En 16b Alliances

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    Ott 2023

    16b. Friso: Alliances

    [144/17] Now I will write about Friso:

    Friso, who already had power through his own people, was also elected principal reeve by the residents of the district Staveren. He ridiculed our way of defending the land and fighting at sea. Therefore, he founded a school where young men learn to fight in the manner of the Greeks. But I believe his aim was to win the allegiance of the young folk.[1] I also sent my brother there — ten years ago now — because, thought I, since we no longer have a mother to protect the one from the other, I must be twice as vigilant to prevent Friso from becoming our master.

    [145] Gosa did not name to us any successor. This I will not judge. But there are yet suspicious elders who think she made a deal about it with Friso. When Gosa died, the people of all regions wanted to elect a new mother. But Friso, who was busy establishing a realm for himself, had no desire for counsel or messengers from Texland.

    When the messengers of the landsmen came to him, he spoke and declared: “Gosa was farseeing and wiser than all the aldermen combined, and still she found no light or clarity in this matter. Therefore, she had not the confidence to choose a successor. And choosing one that was doubtful would have been bad in her view. She thus wrote in her last will that you would do better having no mother than one on whom you cannot rely.”[2]

    Friso had seen much. He had been raised in wartime, and he had learned and gathered just enough of the trickery and ruses of the Gola and princes as he required to coax the other aldermen in the direction he wanted them to go. See here how he went about that:

    [146] Friso had remarried here; the daughter of Wilfrethe,[3] who was principal alderman of Staveren when he was alive. She gave him two sons and two daughters. By his arrangement, his youngest daughter, Kornelia, married my brother. (‘Kornelia’ is corrupted Fryas, and should be written ‘Korn-helia’.) His eldest daughter, Weamod, he married to Kauch. Kauch, who also went to his school, is the son of Wichhirte, the king of the Geartmen. (‘Kauch’ is also improper Fryas, and should be ‘Kaep’; they brought more degenerate language with them than they did good morals!)

    Now I must go further back in time with my story:

    After the great flood of which my father wrote, many Jutters and Lets had been carried out of the ‘Balda’ (Baltic) or ‘Angry’ Sea with the ebb. Near Kate’s Gate, floating in their boats with the ice, they ran aground at the Denmarks, and there they remained. Because they did not see any people there, they took possession of the land and named it Jutterland, after themselves. Later, many Denmarkers did return from the highlands, but they resettled more to the south. And when the navigators who had not perished came back, they joined together [147] and went to the Sealands, or ‘Ealands’. Through this turn of events, the Jutters were able to hold the land whither Wralda had carried them.

    The Sealand navigators, who desired more in life than to simply eat and trade fish, and who had a strong antipathy to the Gola, later went pirating Phoenician ships.

    In the southwest corner of Skeanland lies Lindasburg, also known as Lindasnose — founded by our Apol, as described in this book.[4] All inhabitants of the coast and the surrounding regions had remained true Fryas. But, out of lust for revenge against the Gola and the Kelta-Followers, they joined forces with the Sealanders. That alliance did not last because the Sealanders had adopted many abhorrent practices and habits from the vile Magyars, to the offense of Frya’s folk. Eventually, each went pirating separately; but when it suited them, they stood loyally by one another.

    In the end, though, the Sealanders began to lack good ships. Their shipbuilders had perished and their forests had been swept root and branch from the land.

    [148] Now three ships arrived unexpectedly, mooring near the ring dyke of our burg. As a result of the breaches in our lands, they had lost their way and missed the mouth of the Flee. The trader who had been sent with them wished to buy new ships from us. And for that purpose, they had brought various precious goods that they had stolen from Keltic lands and Phoenician ships. As we had no ships ourselves, I gave them strong horses and four armed couriers, sending them to Friso, because at Staveren and along the Alderga the best warships are built of hard oak which never rots. While the sea warriors were staying with us, some Jutters had sailed to Texland and then gone to Friso.

