I have always been led to believe Brtion was the old name for the Welsh and only the Welsh. As the Briton Kings spoke strictly only "the old welsh language" rather than the old Cornish so on... leahxxx

Whilst your main point about the probability of there being only a few Celts is valid, the rest is somewhat bizarre. The Anglo-Saxon army that lost at Hastings had just marched (some of them even rode!) the length of the country after defeating what was held to be the best army in Europe at the time. They came very close to beating the Normans, too. It may not have taken many Normans (and other assorted mercenaries) to conquer England, but it did take the almost complete destruction of most of the North East to subjugate the population. And as for Norman language and culture (the Normans, who less than 150 years earlier had been Norse speaking raiders), modern English is directly descended from Anglo-Saxon. It's still closer to German than it is to French.--213.93.183.130 (talk) 19:30, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I suggest people read Oppenheimer and his references on the relation of English to other languages in the Germanic family, especially the evidence that germanic languages may have been present in South and Eastern Britain before the Romans came.
The genetic evidence clearly shows that the peopling of Britain has not been a succession of population replacements and that there was no overwhelming Celtic invasion against a previously non Celtic people; rather that the term Celtic is a modern construct that overlies a more complex story of seperate genetic and cultural movement. The idea of a Celtic invasion is outdated nad discredited.
The term Briton is accurate only in as much as it means the people that lived in Britain at a certain time and as such the famous Britons are correctly labelled. The term Celtic is a cultural definition and cannot reliably be applied to all those on the list.
On the off topic point about the Normans, they were indeed lucky to win at Hastings and did pursue a ruthless campaign against the people, especially around York, but it is excessive to suggest total destruction of the population which is logistically improbable and not supported by the genetics. One of the reasons for the Normans brutal campaign in the North was the allegience of the area to Scandinavia, rather than any general need to suppress a population.
If you want to see how an army can easily dominate a region, look at Roman history or the campaigns of Alexander the Great.

--Attatatta (talk) 23:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Brython not in scholarly use[edit]

According to this link, the word Brython is, in both of its senses, "No longer in scholarly use", Support, therefore, merge with Briton. Vilcxjo 18:01, 26 September 2005 (UTC)


The Ancient Britons are more often referred to in academic circles as the Megalithic People. They are also known as the Beaker People after many of their burial sites revealed their custom of burying their dead with earthenware beakers. They are a particularly intriguing people for many reasons. Their most famous legacy is Stone Henge, but throughout Britain, Ireland and parts of Europe variations on the Stone henge theme continue to attract 'experts' who contradict each other almost as fast as the 'Oxbridge Dons' are capitulating to accelertaing rate of academic revisionism. Despite the evident and enigmatic uncertainties some fundamental elements are compelling. The often and erroneous belief that the early Celts are one and the same people has long and emphatically been established by a deep body of study from archaeology to DNA analysis. In fact the Ancient Britons occupied the Islands for some thousands of years before the arrival of the Celts. DNA analysis suggests that the Ancients, far from being wiped out by the Celts, merely absorbed them and that in fact the remaining Celts who can be found in the Welsh, Scots, Irish and Breton's of modern day France are in fact Celtic Britons. Even more revelationary, recent burial site discoveries and DNA analysis of the English suggests that they too are far more Celtic Briton than previously accepted academic versions describing the invasions of Romans, Scando-Germanics and Normans can support.ApocalypseCompoundTrust (talk) 23:12, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

'Megalithic people' is not a term normally used about the ancient Britons - there are megaliths all over the world, and we normally speak of 'megalithic culture' (although that implies a uniformity that is incorrect' or megalith builders. And it refers to only a certain time period. 'Beaker people' is a term that is sometimes used for a group of people during a certain time period again, and not to all the inhabitants of the British Isles. Beaker-using peopls are found mainly in Europe in any case. So neither phrase will do. If you need to describe prehistoric Britons as a group, 'ancient Britons' seems good enough. I'm not sure about this article though. Should it even exist? --Doug Weller (talk) 05:07, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
It seems there is an attempt here to distinguish Britons from Ancient Britons, as if those terms are definitive. Genetically this does not appear to be quite valid. If you question whether the article should exist I suggest Britons is a term that needs explaining and that it has always been used in connection with the pre Roman population, whereas Anciet Britons simply relates to the population at an earlier time. It is valid to try to describe those populations and clarify who the people involved are and the article is a medium that allows this. --Attatatta (talk) 23:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Merge discussion at Briton[edit]

See here for main discussion.Alun 11:26, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Both of the labels 'Beaker People' and 'Megalithic People' are used to describe the so called Ancient Britons, but as I said before, uniformity amongst academics when it come to defining who those people were is increasingly hard to establish. Exactly who the Ancient Britons were, because of gaping holes in the so called empirical science of the 'Oxbridge Dons', is evidently open to much debate. Recent archaeological discoveries and the emergence of Mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests that they are a part of a Northern European race that is of the same family as the Picts. The Picts remain quite distinctive even today as the Scots. The Scots have not been much overwhelmed by invaders throughout their history. Much of the conversation going on here though is with regard to how the Celts fit into this story. With regard to which we can at least assert that the Ancient Britons were not Celts; though again, archaeological discoveries and Mitochondrial DNA analysis suggests that the Celts of Britain and Northern France had merged pretty thoroughly with the so called Ancient Britons/Picts/Megalithic Beaker People to form an entirely unique people for whom the nomenclature of Celtic Britons, is entirely reasonable. This genetic merger was not definitive with regard to the nature of the race. It's evident that their cultures and beliefs also merged. In due course no doubt, the empirical Dons of academia who have not yet invested their reputations presumptuously in the matter, will begin the process of redefining the Celtic Britons as a distinct race emerging but differing from the earlier Arian Celts and Megalithic Pictish peoples. With regard to the Beaker People, it is not true that they were not significantly present in the British Isles. Many of their burial sites, complete with beakers, have been explored, particularly in the south western parts of England and throughout modern Wales.ApocalypseCompoundTrust (talk) 16:40, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Why only souther three-quarters of Great Britain?[edit]

Can we have a source for this:
Brython and Brythonic are terms which refer to the indigenous, pre-Roman, Celtic inhabitants of the southern three-quarters of the island of Great Britain, south of the Forth and Clyde, and their language
This seems to be contradicted by this from later in the stub:
These terms specifically refer to speakers of the P Celtic branch of the Celtic languages as opposed to speakers of Q Celtic, who are usually referred to as Gaels or Goidelic Celts
What I'm getting at is this, a Brython is someone who speaks a Brythonic language according to this dictionary, and according to the Picts article It remains uncertain whether or not we should classify the Picts as Celts, although most available placename evidence tends to support the hypothesis that they spoke a Brythonic language, so why does it state that Brython only refers to the southern three-quarters of the island of Great Britain? I think that, for the sake of neutrality the article should at least state that there is some doubt as to whether Brithonic languages were spoken all over the island. I do not know the source of the information from the Pict article, the article has a large References section, but there are no reference tags in the body of the text. Likewise there is no source for your statement here. Alun 03:05, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Sorted. Please note that Brythonic territory extended north of the Forth and Clyde: which is how Dumbarton got its name, as well as the Manaw Gododdin being up in the Stirling area....dave souza 11:58, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Britain or British Isles?[edit]

Quote: The word Brython was borrowed from the Welsh language to differentiate between this purely ethno-linguistic meaning and the word Briton, which now refers to citizens of the United Kingdom. Its source comes from the terms Bruthin or Priteni used in classical times for inhabitants of the British Isles.
Question: It is not clear from the article that Ireland is not included as one of the British Isles. In the readers' minds, it may be. Were the Irish of classical times not Hibernians or Gaels or Scots rather than Britons or even Brythons, except in as far as the Irish raiders had been assimilated? (RJP 09:38, 14 January 2006 (UTC))

In the mind of who you're talking to, it may or may not be, even in (cough: Ulster) certain parts of Ireland. See British Isles (terminology). As the Historical aspects section of that article points out, The Greeks called the British Isles Pretaniké and the Romans initially called Great BritainBritannias or Alba, and they called Ireland and other smaller islands Britanniae. After the successful invasion of CE 41 they called their province on the island of Great Britain Britannia(which province eventually covered roughly the same area as present-day England and Wales). The Romans then named Scotland Caledonia and Ireland Hibernia to differentiate them from the land that had been conquered — they never conquered either. More detail is given in British Isles#Origin of the term British Isles. ....dave souza 10:58, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Basically prior to becoming part of a Roman empire its name was Albion, so Albion an Ierne were part of prettanik/Britannic isles but later after Albion became known as Britannia it is correct to say Ireland was part of UK but it becomes illogical to refer to Ireland as part of Britain (similar to saying awaii is part of Nort America ) but Ireland is still is part of British/[Pict] Isles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.239.17.244 (talk) 23:02, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

In the United States[edit]

What about those of us ethnic Britons living in and are citizens of the United States? There is a large number of us in Texas. (By Briton I refer to the people who are normally tall, pale red-heads orginating in the British Isles.)

