p.1 British Isles
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Isles of Great Britain.
Ap Arthurs History.
Things to be observed by an Historian.
who subduing the same, changed that name into Britain. As for
the particulars of this, you may see Mr. Cambden, and others
who discourse of it, as they are informed by one Ap Arthur
of Monmouths History of Great Britain, published in the reign
of King Henry the second, where amongst other things, he
relates a long story of this Brutus a Trojan, and by what
means he set footing on this Isle; Mr. Cambden, and
John Weathamstead the Abbot, are of opinion that this story
of Brutus is but a mear Poetical fiction. For every
Historian, before he ought to attempt the credit, or writing
of a History, must observe the obscurity and fabulousness
of things: now this Ap Arthur receiving its birth 330
years before the first Olympias, which was a rude and
ignorant age, 'tis very improbable he should be able to give
a good account of things, as the History pretends to do. But
to return to my first Discourse; others there are which
would have this word Britania extracted from Britona a fair
Nymph of Greece; and some from Brit, or Brith,
signifying paynted, and Tania a Kingdom, which compound the
Greek word [ ], or [ ], the painted Kingdom. These people
used to paint themselves with divers colours, but chiefly
which the Juice of an herb called Oad or Woad.
The Britains indispositions not much unlike the
Oppianus called them [ ], the painted people. Pompenius Mela
was non-plust at their humour in painting themselves in
that manner: but since his time, some have took upon them
the declaring the mystery of that fancy; and say that those
who were illustrated by Pictures, representing countenances
grym and gashful, served for terrour and amazement, believing
it a great advantage against an enemy in time of battle. And
as they were a blood thirsty people, so were they
alwaies earnest, and greedy of victory, and what they could
not gain by strength, they aimed at by policy, and craft;
well knowing how to sharpen war by inraging furies, and
to flatter up an advantageous peace by smiling friendship.
Also Countenances painted sweet and comely, presaged amity,
and pleasures. And others there were that painted themselves
with the effigies of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, as is
demonstrated in those Figures.
[star] Magog the issue of Japhet.
Gomari the ancient Gauls.
Cimbri the ancient Britains.
It is the opinion of some, that these Britains were the
first Natives, and not extracted from a forreign root; but
that seemeth unlikely, being assured otherwise by Moses's
sacred History, the World being encreased from the
off-springs of Sem, Cham, and [star] Japhet, Noahs sons: and
why this Isle should not participate with the other parts of
the Earth, Theophilus Antiochenus understandeth not: And
being granted, that every Countrey must have its beginning,
'tis rationally believed, that those scituated nearest to
the Mountains where Noahs Ark rested, were first peopled, as Greece before Italy, and that before Gaul, so Gaul
Julius Caesar reports much to the aid of the precedent
argument, That Divitiacus the old Gaul, to his
knowledge, possessed a good part of Britain well as Gaul. It
is certain, there is relation to be had to National
appellatives, and that each must be known by their
These Britains covered their nakedness with Plates of Iron,
a Mettal more esteemed by them, then Gold was by
Governed by Kings.
They were governed by several Potentates, or Kings, the
one independant upon the other.
Their Habitations or Houses were built with Reeds and Wood,
and in such manner, as they might be erected as soon
as demolished; yet doubtless the Grandees amongst them had
their places of residence of better Architecture.
Who is able to give an account of their Religion? certain it
is, they had none worthy to be so esteemed; yet were they
not without abun- / dance
p.3 British Isles