Monday, August 1, 2016

Early Sources for Songs and Music in the Baltic: Brand's "Reysen" (1702) and Weber's "Das Veränderte Rußland" (1721)


This is the third part of a series where I discuss early published examples of and notes about the music and songs of the Latvians and Estonians in Livonia. As I have tried to show there wasn't much. But the few available sources offer interesting and valuable information as well as some fragments of original songs (see also : Brambats 1982; Jaremko-Porter, pp 56-67; Bula 2008; Graf 1963; Kallas 1901, p. 58 & 1902, pp. 11-5). 

In 1588 German humanist Johannes Löwenklau quoted a line he claimed he had heard Livonian peasants sing several decades ago when he was there (see: "Jeru, Jeru, Mascolon" - The Remarks About a Livonian Lament in Löwenklau's Annales Sultanorum Othmanidarum, 1588). Friedrich Menius, professor in Dorpat, included three songs - one Latvian and two Estonian - including the tunes in his Syntagma de Origine Livonorum (1635, in SRL II, p. 525). Adam Olearius, member of the Duke of Holstein's embassy to Russia and Persia during the 1630s, brought back a verse of a strange "protest song" in German translation. We find this text in his Offt begehrte Beschreibung, first published in 1647 (pp. 94-5). The rhyming suggests that this was a more modern piece: 
"Dahero diese Rhytmi barbarici von ihnen erdichtet:
Ich bin ein Lieffländischer Baur,
Mein Leben wird mir saur,
Ich gebe dem Pastor die Pflicht,
Und weiß von Gott und seinem Worte nicht". 
A similar text was published two years later by Paul Einhorn in the Historia Lettica (1649, p. 55). Einhorn claimed that this was an old "Reim" from before the reformation. In that form it looks not like a song by the locals but about them: 
Du armer Curischer Baur,
Dein Leben wird dir saur,
Du steigest auf den Baum,
Und hawest dir Sattle und Zaum,
Du gibst den Pfaffen auch ihre Pflicht,
Und weist von Gottes Wort doch nicht, &c. 
Olearius included the song also in the later editions of his book, but for some reason in low German (see 1656, pp. 113-4). In the English edition this text was left out (1662, here 2nd ed., 1669, p. 33). Otherwise it would have been the first Baltic song published in Britain. One more complete text in Estonian with German translation can be found in Christian Kelch's Liefländische Historia (1695, pp. 14-5) but that was all until the end of the 17th century. 

At that time the German clergy was busy promoting Christendom among their flock and fighting against what they regarded as pagan practices and beliefs, but not always with success (see f. ex. Glück & Polanska 2005, pp. 19-28). Olearius reported in his book that "heydnische Abgötterei" was still popular among the indigenous peasants (1647, p. 92). 

Jan Janszon Struys, another traveler passing through Livonia some years later, remarked that they knew nearly nothing of religion and called them "unverständige Heyden" (1678, p. 66). Of course this was popular cliché but on the other hand the non-German population showed a considerable cultural resilience. Not at least many pastors were often not particularly competent in this respect. 

But there were also educated and committed clergymen who learned and studied the local languages. Hymns were translated - mostly from German - and taught to the people. Since the 16th century hymn books appeared (see f. ex. Tetsch 1751; Scholz 1990, pp. 28-30, pp. 34-39, pp. 44-48; Schaudin, pp. 93-5; Juška 1997; Kšaniene 2008). Heinrich Stahl's Hand- und Hauszbuch für die Pfarherren und Hausväter Ehstnischen Fürstenthumbs included a Gesangbuch with Estonian texts (1637, available at the Internet Archive). Others would follow, like the Neu-Eestnisches Gesangbuch in 1673 (at the Internet Archive). 

Hymns in Latvian language were already published in 1587 in Undeutsche Psalmen und geistliche Lieder oder Gesenge (see new ed., 1886, at the Internet Archive). In 1615 another collection appeared, Psalmen und geistliche Lieder und Gesenge welche in der Kirche Gottes zu Riga und anderen örtern Liefflandes mehr in Lieffländischer Paursprache gesungen werden and the sub-title explicitly noted that it was "Dem gemeinen Hausgesinde und Pauren zur erbauung nutz und fromen" (title from catalog SWB). Translated hymns for the Lithuanians in East Prussia were made available even earlier. Some could be found in Martynas Mažvydas Catechism (1547). Daniel Klein's Neu Littausches Gesangbuch (1666, at SB Berlin) became the most influential collection. 

