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of the Cymry or Cimbri of by-gone ages, as well as to review other incidental matters, affecting our too long ignored national antiquity and dignity, our rights and literature, as well as our incontestable civilization, in pre-historic times.
It is often asked, Who were the Cymry, Cimbri, Cimmerians? whence came they? with what branch or race of the human family where they ethnically connected?
The Cymry, Cimbri, or Ancient Britons of the present day in every portion of the world, whether in Cambria, parts of England, Armorica, Australia, or America, are, by universal consent, allowed or alleged to be identically and lineally descended from Gomer, son of Japhet, as the audax Japeti genus (the daring race of Japetus), the progenitor of our race—a race, be it remembered, possessing the oldest spoken, written, or cultivated language in Europe; and which, though long anterior in its formation to that of Rorne, coeval in glory with that of Palestine, Greece, and Araby the blest, and, mirabile dictu, surviving them all, has literally fulfilled the predicted reality of the aphorism, "oes y byd i'riaith Gymraeg." and which again, in its unimpaired existence from on high, like the genial gales of air, where'er they do exist, goes forth in giant force, to ends of earth and time, increases more and more, till setting suns and moons and stars, shall cease to shine upon the race.
The term Cymry or, more strictly speaking, Cymmry, is the plural of Cymro, and is derived from cyn (first, pristine, original), and bro (a district or region), as ' Morwynion bro Meirionydd.' Thus Cymru, now called Wales by our English friends, becomes the radix terrse vel matrix (the root of mother earth) as it were— the autochton or native country. Its latinised form into Cambria and Cumbria of the North is traceable, in harmony with the grammatical rules or laws of the language to this root, by its well-understood commutation of the n and b in cyn, and bro into m in cym, and the m in mry. This idea of aborigines or indigense, as ever promulgated by the natives of Britain, prevailed also in the Crimea and Kififiepia (from a simirar derivative) before and after Homer, and continued down to Csesar's time, as I learn from the following passage, "Britannise pars interior ab iis incolitur quos natos in insula ipsa memoria proditum dicunt: The interior part of Britain is inhabited by such as are recorded by tradition to be originally planted there."
Wales is derived from Taliesin's Wallia, 'Ond Gwyllt Wallia,' which, in its turn, came from gwdl (cultivated soil), or gal (fair as a stream), which also is the root of Galatia, Gallia, Gaul, and Galles. The Saxons called the early Cymry, Wallish or Wallis; hence, by syncope, it became, by an easy transition, the Walsh or Welsh of the subsequent Danes and Normans. The Saxons, also, from their correct knowledge of the people they came to succour and deceive, must have concluded, from the brotherly ties of alliance and creed, as well as from the identity of language, peculiar to the Gallic Armoricans and the Cymry, that the original natives of the island were of common extraction with their continental neighbours.
Albion is derived from albus, on account of the white cliffs visible to navigators on the south side of the island; or, from its root of Alp, a craggy ridge.
But, whence came the name of Britannia, 'Gwlad yr hen Frydaniaid' (Land of the ancient Britons)?
"Nostro deducta Britannia mundo."
Before the island received its now world-wide name, it was mysteriously called ' Isles of the sea' 'Isles of the west,' the 'Island which is in the sea'; the 'Ewe Tov Zetyvpov' (The far west); the 'Zofog T)epoue' (House of darkness, or the extreme west of the Hyperboreans); and 'Boreas under the Great Bear' (Gelidiprope flabra aquilonis); also, the Hyperborean Isles of Hecatseus, and of Pindar.
I meet the term Britannia under various primitive forms, as Bperaria, hperaviKr) vntroe (Britannia, the British Isle); and, in Aristides, by way of eminence, T) fieyaXn vr)troe (The great island).
