Radbod, King of the Frisians

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Raedbed, King of the Frisians

Also Known As: "Radbod", "Redbad", "Radboud", "Ratboldo", "Ratbodus", "Ratboldus", "Redbadde", "Rotbald", "de Frise", "of Friesland Koning van Friesland", "(Radboud I) (Redbad I)"
Death: Died in Netherlands
Immediate Family:

Son of Unknown father of Radbod and Unknown mother of Radbod
Husband of Unknown Wife of Radbod, mother of Thiadsvind
Father of Thiadsvind van Friesland and <private> van Friesland

Occupation: Comte, de Frise, King of Friesland, King and ruler of the Frisians
Managed by: Bernard Raimond Assaf
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Radbod, King of the Frisians

Some later genealogies say he was son of Aldgisl but there is no contemporary evidence.

alias: Radboud, Koning van Friesland / der Friezen (in Dutch).


(Translated from Dutch)

Nowadays Friesland is just a province of The Netherlands. But long ago Friesland, or Frisia, was an area much bigger, stretching from what is now part of Belgium, a large part of The Netherlands, northern Germany, up to Denmark. One of the Frisian cities, Dorestad, was one of the most important and flourishing trading places of northwestern Europe, during the early Middle Ages. It was fought over many times against the Franks, a Germanic tribe that later ruled over most of Europe under emperor Charlemagne. At the time christianization took place in Europe, the Franks were already converted to the new religion by the year 500, but the Frisians didn’t want to abandon their old pagan believes they had for a very long time. Around the year 700, Frisia was the only area in northwestern Europe that had not been converted yet. Defender of the old believes was a legendary king of the Frisians, king Redbad.

Redbad was born around the year 648, he became king around 679. During is reign he was in conflict with the Franks many times. The Franks conquered Dorestad in 689, his opponent was Frankish mayor Pepin of Herstal. Pepin conquered the city of Utrecht a few years later, and from that time on the Franks had full control over the important trade route on the Rhine to the North sea. Redbad was forced to retreat. In the following decade it came to a truce between the Frisians and the Franks, and later the daughter of Redbad even got married with a son of Pepin.

Because Frisia had not been converted yet to the Christian religion, the Church of Rome sent several people trying to complete the christianization of northwestern Europe. They were not very successful, the people stayed with their old believes. But a son of Redbad was converted, and Redbad too almost adopted the new religion. That would have been the completion of the christianization, according to the Church at the time an entire group of people was converted if the leader did. Either Wulfram or Willibrord was about to baptize the king, when Redbad asked: “Will I meet my ancestors in Heaven after I die?“, Wulfram or Willibrord responded: “No, they were not baptized, so they are in Hell.” Redbad replied: “Then I rather spend eternity in Hell with my ancestors than in Heaven with my enemies (the Franks).” From that moment on Redbad found new faith in his old pagan believes, and he also wanted the territories back he lost to the Franks.

Redbad had to wait a long time, but when Pepin died in 714, he launched his attack. Two years later he advanced as far as Cologne, where he defeated Charles Martel, a son of Pepin. Frisia would be free for almost twenty years after, and the people were able to keep their old pagan religion. But in 734 Charles Martel invaded Frisia, and the Christian religion was forced upon the population, destroying every pagan shrine. The story didn’t end there, though, even under Frankish rule the Frisians were reluctant to adopt the Christian religion. The Church later sent Boniface, he tried to force Christianity upon the Frisians with his armed, 50 men strong, private army. The Frisians then killed Boniface in 754 at Dokkum.

During his last years Redbad developed an illness and he died in the summer of 719, according to tradition on August 9, on the island of Helgoland. His body was transported to the mainland, and there are two locations where he might be buried, both in modern day Germany and close to the border with The Netherlands: the Rabbelsberg in Dunum, and the Plytenberg not far from the city of Leer.

Today king Redbad is hardly remembered in Friesland, the province of The Netherlands. But in Germany, the area called East Frisia (Ostfriesland), he lives on in many stories and legends, and plays an important part in local folklore. According to legend, so-called “little earthmen” (Erdmantjes) guarded the treasure that was buried with Redbad. When the locals tried to dig up the treasure, the little earthmen scared them away, but to keep the treasure safe, the little earthmen decided to transport the treasure somewhere else. But on the river Ems, the boat capsized and all drowned. The treasure is still on the bottom of the river… Nowadays a little earthman, called Plietje, is the mascot of the city of Leer.