This new repertoire - sung and taught by the pastors - was competing with the traditional songs of the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians and at least partly replaced it. This also meant that the clergymen were not interested in documenting the indigenous music and songs. In fact they regarded them as obscene and as abhorrent relics of pagan superstitions (see Arbusow, p. 152). For example Paul Einhorn - whose works include a wealth of information about Latvian culture, all ex negativo of course - reserved some of his harshest comments in the Historia Lettica (1649, p. 41) for the songs performed at weddings and claimed that he was terribly shocked: 
"Darnach werden solche unflätige, unzüchtige und leichtfertige Lieder auff ihre Sprache gesungen Tag und Nacht ohn auffhören, daß sie der Teuffel selbst nicht unflätiger und schandloser erdencken und fürbringen möchte". 
One may assume that he exaggerated a little bit for educational reasons but attitudes like this of course left not much room for any collecting efforts. Only in the following century a few open-minded enlightened pastors showed more interest in the songs of the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians and published some examples: Philipp Ruhig in his Betrachtung der Littauischen Sprache (1745, pp. 74-9), the legendary Gotthard Friedrich Stender in Neue vollständigere Lettische Grammatik (1761, pp. 152-7) as well as August Wilhelm Hupel in the second volume of the Topographische Nachrichten von Lief- und Ehstland (1777, pp. 158-61 & plate 1). These works then in turn inspired German intellectuals like Lessing, Goethe and then of course Herder to take note of the songs of the Baltic peasants. 

But for the time in between, the late 17th and early 18th century we have two interesting and informative travel reports, one by a young scholar and the other by a diplomat. They offer some valuable information as well as a couple of texts of Baltic songs: Johan-Arnold von Brand's Reysen durch die Marck Brandenburg, Preussen, Churland, Liefland, Pleßcovien, Groß-Naugarden, Tweerien und Moscovien (1702) and Friedrich Christian Weber's Das veränderte Russland (1721). 


Johan-Arnold von Brand (1647-1691; see AHL 1, 1722, p. 512; Dunkel, 1757, pp. 7-8; Gadebusch 1772, pp. 263-5; Gadebusch 1777, pp. 94-5; Recke 1, 1827, pp. 233-4; Adelung 1846, pp. 355-6) was born in Deventer but grew up in Kleve where his father made a career in the Brandenburgian bureaucracy. He studied law and in 1673 - at the age of 26 - joined a legation to Russia. The Czar had asked for Prussian support against the Turks and the Kurfürst sent out one of his best diplomats, Joachim Scultetus von Unfried, to tell him that he was not able to help (see Pufendorf 1695, Liber XI, § 109, p. 868). 

After his return Brand apparently didn't find the time to publish his findings. Instead he pursued his career. In 1680 he received a doctorate in law and became judge and member of the city council. Already in 1683 he was appointed professor at the university of Duisburg. But his academic career didn't last long . Only eight years later he died "von übermäßigen studiren" (AHL 1, 1722, p. 512). A decade later his notes about the journey to Moscow were edited and published by his friend and colleague Heinrich-Christian von Hennin, professor for Medicine, History, Greek and Latin in Duisburg. A Dutch translation appeared a year later: 
  • Johan-Arnold von Brand, Reysen durch die Marck Brandenburg, Preussen, Churland, Liefland, Pleßcovien, Groß-Naugarden, Tweerien und Moscovien: in welchen vieles nachdencklich wegen gemeldter Länder, wie auch der Litthauer, Lebensart, Gottesdienst, allerhand Ceremonien, Kleydung, Regierung, Rechtspflegung, und dergleichen angemercket: anbey Eine Seltsame und sehr Anmeerckliche Beschreibung von Sibirien. Alles nachgesehen; und mit nöthigen Übersetzungen, Anmerckungen und Kupferstücken gezieret und vermehret; auch mit der über des Hn. Urhebers seeligen Abschied gehaltenen Leich-reden herauß gegeben Durch Henrich-Christian von Hennin, von Wesel, Wesel, 1702
    at University of Tartu Repository [pdf], now also at the Internet Archive
    at ÖNB [= GB; plates are missing or mutilated] 
  • Johan-Arnold von Brand, Nieuwe En Nauwkeurige Reis-Beschryving van 't Mark-Brandenburg, Pruissen, Courland, Litthauwen, Lyfland, Plescovien, Groot-Naugardien, Tweerien en Moscovien ; Waar in de Levens-aart dier Volkeren, hunne Godsdienst, Kleeding, wijze van Regeering, byzonder net beschreeven, en veele tot nog toe onbekende stukken aan den dag gebragt worden. Als meede Een Aanmerkens-waardige Beschrijving van het Koningrijk Siberien, en den Zabel-Vangst door J. A. Brand, Schouten, Utrecht, 1703 [not yet digitized] 
Hennin added a preface - including a translation of the relevant part from Pufendorf's book (p. ivv-vv) -, his own funeral speech for Brand (pp. 472-95) - that offers an helpful overview of his life - as well as notes, illustrations and an index. In fact this was an excellent publication that made available a lot of interesting information that otherwise would have been lost. 

