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De Eerste Koningen van Nederland * K.P.H. Faber (2007)

I noticed this small book in the overstock pile, so new, but cheap. It speaks partly about the same period as the recently reviewed In de Marge van de Beschaving: the early Middle Ages. This is not a very well documented period for the common man. Faber is a valuer of old coins, a former teacher of history and a Frisian Protestant. The book is said to be mostly based on findings of old coins, but this is not entirely true. The first kings of The Netherlands is built of essays. Faber did not want to present an ongoing story, since there are too many blanks that cannot be filled, so he decided to compile a whole bunch of short texts with different subjects that taken as a whole suggest a story. The book is not a scholarly work, it is written in a very light tone, sometimes the preference of the author comes through. Sometimes he is quite prochristian / anti-heathen or he portrays the pagans as barbarians by giving half information, etc., but on the other hand as a Frisian nationalist he wants to show pride for his ancestors. Even though there are a few very irritating essays because of the first, taken as a whole this is a very nice little book, especially in the more historic parts. The idea behind is that before what for the Dutch became the Royal House of the Oranjes, there was a leading class of prechristian leaders from Scandinavia that the author labeled the “Wulfings”. The Wulfings came close to what can be called a Royal House, but they did not last. To make his point, Faber writes about seawolves (the symbol of the Wulfings), Odin/Wodan (who is portrayed on coins frequently as old man of the sea), parts of history around the coming of the Franks, Christianisation and for example Radbod, Audwulf or Redwald (all Wulfing ‘kings’). Other texts less needed for proof of the assertion are for example about coiners, coins (interesting), Viking plunderings, general history of our parts and a cat. All in all I found the book a nice read and an easy one too with the short texts. Also I enjoyed the unusual approach of the coins, since the symbols on those and written history are seldom combined to give information. De Eerste Koningen Van Nederland is not a super-book, but especially for the price it is sold now, surely not a waste of money. Also nice is that the author’s son, who is a visual artist, has created all the visuals for the book.
2007, uitgevery aspekt, isbn 9059113233

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