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the ancient tribe of the Frisians


Frisia on the North European coast, then and now

When studying the subject of ancient tribes, there are naturally many questions. Were the early Belgae in fact Germanic, not Celts? Were the subsequent Cimbri from the heart of Denmark, who fought with the Germanic Teutons against the Romans, Celts, not fellow-Teutons? (and thus their presumed descendants, the Angles?). Were Scotland's Picts of Gothic descent, not Celtic, as Jamieson claims? And are Frisians not descendants of ancient Scandinavian Goths, but of restless Anglo-Saxons passing from present-day Denmark through depopulated Frisian coastal regions to Britain? And did those feet in ancient times walk upon Englands pleasant greens? Speculation is rife, of which you will find many interesting references below in legend, language and lineage. These, and modern DNA, confirm that related Indo-European peoples originally speaking a supposed Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language, left the East around 3000BC to move west into Europe, forming the sevensome language groups: Celtic, Germanic, Latin, Greek, Balto-Slavic, Persian and Tocharian).

Evidence of the stone-crafting Celts shows up in central Europe around 800BC as does that of the Germanic tribes in the furthest North around 700BC. Before then we find very little evidence of human presence in Europe: lack of 'prehistoric' DNA, few stone axes, in graves constructed from giant megalithic stones left by the recent ice age, and a mention by Grimm the linguist, that 'there is every appearance of Europe not having contained any aboriginal languages'. He also makes the point of the root word 'hiune' (as distinct from the Asiatic Hun) having the meaning of giant (ref. Mathesius: 'Goliath der grosse heune') while one Norse Edda name for bear is 'hûnn' (Grimm, Vol2, Giants, p523/4). In Denmark, many Viking iron age 'hunebeds' (stone obelisks) face the sea, indicating a seafaring people wishing themselves a 'good view' after death (ref. de Vrije Fries 8, 'Hunebedden in Denemarken'), while the Bronze and Stone age ones are inland, as they are in the east of the Netherlands and as similar stone Dolmen in Ireland.

The Celts came from the Near East (as shown by prevailing y-DNA haplogroup R1b), they left evidence of their salt mining skills across Europe (aka the Halstatt culture), the occasional 'Celtic Cross' (Bavaria), and possibly in geographic names like the Rhine (Ren = stream), or containing 'gal-' (kel-) as in 'Gallia' and 'Gauls' (we know one Gallic tribe as 'Galatians' in Asia Minor in Biblical days). They sack Rome under Brennan in 390BC, upsetting the Romans greatly, who proceed to chase them to the far Western outposts of Europe. The chase is vividly described by Gaius Julius Caesar in De Bello Gallico', the war in Gaul, while citing the Belgae's bravery who are reported 'to use a different tongue from the Gauls' (Celts) (dBG 1.i.c.1). See Jamieson for arguments that the Belgae were Germanics who 'anciently' crossed the Rhine before the Cimric wars, p.xxxiii

Around 500BC the Frisians appear on the North European coast (as coastal mound dwellers, who left records), from the expanse of the Scandinavian north, whence shortly thereafter all Germanic tribes proceed southward (Teutons, Cimbri, Gotones, Heruli, Franks, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Swabes, Vandals, Longobards, Burgundians who are all assumed by early historians (including the Picts according to the earliest Greek historian Herodotus, 'father of history'), to be of Gothic descent, 'speaking the same language, inhabiting the same original space, and worshipping the same gods', before fanning out). Our ancient Frisians are most closely (more recently) associated with the Jutes from Jutland (sometimes called 'Gotland' by very early writers). This is seen in 1) language (around this dispersal, Germanic language splits in Anglo-Frisian and continental Germanic, ref. similarities between Old Kentish and Old Frisian), 2) in legend (Beowulf's Finnsburg Poem where Jutes pay allegiance to Frisian king Finn, son of Folkwald), and 3) geography (with Jutes moving from Denmark, via Frisia, to Kent, Hampshire & Isle of Wight in England). (ref. 'Angle-Saxon-Frisian-Jute Peoples and invasion of England')

Related numbers of Indo-European languages

Germanic peoples dispersing from Scandinavia originate, like the Celts, in the Near East, as not only linguistics, but the prevailing European male y-DNA haplogroup R1b indicates (Interestingly, and by contrast, many modern Scandinavians are of the (since mutated?) I haplogroup).

The Romans, after running out of Celts to chase at the time of Christ (excepting Asterix and Obelix, of course), turn their attentions north to the Germanic peoples (as well as to the Euphrates in the East, Africa in the South, and Britain in the West). When they are finally unable, after 250 years of Pax Romana, to contain the 'peaceful protests' by the Germanic barbarians, the Romans leave around 400AD a vacuum that is quickly filled with Germanic tribes from the distant North: Franks to Gaul, Chauci and Suevi to the center, Angles & Saxons, Jutes (& some Frisians) to Britain, Burgundians to the Western Alps, Goths to Spain & Italy & Asia Minor, Longobards to Italy, even Swabians (Suevi) to Spain and Vandals to Sicily, Spain & North Africa, setting the stage for modern Europe. After many wars, allegiances and failed '1000-year' empires, these dispersed continental barbarian tribes finally make friends with each other and with their ancient adversaries, the Romans, in the 1957 Treaty of Rome, under pressure of their kinfolk, the Anglo-Saxons (Pax Brittanica and Pax Americana). As we will soon see, Frisians were variously linked by historians to the Goths, Vandals, Angles, Jutes, Chauki, Saxons and Franks, judge for yourself. One thing is certain, that the Frisians are the only named tribe mentioned before the time of Christ, which remains today by its original name and location.

Historical sources used:

Our ancient historical records are necessarily Greek and Roman, followed by those from Britain and mainland Europe after 500AD. The best known of these are (and their works shown online):

Herodotus ('Histories', ~450BC),

Pytheas of Massalia('On the Ocean' lost, 350-285BC),

Drusus the Elder (38-9BC),

Gaius Julius (Caesar, 'de Bello Gallico', 'Caesar's War in Gaul', 100-44BC), Titus Livius, 'History of Rome', aka 'ad Urbe Condita', 64BC - 12AD),

Pliny the Elder ('Historia Naturalis', 23-79AD),

Josephus Flavius ('Works of', 33-100AD),

Cornelius Tacitus ('Annals' (early Christians 14-68AD), 'The Germania','Agricolae', 58-117AD),

Ptolemeus (Ptolemy,'The Geography', 100-170AD),

Paulus Orosius (375-418AD), Procopius ('The Persian, Vandal and Gothic Wars'aka 'de Bello Gothico', ~500-560AD),

Jordanes ('Getica', 'The Origin and Deeds of the Goths', ~500-555AD),

the venerable monk Bede (683AD),

Welchman Nennius ('Historia Brittonum', aka 'History of the Brittons', ~830AD),

Alfred the Great ('Anglo-Saxon Chronicles', 'Orosius' translation, ~880AD),

Henry of Huntingdon ('Historia Anglorum', aka 'The Chronicle of Henry Huntingdon', 1088-1157AD),

Edward Gibbon ('Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire', 1737-1794AD).

Many useful articles in 'de Vrije Fries' (Dutch/Frisian) on archeology, Frisian language, history and migrations.

Early Northern Europe 2000 years ago:

On the northern border of the Roman empire, around the time of Christ, the Rhine formed a natural barrier between the Germanic barbarians and the Roman legions. What were to become Germanic tribes moved into Europe around 2000BC according to indications from y-DNA, archeology, linguistics and earliest historians. The tribes had moved into mainland after the breakup of Celtic Europe around 300BC, who had sacked Rome in 390BC, and who preceeded them from the east (see section on DNA). Traveling businessman Pytheas took a journey around ~330BC from his home town Massalia (Marseille) to the unknown north. He records the name 'Pretannia' (Britain), where he finds tin mining, travels on to the Baltic, where he meets the 'Guiones' (Goths-Gutones), visits the 'congealed' Arctic, and mentions visiting Kantium (Kent) on the way back. Earliest mention of German tribes after Pytheas are the Teutons and Cimbri late second century BC (from present Denmark), who roamed Europe, wreacked havoc, but were eventually defeated by the Romans (101BC). Julius Caesar (100BC-44BC) mentions the Condrusi, Eburones, Caeroesi, and Paemani (in the same approximate area as the later Tungri), having crossed the Rhine before the 'Cimbrian War' as the first by the common name of 'Germani'. In 'De Bello Gallico', 'the War in Gaul', he also mentions the Tencteri (the later Tungri), the Usipetes, the Sugambri, and Bructeri, when in 55BC Roman soldiers butcher innocent women and children hostages of these Germanic tribes. To divert the Senate's unwelcome enquiries, Julius Ceasar divises a campaign to cross the Rhine from Gaul into Germanic territory by building a bridge in an astonishing 11 days! Faced with assembling barbarians ready to defend their territory, Caesar crosses back into Gaul, taking his bridge with him in an feat equal in engineering and expedience.

113-101BC Cimbrian Wars

Green X = Teutons & Cimbri Victories,Red X = Defeats by Romans

The Germanic ethnic tribes arrived on the Baltic coast from the East four thousand years ago, after the proto Indo-European language split of around 3500-2500BC according to the Kurgan theory. It matches the Biblical account (the Ararat mountains) and time frame, regarding original location, language split and people migration.

After some two millenia in Scandinavia, the ancient Frisii and related Chauci descend from Scandinavia to the northern coast of Europe, around 500BC (ref. Kalma, 'Skiednis fan Fryslan', p18), as well as the Suevi. 500BC is when the northern languages like Gothic and Old Norse split from coastal Germanic, as Anglo-Frisian did a thousand years later at 500AD from inland Germanic during the migrations. Initially, ice from the recent ice age had not yet raised sea levels to later extent. Britain may have been connected to the mainland still and coastal lands were fertile. Over time did the rising sea levels force coastal Frisians to make man-made mounds on the North Sea coast (called terpen or wierden), as did the related Angles further North and the Chauci to their East, as vividly described by Pliny the Elder in his 'Natural History' (23-79AD). While their existence may by then have appeared wretched, surrounded by the sea twice daily, continuing to slowly rise, they farmed, kept livestock, filling the land eventually (presumably further south), according to Tacitus (58-117AD).

'Deus mare, Friso litora fecit' (God created the sea, the Frisian the coast).

The Frisii enter recorded history in the Roman account of Drusus' war in 13BC against the 'Rhine Germans'. He appears to have exacted a tribute of ox hides (used by Romans for their shields). Archeology seems to indicate that, whatever drew them to the coast initially, Frisians at this time inhabited elevated mounds. These were created from the fluvial clays of the North Sea waters starting to encroach on the coast, called 'terpen' in Friesland (compare 'thorp' for village) or 'Wierden' in East Frisia (incl. Groningen and Denmark, derived from 'werde', 'waard', implying an 'island' surrounded by water, so meaning 'mound'). In fact, Frisian towns with suffix -um (= -heim or -haim) all relate to such mounds: Dokkum (Doccuga-heim, docke=waterwering), Kollum (Colle-heim, colle=mount), Engwierum, Hantum, Hogebeintum, Meinaldum, Burum, Blessum, Britsum, Wierum, Deinum, Roordahuizum, Marrum). There are also names with suffix -terp like Ureterp and Wijnjeterp. A number of towns derive instead from '-wierde', where suffix -werd occurs in names like Wieuwerd, Leeuwarden (Lieuwe (='lee') Warden), and Sauwerd.

Frisian dwelling mounds called 'Terpen' or 'Wierden'

According to Frisian historian Pieter Boeles on finds in the mounds of Hogebeintum, Britsum and others, there appears to be a discontinuity of inhabitation during rising sea water levels in the second and third centuries AD.

Hogebeintum built on a Terp

Historians Cornelius Tacitus ('Germania') and Pliny the Elder both mention a score of Germanic tribes that resisted Roman expansion beyond the boundary of the Rhine, 'spirited antagonists' who 'loved freedom more than life', 'destroying, capturing and cutting to pieces Roman Legions', or in cases, suffering 'dearly bought' Roman victories. Of these, the Frisians are the only Germanic tribe mentioned by Tacitus who remained in their place and still go by their original name: the rise and fall of Rome seems to have largely passed them by.

The Rhine becomes the boundary:

The Romans finally give up aspirations of ruling across the Rhine. In 9AD, Roman general Varus with 3 legions (~18K soldiers making up the 17th, 18th, and 19th legions) was soundly defeated in the Teutoburg Forest by the Germanic Cheruski, under Cheruskan prince Arminius (Hermann), despite having received warnings beforehand. Three punative Roman expeditions around 14-16AD by Roman general Germanicus ended in disarray, with Arminius getting away each time, and the Roman fleet dispersing in storms on the much feared North Sea (often referred to by them as an Ocean).

Germanic peoples 125AD

Tacitus describes in 'the Annals of Imperial Rome' how the Frisians revolted against increased Roman duties imposed by an overly ambitious centurion, Olennius, in 28AD which was leading to decimation of herds, loss of land, and even slavery for some women and children. The provoked Frisians besieged and stormed the 'by no means contemptible' Roman fort Flevum (possibly near present Velzen), where Olennius had fled. During the subsequent Roman punitive persuit into their watery home, ordered by magistrate Lucius Apronius, the Romans, weighed down by heavy armor, the Frisians defeated the Roman Fifth Legion under Labeo in the battle of Baduhenna Wood, killing 900 soldiers (with 400 more suicides), and appear to have been left in peace thereafter. Claudius in 47AD assigned Corbulo to lower Germany, who mostly came to confine the pirating coastal Chauki beyond Frisia, and made administrative improvements to the region. He must have come to some understanding with the coastal tribes (the Chauki had been ready to go to war), while Rome shifted attentions away from the Rhine to the conquest of Britannia (for which primarily Frisian cohorts were used).

Frisian Dwelling Area 50AD

(from Tamminga's novel 'Fremdfolk op Barraheim', 1978.

Note: location Baduahenna unknown)

The Rhine remained well protected by the invited presence by Rome of the Batavian cohorts (of the Chatti tribe), who also played an important part in the subsequent Roman conquest of Brittania (ref. 'Agricola').

Not until an assortment of Germanic tribes (Tungri, Vandals) crossed the frozen Rhine (which lost its significance to the Roman Empire) in 406 did the mass Germanic migration start in full force, partly spurred on by the beastly Huns, a cruel swarthy horse tribe, not unlike the later Turks, from the innards of distant Asia, as well as by greed of Roman wealth left behind, and possibly a cooling of the climate (ref. the remarkable freezing of the Rhine in 406AD, after four centuries of warming and rising sea levels, a warm weather cycle which repeats itself with the great Frisian flood of 1170AD which created the Middle Sea, the later Zuiderzee). Combined with a weakened Roman Empire, breaking the last Roman barrier meant its eventual demise in 476AD with its defeat by Odoacer.

GERMANIC TRIBES across the Rhine in the Roman days:

These are some of the Germanic tribes above the Rhine which merited recognition in the days of the Romans. As mentioned above, Julius Caesar mentions these which lived in the same area as Tacitus' later mention of various Germanic tribes: the Condrusi, the Eburones, the Caeroesi and the Paemani, as well as the Tencteri, Ubirones, Bructeri, and Segambri (Sicambri). Many tribal names are difficult to trace etymologically or geographically, and (seem to) have disappeared from history.

Tribal names with WARE- and -AVI (Men of Old, People)

According to Taylor (p46), many early mentions by the Romans of tribal names contain the Germanic suffix '-uari' (-oari, -ari, -avi, -abi) or -'vari' (-bari) with '-ware' ('inhabitants', or 'people' tied to a geographical feature). Compare 'world': from 'wer' and 'alt': 'the age of man' (OE wor-old, ON ver-old, Du wer-eld, OFris war-ld, OHG wer-alt (HG welt). Compare OE 'wer(e)' = man(men): werewolf = manwolf, wergild (= Anglo-Saxon legal man-price or blood money), OFris=wer, Lat.=vir (~virile), PIE=wiro. Compare also Beowulf (~500-600AD): singular: wer (Nom/Acc: 'man', 'warrior', nom:105, acc:1269/3174), weres (Gen: 'of a man', 1356), plural: weras (Nom/Acc:'men', 216/1223/1234/1441/1651), wera (Gen: 'of warriors', 120 /994/1732/3001/2948), werum (Dat:'to all/everyone', 1256). Compare pronoun 'wer' in modern German: 'Da ist wer an der Tûr' (='there is someone at the door').