According to Hennin it was Brand's task to study "fremder Völcker art und Sitten" (p. 481) and he clearly had a kind of systematic approach. Everywhere they came he made notes about the local culture, the language, political organisation, geography and more as if he had a checklist to work with. In a chapter with the title "Kurtze Beschreibung Churlandes, der Einwohner Sitten und Leben wie auch Regierung" (pp. 62-83) Brand lists the important towns and villages and describes for example the economy as well as the clothes, the bath-house, wedding customs, relics of pagan traditions and even quotes the Lord's Prayer in Latvian. 

But he also heard some original Latvian songs and notes "welche gemeinlich alle kurtz sind, und werden etliche mahl wiederholet, schier alle auf einer arth und einstimmiger melodey": they were all short, repeated several times and sung to the same tune. Brand quotes three of them, all in their original language and in German translation (pp. 75-6). These were the earliest examples of Latvian dainas published for a Western readership. Of course there was one song in Menius' book in 1635 but that was a very obscure and rare publication.

The following chapter (pp. 90-116) is about "Etliche Litthauwische Sitten und gebräuche" and here he also seems to have worked with his checklist: there are remarks about raising children, clothes, wedding customs, funerals and more as well as some notes about the Lithuanian language. He once again quotes the Lord's Prayer (p. 102) but also some Lithuanian proverbs (pp. 108-9) and even adds "Etliche wörter der Litthauischen Sprach" (pp. 110-116). 

In between there are some songs (pp. 103-108), at first two well-known hymns: "Auf meinem lieben Gott" and "Christe der du bist Tag und Licht". He refers to Klein's hymnal (1666) as the source for the second one but in fact both can be found there (pp. 288-9, p. 392, at SB Berlin). It is not clear if these two pieces were actually sung by the Lithuanians or if they were included to illustrate their language. But thankfully he also quotes from two secular popular songs he had heard (pp. 107-8): two lines of an drinking song ("Der Litthauwer gewöhnliches Trinck-Lied oder Wiena karta") and one verse of a lament of a lover for untrue bride (""Klaglied eines Liebenden an Seine untreuwe Braut"). 

The next stop were the Estonians in Livonia (pp. 133-68). Once again he discussed many relevant topics, for example thegeography, clothes, "Speysen und Träncke", religion and wedding customs. Very interesting is a description of a wedding procession with a bagpiper (pp. 147-9) which is much more detailed than the one in Olearius' Vermehrte Newe Beschreibung (1656, pp. 107-8). Of course he was familiar with the latter's book - it is regularly referred to in Hennin's notes - and also quotes the curious "protest song" mentioned above ("Ick bin ein Liffländisch Bur [...]", here pp. 152-3), not the original version from the first edition but the one in low German used in Olearius' work since the second edition (1656, pp. 113-4). 

