Kïaviòð, K.[*] The Baltic Enlightenment and Perceptions of Medieval Latvian History. Journal of Baltic Studies. Vol. XXIX, No 3, Fall 1998, pp. 213-224.

[page 213]

The Baltic Enlightenment and Perceptions of Medieval Latvian History

The Enlightenment in the Baltic region, as everywhere, had a quite difficult and complex appearance. The representatives of the Enlightenment were the Baltic German literati, some of whom were not born in the Baltic. They were influenced by rationalism, deism, pietism, beliefs in progress, and other currents in Enlightenment thought which sometimes seemed contradictory. In this article, it is not necessary to deal with all sources of Enlightenment thought in the Baltic region, nor with all the participants of the Enlightenment in the Baltic, but instead to look deeper into the interpretation of medieval Latvian history during this period. Therefore, the main themes of Enlightenment thought which found resonance in allusions to medieval history in the writings of the Baltic Enlightenment will be briefly summarized. This will be followed by an introduction to the type of writings to be examined and their authors. Subsequently, each Enlightenment theme will be explored in examples from these writings. Finally, the influence of these interpretations on the development of Latvian self-perception and on later views of Latvian history will be discussed.

The Enlightenment understanding of “nature” had a major impact on the representatives of the Baltic Enlightenment. As nature was identified with God, being immanent in nature, and a God above nature was not accepted, a certain movement of the Enlightenment was not only against such an unnatural God, but also against the rulership and morals which justified themselves by means of this God.[1] This was the basis for many writings about the “bon sauvage” which reached their peak in Rousseau’ s works. The idea of “natural” and “uncomplicated” in Enlightenment thought was not identical to “primitive” or “barbarian” in a negative sense. On the contrary, the meaning of “natural” incorporated the demonstration of the strength of the rules of nature, or an archetype for every metamorphosis. To be closer to nature in general meant to be closer to God or the Godliness which was considered as immanent in nature.[2] For this reason, the literature about the “bon sauvage” which influenced Rousseau, and Rousseau’s own writings, do not describe the wild people as barbaric or involved in a struggle with one another for survival, as Thomas Hobbes had postulated.[3] They are depicted as very much in harmony with nature and society in which [page 214] human reason is fully present: “barbarism civilized.”[4] Pertaining to this, the “pure nature,” or the society which lives according to nature was seen in the exotic descriptions of the “primitive people,” the “travel literature” which had an influence on poetry, theater, and philosophy, particularly Rousseau’s.[5] This idea had an impact on descriptions of the discovery of the Baltic.

The focus on nature was also applied to the realm of religion, and views on “natural religion” were also eagerly received by participants in the Baltic Enlightenment. Several speculations on the genesis of religion, such as Hume’s, formed the basis for this trend. Hume believed, for example, that religion developed in response. to the anxieties and hopes of the people which were produced as a reaction to the powers of nature, such as thunder, bad weather for harvests, and so on.[6] This focus was combined with another characteristic of Enlightenment thought, criticism of the Church, and formed the background for the skeptical view of the Christian religion which is clearly visible in the writings of Voltaire in particular.[7] Such opinions came to fruition in the historical works of the Enlightenment. For example, Gibbon’s work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, goes so far as to view Christianity as one of the reasons for the fall ofRome.[8] In connection with this notion, an attitude to the Middle Ages as an evil and dark period was common to the thinkers of the Enlightenment. Even Condorcet experienced difficulties fitting the evaluation of the “Dark Ages” into his theory of continuous progress.[9] Leading from this criticism is the identification of medieval conquerors with Christianity which sometimes appeared in the writings of eighteenth-century Baltic thinkers.

