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”

The Thing is…

The heart of western democracies is the joint assembly of parliament, cabinet and high councils of state. Its Germanic origin is the thing, also called ting, ding or þing in other languages. Today, national assemblies in Scandinavian countries still refer to this ancient tradition. For example, the parliament the Faroes Løgting, of Greenland Landsting, ofContinue reading “The Thing is…”

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”

A Wadden Sea Guide and His Twelve Disciples

For those outdoor freaks who consider hiking the mud flats of the Wadden Sea, it is essential to know this is, in fact, not a worldly journey but a spiritual one. The whole Frisia Coast in a way is a spiritual belt. Protecting the southern coast of the North Sea against northern darkness, according toContinue reading “A Wadden Sea Guide and His Twelve Disciples”

The Killing Fields, of the Celts

About 2,000 years ago a tragedy unfolded. A sixteen-years-old girl, who suffered during her young life from scoliosis, was killed. Her red hair was shaved off on one side, she was stabbed at the base of her neck on the right shoulder, and strangled with a woollen rope. The rope was still around her neck.Continue reading “The Killing Fields, of the Celts”

Rowing souls of the dead to Britain: the ferryman of Solleveld

In 2004, a unique discovery was made at the early-medieval grave field of Solleveld, just south of the city of The Hague: a boat grave. Exactly two hundred kilometers, perfectly east, across the North Sea, of the legendary boat burial of Sutton Hoo. With this one-of-a-kind found, the Netherlands joined the ranks of ship-burial-countries. AContinue reading “Rowing souls of the dead to Britain: the ferryman of Solleveld”

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”

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”

Groove is in the Hearth

The hearth was in pre- and early-medieval times the holy of holies, the heart of the family. Where you would lay back and groove. Groove on the sound of the endless rains on the thatched roof. Or, the sound of the sea water at your feet below. Sloshing against the grassy slopes of your houseContinue reading “Groove is in the Hearth”