In the chapter about the language he also quotes some songs (pp. 164-8). There is first a "Liedlein" of only 5 lines that he had heard the peasants sing. In this case he doesn't include a translation but only notes that it was quite similar to the songs of the Latvians in Courland. Later this little piece was reprinted and translated into German by Neuss in his Ehstnische Volkslieder (II, 1851, No. 72B, p. 242 ). In fact this is a love song of the most direct kind and one may assume that either Hennin or Brand or already Brand's informant preferred to avoid a German text for moral reasons: 
Komm zu mir, o Mägdelein,
Neben mir die Nacht zu ruhen!
Gieb mir gieb - was sunst,
Gieb es, goldenes Jungfräulein! 
But there are also two hymns Brand had received from a pastor: "Christe der du bist Tag und Licht" and Martin Luther's "Gott der Vater steh uns bey". The first one was sung to the German melody but interestingly he notes that the latter used to be performed with an Estonian tune: "In eygner Melodey, welche gantz barbarisch war" (p. 167). Apparently the clergy's efforts were not completely futile and at least some hymns were adopted by the locals. On the other hand we can see that Brand - like other Western observers - was not really fond of their music. This may have been the reason he preferred not to note any original tunes. 

How did he get all this information and the songs? Brand was only there for a short time and he surely was not able to learn all the languages. One may assume that he relied heavily on the knowledge of the local pastors. At least some are acknowledged in the text as informants (see f. ex. p. 107, p. 164). But he was also clearly familiar with the relevant literature, especially Olearius' work that may have served as kind of guide for him. In fact Hennin in his notes remarked that this book may serve as a supplement to the latter's description of Livonia (p. 360). 

All in all Brand offers here a wealth of interesting remarks about the musical traditions of the indigenous Baltic peasants. The songs quoted by him are especially useful. Even if his judgment was not always positive he shows most of the time a considerable fairness. He describes here two song cultures living side by side. There are the imported and translated religious songs that the clergy taught the locals. They were intend on eradicating their subjects' traditional culture, particularly the old songs that were regarded as relics and expressions of pagan traditions. But this project never really succeeded completely. The non-German - "undeutsche" - population managed to preserve their traditional songs at least partly and when the real collecting began in the 19th century numerous pieces in the old style could be unearthed among the Latvians and Estonians.


Another observer who was there four decades later offers a similar picture. Friedrich Christian Weber, a Hannoverian diplomat, spent the years 1714 - 1719 in Russia. In 1721 he published - anonymously - his journal of his stay there, Das veränderte Rußland. This became a very influential and popular book. Translations into English and French appeared soon, in 1723 and 1725, as did further volumes and new editions in Germany. Weber, about whom we don't know much (see Wikipedia), also found some time to visit the Baltic and one day he happened to hear some Estonian rural workers singing in the fields during harvest time (pp. 70-1; see Engl. ed., p. 100; French ed., pp. 139-40): 
"Wie ich unterwegens in der Erndte-Zeit die Schnitter im Felde antraff [...] hörte ich allenthalben ein wüstes Gesänge, welches diese Leute bey ihrer Arbeit trieben, und vernahm von einem Prediger, daß es noch alte heydnische Lieder ohne Reimen wären, die man ihnen nicht abgewöhnen könte, wiewohl man doch nach gerade auch die Esthische Sprache in eine Reim-Kunst zu bringen sich bemühete, und schon viele Evangelische Gesänge in Esthische Verse gesetzet hätte". 
Weber had of course some problems with what he heard. For him it was "ein wüstes Gesänge" ["rude chanting"]. But this may be seen the usual kind of cultural dissonance experienced by Western observers. Already Sebastian Münster had reported in the Cosmographia (here 1550, p. 929) his informant's claim that the Livonian peasants' singing sounded like the "miserable howling of the wolves" (""sie heülen so jämerlich wie die wölff"). Even an open-minded visitor like Adam Olearius described a song - as quoted above - as "rhytmi barbarici". It would still take several decades until other educated observers from Germany like Hamann and Herder heard and understood this music in a completely different way (see Arbusow, pp. 129-147, pp. 157-160). 

Weber also talked to a pastor who told him that these were their "old pagan songs without rhymes". The clergy still hadn't managed to get their flock to give them up in spite of all the hymns that had already been translated into Estonian. Apparently the situation hadn't changed much since Brand's visit. But he also quoted an original "Bauren-Aria", not in Estonian but in Latvian, that he had received from a student. This was not a traditonal daina but a modern secular song in rhymes, what would later be called zinge (see Sneibe 1997). Popular songs in the Western style were also an important part of the singing traditions.

It took several decades until more original songs were collected and published. Stender's Grammatik with a chapter about Latvian poetry appeared in 1761 and Hupel's Topographische Nachrichten with some Estonian songs came out only in 1777. Therefore both Brand's and Weber's publications were of special importance as they offer very valuable information as well as original songs from a time for which there are - besides Kelch's Liefländische Historia (1695) - no other relevant sources. At least Weber's book also later had some influence on Herder who quoted his remarks in the Volkslieder (II, 1779, p. 23). 