Historical writings were not of great importance in the context of the Baltic Enlightenment. Some Baltic German thinkers dealt with philosophical, theological, and didactic problems, such as Gothard Friedrich Stender (1714-1796) who wrote a significant book in the Latvian language concerning the basic philosophy and natural science of the Enlightenment.[10] Nevertheless, he also wrote poetry which incorporated some images of Latvian history. In a topographical survey of “Liefland” and “Estland,” August Wilhelm Hupel discussed the relations of the Old Latvians and Estonians with Scandinavians and Russians before the German conquest, and the consequent results.[11] Karl Philip Michael Snell (1753-1806) also wrote a descriptive work on the topography, politics, trade, lifestyle, customs and other aspects of the region which included references to history.[12] The “history of slavery” compiled by Heinrich Johann von Jannau (1753-1821)[13] has a specific political and social orientation drawing on historical interpretations. These are only some of the works of the Baltic Enlightenment which include outstanding examples of references to the Middle Ages which will be examined in this article.

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“A study of views of Latvian history is not complete without at least a partial discussion of the work of Johann Gottlieb Herder (1744-1803). His book Ideen zur Philosophie[14] is relevant here in that it also contains comments on the medieval history of Latvia. Herder’s treatment of folk culture[15] was of great importance in reference to the development of the ideas of other participants of the Baltic Enlightenment, particularly Garlieb Helvig Merkel (1769-1850). Herder’s ideas were received among the Latvians indirectly through his influence on Merkel, whose works are of special interest, partly because the ideals of the Enlightenment are present in his writings in a very concentrated form, and partly because of the influence of his works on later Latvian national ideology and historiography. He was important not only for Baltic Germans and Latvians, but also in a wider European context due to his friendship with Herder and Wieland, his connections with Goethe and Schiller, and his importance as a propagandist during the Napoleonic Wars.[16] In his books Die Letten, vorzüglich in Liefland,[17] and Die Vorzeit Lieflands,[18] Merkel provides the most extensive and influential treatment of the history of the Middle Ages in the Baltic region.

The interest in medieval Latvian history was partly the result of the struggle between the “registered” and “unregistered” nobility.[19] Some members of the Baltic Enlightenment saw their mission in the struggle for the abolition or reform of serfdom among the Latvian peasants, which they considered “slavery.” Therefore, they viewed the Baltic German missionaries, bishops, citizens, traders, crusaders, and knights of the Teutonic order in arguments they made ample use of the image of the “bon sauvage.” For example, Jannau describes the Latvians before the German conquest in the 12th and 13th centuries as natural “free-born men.”[20] He then contrasts the image of these innocents with that of their conquerors, noting that this freedom ended with the arrival of the “missionaries in armour.”[21] Merkel explicitly makes references to Rousseau’s ideals of the noble savage.[22] He describes the twelfth-century Latvians as a wild but content people, who where at first hostile to the foreigners, but later these naive sons of nature showed their true, good character and provided the foreigners with food and other necessities in attempts to help them.[23] The German traders, missionaries, and crusaders who came to Latvia in the 12th century were according to him, false and cruel. Due to their selfishness, greed, and fanaticism they wanted to subjugate the Latvians and press them into slavery from the very moment of their arrival.[24]

In Die Vorzeit Lieflands, Merkel begins his description of the Latvians in the 11th and 12th centuries in the spirit of Rousseau: “How good it could be to break with unnecessary richness and school knowledge, and to turn back to the healthy food, uncomplicated homes, and the happy liberty of the [page 216] natural man.”[25] Merkel spoke about the honesty and good behavior of the Old Latvians towards their guests.[26] In a poetic, non-scientific way, he characterized the political organization of the Old Latvians as a stage in the development of society close to that at which thinkers, heroes, and artisans began to flourish in the ancient Greek republics.[27] He especially accentuated the peaceful character of the Latvians. In support of this argument, he mentioned a fragment from the history of the archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen, which was written in the 11th century by Adam of Bremen.[28] Merkel stated that according to Adam of Bremen, Latvians were the “most peaceful” among mankind: “omnino pacatum genus.”[29] In fact, Adam of Bremen only referred to the Old Prussians in this way, rather than the Latvians. He described the Curs, a Latvian tribe, as a cruel and rich people who possessed a lot of gold and horses, noting that nevertheless, the traders from Denmark had built a church there.[30] This again demonstrates the fact that Merkel rather freely interpreted Latvian history according to the ideals of the Enlightenment.