Procopius calls it Bpina. The same form or root is also discernible in the following distich ex Sibyllse oraculis :—
"Eir<r£rou cv Bpi/reo-ort, Kat ev FaXXoic iroXvKpvtroie
"On Britain and the golden coast of Gaul
Dionysius Afer speaks of the group as Isles incomparable :—
"Tauir To fieycdoe ircpmoiov, ov Kat ne aXXi;
"Such is theii circumference, no other isles
What is the meaning, then of the final trisyllable in the term Britannia?
The Tavux (tania) in such words as Mauritania, Seqiulania, according to ancient glossaries, signifies in old Greek, an extent of country, from tyn, a stretch, an expansion.
The prefix now remains. It has occupied the searching investigation of our oldest Cimbric etymologists. According to some, the term can be solvable into no other, than to Brython of Llydaw or Amorica, or to Brut, Britis, or Brutus, of Troy, two illustrious prehistorical colonists of Asia Minor. According to others, not well versed in the correct history of their race, it refers to the epithet Brith, painted or variegated, in allusion probably, to the Volusenian concoction, and the consequent Csesarean legend,
attributing to the whole nation, what was practised only by a few gymnasts, who daubed their frames with vitrum, woad, or other coloured unguents preparatory to their exhibition on the arena; which custom was, is, and probably will be, the practice of Europe generally, till histories shall be no more. This fanciful 'painted' interpretation was never even slightly, much less seriously entertained, by any philologist possessing a grain of 'rationale,' in corpore sano; this exploded change has long vented itself in thin air, and is totally unworthy of any future repercussion.
For my part I am disposed to rely on the druidical records of my country, rather than on the terrified imagination of a reconnoiterer, or on the speculative ideas of a crude and credulous posterity, relying on the 'fallacia mendacia' of a former period, to ooze out their impotent dignity.
This antique term, then, according to the triad, is derived distinctly from 'Prydain ab Aedd Mawr' (Prydain son of Aedd the Great).
"Tri enw a ddoded ar ynys Prydain o'r dechreuad. Cyn ei chyfanneddu y doded arni Clas Merddin; a gwedi ei chyfanneddu arni, Y Fel Ynys; a gyrru gwledigaeth arni gan Prydain ab Aedd Mawr, y doded arny ynys Prydain. (Three names were given to the Isle of Britain from the beginning; before it was inhabited, Clas Merddin " the sea-girt green spot" : and after it was inhabited, that of Fel Ynys, "the honey island ": and when the country assumed a form of government by Prydain the son of Aedd the Great, the name of Ynys Prydain was conferred upon it.")
A partial interregnum of name, however, occurred on the arrival and occupation of certain parts of the island by Fryt, when the country for awhile assumed the ephemeral dignity of Ynys Brat, according to a rider attached as it were to a clause of the triad.
"Ag wedy ei goresgyn o Vryt y dodes arni Ynys Brut, (And when overcome by Vryt, the name of Ynys Brut was imposed upon it.)"
Post mortem extemplo mutavit nomina tempus.
The root of Prydain is discovered in the epithet Pryd, which according to philological interpretation, signifies precious, dear, fair or beautiful, and was at a very early date, accepted as a surname in the British royal family of the island.
Perhaps it would not be considered out of place to give you a list of the fanciful, and ingenious interpretations of mankind, respecting our Ynys Prydain, as Pryd-cdin, a fair aspect; Bri-ton, above the sea, of the Cymry; Braidin, the extensive land of the Irish; Brutus, of the Romans- and Asiatics; Brython, a warrior from Gaul; Berith-tan, separate land of the Hebrews; and finally, Barat-anac, land of tin or alcan of the Phoenicians.
All these attempted derivations are, en passent, however, of importance to the antiquarian, as tending on the part of the writers, as it were unconsciously, to corroborate and identify the existence of the island, in remote times, by Gauls, Hebrews, and Phoenicians, if they serve no other purpose.
The island was consequently first known to the Greeks, under the name of Uperav and corrupted by the Romans into Brittan after the example of the latter Greeks.
