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last updated March 2021

"Fries Volkslied / National Anthem" ('de Kast')

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 Frisians, but of restless Anglo-Saxons passing from 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. One thing seems certain, that the Frisians are the only named tribe mentioned before the time of Christ, which remains today, and in its original location.

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 'hűnn' (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 16, 'Hunebedden in Denemarken'), while the Bronze and Stone age ones are inland as they are in the east of the Netherlands.

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 the '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 400BC 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 (North?) 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')

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

Historical sources used:

Our ancient historical records are necessarily Greek and Roman, followed by those from Britain and mainland Europe after 500AD. The best know of these are: Herodotus (~450BC), Pytheas (350-285BC), Drusus the Elder (38-9BC), Gaius Julius (Caesar, 'de Bello Gallico', 100-44BC), Pliny the Elder ('Historia Naturalis', 23-79AD), Josephus Flavius ('Works of', 33-100AD), Cornelius Tacitus ('Annals' (early Christians 14-68AD), 'Germania', 'Agricolae', 58-117AD), Ptolemeus (Ptolemy, 'Geography' 100-170AD), Paulus Orosius (375-418AD), Procopius ('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', ~830AD), Alfred the Great ('Anglo-Saxon Chronicles', ~880AD), Henry of Huntingdon ('Historia Anglorum', 1088-1157AD), Edward Gibbon ('Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire', 1737-1794AD).

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 700BC according to indications from y-DNA, archeology, linguistics and earliest historians. The tribes had moved there 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). Earliest mention of German tribes 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 ancient Frisii descend from Scandinavia to the north to become a people of man-made mound dwellers on the North Sea coast well before the time of Christ (called terpen or wierden), as did the related Chauci to their East, as described by Pliny the Elder in his 'Natural History' (23-79AD). While their existence may have appeared wretched, surrounded by the sea twice daily, slowly rising since the end of the ice age, they farmed, kept livestock, filling the land eventually (presumably further south), according to Tacitus (58-117AD). 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 early Frisians inhabited elevated mounds after 600BC, created from the fluvial clays of the North Sea waters encroaching on the coast, called 'terpen' in Friesland (from 'thorp' or 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, Kollum (Colle-heim), 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.


Germanic peoples 125AD

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).

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.

Ptolemy's tribal map ca.150AD

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.

However, according to Taylor (p46), many early mentions by the Romans of tribal names contain the suffix '-uari' (-oari, -avi) or -vari (-bari) or -ware ('inhabitants' or 'people'): Ing-uari-i, Ampsi-vari-i or Ansi-vari-i (men of the Ems), displaced in 58AD by the Cham-avi (people of a settlement or a warlike dress), Rip-uari-i (people of the (Rhine)bank or shore, 'riperius'), Chatt-uari-i or Att-uari-i or Het-wari (people of Hesse), Chas-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 Keltic Boii people), Boruht-ware (Bruct-ari, people of (Soester) Boerde), Hric-ware-ceaster (Wo-r-cester, Huiccii people of the castle), Cant-ware (people from Kent), Cant-wara-byrig (Cant-er-bury), Gwiti-gara-burg ('Gaets' people of Wight (burgh)), Bul-g-ari-ans ('Volga people'), Hun-gari-a (people living where the former Huns lived), and Mor-avi-ans (Mar-varo, people of the Marus). Likewise, there is the designation 'saetan' which gives us 'sett-ler' and 'saet' (seat), found in names like El-sace (the 'other seat', across the Rhine), Holstein ('holt-sate'), Somer-set and Dor-set.
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, Cauchi, 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, Gambrivi, Vandali, Caninefates, Batavi (of the Chatti), Tungri (across the Rhine), Mattiaca, Aravisci, Treves, Chatti (or Chattuarii, Attuarii, Hetwari, the modern Hessians), Usipii (~Usipetes), Tencteri (Tungri), Bructeri, Chamavi and Agrivarii (a Saxon tribe, also later called the Franks, and sometimes referred to as 'Sygambrians' or 'Sicambrians' by Romans), 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 in his 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 Geuti-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 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 GautiGoth, '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 of 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 can be traced to modern places.

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'.

'Missing' Germanic tribes:

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 (Goths, which include many subgroups like Ostra-Goths, Ewa-Greutons, and Geuti-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 (=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, and distinct from the Goths, but accompanying them southwards. According to Jordanes, a Goth himself, Scandza (Scandinavia) , regarded as an island by early writers, is 'a hive of races, a womb from which many others stemmed', even when not called by that name. 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' (GoTHisk ANDZa=GTANDZ) in that very region, now Poland).

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 (Langbarta)".