In their criticism of the Church’s actions in the past, the representatives of the Baltic Enlightenment found strong arguments against their opponents among the Baltic nobility who considered themselves as successors of the German conquest. Jannau described the German presence in the Baltic region from the time of the first bishop, Meinhard, as a gradual rise to power through the vehicle of religion. He pointed out that in particular, the warriors of the second bishop, Bertold, exhibited the wild behavior of the native occupants, as they wüteten grausam.[31] Jannau emphasized that in the Middle Ages, it was common for egoistic and adventurous men to justify their actions in terms of religion.[32] Merkel also highlighted this kind of injustice in Die freien Letten. He stressed that, taking advantage of the friendly attitude of the natives, the foreigners started to send sanctified killers to Latvia, who washed themselves in blood and returned home freed of their sins.[33] These killers could be understood to represent the crusaders or knights of the Teutonic Order.

Herder’s view of the medieval history of Europe is ambiguous. Despite his interest in medieval folk poetry, he was, on certain points, extremely negatively inclined towards medieval history, in the manner of Voltaire and Gibbon. While he accepted some developments in medieval Europe, he sharply criticized the crusades and the medieval knighthood as such. In the section on the crusades in Ideen zur Philosophie he maintained that “Auf einer heiligen Narrheit beruht schwerlich das dauerhafte System Europas.”[34] According to him, the crusaders did not bring the Enlightenment to Europe.[35] Herder added a section exclusively on the history of the “Finns, Latvians and Prussians” in which he described the Finnish people as discontent and subjugated by Scandinavian and German expansionism. In this context he [page 217] stated that the Estonians are in serfdom, but the Livs[36] are partly destroyed. The only “Finnish” people who according to him were able to expand were the Hungarians.[37] Herder criticized the Teutonic Order openly, arguing that humanity must be ashamed of the cruel wars of the Teutonic Order which brought the Latvians to serfdom under which they are still living.[38]

By contrast, Hupel is less critical of the Church’s role. Concerning the German migration to the Baltic region in the 12th and 13th centuries, he maintained that only over a long period did the Baltic people become slaves - this was not a consequence of the Christian religion as some historians of the Enlightenment believed.[39] According to Hupel, only the “arrogance” of the German rulers and the people’s struggle against this domination brought the indigenous people into such a difficult situation, namely serfdom, which he viewed as akin to slavery.[40]

Other authors attempted to place the fate of the Latvians in the wider context of world history. Snell, for example, simply pointed out the “bad Christians” who from the beginning of their dealings in the Baltic region planned to subjugate the Latvians to a level similar to that of the aboriginal peoples in Africa and America.[41] Snell’s interpretation of the very early and precise plans of the German conquerors indicates that he endeavored to explain the history of the Baltics in accordance with his preconceived ideas. The comparison between the indigenous population of the Baltics and the subjugated population in Africa and America demonstrates that he was influenced by the general comparisons which were characteristic of the historical writings of the Enlightenment. Merkel also drew parallels between the subjugation of the Baltic natives and the Mexicans, stating with irony that the Baltic natives were lucky that there are no mountains in Latvia, since they died working on the plains rather than in the mountains as did their Mexican counterparts.[42] This is evidence of Merkel’s motivation to support the struggle for the freedom of subjugated people, utilizing Enlightenment-era comparisons as tools.

Such comparisons helped to create a new myth about the “discovery of the Baltic by the Germans” who arrived suddenly by ship in the 12th century, just as Columbus later discovered America. These examples of ignorance appeared in several works by participants in the Baltic German Enlightenment. Stender wrote poetry about the German discovery of “Liefland” especially for the Latvian church mass: “God, who can understand you! Six hundred years ago the Germans were brought to the coast of Rig a by coincidence.”[43] Merkel also incorporated this motif into his work. In very poetic form, he described how the foreign traders from Bremen saw from their ships a new, undiscovered coast and a river which probably had not been previously reached by any ship.[44] They landed on the [page 218] coast and encountered the wild, indigenous population, an obvious parallel to romantic scenes of the discovery of the new world.