See Briton, A person who lists their ethnic group as British. There is not as yet a proper British people article, but there are English people, Welsh people and Scottish people articles. Alun 11:14, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think you can ever use the term Briton to mean tall, pale red-heads orginating in the British Isles! The red hair phenotype is actually more associated with the Celtic fringe and is most prevalent in Scotland rather than in any area to whichh the term Briton could be applied. People in the US may have origins in Britain but the whole issue of there being a British ethnicity (as opposed to a collection of relevant genetic markers) is highly challengable. --Attatatta (talk) 23:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Territory[edit]

Can no more be said about the territory of the Brythons? At present, there's so much emphasis on where they bordered the Picts and Gaels, that one could be forgiven for assusming the Brythons lived only in what is now Scotland. Does anyone know of any studies on their territorial extent south of there? Or, to put it another way, do we know of anyone else living in Britain before the Romans apart from the Brythons, the Gaels and the Picts? Is there any evidence of any Germanic settlements that early in the east - I've heard people claim as much? And why restrict this to the pre-Roman era? The Brythons were neither wiped out nor entirely romanised by the end of the Empire. garik 18:10, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Better? Feel free to expand on it. ... dave souza, talk 17:36, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Inevitably you can only define the territory of a group of people by something that shows them to be present - and a linguistic group without written evidence defies this, or by the exstence of other groups around them. Most efforts to set a territory for Britons inevitably needs to refer to the areas and people around them.
Stephen Openheiner in The orgins of the British offers much (including in reference texts) of what you seek about evidence of earlier pre Roman germanic presence. Given the fact that the North Sea and English Channel were major trade zones from prehistory, it would be ludicrous to suggest there was no minor settlent in the various trade sites involved. Also, the idea that any population was wiped out in any invasion, migration, or cultural diffusion is very questionable. We should recall that even in recent history with huge resources and technology devoted to ethnic removal, it has been very hard to effect significant depopulation of the kind that would prevent loan words in languages and cultural inheritances. --Attatatta (talk) 00:13, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
There are written sources on the Britons, just not from the people themselves.--Cúchullain t/c 01:47, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
The written sources on the Britons (taking this to mean the late Iron Age people) are limited and while they do generally set the scene, they do not give detailed descriptions of territory. --Attatatta (talk) 23:13, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

The Britons[edit]

Requires DISAMBIGUATION. The Britons, an anti-Semitic organization and publisher, formed in 1919, and subsequently re-named or re-formed into The Britons Publishing Society, in 1920 took up the publication of the notorious plagiarism known as the Protocols of Zion.

See: http://har2.huji.ac.il:83/ALEPH/ENG/SAS/BAS/BAS/FULL/0110974
Ludvikus 16:00, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

The etymology of "Britain" here given seems spurious - the cited page makes no mention, and the only other references I can find on the 'net (don't have any books handy) are mirrors of Wikipedia. Identical line in Bronze, removing both. - Somnior 21:23, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Pre-Celtic Speaking[edit]

What about the pre-celtic speaking Britons, they don't appear to be covered properly in the article. Gazh 15:06, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

This is an important point, but difficult to address. It depends in part on your/our chosen definitions. If we are talking about early "inhabitants of the British Isles" at the point where some or all of these people came to be termed Preteni or similar, then these were certainly "Britons" in one sense, but it's difficult to tie that in with the a date for when the inhabitants of those islands started speaking a Celtic language. Placename evidence from the Greek Geographers may give us some evidence of the dating of Celtic speech in Britain, but it is worth saying how this might be linked if indeed such is possible to dated usages of the priteni/pritani words. We should add something on these points, and especially on (any) linking between naming of peoples and linguistic evidence for celtic speaking.CecilWard (talk) 08:44, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest that the term Britons only applies to a period in history rather than to the people who occupy Britain. This is the reason the article focusses primarily on the pre to post Roman period. Prior to the approximate time of the so called Britons, we start applying other terms, including Ancient Britons and some of the archaeological terms relating to cultural indications. Similarly though it is suggested we might use the term Britons about the Modern British, this is not really valid as the correct term for recent history is British, and only poetic licence permits otherwise. Consequently the idea of pre-Celtic speaking Britons is simply not relevant, though it is good this question has been raised to clarify the issue. --Attatatta (talk) 23:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
The sources used indicate what we say here: that the Britons were the Celtic people of Britain from the Iron Age through the Middle Ages who spoke the/a British language. There an ethno-linguistic group, not a genetic one.--Cúchullain t/c 23:58, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

"Britons" is a concrete term applied to the P-Celtic speaking inhabitants of the island (except the Picts after c. 300). No other ethnic group is covered by this article. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 00:00, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

It's ironic since briton comes from pritani ie pict —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.239.17.244 (talk) 23:09, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

It's more likely that Welsh Prydein (Britain) and Prydyn (Pictland) come from a common root that referred to the entire island.--Cúchullain t/c 15:55, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Introduction needs a thorough review, with citations and definitions explained[edit]

The introduction needs a thorough rewrite by an expert in the field. The pervasive lack of citations, lack of explanation of the justification for the choice of definitions, imprecision and constant confusion between ethnicity and language, and imprecise periodization make the text less usable. I understand that an introduction needs to be kept brief, but the rest of the article is very scanty, and amplification of some of the issues of definition could and should be given in reasonable detail in the body of the article.CecilWard (talk) 09:17, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Whatever changes may have occurred since the above, balance I agree with the need for review. However we are faced here with a total resitance to accept change to this article. i added the dictionary defintions of "Briton" to the introduction to give it some balance and a proper start, however this has been rejected. On what basis - isn;t it factual enough for you.
This article is utterly biased to a regionalist point of view which insists you have to speak a celtic language to be a Briton and which relies on unspecified "scholars" to justify this bias. --Attatatta (talk) 16:49, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Etymology section needs cleanup[edit]

The section on etymology is unclear and partially off topic. Is it a discussion of the etymology of an English word? If so, which? The section should first etymologize the modern English word "Briton", but it does not do so. It does first talk about a word "brython" which I have never heard used by any English speaker. Of course the term "Brythonic" is indeed used in scholarly English writing, but that's a different matter which needs to be dealt with, but dealt with later. It is then appropriate to tackle the ancient attested terms pritani, pretani, brit(t)- etc. Whichever, the modern English word "briton" must be mentioned explicitly with a citation to a scholarly work on the English language, together with properly referenced discussion of the ancient terms, and the recent neologisms should be kept separate.CecilWard (talk) 09:17, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Corieltauvi or Coritani?[edit]

I've just added Coritani as a link in the "See also" section. What I'm wondering though, is whether I was right to do so, or whether I should've added a Corieltauvi link instead (Coritani redirects to Corieltauvi anyway)?

My reasoning behind adding a Coritani link rather than a Corieltauvi link was that - at least for now - Coritani is a more recogniseable word; however, am I doing the learning of history a dis-service by continuing the use of Coritani over Corieltauvi? Should I be promoting the use of Corieltauvi instead?

