The largest of the British Isles, including what is now called England, Wales, and Scotland. Until Roman times the island's inhabitants were dominantly Brythonic Celts, ancestors of the modern Welsh and Cornish. For that reason the word Prydain [W, Britain] in early Welsh narrative usually denotes all of Britain, not just the Welsh-speaking areas. The concept of Wales [W Cymru] as a nation distinct from Britain came later. The OIr. Bretain, ModIr. Breatain, ScG Breatunn, and Corn. Breten may mean all of Britain or Britain exclusive of Scotland. In Breton, the isle of Britain is Breizh-Veur or Enez-Vreizh. According to the Irish pseudo-history Lebor Gabála [Book of Invasions], Britain was named for the Nemedian hero Britán Máel. In many Welsh narratives Britain is known as the Island of the Mighty. See also ENGLAND.
Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).