In a manner similar to Hume’ s, Merkel examined the sources of the Old Latvian religion.[45] In Die Vorzeit Lieflands he provided a description of its characteristics based on a not very dependable source, the chronicle of Prussia by Simon Grunau which described the history of Prussia before 1529,[46] and incorporated some information concerning the religion of the Old Prussians from the chronicle of Peter of Dusburg.[47] Merkel pointed out the characteristics of the priesthood of the Latvians,[48] which according to him had a high priest in a place known as Romnove[49] (this could be an issue of debate for Old Prussians and later Lithuanians,[50] but it in no way refers to the Latvians). In addition, he constructed a complete pantheon of the Latvian gods, based on some contradictory sources and perhaps even his own imagination.

Reflecting Herder’s interest in folk culture, Merkel also described in detail the feasts of the Old Latvians which he believed were organized and dedicated to the glory of the gods. He was actually able to make first-hand observations of the Ligo festival in particular, which was organized for the glory of this god oflove and joy. This festivity took place in Latvian society continuously over the centuries and even today is one of the most important summer festivals in Latvia. It has various mythological explanations, but in Merkel’s description, it mirrored the works of Rousseau, as Merkel had understood them, regarding the joyous period of natural man which is explained as a harmony between man, society, and goodness:

During this festivity, struggles were ended and marriages organized; relatives visited relatives whom they did not see during the whole year. Passing around the mug here, a man could meet his comrades from the war who lived far away, a woman could meet her girlfriend from the time of her childhood, a young girl could freely meet her boyfriend here, the children had the choice to eat or play.[51]

In fact, Rousseau’s theory was more complicated, in that he considered “natural people” to be far from the first stage of huyman development (and “natural man” had perhaps never existed). His thought could only serve as a basis for the hypothetical development considered here.[52]

It must be taken into consideration that Merkel was not able to make a consistent choice for “natural values” in history. In the same book, he later criticized the twelfth-century Latvians from the point of view of his own eighteenth-century civilization. For example, concerning the position of women in the Latvian family, he stated that women were bought from their parents or kidnapped, and that their lives were not very easy. In contrast to this, he praised a certain speech in which maintained that the relations to [page 219] women in general clearly demonstrate the difference between intelligence and wildness.[53] In fact, Merkel’s knowledge was not very rich or detailed concerning either the positive or the negative characteristics of Old Latvian society.

A final example of Merkel’s incorporation of Enlightenment themes into elements of legend and social comment was the poetic tale “Wannem Ymanta” written in 1802,[54] in which he described the life and death of the Livish hero, Ymanta. All of Merkel’s ideas about the Latvian past mingle here in a poetic synthesis, including the Prussian pseudo-pantheon of gods, information concerning Livish history which he possibly gleaned from the Henricus chronicle of Livonia from the 13th century,[55] as well as elements of an imaginary nature concerning Latvian history. This is depicted as a harmonious period which ended with the German invasion. The culmination of this tale is the dialogue between the hero Ymanta and his pro-German compatriot and enemy Caupo. Ymanta’s speech is full of protest against the future German rulers of Latvia and exhibits his determination to continue the struggle for freedom. It ends with following words: “My brother! Destroy the bindings of the false foreigners! Return to your people! Help us to force false robbers away from our property back to their own country!”[56]

The main importance of Merkel’ s work for the Latvian people was that, thanks to him, they were exposed to different historical knowledge of their past which served as a weapon in the struggle against German and later Russian domination. His work helped to create a new national identity, and was an important inspiration for further study in the fields of Latvian literature, poetry, music, and history. First of all, as a direct result of Merkel’s writings, the Herrnhuter Protestant pietist movement, which before Merkel’s time dealt primarily with religious and didactic problems, started to take an interest in Latvian history. This movement strongly influenced the world outlook and spiritual environment of the Latvians after its arrival in Latvia in the eighteenth century.[57] The majority of the peasants were involved in this movement, which enhanced the development of literacy int he native language. The writings of the Latvian Herrnhuter movement, which existed only in manuscript form, at first dealt more with religious problems, mysticism, and a certain social criticism, but by the end of the century had turned to historical topics. Their reception and use of Merkel’s arguments, particularly the historical criticism of the German conquerors, suggests proof of his impact on the national awakening.

