Sunday, 18 March 2018

Some of my recent reading: dark ages Frisia

Another couple of books I read the past moths were triggered by plans for some medieval wargaming. Somebody suggested that we should try the Battle of Vlaardingen in 1018, a smallish affair by today's standards. It was pretty momentous however, as it established the independence of the counts of Frisia against the Holy Roman Emperor.

Sadly the execution wasn't compatible with stuff I already had lying, waiting to be used, so my project will deal with the Battle of Hastings. But I read the stuff on Frisia anyway...

And the most amazing I learned is that the Dutch coast was mostly deserted in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. Apparently rising water levels, combined with moving sand dunes made life extremely hard so it essentially depopulated. The people that came to inhabit the area afterwards were not the original Frisians of Roman times, but migrants from present day Northern Germany and Scandinavia, with a different material culture and different language. However, they were named after the area and for a long time people assumed there was a continuous link of Frisian inhabitation.

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