The various forms of -ware (-vari, -bari etc) are used as a suffix. Angle-vari-i (the Angle people), Ing-uari-i, Ampsi-vari-i or Ansi-vari-i (men of the Ems river), displaced in 58AD by the Chamavi. Att-uari-i, Chatt-uari-i or Hat-uari-i, Het-wari-i (people of Hesse); Chass-uari-i (dwellers on the Hase, a tributary of the Ems), Angri-vari-i (people of Engern in N-Germany); Boii-oari-i (=Ba-vari-a, the Celtic Boii/Baiu people), Bruct-ari-i (Boruht-ware, people of the Bor(a)th stream), modern Borbeck). The Vidi-vari-i, a 'melting pot' of Gothic tribes on the Vistula river (Wid = wood, people of the forest). Elsewhere in Europe: Bulg-ari-a ('Volga people'); Hun-gari-a (people living where the former Huns lived); the Falcho-vari-i (people of the Veluwe?); Mor-avi-ans (Mar-varo, people of the Marus river). Ripu-ari-i (people of the (Rhine)bank or shore, Lat. 'riperius'); the Raeti-vari-i (Raetibarii, the inhabitants of the Alpine Raeti). We may be able to attribute the Vikings from Sweden (Suiones), who ruled early Russia (Kiev, Novgorod), the Varangians, to the same root 'war' (although a prefix), with '-genga' possibly indicating 'leader' or 'foreigner under oath' (Old English wærgenga, Old Frankish wargengus, Langobardic waregang), but is appears to have a different origin (compare also the Old English 'foregenga' (steward or foreigner), in Italian Guargango). There is perhaps a likely explanation from Old Norse Vaeringjar, Varangians, (or Waringi) from plural of vaeringi, confederate, from vārar, plural, pledge). Compare Latin 'verus' = "true;" Old Church Slavonic 'vera' = "faith," Russian 'viera' = "faith, belief;" Old English 'waer' = "a compact," Old Dutch, Old High German 'war', Dutch 'waar', German 'wahr' = "true;" Welsh 'gwyr', Old Irish 'fir' = "true." The Varingians (with consonant g) should not be confused with Tacitus'Varini, Plinius' Varinae, or Procopius' Varni (the Warnen).


Like the Cham-avi-i or Ham-avi-i (people of the Hama region between the IJssel and Rhine), there are tribes with the -avi suffix. Fris(i)avi (those belonging to the Frisii, likely referring to the Frisiavones of Zeeland and Holland, the 'lesser' Frisii (less populous)), ref. 'Matribus Frisavi Paternis' or 'Matres Frisavae Paternea' = 'goddess mothers of Frisians', associated with Nehalennia. The Suevi (Su-avi: 'Su'= self, so 'our own people' or 'ourselves'), The Segusi-avi, a Gallic tribe north of the Rhone (possibly descendants of the Greek colony of the Segobriges of Massala).

WARE- people in Britain

In Kent, England: Boro-ware and Meon-ware (Jutish tribes around Canterbury and the Meon valley near Southampton, Hampshire), Ho-wara (men of the Hoo peninsula in Kent, across from Essex), Ceaster-ware (people of the fort, from Hrofesceaster/Rochester); Cant-wara (men of Kent); Cant-wara-byrig (Cant-er-bury), Deana-wara (men of the valley), Gwiti-gara-burg ('Gaets' people of Wight (burgh)); Limen-wara (people of the Limen river, Kent); Mersc-ware (dwellers of the Romney marsh, Kent); Weo-wara (Men of Wye (Weoh=shrine), Kent); Hric-ware-ceaster (Wo-r-cester in the Midlands, the Wigwara people ((Bede: Huiccii), wic = alder wood (Celtic), wid = wood (Germ) Dorn-waras (Anglian settlers of the river Dorn in Oxfordshire);

SEATE- people in Britain

Likewise, there is the Germanic designation 'saetan' which gives us 'settlement' and 'sett-ler' (or people) and 'saete' (seat) in England: Beodar-saete (Anglian clan in the Sunderland region); Bil-saete (settlers of the ridge), Ciltern-saete (settlers of the Chiltern hills); Dorn-saete (settlers of (Celtic) Dumnonia, Dorset); Dudden-saete (Dudley); Elmet-saete (Elmet); Hahl-saete (Ludlow); Pencer-saete (Penkridge); Pec-saete (Anglian clan from the Peak District); Reage-saete (Repton); Somer-saete (Somerset); Temer-saete (Hereford); Tom-saete (Tomridge); Ytene-saete (Jutes in today's New Forest, Kent); Wilt-saete (Wiltshire Saxons); Wreacen-saete (Wrekinsets, an Anglian clan); also found in continental names like El-sace (the 'other seat', across the Rhine), Holt-saete (Holstein).

ING- people in Britain

There are also many English names that derive from the genitive -ing (of a person, or from a place): Aebbingas (Abingdon); Alferdintone (Arlington); Aeffingas (Effingham); Basingas (Basingstoke); Bedingas (Bedford); Beormingas (the Angles of Birmingham); Braccingas (Bracknell); Brahhingas (Braughing); Buccingaham (Buckingham); Eorlingas (Arlington); Gillingas (Ealing, London); Glasteningas (Glastonbury); Godhelmingas (Godalming); Haeringas (Havering, London); Haestingas (Hastings); Lindisfarningas (Holy Island of Lindisfarne); Paedingtun (Saxon clan at Paddington); Readingas (Reading); Spaldingas (Anglian clan at Spalding); Snottengaham (Anglian town of Nottingham); Sunningas (Sonning); Totingas (Tooting); Hwaesingatun ('Hwaessa', Saxon chief's town of Washington); Woccingas (Wockingham); Wochingas (Woking); The suffix 'shire' (OE 'scire') refers to the county by that name (in Kent,a lest or latch, a system brought over from Jutland).

Here is an extensive online list with historical East, North and West Germanic tribes and their geographies including many of the above, for further reference.

With respect to tribal names, Pliny mentions this in Chapter 15 of his 'Natural History': 'Islands in the Gallic Ocean'

"In the Rhine itself, for almost an hundred Miles in Length, is the most noble Island of the Batavi, Cannenufates; and others of the Frisii, Chauci, Frisiaboni, Sturii, and Marsatii, which are spread between Helius and Flevus. For so are the Mouths called, into which Rhenus, as it gushes, scatters itself: from the North into Lakes; from the West into the River Mosa. But in the middle Mouth between these, he keepeth a small Channel, of his own name".

After the Batavians disappear from history, middle-Dutch author Melis Stoke (1235-1305AD) argues that this river area from Noviomagus (Nijmegen) to the coast is later around 700AD referred to as 'Low-Saxony according to ancient writings'.

Tacitus lists the following tribes in 'Germania' and 'Agricola', (98AD): Marsi, Chambrivi, Vandali, Caninefates, Batavi (of the Chatti), Tungri (across the Rhine), Mattiaca, Aravisci, Treves, Chattii (or Chattuarii, Attuarii, Hetwarii, the modern Hessians), Usipii (~Usipetes), Tencteri (Tungri), Bructeri, Chamavi, and Agrivarii (a Saxon tribe, also later called the Franks, and sometimes referred to as 'Sugambrians' or 'Sicambrians' by Romans: Clovis I was referred to as a 'Sicamber' at his baptism), Dulgibini, Chasuarii, Frisii (Greater and Lesser), the related Chauki (Greater and Lesser, also 'Hockings', 'of Chauki blood') Cherusci, Fosi, Cimbri, Suevi (~Schwabians), Semnones, Langobardi (~Lombards), Reudigni, Angli (~Angles), Avioni, Waringi, Eudoses, Suardones, Nuithrones, Hermunduri, Naristi, Markomanni, Quadi, Marsigni, Burii, Lygians, comprising of (H)arii, Helvecones, Manimi, Elysii, and Naharvali; Gothones (~Goths), Rugii and Lemovii, and across the water the Suiones (~Swedes), and Sitones. See 'Reallexicon der germanischen Altertumskunde', 1981, part IV by Hoops for research into tribal archeology (German)

Pliny mentions (Historia Naturalis IV) the Gutones as a subgroup of the mainland Vandalii.

Roman-Gothic historian Jordanes mentions in his history of the Goths 'Getica' in 551AD among the Goths: the Ostra-Goths, Ewa-Greutons, and Gauti-Goths as living on the 'island' Scandza (Scandinavia), who later moved to three further dwelling places on the mainland (but calling the account of Goths being carried off as slaves to Britain 'an old wives tale', see also Jamieson's claim that Picts may have been Goths). Jordanes, a Roman of Goth decent, makes mention that Ptolemy lists seven tribes, while listing himself the following: hunters Screrefennae, a horse tribe of Suehans (Swedes), the Theustes, the VaGoth, the Bergio, Hallin and Liothido. Behind them the Ahelmil, Finnaithai, Fervir and GautiGoths, 'a race of men bold and quick to fight'. Then the Mixi, Ovagre, and Otingis, 'living like wild animals in rocks hewn like castles', cavemen in recent times! Beyond these the OstraGoths, Raimarici, Aeragnaricii and the gentle Finns, like them the Vinovilith. Then the Dani, who drove off the tall tribe of the Heruli, and finally, the Grannii, Augandzii, Eunici, Taetel, the Rugii, Arogi, and the Ranii 'over whom Rodwulf was king not many years ago'. 'All these nations surpassed the Germans in spirit and fought with the cruelty of wild beasts'. Most names can be traced to modern places.

Wolfram in 'History of the Goth' (1990) describes, from ancient writings, the earlier mention of the lesser tribe of Gutones vs the proper Goths (Guthi), and the Gepids who split off eventually. Tacitus places the Gutones on the coast 'north of the Lugii and Lemovii'.

Procopius mentions the various 'Getic' tribes (Goths, Vandals, Visigoths and Gepeades) 'all looking alike, surrounding the same Danish waters, using the same laws, serving the same gods, and speaking the same language (Gothic), and stemming from one tribe'.

There are several ancient Anglo-Saxon poems that mention tribes and their leaders. Beowulf mentions Danes, Gaets, Ytenes (Jutes), Angles, Frisians, Hugas, Franks, Heathobards (Longobards) and Hetwaras. Likewise the poem 'A Traveller's Song', by Widsith also in Old English, mentions an impressive number of European tribes (at least 50), almost all with their leader of the day.


500AD Germanic tribes distribution

Note that Saxons, Franks, Alemanni (Alamani), Teutons, Heruli, and Burgundians are not found in Tacitus decription of Germania (98AD). Pliny (23 - 79AD) does mention (NH 4-99) as part of the Vandalii confederacy, the (small) tribe of the Burgodiones (Burgundians), the Varinnae, the Charini and the Gutones (mainland Goths, which variously 'include' many subgroups like Ostra-Goths, Ewa-Greutons, and Gauti-Goths (Gauti), Lugii, Vandali and possibly the neighboring Jutes). We know that Orosius (375-418AD) in Alfred's translation around 880AD refers to 'Jutland' as 'Gotland'). Pliny refers to writer Pytheas (350-285BC) who mentions that the Goths' coastal reach extends a 1000 miles (including north into the 'Danish' estuary), interestingly already on the mainland (i.e. out of Scandinavia). Other ancient writers mention 'the nations of the 'Dani' and the 'Heruls' (Eroli or Helulians), expelled by the Danes for their rowdiness, and distinct from the Goths, but accompanying them southwards. According to Jordanes Scandza (Scandinavia) , regarded as an island by early writers, was 'a hive of races, a womb from which many others stemmed', even when not called by that name (Ptolemy in his Geographia mentions 'Frisians' (Gr. Phiraesoi, Lat. Firaesi, see map if 150AD) as living on the east side of the island). When the Goths moved to the mainland near the mouth of the Vistula, they named it 'Gutisk-(Sc)Andja', Gothic Andja (or Scandza, in Latin: Scandia): it is thought this is the root word of the modern 'Gdansk' in that very region, now Poland).

'Phiraisoi' on Gothic Skandia (Scandinavia), on Ptolemy's map of ~150AD (Frisians?)

Ptolemy (100-170AD) likewise places the G(a)uti on the Skandia 'Island' and the Gutones near the mainland Vistula (referred to as a sub-tribe to the Vandals). So Goths, incl. Vandali, Suevi (Suebi) and Lygians are considered collective names, like the Allemanni, and the later Franks and Saxons and possibly the Scandinavian Longobards (sometimes referred to as 'long beards'), who ruled the Italian peninsula from 568 - 774, although according to Britannica.com they themselves are considered part of the Suevi with the Alemanni, Marcomanni, Quadi, Hermunduri and Semnones. In fact, Taylor even suggest that the latter's very collective names look to be derived from equipment of the invading hosts, 'whether armed with javelin (Franca), sword (Seax), or partisan/pike' (Langbarta), where barta relates to (long) 'broad'(axe), compare also OE 'Heathabartan' (broad axe), where 'Heathe-' or 'Hilde-' means 'battle', a tribal designation used alongside OE 'Langbartas' (~long broad axe).

Halberd (OE), Halmbarte (MHG), Hellebaard (Du):

from Middle High German halmbarte (broad-axe with handle), from Proto-Germanic *helmô (hatchet) *bardaz (broad axe), literally "beard."

Seax: a Saxon and Viking knife or short sword

Franca: a Frankish javelin

Compare the possibility of Hessians Franks, the Chattiwari (or the Hetwari in Beowulf), from 'haett' from headwear (hat or helmet), and 'wari' people. There is similar speculation that the names German and Herman are derived from 'ger' or 'gar' (meaning javelin, pike (or spear) and 'man', compare the Gar-Dena in Beowulf, the 'Spear-Danes', and 'garfish'). This meaning of 'spearmen' may also apply to the Cher-uski, the Her-uli, and Her-munduri. It may also help explain the designation of the Her-minones (or Irminones) name for eastern Germanic tribes.

TRIBAL NAMING: Historical naming with exonyms is frequently done by 'outsiders' (peculiarities may strike an outsider, 'exo', but not the native, to whom 'all foreigners may look alike'), rarely the people themselves. The usage of 'Keltikos' for Germanic peoples, for instance, was an archaic tradition amongst Greeks writers. The Greeks invariably also referred to the migrating Goths near the Black Sea and Danube delta as ancient 'Scythians' who used to inhabit those areas previously. The 'Finns' ('hunters' in Old Germanic) call their own land 'Suomi'. The Romans named the 'Germani' after one tribe by that name (the warlike Tungri, or their predecessors, who first crossed the Rhine, ref. Tacitus). As to the Frisians themselves, the name might refer to their hair style: 'frisle' in Old Frisian (OFris) means 'curly hair') (the Goths combatting the Romans are invariably depicted with curly hair in Roman frescoes and statues). Note also that Tacitus mentions the unique way Frisian women braided their long hair. According to Wolfram, the Greutungi and Terlingi Goths so named each other after certain geographical features (the Gepid Goth had split off 'in disregard of their former bonds of blood kinship', Wolfram p20). But they named themselves with honorable designations Ostrogoths and Visigoths (vesi = noble) after leaving their homelands. While the Celts were named by the Greeks: Keltoi, their descendants, the Welsh call themselves 'Cymry' (presumed different from the Scandinavian tribe). But place names like 'Wales', 'Cornwales', and the Dutch 'Waals' (=Walloon/Walonie in French Belgium, and Wallachia in Romania, all from the Germanic 'Walhaz' to designate Celts, compare Old English 'Wealh') are the Germanic synonym meaning 'foreign(er)' or in Britain: non-Anglo-Saxon, not unlike 'Walton' and 'Walworth', as is also the supposed meaning of British names preceded by the related 'eles' or later 'ayels' (as in Elsworth).

Of all the early mentions Germanic tribes, only a few remain in recognizable existence today: the Frisians (Frisii), the English (Anglii), the Saxons (Saxones), Hessians (Chatti), the Schwabians and Swedes (from Suevi), of which there remain 5000 Germanic-origin toponyms (towns and villages) in use in Spain's Galicia alone. It must be said that the Frisiavones (Frisiabones) which inhabited the lands further south of the Frisii, by the big rivers and in Flanders (ref. the village of Frezenberg), and which were somehow linked to the Frisii, have also been obscured by history, with the exception of some placenames (like Vriezeveen). According to Taylor, several other tribal designations 'of old' remain visible in modern geography, like Bay-ern, Boh-emia and possibly even Bo-logna (the Celtic 'Boii'), the 'Betuwe' in NL and 'Batavia' the original Dutch name of Djakarta (from the Hessian 'Batavians'), the 'Twente' region in NL (the 'Tubanti'), Jutland (the 'Jutes'), Cumbria and Cumberland (the Celtic 'Cymry'), Tongeren ('Tongerloo' - the 'Tungri'), Lombardy (the 'Langobardi/Lombards'), Burgundy (the 'Burgundians' from Bornholm island in the Baltic, as in ON Borgundarhólmr), Isle of 'Wight' ('Jutes' or 'Gaets' in 'Gwiti'-gara(-burg)), Artois (the 'Atrebatis' tribe), Hesse (the 'Chatti'), Isle of Rugen (the 'Ruggii'), France (from the 'Franks' as in 'Frank-furt', 'Franken-land', 'Franken' or 'Franc-onia' (the small tribe of the Franks who colonized a portion of Central France & Germany), Allemagne (after one tribe, the 'Alemani', and today still the French name for Germans/Germany), Saxony, Essex, Wessex, Sussex (the 'Saxons') and Andalusia (the 'Vandals'), to name the more obvious ones.

