the Name "Wales".
A New Appreciation
The Welsh call their land "Cymru". The term Wales is considered to be of English
origin and to derive from a Germanic root meaning "Foreigner".
We propose that the name "Wales" was indeed of Welsh Origin and connoted "Land
of Bile" and that its original form was "Bale" or "Vale".
This became the Latin Term "Valentia" that applied to the original region of "Cymru".
"Valentia" was probably pronounced as "Walentia" and in English this became
Valentia was a Province of Britain under the Romans.
The Wikipedia says:
# Its exact
location remains uncertain. The name's closeness to the Latin word for wall (valens)
has led to the suggestion that it straddled Hadrian's Wall, or entity between
Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine
The Wikipedia article however also admits that this is supposition and that it
is uncertain where Valentia was though assumed to be in the North. It says the
name may be derived from the Latin for wall "valens" but admits that this too
People from this region moved into Northern Wales about the same time as the
Anglo-Saxons were conquering England. The Welsh of North Wales considered the
people of this region to be part of themselves and of the same stock.
Thomas Burns ("A History of the Ostro-Goths", USA, 1984, p.62) for the 300s-400s
CE has Valentia encompassing western Britain i.e. Cornwall, Wales, and the
western coast of England north of Wales. This more or less overlaps the
definition of Wales in Ancient Times before its size was reduced by foreign
The "V" and "W" in Latin interchange. Valentia was probably pronounced as "Walentia".
Walentia could mean "Land of Wales".
"Valentia" was also the name of a Province and city in Southeast Spain
# The original Latin name of
the city was Valentia
(Latin pronunciation: /wa'lentia/),
meaning "strength", "valour",
the city being named for the Roman practice of recognizing the
of former Roman soldiers after a war. The Roman historian Titus
explains that the founding of
Valentia in the 2nd century BC
was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against Iberian local
We suggest that the name "Wales" derived from the Roman "Valentia".
Conventional explanations attribute the name to an Anglo-Saxon terms meaning
"foreigner". We do not necessarily dispute this but rather propose that the
Anglo-Saxons took an existing name and re-interpreted it in terms of their own
language. Such re-interpretation of existing names in ancient times was a common
Etymology of Wales
# The Anglo-Saxon word for 'foreign' or 'foreigner' was
and a 'foreign(er's)
land' was called Walas.
The modern English forms of these words with respect to the modern country are
Welsh (the people) and Wales (the land), respectively.
# Historically in Britain the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to
the Welsh but were used indiscriminately to refer to anything that the
Anglo-Saxons associated with Celtic Britons, including other foreign lands
(e.g., Cornwall), places once associated with Celtic Britons (e.g., Walworth in
County Durham and Walton in West Yorkshire), the surnames of people (e.g.,
Walsh and Wallace) and various other things that were once new and foreign to
the Anglo-Saxons (e.g., the walnut). None of these historic usages is
necessarily connected to Wales or the Welsh.
# The Anglo-Saxon words are derived from
the same Germanic root (singular
that has provided modern names for Continental lands (e.g.,
and peoples (e.g., the Vlachs
via a borrowing into Old Church Slavonic), none of which have any
connection to Wales or the Welsh.
We have here a commonly held etymological explanation for "Wales" and "Welsh".
It could be however that (as commonly happens) the Anglo-Saxons took an existing
name and re-interpreted it in terms of their own culture.
Wales in Welsh is Cymru (pronounced "Kamru"? meaning "Land of the Cymry") or
has original text related to this article:
The modern Welsh name for themselves is
is Welsh for "Land of the Cymry".
The etymological origin of Cymry
is from the Brythonic
meaning "fellow-countrymen". The use of the word
as a self-designation derives from the post-Roman Era relationship of the Welsh
with the Brythonic-speaking
peoples of northern England and southern Scotland, the peoples of Yr Hen
(English: The Old North). In its original use, it amounted to a self-perception
that the Welsh and the "Men of the North" were one people, exclusive of all
others. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton
peoples, who are of similar heritage, culture, and language to both the Welsh
and the Men of the North. The word came into use as a self-description probably
before the 7th century. It is attested in a praise poem to
c. 633. In Welsh literature, the word
was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older,
more generic term Brythoniaid
continued to be used to describe any of the
peoples (including the Welsh) and was the more common literary term until c.
1100. Thereafter Cymry
prevailed as a reference to the Welsh. Until circa 1560
was used indiscriminately to mean either the people (Cymry)
or their homeland (Cymru).
form of the name is Cambria. Outside of Wales this form survives as the name of
in North West England, which was once a part of Yr Hen
In Summary, the Welsh referred to Wales as Cymru. Historically the term "Cymru"
encompassed North Wales, North England, and Southern Scotland all of which areas
were referred to by the Romans as Valentia or "Walentia". "Valentia" derives
from the Welsh term "Wale" or "Bile". Britain in general was considered "the
Honey Isle of Bile". Bile equals the Celtic Belenus, or Bel who is identical
with Baal of Ancient Canaan and Bel of Mesopotamia.
# Belenus is also written: Bel, Belenos, Belinos, Belinu, Bellinus, and Belus.#
Both the Celtic Bel (Belenus) and the Near Eastern Baal (Bel) were sun-gods and apart from their name quite a few similarities exist between them.
Baal was known to the Phoenicians as "Baal-samayim" (lord of heaven) and in Gaul the similarly named Belisamus was a consort of Belinus.
The earliest British monarch known definitedly to history is Caswallon or Cassivelaunos (Cassiuelaonos) Catuvellaunt,ca 48 BC ruler of the Catuvellauni in east England.
He was the son of Beli and brother of Lud and had established himself as the high-king of the British tribes.
It has been suggested (by Xavier Delamarre) that this name Cassivelaunos means "The Prince of Tin" with the end part of his name meaning "ruler".
# "Vellaunos" as "ruler" is fundamentally beyond doubt.# David Stifter.
Another proposed explanation is that,
#the tribe name Catuvellauni itself means 'The Host of Belinos' and their most well-known leader Cassivellaunos' name means 'The Devotee of Belenos'.#
This proposal however is speculative and the explanation that valaunus meant ruler (in the name Cassivellaunos) appears the most consistent with British Nomenclature.
At all events "bal" or "val" connoted ruler.
In both Semitic and Celtic nomenclature the sounds of "v" and "b" are interchangeable.
In other words we have the term "val" (equals bal) meaning ruler. This is the same meaning as the word "Baal" has in Hebrew!
Bile in Welsh tradition was the god of the dead and consort of the goddess Don.
Bile and Don were considered ancestors of the Welsh.
The husband and wife combination of the gods Bile and Dana is also recalled in Irish mythology.
Don and Bile. The Welsh Version of their Origins
The name "Wales" derives from Bile. The term Valentia at first was applied to that
portion of the Welsh identified with Cymru and the Cymry.
Later the name was applied to Wales itself.
The Anglo-Saxons identified the
native British and Welsh as foreigners and assimilated the existing term "Valentia" (Walentia) to a
similar sound ("Walas") in their own tongue. This term also had significance to
the Anglo-Saxons in the English language of that time.
Such linguistic adoptions and adaptations and revised interpretations by
outsiders of existing names are quite frequent.