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Thread: Frisian Genetics and the UK (Anglo Saxons)

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    Frisian Genetics and the UK (Anglo Saxons)

    Not new and knowledge has moved on I expect, but some interesting links. John

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...QvSTokiqXhrpZg

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    Not new and knowledge has moved on I expect, but some interesting links. John

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...QvSTokiqXhrpZg
    The biggest issue I see, after reading a few lines, is that the writer seems to think that the general term Frisians uniquely applies to present day Frisians in the Dutch province of Friiesland. This is not likely to have been the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter M View Post
    The biggest issue I see, after reading a few lines, is that the writer seems to think that the general term Frisians uniquely applies to present day Frisians in the Dutch province of Friiesland. This is not likely to have been the case.
    Isn't it case that in immediate post-Roman period that the Frisians basically covered an extremely wide area? Even the distance between geographically between West Frisian speakers in Netherlands and North Frisian speakers in Germany/Denmark seems to bear this out.



    I think I recall reading before that the early County of Holland had Frisian counts, and there appears to be Frisian substratum in various Hollandic dialects of Dutch. Than again perhaps I'm relying too much on what I've read on wikipedia over the years

    I'd imagine there's fairly complex history of ethnogensis across the Low countries over the last 2,000 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dubhthach View Post
    Isn't it case that in immediate post-Roman period that the Frisians basically covered an extremely wide area? Even the distance between geographically between West Frisian speakers in Netherlands and North Frisian speakers in Germany/Denmark seems to bear this out.

    <image left out>

    I think I recall reading before that the early County of Holland had Frisian counts, and there appears to be Frisian substratum in various Hollandic dialects of Dutch. Than again perhaps I'm relying too much on what I've read on wikipedia over the years

    I'd imagine there's fairly complex history of ethnogensis across the Low countries over the last 2,000 years.
    First of all, I'm not a professional historian (I'm an IT specialist by profession), Jean M may have a lot more to say about this subject, but I will still present my ideas as an interested amateur.

    The name Frisians appears in the Gallian Wars by Julius Ceasar as a tribe the Romans had to do with. Unfortunately, Ceasar tends not to be too specific about actually where his activities/victories took place.

    The canonical history of the Netherlands tends to start with the beginning of the Roman presence in these (the Low Countries) areas and to be centered around the idea that all people living in this area were Frisians with the exception of another well-known tribe called the Batavians. Whether the Batavians actually ever lived in the area that is now called the Netherlands is highly unlikely, given that the period the Batavians played a role in Roman warfare is significantly different from the period the Romans were on Dutch (=from the Netherlands) soil.

    The idea that everybody living on Dutch soil is a Frisian is an assumption of which the likelyhood depends on how one defines "Frisian". If Frisian is another name for everybody living in these territories, then calling them all Frisian is correct (although somewhat meaningless). If Frisian refers to a well-defined tribe, then the idea (all low country dwellers are Frisians) is most doubtful and it is most likely that e.g. present-day inhabitants of the Dutch province of Friesland have nothing at all to do with the people called Frisians by the Romans.

    Some may be aware, the west of the Netherlands around 1000AD was formed by the county of Holland (hence the present day confusion). The people there fought unbelieveably bloody wars against the Frisians. So people originating from this area (like me) with any historical awareness most certainly do not want to be called Frisians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dubhthach View Post
    I think I recall reading before that the early County of Holland had Frisian counts,
    As far as I'm aware, the early counts of Holland ("the House of Holland") came from Flanders in the south, where they lost a battle of succession and/or domination of Frankish counties from their Flemish (from Flanders) cousins and therefore fled north to start their own counties (those territories were near-empty). Whether one calls them Frisians, is again a matter of definition, I guess.

    In general, my personal feeling is, that the Netherlands between after the Romans left (250-300AD) and the first moment people (most likely immigrating germanics) appear to have started building dikes (10/11th century) were mainly very wet and therefore very empty, except for beavers and small groups of people living on natural (west) or man-made (north) sand banks (the only inhabitable places for people who didn't like wet feet). Dutch historians appear to have built something of an important Dutch history out of this (thus creating a more interesting job for themselves), including a significant presence of the Franks as successors to the Romans and the very important city of Dorestad in the middle, according to (written) rumours, there were 55 churches in this city, an unbelieveable number, given we're still talking about the dark middle ages.

    The relationship between Frisian (the language) and old-English and the close genetic relationship between the Low Countries and Britain is another story, that might create an even more difficult discussion, so I'll leave that for another post.
    Last edited by Peter M; 01-29-2017 at 11:19 AM.

