Britannia Who?

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

Shocking research published this week by the Keep Britannia British website keepbritanniabritish.co.uk suggests that 3 in 10 schoolchildren have no idea who Britannia is, whilst 2 in 10 believe she is the current Queen of England*. These facts would once have been considered shocking, and might be considered shocking still were it not for the fact that we already have ample evidence that knowledge [particularly of the historical kind] is now as alien to the school curriculum as is meat from a Waitaminute's economy meat and potato pie. Here in the loyal county of Dorset, failure to recognise the identity of Britannia as well as a collective conspiracy to underestimate her historical significance is particularly egregious, given that she is not only the Patron Saint of Great Heaving Commerce and Industry but also a native of the county whose descendants until recently still owned the Corner Shop Convenience Store in Frome St Quentin.


We feel it incumbent upon us, therefore, to try to reverse the deplorable down-grading of one of our great women and to put her once again where she belongs - on a pedestal slightly lower than but not far distant from Dorset's favourite son - legendary Culinary Bio-ethicist Professor Brian Thrupiece


QUICK REFRESHER COURSE

[courtesy of The Dorset Encyclopaedia of County Knowledge part of Bonipedia™, the Almost-free Threadbone Online DIgital Knowledge Base]


Britannia [/brɪˈtæniə/] is best known as a personification of the area around Frome St Quentin and, by extension, the wider county. The name is a Latinisation of the native Dorset word for the district Brytannula [or shining rings] - another, not untypical, reference to the omphalos or earth-mother birthing myth characteristic of early religious thought and iconography. By the 1st century BC, the term Britannia came to be used specifically for the 14 square metres just south of the modern-day Post Office. It was here in AD53 that a young girl from the district bravely faced down an angry mob trying to withdraw cash from their 30-day not-quite-instant DTSE gold tracker accounts following rumours that the Roman Empire was facing a banking crisis having over-invested in the Bradford Peverell camel trade. Her brave stance earned her both 2 sesterces and a reputation for feistiness - an association that still exists to this day. Popular in mediaeval times - not least because her stand-off was celebrated in a three-

Britannia has appeared on several coins including [TOP] this early Roman example commemorating her brave resistance in the environs of Frome St Quentin in AD53 [from the Yeslek Nosbig collection] and [BOTTOM] her 1958 appearance on the Great Britain half'penny coin. She was removed in 1959 in favour of a "more obvious" pop star of the time.

week feast - she appears in various decorative forms on both ecclesiastical and non-ecclesiastical buildings. Calls for her canonisation began in about 1643 but have been consistently rebuffed as successive popes have claimed that her reputation as "a decent screw" was inconsistent with the behaviour of a saint [cf St Mary Magdalene after whom at least one former and one current Oxbridge seat of learning is named]. Distinguished Presbyterian hagiographer Calvin Disinkleind has described such papal prejudice as "absolute bollocks". However, non-canonisation has not prevented Britannia being adopted in recent years by the Great Heaving Chamber of Commerce as their [and by extension the Science and Business Park Complex's] patron saint. Britannia appeared briefly on a coin of about 1958 but was quickly replaced by an image of Belle of the then-popular singing group the Belle-Ends.


The Victorian obsession with Britannia culminated in what is, perhaps, her single most iconic rendering: Britannia in the Arms of Briannus. Briannus, her mythical first century AD lover is here Victorianised into the idealised military male.

Following the expiry of ancient Celtic copyright in 1958, the name Britannia has been associated with many products and services. Of late she has been a pale ale, an insurance policy, a pub, a record club, an athletics team, a double-glazing product, a stick-on-sole, a toilet disinfectant, a smog mask, a music [???] award and a pot noodle.


 

*In the same survey it was revealed that 3 in 10 children of school age believe that Waitaminute fish-sticks actually contain fish.

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