The life of Redbad is an interesting one, and surrounded with many legends and folktales. It was even an inspiration for Richard Wagner when he wrote his opera Lohengrin. Besides the Germans in East Frisia, his memory is kept alive by modern day pagans, and August 9 is their day of remembrance for Redbad. Ten years from now it will exactly 1300 years ago that Redbad died, given his eventful life (I only described here a tiny bit of it) and the history of christianization at the time, it would be a perfect moment for a movie about the king. There are many movies about other people in history, but not one so far about king Redbad. I think he deserves one.

Wyrd Designs – King Radbod and the Importance of the Ancestors August 10, 2011 By wyrddesigns

This week on August 9th many neopagans who celebrate the life and memory of the Frisian King Radbod (680-719 CE) as a hero representing loyalty and love of ancestors. Christian missionaries came close to baptizing King Radbod, but before carrying through with the ceremony and conversion he asked a question, “Where are my dead ancestors at present?” Wolfram the Christian missionary answered, “In Hell, with all other unbelievers.” Upon hearing this, Radbod changed his mind about converting and replied, “Then I would rather live there with my honourable ancestors than go to heaven with a parcel of beggars.” Beggars here refers to Christians as a whole, but also to the long-time enemies of the Frisians: the Franks who were by this point in time primarily Christian. Radbod then expelled the missionaries from the kingdom for no other reason than how important his ancestors were to him. He could not bear the thought of being separated from them.

Born in Denmark ??

Radbod (or Redbad) (died 719) was the king (or duke) of Frisia from c. 680 until his death. He is often considered the last independent ruler of Frisia before Frankish domination. He defeated Charles Martel at Cologne. Eventually, however, Charles prevailed and compelled the Frisians to submit. Radbod died in 719, but for some years his successors struggled against the Frankish power.

King or Duke

What the exact title of the Frisian rulers was depends on the source. Frankish sources tend to call them dukes; other sources often call them kings.


While his predecessor and possible father, king Aldegisel[citation needed] (or Eadgils, Aldgisl which can be translated as 'Old Whip'), had welcomed Christianity into his realm, Radbod attempted to extirpate the religion and free the Frisians from subjugation to the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks. In 689, Radbod was, however, defeated by Pippin of Herstal in the battle of Dorestad and compelled to cede West Frisia (Frisia Citerior, meaning Nearer Frisia, from the Scheldt to the Vlie) to the Franks.

Between 690 and 692, Utrecht fell into the hands of Pippin of Herstal. This gave the Franks control of important trade routes on the Rhine to the North Sea. Some sources say that, following this defeat, Radbod retreated, in 697, to the island of Heligoland, others say he retreated to the part of the Netherlands that is still known as Friesland.

Around this time there was an Archbishopric or bishopric of the Frisians founded for Willibrord and a marriage was held between Grimoald the Younger, the oldest son of Pepin, and Thiadsvind, the daughter of Radbod in 711.

On Pippin's death in 714, Radbod took the initiative again. He forced Saint Willibrord and his monks to flee and advanced as far as Cologne, where he defeated Charles Martel, Pippin's natural son, in 716. Eventually, however, Charles prevailed and compelled the Frisians to submit. Radbod died in 719, but for some years his successors struggled against the Frankish power.

As an example of how powerful King Radbod still was at the end of his life, the news that he was engaged in assembling an army was enough to fill France with fear and trembling.

Relation with the Church

During the second journey of Saint Boniface to Rome, Wulfram (or Vulfran), a monk and ex-archbishop of Sens tried to convert Radbod, but not succeeding he returned to Fontenelle. It is said that Radbod was nearly baptised, but refused when he was told that he would not be able to find any of his ancestors in Heaven after his death, since he preferred spending eternity in Hell with his pagan ancestors than in Heaven with his enemies, especially the Franks. This legend is also told with Wulfram being replaced with bishop Willibrord.

Willibrord tried this while on a Carolingian-sponsored mission into Frisia with the express purpose of trying to convert the pagan Frisians living there in the hope that, once they had converted to Christianity, the Franks could gain control of the important trade port Dorestad, which they had up to that point been unable to do.

In the arts

In Richard Wagner's Lohengrin a certain "Radbod, ruler of the Frisians" is mentioned as Ortrud's father. It is possible that Wagner was thinking of the historical Radbod, although he died more than 150 years before the birth of Henry the Fowler, another character in the opera, who could not, therefore, be contemporary of Radbod's daughter.

In Harry Harrison's The Hammer and the Cross series of novels, Radbod becomes the founder of "the Way", an organized pagan cult organized to combat the efforts of Christian missionaries.


