25 May 2018

1699 book review of "De Frisiorum Antiquitate"

Transcription (made by me, JO) of a 1699 English book review about De Frisiorum Antiquitate (Ancient Frisian History) by Suffridus Petrus (1527-1597), as found on pages 78-84 of
The History of the Works of the Learned. Or, An Impartial Account of Books Lately Printed in all Parts of Europe. With a Particular Relation of the State of Learning in each Country.

Dr. Suffridus Petrus (1527-1597)


The following part being of special interest in relation to the Oera Linda-book:
"Freso [...] came from an Indian Province called Benedicta Fresia; where having served under Alexander the Great, and not daring to stay in the Country after his Death, took Shipping with what they could bring off [...] the Saxons were some Remains of the Macedonian Army; and that before they came into Germany, they were called Macedonians, for this he quotes the German Chronicle, printed at Mentz, in 1482, the Annals of Freezland, and others. His next Proof for this is Ancient Rhimes, Constant Tradition, and the Universal Opinion of the Frisons, who have entertained it from Father to Son Successively, and convey'd it to one another by Rhimes, a Custom, says he, which the most prudent Nations have made use of, as the readiest Preservative against Oblivion. [...] As a further Proof of this, he alledges, that the Frisons were constantly great Lovers of Learning, and therefore could easily preserve their Origin and Antiquities from Oblivion. He says also, that Freso, their Founder, was versed in all the Learning of the Greeks, and erected a fort of Academies in many places, where Youth were instructed in Learning, and the Art of War; and that he erected one particularly at Stavren, near Stavo's Temple, and placed a great Library in the Temple it self."

[for scans of original, see below]
[p.78] De Frisiorum Antiquitate; & Origine Libri tres. In quibus non Modo ejus Gentis propriae, fed & Communis Germaniae totius Antiquitates Multae, hactenus incognitae, produntur; & obscuri Veterum Scriptorum Loci plurimi illustrantur. Autore Suffrido Petro. Leovardensi Frisio U.J.C. Franequerae 1698. 12° pag. 574.