Our Gallic friends, however, maintain, on the authority of Pomponius Mela, that the Britons of Amorica, gave it its nama on its first colonization, ' from its charming and lovely aspect,' or from Brython, a gallic warrior and colonist of Britain.
Lucretius is one of the first latin poets, who, while treating of the different temperatures of the air, refers to Britannia and its British skye.
"Nam quid Britannum ccelum differre putamus
"Et quod in (Egypto, est qua mundi clausieat axis."
Horace, Martial, Juvenal, Ausonius also name the inhabitants of the isle. Of Csesar and Tacitus, I have something to say hereafter.
Ancient inscriptions erected in Britain, would necessarily adopt the original corrupted version, hence Brito, Britones, Brittus; Prydain is rare. One inscription was found in Rome, near Santa Maria Rotuna, bearing in strange alphabetical characters, Natione Britto, somewhat analogous, au premier coup d' ceil, to Hebrew, Greek or Phoenician letters, as every admirer of the Coelbren y beirdd is fully cognizant.
The first mention in pagan history of the Cymry, Cimmerii, or Cimbri, by name, appears about 1000 years B.c, corresponding with the reigns of David and Solomon, in the eleventh book of Homer's Odyssey.
H3 ee weipad' ucave Bapvdpaav Sikeclvolo
"And he arrived at the boundaries of the deep ocean, where the people and the states or realm of Cimmerian heroes resided." The woXte of Homer was probably the fortified Kt/x^iepic of Strabo and Herodotus. The theoretic legend of an untravelled scholiast, in his peripatetic garden, gravely describes them as dwelling beyond the ocean stream, immersed in the bleak fastnesses and darkness of Scythian wilds, unblessed by the rays of Helios. Poor soul! in his own self-made Cimmerian darkness
"He trudged along, unknowing what he sought,
"And whistled as he went along, for want of thought."
This Lexiconic piece of information amounts, when examined into, to a self-evident result of gilded nil. A mere learned nonentity. Let me probe, out of the scanty materials within my reach, something more durable—some idea more patent to the light of day, if it be possible.
"Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow,—
"He who would search for pearls must dive below."
FAMILY CIMBRI0J1 VEL CELTICS.
(THE CIMBRO-CELTIC FAMILIES)
"Ad nos vix tenuis famae perlabitur aura."—Virgil.
Herodotus, the father of Grecian history, and a painstaking writer, who lived from 484 to 407 B.c, leads us to infer, in his Melpomene and elsewhere, that one great branch of the Ki/j/ieptoi (Cimmerians), in an undefined vista of the past, after their expulsion by the Scythian Nomadesof the north from their long-acquired posessions in Crimea, along the shores of the Caucasian range, the Palus Moeotis, and the Axinus, had been forced by a renewal of these tidal waves of other Scythian hordes, to invade and occupy in their turn more genial southern lands, and form new settlements of their own,—which again in the course of succeeding ages, certain Asiatic tribes attacked, and, after having been recruited from time to time, as we glean from the Cyclic poets, and their annotators, as well as from Hecatseus as preserved in Strabo, inundated and overcame the long-established frontier and central districts of Asia minor.
In the course of this paper I shall endeavour to pierce through the mists of ages, and evolve, by means of coins and other inferential sources of information, aided now and then by direct, well-defined and authentic proofs of Cimbric identifications, throughout the length and breadth of Asia Minor, and certain isles of the iEgean sea, the truth of the facts inferred.
I, however, approach the question of dormant centuries, with feelings of repugnancy, distrust, and awe. The question, notwithstanding an abyssal gap of evidence, merits an attempt. Telemachus-like, I also will go in search of our long-lost ancestors—possibly I may not succeed. Let other sons of Cambria or Armorica come to the rescue and maintain the dignity of our sires, by looking after homes once occupied by them in the far east and west: a pilgrimage of this kind cannot but be beneficial to our patriotic Cimbric and Arforig hearts, and possibly to a new feature in the literature of the world.