- in response to this- this is excellent and steering the right way completely. is it possible to obtain the original name of the Cornish as well? To repeat myself(from the top statement of the page) the kings of the Britons ruled from wales and spoke "the old welsh"- the Welsh referred to as the Britons in literature written at the time 400AD- 1300AD. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.109.44.28 (talk) 12:46, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

trin (talk) 00:12, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Questioning some established but unsubstantiated assumptions[edit]

I've just updated this article to include the work by Stephen Oppenhiemer which gives very strong argument and evidence for the differences in the genetic origins of what us known as Celtic Britain and the South-Eastern and Eastern areas. Oppenheimer also gives good argument for the proposal that the germanic linguistic influence predates the so called Saxon invasion. His theories add weight to the assertion that there was no overall population replacement of Britons by Saxon people - a theory that was never really credible but simply lacked the evidence to undermine it. I have removed references to the idea that Britons migrated to Brittany to take over that region. This long standing myth has never made sense, as even if there was mass population movement, only a few post Roman British could have afforded or found the resources to make a sea migration, let alone fight to dominate the region and change its language. --Attatatta (talk) 23:51, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

Your most recent edit had several problems. First, the source specifically says "iron age through early middle ages"; it does not say "late Iron Age". Second, you can't use a Wikipedia article as a source. Third, Oppenheimer isn't really relevant here, because he's speaking of genetics, not the ethno-linguistic group scholars call the "Britons", which is what this article discusses. Please do not make any more serious changed without discussion on the talk page.--Cúchullain t/c 00:15, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
Ok so the source may refer to Britons in the Early Middle Ages but this is surely a questionable idea. The Britons are the people who lived in Britain before the Romans arrived, and the culture became Romano-British after. This is not a linguistic grouong and there is evidence that they may not all ahve been celtic speakers. Later there were germanic and scandinavan incursions into Britain it is a fact that the majority of Britons stayed in what later became English the Saxon and Anglian kingdoms and the foreign influx was at a very low percentage of the population. The Britons remained therefore but historically they became split into different groups. If we are to still use the term Britons for that period we cannot claim they are Celtic speakers, for even if they were not previously speaking a pre English language, they certainly are in the early middle ages.
One of the problems with this article is that it tries to make out that Celtic speakers and Britons are one and the same - which as an assumption makes for a circular argument; the references to the Britons in the Iron Age do not provide a linguistic definition of the people, so we cannot later use an assumption about those languages (one which is challengeable) to then redfine those people as a linguistic group. The reference given is a book on celtic culture so to use this as the reason to stop changes that challenge the idea that the Britons were all celtic is unreasonable.
The Wikipedia article may not be a source but it matters that two different Wikipedia articles should agree so a reference should be included.
Oppenhiemer is utterly relevant as he provides linguistic evidence that there was another language present among the Britons (the people descibed by Caesar) than the Celtic that has previously been assumed. Though his work is primarily Genetic in nature he uses sound linguistic sources and analysis in association with the genetic arguments.
Though I am in favour of keeping this article as the term Britons has long been in use and needs describing, this article at present is misleading at least and cannot be allowed to stand as a reasonable description of the term.--80.1.106.18 (talk) 21:01, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I still question the assumption that Britons were by definition Celtic speaking. Language and Ethnicity may be related but they are not intertchangeable. The is evidence to support the contention that there were Germanic speakers in Britain before the post Roamn period and even before the Romans. As mentioned elsewhere on Wikipedia, Archaeologist Win Scutt who highlights many problems with the traditional All Celtic England which was originally propagated by Buchanan in 1538 during a time when it was believed all Eastern Celts had been genocidely wiped out. He also gives many examples of pointers to English existance in Pre-Roman England. http://www.archaeology.ws/upperthames.html http://www.archaeology.ws/roman.html There is little doubt that there was contact with Germanic regions by sea over a long period,, and the Roman army included German units. The question should not be whether there were German (proto English) speakers among the Britons, but how many and what effect did they have on later events and the change in cultural links that followed Roman rule. We should take out the insistence that pre Roman Britons are defined by a single language type and retain their overall cultural description. To add then that Celtic languages predominated and that the extent of any other languages is under question, would be fair. Attatatta (talk) 04:59, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Whether there were non-Celtic speakers in southern Britain during the period is a separate question from what defines the Britons. For as long as there has been a useful definition, "Britons" have been defined as the P-Celtic speaking ethno-linguistic group that lived in Britain south of the Forth. Your proposed changes would either expand the article to include other ethnic groups, or would radically redefine "Briton". As to the former, we could certainly use a blanket article on peoples of ancient Britain, but it shouldn't be titled "Britons (historical)". As to the latter, we'd need much better sources than you've provided to justify breaking with such a well-established convention.--Cúchullain t/c 14:28, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
The ongoing problem with this article is the lack of precision about the definition.
Yes there has been a long standing assumption that the Britons were defined as you say but this is really only because of lack of a clearer picture rather than evidence of the situation. Granted we know that a p-Celtic language was widely spoken in Britain, but that is not the same as a definition for the peoples that were called Britons.
By citing the Britons as an ethno-linguistic group a circular argument is created whereby Britons are assumed to all speak P-Celtic and so we will only ever find Britons where P-Celtic is spoken regardless of any other changes that occur.
To speak of them as an ethnic group we need to see "a common heritage that is real or assumed - sharing cultural characteristics". In the late Iron Age period we might think this applies fairly well across the tribes of Britain, probably beyond the geographical boundary of the Forth. This appears to be substantiated by the historical sources as the archaeology
This definition establishes the Britons of the late Iron Age but though it is very clear that a P-Celtic language was widely in use, there is next to nothing to show that one language was spoken by all those peoples. Indeed there is enough in place to question whether one Celtic language was in use and a growing body of work to suggest some Germanic speech. This is hardly surprising since contact across the channel and North Sea has clearly been taking place over a long time, which the genetics supports. We know also that across the channel there were Belgic influences and even tribal links so it would not be any surprise to find the same from wholly Germanic sources.
What we have then is an ethnic group with a general but not absolute, linguistic link. We also have a good picture of the genetics of those peoples which shows some differences between East and West.
After this the problems begin. It seems that for the most part the people of the late Iron Age, despite Roman influences and later Germanic influence do not change substantially in their genetics - the population remains mostly the same, and indeed the archaeology shows continuity also. What appears to have happened is that the "Britons" of the late Iron Age split along a very well established lines: East and West; North Sea influenced and Western Coastal influenced regions. In time this became a sharp cultural divide. However it is therefore wrong to use the previous term Britons to describe one side of this split and another (Saxons??) for the other, as both are really sub groups of the earlier Group "The Britons" which have been affected by changes over time.
The definition that has long been in use was part of the ideology that Saxons came in and displaced and replaced the earlier people, thus allowing the contraction of the territory of the Britons to the areas where p-Celtic was still spoken later on. But this model no longer applies; there was no displacement and replacement but simply a new influence and a low level of population movement.
Furthermore it appears that English as a language is not simply a Germanic language imported by its speakers, but a language that was adopted by the existing British people and which includes influences from the P-Celtic.
The long standing definition (despite its duration) is questionable and no longer holds true for the latter part of the period. If it is retained we are simply keeping a definition that relates to an outdated understanding of history; that of invasion and replacement. Attatatta (talk) 23:38, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Once again, it's a huge leap to go from saying "there is evidence of Germanic speech being used in southern Britain" to saying "therefore, the ethnic group known as the Britons must have included these Germanic speakers". That second claim is quite novel, to say the least, and including it would require some very good sources. There's nothing more to be said in that regard without it.
You say, "The long standing definition... is questionable and no longer holds true for the latter part of the period." Says who? The Britons of the later period had quite a clear picture of themselves as an ethnic group, consistently associating known P-Celtic speaking peoples, from the North to Brittany, together as "Britons". They never referred to Germanic speakers as "Britons", and as far as I know, Germanic speakers never referred to themselves by that name either. Clearly there was much greater continuity between all peoples of Britain in archaeology and (perhaps especially) genetics, which is why those things are not used in the definition.--Cúchullain t/c 00:16, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
This is not quite what I am suggesting. I am saying that language does not absolutely define the Britons as a feature of their culture any more than any other aspect. The fact that there is scope for mentioning a diversity of language simply supports that. A culture is itself a broad concept and hard to define, as it is made up of many aspects. It is fine to cite that the language associated with a culture or group is this or that but not fine, to require use of that langauge as an absolute indicator. To illustrate this point, consider the very strong Ethnic group, the Jews. They are defined by some clear indicators but even they are not defined specifically by the language they use.
As for the definition, this article needs to start catching up with other Wikipedia sources. If you look up Welsh people you will find a reference to John Davies, placing the change from Brythonic to Welsh between 400 and 700, which is not as late as "through the Early Middle Ages" which takes the time up to 1000. This is my point. Late Iron Age Britons (yes predominantly using P-Celtic, but not necessarily as a requirement for cultural inclusion) were an idenitifiable culture and were subject to a common history. Into the early Middle Ages, those people were affected by a number of influences and changes to their culture including inevitable changes to language; Welsh as a distinct language that emerged in the 6th century from British (see Welsh history, and of course English at a similar time. At this point the Britons are no longer the same - they have become divided and changed. This is the "says who" you ask for - the people who were the Britons were now defining themselve (or very much beginning to ), in news ways to refect the changes occurring. Attatatta (talk) 07:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
This is just going around in circles. Yes, Welsh began to diverge in the 4th century, what's your point? It remained, and remains, one of the Brythonic languages. Despite the divergence, the Briton identity was maintained for hundreds of years. British people continue to identify themselves as Britons, rather than Cymry or whatever, in the writings of Gildas, in the Historia Britannum, and the early versions of the Annales Cambriae. But at any rate, you still haven't provided sufficient sources to back up your opinions, and as such they can't be included.
This book (pp. 1-7) has a pretty good discussion on the definition of "Briton". It avoids the traditional emphasis on language for the most part, but in the end says that in the face of pressure from the Anglo-Saxons, "[Britons] in Northern Britain, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany struggled to maintain an independent ethnic identity that we see most clearly in their language, poetry, and history."--Cúchullain t/c 17:04, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Errors to be removed or corrected in this article[edit]

