Žydrūnas Vičinskas


In analyzing the pre-Christian culture of the Balts, the nucleus of which consists of pagan religious logic and mythology, there is a problem of the value and reliability of the recorded writings about it. The article reviews and verifies the mythological information having a direct relation to the sowing celebration that Matthaeus Praetorius (Matthäus Prätorius) recorded in the source “Deliciae Prussicae oder Preussische Schaubühne” (Deliciae Prussicae or Prussian Theater, late 17th century). In succession, the paper discusses the interpretations made by the 20th to 21st century researchers who analyzed the mythological material recorded by Praetorius about the sowing festival. The context of the research made in 20th to 21st century has revealed that the scholars of earlier periods gave different assessments to the reliability of the aforementioned mythological material provided by Praetorius: they did not question authenticity, but considered the information to be quite reliable, and used it in their works; the scholars sensed the problem of authenticity of the mythological material, but hesitated to solve it; the scholars noticed the authenticity problem and more or less tried to solve it. The analysis suggests to determine that the mythological material related directly to the sowing festival recorded by Praetorius is to be considered authentic and reliable.KEY WORDS: Matthaeus Praetorius, celebration of sowing, authenticity, Pre-Christian Baltic religion and mythology.

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