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Germanic Peoples, The Frisians

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The Frisians were a Germanic ethnic group indigenous to the coastal parts of current Netherlands and northwestern Germany. By the time of the Roman attempts to encroach on German territories, Frisians eventually served like mercenaries to assist the Roman invasion of Britain in the capacity of cavalry as their race of horse, the 'Frisians' were of interest. After the battle of Baduhnne in 28 A.D., they remainded free from Rome. By 296 A.D., they turned laeti up into Roman England. From the 3rd through the 5th centuries, Frisia suffered marine transgressions that made most of the land uninhabitable, aggravated by a change to a cooler and wetter climate making the the coastal largely unpopulated during two centuries. When conditions improved, Angles and Saxons settled in and finally constituted the Frisians with the remnant of previous people as all were part of the settlers of England by 450, after they had plundered earlier, like pirats, the Roman 'litus saxonicus.' By 650-734 A.D., the Frisian territory expanded from the North Sea coast down to Dorestad, which is sometimes referred to a 'Frisia Magna' where kings appeared by about 678. Frisians at the time were traders with Scandinavia's Vikings and in the North Sea, which was termed the Frisian Sea. Frisia likely was a land of petty kings who turned united under a 'primus inter pares' in times of war. Then came the times of the confrontation with the Franks, South, for cause that Frisians were still pagan or about the mouths of the Rhine river. The ebb and flow of that war depended upon how united the Frankish kingdom was or whether a uncontested ruler existed over the Frisians. Franks under Charles Martel eventually subjugated Frisia in 734 A.D. at the battle of the Boarn, opening the area to Anglo-Irish missionaries beginning with St Boniface as it was St Willibrord who largely succeeded into converting the Frisians. Anglo-saxon missionaries, on the other hand, likely plaid upon the common origin of British Angles, Saxons, and old Frisians. A Frisian king by 678 A.D. had invited the Roman-prone, English bishop Wilfrid, who was not a friend of the Neustria's mayor of the palace Ebroin at the time. A last uprising of the Frisians occurred in 793 A.D. as Charlemagne had kept pushing agains eastern Frisia at the time of the conflict with Saxons as both those areas fell to the hands of Carolingians. St Boniface was slained during a Frisian uprising as eastern Frisia returned a while to paganism. The Lex Frisionum was recorded in Latin during the reign of Charlemagne. Since Charlemagne, Frisia theoretically belonged to a 'grewan,' a title loosely related to that of a count, and then to a Count of Holland ('holt land,' the wooden area around Dordrecht) as practically, since 993 A.D. those counts were unable to assert themselves as the sovereign lords there, bringing to a period named the 'Frisian freedom', when feudalism, serfdom or any central administration didn't exist, and the Frisians owing their allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor only. Frisia had first been attached to Francia media by the treaty of Verdun and was then incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. Holland later conquered in 1422 Western Frisia and established a powerful noble class in Central and Eastern Frisia. Since the Reform, Frisia parted between Netherlands or varied German, or Danish states as Frisian language now remains a linguistic category

The southern part current Netherlands as far as it is concerned, belonged, around the mouths of the Rhine, to the Germanic people of the Batavians -- ancient Chattes but also a part of Belgian Celts on the banks of the Rhine -- which provided Rome with a contingent of cavalry, revolted but were conquered around 74 A.D. Salian Franks, fleeing the Saxons and seeking Roman protection, arrived in the region as early as the 3rd century and mixed to the Batavians. Both peoples subsequently continued, fleeing the Chamavi, their escape to the South). It was the Batavian territory, which was prosperous ( 'Batavian' comes from terms meaning 'the better island'), which became the heart of Holland. Finally, present Holland, to the East, belonged to the Chamavi, who also were Germans. They remained independent from Rome and then were subjugated as letes or even soldiers around 293 A.D. Chamavi letes were even settled in the present-day Franche-Comté, France, in the land of Amous. The Chamavi were finally more turbulent than the Franks and rejected beyond the Rhine under Roman emperor Julien the Apostate. The Chamavi, until in the 4th century A.D., were part of the first confederation of the Franks as then, with Bructeri and Ampsivarii, they gave birth to the under-federation of the Ripuarians Franks

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Learning and Knowledge In the Carolingian Times / Erudition et savoir à l'époque carolingienne, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 9/4/2018. contact us at
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