Likewise Asser strongly asserts that the term 'Deutch' was initiated by Franks in the 8th century, first to indicate the Germanic tongues (as different from the Latin of Romantic ones), and later for the Germanic races, as derived from the Frankish term 'Theotisci' which later became Diutisk, then Deutch (and Dutch in English)

Germanic Tribes in motion 285-450AD, prior to settling Britain

SCANDINAVIAN ORIGINS of all Germanic tribes:

SCANDINAVIAN ORIGINS Interestingly, all Germanic tribes trace their origins to Scandinavia in the distant north, be it via legend, names, (and now DNA), or language (Angli, Jutes, Langobards, Franks, Vandals, and Goths, and the Suevi from the mouth of the Elbe, are all known to have hailed from the distant North (there is of course Gothenburg, Gothland and an area in Northern Sweden called 'Vendel', as well as possibly Jutland (called 'Gotland' by some historians, although Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology holds the 'Itanos', Beowulf's 'Eotenas', a possible throwback to an earlier race of giants, iotuls, ref. Teutonic Mythology, Vol2, p523). Having established a strong link between all Germanic tribes to the Scandinavian motherland, the renowned linguist Jacob Grimm holds 'the Frisians in every sense the transition of the continental peoples to the Scandinavians' (customs, language, veneration of groves, idol worship) (Teutonic Mythology, Vol 1). See a comparison of the Frisian language with Scandinavian and English below.

FRANKS: Franks may have been known initially as Hugas (Lat. Hugones), living in Hunaland (7th century Widsith, of the Saxon Myrgings, mentions their leader as 'Hun'), possibly in Bjarmaland, Scandinavia (ref. Beowulf (2914), although in the same passage 'Froncum ond Frysum' are mentioned (Franks and Frisians, 2912). Some hold the Huga to be Chauki (a Saxon tribe). The context of the reference to Hugas and Hetwari (Chattuari), who had attacked Hygelac the Geat, appears linked to Beowulf's Froncum 'in Fresna land' (Friesland, 2915). Also, Beowulf intimates a link between Frisians and Franks in saying that 'Geatish king Hygelac provoked a feud with the Frisians, ... so he fell into Frankish hands' (1205-1210), while Widsith also lists them together (69: 'Frisians, Franks and Frumtingas') in his poem, although this is also alliterative (same first letters). Jakob Grimm points out that the Merovingian Franks, who came from the East to the old Frankish lands (Holland), originally were called Maurungani (perhaps from mire / moor: 'a morass or moor's young ones'). Chalmers quotes the (unknown) Geographer of Ravenna (~700AD), who places the Maurungani 'in line with the Franks in Elbe country' ('in qua Albis patria per multos annos Francorum linea remorata est'), see illustration. Roman poet Paulinus of Nola, 354-431AD, refers to a 'terra Morinorum' across the English channel, i.e. in Gaul (Nola ep.18.4).

Early location of the Maurungani, from Chalmers' Widsith

The early Bructeri, considered by Grimm to be part of the Frisian confederation like the coastal Chauki, living between the Ems and Weser, were defeated by their rivals, but resurged and are known to have moved south to an area where the Riparian Franks ('situated on Rhine river banks') were later found. The Tencteri (Tungri), Sicambri, Tubantes (Tiuhanti) and Chamavi were also considered Franks. Likewise in Holland there is a region called 'Salland' (named after the Salian Franks, considered the founding Franks (Sala or IJssel river Franks) on their descent from the North to a small part of modern France, at the invite of the Romans. These Franks are characterized by burial sites of chiefs with their horses ('Paardenveld' in Rhenen in central Netherlands, ref. 'Romeinen, Friezen, Franken in het Hart van Nederland', by van Es and van Hessen). Likewise we find their presence in 'Frankenland' (the Hessian Franks in central Germany).

500-900AD Frankish Tribes

GOTHS: The earliest mention of the mainland 'Guiones' is by Pytheas, while sailing the Baltic in 325BC and an awareness of the Goths of Scandia by Ptolemy around 150AD, see map). Of the Goths proper, nothing much is really known before 269 (when Claudius II takes the name 'Gothicus' after his defeat of the Goths), except perhaps the accounts of Goth descended to the mouth of the Dnieper (modern Ukraine) across the Black Sea, and their rampages across the Danube after 238AD 'when rumblings along the border erupt into a massive onslaught' (Wolfram, p44). Goths hail from Scandinavia: they did leave the Visigothic (W)ulfilas translation of the New Testament, of around 350AD, one of the earliest Germanic written records. Jordanes captures Gothic legend and lore in the sixth century, just before their total amalgamation into the Roman world, at which time Ostrogoths are referred to as 'Amali', 'descendants of Amal', father of Ostrogotha. Wolfram hails their history, wanderings and exploits in 'History of the Goths' (1988). For a closer study of the Gothic language, see 'A Primer of the Gothic Language', by Joseph Wright, 1899, p146, incl.

the four Gospels in Gothic

JUTES: The name of the Danish peninsula 'Jutland', whence the Jutes, is said to derive from 'Gotland' according to the translation of Alfred the Great (himself descended from the Jutes through his mother Osburga) of Orosius' 'Roman History' (~880 AD), who calls Jutes (or Eutes/Eotas) 'Geata' and 'Geatum' (Tacitus: Eudoses, Latin: iutas, iutarum, iutis, and iutum, Gr: iutae, ON: Jotar, Beowulf: Eotenas, Eotens). It is also called Reidgotaland. Rieger in 'Zeitschrift fûr Deutche Philogie' holds the Eotenas to be 'Angles and Frisians'. Grimm holds the link of Jutes to Goths to be mistaken, as do others proposing that the West Saxon ref. to 'Geatas' was confused with 'Geotas'. Wolfram mentions (p22) Eutes and Heruli (both from the Cimbrian (Danish) peninsula) as having settled near the Black Sea and speaking Gothic! However, the names of the 'Geats' of Sweden and 'Goths' are both without doubt derived from the Proto-Germanic 'Gautõz' (to pour), still leaving the matter of the neighboring Eutes/Jutes' Gothic heritage open to further linguistic and historical debate.

WERE FRISIANS GOTHS? Father vs Atta (Heit) vs Dad etymology:

Goths were presumed in 'De Bello Gothico' ('The Gothic War') by Procopius (~500 - 554 AD) to be an assembly of related and likeminded peoples, of the same tribe, later divided up and named after various leaders. Perhaps as a distant linguistic proof (Gothic constituting a bridge between a proto Indo-European root, PIE, to later Germanic languages), the Gothic word for 'father', 'atta' closely resembles the Frisian 'heit' for father. It is in fact identical in Old-Frisian 'atta', and closely resembles ON and Icel='atti', the Hittite='attas', Sanskrit='tata', PIE='ëtta', on North Frisian islands Amrum 'aatj', and part of Föhr 'oti' or 'ohitj', Fering & Oömrang 'aatj', and in many Frisian mainland districts 'täta', Wiedingharder and Karrharde 'tääta',like Central Goesharde 'ate', Bökingharde 'tate' (see 'dad' following), Norwegian 'taate', not unlike "æt", the old Danish word for 'family' or 'lineage'. This Germanic expression 'tata', German 'Tate', Bavarian 'tatte', Cimbrian 'tata', appears related to the Middle English word for father, 'dedde' or 'dad', which appears to have also orinated from 'atta'. Compare likewise the Welch and Breton 'tad', and Old Irish 'tada', and the Slavonic (Russian) 'djadja' (uncle).

Also derived from 'atta' is the Dutch 'ette', where the meaning of 'father' shifted to 'judge' (compare 'etstoel'='judges seat', the highest court in use in Saxon Drenthe until 1791. Somewhat similar but geographically distant to Germanic are the words for father in Gaelic, 'athair' and the unique Basque language, 'aita'. Compare for contrast the island Heligoland's Saxon Halligs 'baabe' for father and on the Netherlands' former Zuiderzee island, Urk's 'baebe' for (grand)father. Also deriving from the Proto Indo-European (PIE) 'ëtta' is the Slavic word for father (OCS='otici'),'otec' and its variations, including 'tato' (Pol, Ukr, Rom.), which resembles the Germanic versions of 'taate'.

The word 'mam(a)' for 'mother', Frisian 'mem', is quite universal (Memsahib (India), Mamasan (Japan), mamme (Greek), mama (Persian, Russian, Welsh, etc), but interestingly there is a derivative used for an older aunt, Muhme (German), mome (M-Eng), and muoi (Frisian). Such imitative words linking ancient proto languages to the present are sometimes referred to as nursery words (the Gothic Bible uses 'atta' 255 times, but 'fadar' only once from the (Semetic) Aramaic word 'Abba father'). In a similar vein, the Latin word for father, 'papa' (Greek 'pappas'), seems to have originated from that source (from 'pater').

Many other Germanic languages use derivatives of the Indo-European word (Sanskrit='pitar') for Pater/Vater (as in the Latin 'Jupiter' = Latin 'Deus-Pater' = Greek 'Zeus-Patir' or 'father god' or 'all father' (ref. Grimm, Vol.1, p22). In a similar vein, linking Vandal (Goths) and Frisians, Henri of Huntingdon refers to the punishments heaped upon the newly converted Anglo-Saxons:

'the Almighty let loose among them the most barbarous of nations, Danes and Goths, Norwegians and Swedes, Vandals and Frisians'

seeming to link the Gothic Vandals to Frisians. We know from Pytheas that Goths crossed the Baltic to the mainland already in the fourth century BC (when the Frisians first appear on the Frisian coast). Frisians and Goths burried their dead (ref. Wolfram's 'History of the Goths', p12), unlike Angles and Saxons who cremated theirs. Both Frisians and Goths were masters of the Baltic sea trade, to which the rich treasures found on the island of Gotland and Stavoren's history in Frisia testify. This trade was of course facilitated by mutually intelligible languages like (Old) Frisian of the day, including the use of exchangable (minted) money (and a fixed ratio of the value of gold to silver, 1:8). Compare a sample of Gothic in the linguistic section below.

The southward traveling Goths split into the East and West Goths, known to history as Ostrogoths and Visigoths, who later roamed to Southern Europe and Iberia. A form of (Ostra)Gothic was still spoken in the Crimea up to the 18th century, see examples of the Gothic language and map below. There is an interesting historical anecdote where Goths from Sweden and those from Spain (or Austria according to Wolfram 'extending their inherited right to rule to the Habsburg dynasty') argued in front of the Vatican about who were the true representatives of the Gothic race (in a case of wanderers against stay-at-homes). It is interesting to note that besides names ending on -ric, many early Gothic names end on -a (as do Frisian names, as paternal genitive, see section below), giving rise to speculation that this is where the Italian and Spanish, both Latin tongues, borrowed their name-ending vowel -a (unlike the French). After the Romans had been defeated by the Visigoths in 379AD (they were then often referred to as 'Scythians', for the shared eastern region they used to inhabit with the Asiatic Huns), Rome itself was sacked in 410AD by Alaric, king of the Visigoths. Then Genseric, king of the Vandals, sacked Rome in 455AD after having gained control of Roman North Africa and sacking Carthage in 439AD. King Roderic, 'last king of the Goths' , ruled Spain from Toledo until 712AD. His Scandinavian name Roderic lives on as 'Rodrigo' and 'Rodrigues/z' in Portugal and Spain, as do many other European names ending on -ric: Frederic, Eric, Alaric, Theodoric. In Rome, do as the Romans do: the beards, dress (furs), and Gothic language soon disappear around 600AD in the West (while blue eyes remain).

Barbarian Kingdoms at the end of the Roman Empire in 476AD (Wikipedia)

FRISIANS: An unlikely coastal depopulation view:

Names of the Frisians

A view more recently compiled proposes that the original Frisians are not the same as those of post-Roman times. Inclement weather, two centuries of rising sea levels after 250AD, Roman servitude, coastal raiding by the Chauki, and Saxon migratory destruction are listed as possible contributing factors. This would, in addition to well known mercenary (cohort) services (as a form of Roman tribute) by many Germanic tribes, including the Frisians, however, seem to go in the face of archeological finds, for instance, of the Salian Franks just 75 miles south in central Netherlands along the Rhine.

The Salian Franks, who in the same general period up to 500AD thrived and increased greatly in numbers, status and wealth, were living in the same climatic (cold and wet) conditions, close to the sea (subject to raiders), significantly closer to the oppressive Romans (ref. 'Romeinen, Friezen, Franken in het Hart van Nederland', by van Es and van Hessen), and were part of the general migrations of the day. Similarly, the coastal tribe of Tacitus' highly regarded Chauci are listed by him as being not only 'in control of a large coastal territory but filling it', to such an extent that tribes in this area overflowed into Britannia not long thereafter. Note that the Chauki (the 'Hocings', of Chauki blood) to the immediate east are closely related to the Frisians, not just geographically as coastal mound dwellers according to Pliny, 'always acting in accordance with them, never in opposition'. The Chauki appear to have merged with the Saxons in the third century.


Tacitus refers to Greater and Lesser Frisii. What about Frisia Maiores which extended well beyond in the higher elevations just away from the coast line, which in any case was further south then as it is now. Note after starting to build dikes around 1200AD, today's once-coastal names for inland towns ending on Geest = higher sand ridge, as in Lutjegast, Grootegast, Westergeest, Uitgeest, Tjerkgaast, Gaasterland and Gestel.


Another word indicating elevated land next to water or swamp is frequently used as suffix Schoot (=meaning portruding sand ridge above the surrounding water or swamps, often forested, as in OudeSchoot (Scote, Fr: Aldskoate), Winschoten (WindtScote), de Schooten (bij Den Helder, after a raised sand ridge), Herschoten (HengistScoto, mentioned in 777AD, later also called Bunschoten), Bertanscotan (805AD Berugtanscotan), Trendscotan (1055AD Drinschoten), Voorschoten (ForeScate). Also, in the river delta of Brabant: Don(k)schot, Hoksent (HoccaScaute), Aarschot (AreScod), Baarschot (1435AD Beerscot), Beerschot (BerneScot), Oirschot and in the lower parts of West Flanders: Schoten (near Antwerp), and possibly nearby Brasschaat (ofr: skata, or ODu: scata, as in Schoot-Budel) and (schate = (raised) coast), Bixschoote (Bikschote, BeckeScothe), Zuidschote (SuytScotes) en Noordschote, townships raised just above sea level, and in Dutch-speaking West Flanders (annexed by France in 1668), near Duinkerken (Dunkirk):Hondscho(o)te, next to a swampy area.

WIERD, WARD, WIRTH, WORTH, TERP, THORPE, DORP For hundreds of placenames named after coastal geageaphical features such as 'wierde' (elevated place), or 'terp' (thorp, dorp), see this site

Yet ancient Frisians disappeared entirely from the map during the period of Roman peace and prosperity (the Pax Romana ~250AD!), only to reappear in name and custom in the fourth century with their Frisian nomenclature intact as Saxons or Angles? Perhaps only the 'terpen' were abandoned during the continual rising of the sea after the ice age. Historian Dr. Douwe Kalma in his 'Skiednis fan Fryslan' ('History of Frisia', 1965) states that in any case, these sibling peoples spoke the same language before the split in continental Germanic and coastal Anglo-Frisian, and in the absence of war and disputes, must have been on good terms with each other, traveling and intermingling quite happily without conflict, as history shows (there are towns in Friesland named Ingelum, Englum, and Sexbierum today, hinting at Angle and Saxon inhabitants). Like Taylor, Versloot shows a similarity in placenames that follow coastal migrations (and thus a likely relation between various people groups). Historian Pieter Boeles finds a discontinuity in archeological finds in the abandoned dwelling mounds (called 'terpen') during rising seas. We also know that early Frisians buried their dead, unlike the later Angles and Saxons who burned them (as also desribed in Beowulf 'Finn's Poem', where Frisian and Jute warriors share a funeral pyre).

