In Roman times the eastern half of the county formed part of the territory of the Silures, a pre-Celtic race, whose governing class at that time probably consisted of Brythonic Celts.
78-82 Agricola, carrying the Eagles of Rome beyond the line of the historical border, encountered tribes and confederations of tribes which, probably, spoke, some in Gaelic, some in Brythonic varieties of the Celtic language.
That they were non-Aryan, the theory of Sir John Rhys, seems improbable; for the non-English placenames of Scotland are either Gaelic or Brythonic (more or less Welsh), and the names of Pictish kings are either common to Gaelic and Welsh (or Cymric, or Brythonic), or are Welsh in their phonetics.
(2) The Brythonic or Brittonic 1 group, comprising Welsh, Breton and Cornish.
In the Goidelic group qu appears as c, thus Irish cethir, " four "; in the Brythonic group it is changed into p, as in Welsh pedwar, " four."
Gaulish, which was supplanted in France by Latin, had p, as in petor-ritum, " fourwheeled car," and is thus allied to the Brythonic group; but it is believed that remains of a continental Celtic qu- dialect appear in such names as Sequani, and in some recently discovered inscriptions.
In Brythonic, primitive Celtic qu became p, as above noted.
Town, while Latin u, borrowed in the Brythonic period, gives u with its Welsh sound above described, as in mur, " wall," from Latin mur-us.
Soc., 1885-1886, pp. 97 -201); and Brythonic was probably as highly inflected as Latin.
The development of Brythonic into Welsh is analogous to that of Latin into French.
Unfortunately, the extant remains of Brythonic are scanty; but in the Roman period it borrowed a large number of Latin words, which, as we know their original forms, and as they underwent the same modifications as other words in the language, enable us to trace the phonetic changes by which Brythonic became Welsh.
(2) After nasals p, t, c, b, d, g became respectively mh, nh, ngh, m, n, ng; thus 2mperator gave ymherawdr, and ambactos (evidently a Brythonic as well as a Gaulish word) gave amaeth (m, though etymologically double, is written single).
Thus the second element of a compound word, even though written and accented as a separate word, has a soft initial, because in Brythonic the first element of a compound generally ended in a vowel, as in the name Maglo-cunos.
Between 300 B.C. and 150 B.C. various Belgic and other Brythonic tribes established themselves in Britain bringing with them the knowledge of how to work in iron.
Some time must have elapsed before any Brythonic people undertook to defy the powerful Goidelic states, as the supremacy of the Brythonic kingdom of Tara does not seem to have been acknowledged before the 4th century of our era.
In addition to these Brythonic colonies a number of Pictish tribes, who doubtless came over from Scotland, conquered for themselves parts of Antrim and Down where they maintained their independence till late in the historical period.
As for Leinster none of the Brythonic peoples mentioned by Ptolemy left traces of their name, although it is possible that the ruling 1 Scholars are only beginning to realize how close was the connexion between Ireland and Wales from early times.
Pedersen has recently pointed out the large number of Brythonic and Welsh loan words received into Irish from the time of the Roman occupation of Britain to the beginning of the literary period.
Trindoit from trinitat-em shows the Brythonic change of a to 6).
This was doubtless the form introduced by the Brythonic invaders.