King Radboud I King Radboud I was the father of Aldgillis II . ( Www.genealogieonline.nl/stamboom-bavo-van-der-molen )

(From: http://smitzimm.woelmuis.nl/843095943.htm ) Radboud (King) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia King of Friesland Period ca 680-719 Predecessor Aldgisl Successor Poppo (?) Radboud or actually Radbod (Fries: Redbad) (-719) was a king of the Frisians. He is mentioned in chronicles and hagiographies as king or duke of Friesland. History: About Radboud his childhood and early life nothing is known. Although it is said in later records that he was a son of Aldgisl exists for this in the source material from that time. He probably grew up in a family that belonged to the Frisian elite and was previously in power than about 680, after the death of Aldgisl. The beginning of his reign Radboud went disappointing. There were conflicts with the Frankish Empire and he had to settle for a minor role compared to its powerful neighbor. Between 688 and 695 he suffered a number of defeats against the Frankish mayor of the palace Pepin of Herstal, including at the Battle Dorestad. Mid nineties locks Radboud and Pippin peace, which Radboud renounced territory south of the Old Rijn.Onderdeel of this peace was the conclusion of a marriage between Radbouds daughter Thiadsvind with Grimoald son of Pepin of Herstal, in 714 was murdered. This marriage is not known whether children are born. Frankish Civil War. The civil war that broke out after Pepijns death (December 16 714), Radboud offered new opportunities. He knew Utrecht Dorestad to recapture the Franks and supported the civil war Neustrische king Chilperic II for power fought with the heirs of Pepin. In 716 he even sailed with a fleet on the Rhine, where he overcame the Frankish major-domo Charles Martel at the Battle of Cologne, but moments later he and Chilperik defeated by the same Charles in the battle of Amel. Winfried (Boniface) exceeded according to his hagiographer Willibald during his journey from London to Dorestad including the twist ruined churches and visited Radboud jobs. [1] [2] Radboud made ​​plans to once again invade the Frank Reich and pulled purpose a large army together. However, he could not get the opportunity to do so. Due to a serious illness affected Radboud died in 719. [3] Monitoring and descendants: The primary sources is not known who Radboud succeeded. By later historians the Frisian army commander Poppo is sometimes regarded as his successor. The Frankish opponent of Radboud, Charles Martelkon short invade simply the Frisian empire after his death and a part of the Frisians topics. Also unclear is how it is with the so-called descendants of Radboud, where in later writings or reported upon, among other things the Vita S. Radbodi from the 10th century. Moreover it some historians assume that the recurrence of the same name indicates that there is a dynasty. Some of these (descendants) were very confident that they descended from King Radboud. Baptism: Radboud which did not baptized at the last minute; Embroidery from (presumably) the early 16th eeuw.Volgens an Wulfram written hagiography Radboud wanted initially by the Frankish missionaries (in later legends known by Willibrord) baptized, but Radboud saw there at the last minute from. Just before immersion in the font would be asked at Radboud Wulfram or most of the Frisian nobility in heaven. Wulfram replied that that was not the case, they were after all not baptized and so would stay in hell. Radboud changed his mind and said that he chose an afterlife with his predecessors and withdrew. [4] [5] About Radboud in the course of history originated several legends such as Fan tha kings Karle income Redbad. Probably one passage about baptism also to the legend formation [5] [6]. Trivia: Radbouds name was used again by one of his descendants, bishop Radboud of Utrecht. In turn, the Radboud University was named after him in 2004. As a result, the pagan king indirectly became the namesake of a Catholic university. [7] The band Heidevolk wrote in 2008 in honor of King Radboud a similar naming song. The first part is the story of the baptism back: Wulfram, the Christian who wanted to convert him heaven promised him if he would baptize him. But with one leg in the font invented the Frisian frost rapidly ;, True to his relatives he would rather go to hell. the band wants king Radboud this price for his loyalty to his ancestors, and his opposition to the Christianization. He would have been a fierce defender of paganism. See also Canon Friesland RADBOUD I, king of Friesland, successor Adgil, a man with a stout heart, full of love, not for the liberties of his subjects, he often tyrannical bejegende way, but for the independence of his nation towards foreigners and the independence of his royal power. It is said that he was brought to the Court of Denmark and constantly remained with the Northern peoples of friendship relations, eager was krijgsavonturenen attached to the ancestral religion. Were probably his first acts of government in taking measures to remove out of the way of all those who in the life of his ancestor, sympathy for the Franks had revealed or written by Wilfrid had received the Christian baptism. One may assume that these measures were