Foreword to the Past: A Cultural History of the Baltic People

Foreword to the Past: A Cultural History of the Baltic People

Foreword to the Past: A Cultural History of the Baltic People

Foreword to the Past: A Cultural History of the Baltic People

Synopsis

Introduces the reader to Baltic issues in general; recounts the history of the Baltic peoples relying on archaeological sources; provides an objective linguistic history and a description of the Baltic languages; and provides original and fresh insights into mythology in the ancient history of the Baltic peoples.

Excerpt

This book is, for the most part, an unchanged version of my book Bevezetés a baltisztikába: A balti kultúra a régiségben [Introduction to Baltic Studies: Baltic culture in Antiquity] which appeared in Hungary in 1997. In places I felt marginal modifications and extensions were necessary—only, however, to the extent of a few sentences, or at most, some paragraphs. I omitted references of purely Hungarian concern, but I added a number of works that I came across after the Hungarian edition was published. These include Arnold 1967, Boockmann 1992, Dubonis 1997, Gudavičius 1998, Kahle 1986, Nowak 1983, Pistohlkors 1994, Schaudinn 1937, and Schlesinger 1975.

There were two issues I felt I needed to amend to more forcibly represent my standpoint. One is the question of ethnogenetics. I sought to counterbalance my lack of expertise by referring to a number of studies which might help the orientation of the reader. These include Cavalli-Sforza–Cavalli-Sforza 1995, Haeseler – Sajantila – Pääbo 1996, Häusler 1997, Julku 1997, Niskanen 1997, Pääbo 1995, Sajantila et al. 1996, Sajantila-Pääbo 1995, and Villems et al. 1997. The other question—more important with regard to the book's topic—concerns the emergence of the state structure of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Middle Ages, and the related problem of the Leitis people. The highly significant studies published by J. Kazlauskas 1995 and A. Dubonis 1998 on these issues have opened new perspectives in the research of Baltic ethnonyms.

Endre Bojtar

Budapest, June 1999 . . .

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