This article contains some quetionable statements and elements that need at least to be adjusted. The first series of these are:

1. The Britons (sometimes Brythons or British) were the Celtic people living in Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages.

Not a clear statement. Britons, Brythons and British are not synonyms. The Britons lived Britain in the Iron Age and there is no eveidence to prove they were all celtic. . Brythons is a term used to identify Brythonic speakers British simply means applicable to Britain Also the use of Celtic here is problematic as it is an ill defined blend of cultural and linguistic ideas. The wiki referred to still refers to the central european area as a celtic heartland which really lacks credicbility. Linguistically the celts derive from Southern France, genetically from Iberia, culturally they are linked to Hallstat and La Tene archaeology, and religiously to the influence of the Druids.

To get round this the opening paragraph should read: The Britons were the people living in Great Britain in the the Iron Age. Koch in discussing cletic culture also uses the term for some peoples of the the Early Middle Ages.[1] . Genetically there is a major split between the people of the celtic fringe and those of South and Eastern Britain (ref o Oppenheimer here).

2. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic.

This is an assumption. It is not supported even by the contemporary sources - Caesar is clear that the Brittani of the South East were in part from the Belgae and that the Belgae spoke a noticeably different language to the gauls, whose language was celtic.

The line should read:

They are known to have spoken the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic, but may have spoken other languages in some regions.


3. after the 5th century Britons also migrated to continental Europe, where they established the settlements of Britanny in France and the obscure Britonia in what is now Galicia, Spain.

While there was some migration the implication here is incorrect. The wiki article on Brittant should be referred to and the two must agree. Whatever effect those supposed migrant may have had, it is wrong to state these as facts without proper citations.

The line should read: after the 5th century some Britons are said to have migrated to continental Europe, to the settlements of Britanny in France and the obscure Britonia in what is now Galicia, Spain.


4. Their relationship to the Picts north of the Forth has been the subject of much discussion, though most scholars accept that the Pictish language during this time was a Brythonic language related to, but perhaps distinct from, British.[2]

This is rather silly. If the picts are to be classed as Brythonic speakers then they have little to give them any greater speration from the Britons that any other tribe. If they are to be seen as seperate then either this or the opening line of the article must change; as the otherwise qualify as "Celtic people living in Great Britain". If we are to maintain that most scholars accept something, we need some justification for this.


I suggest the paragraph should read: Their relationship to the Picts north of the Forth has been the subject of much discussion. Many scholars maintain that the Pictish language during this time was a Brythonic language but this has not been established as fact.

5 With the advent of the Anglo-Saxon invasion in the 5th century, however, the culture and language of the Britons began to fragment. By the 11th century their descendants had split into distinct groups, and are generally discussed separately as the Welsh, Cornish, Bretons, and the people of the Hen Ogledd ("Old North"). The British language developed into the distinct branches of Welsh, Cornish, Breton, and Cumbric.[1]

This needs reworking. It is really the end of the Roman period that causes the fragmentation with the incoming invaders adding to some of the cultural changes and formation of new kingdoms. Also we do not know if the language of the Britons fragmented at this point or if it was already split or splitting. It is likely that over the region from corwall to scotland the language would not be totally the same. If we are to describe the Britons in the 11th century we should mention those who are now included in the English kingdoms.

I suggest it should read:

With the end of Roman Britain in the 5th century, however, the culture of the Britons began to fragment. New kingdoms emrged, some under the invaders from Germany and Denmark which later became the English kingdoms. By the 11th century Britons the had split into distinct groups, and are generally discussed separately as the Welsh, Cornish, English, Scots and the people of the Hen Ogledd ("Old North"). The celtic languages of the Britons developed into the distinct branches of Welsh, Cornish, Breton, and Cumbric.


Overall this article has a bias to the assumption that the Britons were all Celtic and that only celtic speakers can be Britons - so much so that when a large part of the peoples who were Britons come under the sway of Angles & Saxons they are suddenly disqualified as being Britons anymore. The bias that the Britons comprise a linguistic group cannot be allowed to stand. The article is headed by the warning "This article is about the ancient ethnic groups of Great Britain. This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. " If the article is about ethnic groups, then we should discuss genetics, language and culture and not limit the definition to lunguistic assumptions. --80.1.106.18 (talk) 22:13, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

