Early Brittany from 300 BCE


Map Code: Ax01110

Julius Caesar incorporated Brittany into the Roman Empire by, but only the southeastern corner would become Romanized (‘-ac’ endings adopted from Roman ‘acum’ = ‘town’). In 383, Magnus Maximus, Roman governor of Britain, brought an army to Brittany in his bid to become emperor. These troops are reported to have settled there, bequeathing nostalgic names to their territories (Cornouaille, ‘Cornwall’; Domnonee, ‘Devon’). Missionaries from Wales, Cornwall and Ireland, the ‘Seven Founding Saints’, arrived in the 6th century and lent their names to monastic settlements which became the nucleus of future towns: St Malo, St Brieuc, St Pol de Leon and so on. Bretons fought with Clovis, the Frankish leader, against the Visigoths, earning their autonomy. In the 6th century, they suffered the tyranny of Conomor the Cursed, who reputedly murdered his predecessor, his son, and four wives. Unity, and independence from the Carolingian Empire, would be achieved by Duke Nominoe, with Viking support, in 846.

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