Cambria

Cambria

Cambria is the classical name for Wales, being the Latinised form of the Welsh name "Cymru" (Wales). The etymology of "Cymry" "the Welsh", Cimbri, and "Cwmry"Fact|date=September 2008 "Cumbria", improbably connected to the Biblical Gomer and the "Cimmerians" by 17th-century celticists, is now known to come from Old Welsh "combrog" "compatriot; Welshman" [Gove, Philip Babcock, ed. Webster's Third New International Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2002: 321] , deriving from an old Brythonic word "combroges" or Proto-Brythonic *"kom-brogos" [Jones, J. Morris. "Welsh Grammar: Historical and Comparative". Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913; new edition, 1995.] [Russell, Paul. "Introduction to the Celtic Languages". London: Longman, 1995.] , meaning "compatriots", (as a result of the struggle with the Anglo-Saxons) possibly therefore related to its sister language Breton's "keñvroad, keñvroiz" "compatriot" [Delamarre, Xavier. "Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise". Paris: Errance, 2001.] .

Cambria in legend

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth in the first part of his pseudohistory "Historia Regum Britanniae", the Trojan Brutus had three sons among whom (having subdued Gogmagog) he divided his lands after landing in Britain. His elder son, Locrinus, received the land between the rivers Humber and Severn, which he called "Loegria" (a Latinization of the Welsh name "Lloegr", "England"). His second son, Albanactus, got the lands beyond the Humber, which took from him the name of Albany ("Yr Alban" in Welsh: Scotland). The younger son, Camber, was bequeathed everything beyond the Severn, which was called after him "Cambria".

This legend was widely prevalent throughout the 12th-16th centuries, but came under serious attack in later times. Today it is no longer generally accepted as historical fact.

Legacy

The name "Cambria" lives on in much contemporary literature. It is also used in geology to denote the geologic period between around 542 million years and 488.3 million years ago, now known as the Cambrian; it was in Wales that rocks from this age were first studied.

References


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