One example of these manuscripts echoes Merkel’s ideas directly. In 1920 in the northern part of Vidzeme (formerly in Livland), an eighteen-page manuscript was found bearing the title: “Tale About the Latvian People From the Old Times until the Present Translated from G. Merkel’s Work from German to Latvian and edited by J. Pulan in 1796.”[58] This tale is an [page 220] annotated commentary of two works by Merkel, namely Die freien Letten and Die Vorzeit Lieflands. Since the manuscript was transcribed by members of the Herrnhuter movement,[59] it can be concluded that the author of this tale, J. Pulan, was also a member of this movement. The central focus in this tale is the criticism of the German invasion of Latvia during the 13th century.[60] Besides criticizing the present subservience of the Latvians to the German nobles and pastors, Pulan accentuates the fact that the Old Latvians had their own festivities, religion, and laws.[61] “They were like one people who received their rules from Videvud”[62] states Pulan, a forerunner of the Latvian national and political awakening.

Merkel’s influence was also of great importance later. The image of Ymanta became an integral part of Latvian literature. For example, the twentieth-century social-democrat and symbolic poet Janis Rainis transformed the poetic image of Merkel’s Ymanta, adding completely new content. Ymanta’s image was also important as a contribution to the national identity. For example, during the civil war in Russia, one group of Latvian soldiers separated from the “Red Latvians,” forming a “Regiment of Ymanta,” and returned to Latvia. Similarly, Merkel’s “pantheon of the gods” was later quite important for the Latvian national awakening in the 19th century, and some elements of this can even be observed in the “Dievturi” movement which existed before the Second World War and has been revived in the present. This movement accentuates the “national religion of the Latvians” in opposition to “foreign Christianity.” The motifs created by Merkel held an important place in the poetry of the first Latvian national awakening, for example in the poetry of Auseklis,[63] and in the form of choral songs these motifs reappeared in the “singing revolution” of 1988 and were directed against the Soviet occupation.

In spite of Merkel’s influence, it is not entirely true to say that Latvians actually received historical knowledge or even “their own history” from this Enlightenment figure, as Aleksejs Apinis has maintained.[64] The Latvians had their historical knowledge in legends and fairy tales, less so in folksongs. Historical knowledge is not something which can be “given” or “taken away,” it is part of our knowledge of the world as such and at the same time is closely related to our judgment of past events.

In conclusion, the reception of medieval history in the Baltic Enlight­enment was strongly connected with the political, moral, and philosophical statements of the writers which appeared primarily in non-historical writings. There were several Enlightenment themes which were utilized in Baltic historical writing and literature, and which affected the development of interpretations of medieval Latvian history. The most potent political argument was found in the image of the “bon sauvage,” which was identified with the Latvian population before the German conquest. The origin of the [page 221] “slavery” of the Latvian peasants was seen as the result of this conquest in the Middle Ages. Thus, the criticism of historical events became a tool for social and political comment. This was also true of the negative image of the medieval crusades and of the Teutonic knight, as well as the criticism of the Church and Christianity, which contributed to the interpretation of the medieval period in Latvia as the “Dark Ages.” The images of Latvian history which were most explicit in Merkel’s writings found their way into the manuscripts of the Herrnhuter movement of the Latvian peasants, accentuating the freedom of the Latvians before the German invasion and the negation of the rights of the German nobles and the system of serfdom. The comparison of the natural life of the Baltic natives, and their subjugation in the Middle Ages, with the situation of the native population in the European colonies also helped to develop a myth of the “discovery of the Baltic,” an idea important for the creation of the Baltic German national ideology during the 19th century. Ironically, it was accepted, partly as a cliché, by the Latvian national movement during the same period to support the struggle against the “conquerors.”


[*] Kaspars Kïaviòð, University of Latvia

[1] P. Kondylis, Die Aufklärung im Rahmen des neuzeitlichen Rationalismus (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1986), 344.

