On Thu, 16 Sep 2004 13:53:18 -0400, Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>

> the island of Great Britain (why the adjective, btw?  Is or was there
> a Not-so-great Britain?),

There was indeed. When the Angles and Saxons came, Britons fled to France
(as well as Wales, Cumbria, Scotland, et al), and set up Little Britain,
that is to say Brittany, and their language was (or became?) Breton.

Interestingly, when the Normans invaded, many Bretons were among their
number, and apparently considered themselves an army of justice, returning
Britain to British hands, and removing the Anglo-Saxons, oppressors of
their Celtic brethren. The fact that they set themselves up as an
oppressive ruling class, dominating an almost entirely Anglo-Saxon peasant
class (the Britons having been displaced pretty much to their modern
homelands) is somewhat of an amusing irony.