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    There are a couple of fairly recent and very good papers on the issue from Dutch scholars.

    The early-medieval use of ethnic names from classical antiquity. The case of the Frisians. Jos Bazelmans

    Discontinuity in the Northern-Netherlands coastal area at the end of the Roman Period. Annet Nieuwhof

    Both articles suggest that there was a significant change in the Friesland coastlands at the end of the Roman Period. The implosion of Roman power lead to often radical shifts in both eastern & western Europe, whilst in Scandinavia, Ireland & the Baltic/ EE forest zones change was more gradual, with grater continuity. The above essentially argue that there was a significant population change in Frisia at the 5th century, with the Frankish Era Frisians being different to the Roman ones, and what we're seeing is exonymy through the continuation of Roman ethnographic tradition. The Later Frisians material culture has Anglo-Saxon features, perhaps reflecting North Sea links (from Holstein, lower Saxony).

     
    The Roman/early-medieval continuation of the Frisian name has always played an important role in
    the historiography of the North Netherlands coastal region. For many generations of historians and
    archaeologists, all of whom were influenced by romantic notions of ethnicity, it could only mean that
    successive generations of coastal inhabitants had called themselves Frisians – quite apart from the vicissitudes
    of history – from the very beginnings in the Iron Age until the present day. Even Boeles, who
    believed that dramatic changes had occurred in the Frisian area in the 4th and 5th centuries, could not
    escape the power of this ‘fact’: he said that although the Frisians may have been caught unawares by the
    Anglo-Saxons, their old tribal name had become general currency for the new Anglo-Saxon/Frisian
    conglomerate.

    There is, however, an important reason to doubt this seemingly obvious continuation of the Frisian
    name. Place-name, archaeological and possibly linguistic research has revealed that major changes swept
    the West and North Netherlands coastal region from the 3rd to the 5th century: in addition to changes
    in the material culture, the burial ritual, the construction of houses and settlements and the naming of
    places and regions, most striking is the huge drop in population and perhaps even the temporary disappearance
    of people in many areas. The reasons for this latter phenomenon are not completely clear, but
    deteriorating natural circumstances were probably not decisive, except that some parts of the coastal
    region remained uninhabitable in a somewhat later period. In my view the depopulation could also be
    the result of intertribal raids on relatively unprotected and small scale societies in an area that was easily
    accessible by sea.91 In the world around the North Sea basin, raiding was a socio-cosmological practice
    that was deeply rooted in late prehistory, vital to the growing to maturity of young warriors and to the
    reproduction of the society as a whole.92 The disappearance of the Roman monopoly on violence left
    room for the return of raiding, especially in the coastal region to the south of the limes and the Southern
    North Sea region.93 It is no coincidence that the societies in North Germany and Denmark that may
    have been responsible for these raids underwent important changes in the 4th and 5th centuries.

    Historians have pointed out the need, when studying ethnogenetic processes in Europe during this
    period, to pay particular attention to the much-discussed tribal elites, who had links with one another and
    with the church and its institutions and who were acquainted with the literary-ethnographic legacy of the
    classical world. Although the Frisian name may have been passed down in the Netherlands coastal region
    itself (either by successive generations of indigenous inhabitants or by newcomers who called themselves
    after the former inhabitants of the colonised area), we should bear in mind the possibility that the Frankish
    elite, by reaching back to old classical knowledge, reintroduced the Frisian name when naming places
    and groups in the northern periphery of the empire. There are various indications, and this may be one of
    them, that the area gradually became incorporated, not just in a specific power-political sense but also in a
    conceptual sense, despite the naming of place and inhabitants by the indigenous population.

    Historians have pointed out the need, when studying ethnogenetic processes in Europe during this
    period, to pay particular attention to the much-discussed tribal elites, who had links with one another and
    with the church and its institutions and who were acquainted with the literary-ethnographic legacy of the
    classical world. Although the Frisian name may have been passed down in the Netherlands coastal region
    itself (either by successive generations of indigenous inhabitants or by newcomers who called themselves
    after the former inhabitants of the colonised area), we should bear in mind the possibility that the Frankish
    elite, by reaching back to old classical knowledge, reintroduced the Frisian name when naming places
    and groups in the northern periphery of the empire. There are various indications, and this may be one of
    them, that the area gradually became incorporated, not just in a specific power-political sense but also in a
    conceptual sense, despite the naming of place and inhabitants by the indigenous population
    Last edited by Gravetto-Danubian; 01-29-2017 at 11:23 AM.

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