After 400AD there are more cremations (urns) in Frisia, also indicating an influx of Angles, Jutes and Saxons. Likewise, both customs are found in early England, indicating that Frisians migrated along with the Angles, Jutes and Saxons. In fact, Procopius (~500-554AD) in his 'Gothic Wars' talks of the three tribes settling England as Angles, Saxons, and Frisians (Phrisones), whereas the venerable Bede speaks some 200 years later in 683AD of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. This appears to reinforce the close relationship of the Frisians and Jutes mentioned in 'Beowulf' (assumed written 700-750AD dealing with times around 400-500AD, ref. Jute leader Hengist's move to Kent in 449AD), confirmed by the closer relation between Old Kentish of Kent and Isle of Wight, where both Jutes and Frisians are known to have settled, and Old Frisian (closer than 'Old Anglish'), as well as more Frisian archeological finds than Jutish one. If earliest Frisian DNA can be found, it could be compared from those early Roman times to after 400AD. Moreover, it stands to reason that early Frisians must have come from the same Scandinavian stock departing that general area. Perhaps the early Frisians were in fact curly-haired sea-faring Vandal Goths who simply extended their presence on the mainland coastline even further westwards. There are strong suggestions that, as the intermediate coastal dwellers closest to England, Frisian ships were used in the later migrations. In the Swiss legend 'Der Friesenweg' (the Frisian Way), of Frisian and Swedish settlement of Switzerland some two thousand years ago, the Frisians are described as having curly hair. Besides early settlements in Kent, there is mention of Frisian settlement on the northern coast near the Humber (Frismarsh mentioned as 'Frysmerske' (Frisian for 'Frisian Marsh')in 1275, later swallowed by the Humber), Ptolemy's mention of the ancient Parisi near Holderness (or Farisi) could well refers to the Frisians (rather than a Celtic tribe).

See references to numerous Frisian placenames in Britain below, many more than names referring to Saxon of Anglian tribal descent in Britain, (though not necessarily in linguistic regard, as will be shown in the placenames 'suffix' section, such as the Angle '-by' ('Frisby') or the Saxon '-ham').

As it is, it appears that the 'archeological disappearance' concerns mostly the area of far West Friesland (present North Holland) and not all parts of (present) West and East Friesland (adjoining coastal Groningen and Germany) DNA research may settle the issue, as it does appear to corroborate mass migration to Britain around and even before 500AD (the Saxons being know as coastal raiders of Britain as early as 385AD and their predecessors the Chauci long before that), correlating with an eventual depopulation of the continent (see also possible effects of volcanic eruptions in 536AD next in 'Collapse of the Roman Empire'). Earlier departure by the Frisians due to closer proximity to Britain (even as Roman cohorts ('laeti') in the first to fourth centuries in Kent, well before the Anglo and Saxon migrations) could explain the many geographically Frisian place names in Britain that we do not seem to find for the other tribes. In any case, just as Anglo-Frisian preceded Old Frisian and Old English, Frisian and English ('Angle') DNA is closely intertwined in Mercian Britain (='indistinguishable'), obviously stemming from a common genealogical root (see earlier).

Map showing location of Frisii Maiores and Frisii Minores, by Menso Alting (1697)

Roman Placenames on the continent:

Many place names (nearly all) on the Rhine river as in Britannia derive from Roman names of old.

Roman names along the Rhine (squares showing forts), from "Romeinen, Friezen, Franken' by van Es

Some town names with Roman origins along the Rhine boundary:

Bonn (Bonna)

Koln (Colonia Claudia Agripinensis)

Aachen (Aquisgranium)

Xanten (Castra Vetera)

Nijmegen (Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum)

Kesteren (Castra)

Maurik (Mauricium)

Utrecht (Trajectum ad Rhenum = 'ford')

Leiden (Lugdunum Batavorum)

Alphen (Albaniana)

Voorburg (Forum Hadriani)

Roman Place Names in Britain

Roman town names in Britannia, from John Burke's excellent 'Roman England'

Some names with Roman origins in Britannia (note: Castra = Roman Fort = Chester/Cester/Caster/Xeter):

Bath (Aquae Sulis)

Brancaster (Branodumun)

Carlisle (Luguvallium)

Colchester (Camelodumun)

Lincoln (Lindum)

Doncaster (Danum)

Dorchester (Dornovaria)

Dover (Dubris)

Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum)

Gloucester (Glevum)

Leicester (Ratae Coritanorum)

London (Londinium)

Manchester (Mamucium)

Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum)

Veralium (St Albans)

Winchester (Venta Belgarum)

Wroxeter (Viroconium Cornoviorum)

York (Eboratum)

Collapse of the Roman Empire 476AD:

The Roman internal decline was followed by the rampage of the Huns under Atilla, an extremely violent and rapacious Asiatic tribe from the east who were only defeated in 451AD by Roman general Flavius Aetius at the Catalaunian Plains (in modern France), and finally by the Visigoths in 469AD, after which the Huns disappear from history (while leaving their name to Hun-gary, and later, unflatteringly, to rapacious soldiers in WW1/2).

451AD - Huns against the Romans and later the Visigoths

The Huns were succeeded by an equaly rapacious Turkic horse tribe from the easten steppes, the Avars, mentioned by the Roman general Priscus of Panium in 463. When attempting to cross south of the Danube, the Avars were twice stopped by Frankish king Sigebert I. The Avars, themselves seeking refuge from the rapacious nomads by the name of Gokturks, submitted to serve the Romans in lieu of payment, and with the Lombards sought to limit the influence of the Gephids in Pannonia, an obscure Germanic tribe on the eastern fringe of the empire. However, when the Avars entered the Balkan from Pannonia, they were defeated by Roman emperor Maurice's army late sixth century, after his campaign against the Persian Sassanids, and payments stopped. An outbreak of the plague seems to have finished off the Avars

During the collapse of the Roman empire between 400 and 500AD (it had formally ceased to exist in 476AD after a defeat by the Germanic Odoacer), many Germanic tribes became restless and started migrating, drawn in part by the obvious power vacuum (note the Salian Franks moving south!). Possibly population pressure, although hard to imagine in a modern context, or weather conditions (the risen sea levels of 250-400AD appear to have receded). One recently established event is an Icelandic volcanic eruption in 536AD (and elsewhere) that blotted out the sun for over a year in northern Europe, leading to a cold spell and failed harvests lasting for a decade, resulting in the plague in 538AD. This event is known to have led to subsequent depopulation and mass migration from Scandinavia!

Migration of Frisian people and language

Germanic migrations to Britannia (Hengest and Horsa):

400-500AD Jutes, Angles and Frisians on the move to Britain (mostly by land)

In the sixth century Angles and Jutes from today's Denmark, Frisians from the North Sea coast, and Saxons from Northern Germany pushed their way via the Northern European coast into Britain, replacing centuries of Roman rule. According to Bede, prior to this date in the 3d and 4th centuries, there were in Britain in the service of Rome, many auxiliary Frisian garrisons near Hadrian's wall (Cuneus Frisiorum Vinoviensium (3rd century), Cuneus Frisiorum Vercoviciensium (early 3rd century), Cohors I Frisiavonum (Frixagorum) (3rd-4th century). Byzantine (Greek) historian Procopius (500 - 554 AD) in his 'Gothic Wars', describes Frisians among the three nations Angiloi, Phrissones, and Britones, that inhabited Britain in his time, as reported by witnesses to him in Constantinople. English author of Beowulf mentions Frysland (1127), Fresnaland (gen.) (2916), and Freslondum (pl.) (2358). 'Saxons' were supposed by Procopius to be the collective term for the Teutonic (Germanic) tribes harassing the coast in the latter days of the Roman empire (ref. Nennius, who was a Welshman himself to whom all invaders might have been lumped together as 'Saxons', not unlike the Scots still referring to the English today as 'Sassenachs'). Continental Frisian speakers subsequently occupied an area called Frisia Magna, or Greater Frisia, along the coast between the Schelde (north of Gaul, around modern Belgium) and past the Weser near Denmark, location of present day 'North Frisian Isles' and Schleswig-Holstein (taken from Denmark by Prussian Germany only in 1864). Beowulf mentions Frysland (1127), Fresnaland (gen. sing., 2916), Freslondum (pl, 2358). The Roman historians like Tacitus referred to these peoples as the coastal Ingaevones, (ing- = from 'Ingwine' = Friends of goddess 'Ing'. Note Pliny's 'Ingvaeones') as separate from the inland Istvaeones, (likely the later, land-based Franks) and Irminones, or Herminones (the Elbe or East Germanic tribes).

The 'Anglo Saxon Chronicles' written by monks between the 9th and 12th centuries, and partly using the 7th century venerable Bede as its source, describe the Anglo-Saxon history in English, including the early entry of Jutish chiefs Hengest and his brother Horsa in Kent (these are also Frisian names). J.R.R. Tolkien has written a coherent explanation of the extensive account in the poem 'Beowulf', of the apparently historical and well known 'Battle of Finnsburg', of Jutish king(s) Hengest' historicity. ('Hengst' means 'stallion' to this day, and Horsa means a male horse). Cummings quotes in his 'A Grammar of the Old Friesic Language' the Old Dutch rhyme:

"Een hiet Engistus, een Vries, een Sas, Die ute Land verdreven was"

"There was Hengist, a Frisian or Saxon, Who was driven from his land"

JUTES of BEOWULF: Most of today's Denmark was inhabited by Jutes, in an area called Jutland. Hengest was from southern Jutland, which is on the (later) North Frisian coast where the Angles (before?) resided (North-West Schleswig-Holstein today), as indicated by the writings of Bede in the 7th century ('Ecclesiastical History of the English People'). Danes appear around this time in history, possibly splitting off from Sweden. Beowulf, the earliest English writings, contains a poem of such rivalry: In the fifth century, Finn, king of 'Frys-land', marries Danish king Hnaef's older sister Hildeburh. They have a son Friouwulf, who is raised in Hnaef's Danish court. In an apparent inter-Jutish rivalry, Hnaef 'king/prince of Danes' expels a number of northern Jutes who then move to Frysland. After some years pass, Hnaef visits Frisian king/prince Finn to return the now-grown and presumbly suitably pacified son Friouwulf. The visit reignites the old Jutish feud, and Hengist, himself a Southern Jute (or Sngle, according to Bede), sides with Hnaef's Danes in the feud with Northern Jutes, and slays host Finn, the Frisian king, in an act of pagan blood feud vengeance, and returns to Jutland. Both Hnaef and Friouwulf are also slain, and burned on the same funeral pyre (suggesting Friouwulf sided with Hnaef). Note that designations Frisians and Jutes are used interchangably in the 'Finnsburg Fragment'. So Hengest, described in both Old English poems Beowulf and 'The Fight at Finnsburg', becomes the first Jute chief of England (Kent) when he rebels against Celtic king Vortigern, who had married Hengest's sister, sometime between 446 and 455AD, and who had invited him to secure his own rule of Britain after the Romans departure leaves him unprotected against other Britons (Picts). Hengist is described in the Anglo-Saxon chronicles, as the one invited by Vortigern to defend his Britons (Kelts) against the Pics, and is generally assumed due to a fitting time frame to be the same individual. Hengist dies in 488 in Kent, presumed slain in battle, and is followed by his son.

It is not clear where the tribe of the Angles fit in at this stage. They are not mentioned in the poem of Beowulf (Beowulf the Gaet, related to or at least cohabiting later Sweden with the Goths), yet adjoin the same North-Frisian coastal and Southern Jute territories. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles refer to Hengist and his men as 'Angles', invited by the Briton Vortigern to Kent. While some of Beowulf is legendary (monsters), other events are historically corroborated, like the slaying in battle in Frisian lands of king Hygelac in 516AD. Bede refers to Angles as living in Angel (Angulus), a narrow strip (near/on the North Frisian coast) between the Jutes to the north and the Saxons to the south. The name might be linked to the root -ing of the coastal 'ingvaeonic' people. Their name 'Angle' could also refer to its more obvious meaning of 'narrow' (for ex. 'eng' in Dutch), and its absence in Beowulf explained by Bede's comment that after migration to Britain, 'their (Angle) land remains unpopulated to this day' (Bede lived 672-735AD, so two centuries later). Beowulf does refer to the Ingwina people (translated as 'Ingwins'. That Angles were closely related to the Frisians is corroborated by modern DNA of areas of central England known to have been settled by Angles (see separate discussion).

500AD Jutes, Angles, Saxons and Frisians


When the Romans left Britain, the center of power shifted to Angles in the north (Northumbria = early English kingdom north of the river Humber, or Hymbre, to the Forth of Firth). From there, with forceful monarchs like Aethelbald and Offa (of 'Offa's Dyke' between England and Wales) in the eight century, south to the central kingdom of Mercia, including Anglia ('Mercia' = marshland, borderland with the Welsh, Frisian = 'mersk', English = 'marsh'). When the coastal areas in the north became subject to Viking raids in the ninth century, the power shifted yet further south to the West Saxons, who under King Alfred prevailed until the Norman conquest in 1066.

550AD - Angles (Engle), Jutes (Ytene), and Saxons (Seaxe) expanding (from HistoryFiles)

Place names on the continent as evidence of Saxon/Frisian migrations:


Migrating Saxons have left evidence by place names along the Northsea coast named after them, like Sexbierum (Friesland) and Sassenheim (South Holland), and Essex, Middlesex. Sussex and Wessex in England (=Angle-Land or -Lond, itself derived from the Angles). Still today West Flanders shows Saxon and Frisian place names (Fressain (Fresinghem), Freton), Ref. Taylor below, 'Words and Places', P86 that also occur in England, found after the crossing of the same people. See also about Frisians here in the context of the Anglo-Saxons: 'Origins of the Anglo-Saxon race'

Saxon Patronymic Villages in France (Taylor, 'Words and Places', p96)

Related Saxon place names in France and in England (note the Frisian/Saxon '-ing' suffixes)

Frisian place names in Britannia as evidence of migrations:

The Angles, Jutes, Saxons and Frisians clearly spoke a mutually intelligible Germanic language (which became 'Olde English') which diverged only AFTER arriving in various parts of England, not before (ref. Edmunds below, p16), as evidenced by distinct place names' suffixes (-by, -thorpe , -brough, -wick (Angle), -hem (-um), -ton, -berg, -ing (Frisian), -ham, -ton, -bury, -ing (Saxon)), as shown by Taylor and qouted by Barber here. Michael Wood lists in his 'Domeday - A search for the roots of England' (1986) over 300 towns in Britain ending on the Angle suffix -by. Significantly, the historic capital of the centre of Baltic commerce, Gotland island, east of Sweden, inhabited by Goths, bears the name Visby (Wisby).

English towns ending on the Angle suffix '-by(e)'

Ewen shows examples of Frisians in Britain (p140-143) in History of Surnames of the British Isles and makes a case that Saxon names with the genitive '-ing' were eventually replaced by the arrival of the later Scandinavians, although still evident in place names like Bas-ing-stoke. Taylor shows how many Saxon/Frisian placenames ending on -ing are similar on both sides of the Channel. Common (roots of) expletives are also evidence of early linguistic relationships. Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger in the millennial 1999 publication 'The Year 1000' hold that so-called Anglo-Saxon four-letter words were possibly derived later from Dutch, since not mentioned in any Anglo-Saxon literature 'transcribed by monkish scribes' (while happily quoting saucy poems by the same monks): but even today, no church or government language would include them.

