Like Father, Unlike Son

The Battle of Tours in 732 turned out to be a turning point in the wars against the Umayyad Caliphate. The Caliphate was one of the biggest empires in history, but it lost this battle. At the confluence of the rivers Clain and Vienne, the Franks, led by statesman maior domo Charles Martel, only justContinue reading “Like Father, Unlike Son”

Yet another wayward archipelago

Peoples of islands and archipelagos do not let others dictate how to live their life. One of those archipelagos that meets these criteria as well, is the Wadden Sea. For centuries it is from here where sea explorers, tax evaders, sturdy Arctic whalers, self-righteous women, pirates, privateers, and other vagabonds came from. An archipelago whichContinue reading “Yet another wayward archipelago”

With a Noose through the Norsemen’s Door

Although the conversion was a slow and cumbersome process, and only succeeded in-depth in the course of the tenth century, Frisia subsequently turned into the richest ecclesiastical area of Europe. Nowhere else were that many monasteries and churches packed together. Even though nearly all the monasteries have been dismantled with the advent of protestantism, toContinue reading “With a Noose through the Norsemen’s Door”

Frisia, a Viking graveyard

When reading about the famous deeds of great Viking warriors, often not much attention is given to the moments of failure. Not much is written about where and when the glorious men, and women, died. As it turns out, the coast of Frisia is one big Viking graveyard. It is here, in the (still) smellyContinue reading “Frisia, a Viking graveyard”

Presence of mind to ask the right question

‘The path will provide,’ is a familiar saying among hikers while on the trail. The flipside of this attitude is you might not have the keenness to recognize an exceptional opportunity. Your mind gets lazy. It is exactly what happened to one of the Frisian bastards during his solo-hike through the harsh mountains of Corsica.Continue reading “Presence of mind to ask the right question”

Make way for the dead!

High in the Swiss Alps in the region Bernese Oberland, many men, women and children have experienced the great horror of dead Frisians marching back to their homeland under the dark of night. The path the walkers follow is called The Frisians Way. Connecting the Haslital ‘Hasli valley’ in the Bernese Oberland with the shoresContinue reading “Make way for the dead!”

Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast!

Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast! ‘Do no let me perish in Friesland!’ A cry-out of a Faroese young woman when she was being kidnapped by Frisian pirates in the Middle Ages. The question of this blog post is not about how on earth it was possible that the people of the Faroes had suchContinue reading “Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast!”

Sailors escaped from Cyclops

“The reason I am late for class? Well, there was a strange cat in our barn this morning, and I stepped in its poop. Therefore, I first had to clean my shoes before I could go to school. That’s the reason. Really!” A similar pretext was made in the year 1040, by a bunch ofContinue reading “Sailors escaped from Cyclops”

A Theelacht. What a great idea!

Halfway the ninth century, Vikings had established more or less permanent presence in Frisia in the former district called Nordendi, also named Norditi. By 884 the Frisians were fed up with it. They forged swords and axes, raised an army and drove the Norsemen out. For good. It took exactly 10,377 lives on the sideContinue reading “A Theelacht. What a great idea!”

Magnus’ Choice. The Origins of the Frisian Freedom

According to medieval legends, around the year 800 Charlemagne and Pope Leo came into conflict with the citizens of Rome. The Pope was being attacked and fled the city. It was an army of ‘naked’ Frisians headed by Magnus that retook the citadel and the eternal city. In return Charlemagne offered wealth, weapons, treasure andContinue reading “Magnus’ Choice. The Origins of the Frisian Freedom”