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Celtic Armoric (Armorique in French)

At the time of the Gaul conquest by Rome, current Brittany bore the name of Armorique: in Latin Aremorica or Armorica. Its inhabitants were the Armorican ones. This Gallic name designates the people which live close (are) sea (mor). For Jules César, Armorique also includes the current Normandy: it is the area of the edge of sea, from the Loire to the Seine.
The Gallic name gave:
- in French: Armor which one finds in the name of the department of the Côtes d’Armor (Coasts of Armor). It replaces the name of Coasts of North: north was not judged attracting for the tourists, one changed the name...
- in Breton: arvor indicates the littoral and Arvorig, the Armorique.

West Harmoric was inhabited by five Gallic people. At the end of the third century, the Armorican must face Saxon and frank raids. Then, the cities are strengthened; Carhaix and Corseul lose their statute of chief town, with the profit of Brest and Alet (close to Saint-Malo), where one builds citadels for better defending the littoral. It is at that time that the name of the chief towns takes those of their people. Thus, Vannes, Nantes, Rennes and Corseul take their name from Gallic people.

Harmonic becomes Brittany

Brittany indicated at the Roman time, the current United Kingdom. And the Breton designated the Celtic inhabitants of the island of Brittany. In 410, Rome gives up Brittany; it needs all its resources to protect the border from the Rhine. After the invasion, to the east, Angles and the Saxon ones, Germanic people, in the island of Brittany, and also the west, of the Irishmen, Breton (primarily of Cornwall and Wales) crossed the English Channel to settle in Harmonic.
These Germanic invasions then modified the noun of the countries: - Brittany becomes England (Earth - Land of the Angles), - Harmonic becomes Brittany, - Gaul becomes France (it also invaded by Germanic people, Franks). The Breton ones also settled in other areas. They did not only give their name to Brittany, several places of France bear their name: Bretteville (which one meets in Normandy) Brétigny, Brétignolles, Brethenay, Bretonneux... Some even settled in Galicia: a monastery bears the name of Santa Maria de Bretoña.

In Latin:
Britanni: Breton (Jules César) from which one the name of the Britannia country to indicate Brittany. In medieval Latin, one distinguished Britannia Minor (Small Brittany) from Britannia Major (the United Kingdom). From where the adjective britannicus which formed British.
However, the usual Latin shape is: Britto (singular) Brittones (plural) evolution evolution tt -> th in the VIth century (cf old Welsh Brython)
Brief I -> e in the Xth century

In Breton:
th -> z into Breton (except vannetais) Breiz
th -> h vannetais (very aspired) Breih

In old French, Bret indicates Breton (and Breton, in the plural)

Brittany or Létavie

The Breton also bore in the Middle Ages the name of Litavii then Letavii, from which comes the name of the country Letavia (Létaviens, Létavie). This name disappeared in the XIIth century, but it is preserved in Welsh: Brittany bears the name of Llydaw today. The Welsh have, at the same time abandoned the name of Brython for that of Cymro (from kom-brogos, compatriot)

Tro Breiz: the Turn of Brittany

With the arrival of the Celts from the other side of the channel, Brittany also became Christian. In the Middle Ages, the great pilgrimage of Breton, it is Tro Breiz (Turn of Brittany) in homage to the 7 saints founders of Brittany. The most important pilgrimage is the one of Sainte-Anne d' Auray. Anne, the mother of Marie and grandmother of Jesus, is the holy owner of Brittany...




Saint-Malo - Mont Saint-Michel - Erquy - Tréguier - Cap Fréhel - Fort La Latte - Cap Primel - Morlaix - Quenecan - Trevezel Roc - Moncontour - Lamballe



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