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The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:31 PM
Here is posted the story about the Frisian Hero Greate Pier.

Pier Gerlofs Donia of Kimswert(1480? – October 28, 1520)
Nickname: Grutte Pier, in the old Frisian spelling "Greate Pier" (Great Pierre in English).
Role: Frisian hero, freedom fighter and pirate.


The next post is the story itself

After the story there are some notes, sidestories etc. posted by me for those who want to know a bit more, the last post shows a few of the links I used.

;)

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:38 PM
Intro

In the year 1498 the 'Skieringers' (a Frisian faction) had no way out any more and called in the help of the German Emperor Maximilian, he therefore sended Duke Albrecht van Sachsen to Frisia.

Albrecht van Sachsen made quick ends with the civil-war between the Skieringers and the Fetkeapers (two North-Dutch factions who had declared war on eachother).

After they ended the conflict the Saxon dukes put up a central government, wich raised high taxes and made streng laws. This encouraged the Frisians to start a large rebellion under the lead of the Fetkeapers.

Albrecht van Sachsen in return raised a large mercenary army from the surrounding states filled with Saxons, Brabanders, Flemish, Danes, ..etc.
This army was called the ‘Swarte Heap' (Black Hope), because the Saxon Duke was a sloppy payer wich made the mercenaries starting pillaging and raiding Frisian towns, villages and
farms.

The Fetkeapers made in return a pact with the Duke Karel van Gelre (Charles of Egmond, Duke of Gelre, 1492-1538), he turned up with a battleforce of 700 men near the Frisian town of Starum, a lot of Frisian freemen joined him. Duke Albrecht fled back to Sachsen and gave Frisia back to the Emperor. The Emperor then gave Frisia to the County of Holland and with it the ‘Swarte Heap'.
Karel van Gelre now stood against the strong Habsburg-Bourgondian might (Duke Philip the Handsome, 1478-1507. And after him his son Charles V, 1500 - 1558).


Greate Pier

Pier Gerlof Donia lived relative peacefull on a farm (Osinga Sate) east of the village of Kimsert, for as far that is possible in the raw 16th. century. He was a hardworking yet wealthy farmer. He earned his nickname Greate Pier because of his great length and strength,

In Januari, 1515, a large group of Saxon and Burgundian mercenaries pillaged and sacked the village of Kimsert it burned churches and homesteadts, The wife and children of Pier were abused and murdered, the farm was burned down.

The hardworking farmer Pier Donia became a devil, his taste for revenge knew no boundaries accept for one (No good Frisian should fall through his or kinsmen hands).

Greate Pier gathered a few hundred of men in Kimsert and surrounding towns / vilages, who also had their share of death and lost everything.
Together they went for revenge on a Geurrilla and on to the seas to deal with the ‘Swarte Heap', Germans and the Dutch.

Within a year Greate Pier and his men became the terror of the Northern lowlands, the Southsea and the Waddensea. Within the next year he cleared the most of Frisia from foreign warriors and rulers.

Pier's armed band was mainly active against the Dutch and the Burgundians at sea where he captured many English and Dutch ships. In the biggest battle of his career, in 1515, he captured 28 Dutch ships, which earned him the nickname: the "Cross of the Dutchmen".
According the legend Greate Pier and his men handed the raided good to Karel van Gelre, he probably payed the wagers of his armies with it.

In the year of 1517 his army was finally strong enough, they raised black sails (is legendary) on their fast sailing ships and turned their eyes towards North Holland. On a quick raid they plundered Medemblik.
In june the same year they went further inland and burned down Alkmaar and destroyed the Nieuwburg and Middelburg.


End

His story ends in bitternes, when he came back to Frisia it became clear that the Duke of Gelre himself besought to be ruler of Frisa, he made a truce with Burgundy.

Despite his successes Pier could not turn the Burgundian/Habsburg tide and he retired, disappointed with the treachery of his friend and probably mourning over his losses.
He died peacefully in bed in the Frisian town of Sneek in the year 1520 on October 28.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:41 PM
Character

The historical chroniclewriter Peter Jakobsoan fan Thabor wrote about him:
"Ende hy was froem ende fel op die vyande, mer hy was redelyk van herten als een Kersten man, want hy hadde een guede meyninck; want sin meyninghe was om Vry ende Fryes te wesen, ende omt lant in guede staet te brenghen ende toe holden, want hy hadde lieuer by sin ploech ghegaen dan hy gheorlicht hadde, hadde hy sin lant myt freede moeghen bouwen ende bewonen.'

translated:
He was ferocious and fierce upon his enemies, but still kept a Christian hart with a golden opinion, because his opinion was to be Free and Frisian, to bring Frisia back in a good state and to keep it that way. Rather he would have kept on plowing and sowing then go to war had they just let him and his kinsmen in peace.


Physical appearance

According to most sources he was almost 7 ft. tall with big fierce eyes, long hair and a great black wild beard.

Peter fan Thabor wrote: 'Van deese Pier was grote spraeck in Hollant, in Brabant ende in ander landen, van sin grote stercheit ende gruwelicheit, ende van sin grote oghen; ende sy maectent groter dant was; mer nochtans wasset een groet, swaert, man mit grote oghen, grote schouwer ende een groten baert, ende gruweliken van aensyen, sonderlingh als hy toernich was.'