_ The learned Author hath published this Book as a Proemium to a larger Work of 60 Books, wherein he designs to comprehend all the History and Antiquity of Freezland.
_ He hath divided this Book into three Parts. In the first, he confutes the erroneous Opinions concerning the Origine of the Freezlanders. In the second, he answers some Objections against what he advances; and in the third, he confirms his own Opinon by Arguments. [p.79]
_ The Antiquity of the Freezlanders is demonstrable from this, that they are mentioned in the oldest Greek and Latin Authors, by the same Name they now enjoy. And Strabo, Ptolomy, Tacitus and others assign them the same Country which they now possess. But the rest of the Germans have all of them changed their Antient Habitations or Names: for that Country called Saxony, is not the same which Ptolomy assigns to the Antient Saxons, and the Names of Holland, Over-Issel, Gelderland, Westphalia, and other Neighbouring Countries are new, and no where to be found in Antient Writers. Our Author thinks it very considerable, that the Freezlanders have Annals of 2000 Years standing, that they can produce from their Archives, which, he is of Opinion, are not only sufficient to prove the Antiquity of the Freezlanders, but may give great Light to the affairs of the Romans, transacted in Germany; and also to those of the Danes, French, Saxons and Dutch. He begins the Freezland Aera 313 Years before Christ, since which their Commonwealth hath undergone 4 considerable Changes; so that they can give the Express number of Years,that they were govern'd by Princes, Dukes and Kings, till the time of Charlemagne, how long they were govern'd by States, till the time of the Anarchy, how long by Factions, till the time of Charles V. and how long they have been govern'd by Lords, till this day. He says the Origin of the Town of Stavren is as Ancient as that of their Princes, that it was formerly the Capital of the Kingdom of Freezland, and enjoys this prerogative above all the Han's Towns, that their Ships must be allowed the first Passage through the Sound, and others must wait till they be passed.
_ Our Author in his Enquiry, Whether the Freezlanders be Indigene or Advenae, first distinguishes betwixt the Acceptation of those Words by the Heathens and Chtistians. The Heathen, when they could not trace the Origine of Nations, used to call them Terrigenae, i.e. Earth-born, as if they had at first sprung up out of the Land they inhabited. And those who transplanted themselves from other Countries they called Advenae, or Strangers. But Christians being better informed by the Holy Scriptures, know that the Origin of all Nations must be derived from Noah and his Family, and therefore call those Indigenae, who have still possessed those Countries they inhabited first after the Flood, and those who have transplanted themselves into other Countries they call Advenae. In the former sense Crantzius, Rhenanus, Nuenarius and many others, call the Germans Indigenae, and Guicciardin calls the Freezlanders so upon [p.80] the same Account, but our Author proves the contrary as to the latter from their own Archives.
_ He confutes the Opinion of these who think the Country took its Name from an Accident, as that the Emperour Valentinian called it Freezland, because of its Cold, it being ridiculous that he should call it so in their own common Dialect. He rejects also the Opinion of those that derived the Name from the Phrygians, which is Synonimous with that of the Francs, and that they were fo called, for asserting their Liberty, because then, says he, other Nations who shook off the Yoke of Slavery, would have been called by the same Name; and therefore he is of Opinion, that the Country was so called from Friso, the Founder of the Nation.
_ In the ninth Chapter of his first Book, he gives a succinct Chronology of Freezland, from the beginning of the Nation, to the time of Charlemagne, which in brief is thus; Friso landed in Germany in the year 313 before Christ, and possess'd himself of that part of the Northern Coast, betwixt the Chersonesus Cimbrica, and the lowest Branch of the Rhine, those Countries he divided betwixt his 7 Sons, and called them Zeelands from their Situation. Our Author thinks that the care of restraining Inundations by Banks, Bulwarks, Water-Mills, &c. was committed to him by the People of the North, whence it came to pass that the Freezlanders gain'd a great part of the Land they now possess out of the Sea. Our Author thinks likewise that he was intrusted by those of the South, with the care of the Passes and Publick Roads from Jutland to the Rhine, and that by Garrisons of his Frison's he defended Merchants and Travellers from Thieves and Robbers; and hence they had Tolls and Customs allowed them as a Compensation, a power of making their own Laws, and Freedom from Foreign Wars; so that they were not obliged to send Soldiers out of their own Country. They had likewise many other Priviledges and Immunities allowed them, of which some were confirmed by Augustus Caesar, afterwards by Charlemagne, then by Charles V. and Philip II. of Spain.
