Pagare il fio

Pagare il fio is Italian for ‘paying the penalty’. More literally, it means ‘paying the fee’. It is an expression the Italian language inherited from the Barbarians from the North when they toppled the Western Roman Empire. The English word fee originates from Old English feoh, which means ‘cattle’. The Mid-Frisian word for cattle stillContinue reading “Pagare il fio”

They want you as a new recruit

‘In the navy’, is a song of village people. Of the small villages along the southern coast of the North Sea. A water people once united in the mythical Seven Sealands. And, a people who laid the foundations of two of history’s most impressive navies. That of England, and that of the Republic of theContinue reading “They want you as a new recruit”

The Raider’s Portrait of Appels

In the year 1934, while dredging upstream the River Scheldt near the village of Appels in the region of Flanders, an extraordinary ship’s figurehead (see featured image above) was found. It is dated around the year AD 400. Among scholars there seems agreement it is Germanic and that it originates from the southern North SeaContinue reading “The Raider’s Portrait of Appels”

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”

It all began with piracy

The arrival of the Romans in northwest Europe at the beginning of the era, with the river Rhine as frontier, was the starting signal for five centuries of widespread piracy. Piracy that not only affected the coasts of Britannia and Gaul. It stirred things up even as far as the coasts of the Mediterranean andContinue reading “It all began with piracy”

Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast!

Latið meg ei á Frísaland fordervast! ‘Do not 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 post is not about how on earth it was possible that young people of the Faroes had such aContinue 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”

Have a Frisians Cocktail

With the coming seasonal festivities at the end of the year, it is appropriate to serve you a flavorful cocktail. It is a cocktail from the list ‘Myths of Nations’, namely the ‘Frisians Cocktail’. Its recipe is not as old as some people thought it was, or would like it to be, but it isContinue reading “Have a Frisians Cocktail”

True Pirates of the Caribbean

At the end of the seventeenth century, during the Nine Years War, the privateers commissioned by the Dutch Republic, based in the province Zeeland, captured booty that exceeded those of the infamous Dunkirk and St. Malo corsairs. About 24 million florin. These Zeeland pirates were known as the Pixaringos. Together with the Wadden Sea area,Continue reading “True Pirates of the Caribbean”