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:42 PM
The Sword of Greate Pier

Not only his appearance was horrifying, also the weapon he used.
Writings tell of an enormous sword 7 ft long, weighing 6 kilos.

These so called twohanded swords were most usefull in the storm attack, to hit a hole in the defense lines. To be of any other use in a fight they could only be wielded by a very strong and agile man.
The men using them were also known as 'Doppelsöldner’, because they’ve got double payments, they were the elite of the late medieval / renaissance battlefield


Wikipedia:
After his death Pier grew into a hero of Frisian folklore and tales abound which relate of his superhuman strength. A great sword which quite possibly belonged to Pier is kept at the Frisian museum in Leeuwarden. It measures 2.12 meters in length and weighs over 6 kilograms. To have wielded such a weapon he must have been a man of unusual stature indeed.


Frisian source: Hugo Kingmans
It swurd dêr't al ieuwen fan sein wurdt dat it fan Grutte Pier west hawwe soe, is in Zwei- of Bidenhänder. De namme jout oan dat it swurd mei beide hannen brûkt wurde moast en dat it fan Dútsk komôf is. It stiet net fêst wêr't it swurd makke is. It kin in produkt wêze fan de wapensmidderijen fan Passau of Solingen. It merk op it Ljouwerter swurd liket wat op it merk fan Solingen dat om 1500 hinne brûkt waard en bekend stiet as 'Blume von Jericho'. Mar der kin net sûnder mis keazen wurde foar Solingen of Passau.

Sokke Bidenhânder binne ek yn oare musea bewarre bleaun. Om yn Fryslân te bliuwen: de âldheidkeamer fan Sleat hat in lytse samling fan sokke swurden. Dy wapens binne lykwols allegear koarter as it swurd dat fan Grutte Pier west hawwe soe. Se binne net langer as 1,96 meter. Mar it swurd dat oan Grutte Pier taskreaun wurdt is 2,13 meter en is boppedat 6,6 kilo swier.

It is hast net te leauwen dat sokke swurden ek wier brûkt binne. Dochs is it sa. Ut de ferhalen oer de pikeniers, dy't yn de tiid fan Grutte Pier yn Europa operearren, witte wy dat de Bidenhänder it wapen wie fan elite-soldaten, dy't mei sokke swurden in gat slaan moasten yn it leger fan de fijân. Dy soldaten waarden faak 'Doppelsöldner' neamd, om't se foar har taak dûbeld soldij krigen (dat hiel faak nea útbetelle hoegde te wurden).

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:44 PM
The ‘Swarte Heap’

This name is somewhat ambigous, the Dutch called the Frisians under Greate Pier the ‘Swarte Hope’(with their good reasons of course).

The Frisians self refer to the name as being it the mercenaries that were the hope of Albrecht, yet also black because of it’s cruelty against the Frisian folk.


Family died?

Others have said that Pier already had some harsh dissapointments in his life. it is said that his wife and children died earlier (before 1515) during a ‘Swarte Heap' raid.

Other sources claim that some of his children survived, a daughter whose death is drawned upon a later date, and a son Gerlof Piers who later married had children, so even today ther might be offspring of Greate Pier walking around in the Netherlands or in America.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:46 PM
Titles

Of the names here collected some names he gave himself , maybe from an egocentric view, but more likely to provoke the Dutchmen and Germans while motivating his own men.

Greate Pier was named: 'Verwoester der Deenen, wreeker van Breemen, aanhouder der Hamburg, weerstandige der Habsburgen en het kruis der Hollanders.'

Translated:
Destroyer of Danes, Revenger of Bremen (a Saxon capital city),Keeper of
Hamburg, Resistor of Habsburg and the Cross of the Dutchmen.

By Frisians he was called regarding various chronicles, also by himself :D
Coninc van Friesland, Hartog van Snits, Graaf van Sleat,
Vrijheer van Hynljippen, Capiteyn-Generaal fan de Sudersee'.

Translated:
King of Frisia, Duke of Sneek(Frisian town), Count of Sloten (Frisian town), freelord of Hindeloopen (Frisian town) and Captain-General (Admiral?) of the Southsea.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:49 PM
Phrases

To be certain that he or his men never killed a good Frisian, he let prisoners say up a small sentence:
“Bûter, brea en griene tsiis, wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries”

Translated:
Butter, bread and green cheesse, who can’t say this is no good Frisian.

They who couldn’t pronounce it right we’re drowned or otherwise killed and their goods we’re taken.

Another famous phrase of Greate Pier is:
"De biezem yn'e mêst," sei Grutte Pier "wy sille de Sudersee skjinfeie."

Translated:
Put the broom in the mast, we’re gonna sweep clean the Southsea.


Short story


Wikipedia:
Eens kwamen vijf sterke mannen hem opzoeken om met hem te vechten, omdat ze van hem hadden gehoord en wilden weten of hij echt zo sterk was. Dus vroegen ze aan een boer die aan het ploegen was, of hij wist waar Grote Pier woonde.

De boer pakte de ploeg bij het handvat (ijzeren ploegen zijn extreem zwaar), tilde hem op en wees naar een boerderij. "Daar woont hij, en hier staat hij", want het was Grote Pier zelf die daar ploegde. De vijf sterke mannen waren zo verbaasd, dat Pier de ploegstok pakte en ze tegen de grond sloeg. Tegen iedere man zei hij: "Val" en daarom heet deze plek nog steeds: Fivefal (vijfval).

