Dr. Nelleke IJssennagger-van der Pluijm FSA (director of the Fryske Akademy) gives a public lecture on the Frisian-British connections and what cultural developments took place on both sides, from the early-medieval migrations on one end of the temporal scale, to the impact of a connected Viking world on the other.
The lecture is organised by the Society of Antiquaries of London, in the Burlington House, Piccadilly, London.
Abstract of the lecture:
Frisia and Britain in the Early Medieval to Viking Age: Landscape, History and Language of a North Sea World.
Anyone who has ever read Beowulf will have encountered the enigmatic Frisians. But not everyone may know that the earlier histories of the Frisian and British worlds are strongly intertwined, so much so, that it is almost impossible to disentangle Early-medieval and Viking Age Frisians from their interactions with Britain and other North Sea Coasts.
It has long been known that linguistically, Frisian and Anglo-Saxon are each other’s closest relatives. From historic sources, we know that it were Anglo-Saxon missionaries who were responsible for the conversion of Frisians to Christianity. And from archaeological sources we can tell that material cultural developments on both sides of the North Sea have similarities. Yet the understanding of these developments and the connections that shaped them merits more research, particularly in a multidisciplinary context and with consideration of more than trade and migration.
Thanks to new collaborations, new material and new research, we are developing new knowledge and we can nuance our understandings of this situation quite significantly. The Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, is devoted to researching Frisian language, culture, history and landscape, and its connection with other cultures. Over the last couple of years, we have actively opened up our research to an international audience. In collaboration with many others, we have connected our latest detailed knowledge of Frisia with the latest in research in Britain, leading to new insights and new questions of shared, similar and also different cultural developments. To put it simply, by joining research traditions we are able to paint the shared picture in more detail, which in turn is significant for the understanding of the regions in question separately.
In 2023, the Fryske Akademy will celebrate its 85th anniversary and we would like to take this occasion to give a public lecture on the Frisian-British connections and what cultural developments took place on both sides, from the early-medieval migrations on one end of the temporal scale, to the impact of a connected Viking world on the other.
Against a general sketch of Anglo-Frisian connections, we would like to share some insights from the recent research, which has been looking at how the maritime landscape has underpinned the developments, how the material culture and custom developed on both sides of the sea in the Early-medieval period, what the combination of written sources can tell us about the missionary activity in Frisia, how the linguistic developments against this background can be understood and finally, how Frisia and the Danelaw were connected in the Viking Age.