Map showing England around 800AD

As per Jesse M. Lyons (Vol33, 1918), the Frisian speakers among the invaders left a number of (geographic) Frisian place names in various counties of England. See a listing ('Fryske Nammen 3' pdf) of OE prefix Fres- and Fris-, also with useful dates of earliest historical mention here:

Map showing Frisian place names in England, from Frisians in England

Kent: Freezingham (Fresingham 1236), French Hay (Frisingeheye 1256), Frenchhurst (Frecinghyrte 801, Fresynghurst 1270)

Devon: Frizenham (Friseham 1086), Friscomb

Cumbria: Frizington (Frisingaton 1160)

Yorkshire: Frising Hall (Frizinghale 1165), (Ferry) Fryston(e) (1086), Monk Fryston (Fryston(a) 1070), Fraisthorpe, Frisby (Friseby), Firsby (Frisobeia 1121), Frismarsh (Frysmerske 1275, lost to the Humber), Water Fryston (Fryston(a) 1155)

Leicester: Frisby on the Wreake (Frisebi(e) 1086), (Old) Frisby (Friseby 1086), Frisby Lodge, Freezeland

Nottingham: Friezland

Worcestershire: Frisland

Cumberland: Frizington (Frisingaton 1160)

Warwickshire: Frizhill, Freasley (Freselega 1168, Fresele 1375)

Pembrokeshire: Freystrop

Staffordshire: Friezeland

Gloucester: Freezing-Hill

Sussex: Fri(e)ston (Fristone 1294)

Suffolk: Fressingfield (Lodge), Friston, Freston, Framlingham, Friswell (Hall)

Lincolnshire: Freiston (Fristune 1086), Frieston (Fristun 1086), Friesthorpe (Frisetorp 1086), Frisby East (Frisebi 1086), Firsby (Frisby 1115)

Buckinghamshire: Friesden

Wiltshire: Fresdon

Hampshire: Freeze End

Manchester (Chester/WestMoreland): Friezland

Scotland: Firth of Forth is called 'Frisian Sea' by Nennius (*769AD), the northern shore the 'Frisian Shore'.. His 'Historia Brittorum' mentions the 'Ultra Mare Frenessicum' which nicely councides with the (remote) Forth of Firth (in Scotland). He also mentions, of 33 cities in ancient Britain, 'Cair Peris', where Cair is Gallic for 'fort' and Peris is speculated by some to refer to the ancient Frisians (see also discussion of the 'Farisi' in Northern England).

Map showing counties of England at the time of the Domesday book in 1086

(Note that several current northern counties like Westmoreland, Lancashire, and Cumberland are included in Cheshire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 1086)

English place name References

CL Ewen, History of Surnames of the British Isles (1931)

CL Ewen, A Guide to the Origin of British Surnames (1938)

William George Searle's Onomasticon, 'a list of Anglo-Saxon proper names', 1897

'British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning, with Lists of Scandinavian, Frisian, Anglo-Saxon and Norman Names', by Henry Barber, 1903

British Family Names: section on Frisian Names (p32), by Henry Barber, 1903

'Friesian placenames and placenames in Friesland' (pdf, Arjen Versloot):

'Concentration of names in Germanic -haim' (pdf, Arjen Versloot):

'The spread of places named -haim (-um) and -ingi (-ens)' (pdf, Arjen Versloot):

Domesday Book (by order of William the Conqueror, 1086) (old script)

Domesday Book and Beyond - 3 essays in the Early History of England

Flavell Edmunds - 'Traces of History in the Names of Places', p.16: no distinction betw. Saxons, Jutes, Frisians and Angles (1869)

A. Goodall - 'Placenames of South West Yorkshire' (sort on "Frisian') (1913)

Taylor - 'Words and Places' (sort on 'Frisian') (1873)

Henry Barber: 'British placenames and their meanings' ('Frisian Pers. and Fam. names) (1894)

'Homes of Family Names in Great Britain', by Henry Brougham Guppy (1890)

'English Surnames: Their Sources and Significations' by Charles Waring Bardsley (1875)

Evidence of Frisian migration via DNA

Origin and early migration of the Celts ahead of Germanic tribes

CELTS: J. Bosworth in his Dictionary of the Anglo Saxon Language, 1838 holds that in Herodotus times (~450BC) the Teutonic tribes came out of Asia at around 680BC, following the earlier Celts from the east, who gave their trade name to the Hallstatt late bronze age (1200-800BC) and early iron age culture (800-400BC). The tall, pale-skinned, ruddy-haired, blue-eyed, brightly-clothed, fancy-moustached Celts were iron- and salt-miners from earliest times in the Eastern part of Europe and in Asia, gradually moving west, and even sacking Rome in 390BC, leaving behind a range of names with the root 'Hal-' or salt (Welch: 'halen', Breton: 'holen'): Halle, Hallein, Schabisch Hall, Hallstatt, and Halych in Polish Galicia, according to Kurlansky's 'Salt' (p54/60), which itself is derived from the Celtic root word 'gall/kall', possibly taken from 'stone' (working with megaliths is known as another specialty of the Celtic peoples). Their Greek name 'Keltoi', for continental Celts (Latin 'Galli'), and 'Kallaikoi' (Latin 'Celtici') for Iberian Celts in Portu'gal' and 'Gal'icia in NW Spain appears to refer to their mining ('one who lives under cover'), and they are evidenced even in the Asia Minor of Biblical times: the 'Gal'atians ('Galatae'). Under Caesar's reign in 50BC, we find the Germanic tribes established so far westward that the remaining Celts, 'the bravest of whom the Belgae' (ref. Caesar's 'De Bello Gallico', which describes their defeat), were forced to move ever further west from the eastern banks of the Rhine, to the outskirts of the continent (Brittany, Portugal, Galicia in NW Spain) and the British isles (eventually settling in Cornwall, Wales, Manx, Scotland and Ireland). Mining may have actually been a much older trade in Britain, as Bosworth claims that the Phoenicians brought tin from Britain in 1200BC even before the Trojan wars (ref. Eastern Origins of Celtic Nations, by Dr. Pritchard, 1831). The Greek trader Pytheas mentions tin mining in what must be Cornwall on his travels to 'Pretannia' around ~330BC.

History limited to 5000 years

Proof of Spread of Peoples via Languages and DNA

NOTHING EXCEEDS ~5000 YEARS IN AGE: The entropy (decay) of languages over time is the clearest sign of a short human history (in line with all sciences: (evolutionary) biology is the only 'science' that does not adhere to universally proven entropy that governs all other sciences). Besides historical record, we have DNA today to assist in tracing people movements. In particular y-DNA, which follows the oldest male father-to-father ancestor, and shows that Europe's most prevailing y-DNA, the R1b Haplogroup, originates from south central Europe in recent times and beyond, to the near East migrating relatively recently from the Middle East (with the oldest R1b find in Europe around 700BC). Given that to qualify as 'science' only requires two criteria: 1) observation and 2) repeatability, the fact is that nothing on earth is auditably older than ~5000 years. Everything 'older' (so-called 'scientific evidence') is only based on assumptions controlling the interpretation of that evidence, to fit a subjective naturalistic worldview (for instance, naturalism (= chance) using geology to date fossils, which are then used to date geology: circular reasoning, but not observable and repeatable science). An example of a farmer cutting a tree branch in Australia and retrieving it himself later, shows it takes only 32 years for wood to completely petrify (and thus, fossils). Without the benefit of this knowledge, the gullible may be tempted to assume (= accept the interpretation of so-called 'scientific evidence') that petrification takes 'millions of years' (MY), to fit a certain narrative (world view). What of the huge, many-layered canyons, cut in a few hours by Mt St. Helen's 1980 eruption, which took the vast upstream lake of the Grand Canyon supposedly 1.7 billion years to gouge out: theoretical 'uniformitarianism' (everything stays the same, moves at the same rate) vs observed catastrofies (like volcanic eruptions, floods, the ice age), speculation versus observed science). Such a speculative, evolutionary worldview has led to many 'wishful' discoveries in the past, even forgeries: Lucy was a knuckle-walking ape that was presented as an upright-walking 'missing link' between man and ape, the Piltdown man a hoax that fooled certain of the more gullible wordviews for many decades, to name just a few! All the 'spectacular' supposed man-ape 'finds' fit in one coffin (many 'reconstructed' from a single jaw or just several bones, like Lucy), and seem to put the cart (of assumption) before the horse (of fact). Such 'scientific gymnastics' are discussed from a legal reasoning perspective (to verify 'the evidence' presented) in 'Darwin on Trial' by Phillip E. Johnson, or Darwin's Doubt, by Stephen Meyer, about the question how (whence) chemical information is 'added' to create life, and whence biological information is 'added' to develop more complex lifeforms (thus, evolutionary biology is the only 'science' that does not recognize science's laws of entropy). It helps to remember that facts don't change (rocks, fossils), only interpretations do! And it is the very recent arrival and spread of people and languages, as shown below, within the last 5000 years that we have observed!


Some measurable old-age examples are: the oldest still living tree reportedly at 4860 years (the Bristlecone Pine),Noah's ark, built before ~3000BC and remains of which (shape, size and nails) found on the Ararat mountains; spectacular global fossil graveyards, ref. Dr. Peter Snelling's Earth's Catastrophic Past; 5000 year old millions of fossils in Brazil's caves of Mina Gerais (p485); the pyramids, 3d millennium BC; the circular Stones of Stenness (Orkney) and Stonehenge, 3d millennium BC); start of the bronze age at 3000BC; early empires in the near East (ancient Egypt, Babel in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, Sumeria, China); use of papyrus in the 3d millennium BC; the earliest divisions of the proto-Indo-European languages; use of the three-spoked wheel during the 3d millennium BC (with horses facilitating the spread of man); earliest ship building around 3000BC (NOVA s48e11, 'Ship that changed the World'); domestication of the horse 5000 years ago (NOVA s46e9, 'First Horse Warriors'); fabrication of silk according to Chinese lore around 2700BC; Japan's reported line of 126 emperors (from 700BC); the end of the Stone age at 2000BC, end of the Bronze age (and start of Iron Age) at 1200BC, agriculture (olive seeds near Haifa ~2200BC); invention of the plow; growing of wheat and potatoes; domestication of farm animals); post ice-age stone graves ('Hunebedden' and 'Dolmen'); saltmaking; preserved human skeletons (3000 years frozen in the Alps, submerged in marshes, burried underground, found in coal layers; 4000 year old mummified 'Tocharian' Celts in China); the alphabet (named after the ancient Hebrew letters Alef and Bet, whence the more recent Greek 'Alpha-Bet'); 5000 year old cuneiform tablets (the oldest form of writing), hieroglyphs, runes, and written languages like Sanskrit at 2000BC, Mycenaean Greek 1500BC; the Epic of Gilgamesh (a world-wide flood account) in Sumerian around 2100BC; human archeological finds; DNA (which shows for instance that 40% of Ashkenazi Jews descend from four mothers 2000 to 3000 years ago); millions of recently (instantly) buried woolly Mammoths; (note the man-made stone Malakoff masks at the Pearce Museum in Corsicana, TX, found in 1929 in a pit 20 feet deep, together with long-extinct mastadons and camels, and 'dated to 50,000 years ago' (many tens of thousands of years before man set foot in North America during lower sea levels in the recent ice age!).


Note likewise the many errors in dating methods: Carbon dating (however 'interpretive' and based on 'things once alive': for example, bones of fish-eating humans are known to read 10% 'too old' (ref. NOVA s46e10, 'Lost Viking Army') and living animals regularly show hundreds of years old (a living seal 1300 years old!). Coal, formed 'millions of years ago' (MYA) as taught in all major universities, has been re-created in labs in three weeks by immersion of cell-based cellulose (vegetation) in acidic water, sprinkled with clay, with pressure added (and in three hours by adding DC current!).

Radio isotopes

For inanimate rocks, radiometry is used, which is also based on assumptions of a) an unprovable starting point and b) an untestable rate of decay: rock may show a million years old based on assumptions of uniform rates of decay, but based on Helium loss be only 6000 years old! So a case of known information versus untestable worldviews. Mount Etna's volcanic rocks, after volcanic eruption 29 years before, were deemed 30million yrs old by radio isotope! In 1986, basalt tests of crystaline rock of Mt St Helen's 1980 eruption were taken, in 1996 a radio isotope showed these to be 350K and 2.8 mill yrs old: lava contained extra amounts of stable vs active radio isotope amounts, so it was not a good baseline. When evidence is viewed of three lines of Uranium to lead, it shows decay happens three times faster than assumed (thus proving that Radio Isotopes are off like wall clocks, ref. ICR.org). The point is, that science clearly shows the necessity of a known observed baseline and repeatability (its very definition), not a basis of worldview assumptions.

Errors in Potassium-Argon rock-dating method (mys = millions of years)

Melting Ice

In the context of perfectly preserved deep-frozen animals in the arctic (with Mammoths called Chu Mu's by the Chinese, 'mothers of mice', who thought they lived as burrowing, underground moles), it is well accepted that the world's ice cover has rapidly receded from 32% just 4500 years ago, to 10% at present, (KilimaNjaro auditably losing significant portion of ice in the 19th century, ref. Dr. JP Julien), while the world has been steadily warming up during these last few thousand years, with archeological evidence indicating cycles such as North Africa being lush green, and supporting all manner of African wildlife in the time of the Romans 2500 years ago, and the period 950-1300AD 'noticably warmer' during the 'medieval warm period', than today in Northern Europe (ref. 'The Year 1000', Lacey, p139), with reports of birds breeding in January instead of May in Northern climes, wheat grown in currently (impossibly) swampy areas, and seemingly putting an end to the roving Viking age (as there were distinctly colder periods, such as 'the little ice age' in Europe between the 16th and 19th century, although no ambient temperatures were recorded, as Wiki here intimates, before a century ago).

THE SPREAD AND DECLINE OF LANGUAGE: The adaptation of the four thousand year old abstract Hebrew LETTERS of the 'alphabet' (from the Hebrew 'alef-bet') in Europe several thousand years ago (instead of the vastly complex graphic scripts of the orient with thousands of descriptive characters), combined with the Indian design of literal angles into abstract NUMBERS, from zero to infinity, brought to Europe by the 'Wandering Jew' (compared to the impossibly complex Roman numerals with no zero and a practical maximum of 3999) set Europe on a comparable path to progress (in significance) around the end of the first millenium, that computers provided during the end of the second! (and not unlike two millennium ago, with Greek philosophy having laid the basis for Greek logical thought and Roman exact science, when Eusebius in 325AD quoted Aristobulus of 150AD who says that "Plato closely followed our (=Hebrew) legislation", and "Pythagoras transferred many of our (=Hebrew) precepts and included them in his own set of doctrines". Likewise, three millennia ago there was the timeless wisdom of Solomon's Proverbs to guide a deteriorating humanity through its dark and godless times.

It is well to note that, paradoxically, the creators of the DNA Haplogroup numbering system have attempted 'to fix' the origins of man in Africa, to a distant 'millions of years ago' (MYA). This serves to suggest a politically-correct Afro-centric world, wishing for instance the ancient Egyptians (always associated with the Middle East), builders of the ancient ruins of gold mines in Zimbabwe (of Middle Eastern designs), and even Jesus (a Jew from the semitic Israelite tribe of Judah), to be 'black', implying a racist evolutionary link of man to apes: Haplogroup naming thus 'starts' in Africa with A, B, C and E and is also used as a commercial sales pitch for DNA's fake 'ancient ancestry' tests. These people movements are entirely without any support from science or language studies, since all Indo-European languages for instance are closely related to ancient Sanskrit, found only in Asia, and of which Sir William Jones (~1783) says: 'the Sanskrit language, whatever its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, both in the roots of verbs and the forms of grammar, than could have possibly have been produced by accident'. In other words, languages devolve from very complex (Sanskrit) to the very simple (English) in a relatively short time and in one direction only. Likewise, Grimm gives a similar qualitative comparison (Vol3, p848) of the Norse, German, and ancient Gothic languages: 'It lies near to us, like the Norse tongue, having stood longer undisturbed in its integrity, ..... or the German language excellences of its own, to the Gothic strength, superior to both of them together'. Note as far as geography also the African Massai's untouched rendition of the story of Gilgamesh (a worldwide flood), which clearly originated (with the Massai's forebears in Mesopotamia, or the documented wanderings of Bantu tribes in Africa, always from the north to the centre within the last few thousand years, and to southern Africa in the last 500 years or so, displacing the earlier brown peoples like Pygmies, Bushmen and Hottentots who referred to Bantus as 'the angry people'. Likewise, Melanesians (Papuas and Aboriginals) and Polynesians (Maoris and Tongans) seem to have departed from Asia for the South Pacific and Hawaii within the last 1000 years or so (Easter Island statues are from 14th century AD).

