In the year 13 B. C. Drusus, the Roman general, afterwards surnamed Germanicus, found a tribe of Germans called by themselves Fresar, and by the Romans Frisii, dwelling on the north-west coast of Germany, between the mouth of the Rhine and of the Ems, together with the Batavi, Bracteri, and Chauci, and not far removed from their more northern brethren, the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons.
We find references made to them by Pliny, Tacitus, and Ptolemy, all placing them virtually in the same position. They came into collision with Drusus and experienced a terrible defeat, but in 28 A. D. retaliated upon the Romans, by rising in rebellion against them. They were, however, soon again brought into subjection, and yet shortly thereafter began to expand their borders, absorbing the Chauci, occupying the lands to the southward as fast as vacated by the Franks, and spreading along the shore of the German Ocean to Jutland, where they were known as Strand Frisians. We soon lose sight of them as connected with the Roman Empire, and in the fifth and sixth centuries the Germanic flood swept away all traces of the Imperial dominion over them.
The Frisians did not as a body accompany the other members of the common Gothic stock to Great Britain, but there are scattering evidences to show that many adventurers of that tribe did find a home in those western islands, and copious references are made to their achievements in the ancient naval annals of the islands, as well as in those of the North of Europe in general, but especially in the charming Nederlandsche Legenden of Van Lennep, one of the most gifted poets of Holland.