Historical naming with exonyms is frequently done by 'outsiders' (peculiarities may strike an outsider, exo, but not the native), rarely the people themselves (the 'Finns' call their 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 means 'curly hair') (the Goths combatting the Romans are invariably depicted with curly hair in Roman frescoes and statues). The Celts were named by the Greeks: Keltoi, but 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' for Celts) are the Germanic synonym meaning 'foreign', not unlike Walton and Walworth, as is 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), the Schwabians (the Suevi), Hessians (Chatti) and the Swedes (Suiones). It must be said that the Frisiavones (Frisiabones) which inhabited the lands further south of the Frisii, by the big rivers and in Flanders, and which were somehow linked to the Frisii, have also been obscured by history. 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'), 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 Germanic tribes:

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).

The early Bructeri 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 (Tuianti) 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 burrial sites of chiefs and 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 thir presence in 'Frankenland' (the Hessian Franks in central Germany). 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.

The Goths proper, of whom nothing much is really known before 269 (when Claudius II takes the name 'Gothicus' after his defeat of the Goths), except a mention of the Gutones by Pytheas while sailing the Baltic in 325BC and an awareness of the Goths of Scandia by Ptolemy around 150AD, also hail from Scandinavia: they did leave the (W)ulfilas translation of the Bible New Testament of around 350AD, one of the oldest. Jordanes captures Gothic legend and lore in the sixth century, just before their total amalgamation into the Roman world after which they are occasionally referred to as 'Amali'. The name of the Danish peninsula 'Jutland', whence the Jutes, is said to derive from 'Gotland' according to Alfred the Great's translation of Orosius' Roman history (~880 AD), who calls Jutes (iutas, iutarum, iutis, and iutum in Latin) 'Geata' and 'Geatum'. Grimm holds this to be mistaken, as do others proposing that the West Saxon ref. to 'Geatas' was confused with 'Geotas'. However, the name of the 'Geats' of Sweden is without doubt derived from the 'Goths' as below linguistic shift over time shows, still leaving the matter of the neighboring Jutes' Gothic heritage open to further linguistic and historical debate.

'from Geat to Goth', from Wikipedia

Goths were presumed in 'De Bello Gothico' ('The Gothic War') by Procopius (~500 ľ 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, the Gothic word for Father, 'atta' closely resembles the Frisian 'heit' for father (O-Fris 'atta', O-Icel='atti'), on Frisian islands Amrum 'aatj', and part of F÷hr 'ohitj', and in many Frisian mainland districts 'tńta', not unlike in "Št", the old Danish word for 'family' or 'lineage' (compare the island Heligoland's dialect called Halligs 'babe' for father and the Netherlands former island, Urk's 'bŔbe' for (grand)father). All other Germanic languages use derivatives of the Indo-European word 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 testify. This trade was of course faciltated by mutually intelligible languages like (Old) Frisian of the day. Compare a sample of Gothic in the linguistic section below.

Note the 'Phiraisoi' shown in Gothic Skandia, on Ptolemy's map of ~150AD (Frisians)

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 historic 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 endin 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)

An unlikely coastal depopulation view:

A view more recently compiled proposes that the original Frisians are not the same as those of post-Roman times. Inclement weather, 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, and Gaasterland) and -Schoot (=meaning portruding sand ridge above the surrounding water, often forrested, as in OudeSchoot (Scote), Winschoten (WindtScote), Herschoten (HengistScoto), Voorschoten (ForeScate), and in the river delta of Brabant Don(k)schot, Hoksent (HoccaScaute), Aarschot (AreScod), en Beerschot (BerneScot). 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 burried 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' (written 700-750AD dealing with times around 400-500AD, ref. Jute leader Hengist's move to Kent), 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'). 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. Besides early settlements in Kent, there is mention of Frisian settlement on the northern coast near 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), 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:

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 Cataluanian 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 failed harvests, resulting in the plague in 538AD. This event is known to have led to subsequent depopulation and mass migration from Scandinavia (the cold spell lasted a decade).

Migration of Frisian people and language

Germanic migrations to Britannia (Hengest and Horsa):

400-500 Jutes, Angles and Frisians in and on the move to Britain

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. 'Saxons' were supposed by him 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). The Roman historians like Tacitus referred to these peoples as the coastal Ingaevones, (ing- = ang-le?) 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. Hengest ('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"

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. 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 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, 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 'Finnesburg Fragment'. So Hengest, described in both Old English poems 'Beowulf' and 'The Fight at Finnesburg', 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 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 Brittons (Kelts) against the Pics, and is generally assumed 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 (Jute) Beowulf, 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 Britton Vortigern. While some of Beowulf is legendary (monsters), other events are historical like the slaying in battle in Frisian lands of king Hygelac in 516AD. Bede refers to them 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 several centuries later). 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).

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, 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.

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).

Ewen's History of Surnames of the British Isles 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': but even today, no church or government language would include them.