If the father-to-son y-DNA is in series, then the mother's mt-DNA shows genetic composition in parallel (a good example from 'Who killed the men of England' below is the Colombian example where 95% of a region's men had a Spanish forefather, but at the same time that region's population was 95% American-Indian in genetic (maternal) make-up, not Spanish). Likewise mentioned are the 30% of American black men, who have a white forefather, but are of much greater African maternal composition. Moreover, mt-DNA shows that we all originate from a single foremother, initially thought to have lived 5 million years ago, then 500,000 years ago, and more recently less than 50,000 years ago. At this rate, they may yet end up at 5000 years ago (Noah's wife, after the great worldwide flood). In the same context it may be noted that it has been recently established around the year 2000AD, that the human genome is the same for all people (i.e. no separate races, just varying amounts of melatonin or skin pigmentation. Note that the ancient Bible in Genesis 10 as well as for instance Acts 2, also does not record races, but '70 peoples' or 'tribes')

Prevailing statistical occurence of male (forefather) y-DNA in Europe

Tracing Frisians via DNA

FRISIAN DNA: Combined with linguistics and modern DNA research, a completer picture can be established of early Germanic peoples, their kinship, customs and language(s). From below references, the modern English DNA (Mercia's Midlands area, less affected by subsequent continental migrations to England (in the 16th, 18th, and 20th centuries, ref. Ewen) clearly shows a close kinship, indistinguishable from modern Frisian DNA. This is further corroborated by the location of English settlements of Frisian origen (Fres-, Fris-) which are mostly located in the Midlands and in Yorkshire (in addition to Kent). Comparable DNA is also described in 'Y-chromosomes as Evidence of Anglo Saxon Mass Migration'. Interestingly, modern Frisian DNA itself accounts for a large percentage of Scandinavian make-up, attributable to later Viking incursions into the Northern coast of Europe as well as England. Nearly all Englishmen, like Frisians and Scandinavians have grey-blue eyes, as even referred to in popular literature of the day (19th century). In contrast, DNA suggests that the Vikings of Iceland took many a Celtic woman from the British Isles for a wife in new settlements. The ancient Celts had been displaced from mainland Europe (300 - 50BC), who while fighting bravely, suffered greatly at the hands of Julius Caesar (who took no prisoners: only 110,000 of 360,000 Helveti Celts reportedly remained after they moved from what is now Switzerland to Gaul) and migrated to Britain. There is, however, no link of English DNA to Welsh DNA (Celtic) as the Harvard article 'Who killed the Men of England' proves, and the English language only ever reportedly borrowed eleven words from the Welsh, separated as the two peoples were by natural boundaries, walls, disposition and cultural differences (some examples are whiskey = 'uisge', druid = 'derwydd', bard = 'bardd'). Likewise, Jamieson holds 'that the number of Gaelic words in what is called the Broad Scots bears a very small proportion to the body of the language' (p.xxxix). He also makes a strong linguistic case in his 'Dissertation on the Origin of the Scottish Language' that the early migrants to Britain, the Belgae, were Teutons, and that the Picts of Scotland were of Gothic descent. Ewen in 'History of Surnames of the British Isles' mentions Ellis, who states (p62) that the Domesday Book of 1086 lists 283,242 people of all classes, of which 111 were Welsh, possibly used as slaves. That did not stop the Vikings from creating some coastal settlements around the British isles even in Celtic areas, as the name 'Swansea' in Wales still indicates today (Norse for Sveinney = 'island').

Map showing sampling locations of identical English and Frisian DNA (ococities.org)

Likewise, Scotland today is a mix of Gaelic settlement in the highlands and Scandinavian ones on the lowlands, along the coast: many 'English' patronyms in Scotland have their obvious origins in Scandinavian paternal naming habits: Anderson, Ferguson, Johnson, Magnusson, Morrison, Olson, Paterson, Robertson, Thompson, Wilson, etc, while prefixes Mc and Mac ('son of') are similar designations in Gaelic Scotland and Ireland, resp. Dublin in Ireland was settled by the Viking Thorgest in 841, though with a Gaelic name meaning 'black pool'. Wexford in southern Ireland was named Veisafjordr by Vikings in 800AD. Cork, Waterford, Wicklow, Limerick, and even the name Ireland itself originate with the Vikings ('Erinn'). The Irish have been known as word smiths of the English language for many centuries, as Seamus Heaney's eminently legible translation of Beowulf testifies.

Similar to this Scandinavian use of patronyms, Joseph Bosworth in his Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon Language of 1838, shows that adding the later suffix -son to various Frisian names rendered the familiar English names from the Frisian proper names Watse, Ritse, Hodse, Gibbe became Watse-son, Ritse-son, Hodse-son, Gibbe-son, as in 'son of', contracting to Watson, Ritson, Hodson, Gibbson (Gibbon).

Further reading about naming in the British Isles:

Migration pattern derived from DNA (Frisian DNA same as English DNA)

Y-Chromosome Evidence for Anglo-Saxon Mass Migration (Frisian DNA identical to English (Midlands) DNA)

Migration patterns derived from Archeology

Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon Language, Joseph Bosworth, 1838

Beowulf - Dramatis Personae & Locales

Ethymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names, by William Arthur, 1857

English Surnames and Their place in the Teutonic Family, by Robert Ferguson, 1858

A Dictionary of the Family names of the United Kingdom, by Mark Antony Lower, 1860

British Family Names, Their Origin and Meaning, H.Barber, 1894.

A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames by Charles Wareing Bardsley, 1901

Surnames of the British Isles, by Henry Harrison, 1912

Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 1 A – L, John Burke 1847 (Burke’s Peerage 1)

Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 2 M - Z, John Burke 1847 (Burke’s Peerage 2)

The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, by Sir Bernard Burke, 1884

Friesland vs the Vikings after 600AD:

Frisians, a coastal people

DANES: After Danish excursions around 600AD (covering an area in Northern England, called Danelaw and European coastal regions, see dotted lines), Viking invasions brought more Scandinavian elements to England and northern coastal Europe between 800 and 1100AD, as shown on this map (see solid lines). After a century of battles between the Frisians and Franks for control of the mouth of the Rhine river, Friesland was defeated in 733, pacified, and had by 793 submitted to the Franks under emperor Charlemagne, and was under their protection, as well as having to provide soldiers as tribute: the last claimant to the Frisian throne, Redbad III, reportedly died fighting with Charlemagne's forces against the Basques around 778AD, a kind of Thermopylitic last stand later glorified in 'the Song of Roland', which gave rise to the class of chivalrous knights of the Middle Ages, the oldest Frankish piece of literature (ref. Kurlansky's 'The Basque History of the World'.


Map showing Viking invasions of Europe and England between 800-1000AD

('Anglo-Saxon Chronicles', Anne Savage, publ. 1982)

Historian and jurist Christianus Schotanus in his 'Beschrijvinge en Chronijk van de Heerlijkheid van Friesland', 1655 ('Descriptions and Chronicles of Friesland', 1655) speaks of three different Viking assaults on the Frisian coast at this time:

1. in 809AD, the Danes attacked Friesland, together with other Northmen, with a fleet of 200 ships, until the death of their king Godric made them depart.

2. in 825AD, king Harald king of Denmark, and of Regnerus king of Norway, was chased out. Having been baptized, together with his brother Erik, the emperor Ludovicus (Charlemagne's son) made him ruler of part of Friesland, to keep out the Northmen. When Harald died, Erik succeeded him. Then Regnerus, king of the Nordic nations, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, having been granted abode by the emperor Ludovicus, made use of some disagreement between the emperor and his sons, and took it upon himself to punish the Frisian and surroundings lands. This state of affairs remained for many subsequent years.

3. In 835AD, the Northmen came with an almighty fleet of ships onto the the rivers Rhine, Maes, and Schelde, and destroyed everything, burned the cities of Antwerp and Wilda, and afterwards did a foul job on Friesland, until the arrival of the emperor Ludovicus. But the emperor made Erik ruler and admiral of the Sea, to keep out the Northmen. The next year the Northmen attempted to attack once more, but Erik kept them at bay. Thereafter, the heaviest Northmen attacks took place in Holland, Zeeland and Flanders, that is to say, to the West of the river Flie, as Friesland by then was 'under ransom', having bought off the violence.

While the Vikings raided the European coast and Britain and Friesland until after 1000AD, subsequent resistance lead to many defeats of the Vikings by the Angles, Saxons and Franks, and the Vikings were more inclined to create settlements that could be sustained and defended. The Great Heathen Viking Army arrived in 250 longboats in 865AD, and roamed England for 13 years with 2000 people, including women and children, until its defeat by Anglo-Saxon resistance (NOVA s46e10, 'Lost Viking Army'), which many of the Viking families settling in England. It did not stop political exiles from continuing to plunder the Frisian coast and beyond at the end of the 10th millennium, as is still being commemorated in some places, a thousand years later. The Frisian trading town of Dorestad was particularly affected. Frankish rulers of the day tried to buy off Viking rulers like Harald Klak by offering large Frisian estates. Robberies continued: while the Frisian inhabitants of Eastergea (the Eastern district) murdered Viking leader Rudolf Haraldsson, Harald Klak's son Godfrid continued to plunder the Frisian coast down to Antwerp and was 'stopped' by the Franks who in 882 appointed him 'duke of Frisia'.

According to the AS Chronicle, in 913AD, Aethelflaed, daughter of king Alfred, finished building her father's series of burghs in defence of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia, and regained possession of Derby and Leicester. As a result the Vikings of York (Yorvik) volunteered their allegiance in 918AD. Continued Viking raids elsewhere in Saxon England, while conveniently able to restock with their kinfolk in Normandy, eventually led to the Viking takeover of the properous island. We read in 'The Year 1000' by Lacey that the AS Chronicle talks of an ineffective English army. Raids of Viking longships in 988AD up the Bristol Channel, and the Thames in 991AD went unopposed, and were even bought off with ransom money (called 'Danegeld'), inviting worse to come. Despite a diplomatic marriage between English king Ethelred and Emma, sister of the Duke of Normandy, after 20 years of unchallenged raiding, Viking Sweyn set his mind on conquest and was welcomed as King Sweyn in England in 1013AD. His son Canute took over until 1035AD, leading up to the subsequent invasion and conquest in 1066AD by fellow Vikings, the Northmen from Normandy, known as Normans.

Viking Heathen Army Invasion 865AD

FRISIAN LANGUAGE OF LAW: Interestingly, nothing is left of the East Frisian language of Rustringen, of the coastal area between Germany and Denmark, except one piece of literature of around 1150AD: it deals with the law concerning 'when abducted by Northmen'. The legal Code of the Rustringian Frisians in question is marked in the Asega-Bok.The (much older) statutes of the Frisian Huntings of 1252 survives ('Kera fon Hunegena Londe'). There is also the law of the Brocmen, an old Frisian tribal division, living in Brocmonnalond or Brockmerland ('Littera Brocmannorum'). Frisian author Halbertsma places the Brocmen in East Frisia. Professor Christianus Schotanus (1603-1671) copied existing ancient West Frisian laws in Frisian and Latin These Frisian tribes were evidently of enough importance to maintain their own written laws.

Perhaps ironically, but while the barbarian Vikings raided the coasts of Europe, many coastal tribes were represented at the Vatican in Rome as scholars and soldiers. There was a Frisian school as well as a Saxon School at the Vatican. These Frisian and Saxon soldiers were sent to fight the Saracens at Porto in the 8th century, not unlike aforementioned Frisian king, Redbad III, who reportedly died fighting the Basques under Charlemagne. Asser's Life of King Alfred describes a defeat of the Danes by the Frisians (under Bisshop Rimbert of Bremen)

In 'History of Surnames of the British Isles' (1931, p.48), Ewen also quotes Asser (Asserius) who describes Franks (Franci) and Frisians (Frisiones) as the principal merchants of Western Europe in the ninth century, conducting considerable trade with England (and the Baltic) in manufactured articles and technical workmanship. The context here is the influence of the Norsemen, who themselves brought Frisians to England, on names in England

We know from the AS Chronicles in 897 that King Alfred used the varied backgrounds of his people, amongst them Frisians, Scots, Franks, Welsh and Norsemen, to improve the design of and man his ships. Note that in Asser’s 'Life of King Alfred' (p169)(Asserius: ‘De Rebis Gestis Aelfredi’) both Old English (OE) designations are used for Frisii and Frisiones and for Saxons are used Seaxe (i-stem) and Seaxones (on-stem).

Viking Expansion 800 - 1100 (Wikipedia)

OLD FRISIAN AND OLD ENGLISH TO MIDDLE ENGLISH In the Middle Ages, Frisian was spoken all along the North Sea's southern coast, and was an important language of trade in the Hanseatic League. Since Old English was the common language of coastal areas, modern Frisian is likely to have developed, as with the development of Middle English after the Norman invasion of 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, into a somewhat separate tongue from this period onwards. Frisian becomes distinct by an abundance of diphthongs (a sound formed by a combination of two vowels lacking in other Germanic languages). The Domesday book, a census collected by yet another Scandinavian Northman, William the Conqueror, describes the economic state and social make-up of the Anglo-Saxon nation in 1086, twenty years after the conquest, with a view to extort taxes from a nation 'many times richer than Normandy in wealth and in military strength' according to William's biographer William of Poitiers to support a large occupying force. Or, as Ordericus Vitalis, Anglo-Norman historian of the day, describes England of the day: 'a country far older and richer in achievements'. Norman England is not long after described by Robert Losinga, Bishop of Hereford, in 1085: 'And the land was vexed with many calamities arising from the collection of the royal money' (ref. English Society in the Eleventh Century, by Sir Paul Vinogradoff), leading to the Great Famine of 1082 described in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a story of greed serving perhaps as lesson to today's progressive usurpers vs the established traditional tribes. So rather than the 19th century view that the Norman Conquest imposed continental sophistication on an under-developed backwater, Michael Woods shows in 'Domesday - A search for the Roots of England' (1948/1986), that Domesday (a text only discovered in 1907) shows the origins of feodal England (common law, property, marriage etc) lie in ancient Anglo-Saxon (and coastal Germanic) history. It is clear however, that the Norman invasion changed the English mother tongue to a vernacular. It is the start of the Middle English period, where the Normans, speaking a form of old French, itself a form of Vulgar Latin acquired by Germanic Franks from ancient Romans, introduced legal and administrative terms to manage their conquest. Henceforth, Anglo-Saxon farmers raised pigs and cows, and noblemen ate pork and beef.

Having fought its battles under pagan Frisian king Redbad, against the Carolingians under Pippin (battle of Frisian Dorestad in 689), and in 714 against his son Charles Martel, and finally, his grandson Charles the Great (Charlemagne) in 785, the Frisians became part of the Frankish empire, though having been granted what was to becalled 'Frisian Freedom' by emperor Charlemagne. There are reports of Redbad's son having decisively fought with the Franks against the moorish Saracens at the battle of Tours in 734. When the Vikings re-started their attacks on the North Sea coast around 800AD, the Frisians were released from military service, in order to defend against Viking attacks. At the battle of Norditi (Norden, or Nordendi) in East Frisia, as recorded that year in the Annales Fuldenses, the Frisians defeated the Northmen (Viking Danes) in 884AD, and expelled them permanently (coinciding with the Vikings last ventures into Britain). Frisians subsequently fought off in the 10th to 12th centuries feudal Counts of Holland laying claim to free Frisia, where no feudal structures had arisen, while being led rep by resentatives of land-owning farmers, who appointed Asega's, judges, to administer justice.

Frisia was divided during the middle ages in three parts: West-Frisia, later absorbed by the Dutchy of Holland, separated by the intruding Zuiderzee, East Frisia (governed by Ciksena chieftains, and eventually absorbed by Prussia, including North Frisia via Schleswig-Holstein) and middle Friesland (more often since referred to as West Frisia or Friesland proper), more or less autonomous with its own judicial system.

The seven Frisian 'Sealands' after the Franks departure and before the Saxons arrival

by Menso Alting, 1697

During these Middle Ages, dikes were built by the coastal Frisians, which encouraged security and national identity (most likely intended originally to connect various dwelling mounds). Elections were held for councillors and administrators per district, annual meetings held between the seven Frisian coastal territories, a legal system maintained, as found in the 1150AD (but in fact much older) legal code of Rustringen (East Frisia), and in (middle) Friesland as surviving in the Christianus Schotanus edition of 1655 'Beschrijvinge en Chronijk van de Heerlykheydt van Friesland', 1655 maintained (in Latin and Frisian). As a consequence, none of these regions ever experienced feudalism, not unlike Switserland, so common everywhere else, harking back to more ancient customs. Frisians regarded themselves as free people and not subject to foreign authority. In 1498 Duke Albert of Saxony took over (middle) Friesland by force and changed the language of government from (Anglo-Saxon) Frisian to (Frankish) Dutch. Friesland eventually joined in 1588 the Republic of Seven United Provinces, later to become the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815 after the defeat of the villanous Napoleon. Today, Frisian is still spoken by many in the North of the Netherlands and again taught in the schools, and also still resembles English more than any other language (see many examples following below)

Frisian still spoken today

Typical Frisian family names

Typical Frisian family names end on -a and are identifiable with suffixes -ing(a), -(s)ma, -na (East Frisian), -ra, -da, -ia, and -stra, all having the genetive conjugational meaning (son) 'of', (coming) 'from' or (living) 'at': for example Steringa (from Stavoren), Hettinga (of Hette), Beijma, Bosma (from the woods), Douma (of Douwe), Idema (of Ide), Kingma (from Kingum), Draaisma, Fokkema (of Fokke), Heerema (of Heere), Jorritsma (of Jorrit), Postma (from Post), Reitsma (of Reits), Sipma, Sixma, Siccama (of Sikke), Sinnema (of Sinne), Wiersma (of Wierd), Zuidema, Algera, Alberda, Menalda, Wouda, Winia, Donia. Likewise, there are Frisian names like Hoekstra (at the corner), Hiemstra, Veenstra (at the fens), Wierstra, Zijlstra, Dijkstra (at the dike), where the '-stra' suffix is derived from 'saeter', 'seat' or place of residence etc. Read Johan Winkler's elaborate 1885 exposition on Frisian and related lastnames in Germany, Netherlands and Flanders, in Nederlandse Geslachtsnamen

Additionally, educated Frisians of the middle ages, after a Renaissance practice, assumed Romanised or Grecian names (before people carried last names), such as professional names like Nauta (skipper, sailor), Faber (carpenter, blacksmith), Pistorius (baker), Mercator (merchant), Agricola (farmer), Couperus (cooper), Sartorius (snijder), or even Posthumus (a boy born after father's death), Postuma likely being derived from Postema (from Post).