We're arguing definitions here. The term "Briton" or "Brython" has several senses, but the definition scholars use refers to the inhabitants of Britain who spoke the Celtic Brythonic language (P-Celtic). It does not designate peoples who spoke another language, even if they lived in a formerly Brythonic area. At least after some point, the Picts also spoke a Brythonic language (not the Brythonic language) but they are still generally discussed as distinct from the Britons. The Belgae are an interesting actuality, but there is so little information on them that there isn't much basis for speculation (at least to my knowledge); at some point they were absorbed by other ethnic groups. At any rate the "Britons" were in Britain and speaking P-Celtic from the time of the earliest evidence in the Iron Age, and were there through the Early Middle Ages, when they gradually evolved into distinct groups. It sounds like Oppenheimer is suggesting that there were Germanic-speakers in Britain before the time generally associated with the Anglo-Saxon settlement, and that they were not particularly genetically distinct from other ethnic groups. This may be true, but as Germanic speakers they were specifically not Britons in the way scholars use the term.--Cúchullain t/c 00:18, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. Firstly Brython and Briton are not mutually interchangeable terms - one being very much more recent and created to serve a point of view. You even show this in differentiating Picts from Britons as Brythonic speakers.
Also while it is fine to say that there is an academic or techincial term for something, it is unacceptable to say something nebulous like the "definition scholars use". What scholars? How many? Is this disputed? I suspect that the scholars in question are those of celtic culture and this leads us back to the circular argument in this article.
Briton as a term does not designate celtic speakers - it has always only been applicable as a term for inhabitants of a region. The terms "Briton" and "Britain" derive from the Romans use of brittani/britannia. The Romans did not make distictions between these other than by their tribal names. The people who were in Britain are know to have remainedin place through the various invasions thatr followed and if they were Britons intially, they remain Britons even if they became part of the kingdoms dominated by invaders. Those "Scholars" who superimpose a linguistic definition have no reasonable basis for doing so and I suspect are following a biased agenda.
Perhaps we should look to the "opposition" for clarfication. Britannica gives the definition of Briton as "one of a people inhabiting Britain before the Anglo-Saxon invasions beginning in the 5th century ad. Although it was once thought that the Britons descended from the Celts, it is now believed that they were the indigenous population and that they remained in contact with their European neighbours through trade and other social exchanges."
What is very clear is that the argument that those living in Brtain prior to the Roman in vasion all spoke a Brythonic tongue can no longer be accepted without question.
Whilst there is no a lot of information on the Belgae, Caesar is very clear that they are different to the Gauls and that they spoke a different language to the Gauls. There is nothing suggested to discredit this view. We aslo know that the Gauls of Brittany were in touch with the Britons, that the Britons sent help to fight against the Romans and that the Belgae were present and influential in South East Britain.
your argument about germanic speakers not being britons is utterly circular - you use the unreasonable assumption of britons as being only celtic speakers to demonstrate that germanic speakers can't be britons. Oppenheimer as a "scholar" shows very good evidence for a difference in genetic markers being the celtic fringe and eastern Britain however you are wrong to introduce Ethnicity in this - it is a dangerous term to try to apply here as there is no clear case of ethnicity for anyone in the British Isles and those proposing this (such as the BNP) are rightly criticised for trying to claim it. While language can have a relevance to ethnicity, ethnicity is not defined by language. All Britons are essentially a similar people - deriving primarily from Iberian glacial refuge origins with some mix of Eastern glacial refuge peoples, with some varied genetic markers. Oppenheimer also gives good gounds for abandoning the idea of uniformity of language in Britain before the Romans. The term Britons must apply to the people of Britain at that time unless someone can show a fundamental cultural split between groups and provide definitions of those groups.
I have to agree with the contention that "This is the kind of article that gives Wikipedia a bad name " because it is based on non factual assumptions. --Attatatta (talk) 22:54, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
This article is the type that gives wiki a bad name, but Britons, British and perhaps "Brythons" are all used for the people discussed in this article. "Brython" is a bit of a ridiculous neologism I'd hope most historians would be too embarrassed to use, but it has traction on wikipedia. And Attatatta, like it or loath it, Britons/British the name in English for this people. End of story. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:07, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
"end of story" ??? Sorry I missed the part where you aware appointed curator of all truths!
These terms are simply not mutual interchangeable. Nor are they used that way. Duplicate words with the exact same meaning are rarely found in use.
Start with "British". This can be used for anything that pertains to Britain (ie the British Isles), which inlcludes England, Scotland and Wales.. and in some peoples view even Ireland - though the Irish rarely welcome this. "Briton" is a word that clearly has split meaning, in that is is mostly used to describe people in Britain in a historical context but which sometimes get applied to modern people, perhaps with an archaic connotation. No-one today really decribes themselves as a Briton thought the term does get used about people. "Brython" is different. At least check the dictionary listings where you will find this is given the meaning of Brythonic Celtic speakers in Britain and certainly is never used in the same context as British.
You are quite in error to suggest that the term British can be applied only to the people referred to in this article - as it simply means people of Britain, regardless of their spoken language or culture. For example the Picts would be British but might not be Britons.
Your statment about the "name in English for these people" states concisely the problem with this article: who are "these people". I contend that "Briton" is originally the term for those people who lived in the Southern part of the Britain at the time of the Roman invasion. I am supported in this by simple defintions in other ecyclopaedias and dictionaries. Others here wish to limit the term to only those inhabitants who spoke Bryhtonic Celtic. I reject this, but my point is that the article does not reflect this very clear divergence in definition. To be balanced this article should only cite as fact, those elements that are undisputable, and should present any differences as alternate viewpoints, with relevant citations and constraints on usage (such as the limiting of the term Britons to a linguistic group as part of a view taken by "scholars" rather than a wider usage of the term).--Attatatta (talk) 17:42, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
You're arguing like we can change the name of this people. We can't. We in Wikipedia merely reflect the name used in reliable sources, which is "Britons/British". I don't recognise any distinction between "British" and "Britons", other than the former being an adjective and the latter being a plural noun.for example These huge posts are really pointless from your point of view. Nothing will change. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:49, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
The whole problem is the definition of the people concerned. I am not arguing for the name to change at all, but rather the definition. The problem is the categorisation of Britons being based on language - ie: defining Britons as being celtic speakers only. There is no factual basis to make this constraint. The accepted dictionary and encyclopedic definition of "Britons" is "people inhabiting Britain before the Anglo-Saxon invasions beginning in the 5th century ad. .." . Interestingly only Wikipedia uses a different definition! This is based on the work of "scholars" which allegation we must it seems accept without question no matter how unsupported it is.
If there is no distinction between "Britons" and "British" then as "British" is the modern term the article should be entitled that. But is it not.. it is called Britons (historical) because it implicitly recognises this as being a distinct category that no other term describes. The article is clearly not about the British or it would include a great deal more modern detail.
As for recognising the difference check any good dictionary for a credible difference :
Britons - a native of southern Britain before and during Roman times.
British - relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom.
Yes I know that a dictionary is not attempting the same task as an encyclopedia but this fact at least demonstrates that a difference exists and that it has wide acceptance.
Finally thank you for telling me my point of view! I realise that nothing will change but this simply says more about the failing of wikipedia that anything else. As for my posts - I shall continue to make my point - but of course you can always censor or ban me for daring to have a view can't you? --Attatatta (talk) 20:06, 6 November 2009 (UTC)
As a Briton true, I must correct Attatatta, as well as pointing out that Attatatta's unsourced opinions violate WP:NOTAFORUM and WP:TALK, and look tediously like trolling. The ancient B's, known as Welsh in post-Roman times, are a significant historical subject despite various attempts to rename them, not least their inclusion with the Continental Celts who they shared aspects of language with, but not the name as far as is known. So it goes. Anyway, this thread should be archived unless there are specific proposals with verifiable sources for improving the article. . . dave souza, talk 22:01, 6 November 2009 (UTC)


"Briton true"?? Is that not somewhat like trolling perhaps? Of course the Britons are a valid historical topic and nowhere have I said otherwise. I began this by trying to make the article more neutral in its view and adding a reference to Oppenhiemer, of the kind you will find happily accepted elsewhere in Wikipedia. There are questions to be asked about the whether the Britons all spoke a Celtic lanaguage and about some arguments in the article. I made suggestions on these. It has been my aim to assist with the balance of the article and this is wholly in line with policy. --Attatatta (talk) 08:10, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
It is obvious that the word "Briton" has multiple definitions, including the definition "someone of or from Great Britain". But this article isn't on the word "Briton", it is on one sense of the word, as qualified by the parenthetical "(historical)". Whatever it might be titled, this article is intended to discuss the P-Celtic speaking ethnic group that inhabited Britain during the Iron Age through the Middle Ages. It is not intended to discuss any other people.--Cúchullain t/c 01:43, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
As to "the" dictionary definition, the Oxford English Dictionary has this as its first definition (n.1) of "Briton": "A member of one of the Brittonic-speaking peoples originally inhabiting all of Britain south of the Firth of Forth, and in later times spec. Strathclyde, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany, before and during the Roman occupation." And under "Brython": "=Briton n.1." "Brython" is the Welsh form; it was borrowed into English by John Rhys and other early Celticists, who used it in contrast with "Goidel". These two synonyms refer to the people we disambiguate as "Britons (historical)". This should be the final word on the matter.--Cúchullain t/c 17:00, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Walls[edit]

I don't think anyone here has mentioned this, but there's a description in this article of Roman conquest and fortification that says the following: "The British tribes initially opposed the Roman legions, but by AD 84 the Romans had conquered as far north as the Clyde-Forth isthmus, where they built the Antonine Wall. However, after just twenty years they retreated south to Hadrian's Wall." This seems to imply dates much earlier than these walls were built. Hadrian's was built first, in the 120s, and the Antonine later, in the 140s. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 164.76.145.146 (talk) 15:51, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Excellent point; I've corrected the information.--Cúchullain t/c 17:54, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

John T. Koch[edit]

Professor John T. Koch, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, [1] definitely fits our criteria as a reliable source. This doesn't mean he is always right, but it does mean we can use him as a source. Dougweller (talk) 13:43, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

The first Anglo-Saxon chronicles[edit]

Hello! I have not been much into this subject but one thing I knew and have noticed in the London history museum made me read this article and so write here, as I saw no mention on it.