[2] Ibid., 348-339.

[3] H. Meyer, Geschichte der abendländischen Weltanschaaung, VoI. 4 (Würzburg and Paderborn: Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 1950),278.

[4] Kondylis, Aufklärung, 355.

[5] Ibid, 354-355.

[6] Meyer, Weltanschaaung, 260.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Edward Gibbon, Reflections on the Fall of Rome (London: Penguin Books. 1995), 78-79. Edward Gibbon (1731-94) published The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in three instalments between 1776 and 1788. The text of this selection has been taken from the three-volume Alien Lane edition, first published in 1994.

[9] Kondylis, Aufklärung, 464.

[10] Gothard Friedrich Stender, Augstas gudrîbas grâmata no pasuales un dabas [The book of the highest wisdom of nature and the world], (1774).

[11] A.W. Hupel, .Topographische Nachrichten von Lief- und Ehstland, vol. 1 (Riga: Johann Friedrich Hartknoch. 1774).

[12] K. Ph. M. Snell, Beschreibung der russichen Provinzen an der Ostsee. Oder: Zuverlässige Nachrichten sowohl von Russland überhaupt, als auch insonderheit von der natürlichen und politischen Verfassung. dem Handel, der Schiffart. der Lebensart. den Sitten und Gebräuchen, den Künsten und der Literatur, dem Zivil- und Militairwesen, und andern Merkwürdigkeiten von. Livland, Ehstland und lngermannland (Jena: in der akademischen Buchhandlung, 1794).

[13] Heinrich Johann von Jannau, Geschichte der Sklaverey und Charakter der Bauern in Lief- und Ehstland Ein Betrag zur Verbesserung der Leibeigenschaft. Nebst genausten Berechnung eines Lieflandischen Haakens (1786).

[14] J.G. Herder, Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit (Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1989). This book was first published in Riga and Leipzig in 1784.

[15] Herder’s interest in folk culture was of great importance for the rehabilitation of the people’s culture in general and Latvian culture in particular. In his book Stimmen derVölker in Liedern, first published in its entirety under this title in 1807, Latvian folklore was for the first time made accessible to European intellectuals. During his time in Latvia, he travelled around Liefland and acquired his first ideas regarding the people’s spirit, traditions, and songs which later were developed in his observance of the poetry of other areas of Eastern Europe and Europe in general. The influence of Herder’s ideas concerning folk-poetry on later Latvian national and cultural awakening is related to the collection of folk-songs by Krisjanis Barons and the establishment of the epos “Lacplesis” by Andrejs Pumpurs in the 19th century, which constructed a completely new point of view regarding medieval Latvian history.

[16] P. Laizans and V. Gammersmidts, “Garlîbs Helvigs Meríelis,” in Ideju vçsture, ed. E. Buceniece, 283-289.

[17] G.H. Merkel, Die Letten vorzüglich in Liefland am Ende des philosophischen Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1797). In fact this was published in 1796: the year published is falsely listed.

[18] G.H. Merkel. Die Vorzeit Lieflands. En Denkmal desPfaffen - und Rittergeistes, vol. 1. (1798). I have chosen to quote from the Latvian translation in G. Meríelis, Izlase [Anthology] (Rîga: Liesma 1969).

[19] H. Neuschaffer, “Geschichtsschreibung im Zeitalter der Autklärung,” in Geschichte der deutschbaltischen Geschichtsschreibung, ed. G. v. Rauch (Cologne and Vienna: Böhlau. 1986), 73-75. “Registered” nobility had full membership in the knighthood (Ritterschaft) which had special status in the Baltic German society.

[20] Jannau, Sklaverey, 3.

[21] Ibid., 6.

[22] Meríelis, Izlase, 55.

[23] Ibid., 57-59.

[24] Ibid., 59-60.

[25] Ibid., 210.

[26] Ibid., 213-214.

[27] Ibid.;219.

[28] “Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum,” in T. Zeids, Senâkie rakstîtie Latvijas vçstures avoti [The oldest written sources concerning the history of Latvia] (Rîga: Zvaigzne, 1992), 13-11.