Een vergelijkbaar verhaal wordt in Groningen verteld van Dubbele Arend van Meden.

Translated:
Once five strong men were on a search for Greate Pier, to challenge him for a fight, they had heared of him and wanted to know how strong he was. So they asked a farmer who was plowing, if he knew were Greate Pier lived.

The farmer picked up the plow (Iron plows are extreme heavy) with his hands and pointed the plow up in the air aiming to a farm nearby. The five man were so astonished, so Greate Pier hit them with the plow to the ground, underwhile saying ‘Fall!’ and that’s why this place is still known as Fivefal (where five fell).

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:52 PM
A poem, by an unknown writer

Probably telling of the period after 1517, when Karel van Gelre made a truce with Burgundy.

Groote Pier, gegrieft

Ick Groote Pier,
Coninck van Frieslandt,
Hertoch van Sneeck,
Graef van Sloten,
Vrij-heer van Hindelopen,
Capiteijn-Generael van de Zuyder-Zee,
Een Stuyrman ter doodt
Acht de Hollanders bloot:
Al sijnse groot van rade,
Sij zijn slap van dade,
Sterck van partijen,
Cranck int strijen,
Hoogh van glorie,
Cranck van victorie.
Maer die Gelderschen sterck van teringe,
Slap van neeringe,
Cloeck in den velde,
Maer dorre van gelde,
Vroom van moede,
Maer cleyn van goede,
Doch onversaegt int strijden,
Dies wilt u verblijden
En de Hollanders niet achten:
Want zij moeten versmachten.
Want zij zouden 't bekopen,
Waar 't bestant uitgelopen;
Tegens mijnen dank
Is 't zes maanden bestant.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:54 PM
Links:
This is a selection of the links I used, the above one is the most accurate, as are the Wikipedia pages (For those who can't read Frisian ;) )


http://www.wunseradiel.nl/websites/common/textonly.asp?textonly=1&PropID=62 (FR)
(very good!)

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_Pier (NL)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pier_Gerlofs_Donia (Eng)
http://fy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grutte_Pier (Fr)
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_Pier (Ger)

http://nieuwburg.alkmaarweb.nl/homepage/show/pagina.php?paginaid=49840 (NL)
http://home.planet.nl/~dijkh287/kastelen/medembl/grotep.htm (NL)
http://home.planet.nl/~dijkh287/kastelen/nieuwb/nieb16.htm#zwartehoop (http://home.planet.nl/~dijkh287/kastelen/nieuwb/nieb16.htm#zwartehoop)(NL)

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:21 PM
Here is posted the story about the Frisian Hero Greate Pier.

Pier Gerlofs Donia of Kimswert(1480? – October 28, 1520)
Nickname: Grutte Pier, in the old Frisian spelling "Greate Pier" (Great Pierre in English).
Role: Frisian hero, freedom fighter and pirate.


The next post is the story itself

After the story there are some notes, sidestories etc. posted by me for those who want to know a bit more, the last post shows a few of the links I used.

;)

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:23 PM
Intro

In the year 1498 the 'Skieringers' (a Frisian faction) had no way out any more and called in the help of the German Emperor Maximilian, he therefore sended Duke Albrecht van Sachsen to Frisia.

Albrecht van Sachsen made quick ends with the civil-war between the Skieringers and the Fetkeapers (two North-Dutch factions who had declared war on eachother).

After they ended the conflict the Saxon dukes put up a central government, wich raised high taxes and made streng laws. This encouraged the Frisians to start a large rebellion under the lead of the Fetkeapers.

Albrecht van Sachsen in return raised a large mercenary army from the surrounding states filled with Saxons, Brabanders, Flemish, Danes, ..etc.
This army was called the ‘Swarte Heap' (Black Hope), because the Saxon Duke was a sloppy payer wich made the mercenaries starting pillaging and raiding Frisian towns, villages and
farms.

The Fetkeapers made in return a pact with the Duke Karel van Gelre (Charles of Egmond, Duke of Gelre, 1492-1538), he turned up with a battleforce of 700 men near the Frisian town of Starum, a lot of Frisian freemen joined him. Duke Albrecht fled back to Sachsen and gave Frisia back to the Emperor. The Emperor then gave Frisia to the County of Holland and with it the ‘Swarte Heap'.
Karel van Gelre now stood against the strong Habsburg-Bourgondian might (Duke Philip the Handsome, 1478-1507. And after him his son Charles V, 1500 - 1558).


Greate Pier

Pier Gerlof Donia lived relative peacefull on a farm (Osinga Sate) east of the village of Kimsert, for as far that is possible in the raw 16th. century. He was a hardworking yet wealthy farmer. He earned his nickname Greate Pier because of his great length and strength,

In Januari, 1515, a large group of Saxon and Burgundian mercenaries pillaged and sacked the village of Kimsert it burned churches and homesteadts, The wife and children of Pier were abused and murdered, the farm was burned down.

The hardworking farmer Pier Donia became a devil, his taste for revenge knew no boundaries accept for one (No good Frisian should fall through his or kinsmen hands).

Greate Pier gathered a few hundred of men in Kimsert and surrounding towns / vilages, who also had their share of death and lost everything.
Together they went for revenge on a Geurrilla and on to the seas to deal with the ‘Swarte Heap', Germans and the Dutch.

