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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Albion (Greek: Ἀλβιών) is the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. It is thought to derive from the white cliffs of Dover. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island or England in particular. It is also the basis of the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba.



The derivation of the name Albion is discussed by Eilert Ekwall in an article called "Early names of Britain" in Antiquity 1930.

Gallo-Latin Albiōn (cf. Middle Irish Albbu) derives from the Proto-Celtic * Alb-i̯en-, sharing the same stem as Welsh elfydd "earth, world", together with other toponyms such as Alpes. The Latin word alba is the feminine singular form of albus, meaning "white" in English.

It has been thought to derive from the white cliffs of Dover. Today, it is still sometimes used poetically to refer to the island or (incorrectly) England in particular. It is also the basis of the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba.


The early writer (6th century BC), whose periplus was translated by Avienus at the end of the 4th century AD (see Massaliote Periplus), does not use the name Britannia; instead he speaks of nesos 'Iernon kai 'Albionon: the islands of the Ierni and the Albiones. Likewise, Pytheas of Massilia (ca. 320 BC) speaks of Albion and Ierne. But Pytheas' grasp of the νῆσος Πρεττανική nesos Prettanicé (Britanic island) is somewhat blurry, and appears to include anything he considers a western island, including Thule.[1]

The name was used by Isadorus Charactacenis and subsequently by many classical writers. By the 1st century AD, the name refers unequivocally to Great Britain. The Pseudo-Aristotelian text De mundo (393b) has:

Ἐν τούτῳ γε μὴν νῆσοι μέγισται τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι δύο, Βρεττανικαὶ λεγόμεναι, Ἀλβίων καὶ Ἰέρνη
"the largest islands they reached were two, called the Britannic [isles], Albion and Iernē."

Pliny the Elder, in his Natural History (4.16.102) likewise has:

"It was itself named Albion, while all the islands about which we shall soon briefly speak were called the Britanniae." Ptolemy says that Albion was a name that was formerly used of Britain.

See also


  1. ^ G. F. Unger, Rhein. Mus. xxxviii., 1883, pp. 156-196.

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Albion is in Mendocino County.

  • Fensalden Inn, 33810 Navarro Ridge Road (off Hwy. 1), 1-800-959-3850, [1]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Fensalden Inn is a tranquil Mendocino Bed and Breakfast along the Northern California Coast just south of Mendocino. Fensalden is a completely renovated 1860s era stagecoach stop that eight accommodations with ocean views, fireplaces, private bathrooms and gourmet breakfasts. The place is quite romantic! $149-$243.  edit
Routes through Albion
Fort BraggMendocino  N noframe S  Point ArenaSan Francisco
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Ancient Gallo-Latin name for Britain, Albiōn (Middle Welsh Albbu, Old Irish Albu), is from Proto-Celtic *albiyo- (world), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂élbʰos, *álbʰos (white), whence also Latin albus (white) and Ancient Greek ἀλφός (alphos), whiteness, white leprosy). The primary meaning of Common Celtic word is "upper world" (as opposed to underworld), with semasiological development similar to e.g. Russian свет (svet), world; light).

It is often hypothesised that the Romans took it as connected with albus (white), in reference to the White cliffs of Dover.

Proper noun


Wikipedia has an article on:


  1. The ancient name for England (or sometimes, the British Isles), now only used poetically.
  2. Any of several small towns in the United States.



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