Many such names were geographical names which carried a certain social status until even the present century, like the Latinised Winsemius (from the village of 'Winsum'), Bekius (of the stream = 'beek'), Heydanus (from 'heath = van der heide), Noordanus (van Norden = north?), Schotanus (from the village 'Schoot' = elevated sand ridge), Fontanus (from the 'fount' = van Putte?), Montanus (from the 'mount(ain)' = van den Berg), Tillanus ('van Tiel'), Bogardus (from the 'bo(om)gaard' = orchard), Roldanus (from the village 'Rolde'), Greidanus (from the 'greide' = pasture), Silvius (from 'Silva' = woods), or patronyms like Adriani, Jacobi, Gerbrandi, Nicolai, Sibrandi, Wibrandi, Ruardi ('of the father' by that name), or even Greek patronyms (-ides, -(a)eus), like Hermanides (of Herman), Hilarides (of Hille), Antonides (of Anton), Mensonides (of Menso), Paulides (of Paul), Simonides (of Simon), or Petraeus (of Peter), so 'of someone' with that first name. See Johan Winkler's 'Lijst van Friesche Eigennamen', his elaborate work on Frisian names.

There are also many diminutive and 'pet' names originating on the North European coast ending on suffix -ke, that are of a Frisian origin, like -ken, -ke (German -chen, Flemish -ken, Dutch: -je), which in English becomes: -kin: babykin(s), motherkin(s), popkin, princekin, ladykin, lambkin, little Thumbkin (klein Duimpje), little Tom becomes Tomkin, toddlers become 'Little Toddlekins'; Also: -ock and -cock: bull becomes bullock, hill becomes hillock, ref. 'British Family Names' - H.Barber (1891). Ewen goes further in 'History of Surnames of the British Isles' by by suggesting a link between the -ke suffix to the early Sanskrit -ka ending. So while the Teutonic -ke suffix is not to be confused with the Slavic -ka ending (Kafka, Panenka, Lipka, Lupka, Blinka, Wenka, Zatka), the author holds that they may well stem from a common ancestor. Witness also numerous -ke lastnames like Badtke, Bet(h)ke, Beulke, Blaschke, Frieseke, Gatzke, Ge(h)rke, Geschke, Groschke, Hapke, Henneke, Herrcke, Lietske, Manzke, Penske, Renke, Schiffke, Schoepke, Schulke, Wandke, and Willeke, but also names with endings like Harkin, Atkins, and Aiken, as above.


Ewen, History of Surnames of the British Isles (1931)

'Altdeutsches Namenbuch' Dr. Ernst Förstemann, 1856

'British Family Names - Their Origin and Meaning' with Scandinavian, Frisian, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman names - H.Barber (1891)

'Dictionary of English Surnames', PH Reaney, RM Wilson, 1958

'A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames', by Charles Wareing Bardsley, 1901

'Friesch Woordenboek', Vol 4, Friesche namen / Frisian names, Walling Dijkstra (1898)

'Lijst van Friesche Eigennamen', Johan Winkler, 1898

Beowulf - proper names and locales

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Origins of Germanic languages

Sanskrit examples (written but no longer spoken)

This table suggest the dated relationship of the various European language groups

This table shows the historic relationship of the various European language groups

Time-weighted Teutonic language splits, from 'Teutonic Grammar', by Helfenstein, 1870, p20.

Note ancient Gothic at the base of all low-Germanic languages (though Frisian is closer to English than Dutch)

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Frisian Linguistics

Frysk = Fries = Frisian = Friesian = Frise = Frieze = Friesic = Frison = Friesisch = Frizian

The language of the (old) Angles, Saxons, even Goths, and Frisians are considered to have been the same prior to migration to England, thereafter referred to as 'Old English'. The originals developed into newer and finally modern versions as shown in the diagram. Ingvaeonic (or Ingaevonic) similarities between English and Frisian include what is referred to as 'Ingwaeonisms', distinct differences from German (Herminonic), Frankish (Istvaeonic) or Scandinavian, as the tables with (pro)nouns, verbs etc lower down clearly confirm.

Spread of the Anglo/Frisian (Ingaevonic), German (Herminonic), and Frankish (Istvaeonic) language groups

Germanic language groups around 0AD

Ingvaeonic (English/Frisian) vs Herminonic (Dutch/German)

Some notable differences of Ingvaeonic tongues English/Frisian with the Herminonic Dutch/German (and Istvaeonic (ancient Gothic)):

- loss of the German nasal sounds, as in five (Eng) fiif (Frl), vijf (Dutch), vs funf (Germ);

or goose (Eng), gos (Frl), vs. gans (Dutch) and ganz (Germ)

or Tuesday (Eng), Tiisdei (Frl), vs. Dinsdag (Dutch) and Dinstag (Germ)

- loss the German -t as in the verb to be: is (Eng, Frl, Dutch), vs ist (Germ);

- loss of consonants (-g) in the middle of a word: rain / rein (Engl/Fris), regen (Dutch/Germ), brain / brein (Engl/Fris), vs bregen (Old Saxon), nail / neil (Engl/Fris), vs nagel (Dutch/Germ)

- loss of the dative and accusative differences: me (Eng, Frl), mij (Dutch) but mir/mich (Germ)

- loss of the -g ending, changed for a -y or -i sound: way (Eng), wei (Frl) vs. weg (Dutch/Germ)

or day (Eng), dei (Frl) vs dag/tag (Dutch/Germ) etc

See below an abundance of examples where (modern) Frisian most closely resembles modern English, followed by Dutch and German, and in instances, Scandinavian. See here a similar example of 16 century Gothic as compared to (modern) Germanic languages (the Gothic language no longer exist as a living language).

Krim Gothic examples around 1550, before going extinct

Frisian / English similarities

'Butter, bread and green cheese is good English and good Fries'

or as once used to be said in Halifax, North England:

'Gooide braaide, botter, and sheese is gooid Halifax and gooid Friese'

Sam Llewellyn asserts in 'Shadows in the Sands' (2004) that Frisian and Norfolk skippers could understand each other not one hundred years ago.

The ancient Frisian language appears as a bridge not only between the continent and English on the British Isles, but also as a bridge up to Scandinavia, between Germanic and Scandinavian tongues. Below are many examples of English and Frisian listed of the various similarities highlighted between either or both English and Scandinavian (and the ancient Gothic).

Main Germanic Language Groups

Comparison of Frisian / English and nearby Germanic languages

Examples of strong and weak verb declensions (to bind, to hear) in Old-English and Frisian

'A Grammar of the Old Friesic Language' by Adley H. Cummins, 1887

Etymologic origin of English words

Many Frisian sayings and user-updated Frisian - Dutch Dictionary

Unusual Frisian words (Frisian - Dutch Dictionary)

Useful and comprehensive Frisian - Dutch online Dictionary

Many Yorkshire English words, as compared to Scandinavian origins

Another site with Yorkshire English words, as compared to English

Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary

English - Scots - Frisian - Dutch similarities

Jamieson's 'Dissertation on the Origins of the Scottish language', 1867, p. xix

Jamieson's 'Dictionary of the Scottish Language' (J.Johnston, 1867)

There are many Frisian words in Scots English, compare Scots Auld Lang Syne: 'we twa hae run about the brais', in Frisian 'we twa hawe run' with 'about' akin to Frisian 'bûten' (outside), and Scots 'braes' (hillside), akin to Old Frisian 'bre', a brow as in eyebrow, see many language articles by R. Posthumus in 'de Vrije Fries' 1-8

Check here for more Scottish words and meanings

Old Frisian (Pro)noun Conjugations

Frisian Language Areas

According to 'Germanic Genitives' ed. by Ackerman, Simon and Zimmer, 'West Frisian is the only Frisian tongue (of several) that developed a standard language and a full-grown literature. One notable characteristic of a standard language is that is shows stylistic differentiation (preserving and cultivating forms not normally used in the spoken language)'.

Numbers in various Frisian dialects

Following are examples of Old Frisian pronoun conjugations. You will find more examples here from Mr. Montanus-Hettema ('Proeve van een Friesch en Nederlandsch Woordenboek', 1832, pages XIV and following, as well as examples of verbs and nouns

Teutonic Declension Comparison

see also:

'A Comparative Grammar of the Teutonic Languages', by James Helfenstein (1870) - Many refs to 'Old Frisian', see comparison of ancient Teutonic 'Pronouns' below:

Teutonic Verb Conjugation examples

Example of similarity in Teutonic verb conjugations ('Teutonic Grammar',

by Helfenstein, Old Frisian nouns declensions, p416, 1870

Helfenstein's Teutonic Pronoun Declension examples and Numbering

Old Frisian Pers. Pronoun Comparison

between West, East and North Frisian

Following are examples of Old Frisian personal pronoun comparisons between West Frisia, North Frisia and East Frisia (Saterland). You will find more examples here in the American Cyclopaedia Vol 7, by George Ripley and Charles A Dana, 1874

Old Frisian/ Old English Noun Comparison

Example of Old English and Old Frisian noun 'son' (sunu/sune) and its conjugation

Example of Old English and Old Frisian noun 'dei' (day) and its conjugation

Example of Old English and Old Frisian noun declension ('Teutonic Grammar',

by Helfenstein, Old Frisian nouns declensions, p291, 1870

Example of Old English and Old Frisian noun declension ('Teutonic Grammar',

by Helfenstein, Old Frisian nouns, weak declensions, p316, 1870

Example of Old English noun 'man' (wer) and its conjugation











Examples of Old English declensions with a self-test here

Examples of North Frisian Pronouns and their conjugations

Examples of Inter-Germanic personal pronouns and their conjugations

(Gothic, Old Swedish, Old English, Old Saxon, North Frisian) taken from here,

by Stephen Howe, from 'The Personal Pronouns in the Germanic Languages: A Study of Personal Pronouns'.

Examples of Inter-Germanic personal pronouns/conjugations

Note the use of Hokker ('which(ever') in modern Frisian (not unlike Old-Swedish and ancient Gothic). Compare also 'She' in Beowulf's Old English 'Heo' with modern Frisian 'hju' (or 'ju' as in NFris) some 1500 years later (ref. lines 1292-99)

Examples Beowulf's use of OE Dual Pronouns ('you two') and Declensions

Following are examples of inter-Frisian vowel comparions. You will find these at Wikipedia site, 'Grammatica der Friese Talen' (Frisian Grammar) here

'Teutonic Mythology' by Jacob Grimm (1785 - 1863)

The first study of Germanic Linguistics (Search for 'Frisian')

Teutonic Mythology, by Jacob Grimm (1882) Volume 1

(worship, temples, priest, gods (weekdays), heroes)

Search Vol 1: 'Frisian'

Teutonic Mythology, by Jacob Grimm (1883) Volume 2

(elves, giants, creation, elements, trees/animals, sky, day and night, summer/winter, time/world, souls/death

Search Vol 2: 'Frisian'

Teutonic Mythology, by Jacob Grimm, (1883) Volume 3

(poetry, specters, devils, magic, superstition, sickness, herbs/stones, spells/charms)

Search Vol 3: 'Frisian'

Teutonic Mythology, by Jacob Grimm, (1888) Volume 4

(author's supplement, Anglo-Saxon genealogies, superstitions, spells

Search Vol 4: 'Frisian'

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Frisian Etymology / Phonology

'West, East and North Frisian Tongues' (ref. Popkema)


'A Grammar of the Old Friesic Language' by A. Cummins, 1887

'Toen Fries nog op het Engels leek'

Wikipedia - 'Description of Frisian Languages'

'Aspects of Old Frisian Philology, 1840-1890-1990' (Bremmer, v/d Meer, Vries)

'Altfriesisches Worterbuch', von Richthofen

'An Introduction to Old Frisian', by Rolf Bremmer (2009)

'A New Step in Old Frisian Lexicography', by Popkema: The Altfriesisches Handworterbuch (von Richthofen)

'Short summary of Frisian literature in English'

'Frisian language and Literature' by WT Hewitt, a historical study (1879, Univ of Cal)

'Phonology & grammar of modern West Frisian', by P Sipma (1913)

Waling Dijkstra - 'Friesche Spreekwoorden' / 'Frisian Sayings' (1913)

'Trends in Linguistics' - Frisian, by TL Markey (partial copy, 1981)

Frisian Linguistics' / 'Taalkundige Bijdragen tot den Frieschen Tongval', E. Wassenbergh (1806)

'A Comparative Grammar of the Teutonic Languages', by James Helfenstein (1870) - Many refs to 'Old Frisian'

'Grundriss der Germanischen Philologie' - Hermann Paul, Vol2, II Band, 1893

Literaturgeschichte - 'Friesische literatur' (p494-509, from 'Grundriss der Germanischen Philologie' - Hermann Paul, Vol2, II Band, 1893)

'Gotische Literatur', by Eduard Sievers, Ch8, Literatur Geschichte, p65-70

'Old English' language history

'Etymologic origin of (Old) English words'

'A Comprehensive Dictionary of the English language', by James E. Worcester, 1860

'A Primer of the Gothic Language', by Joseph Wright 1899 (incl. the Gospels in Gothic)

Gothic Characters, by Joseph Wright, 1899, in 'A Primer of the Gothic Language'

Frisian Literature

Frisian Bible - Fryske Bibel - Wumkes Vertaling

Compare the modern Frisian, Old Gothic (þ='th'), Danish and English Lord's prayers:

Ús Heit yn 'e himel,

Atta unsar þu in himinam

Fader vor du i himlen.

Our Father, who art in heaven,

lit jo (jins) namme hillige wurde,

Weihnai namo þein.

Helligt være navnet dit.

hallowed be the your name,

(lit) jo (jins) keninkryk komme,

Qimai þiudinassus þeins.

(lad) Komme kongeriget dit.

(let) your come kingdom.

lit jo (jins) wil dien wurde

Wairþai wilja þins,

(lad) ske viljen din,

(let) your will be done,

op ierde likegoed as yn 'e himel.

swe in himina jah ana airþai.

Som i himlen og på jorden.

on earth, as it is heaven.

Jou ús hjoed ús deistich brea

Hlaif unsarana þana sinteinan gif uns himma daga.

brød vort dette daglig giv os (i) disse dage.

give us this day our daily bread,


en ferjou ús ús skulden

Jah aflet uns þatei skulans sijaima,

og forlad os hvilken skyld vi måtte være (have).

and forgive us our debts.

sa't wy ús skuldners ek ferjûn hawwe;

Swaswe jah weis afletam þaim skulam unsaraim.l

Samt vi forlader skyldene vore.

as we forgive our debtors.

en lit ús net yn fersiking komme,

jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai,

og ikke bring os i fristelse,

and lead us not into temptation.

mar ferlos ús fan 'e kweade;

ak lausei uns af þamma ubilin.

Men løs os fra det onde.

but deliver us from evil.

want jowes is it keninkryk en de krêft en de hearlikheid oant yn ivichheid

Unte þeina ist þiudangardi jah mahts jah wulþus in aiwins.

thi dit er kongedØmme og magt og herlighed i evighed.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory in all eternity.

