"British Isles" makes front page of one the web's biggest sites



Green eyed monster

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The term was first widely used in the early 17thC when James I was trying to secure Ireland for Britain (and pave the way for eventual Union with Scotland), ie it was specifically used in a context to show that Ireland belonged to the British when a British identity was being invented, it's use in today's world is quite irredentist (i don't buy this 'geographical term' nonsense, it's political significance is obvious).

However all the major sites and corporations use it on the web, in particular wikipedia which seems to try to fit as many uses of the term as possible into any pages that deal with matters common to both Ireland and Britain - so this is not new exactly.

At the end of the day it is only a term which anyone can choose to ignore as they please. Although it seems designed to erase the very separate and particular Irish identity there is not much we can do to stop it's use, words can be used freely and their use by corporations would only be challenged by lobbying power which the Irish may not have (and of course there are many Irish even in the Republic who would feel warmed by the term).
 

johnfás

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Shock. Horror.

Why do you scour the web looking for offence, more to the point.

 

cry freedom

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In his book "Reformation" the historian Diarmaid MacCulloch uses the more diplomatic "Atlantic Isles" to describe our little geological gathering.
Think it has a future?
The Republican loons on this site will probably not be happy until they move the Greenwich Meridian to Ballyporeen.
 

Sync

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It's a geographic term that's being phased out. It's mostly used these days when small people with inferiority complexes complain about people using the term.

Your picture is from Wikipedia. You seem to think encyclopedias should only feature things you like. You're not smart.
 

Mushroom

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YesSireeeBob

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It's a geographic term that's being phased out. It's mostly used these days when small people with inferiority complexes complain about people using the term.

Your picture is from Wikipedia. You seem to think encyclopedias should only feature things you like. You're not smart.
and who came up with this " geographic term"?

I think encyclopedias should contain accurate information.

The Irish government would have to make the term offical for it to be accurate.
 

Keith-M

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My sig.block explains all this. Do you see people in the U.K. getting when they hear mention of "The Irish Sea"? Some people really have nothing to worry about.
 

Green eyed monster

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Shock. Horror.

Why do you scour the web looking for offence, more to the point.

You might have a point if it was called the Spanish Peninsula and not the Iberian, the term Iberian is not specific to one of the two (three if you include Andorra) countries there as 'British Isles' is. It is a neutral term, in addition the history of one member attacking, oppressing and trying to claim the other is not as strong as it is in the history of the British Isles and Ireland. The term Iberian is truly ancient and widely and continuously used throughout history, the term British Isles has only one ancient use by a third party explorer who used it in a different context, it was never used except in one mention by one explorer and then in the early 17thC by the British who used it to re-enforce their territorial claims to Ireland.
 

cry freedom

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You might have a point if it was called the Spanish Peninsula and not the Iberian, the term Iberian is not specific to one of the two (three if you include Andorra) countries there as 'British Isles' is. It is a neutral term, in addition the history of one member attacking, oppressing and trying to claim the other is not as strong as it is in the history of the British Isles and Ireland. The term Iberian is truly ancient and widely and continuously used throughout history, the term British Isles has only one ancient use by a third party explorer who used it in a different context, it was never used except in one mention by one explorer and then in the early 17thC by the British who used it to re-enforce their territorial claims to Ireland.
Once again, as so often in our history, we were just too bloody late.
If we had become an independent republic before the 17th century we could have called ourselves whatever we liked.
Now that it has entered all the text books it is going to be very hard to unravel.
Time to accept what we cannot change and move on.
Best answer to all this is for us to become a strong, vibrant,ethical nation.
 

ocoonassa

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Erroneously on the part of this one explorer, much like Columbus called the American Natives 'Indians'. Prettanic refers to a tribe which existed in Britain but not Ireland.
From Wiki which cites Niall Ferguson and Christopher Snyder as the sources;

Historians today, though not in absolute agreement, largely agree that the Greek and Latin names were likely drawn from native Celtic-language names for the archipelago. The Latin term derives from the Greek form Prettanike which originally referred to a collection of islands that are known today as the British Isles. Along these lines, the inhabits of the islands of Pretanike were called the Πρεττανοι (Priteni or Pretani). The shift from the "P" of Pretannia to the "B" of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar. By the 1st century BC Britannia was being used to refer to Great Britain specifically, due to the Roman conquest and the subsequent establishment of the Roman province of Britannia, which eventually came to encompass the part of the island south of Caledonia (roughly, Scotland).
 

