11 – Pretani Associates – Isles of Pretani Series – Pretani History
The Greeks have a history of settlement in the area of land now known as France. They established a colony in Massalia, known today as Marseille in the South of France. Massalia became one of the major trading ports and was at its height in 400 BC. The most famous citizen of Massalia was the mathematician, astronomer and navigator Pytheas.
Between 300 and 330 the Greek geographer and voyager Pytheas, organized an expedition by ship into the Atlantic taking him past the islands as far as Iceland, Shetland and Norway, where he was the first scientist to describe drift ice and the midnight sun. In his Concerning the Ocean, he gave the earliest reference to these islands, calling them the Isles of Pretani, Pretanikai nesoi, a name the people used themselves, the meaning of which will never be known.
These names had come to the general knowledge of Greek Geographers such as Erathosthenes by the middle of the third century BC. Together they ere known to the Greek speaking warriors via their allies the Celtic speaking warriors as the Pretanic Islands or Islands of the Pretani.
Between 60 – 30 BC Diodorus Siculus, a Sicilian, who was a Greek historian and geographer wrote Bibliotheca historica. Within this book he has recorded the name the Isles of Pretani. Around 50 BC Diodorus wrote about “ those of the Pretani who inhabit the country called Iris (Ireland).