The oldest written chronicles about British history that can be found are in Anglo-Saxon kept in the museum [2] (at least as they said). There is written about the islands, the languages spoken and the first inhabitants - the Brits. On the first page it says, that being the first inhabitants the Brits came from Armenia. I did not notice any mention of the chronicles in the article, though. Don't you think there should be?

Just to add, the recent researches of Stephen Oppenheimer about the genetic similarity between the Basques and about the 3/4th of the population of Britain can also prove relevant. Though, there have not been enough researches yet, but it has been proven that Basque language and toponyms have triking simirities with the Armenian and the myths of origins of Basques. Recently there are activities by Basques and Armenian institutions on these issues.

Would be interesting to see opinions and make more "research" about it, I guess.

PS. I wouldn't recommend to look for it on Wikipedia, as there isn't much about it here. IsmailAhmedov (talk) 14:39, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for this, but there really is no place on Wikipedia for general discussion of a subject. If you have reliable sources for your Basque/Armenian claim (and so far as I know Basque is still considered an isolate), you can take them to the appropriate talk pages. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles use of the word Armenia (which could be a corruption of Armorica, a reference to the area where Noah's Ark supposedly landed, etc) doesn't belong here but you might want to see Historical basis for King Arthur it's also discussed on the talk page of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle article. It doesn't belong here, I don't think you will find any reliable sources suggesting that somehow Armenians migrated to Britain at the beginning of the Holocene, the inhabitants at that time came from much closer to the British Isles. And this article is not about the earliest inhabitants in any case, the writers of the Chronicles were not surprisingly ignorant about when and from where the earliest inhabitants came. Dougweller (talk) 15:00, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Anglo-Saxon chronicles are not a reliable source?? Maybe you mean Herodotos and others are not reliable either? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.75.34.109 (talk) 13:10, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
They aren't history, and they are primary sources, so yes, they can't be used as reliable sources unless of course as a source for what they actually say, as opposed to what happened in the past. Dougweller (talk) 18:54, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

78.109.177.139, the preferred editing method at Wikipedia is bold, revert, discuss. That is, feel free to be bold and make changes, but if someone reverts you, the next step is to discuss on the article talk page, not to just revert again. Oppenheimer has been discussed repeatedly above (assuming you're not the same editor who has brought it up periodically), and no consensus to fundamentally alter the article's focus has emerged. Please make the case for your desired changes here.--Cúchullain t/c 19:42, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

I reworked some of the material and merged it into the "Language" section. It is still in need of citations, however.--Cúchullain t/c 19:56, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Flying rowan image?[edit]

The tree image purports to be of a 'flying rowan' which is explained as a rowan growing out of a tree of another species - this one seems to be growing as trees generally do, from the ground. Perhaps someone can supply an alternative image or re-label the existing one. cheers Geopersona (talk) 07:11, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

"Britans"[edit]

Hundreds of examples of the spelling "Britans" (rather than "Britons") can be found on Google Books. Do a search for "the Britans" (in speech marks). Given that ther ar so many examples, would we need to include a citation? If so, I'm not sure which one(s) to pick. ~Asarlaí 09:38, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

All the sources that I can see here seem to be 19th century or earlier, in some cases much earlier, and I think that should be noted somewhere, if indeed we need to refer to this spelling at all. I have an SOED which does not list the "-an" spelling at all, although it does (for example) list the spelling Britany (sic). It seems unnecessary to me to list every alternative antique spelling of words, in historical articles like this. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:23, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes it does seem to be uncommon nowadays, but that's no reason to exclude it. We could simply note that it was common in the past but not today. As far as I know, ther hav only been four spellings used in modern English (Britons, Britans, British and Brythons) so space is not an issue. ~Asarlaí 11:41, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Not quite... "Britans" is an alternate spellings "Britains", in the archaic sense meaning "Britons". There are various other spellings of both "Britains" and "Britons"; alternates for the former include "Britaines", "Brittaines", etc. According to the OED "Britains" is now "historical and rare".[3] There various other archaic terms the Celtic Britons have been called in English, including "Bretts", "Britts", "Brits", etc.[4] We don't need to list all of them in the article.--Cúchullain t/c 12:26, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, if ther's no support for putting it in the lede, then how about including it (along with the others you listed) in a footnote? ~Asarlaí 12:34, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, but there are simply too many variants to list all of them. The primary archaic forms would be "Britains" and "Bretts", according to the OED. Frankly, I don't see the need. The article on the Greeks and the Japanese people don't list all the obsolete English terms for them such as "Grecians" or "Japons".--Cúchullain t/c 12:55, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

British Romance[edit]

This edit introduced material that isn't backed up in the sources. In the first source, Snyder does not argue that a British Romance language was spoken in Southern Britain after the Roman withdrawal. The second source doesn't say anything about Latin being spoken there. The third source is a wiki, which isn't a reliable source, and the material isn't really relevant anyway.--Cúchullain t/c 20:29, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Maybe we need to look at British Romance which is where this seems to have come from (without attribution I believe). Dougweller (talk) 18:33, 21 July 2011 (UTC)
I removed it from over there, as well. Looks like it was added 2 years ago by a now-blocked sock puppet.--Cúchullain t/c 18:55, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

Oppenheimer as a source[edit]

Are we seriously reduced to using a pop-science book from an author who has been widely panned in reviews by both linguists AND population geneticists, which is the only one of both sciences where he even has formal education. 70.53.139.116 (talk) 21:10, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

In his book The Origins of the British, Stephen Oppenheimer suggests that the inhabitants of Britain did not uniformly speak Celtic languages, and that there may have been pre-Roman British tribes who spoke Germanic languages such as Old English.[citation needed] His cited evidence for this is a lack of Celtic placenames in eastern England and certain anomalies in the English language that he suggests may have developed prior to the conventional dates for the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain. Oppenheimer suggests the Old English language may have already been developing in Britain before the arrival of Anglo-Saxons, and may therefore be a native development.[citation needed] 70.53.139.116 (talk) 21:14, 28 September 2011 (UTC) again who figured she could save the offending bit - this idea is fringed at best, and most germanic linguists would tell you the idea is completely cracked. English has almost no celtic vocabulary, there are a few rare celtic place names in eastern britain, we know when english appears and archaeological records show the region was getting pretty much deserted by the time the angles landed in Lindsey and Norfolk.

As the material was left unsourced for a year removing it is more than justified.Cúchullain t/c 21:35, 28 September 2011 (UTC)


Proposed Changes[edit]

This article portrays teh view of the Britons as being an ethnic group that was created during the iron age, and became the welsh and Cornish etc. Both of these views have long been rejected by most historians:

It is no longer thought that there was a large influx of 'celt' during the iron age, but that it was a shift of culture onto an already present people.