Green eyed monster

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From Wiki which cites Niall Ferguson and Christopher Snyder as the sources;

Historians today, though not in absolute agreement, largely agree that the Greek and Latin names were likely drawn from native Celtic-language names for the archipelago. The Latin term derives from the Greek form Prettanike which originally referred to a collection of islands that are known today as the British Isles. Along these lines, the inhabits of the islands of Pretanike were called the Πρεττανοι (Priteni or Pretani). The shift from the "P" of Pretannia to the "B" of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar. By the 1st century BC Britannia was being used to refer to Great Britain specifically, due to the Roman conquest and the subsequent establishment of the Roman province of Britannia, which eventually came to encompass the part of the island south of Caledonia (roughly, Scotland).
I doubt very much the Goidels would have referred to themselves as Pretanni. It was a mistake or viewpoint of an explorer and is only mentioned once, (but as the American example shows one mistake is all it can take). I also seriously doubt the claim you mention that the peoples of these islands had a name for 'the archipelago', the concept of a name for an archipelago was naturally the creation of the explorer, in this case the one who came upon it. Being Greek maybe he assumed that it is natural to group a group of islands under one term (seeing as ancient Greece consisted of numerous islands).

Whatever about the mention by some Greek of the term, the true origins of the term British Isles lie in the early 17thC and was invoked primarily because that was when a British identity was being created... Before that few if any would have even used the term 'British' never mind British Isles... Notwithstanding the independent kingdoms in Scotland and England (and their hostility to each other).

The term Prettanic Isles is an archaic curiosity and nothing more and has no connection to the term British Isles as used in the 17thC.
 
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ocoonassa

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Being Greek maybe he assumed that it is natural to group a group of islands under one term.
I'd put it down to his being human and loving to reduce, group and classify stuff.

The term Prettanic Isles is an archaic curiosity and nothing more and has no connection to the term British Isles as used in the 17thC.
Well if that's where the Romans got it from then the whole naming convention flows from that archaic curiosity. With people from the other nations I make sure to use the term Irish Isles, it rubs up their nationalistic fools the wrong way. I use British Isles here for the same sport. However when I'm not teasing people the fact remains that an archipelago needs a name. So what do you call it?
 

splashy

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Relocation is the only answer - Ireland will have to be towed several hundred miles further away from the it's present position.
That's been a work in progress for a number of million years now. The Earth itself seems disposed towards Ireland's separation from Britain.
 

Ifor Bach

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I doubt very much the Goidels would have referred to themselves as Pretanni. It was a mistake or viewpoint of an explorer and is only mentioned once, (but as the American example shows one mistake is all it can take). I also seriously doubt the claim you mention that the peoples of these islands had a name for 'the archipelago', the concept of a name for an archipelago was naturally the creation of the explorer, in this case the one who came upon it. Being Greek maybe he assumed that it is natural to group a group of islands under one term (seeing as ancient Greece consisted of numerous islands).

Whatever about the mention by some Greek of the term, the true origins of the term British Isles lie in the early 17thC and was invoked primarily because that was when a British identity was being created... Before that few if any would have even used the term 'British' never mind British Isles... Notwithstanding the independent kingdoms in Scotland and England (and their hostility to each other).

The term Prettanic Isles is an archaic curiosity and nothing more and has no connection to the term British Isles as used in the 17thC.
This has already been discussed ad nauseum on this site.

'Britain' is undoubtably a term of Celtic origin. It exists in the present day Welsh language as 'Prydain', and the language spoken by their ancestors is refered to as 'Brythoneg'.

The Greek geographer who first used the term did so, because that is the term the then inhabitants of the islands used.

'The British Isles' is not a term invented by a political entity in the 18th century, however much it may annoy or irritate Irish nationalist bores and fanatics, as it predates the existance of any British state by at least 2 milennia.
 

Green eyed monster

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I'd put it down to his being human and loving to reduce, group and classify stuff.
I'd put it down to a one-off throwaway remark which has been exaggerated by right wing imperialist historians like Niall Ferguson in an attempt to support or make natural Britain's claim to Ireland (extremely anachronistic application of the term but Ferguson is the type who has an agenda). It was also mentioned (on the wiki page) that other names were used such as oceani insulae (islands of the ocean), the term British Isles was not used until after the British invasions of the last 500 years. It is therefore properly associated with the propaganda of justifying British rule in Ireland and is so, even today.

Well if that's where the Romans got it from then the whole naming convention flows from that archaic curiosity. With people from the other nations I make sure to use the term Irish Isles, it rubs up their nationalistic fools the wrong way. I use British Isles here for the same sport. However when I'm not teasing people the fact remains that an archipelago needs a name. So what do you call it?
Ireland and Britain (and you must look like a right idiot calling it Irish Isles to a British person, the term doesn't have the property of taking on the same power when inverted - Britain invaded and despoiled our lands not the other way around, we have the postcolonial issues which Britain does not).
 


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