The Bretons, who most nearly represent the Celts, and the Basques, who inhabit parts of the western versant of the Pyrenees, have preserved their distinctive languages and customs, and are ethnically the most interesting sections of the nation; the Flemings of French Flanders where Flemish is still spoken are also racially distinct.
In 1076 he invaded Brittany to get possession of the fugitive earl of Norfolk; but Philip of France came to the aid of the Bretons, and William gave way before his suzerain.
The neighbouring lords attacked and ravaged the municipal territories; grave injuries were inflicted by the mercenary bands, especially by the Bretons and Gascons.
The Bretons hoped that their young prince would uphold their independence, which was threatened by the English.
Placed Florence under an interdict, ordered the expulsion of all Florentines from foreign countries, and engaged a ferocious company of Bretons to invade the republic's territory.
They turned the tables on the pope by engaging Hawkwood, and although the Bretons by order of Cardinal Robert of Geneva (afterwards the anti-pope Clement VII.) committed frightful atrocities in Romagna, their captains were bribed by the republic not to molest its territory.
Bruzen Lamartiniere states in his Dictionnaire Geographique that the Gauls and Bretons called it by a word signifying "the forest," which was turned into Latin as Arduenna silva, and he thinks it quite probable that the name was really derived from the Celtic word ardu (dark, obscure).
Meanwhile the Basques and Bretons, asserting that they were being ruined by de Monts' privileges, got his patent revoked, and Champlain returned with the discouraged colonists to Europe.
His Brut or Geste des Bretons (Le Roux de Lincy, 1836-1838, 2 vols.), written in 1155, is merely a translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Besides this, Charles had to struggle against the incessant rebellions in Aquitaine, against the Bretons, whose revolt was led by their chief Nomenoe and Erispoe, and who inflicted on the king the defeats of Ballon (845) and Juvardeil (851), and especially against the Normans, who devastated the country in the north of Gaul, the valleys of the Seine and Loire, and even up to the borders of Aquitaine.
The duke of the Basques came to his court to swear fidelity, and at his villa at Clichy the chief of the Bretons of Domnone promised obedience.
In and after the later part of the 5th century it received many Celtic immigrants from the British Isles, fleeing (it is said) from the Saxons; and the Celtic dialect which the Bretons still speak is thought to owe its origin to these immigrants.
Examples: Latin cupidus gave cybydd; Tacitus gave 1 The Bretons call their language Brezonek; the Welsh bards sometimes call Welsh Brythoneg: both forms imply an original *Brittonica.
The Bretons are by nature conservative.
The reader will find full illustrations of the different styles in Bouet's Breiz-izel, ou vie des Bretons de l'Armorique (1844).
Confirmed the privileges of Brittany, and in particular guaranteed to the Bretons the right of paying only those taxes to which the assembly of estates consented.
Lhe Bretons were equally willing to rise in the name of Geoffrey and Constance against the guardian who was keeping their prince too long waiting for his inheritance.
One body of scholars, headed by Professor Wendelin Forster of Bonn, while admitting that, so far as any historic basis can be traced, the events recorded must have happened on insular ground, maintain that the knowledge of these events, and their romantic development, are due entirely to the Bretons of the continent.
Through the medium of French-speaking Bretons these tales came to the cognizance of Northern French poets, notably Chretien de Troyes, who wove them into romances.
The origin of the Latin name secale, which exists in a modified form among the Basques and Bretons, is not explained.
Dagoberts victories over Samo, king of the Slays along the Elbe, and his subjugation of the Bretons and the Basques, maintained the prestige of the Frankish empire; while the luxury of his court, his taste for the fine arts (ministered to by his treasurer Eloi i), his numerous achievements in architectureespecially the abbey of St Denis, burial-place of the kings of Francethe brilliance and the power of the churchmen who surrounded him and his revision of the Salic law, ensured for his reign, in spite of the failure of his plans for unity, a fame celebrated in folksong and ballad.
Charles the Bald thus spent his life sword in hand, fighting unsuccessfully against the Bretons, whose two kings, Nomeno and Erispo, he had to recognize in turn; and against the people of Aquitaine, who, in full revolt, appealed for help to his brother, Louis the German.
Beaumanoir commanded thirty Bretons, Bramborough a mixed force of twenty Englishmen, six German mercenaries and four Breton partisans of Montfort.
But the Bretons rose to defend their independence, and recalled their duke.
The Breton bishops were for the most part abbots of monasteries, who had but little consideration for the territorial limits of the civitates; and many of the religious usages of the Bretons differed profoundly from those of the Franks.
Hence arose incessant complaints on the part of the dispossessed bishops, of the metropolitan of Tours, and his suffragans, notably those of Angers and Le Mans, which were more exposed than the others to the incursions of the Bretons; and this gave rise to numerous papal letters, and all this throughout a period of thirty years.
Hoche crushed the insurrection of the Chouans and the Bretons at Quiberon on the 2nd of July 1795, and Pichegru, scared, refused to entangle himself any further.
He was beaten everywhere and always: by the Bretons at Ballon (845) and Juvardeil (851); by the people of Aquitaine near Angouleme (845); and by the Northmen, who several times extorted heavy ransoms from him.
To check the Bretons and the Normans, who were attacking from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Charles the Bald found himself obliged to entrust the defence of the country to Robert the Strong, ancestor of the house of Capet and duke of the lands between Loire and Seine.