Map showing England around 800AD

The Frisian speakers among the invaders left a number of (geographic) Frisian place names in various counties of England:

Yorkshire: Frising Hall (Fresinghale), Fryston(e), Fraisthorpe, Frisby (Friseby)

Leicester: Frisby on the Wreake, Frisby, Frisby Lodge, Freezeland

Nottingham: Friezland

Worcestershire: Frisland

Cumberland: Frizington

Warwickshire: Frizhill, Freasley (Freseley)

Pembrokeshire: Freystrop

Staffordshire: Friezeland

Gloucester: Freezing-Hill

Sussex: Fri(e)ston

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

Lincolnshire: Friston, Frieston, and Friesthorpe

Buckinghamshire: Friesden

Wiltshire: Fresdon

Hampshire: Freeze End

Devon: Friscomb, Friseham

Manchester (Chester/WestMoreland): Friezland

Scotland: Firth of Forth is called 'Frisian Sea' by Nennius (*769AD), the northern shore the 'Frisian Shore'.

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)

'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 Getmanic tribes

J. Bosworth in his Dictionary of the Anglo Saxon Language, 1838 shows 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', likely taken from 'stone', as 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, Ireland, Scotland, 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).

Proof of Spread of Peoples via Languages and DNA

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 further beyond to the near East migrating relatively recently from the Middle East (with the oldest R1b find around 700BC). Fact is that nothing on earth is auditably older than 5000 years, everything older is based on assumptions to fit a particular worldview. Some tangible old-age examples are: ancient living trees (the Bristlecone Pine), the pyramids, start of the bronze age at 3000BC, early empires in the near East (ancient Egypt, Babel in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, Sumeria), the earliest divisions of the proto-Indo-European languages, invention of the plow, earliest ship building around 3000BC (NOVA s48e11), domestication of the horse 5000 years ago (NOVA s46e9), the end of the Stone age at 2000BC, start of Iron Age at 1200BC, agriculture (olive seeds near Haifa ~2200BC), growing of wheat, domestication of farm animals), Stonehenge, post ice-age stone graves ('hunebedden'), saltmaking, human skeletons (frozen in the Alps, submerged in marshes, burried underground, found in coal layers), the alphabet (named after the ancient Hebrew letters Alef and Bet, whence the more recent Greek 'alpha-bet'), runes, cuneiform, and hieroglyphs, 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), carbon dating (however 'interpretive' and based on 'things once alive', so not rocks etc), millions of recently (instantly) burried woolly Mammoths, etc. In that context, it is also well accepted that the world's ice cover has rapidly receded from 32% to 10% at present, while the world slowly has been warming up for these last few thousands of years.

It is also well to note that 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) in order to suggest an evolutionary link of man to apes (Haplogroup naming starts in Africa with A, B and C and is also used as a commercial sales pitch for DNA tests' 'ancient ancestry'). This is without any support from science or language studies (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 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 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 wanderings of Bantu tribes in Africa, always from the far north to southern and western Africa in the last 500 years or so, displacing the brown peoples like Bushmen, Hottentots and Pygmies). Likewise, Melanesians (Papuas and Aboriginals) and Polynesians (Maoris and Tongans) seem to have departed for the South Pacific and Hawaii within the last 1000 years or so.

If the father-to-son y-DNA is in series, then the mother's mt-DNA shows the genetic composition in parallel (a good example from 'Who killed the men of England' below is the Columbian 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). In the same context it may be noted that it has been established around the year 2000 that the human genome it the same for all people (i.e. no separate races, just varying amounts of melatonin or skin pigmentation)

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

Tracing Frisians via 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 migrations to England in the 16th, 18th, and 20th centuries) clearly shows a close kinship, indistinguishable from modern Frisian DNA, as 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), while fighting bravely, suffered greatly at the hands of Julius Caesar (who took no prisoners) and occupied 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 proportions 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 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 desinations in Gaelic Scotland and Ireland, resp. Dublin in Ireland was also settled by the Viking Thorgest in 841, though with a Gaelic name meaning 'black pool'. 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, holds that adding the later suffix -son to various Frisian names rendered the familiair 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

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 ľ L, John Burke 1847 (Burkeĺs Peerage 1)

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

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. Kurlinsky'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)

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 until around 840AD (or Friesland until 1024), subsequent resistance lead to many defeats of the Vikings by the Saxons and Franks, and the Vikings were more inclined to create settlements that could be sustained and defended. 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 there, a thousand years later.

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 the Northmen'. The legal Code of the Rustringian Frisians in question is marked in the Asega-Bok.

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 Asserĺs 'Life of King Alfred' (p169)(Asserius: ĹDe Rebis Gestis Aelfrediĺ) both Old English (OE) designations are used for Frisii and Frisiones and for Saxons are used Seaxe (i-stem) and Seaxon (on-stem).