Within a year Greate Pier and his men became the terror of the Northern lowlands, the Southsea and the Waddensea. Within the next year he cleared the most of Frisia from foreign warriors and rulers.

Pier's armed band was mainly active against the Dutch and the Burgundians at sea where he captured many English and Dutch ships. In the biggest battle of his career, in 1515, he captured 28 Dutch ships, which earned him the nickname: the "Cross of the Dutchmen".
According the legend Greate Pier and his men handed the raided good to Karel van Gelre, he probably payed the wagers of his armies with it.

In the year of 1517 his army was finally strong enough, they raised black sails (is legendary) on their fast sailing ships and turned their eyes towards North Holland. On a quick raid they plundered Medemblik.
In june the same year they went further inland and burned down Alkmaar and destroyed the Nieuwburg and Middelburg.


End

His story ends in bitternes, when he came back to Frisia it became clear that the Duke of Gelre himself besought to be ruler of Frisa, he made a truce with Burgundy.

Despite his successes Pier could not turn the Burgundian/Habsburg tide and he retired, disappointed with the treachery of his friend and probably mourning over his losses.
He died peacefully in bed in the Frisian town of Sneek in the year 1520 on October 28.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:24 PM
Character

The historical chroniclewriter Peter Jakobsoan fan Thabor wrote about him:
"Ende hy was froem ende fel op die vyande, mer hy was redelyk van herten als een Kersten man, want hy hadde een guede meyninck; want sin meyninghe was om Vry ende Fryes te wesen, ende omt lant in guede staet te brenghen ende toe holden, want hy hadde lieuer by sin ploech ghegaen dan hy gheorlicht hadde, hadde hy sin lant myt freede moeghen bouwen ende bewonen.'

translated:
He was ferocious and fierce upon his enemies, but still kept a Christian hart with a golden opinion, because his opinion was to be Free and Frisian, to bring Frisia back in a good state and to keep it that way. Rather he would have kept on plowing and sowing then go to war had they just let him and his kinsmen in peace.


Physical appearance

According to most sources he was almost 7 ft. tall with big fierce eyes, long hair and a great black wild beard.

Peter fan Thabor wrote: 'Van deese Pier was grote spraeck in Hollant, in Brabant ende in ander landen, van sin grote stercheit ende gruwelicheit, ende van sin grote oghen; ende sy maectent groter dant was; mer nochtans wasset een groet, swaert, man mit grote oghen, grote schouwer ende een groten baert, ende gruweliken van aensyen, sonderlingh als hy toernich was.'

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:25 PM
The Sword of Greate Pier

Not only his appearance was horrifying, also the weapon he used.
Writings tell of an enormous sword 7 ft long, weighing 6 kilos.

These so called twohanded swords were most usefull in the storm attack, to hit a hole in the defense lines. To be of any other use in a fight they could only be wielded by a very strong and agile man.
The men using them were also known as 'Doppelsöldner’, because they’ve got double payments, they were the elite of the late medieval / renaissance battlefield


Wikipedia:
After his death Pier grew into a hero of Frisian folklore and tales abound which relate of his superhuman strength. A great sword which quite possibly belonged to Pier is kept at the Frisian museum in Leeuwarden. It measures 2.12 meters in length and weighs over 6 kilograms. To have wielded such a weapon he must have been a man of unusual stature indeed.


Frisian source: Hugo Kingmans
It swurd dêr't al ieuwen fan sein wurdt dat it fan Grutte Pier west hawwe soe, is in Zwei- of Bidenhänder. De namme jout oan dat it swurd mei beide hannen brûkt wurde moast en dat it fan Dútsk komôf is. It stiet net fêst wêr't it swurd makke is. It kin in produkt wêze fan de wapensmidderijen fan Passau of Solingen. It merk op it Ljouwerter swurd liket wat op it merk fan Solingen dat om 1500 hinne brûkt waard en bekend stiet as 'Blume von Jericho'. Mar der kin net sûnder mis keazen wurde foar Solingen of Passau.

Sokke Bidenhânder binne ek yn oare musea bewarre bleaun. Om yn Fryslân te bliuwen: de âldheidkeamer fan Sleat hat in lytse samling fan sokke swurden. Dy wapens binne lykwols allegear koarter as it swurd dat fan Grutte Pier west hawwe soe. Se binne net langer as 1,96 meter. Mar it swurd dat oan Grutte Pier taskreaun wurdt is 2,13 meter en is boppedat 6,6 kilo swier.

It is hast net te leauwen dat sokke swurden ek wier brûkt binne. Dochs is it sa. Ut de ferhalen oer de pikeniers, dy't yn de tiid fan Grutte Pier yn Europa operearren, witte wy dat de Bidenhänder it wapen wie fan elite-soldaten, dy't mei sokke swurden in gat slaan moasten yn it leger fan de fijân. Dy soldaten waarden faak 'Doppelsöldner' neamd, om't se foar har taak dûbeld soldij krigen (dat hiel faak nea útbetelle hoegde te wurden).

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:25 PM
The ‘Swarte Heap’

This name is somewhat ambigous, the Dutch called the Frisians under Greate Pier the ‘Swarte Hope’(with their good reasons of course).

The Frisians self refer to the name as being it the mercenaries that were the hope of Albrecht, yet also black because of it’s cruelty against the Frisian folk.


Family died?

