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Although none of his own writings remain, writers during the time of the Roman Empire made much reference to them.
Pytheas called the islands collectively (hai Brettaniai), which has been translated as the Brittanic Isles; he also used the term Pretannike.
In 122, they fortified the northern border with Hadrian’s Wall, which spanned what is now Northern England.
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The earliest evidence for the Britons and their language in historical sources dates to the Iron Age.
After the Roman conquest of Britain in the 1st century, a Romano-British culture emerged, and Latin and British Vulgar Latin coexisted with Brittonic.
“Brittonic languages” is a more recent coinage (first attested 1923 according to the Oxford English Dictionary) intended to refer to the ancient Britons specifically.
In English, the term “Briton” originally denoted the ancient Britons and their descendants, most particularly the Welsh, who were seen as heirs to the ancient British people.
The Britons, also known as Celtic Britons or Ancient Britons, were Celtic people who inhabited Great Britain from the British Iron Age into the Middle Ages, at which point their culture and language diverged.
They spoke the Common Brittonic language, the ancestor to the modern Brittonic languages.
Pictish is now generally accepted to descend from Common Brittonic, rather than being a separate Celtic language.
Welsh and Breton survive today; Cumbric became extinct in the 12th century.
During this period some Britons migrated to mainland Europe and established significant settlements in Brittany (now part of France) as well as Britonia in modern Galicia, Spain.