Viking Expansion 800 - 1100 (Wikipedia)

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, desribes 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 against the Carolingians under Pippin (battle of Frisian Dorestad in 689), his son Charles Martel, and finally, his grandson Charles the Great (Charlemagne) in 785, the Frisians became part of the Frankish empire. 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), 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 legal code of Rustringen (East Frisia), and in (middle) Friesland as surviving in the Christianus Schotanus edition of 1655 'Beschrijvinge en Chronijk van de Heerlijkheid 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 'mount(ain)' = van den Berg), Tillanus ('van Tiel'), Bogardus (from the 'bo(om)gaard' = orchard), Roldanus (from the village 'Rolde'), Greidanus (from '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 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 names like Badtke, Bet(h)ke, Beulke, Blaschke, Frieseke, Gatzke, Ge(h)rke, 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.


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

'Altdeutsches Namenbuch' Dr. Ernst F÷rstemann, 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

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

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Origins of Germanic languages

Sanskrit examples (written but no longer spoken)

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

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Frisian Linguistics

Frysk = Fries = Frisian = Friesian = Frise = Frieze = 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. Ingwaeonic (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 in the early days

Germanic language groups around 0AD

Some notable differences of Ingvaeonic tongues English/Frisianwith the Istvaeonic/Herminonic Dutch/German :

- 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 for 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.

Comparison of Frisian / English and nearby Germanic languages

'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)

Many Yorkshire English words, as compared to Scandinavian origins

Another site with Yorkshire English words, as compared to English

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, see many language articles by R. Posthumus in 'de Vrije Fries' 1-8

Check here for more Scottish words and meanings

Old Frisian Pronoun Conjugations

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 adn cultivating forms not normally used in teh spoken language)'.

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

Old Frisian Pronoun Comparison between West, East and North Frisian

Following are examples of Old Frisian 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

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'

Inter-Frisian Vowel Comparison

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'

see also:

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

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Etymology / Phonology


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

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

'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'

'Old English' language history

'Etymologic origin of (Old) English words'

Frisian Literature

Frisian Bible - Fryske Bibel - Wumkes Vertaling

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

Us Heit yn 'e himel,

Atta unsar ■u in himinam

Fader vor du i himlen.

Our Father, who art in heaven,

lit jo namme hillige wurde,

Weihnai namo ■ein.

Helligt vŠre navnet dit.

hallowed be the your name,

(lit) jo keninkryk komme,

Qimai ■iudinassus ■eins.

(lad) Komme kongeriget dit.

(let) your come kingdom.

lit jo wil dien wurde

Wair■ai wilja ■eins,

(lad) ske viljen din,

(let) your will be done,

op ierde likegoed as yn 'e himel.

swe in himina jah ana air■ai.

Som i himlen og pň jorden.

on earth, as it is heaven.

Jou ˙s hjoed ˙s deistich brea

Hlaif unsarana ■ana sinteinan gif uns himma daga.

br°d vort dette daglig giv os (i) disse dage.

give us this day our daily bread,

en ferjou ˙s ˙s skulden

Jah aflet uns ■atei skulans sijaima,

og forlad os hvilken skyld vi mňtte vŠre (have).

and forgive us our debts.

sa't wy ˙s skuldners ek ferjűn hawwe;

Swaswe jah weis afletam ■aim skulam unsaraim.

Samt vi forlader skyldene vore.

as we forgive our debtors.

en lit ˙s net yn fersiking komme,

jah ni briggais uns in fraistubnjai,

og ikke bring os i fristelse,

and lead us not into temptation.

mar ferlos ˙s fan 'e kweade;

ak lausei uns af ■amma ubilin.

Men l°s os fra det onde.

but deliver us from evil.

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

Unte ■eina ist ■iudangardi jah mahts jah wul■us in aiwins.

thi dit er konged°mme og magt og herlighed i evighed.

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

A m e n

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Wurdboeken/ Dictionaries

Frisian - Dutch Dictionary

Frisian Dictionary/Spell-checker (inlc. Copy/Paste)

Translate online: Frisian to/from English

Online woordenboeken / Dictionaries

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)

woordenboeken / Dictionaries Friese Taal / Frisian / Frison / Friesisch (no longer working)

West Frisian Dictionary (no longer working)

Jamieson's Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1867

Bremisch-Niedersńksiches W÷rterbuch, (Saxon) 1886

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Friese literatuur / Frisian writings

1000 Friese Gedichten / 1000 Frisian rhymes

Frisian Wikipedia

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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Fries Recht (latijn)/ Frisian Law / Jurisprudentia Frisica (mostly in Latin)

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 Heerlijkheydt 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)

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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 'Frisians' (noun: volk / people)

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

Search 'Frisii' (noun: stam / people)

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

Friesian-Holstein dairy cattle

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