Others have said that Pier already had some harsh dissapointments in his life. it is said that his wife and children died earlier (before 1515) during a ‘Swarte Heap' raid.

Other sources claim that some of his children survived, a daughter whose death is drawned upon a later date, and a son Gerlof Piers who later married had children, so even today ther might be offspring of Greate Pier walking around in the Netherlands or in America.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:26 PM
Titles

Of the names here collected some names he gave himself , maybe from an egocentric view, but more likely to provoke the Dutchmen and Germans while motivating his own men.

Greate Pier was named: 'Verwoester der Deenen, wreeker van Breemen, aanhouder der Hamburg, weerstandige der Habsburgen en het kruis der Hollanders.'

Translated:
Destroyer of Danes, Revenger of Bremen (a Saxon capital city),Keeper of
Hamburg, Resistor of Habsburg and the Cross of the Dutchmen.

By Frisians he was called regarding various chronicles, also by himself :D
Coninc van Friesland, Hartog van Snits, Graaf van Sleat,
Vrijheer van Hynljippen, Capiteyn-Generaal fan de Sudersee'.

Translated:
King of Frisia, Duke of Sneek(Frisian town), Count of Sloten (Frisian town), freelord of Hindeloopen (Frisian town) and Captain-General (Admiral?) of the Southsea.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:27 PM
Phrases

To be certain that he or his men never killed a good Frisian, he let prisoners say up a small sentence:
“Bûter, brea en griene tsiis, wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries”

Translated:
Butter, bread and green cheesse, who can’t say this is no good Frisian.

They who couldn’t pronounce it right we’re drowned or otherwise killed and their goods we’re taken.

Another famous phrase of Greate Pier is:
"De biezem yn'e mêst," sei Grutte Pier "wy sille de Sudersee skjinfeie."

Translated:
Put the broom in the mast, we’re gonna sweep clean the Southsea.


Short story


Wikipedia:
Eens kwamen vijf sterke mannen hem opzoeken om met hem te vechten, omdat ze van hem hadden gehoord en wilden weten of hij echt zo sterk was. Dus vroegen ze aan een boer die aan het ploegen was, of hij wist waar Grote Pier woonde.

De boer pakte de ploeg bij het handvat (ijzeren ploegen zijn extreem zwaar), tilde hem op en wees naar een boerderij. "Daar woont hij, en hier staat hij", want het was Grote Pier zelf die daar ploegde. De vijf sterke mannen waren zo verbaasd, dat Pier de ploegstok pakte en ze tegen de grond sloeg. Tegen iedere man zei hij: "Val" en daarom heet deze plek nog steeds: Fivefal (vijfval).

Een vergelijkbaar verhaal wordt in Groningen verteld van Dubbele Arend van Meden.

Translated:
Once five strong men were on a search for Greate Pier, to challenge him for a fight, they had heared of him and wanted to know how strong he was. So they asked a farmer who was plowing, if he knew were Greate Pier lived.

The farmer picked up the plow (Iron plows are extreme heavy) with his hands and pointed the plow up in the air aiming to a farm nearby. The five man were so astonished, so Greate Pier hit them with the plow to the ground, underwhile saying ‘Fall!’ and that’s why this place is still known as Fivefal (where five fell).

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:27 PM
A poem, by an unknown writer

Probably telling of the period after 1517, when Karel van Gelre made a truce with Burgundy.

Groote Pier, gegrieft

Ick Groote Pier,
Coninck van Frieslandt,
Hertoch van Sneeck,
Graef van Sloten,
Vrij-heer van Hindelopen,
Capiteijn-Generael van de Zuyder-Zee,
Een Stuyrman ter doodt
Acht de Hollanders bloot:
Al sijnse groot van rade,
Sij zijn slap van dade,
Sterck van partijen,
Cranck int strijen,
Hoogh van glorie,
Cranck van victorie.
Maer die Gelderschen sterck van teringe,
Slap van neeringe,
Cloeck in den velde,
Maer dorre van gelde,
Vroom van moede,
Maer cleyn van goede,
Doch onversaegt int strijden,
Dies wilt u verblijden
En de Hollanders niet achten:
Want zij moeten versmachten.
Want zij zouden 't bekopen,
Waar 't bestant uitgelopen;
Tegens mijnen dank
Is 't zes maanden bestant.

The Black Prince
Friday, December 16th, 2005, 10:28 PM
Links:
This is a selection of the links I used, the above one is the most accurate, as are the Wikipedia pages (For those who can't read Frisian ;) )


http://www.wunseradiel.nl/websites/common/textonly.asp?textonly=1&PropID=62 (FR)
(very good!)

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_Pier (NL)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pier_Gerlofs_Donia (Eng)
http://fy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grutte_Pier (Fr)
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_Pier (Ger)

http://nieuwburg.alkmaarweb.nl/homepage/show/pagina.php?paginaid=49840 (NL)
http://home.planet.nl/~dijkh287/kastelen/medembl/grotep.htm (NL)
http://home.planet.nl/~dijkh287/kastelen/nieuwb/nieb16.htm#zwartehoop (http://home.planet.nl/~dijkh287/kastelen/nieuwb/nieb16.htm#zwartehoop)(NL)

The Black Prince
Sunday, December 18th, 2005, 02:47 PM
Pics of Greate Pier and maps of Frisia and North Holland during early 16th century
As graphical contribute to: Greate Pier (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=44560)

Couldn't find pics of the sword, If anyone else..

