"Breoton is garsecges ealond, ðæt wæs iu geara Albion haten." [translation of Bede's "Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum," c.900 C.E.]Perfidious Albion translates Fr. rhetorical phrase la perfide Albion, said to have been in use since 16c., but popularized by Napoleon I in the recruiting drive of 1813, a reference to the treacherous policies of Britain in dealing with foreign powers.
the earliest-known name for the island of Britain. It was used by ancient Greek geographers from the 4th century BC and even earlier, who distinguished "Albion" from Ierne (Ireland) and from smaller members of the British Isles. The Greeks and Romans probably received the name from the Gauls or the Celts. The name Albion has been translated as "white land"; and the Romans explained it as referring to the chalk cliffs at Dover (Latin albus, "white").
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