    The Sealanders had abducted many of their sturdiest young men to row on their benches, and many of their sturdiest daughters by which to have children. The stout Jutters could not prevent it because they had no good weapons. When they had told of their suffering, and many words about it had been exchanged, Friso finally asked if they had not a good harbor in their region: “Oh yes,” [149] they answered, “one of the best, created by Wralda. It is just like your beer jar over there; the neck is narrow and the belly can easily harbor thousands of large boats. But we have no burg, nor burg weapons to keep out the plundering ships.”

    “Then you’d better make some,” Friso said. “Well advised,” the Jutters answered, “but we have no craftsmen, nor building tools. We are all fishermen and beachcombers. The others have drowned or fled to the highlands.” In the midst of their discussion, my messengers arrived at his court with the Sealand lords. Pay attention to how Friso succeeded in winning them all over, satisfying both parties and benefiting his own endeavor:

    He promised the Sealanders fifty ships a year, of a fixed size and for a fixed price, equipped with iron chains and crossbows, and fully rigged with what is useful and essential on warships, on condition that they would leave the Jutters in peace, as well as all the folk belonging to Frya’s children. Yea, he would do more: He would encourage all of our sea warriors to join them in raiding and plundering.

    When the Sealanders had left, [150] he had forty old ships loaded with burg weapons, wood, bricks that were baked here, carpenters, masons, and smiths, in order to build burgs. He sent these (with the Jutters), along with his son Witto — that is: ‘white one’ — to oversee. I was never informed about exactly what happened there, but this at least I learned: Twin burgs were built on either side of the harbor entrance, garrisoned with folk taken by Friso from the Saxonmarks. Witto courted Siuchtheart and took her to wife. Wilhim, as her father was called, was principal alderman of the Jutters — that is: principal grevetman or reeve. Wilhim died shortly thereafter, and Witto was chosen in his place.


    1. ‘win the allegiance of ...’ — lit.: ‘tie the ... to his belt’ (expression).
    2. For fragment in Gosa’s will, see ch. 15e [142/03].
    3. ‘Wilfrethe’ (WIL.FRÉTHE) — compare Wilfred.
    4. See ch. 13a [090/10].

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.197 cont.] Now I will write about Friso.

    Friso, who was already powerful by his troops, was chosen chief Grevetman of the districts round Staveren. He laughed at our mode of defending our land and our sea-fights; therefore he established a school where the boys might learn to fight in the Greek manner, but I believe that he did it to attach the young people to himself. I sent my brother there ten years ago, because I thought, now that we have not got any mother, it behoves me to be doubly watchful, in order that he may not become our master.

    Goss has given us no successors. I will not give any opinion about that; but there are still old suspicious people who think that she and Friso had an understanding about it. When Gosa died, the people from all parts wished to choose another mother; but Friso, who was busy establishing a kingdom for himself, did not desire to have any advice or messenger from Teerland. When the messengers of the Landsaten came to him, he said that Gosa had been far-seeing and wiser than all the counts together, and yet she had been unable to see any light or way out of this affair; therefore she had not had the courage to choose a successor, and to choose a doubtful one she thought would be very bad; therefore she wrote in her last will, It is better to have no mother than to have one on whom you cannot rely. Friso had seen a great deal. He had been brought up in the wars, and he had just learned and gathered as much of the tricks and [p.199] cunning ways of the Gauls and the princes as he required, to lead the other counts wherever he wished. See here how he went to work about that.

    Friso had taken here another wife, a daughter of Wilfrêthe, who in his lifetime had been chief count of Staveren. By her he had two sons and two daughters. By his wish Kornelia, his youngest daughter, was married to my brother. Kornelia is not good Frisian; her name ought to be written Korn-helia. Weemoed, his eldest daughter, he married to Kauch. Kauch, who went to school to him, is the son of Wichhirte, the king of the Geertmen. But Kauch is likewise not good Frisian, and ought to be Kaap (Koop). So they have learned more bad language than good manners.

