A severe case of inattentional blindness: the Frisian tribe’s name

The name Frisii for the people living on the southern coast of the North Sea is old. Very old. It dates from the Late Antiquity. Today we call them Frisians. Roman and Greek historians and bureaucrats have written down the tribe’s name of this Germanic or Celtic people in many texts. Almost two millennia ago.Continue reading “A severe case of inattentional blindness: the Frisian tribe’s name”

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”

Frisian mercenaries in the Roman Army

After the Roman Empire had incorporated a big chunk of the British Isles in the first century, the empire needed a military force to defend their northern limes. Like elsewhere, they made use of mercenaries. Many Frisians, (still) living along the coast of present-day the Netherlands, joined the Roman army as mercenary to fight inContinue reading “Frisian mercenaries in the Roman Army”

Racing the Wadden Sea with a Silt Sled

The mud flats of the Wadden Sea are endless. But what to do with it? How do you give meaning to mud? Yes, one cubic-meter mud flat contains millions of diatoms, thousands of small crabs, mussels, snails and worms. For birds all this frutti di mare is like ordering à la carte. Birds are nice,Continue reading “Racing the Wadden Sea with a Silt Sled”

Medieval Migration Law

Hwasa thene vthemeda husath ieftha howath ieftha oppa sinne werf set, sa skel hi thes wachtia, hwetsa hi deth. Who receives a foreigner in his house or in his court or seats on his yard, shall be responsible for all that he does. This is codified law of ca. 1250, the so-called Brookmerbrief. The Brookmerbrief,Continue reading “Medieval Migration Law”