A m e n

'Ufilas (Gothic Wulfila): the Gospels in Gothic, from 'A Primer of the Gothic Language', by Joseph Wright 1899 (

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Friese literatuur / Frisian literature - writings

1000 Friese Gedichten / 1000 Frisian rhymes

North, East and West Frisian Language and Literature


Richthoven states that no Germanic tribe has preserved such a wealth of legal manuscripts as the Frisians, attributable to their particular form of governance: they have maintained the longest forms of democracy, based on individual freedoms and independence of Frisia's various parts, supported by records both handwritten and in print. Ancient law manuscripts, preserved from the 13th century but originating much earlier, contain a wealth of Frisian writings. And while perhaps not literature, certainly having poetic merit, often alliterative or set to rhyme.

East Frisian

East Frisian stands perhaps closest to the ancient law sources (in time), and while these law sources contain a deep poetic content of long-vanished Frisian poetry, they have no connection to later works. While East-Frisian literature may be sparse, it is also a fact that 'Memoriale Linguae Frisicae' by Johann Cadovius (1650-1725) has lain untouched by publishers for 200 years, while we find many references to it by authors of Frisian Dictionaries, such as East-Frisian authors Wiarda or Stuerenburg.

North Frisian

In the small area of Barely 2000 km2 there are two Standard languages of High German and Danish as well as three vernacular languages of Frisian, Low German, and Jutish, where Frisian alone has ten dialects. We owe preservation of the North Frisian languange to Christian Peter Hansen (1803-1879), whose father, Jap Peter Hansen (1767-1855), already wrote in the Sylt dialect. North Frisian has few records, and besides a few tax records and a ballad or two from the 15th century, the oldest records are 17th century Lutheran cathechisms from Foehr and Strand. Later North Frisian literature contains many legends, evidence a long oral tradition that survived despite being of an entirely rural extraction and surrounded by various encroaching languages (Danish and German).

(West) Frisian

Most Frisian records are preserved of the (West) Frisian language. It is noteworthy to remember that, since the hayday of the expanse of the seven Frisian 'Sea lands', from Schelde to the Weser, the Frisian language has lost ground to Franconian Dutch after 800AD (Frankish expansion under Charlemagne) and to Low German after 1500AD (Saxon expansion via the Hanseatic League). See Bremmer for examples. This presumes also a decline in first millennium Frisian trade influence, when Frisian ships controlled much of the Baltic trade. The transition of the Saxon Low German can be followed from east to west: first to go was East Frisia, of which only legal documents remain from the period 1250-1500AD, then to the province of Groninger Ommelanden further west, with the influential Hanseatic city of Groningen succumbing next, and leaving only West Frisia (Friesland proper) to speak and write in Frisian in more than just judicial texts.

Wiki summary of Frisian Literature

East Frisian Dialects

'Altfriesische Woerterbuch' von TD Wiarda, 1787

A New Step in Old Frisian Lexicography - The Altfriesisches Handworterbuch

Old Frisian / Altfriesisches Worterbuch door Dr Karl Baron von Richthofen, 1840

'Germaniens Völkerstimmen: Sammlung der deutschen Mundarten', Poems, Legends, Marches, etc, in dialects of islands Sylt (p1) & Helgoland (p7), East Frisia (p15), Jever/Oldenburg (p23), Bremen (p31), Angler (p35), etc, by Johannes Mattias Firmenich, 1854

'Chronik der friesischen Uthlande', (vintage North Frisian literature) Carl P. by Hansen, 1856

'Ostfriesisches Woerterbuch' von Stuerenburg, 1857

'Haliger's' (Helgoland dialect) for beginners (or finishers, since disappearing fast)

North Frisian Dialects

'Die nordfriesische Sprache nach der Foehringer und Amrumer Mundart', Christian Johansen, 1862

'Erzaehlungen des alten Besenbinders', North Frisian Foehr and Amrum stories, Christian Johansen, 1862

'Altfriesicher Katechismus, in der Sylter Mundart', (vintage North Frisian) CP by Hansen, 1862

'Memoriale Linguae Frisicae', Johann Cadovius-Muller, 1875

Frisian Language and Literature, a Historical Study by W.T. Hewett, 1879

'Beitraege zu den Sage, Sittenregeln, Rechten und der Geschichte der Nordfriesen', CP Hansen, 1880

'Ferreng an Oemreng Stucken ueb Rimen', Songs in Foehr and Amrum dialect by Dr. Otto Bremer, 1888

'(Alt)Friesische Literatur' von Theodor Siebs, p494, from 'Grundriss der Germanischen Philologie', 1893

'Sylter Lustspiele' by Th. Siebs with works from Erich Johannsen, 1898

'Example of spoken North Frisian (from Sylt)

Wiki summary of North Frisian

Example of Sylt North Frisian, Soel'ring

Map of Sylt

"Frisian', by TL Markey, 1981 (limited version)

Frisian Wikipedia

Historical (19th century) Frisian periodicals

Editions of Sljucht en Rjucht - Walling Dijkstra

All editions of de Vrije Fries - Fries Genootschap

Editions of Friese Volksalmanak - G.T.N. Suringar

Editions of Iduna - Harmen Sytses

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Fryske Wurdboeken/ Frisian Dictionaries

Frisian - Dutch Dictionary

Frisian Dictionary/Spell-checker (inlc. Copy/Paste, changed site 2021)

Translate online: Frisian to/from English

Online woordenboeken / Dictionaries

Friesch Latijnsch-Nederlandsch Woordenboek, Jhr. Mr. de Haan Hettema, 1874

Etymologic origin of (Old) English words

'Old English' dictionary from/to modern English

'Old English' polyglot

'Old English' language history

Online woordenboeken / Dictionaries

Old Frisian / Altfriesisches Worterbuch door Tileman Wiarta (1786)

Old Frisian / Altfriesisches Worterbuch door Dr Karl Baron von Richthofen (1840)

Old Frisian / Oud Friesch woordenboek, Foeke Buitenrust Hettema (1888, proefschrift)

West Frisian Dictionary

Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1867

Bremisch-Niedersaeksiches Woerterbuch, (Saxon) 1886

'A Primer of the Gothic Language', by Joseph Wright 1899 (incl. the Gospels in Gothic)

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Fries Recht (latijn)/ Frisian Law / Jurisprudentia Frisica

"Frisia does not sing, Frisia reasons" (an ancient saying)

Roman and Barbarian Law

During the fall of the Roman Empire, and while its cloak was professed to be assumed by Franks in former Roman territories, Roman Law continued to apply to Roman citizens, even under occupation of barbarian tribes, and Salic Law to Franks. Germanic laws of the early middle ages are known as 'leges barbarorum'. Main examples (other than Frankish) are: Leges Wisigothorum (Visigothic, from the time of King Euric (466-485) and portions from earlier, Theodoric I, 419-451), Lex Burgundionum (Burgundians, first code compiled under King Gundobald (474-516)), Pactus Alamannorum and Lex Alamannorum (Alamans, during the reign of Frankish King Dagobert, after christianization, first half of 7th century), Leges Langobardorum (Lombards, by King Rothar in 643, later merging with the Franks), Lex Bajuvariorum (Bavarian, taken from the Visigoths and the Alemanni, so mid-8th century), Lex Saxonum (Saxon, after 803, during christianization under Charlemagne), Lex Frisionum (Frisian, from the second half of the 8th century, during christianization under the Franks), Lex Angliorum et Werinorum, hoc est Thuringorum (mainland Angles and Varni, that is, Thuringia, drawn up along the lines of the Saxon law, after 803).

National Frisian Law

The most ancient of Frisian Law is contained in 'Lex Frisionum' (though later written in Latin), covering the whole of the former Frisian Realm, from Schelde to Weser. The Frisians were divided into four legal classes, to whom the transgressions of the law set fines and wergeld, compensation to victim or relatives for physical harm or disadvantage (the clergy was not subject to civil law). They were the nobles, the freemen, the serfs and slaves (foreigners like Celts). Men and women were equal before Frisian law (which corresponds to early Anglo-Saxon law). Frisians were allowed to choose their own imperial representative after 800. Frisian law applied to all Frisia, while certain exceptions were allowed for West and East Frisia. One explanation for the Frisians uninterrupted existence in character, language, freedom and land, was a strong desire to be governed by themselves, their own judges, based on their own mores and customs. They were slaves to no one, except their own laws!

Note the striking similarities of Frisian to Swiss republican independence, and several legends pertaining to contacts with the Frisians, who reportedly obtained certain rights to self-government from Charlemagne after 750AD as 'freemen', but were under no obligation to anyone else. Of all Germanic laws, the Frisian was the most heterogenous, and furthest removed from Roman and Frankish law, and contained both pagan elements (pagan temple worship) and Christian moral law, having existed before christianization of Friesland, and been compiled around 800AD, during. The study of coins (relating to the size of fines, called 'wergeld') shows many laws originate from the first half of the seventh century at the latest). While no originals exist, and the earliest printed copy is from 1557 by Joannis Basilius Herold(us), ancient Frisian Law, which specified procedures, offices, crime and punishment, was written up (collected) under German Holy Roman emperor Charlemagne, complemented with some Frankish and Christian stipulations. In 1617 a handwritten copy was published by Sibrandus Siccama, which was included in Christianus Schotanus 'Beschryvinge van de Heerlyckheydt Frieslandt' (1664, fol34). This in origin pre-Charlemagne work enjoyed several prints in Germany, by Heroldus, Lindenbrogius, and Georgisch. These five publications were consulted and used to combine in a sixth publication, translated by rector Meinardus Tydema, called 'het Vriesch Charterboek', in 1768 (ref. 'Het leven van Petrus Wierdsma', door W. Eeckhof, De Vrije Fries, Deel 8, 1854). The Frisian state historian Simon Abbes Gabbema (1628 - 1688) actively collected manuscripts and has thus been of tremendous importance for the preservation of medieval Frisian sources. It turns out that he possessed all but one of the Old Frisian law manuscripts from present-day Friesland.

Regional Frisian Law

There followed yet another Frisian book of law by 'the Covenant of the Seven Free Frisian Sealands', ('Verbond tussen de zeven vrije Friese Zeelanden') based on waning Frankish influence and as demanded by resulting political changes. Until then, each of the seven Frisian 'Sea Lands', and even local regions, had compiled their own 'landrecht' ('rights of the land') in accordance with ancient Frisian privileges from before, and claimed to be granted by Charlemagne. In neighboring coastal 'Sea Land', Groningen, there are many known examples of regional law, such as 'Landregten van Hunsingo', 1252AD, Fivelgo, Oldambt, Reiderland, Vredewold and Langewold. Across the Ems (in present day North Germany) there are the 'Emsiger Landregt' of 1312AD, 'het Asegaboek der Rustringers', and the 'letters of the Brocmen'. In Frisia proper, the ancient heart and nucleus of Frisia, the largest number of laws held sway: 17 law books, whose original handwritten version was called 'Jus Municipale Frisonum', which consisted of a wide variety of legal manner, such as church law, court proceedings etc., and included the 'emperor Rudolphusbook'. This second law book was printed by a priest, Hidde Cammingha on his own press in Dokkum & Anjum in 1484 (the first Frisian book in print), called 'it Rjuechtboeck fan alre frye Freezena' or 'Freeska Landrjuecht'. Chr. Schotanus also published this volume in his 'Beschyvinge van Frieslandt' (of 1664, fol36), and named it (in Dutch): 'het Corpus der (Westerlauwersche) Oude Friesche Rechten'.

the Seven Free Frisian Sealands

Oud Friesche Wetsteksten / Frisian historical law records

'Asega-Buch ein Alt-friesisches Gesetz-buch der Ruestringer' von TD Wiarda, 1805

'Willkueren der Brocmaenner, eines freyen friesischen Volkes' von TD Wiarda, 1820

'Friesischen Rechtsquellen' von Richthofen, 1840

'Lex Frisionum', II Capittel 'from Emperor Julian till the emperor-free period' (Christianus Schotanus, Beschrijvinge van Frieslandt, p23)

'Lex Frisionum', III Capittel 'the emperor-free period' (Christianus Schotanus, Beschrijvinge van Frieslandt, 1664, p36)

'Lex Frisionum', 'Extract of Old Frisian Law' (Christianus Schotanus, Beschrijvinge van Frieslandt, 1664, p106)

'Lex Frisionum', IV Capittel 'Frieslandt under the Saxons' (Christianus Schotanus, Beschrijvinge van Frieslandt, 1664, p127)

'Lex Frisionum', V Capittel 'present-day Frieslandt' (Christianus Schotanus, Beschrijvinge van Frieslandt, 1664, p129)

'Beschrijvinge van Frieslandt', kaarten / maps of Old Frieslandt (Christianus Schotanus, Heerlijckheidt Frieslandt, 1664, p184)

'Jurisprudentia Frisica of Friesche Regtkennis'een handschrift uit de 15de eeuw', door Jhr Mr Montanus Hettema, 1834)

'Freeska Landrjucht' (see article J.G. Ottema 'Over den ouden druk der Friese Wetten, of het Friesche Landregt, vermoedelijk gedrukt in Dokkum in 1466' in De Vrije Fries 1859 pp 364-383)

'Vierentwintig Landrechten' (inhoudsopgave/index)'Zeventien Keuren en Vierentwintig Landrechten', Prof Mr N.E. Algra, 1991, pp 374

'Emsigor, Hunsegor & Fivelgor Landrecht' (Codices of Keuren, genaamd E, H, F)'Zeventien Keuren en Vierentwintig Landrechten', Prof Mr N.E. Algra, 1991, pp 53-75)

'Codex Furmerius', genaamd Fs article P. Gerbenzon in De Vrije Fries 1948, Deel 38, pp 74-90)

'Eerste Hunsinger Codex' (Wiki), genaamd H

Jus Municipale Frisonum - genaamd J, West-Lauwers Recht (in German / auf Deutch)

Het Rudolfsboek (1937, proefschrift Henny Bos-van der Heide)

Eerste Ruestringer Codex, genaamd R

De Roorda Codex, genaamd R, ca 1480AD (Wiki)

Codex Unia, genaamd U

Early Germanic Laws

Lex Frisionum, Lex Anglorum et Werinorum, Ionnes de Wal, 1850

'De Historische Ontwikkeling van het Waterstaatsrecht in Friesland', (terpentijd tot het heden), door Jan P Winsemius, zie Index op p357

'Advances in Old Frisian Philology' (index on p473)

listing of Frisian Manuscripts held at the Bodleian in Oxford

A comparison of ancient Frisian freedoms and Swiss republicanism, from various legends,

some of the more recent Frisian Jurists

Cornelius Kempius (~1516-1587)

Theoloog Meinardus Schotanus (1593-1644)

Jurist Bernardus Schotanus (1598-1652)

Professor Christianus Schotanus (1603-1671)

Filosoof Johannus Schotanus (1643-1699)

Regtsgeleerde Dr. Sibrandus Siccama (1570-1622)

'Beschrijvinge van de Heerlijckheydt Frieslandt', Christianus Schotanus, Frisian/Dutch/Latin (1603 - 1671)

Frisian Law / Friesche Regtkennis (Iurisprudentia Frisica) - (15th century transl. of Frisian handwriting) by Jhr Mr Montanus Hettema (1834)

Oud Friesche bronnen / Old Frisian law records (800-1500AD)

'(Alt)Friesischen Literatur' von Theodor Siebs (in German), as published in 'Grundriss der der Germanischen Philologie', Band II, 1st Abt, Hermann Paul, 1893

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other Online References (Google Books)

Wikipedia - Frisia of Old

The Frisian Tribe: from Caesar to Charlemagne - good summary (pdf)

'the Germania of Tacitus' (here abbr.), by Harold Mattingly (sort on 'Frisii' for ref pages)

'the Germania of Tacitus', Ethological Dissertations and Notes, by Lathem (sort on 'Frisians')

'Tacitus' Agricola and Germania', Townshend, ed. 1894 (sort on 'Frisians')

'Germania and Agricola of Tacitus', English notes by Althon, 1852 (sort on "Frisii')

'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' by Edward Gibbon (1784)

'The Provinces of the Roman Empire from Caesar to Diocletian', Volume 1, Theodor Mommsen (Stanford, 1887)

Search Mommsen for 'Frisians' (noun: volk / people)

Search Mommsen for 'Frisian' (adj.: volk / people)

Search Mommsen for 'Frisii' (noun: stam / people)

Frisian Poets and Authors

Gijsbert Japiks (1603-1666)

Ecco Epkema (1759-1832)

Wiardus Willem Buma (1802-1873)

Gerben Colmjon (1828-1884)

Johan Winkler (1840-1916)

van der Linden (ca 1850)

Jan Bolhuis van Zeeburgh (1836-1880)

Klaas Heeringa (1867-1944)

Herre Halbertsma (1920-1998)

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Other Frisian Exports

Friesian Horse, or 'Ceval Frise' of Charlemagne'

Friesian-Holstein dairy cattle

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