En 09e The Geartmen

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    9e. The Geartmen Move to Panj-ab

    [072] This is about the Geartmen:[1]

    When Hellenia — or Minerva — died, the priests did so as if they were on our side. To project the appearance of sincerity, they declared Hellenia a goddess. Moreover, they wished to have no other mother chosen, saying they feared that there were none among her maidens whom they could trust as readily as Minerva, also known as Nyhellenia. But we did not want to recognize Minerva as a goddess, because she herself had said that no one could be as good or perfect as Wralda’s spirit. Therefore, we chose as our mother Geart,[2] Pire’s daughter.[3]

    When the priests saw that they could not grill their herring on our fire,[4] they went out from Athenia and spread rumors that we refused to accept Minerva as a goddess out of envy that she had shown the natives so much affection. They also gave their folk images of her likeness, attesting that they could pray to them for anything, as long as they remained obedient. Through all this indoctrination, [073] the naïve folk was made to turn away from us and, in the end, they attacked us. But we had our stone burg wall, surrounded by two horns that reached to the sea — so they could not get at us.

    How did it end? In the Egyptian lands, there was a high priest, bright of eyes, clear of reason, and enlightened of mind. His name was Seekrops.[5] He came to offer advice. When Seekrops saw that he could not storm our wall with his men, he sent messengers to Tyre. Thereupon, three hundred ships full of mercenaries from the wild mountain peoples sailed unexpectedly into our harbor while we were fighting with our full strength upon the walls.[6]

    As soon as they had taken our harbor, the wild mercenaries desired to plunder the village and our ships. One of them had already ravaged a young woman. But Seekrops would not tolerate that. And the Tyrian navigators, who yet had Fryas blood in their veins, said: “If you do that, we shall set fire to our ships and you will never see your mountains again.”

    Seekrops, who disdained murder and destruction, sent messengers to Geart, requesting surrender of the burg. She would be guaranteed free [074] passage, with all her floating and movable goods, and her followers the same. The wisest of the burg lords, who saw very well that they could not hold the burg, advised Geart to quickly accept the offer before Seekrops became furious and recommenced the assault.

    Three months later, Geart evacuated with the very best children of Frya and seven times twelve ships. Some time after they had left the harbor, a flotilla of thirty or more ships approached from Tyre, with women and children, on their way to Athenia. But when they heard how things stood there, they joined Geart.

    The sea king of the Tyrians guided the whole fleet through the strait which, at those times, ran into the Red Sea. At last they landed at ‘Panj-ab’,[7] which is in our language ‘Five Waters’, because five rivers flow from there as one down to the sea.[8] Here they settled, naming the land ‘Geartmania’.

    The king of Tyre, then seeing that his best navigators had left, sent all his ships with his wild mercenaries to capture them dead or alive. But as they approached the strait, both Sea and Earth quaked. Then Earth heaved herself up, [075] so high that all the water ran out of the strait, and before them mudflats and shores rose up like a burg wall.[9]

    This happened, as all may plainly and clearly see, due to the virtues of the Geartmen.


    1. Four lines were left blank at the top of the page, as if something (a drawing?) was meant to be inserted later.
    2. ‘Geart’ (GÉRT) — meaning: ‘desire’ (Dutch: ‘begeerte’, from verb ‘begeren’; German ‘begehren’), later also: (possibly) sword; GÉRT.MAN, is translated as ‘Geartman’; GÉRT.MANNJA as ‘Geartmania’.
    3. Pire (PIRE) — name; may just as well be a variety of the Greek names Pyrrhus/Πύρρος and Piraeus/Πειραιάς as of the Frisian name Pier (perhaps also related to Pieter/Peter).
    4. ‘they could not grill their herring ...’ — ‘they were not welcome with us’ or ‘their plan would fail’ (expression).
    5. ‘Seekrops’ (SÉKROPS) — meaning is perhaps related to verbs SÉKA: to seek, and ROPA: to call (also the noun HROP: repute). In Greek mythology, Cecrops (Κέκροψ) was a king of Attica who founded Athens.
    6. ‘mercenaries’ (SALT.ATHA) — lit.: ‘salt-allies’; mercenaries paid with salt. To emphasize the contrast to (unpaid) defenders (WÉRAR), use of the cognate term ‘soldier’ was decided against.
    7. ‘Panj-ab’ (PAnG.AB) — Persian: panj (five), āb (water); this is the river Indus, not to be confused with the modern region Punjab, which is much further upstream (northwards), see ch. 16g, Panj-ab Report [163/15].
    8. ‘as one’ (MITH HJRI) — lit.: ‘with her’.
    9. This closing of the strait was discussed by Ottema in the introduction to his editions of 1872 and 1876, translated by Sandbach (1876) on pages xiii-xv.

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.101 cont.] This is about the Geertmen.[1]

    When Hellenia or Min-erva died, the priests pretended to be with us, and in order to make it appear so, they deified Hellenia. They refused to have any other mother chosen, saying that they feared there was no one among her maidens whom they could trust as they had trusted Minerva, surnamed Nyhellenia.

    But we would not recognise Min-erva as a goddess, because she herself had told us that no one could be perfectly good except the spirit of Wr-alda. Therefore we chose Geert Pyre's daughter for our mother. When the priests saw that they could not fry their herrings on our fire (have everything their own way), they left Athens, and said that we [p.103] refused to acknowledge Min-erva as a goddess out of envy, because she had shown so much affection to the natives. Thereupon they gave the people statues of her, declaring that they might ask of them whatever they liked, as long as they were obedient to her. By these kinds of tales the stupid people were estranged from us, and at last they attacked us; but as we had built our stone city wall with two horns down to the sea, they could not get at us. Then, to and behold I an Egyptian high priest, bright of eye, clear of brain, and enlightened of mind, whose name was Cecrops,[2] came to give them advice.

    When he saw that with his people he could not storm our wall, he sent messengers to Tyre. Thereupon there arrived three hundred ships full of wild mountain soldiers, which sailed unexpectedly into our haven while we were defending the walls. When they had taken our harbour, the wild soldiers wanted to plunder the village and our ships—one had already ravished a girl—but Cecrops would not permit it; and the Tyrian sailors, who still had Frisian blood in their veins, said, If you do that we will burn our ships, and you shall never see your mountains again. Cecrops, who had no inclination towards murder or devastation, sent messengers to Geert, requiring her to give up the citadel, offering her free exit with all her live and dead property, and her followers the same. The wisest of the citizens, seeing that they could not hold the citadel, advised Geert to accept at once, before Cecrops became furious and changed his mind. Three months afterwards Geert departed with the best of Frya's sons, and seven times twelve ships. Soon after they had left the harbour they fell in with at least thirty ships coming from Tyre with women and children. They were on their way to Athens, but when they heard how things stood there they went with Geert. The sea-king of [p.105] the Tyrians brought them altogether through the strait which at that time ran into the Red Sea (now re-established as the Suez Canal).[3] At last they landed at the Punjab, called in our language the Five Rivers, because five rivers flow together to the sea. Here they settled, and called it Geertmania. The King of Tyre afterwards, seeing that all his best sailors were gone, sent all his ships with his wild soldiers to catch them, dead or alive. When they arrived at the strait, both the sea and the earth trembled. The land was upheaved so that all the water ran out of the strait, and the muddy shores were raised up like a rampart. This happened on account of the virtues of the Geertmen, as every one can plainly understand.

    Note Sandbach

    1. Here follows the narrative contained in pages from 48 to 56.
    2. Sêkrops is Cecrops.
    3. Strête, at present restored as the Suez Canal. Pangab is the Indus.

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