It is also no longer thought that the invading germanic tribes in the 5th and 6th centuries completely replaced the Britons.

therefore i think that the article should more clearly state that the term Britons refers to the British people between the iron age and the middle ages, should include a brief paragraph on their origin (genetic markers, mesolithic etc), and a paragraph on their fate (conquered by german invaders, language and culture changed, but lived on in Cornwall and Wales (, and , for a time, Hen Ogledd) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.105.169.193 (talk) 17:02, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

That's basically what it does say already.Cúchullain t/c 19:00, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Since Celts or celtic peoples is a post 1707 label for an ethno-linguistic grouping of tribal societies identified after that date, I've modified the lead.[5]. I've also swapped the sequence in the #Etymology section to reflect historical sequence. Maybe should find a source to add the date of identification as a celtic language subgroup. . . dave souza, talk 15:42, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
I disagree with your re-wording of the first line. You changed "The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age" to "The Britons were the peoples culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age". This implies that it's not right to call them Celtic. Even tho the name 'Celt' wasn't applied to the Britons until later, it's fine for us to call them Celtic because archeology has establisht that their culture was Celtic. Here's my re-wording. ~Asarlaí 19:48, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, these are improvements. It's not that it's "not right", but we should be clear that the language and cultural grouping has been identified as Celtic rather than suggesting at the outset that this was the original tribal identity, or an identity used by others at the time. I've tweaked the wording a little to clarify that, hope that meets with your agreement. . . dave souza, talk 20:23, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
Ancient writers didn't call the Britons Celtic in the same way they didn't call Latin an Indo-European language. They didn't have archeology and linguistics to identify major cultural and linguistic groups. However, archeology has since establisht that the Britons were Celtic, just like how linguistics has establisht that Latin is an Indo-European language. My re-wording made that clear. Your latest wording doesn't call them Celts at all, but rather says that the Britons and their language have "been identified" or "called" Celtic. That's unacceptable, as it hints that there might be something wrong with calling them Celtic. There's nothing wrong with it; archeologists/linguists agree on it, and the article should reflect that. ~Asarlaí 21:10, 23 February 2013 (UTC)
This episode of In Our Time goes on about the argument of calling the Britons "Celts" (direct link to mp3 of the programme). It might be of interest. The first third of the programme covers hows some people think that "Celtic" is a perfectly acceptable term, but others think it can be an unhelpful blanket term.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 09:28, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
At the risk of engaging in semantics, I'm not sure we can say that the Britons – or indeed any other Celtic people – are or were "Celts" in some fundamental, objective sense. It remains a subjective post-hoc classification, albeit one grounded in rational academic analysis and I don't see the problem with saying "called" or "referred to as"; it doesn't suggest the classification/description is wrong, just that that is all that it is. N-HH talk/edits 12:52, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
They spoke a Celtic language, that makes them "Celtic" in the way the term is used today. How related terms were used in ancient times isn't particularly relevant, especially for the lead.--Cúchullain t/c 14:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
The main problem with the whole "celtic" issue is past and current usage. In the past the Celtic label applied of a specific ethnic group which the term was used to describe. The Britons were certainly not genetically or through migration Celtic. However Celtic has now been used to describe art and language which while different, was very similar and heavily influenced by Celt's in ancient Britain. Really the Celtic tag has been misapplied rather drastically to the point it's now in completely common usage even though it "should" be used to denote ethnic groups not culture seeing "peoples" tends to refer to ethnic groups. Modern Native Americans speak English as their first language and culturally are very similar to westerners apart from their ancient traditions, but you wouldn't call them ethnically western or english etc never mind a "western people". It's the same issue with Britons. Having the Celtic People tag in the title is fairly misleading seeing the reader is unaware in what manner they are classed as celtic and it's never explained in detail within the article itself by what is meant by labelling them as Celtic. You have plenty of info here concerning this and historians[6] 17:27, November 2014 (UTC)
The Britons are "Celtic" in the sense of the term used today; ie, they spoke a Celtic language. It would be rare to find a source on the "Celts" that doesn't include them. It's really the most workable definition there is; there never was one "Celtic culture", let alone Celtic ethnicity, that included all of the people typically called "Celtic" in the past or present.--Cúchullain t/c 18:43, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

It is disputed that the Britons were Celtic. Therefore at least the article name should be changed to just Britons for NOPV.--Abuk SABUK (talk) 18:12, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Well, for one thing, it's not disputed that the Britons were Celtic. For another, it can't be moved to just Britons as that's a disambiguation page. Moving it there would require an RM, but that would be unlikely to pass.--Cúchullain t/c 18:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Related to this thread, I believe - the article perhaps needs to be clearer about (or, at least, give a clearer explanation of the uncertainty about) the relationship between the Celtic-speaking peoples of the islands in the classical, post-classical and immediately pre-classical periods - which as I understand it is the subject matter of this article - and the genetic history of the British Isles. The latter article is about genetics, not culture or language, and covers a much longer period. There needs to be a sentence or two in this article summarising the uncertainty that I believe exists over when the people of these islands might have adopted what is called Celtic culture - was it intrinsic (post-ice age) or was it imported later (pre-iron age)? Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:47, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Such a section could be added. I'm not sure what it could get into exactly. I think it's pretty well agreed that Britain was inhabited long before the Celtic languages emerged, or before any "Celtic" cultural elements appeared.--Cúchullain t/c 13:55, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Sure, but I suspect that some readers (perhaps User:Abuk SABUK?) might be confused by the relationship between genetic and cultural heritage, and a bit of explanation might not go amiss. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:03, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that Insular Celts be merged into this article. There is considerable overlap between the two articles. The introduction to the other article states that "The Insular Celts are the speakers of Insular Celtic languages" - but the article then goes on to discuss the process of settlement by Celtic (or Celtic-speaking) people, headed "Celtic invasion", and later developments. These are issues which are, or should be, covered in this article. Having two articles on essentially the same subject leads to unnecessary confusion. If the other article is merged with this one, there is reduced scope for confusion and misinformation and, hopefully, the issues about the naming of this article discussed in the previous thread can be addressed more clearly. If there are concerns about the relationship between people in Great Britain and people in Ireland (and other islands), these can be addressed after the articles are merged; they are not clearly addressed under the current article structure. Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:03, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I'd say we could merge whatever material is cited and relevant to here, but the title "Insular Celts" should redirect to Insular Celtic languages.--Cúchullain t/c 16:51, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure about this idea. I agree that there probably isn't enough unique material here (or on the Insular Celts page, whichever way you want to look at it) to justify a separate page, but I don't think a merge will add any clarity to the distinction between Gaels/Britons/Picts collectively as Insular Celts.Gabhala (talk) 19:25, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

This doesn't make sense. The Britons are a subset of Insular Celts, not vice versa, so if anything merge "Britons" into "Insular Celts". There are at least two distinct groups within "Insular Celts", viz. Britons and Goidels. The Picts may or may not have been a third group on equal footing. --dab (𒁳) 09:34, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

My concern was, and is, to minimise confusion and reduce the overlap between the two articles. As currently worded, the relationship between the two articles is not clear, at least to me. You may be right in that, looking at it again, I may have confused myself in proposing the merger the wrong way round - apologies for that, and thanks for correcting it. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:07, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose merger, but support increased clarity! Try merging Picts anywhere & see how far you get! Should Ancient Britons redirect here, since the article is very much focused on the Roman period - too much so even for its current title? I'm sure we have other articles on prehistoric British people tucked away somewhere. The coverage here is frankly rather odd, but then much of Insular Celts clings clung firmly to Victorian thinking. A wholesale revert to DAB's 2010 version might well still be an improvement. Johnbod (talk) 16:37, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
  • I oppose merging Britons into Insular Celts. We currently have one article for each of the Insular Celtic groups—Britons, Gaels, Picts—which makes sense, as there are enough differences between each group to warrant separate articles. If we merged one of those groups (Britons) into "Insular Celts", surely we'd have to merge the others. "Insular Celts" should either be a disambiguation page, or a redirect to Insular Celtic languages. ~Asarlaí 20:40, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Merge with 'The British People'[edit]

I believe that this article ought to be merged with the 'British People' article. It only makes sense as an article if we are to believe that the people living in britain in the iron age were not the descendants of those who lived there in the bronze age, nor the ancestors of today's modern Britons. It was once believed that the 'celts' invaded Britain, replacing the population, however not a single serious modern historian would suggest that there was a massive celtic invasion, wiping out the population. It is now widely accepted that the 'Insular Celts' were a cultural group, not a tribe or ethnic group. Secondly, most modern Genetic sources would suggest that the arrival of Germanic Tribes did not infact wipe out the native Britons, instead ruling and assimilating with them,invasion or not. This is why I believe that this article ought to be made part of a wider 'British people before the middle ages' or merged with the British people article. P.S weather you agree with Mr. Oppenheimers more controversial ideas ('Germanic language before the saxons and angles invaded'), It is hard to deny that he is right about one thing: There has been no one major 'wipe-out' of the Britons at least since the Bronze age.