Guntwachar
Wednesday, April 30th, 2008, 10:54 PM
Pier Gerlofs Donia

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n27/Drim_GruNcheR/Dapperheidgrotepier.jpg

Pier Gerlofs Donia of Kimswerd (c.1480 – 1520) was a Frisian warrior, pirate, freedom fighter, folk hero, and rebel. He is best known by his West Frisian nickname "Grutte Pier" ("Greate Pier" in the Old Frisian spelling), or by the Dutch translations "Grote Pier" and "Lange Pier", or, in Latin, "Pierius Magnus". The nickname refers to his legendary size and strength (historians today assume that he was impressively built, and remembered that way some 500 years after his death). His life is mostly shrouded in legend, but there is no doubt that he really existed. Erasmus the famous Dutch humanist and theologian wrote of the exploits of his contemporary Grutte Pier. As a Hollander and as expected Erasmus wrote more criticism then praise of these exploits.

Based upon a description now attributed to Pier’s contemporary Petrus Thaborita, the 19th-century historian Conrad Busken Huet wrote that Grutte Pier was "a tower of a fellow as strong as an ox, of dark complexion, broad shouldered, with a long black beard and moustache. A natural rough humorist, who through unfortunate circumstances was recast into an awful brute. Out of personal revenge for the bloody injustice that befell him (in 1515) with the killing of kinsfolk and destruction of his property he became a freedom fighter of legendary standing."


Early life and family

Grutte Pier was born Pier Gerlofs Donia (Pier Gerlofs), around 1480 in Kimswerd, Wonseradeel in Friesland. Pier Gerlofs was one of at least four children born to Gerloff Piers and Fokel Sybrants Bonga. Pier's mother Fokel was the daughter of the Schieringer noblemen Sybrant Doytsesz. Bonga of Bongastate, Kimswerd. Pier married Rintze Syrtsema and they had two children, a son and a daughter, Gerloff and Wobble who were born around 1510. In 1525 Pier’s mother Fokel in her last will and testament appoints Pier’s brother Sybren as guardian of Piers children who are still considered minors. Pier and Tijdt's husband, Ane Pijbes were partners in the farming estate of Meyllemastate in Kimswerd.

Pier is the direct descendant of the powerful Frisian chieftain Haring Harinxma (1323-1404), Schieringer and potestate of Westergo. Pier is also the third cousin of Jancko Douwama. Grutte Pier and Jancko Douwama are considered the heroes of Frisian freedom.

Grutte Wierd (Wijerd Jelckama) is often described by eighteenth and nineteenth century authors as the nephew of Grutte Pier. Contemporary Worp van Thabor identifies him simply as Wierd van Bolsward. Modern authors such as J.J. Kalma doubt the nephew connection while Brouwer in the Encyclopedia of Friesland states that Grutte Wierd was not the nephew of Grutte Pier but his ‘lieutenant’ who was probably born in Bolsward and died in Leeuwarden on 30 November 1528.



Reasons for going to battle

Pier Gerlofs was a farmer in the West of Friesland at the beginning of the sixteenth century, in the village of Kimswerd near the city of Harlingen. His village was plundered on 29 January 1515 by a band of marauding saxon mercenaries called the Black Band, during a civil war between the Vetkopers and Schieringers. The former were against the Burgundian/Habsburg rule over the Low Countries, while the latter were in favour of it. The Black Band were a brutal regiment of the Landsknecht and were quartered in Franeker a Frisian village approximately 7 km north-east of Kimswerd.

The Landsknecht were in the employ of the George Duke of Saxony and were in Friesland to suppress the civil war. The Black Band were notorious as a violent military force who when their pay was insufficient or lacking, which was not uncommon, would exact payment by any means from innocent local villagers.

During the sacking of Kimswerd, Pier's wife, Rintze Syrtsema, was allegedly raped and killed, the village church was burnt to the ground as was Pier's residence at Doniastate. Seeking revenge Pier started a guerrilla war campaign against the Burgundians and allied himself with Charles of Egmond, Duke of Gelre (1492-1538), the foremost opponent of the Burgundian Duke Philip the Handsome (1494-1506), and later his son Charles V (1515 - 1555).



Band of warriors

Pier's armed band, known as the Arumer Zwarte Hoop (English: Arumer Black Heap, as in "group/mass of"), were pirates mainly active against the Dutch and the Burgundians at sea. He managed to captured many English and Dutch ships, mainly on the Zuider Zee (today's ‘IJsselmeer’). In the biggest battle of his career, in 1515, he captured 28 Dutch ships, which earned him the nickname "Cross of the Dutchmen". He then bestowed the title "King of the Frisians" on himself.

