« Man Not a Fish nor Bird | ‘Lost Articles’ | Account of a Singular Atrabilarian or Hypochondriac »


THE Alps (Huet observes) do not derive their name from their whiteness, as many writers, ancient and modern, inform us, but from their height. Isidorus, Servius, and Philargirus, tell us, that the word Alps, in the old Gaulish tongue, signifies High Mountains. And this is confirmed by the name of the giant Albion, whom Hercules killed in passing through Gaul; and amongst the Ethiopians, whose mountains bear the same name, Alps; the Greeks, in the name of Alphius, a high mountain of Etolia, and the name of Olympus comes from the same origin, and has been given to several lofty mountains as well in Greece as in Asia, Cyprus, and near Arabia. The name of Albe, common to several towns in Europe, situated on mountains, proceeds also from this circumstance; for as Strabo remarks, the Alps in his time were called indifferently Alpia and Albia.

Our ingenious etymologist likewise observes, that it is hardly a doubt, but that the name of ALBION, which was given to the most northern parts of England, is derived from the same circumstance, viz. the height of the mountains.