[29] Meríelis, Izlase, 212.

[30] A. Vasks, V. Pavulâns and M. Auns, “Latvijas vçsture gadaskaitïos,” [Latvian history in dates] Latvijas Vçstures Institûta Þurnâls 1 (Rîga: Zinatne, 1991), 152.

[31] Jannau, Sklaverey, 15.

[32] Ibid., 6.

[33] Meríelis, Izlase, 60.

[34] Herder, Ideen, 879.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Livs are native inhabitants of Latvia of Finno-Ugric origin. During the Middle Ages they were partly assimilated by the Baltic peoples of the territory of present Latvia. Today Livs are one of the minorities in Latvia with special cultural and political status.

[37] Ibid., 687-688.

[38] Ibid., 689.

[39] Hupel, Nachrichten, 170.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Snell, Beschreibung, 164-165.

[42] Meríelis. Izlase, 60.

[43] Cited by A. Johansons, Latvijas kultûras vçsture 1700-1800 [The cultural history of Latvia] (Stockholm: Daugava, 1975), 467.

[44] Meríelis, Izlase, 59.

[45] Ibid., 228-233.

[46] Ibid., 421.

[47] P. de Dusburg, Chronica terre Prussie. In Ausgewählte Quellen zur deustchen Geschichte des Mittelalters transl. and ed. Klaus Scholz and Dieter Wojtecki, vol. 25 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984).

[48] Meríelis, Izlase, 421. Merkel describes the priesthood of the Latvians according to Polish historian Kristof Hartknoch (1644-1687) who edited the chronicle of Peter of Dusburg, and according to German historian and theologian Pretorii Mateuss (1635-1707).

[49] Ibid., 242-233.

[50] W. Mannhardt, Letto-Preussische Götterlehre, (Riga: W. F. Häcker for the Lettisch-Literärischen Gesellschaft, 1936).

[51] Meríelis, Izlase, 239. [My translation - K. K.]

[52] M. Rang, Rousseau’s Lehre vom Menschen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and

Ruprecht, 1959), 116.

[53] Meríelis, Izlase, 223.

[54] Meríelis, Izlase, 14.

[55] Indriía hronika [The Chronicle of Henricus], trans. from Latin by A. Feldhûns; preface and commentary by E. Mugurçviðs, (Rîga: Zinâtne, 1993).

[56] Meríelis, Izlase, 289. [My translation - K.K.]

[57] E. Buceniece, ed., Ideju vçsture Latvijâ [The history of ideas in Latvia] (Rîga: Zvaigne ABC, 1995), 586.

[58] Stâsts tâs latvieðu tautas no viòas priekðlaikiem lîdz ðai dienai izdots, pârtulkots no G. Merkel no vâcu valodas uz latvisku valodu J. Pulan 1796 tâ gada, cited by A. Apinis. Neprasot atïauju. Latvieðu rokraksta literatûra 18. un 19. gadsimtâ [Without asking for permission. The handwritten literature of the Latvians during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries] (Rîga: Liesma, 1987), 58.

[59] Ibid., 59.

[60] Ibid., 63.

[61] Ibid., 64.

[62] “Nu tape tie visi ka viena tauta,. kuriem Videvuds likumus deve,” cited by Apinis, Neprasot atïauju, 64. Videvud (Videvuds) is a pseudo-historical figure, possibly of Prussian origin, who was first mentioned in the 16th century in Erasmus Stella’s De Borussiae antiquitatibus and who later appeared often in Latvian literature, as noted by Jâzeps Rudzîtis, ed., in his comments on Andrejs Pumpurs, Lâèplçsis (Rîga: Zinâtne, 1988), 306.

[63] O. Ambainis, Latvieðu folkloristikas vçsture [The History of Latvian Studies of Folklore] (Rîga: Zinâtne, 1989),48.

[64] Apinis, Neprasot atïauju, 57.

Publicçts: Journal of Baltic Studies. Vol. XXIX, No 3, Fall 1998, pp. 213-224.

Ievietots: 11.04.2003.