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Thread: Greate Pier, Historical Frisian Hero

  1. #11
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    The story (I've shorted it considerably, to keep it interesting :D)

    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.

  2. #12
    Senior Member The Black Prince's Avatar
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    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.'

  3. #13
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    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 dęr'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 brűkt wurde moast en dat it fan Dútsk komôf is. It stiet net fęst węr't it swurd makke is. It kin in produkt węze fan de wapensmidderijen fan Passau of Solingen. It merk op it Ljouwerter swurd liket wat op it merk fan Solingen dat om 1500 hinne brűkt waard en bekend stiet as 'Blume von Jericho'. Mar der kin net sűnder 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 brűkt 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 dűbeld soldij krigen (dat hiel faak nea útbetelle hoegde te wurden).

  4. #14
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    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.

  5. #15
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    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
    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.

  6. #16
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    Phrases

    To be certain that he or his men never killed a good Frisian, he let prisoners say up a small sentence:
    “Bűter, 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 męst," 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).

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    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.

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    Great Pierre, Historical Frisian Hero

    Pics of Greate Pier and maps of Frisia and North Holland during early 16th century
    As graphical contribute to: Greate Pier

    Couldn't find pics of the sword, If anyone else..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by The Black Prince; Sunday, December 18th, 2005 at 03:58 PM.

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