    Now I must return to my story.

    After the great flood of which my father wrote an account, there came many Jutlanders and Letlanders out of the Baltic, or bad sea.[1] They were driven down the Kattegat in their boats by the ice as far as the coast of Denmark, and there they remained. There was not a creature to be seen; so they took possession of the land, and named it after themselves, Jutland. Afterwards many of the Denmarkers returned from the higher lands, but they settled more to the south; and when the mariners returned who had not been lost, they all went together to Zeeland.[2] By this arrangement the Jutlanders retained the laud to which Wr-alda had conducted them. The Zeeland skippers, who were not satisfied to live upon fish, and who hated the Gauls, took to robbing the Phœnician ships. In the south-west point of Scandinavia there lies Lindasburgt, called Lindasnôse, built by one Apol, as is written in the book.[3] All the people [p.201] who live on the coasts, and in the neighbouring districts, had remained true Frisians; but by their desire for vengeance upon the Gauls, and the followers of Kaltona, they joined the Zeelanders. But that connection did not hold together, because the Zeelanders had adopted many evil manners and customs of the wicked Magyars, in opposition to Frya's people. Afterwards, everybody went stealing on his own account; but when it suited them they held all together. At last the Zeelanders began to be in want of good ships. Their shipbuilders had died, and their forests as well as their land had been washed out to sea. Now there arrived unexpectedly three ships, which anchored off the ringdyk of our citadel. By the disruption of our land they had lost themselves, and had missed Flymond. The merchant who was with them wished to buy new ships from us, and for that purpose had brought all kinds of valuables, which they had stolen from the Celtic country and Phœnician[4] ships. As we had no ships, I gave them active horses and four armed couriers to Friso; because at Stavere, along the Alberga, the best ships of war were built of hard oak which never rots. While these sea rovers remained with us, some of the Jutmen had gone to Tex-land, and thence to Friso. The Zeelanders had stolen many of their strongest boys to row their ships, and many of their finest daughters to have children by. The great Jutlanders could not prevent it, as they were not properly armed. When they had related all their misfortunes, and a good deal of conversation had taken place, Friso asked them at last if they had no good harbours in their country. Oh, yes, they answered; a beautiful one, created by Wr-alda. It is like a bottle, the neck narrow, but in the belly a thousand large boats may lie; but we have no citadel and no defences to keep out [p.203] the pirate ships. Then you should make them, said Friso. That is very good advice, said the Jutlanders; but we have no workmen and no building materials; we are all fishermen and trawlers. The others are drowned or fled to the higher lands. While they were talking in this way, my messengers arrived at the court with the Zeeland gentlemen. Here you must observe how Friso understood deceiving everybody, to the satisfaction of both parties, and to the accomplishment of his own ends. To the Zeelanders he promised that they should have yearly fifty ships of a fixed size for a fixed price, fitted with iron chains and crossbows, and fall rigging as is necessary and useful for men-of-war, but that they should leave in peace the Jutlanders and all the people of Frya's race. But he wished to do more; he wanted to engage all our sea rovers to go with him upon his fighting expedition. When the Zeelanders had gone, he loaded forty old ships with weapons for wall defences, wood, bricks, carpenters, masons, and smiths, in order to build citadels. Witto, or Witte, his son, he sent to superintend. I have never been well informed of what happened; but this much is clear to me, that on each side of the harbour a strong citadel has been built, and garrisoned by people brought by Friso out of Saksenmarken. Witto courted Siuchthirte and married her. Wilhem, her father, was chief Alderman of the Jutmen—that is, chief Grevetman or Count. Wilhem died shortly afterwards, and Witte was chosen in his place.

    Notes Sandbach

    1. Balda jefta kvade sê is the Baltic. Juttarland is Jutland.
    2. Zeeland is the Danish Islands.
    3. See page 125.
    4. Phonisjar are Punics or Carthaginians.

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