Daniel — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.105.169.193 (talk) 16:27, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose. We're talking about a specific historical ethnicity that was certainly distinct from the other ethnic groups that gave rise to modern day British people (Picts, Gaels, Germanic groups, Scandinavians, Normans). They were also not limited to Britain, there being Britons in Brittany and Britonia. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 10:03, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose merge, Support criticism The article certainly suggests a 19th century sort of view, but that does not mean that the Iron Age/"Celtic" phase of British history is not worth its own population-oriented article. It should be considerably rewritten though, and renamed. To Jim, that the Picts and Gaels were distinct ethnicities from "Britons (Celtic people)", a) is highly uncertain, and b) relies on an essentially hypothetical linguistic distinction that is not always used. Later immigrants are a rather different matter, but DNA studies notoriously de-emphasize their significance. Johnbod (talk) 12:53, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This article isn't about a genetics or race, it's about a cultural and linguistic group—a society—that lasted from prehistory up until the Middle Ages. Daniel, by your logic we'd also hav to merge Picts into Scottish people, Gauls into French people, Anglo-Saxons into English people, asf. ~Asarlaí 16:45, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Or it should be about that - it currently begins "The Britons (sometimes Brythons or British) were a Celtic people who lived in Great Britain before and during the Roman period" though in fact the rest of the article is not so bad. Also, afaik "Britons" and certainly "ancient British" will cover Stone Age and Bronze Age populations too. Johnbod (talk) 17:55, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the peoples of Stone Age/Iron Age Britain and Ireland are sometimes called "the ancient British" and "the ancient Irish". However, this article isn't about them (or it at least isn't meant to be). It's about the people who spoke the Brittonic language and who were culturally Celtic.
The articles about their neighbors—the Gauls, the Picts and the Gaels—tells us plenty about their cultures and societies. However, this article hardly tells us anything about the culture and society of the Britons. It doesn't need merged or renamed, it just needs expanded. ~Asarlaí 21:49, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Celts of pre-England?[edit]

The article seems a bit contradictory here, the text states that Briton refers to ancient British people and that they spoke Brittonic, however the map shows Brittonic people as being from what is now considered England. So what is it, does Britton/ Brittonic refer to pre-England or Britain as a whole? If the latter than what are Celts of pre-England called? --94.10.161.191 (talk) 00:18, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Neither. The map you refer to shows the red area as covering not only what became England but also Wales and southern Scotland. This is the area within which the Brittonic language was spoken, and it's that which defines who we regard as being "Brittonic" not where they lived. It's a linguistic-cultural concept, not a geographical one. This article treats "Britons (Celtic people)", as the article is titled, as being equivalent to "Brittonic". It's not the same thing as simply "Britons" I.e. residents of Great Britain (see the debate in the previous thread connected with that).
The "celts" (again a linguistic-cultural concept) who lived in "pre-England" spoke Brittonic and are referred to as "Brittonic" and the "celts" of southern Scotland and Wales are referred to in the same way because they spoke the same language. The "Celts" of western Scotland are referred to as Goidelic in reference to their language which became Gaelic and the people of northern Scotland, who may also have spoken a celtic language but scholars debate that, are referred to as Picts in reference to their common language/culture (although there's much less certainty about what they had in common because of the obscurity of the information we have on them). Hope that clarifies. DeCausa (talk) 05:58, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Ancient Britons a wider concept than 'Celtic' Iron Age and Roman era Britons[edit]

'Ancient Britons' redirects to this page, which only covers the part of history (or pre-history) of the Ancient Britons. The phrase Ancient Britons is just as likely to be associated with the people of the Neolithic age, in particular with the people who constructed Stonehenge and similar monuments. It's not known what languages those people used although it's assumed it was non Indo-European languages. 193.105.48.20 (talk) 11:12, 9 January 2015 (UTC)

That's true, but as the genetics section at the end points out, genetic studies consistently find a dominant continuity with earlier periods, so the whole concept of a "Celtic people" becomes even more dubious than it already was, except as a label that's of use in the later phases of the period. So maybe a rename and wider definition in the lead is the solution. What there is to say about Stone & Bronze Age Britons as a "people" I'm not sure, except that they seem, at least at times, to have had a society that functioned across the whole island. There are other articles on the genetics that are not linked. Johnbod (talk) 13:46, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
I think the 'Ancient Britons' page should be separate from 'Britons (Celtic people)'. The term covers anyone in Britain from the time that tombs and temples were constructed in the Neolithic until the revolt of Boudica. It's not really an academic term anymore but is used mainly by journalists or educators writing for a general audience or for children when trying to explain archeological findings in a 'homely' manner. 195.194.15.4 (talk) 13:31, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
In fact, you can find that, according to some respectable sources, http://news.sciencemag.org/2011/02/ancient-britons-used-skulls-cups 'Ancient Britons' could be found 15,000 years ago. Perhaps it would make more sense to redirect 'Ancient Britons' to Prehistoric Britain, which is a much better article than Britons (Celtic people) in my opinion.195.194.15.4 (talk) 12:12, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
We're here to help people find the information they are looking for: in the context of this thread (given it's about a redirect rather than article content) the main question is what do we think people are looking for when they type in Ancient Britons rather than complete accuracy? I suspect it could be the subject of this article or it could be Prehistoric Britain. Perhaps it should go to a disambiguation page, and any misconceptions can be corrected when they read the article content. DeCausa (talk) 12:36, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
I agree about a disambiguation page195.194.15.4 (talk) 15:41, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
'Ancient Britons' in modern usage, can refer to any inhabitant of Britain (or of the land that became Britain after the water levels rose after the last Ice Age) from the late upper paleolithic until just after the start of the Roman occupation of the island. It's use is informal or non-academic although it is sometimes used when explaining the findings of experts to a wider audience. I can't find many uses of the term after the Romans become established on the island. From that point the 'ancient' tag gets dropped and Britons, British, Romano-British are the terms preferred. There do appear to be a number of sites to which the term 'Ancient Britons' could redirect - not just factual sites but also the pages that refer to the legendary or pseudo-histories of the island eg Historia Brittonum which have probably contributed to the concept of the Ancient Britons.Nai1maker (talk) 11:47, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
Here's an example from the Natural History Museum website: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2010/july/ancient-britons-were-earliest-northern-europeans72335.html . These "Ancient Britons" were not even Homo Sapiens - they lived 800,000 years ago. At the other extreme, this example, from the Telegraph, has 'the ancient Britons' sharing the land with the Anglo-Saxons: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harrymount/100074702/britain-is-still-celtic-at-heart/ . 195.194.15.4 (talk) 14:48, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
I have changes the redirect page 'Ancient Britons' to a disambiguation page. Nai1maker (talk) 14:21, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I have undone that change as there's no need for a disambiguation page when there are only two pages. In that case a hatnote is better; it does the same job but at least half the time it means readers get to the right page immediately. I have expanded the hatnote here to do the necessary disambiguation, making it longer but not too long.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 14:40, 20 January 2015 (UTC)