Pier fought the ships that travelled the Zuider Zee and was very active in 1517, when he used his ‘signal ships’ to attack ships in the region of the West Frisian coast, to which he transported Geldrian forces, setting ashore at Medemblik. Pier bore a great hatred for Medemblik and its inhabitants. In earlier years, soldiers from Medemblik collaborated with the army of Holland, then under the command of Charles v of Habsburg. It was in Medemblik in March 1498 that representatives of the Schieringers met with the Saxon ruler duke Albrecht to request Saxon protection from the Vetkopers — a request that resulted in the Saxon occupation of Friesland. On June 24, 1517, Grutte Pier and his Arumer Zwarte Hoop, consisting of some 4,000 soldiers from Frisia and Gelre, sailed to West Frisia, passing Enkhuizen, landing near Wervershoof and advancing to Medemblik. They swiftly captured Medemblik, killing many inhabitants and taking many others prisoner. Some were released on payment of a high ransom. Some of the town's inhabitants fled and found safety at Medemblik Castle. The castle's governor, Joost van Buren, succeeded in keeping the aggressors outside the castle walls. Realizing they would be unable to take the castle, the Arumer Zwarte Hoop plundered the town and set it on fire. As most houses were made out of wood, the town, including the church, monastery and town hall, were completely razed. With this partial victory, Pier and his army stormed Nieuwburg castle and Middleburg Castle, which they plundered and set on fire, leaving these mighty castles in ruins.

In 1517, the Arumer Zwarte Hoop captured the city of Asperen, slaughtering virtually all its inhabitants. They then used the heavily fortified city as a base until they were driven out by Holland's Stadhouder.

In response to the attacks on Medemblik and Alkmaar and the failure of the Captain General of Amstelland, Waterland and Gooiland to defend his territories, the Stadhouder of Holland agreed to fit out a war fleet in July 1517. The fleet came under the supreme command of Anthonius van den Houte, Lord of Vleteren, appropriately titled "Admiral of the Zuider Zee". In the name of Charles V, van den Houte announced he would free the region of Frisian and Gelder piracy. Although van den Houte was initially successful, with some of the Frisian vessels going up in flames near Bunschoten, Grutte Pier responded by seizing 11 of Holland's ships in a battle off the coast near Hoorn in 1518.

Shortly after, Pier defeated 300 Hollanders in Hindelopen.

According to legend, Pier forced his captives to repeat a shibboleth to distinguish Frisians from Hollandic and Lower German infiltrators:

"Bûter, brea en griene tsiis: wa't dat net sizze kin, is gjin oprjochte Fries"

"Butter, bread, and green cheese: if you can’t say that, you’re not a real Frisian"

Grutte Pier was also credited with coining the old Frisian slogan "Leaver dea as slaef" ("Better dead than slave).

Despite his successes, Pier could not turn the Burgundian/Habsburg tide and he retired, disillusioned, in 1519. He died peacefully in bed at Grootzand 12 in the Frisian town of Sneek on October 18, 1520. Pier is buried in Sneek in the 15th-century Groote Kerk (also called the Martinikerk).

His tomb is located on the north side of the church. Pier’s nephew Wierd Jelckama took over the command of Pier’s forces.

In 1791, Jacobus Kok wrote that above the 'portaal', entrance or porticus, of the New City Hall of Leeuwarden, two remarkably large swords were found which were said to have belonged to Grutte Pier and his nephew Grutte Wierd.

Today, a great sword that is said to have belonged to Pier is on display at the Fries museum in Leeuwarden. It measures 2.15 meters (7 feet) in length and weighs about 6.6 kg (14.5 lbs). To have wielded such a weapon, he must have been a man of unusual stature and physical strength. People who had met him often put his height at at least 7ft tall. Pier was alleged to be so strong that he could bend coins using just his thumb, index and middle finger. A huge helmet said to be Grutte Pier's is kept in the town hall of Sneek.



In popular culture

The legendary status of Grote Pier as a hero or a villain has endured over the centuries his daring exploits retold in book, poetry, song and more recently in film.



Gysbert Japicx

The seventeenth century Friese poet Gysbert Japicx (1603-1666) wrote in his composition ‘Tjesck Moars See Aengste’ [Grandmothers’s Sea Anguish] the following verse in reverence to Grote Pier (eng. trans., Tall Peter):

Grandmothers’s Sea Anguish

Thee I’ll follow, noble Peter,
Thou wert nobler far and greater,
Than the noblest, home-kept lord,
Battling like an ancient roman,
For his country with her foeman,
Whom he chased with fire and sword.

Fiveval

Stories about Pier grew into legends that often share themes with stories of other strong men in Germanic heroic literature. For example, one story says Pier ploughed his land by pulling the plough himself instead of using horses. Another story states that Pier could lift a horse above his head. Fiveval, a Frisian, told the story of Pier killing five Hollandic mercenaries sent to kill him:

Greate Pier wie in hiele sterke keardel. Op in kear wied er us oan 't ploeijen. Hy hie 't hynder foar de ploege spand. 't Wie noch in âlderwetske ploege mei in houten balke. Doe kom der in fremde man op him ta en dy frege: "Wite jo hwer't greate Pier wennet?" Doe sloech Pier it hynder foar de ploege wei. En hy naem de ploege yn 'e rjochterhân en tilde him in ein fan 'e groun en doe wiisde er mei de ploege op in hûs. En hy sei: "Sjoch, dêr wennet er." Mei de oare fûst sloech er himsels op it boarst en sei: "En hjir stiet er."
Grutte Pier was a very strong fellow. One time he was busy ploughing. He had hitched his horse in front of the plough. It was an old-fashioned plough with a wooden beam. Then a stranger approached and he asked "Do you know where Grutte Pier lives?" Then Grutte Pier undid the plough from the horse. And he took the plow in his right hand and lifted from the ground and then pointed with the plough to the house. And he said: "Look, he lives there." With his other fist he hit himself on the chest and said: "And here he stands."