_ The Freezlanders were at first governed by 7 Princes, whose Reigns amounted in the whole to 443 Years, to them succeded 7 Dukes, who governed 262 Years. They were followed by 9 Kings, who reigned 383 Years; in the whole 1088 Years. Stavren continued to be the Metropolis of the Country for 193 Years, there the Prince fixed the Seat of his Government, and administred the same, over his 7 Zeelands by Governours and Judges. About the Year [p.81] before Christ, 120. Friso, Jun. Son to Grunus, the Founder of Groningen, married the Daughter of Ubbo, Prince of Freezland, and receiving Forces from his own Father, and his Father-in-Law, planted a Colony in a desolate Island, Westward, beyond the most Easterly Branch of the Rhine, and called it New Freezland, after his own Name, and chose a Seat for himself in it, which was about a Mile from that place, where afterwards Alcmaer was built. There he laid the Foundation of a City, and called it after his Wife's Name Froungast; and by some it was called Vrongeist and Vrontegeist. Afterwards this City encreased wonderfully, and became a great Mart-Town, and the Romans called it Verona, by. reason of the Affinity between its Name, and that of Verona in Italy. And our Author saith, that this may solve the difficulty that is found in the Story of the 11000 Virgins. For some, when they read that the Virgins loosed from Britain, and were driven by Tempest into Verena, knowing no other Verona but that in Italy, did groundlesly put Bonne initead of Verona. This is the truth of that History, which our Author says ignorance hath corrupted; it being no ways incredible that they were driven into Verona in Freezland, when there was an easie Passage from Britain into that Port.
_ Our Author says, that those things which Tacitus, l. 4. mentions as done by the Freezlanders, are to be referred to this West Freezland; as the nearness of Freezland to Battavia, which Tacitus insinuates, seems to require: For about 150 Years after the planting that Colony, the Romans made Olennius, a Noble Man, and one skilled in Military Affairs, Governour of Freezland. This Olennius, as our Author says, was called in the Language of his Country Holle, which signifies a Jolt-head, for the Freezlanders call the Head en Holle. Their Annals likewise give us the following Account why about those times the Name of Freezland was changed, which had alfo been imposed on this Country. Olennius, above mention'd, collecting the Tribute with too much rigor, did thereby force the Freezlanders to rebel, and brought them into great Calamities, whereupon they called this Country Holle Landt, by way of contempt, and from thence came the Name of Holland.
_ He adds, that those New, or Western Freezlanders continued 420 Years under an Aristocratical Government; so that during this interval very few or none of their Princes are mentioned. However, they enlarged their Territories westward towards Brabant and Flanders. But afterwards about the 300 Year of Christ, and the 2d of Haro, Duke of Old Freezland, Didericus, Haro's Nephew, taking [p.82] with him four others of his Kinsmen, he carried a new Colony into that part of West Freezland, now called Waterland, and which at that time was not habitable, because of the frequent Inundations, and wild Woods. Didericus built Medemblick, which was the Metropolis of New Freezland, and this Colony joining with the other, they enlarged their Dominions so far towards the West, that they grew equal almost to a duly proportioned Kingdom. Bur when Didericus, whose Ambition advanced with his Fortune, assumed a Crown and the Title of King, instead of that of Duke, Haro, Duke of East Freezland looking upon it as absurd, that the Vassal should seem to be of greater Dignity than his Lord, made War with him, and deposed him. His Successors however did afterwards reassume the Royal Diadem, about the Year of Christ 392. from which time it began to be called the Kingdom of Freezland, and was divided into two Sovereignties, the Metropolis of East Freezland being Stavren, and that of West Freezland Medenblick. The Race of Didericus, the West Freezland King failed not long after in Elinus, who adopted Beroald Son to the King of East Freezland, and soon after died; so that about the Year of Christ 533. Beroaldus succeeded to both, and after having reign'd happily for about 60 Years, was deprived of his Life and Kingdom by Clotharius II. King of France, about the Year of Christ 593. His Son Adgill succeeded, and after him there reigned four other Princes, who sometimes agreed, and at other times differed with the French, till the time of Charlemagne, who overcame Radbod the Second, and restored the Freezlanders to their Ancient Liberty.
_ Our Author in the next place makes a large Digression about the Origin of the German Name. He differs from Tacitus, who thinks that Name was given them but a little before his time, and says, it rather grew obsolete not long after. He is also of opinion, that the Name of Teutons is still much later, and derives the Name from Togarma, mentioned in the 10th of Genesis, by taking away the first Syllable, changing Gorma into Germa, and thence forming Germanus.
_ He confutes those who derive the Origin of the Freezlanders from the Hyperboreans, or from a Colony ot Jews, sent to Freezland by Vespasian after the Destruction ot Jerusalem, and says this last Fable is more applicable to part of Pomerland, where the Country-men at Plow constantly sing one Note, like the Cuccow, and cry, Jeru Vespa, Jeru Vespa, Jeru Vespa, in remembrance [p.83] of their Antient Country, destroyed by Vespasian, as they alledge.