amazing because they know that Radboud not only exile and confiscation of goods, but also the hand of bezigde assassination strange. After his next of kin have been discharged, he had a view on to save himself and everywhere he discovered the impending dangers. Already the Frisian tribe brethren in the South had adopted the faith of Amandusen Eligius, and Christianity seemed to penetrate all along this side of the river Scheldt. Moreover Utrecht was in the hands of the Franks, and his great empire, which fled from his vindictiveness, had taken up this their refuge. In 679 he broke the peace with the Franks, and supported by Danes and Norwegians, he took Utrecht, and destroyed the last traces of Christianity. From there he continued his victory until he had his former Friesland borders rendered, and, it is said, with his troops had reached Nijmegen. He was the lord of the land of the Lauwers to the Zwin in Flanders; the Scheldt was the border between his territory and that of the Franks. The division, which among the latter prevailed, was the cause that Pepin first time in 688 with his whole legermagt entered the territory of the Frisians. Now the wrong opportunity. Radboud lost whatever his sword and good luck earlier had conquered downstairs den Rijn, became tributary, had to give hostages, the free preaching of Christianity gedoogen and, according to some, myself promise to baptize himself, but what he did not. While all measures have been taken to reform the country for good, made ​​Radboud all occasions use themselves of dismissing him imposed yoke, but in vain. Around 696 the Friesen lost a battle at Wijk bij Duurstede. Utrecht fell into the hands of Pepin, and Radboud was chased back deep into Friesland. Since attempted Pepin, Radboud closer to committing by marrying his son Grimbald with one Friesian princess Theodeswinde Radboud's daughter. She was baptized and consummated the marriage, but the heart of the wily king was vanquished with them. Shortly before the death of Pepin Grimbald fell by the hand of assassins, while Liege, at the tomb of St. Lambert for the life of his sick father prayed. Some suggest this black deed on behalf of Radboud and his daughter. After the death of Pepin of Herstal, the 16 December 714, was Radboud clean by gemoedskrenkingen and heavy ligchaamslijden snapped a covenant with Raghenfried, the military since the Neustriërs to Hofmeijer was elected to the party of Pepin, gathered his troops and went to Utrecht, drove the Christians to flight, destroyed the Christian, restored pagan temples, took Wijk bij Duurstede in, enter 716 with a considerable scheepsmagt on the Rhine to Cologne, where he had to face an unexpected attack of Charles Martel, and laden with spoils of war because the war luck was on his side, weêrkeerde to Friesland, fell again in Austrasia and destroyed churches and monasteries. Meantime Charles Martel is strengthened, Radboud 717 met again in Wijk bij Duurstede, and brought him a neêrlaag, of which a new treaty of subjection to the Franks was the result. Radboud died in the next year. In his last life time seemed to have changed internally mind being somewhat; his hard mood was softened in some degree, and he turned to attempts to reconcile, at least with some of his subjects, which he had previously abused and chased away. In the year 674 . The East Franks took Dagobert II, son of Sigebert, from Ireland. When Wilfridus had left in the spring of 678 Friesland and visited King Dagobert, he had this prince recommended the interests of the Frisians. King Adgillus-I (âlde gisel) of Friesland died in 652, but left a son, named after Radbodus. It was formed at the Danish court, where his hatred of Christianity had always found food. When he was 27 years old, he became the sixth King of Friesland with his residency at Medemblik in West Friesland. The first year of the reign of King Radbodus-I was characterized by a new flood, including the whole of Friesland was flooded. Danes and Normans also invaded the land, though robbing and plundering. They captured Radbodus, brought him to Denmark and left their governor Omûnd. It ordered the Frisians, as a sign of slavery, wearing a wooden necklace, placing their doors on the north side and be so low that they had to stoop to the Norwegian king. Only after an imprisonment of seven years, Radbodus concluded with the King Denmark a treaty of peace and friendship under oath at the Fosta idol, and he was transferred to Friesland, and Omûnd could return to Denmark. Anno 687. Radbodus did now every effort to fight the Franks and the Christian cathedral with carrot and eradicate branch. He brought an army and captured Wiltenburg, the current Utrecht, where the church was demolished. Radbodus drew was placed by the Franconian region, took the city of Nijmegen and several surrounding villages by force, with the gates text Huc usque Regnum Stauriae (up to here is the realm of Stavoren). Dorestad, not far from the current Wijk bij Duurstede, at the junction of Lek and Kromme Rijn, was the most important Frisian marketplace. The settlement has developed from a Roman frontier fort, called Levefana. Anno 687. About this time was Pepin of Herstal autocrat in eastern France. By inheritance, he also got Brabant under its management.