Television

In the 1970s, in the Dutch Floris series, Donia was a major character played by actor Hans Boskamp. Although he was a villain and the enemy of the leading character, Donia was adored by children who watched the show. Thanks to Gloria, many children learned about Donia, albeit in a historically incorrect way, and it brought Grutte Pier back into popular culture. He was also a major character in the German remake of the series, although he was less popular than in the Netherlands.



http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n27/Drim_GruNcheR/Grutte_Pier_28Pier_Gerlofs_Donia292.jpg

Gruno
Friday, February 18th, 2011, 08:03 PM
Interesting piece of history... just came across this searching old posts... very interesting. :thumbup

Nachtengel
Friday, November 6th, 2020, 03:10 PM
Pier Gerlofs Donia was a Frisian warrior, pirate, and rebel who lived between the 15th and 16th centuries AD. He is more well-known perhaps by his nicknames – Grutte Pier in West Frisian, Grote Pier and Lange Pier in Dutch, and Pierius Magnus in Latin. These nicknames all mean the same thing, and in English, may roughly be translated as Great / Big Pier. This is a reference to his legendary size and strength.

In general, historians regard Pier Gerlofs as a real historical figure. Nonetheless, many stories about him are incomplete or inaccurate. Furthermore, legends about Pier and his exploits were told over time, thus turning him into a figure that is larger than life.

The Life of Pier

Pier Gerlofs is believed to have been born around 1480 in Kimswerd, near the city of Harlingen, Wonseradeel (located in modern Friesland, the Netherlands). His father was a man by the name of Gerlofs Pier, whilst his mother was Fokel Sybrants Bonga, who was the daughter of a Schieringer nobleman. Pier had at least three other siblings.

According to legend, Pier was around 7 feet (around 2.13 m) tall, and was so strong that he could bend a coin using just his thumb and forefinger. Another legend attesting to his great strength is that he was able to pick up a plough with just one hand.

Around the beginning of the 16th century, Pier was a wealthy farmer in Western Friesland. During this period, the end of the ‘Frisian freedom’ had occurred (in 1498 to be more precise), following a civil war between the Schieringers and Vetkopers (which is said to have begun in 1350).

Although the Schieringers had emerged victorious, the Vetkopers continued their resistance. Both groups also requested and received aid from foreign powers. Whilst the Schieringers received help from the Duke of Saxony, the Vetkopers were supported by the Duke of Gelre (‘Guelders’ in English).

From Farmer to Warrior

Amidst this chaos, Pier continued his life as a farmer, perhaps not wanting anything to do with the ongoing conflict. A disaster that struck Pier’s village, however, changed his life forever, and turned the farmer into a warrior.

In 1515, Kimswerd was raided by a band of Saxon mercenaries known as De Zwarte Bende (the Black Band). According to one version of the story, the Black Band had mutinied because they had not received their pay. During this raid, Pier’s farm was destroyed. In some versions of the story, Pier’s wife is also said to have been raped and murdered.

The raid infuriated Pier, and he decided to avenge his loss of the farm, his wife, or both. As the Black Band was serving the Duke of Saxony, he held the Duke responsible for his mercenaries’ behavior, and formed an army to fight against the Duke.

It is also said that Pier wanted to drive the Saxon foreigners out of Friesland, and restore Friesian independence - though this spirit of nationalism may have been added later on. The army he joined was made up of peasants who, like Pier himself, did not have any experience in military matters, and was known as Zwarte Hoop (Dutch for ‘Black Gang / Heap’).

From Warrior to Pirate

As Pier was aware that his army was no match against the Saxon mercenaries on land, he decided to take to the waters, and became a pirate. Pier was a successful pirate, and captured many ships belonging to his enemies that sailed on the Zuiderzee (Zuyder Sea). Pier held a personal grudge against the town of Medemblik, where the Schieringers first met the Duke of Saxony in secret to request his aid. It is recorded that Pier raided this coastal town in 1517, and then again in 1518/9 to avenge the capture and public execution of his lieutenant, Grutte Wyerd.

In battle, Pier supposedly brandished a Biedenhänder, a sword that was wielded with two hands. ‘Grutte Pier’s Sword’ is today kept in the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. This weapon is as tall as the legendary warrior himself, and weighs 6.6 kg (14.6 lbs).

Based on the sword’s identifying marks and its goat-leather haft, it has been speculated that the weapon originated in Germany. It has also been suggested that perhaps Pier seized the sword from a Saxon soldier. This weapon, whether it was indeed used by Pier or not, would have certainly fuelled the legends surrounding this giant.

The most popular legend about Pier, however, was not so much about his strength, but about his Friesian identity. According to legend, Pier had an ingenious way of separating his Friesian captives from those who were non-Friesian. It is said that he would order people to repeat the following rhyme “ bûter, brae en griene tsis, wa’t dat net sizze kin, is gijn oprjochte Fries ”, which translates as “butter, rye bread, green cheese, who can’t say this is not a real Frisian”.

Despite the successes in battle, Pier was unable to gain freedom for Friesland. In the end, he was disillusioned with the war, and perhaps even realized that he had become the very thing he had sought to destroy in the first place. Thus, in 1519, Pier decided to retire from war. He died in Sneek on October 28th of the following year, and was buried in Sneek Grute Kerk.https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/pier-gerlofs-donia-giant-frisian-rebel-warrior-and-pirate-005312