_ He likewise confutes the Opinion of their being descended from Frisius, Son to Clogio, King of France, and that his Posterity paid a Tribute of 260 Oxen to the French, as a Token of Homage, and thinks it rather true, that the French derive their Origin from the Freezlanders, according to Beatus Rhenarus and Adrianus Junius.
_ Then he attacks the Opinion of those who say, the Frison's are descended from Grunius the Trojan, the Builder of Groningen, and therefore writ them Phrysii, as nearer the Phryges their Progenitors, and at last tells us his own Sentiments, that Freso, the Founder of their Nation, with his Brethren Saxo and Bruno, came from an Indian Province called Benedicta Fresia; where having served under Alexander the Great, and not daring to stay in the Country after his Death, took Shipping with what they could bring off, and landing in this Country, called it Fresia, after his own Name.
_ This he insists upon at large in his Third Book, and thinks it the more probable, because the Story of Saxo, the Founder of the Saxon Nation, agrees with it. He says all Authors, Crantzius excepted, agree, That the Saxons were some Remains of the Macedonian Army; and that before they came into Germany, they were called Macedonians, for this he quotes the German Chronicle, printed at Mentz [Mainz], in 1482[#1], the Annals of Freezland, and others.
_ His next Proof for this is Ancient Rhimes, Constant Tradition, and the Universal Opinion of the Frisons, who have entertained it from Father to Son Successively, and convey'd it to one another by Rhimes, a Custom, says he, which the most prudent Nations have made use of, as the readiest Preservative against Oblivion. He tells us moreover, that all the Freezland Historians he hath seen, give their Suffrage this way.
_ As a further Proof of this, he alledges, That the Frisons were constantly great Lovers of Learning, and therefore could easily preserve their Origin and Antiquities from Oblivion. He says also, that Freso, their Founder, was versed in all the Learning of the Greeks, and erected a fort of Academies in many places, where Youth were instructed in Learning, and the Art of War; and that he erected one particularly at Stavren, near Stavo's Temple, and placed a great Library in the Temple it self. [p.84]
_ In the next place, he acquaints us, that both Frison and Saxon Historians agree as to Saxo, and that the People of Freezland, Saxony and Brunswick had formerly one and the same Language, and form of Government.
_ Then he gives us an Account of the Arms of the Saxons and Frisons, from the Heraulds Books, and says, that when Friso had the Defence of the German Ocean committed to his Charge, his Arms were in a blue Field, three Silver Bars, oblique from the right to the left, betwixt them 7 red Leaves of a Water Rose, 4 betwixt the Dexter and the middle Bar, and 3 betwixt that and the Sinister. These, says our Author, were the most Ancient Arms of the Frisons, and proves that they were used by their Princes, Dukes and Kings, and that the 7 Leaves signified 7 Islands, into which Freezland was formerly divided. Saxo's Coat, he tells us, was also a blew Field, divided in the middle by a cross Line, from the right to the left, under the same; at the dexter Point, there was a Lion, and at the sinister Point a Draggon, their Heads almost joined, and looking upon one another, with a pleasant Aspect. In the upper part there was an Eagle flying with expanded wings, looking upon both. In this place, he confutes Crantzius, who says, that those are but New Bearings, and that Wittekind, Duke of Saxony, who was overcome by Charmagne, carried in his Ensigns a black Colt, but when he turn'd Christian, changed it into a white one. He proves from Methodius, who is many Centuries elder than Wittekindus, that the Saxons in his time impressed a Lion upon their Coin. He observes, that Wittekindus was not King of the Saxons, but one of those twelve Princes (or Great Men) that governed Saxony by turns; and therefore bore the Arms of the Country, and not his own. He also quotes Wittikind the Monk, who in his 1st Book of Hatthagar, D. of Saxony, says, that when he encouraged his Men to Battle, he took up the Standard or Ensign (which they account Sacred) impressed with a Lion and Dragon, and an Eagle hovering over them, by which he would represent Fortitude and Prudence, and their Efficacy, and express constancy of Mind by the Motion of the Body.
_ In the rest of his Book he enquires after the Indian Fresia, and thinks it to be the Pharrasii mentioned by Curtius, beyond the Ganges. He pretends to trace Freso's Genealogy, as far as Shem, one of Noah's Sons, and gives an Account of the Travels of Freso and his Brethren, &c. all which is submitted to the Readers Censure, it being applicable to Antiquaries better than to any other sort of Men.

Qui bene conjexit Vatem hunc perhibebo optimum.

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Note #1 - probably Cronecken der Sassen, 1492 Mainz, by Cord or Hermann Bote - online facsimile - see next blog post.




Downloadable PDF of these pages here.

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