  • Friedrich von Adelung, Kritisch-Literärische Übersicht der Reisenden in Russland bis 1700, deren Berichte bekant sind. Band II, Eggers, St. Petersburg & Weigel, Leipzig, 1846,
    at the Internet Archive [= GB-NYPL] 
  • Allgemeines Historisches Lexicon, in welchen das Leben und die Thaten derer Patriarchen, Propheten, Apostel, Väter der ersten Kirchen, Päbste, Cardinale, Bischöffe, Prälaten, vornehmer Gottes-Gelehrten, nebst denen Ketzern; wie nicht wenige derer Kayser, Könige, Chur- ind Fürsten, grosser Herren und Ministern; ungleichen derer berühmten Gelehrten, Scribenten und Künstler [...] Andere und vermehrte Auflage, Erster Thei, A - D, Fritsch, Leipzig, 1722,
    at BSB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Leonid Arbusow, Herder und die Begründung der Volksliedforschung im deutsch-baltischen Osten, in: Erich Keyser (ed.), Im Geiste Herders. Gesammelte Aufsätze zum 150. Todestage J. G. Herders, Kitzingen/M., 1953 (= Marburger Ostforschungen 1), pp. 129-256 
  • Haralds Biezais, Die erste Sammlung der lettischen Volkslieder von Gustav Beergmann. Mit einer historischen Einleitung über die Ausgaben der lettischen Volkslieder, Uppsala, 1961 
  • Kārlis Brambats, Ein frühes Zeugnis livländischen Singens, in: Musik des Ostens 8, 1982, pp. 9-29
  • Dace Bula, Latvian Folksongs: Collected, Published and Studied, in: Dace Bula & Sigrid Rieuwerts (eds.), Singing the Nations: Herder's Legacy, Trier, 2008 (= Ballads and Songs - Internatonal Studies 4), pp. 7-29 
  • Johann Gottlob Wilhelm Dunkel, Historisch-Critische Nachrichten von verstorbenen Gelehrten und deren Schriften, Insbesonderheit aber Denenjenigen, welche in der allerneuesten Ausgabe des Jöcherischen Allgemeinen Gelehrten-Lexicons entweder gänzlich mit Stillschweigen übergangen, oder doch mangelhaft und unrichtig angeführet werden. Des Dritten Bandes Erster Theil, Corner, Cöthen & Dessau, 1757, at the Internet Archive [= GB-NLN] 
  • Paul Einhorn, Historia Lettica, Das ist Beschreibung der Lettischen Nation. In welcher Von der Letten als alten Einwohner des Lierflandes, Curlandes und Semgallen Namen, Uhrsprung oder Ankunfft, ihrem Gotters-Dienst, ihrer Republica oder Regimente so sie in der Heydenschaft gehabt, auch ihren Sitten, Geberden, Gewonheiten, Natur und Eigenschaften &c gründlich und ümbständig Meldung geschieht. Der Teutschen Nation und allen der Historischen Warheit Liebhabern zu einem nöthigen Unterricht zusammen getragen und in Druck verfertiget, Dorpt in Liefland. Gedruckt durch Johann Vogeln, der Königl. Acad. Buchdrucker, im Jahre 1649,
    at University of Tartu Repository, also at the Internet Archive 
  • Friedrich Konrad Gadebusch, Abhandlung von Livländischen Geschichtsschreibern, Hartknoch, Riga, 1772,
    at the Internet Archive [= GB] 
  • Friedrich Konrad Gadebusch, Livländische Bibliothek nach alphabetischer Ordnung, Hartknoch, Riga, 1777, 3 Bde.
    at ÖNB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Helmut Glück & Ineta Polanska, Johann Ernst Glück (1654-1705). Pastor, Philologe, Volksaufklärer im Baltikum und in Russland, Wiesbaden, 2005 (= Fremdsprachen in Geschichte und Gegenwart 1)
  • Walter Graf, Die ältesten deutschen Überlieferungen estnischer Volkslieder, in: Musik des Ostens 1, 1963, pp. 83-105 
  • Christina Jaremko-Porter, Johann Gottfried Herder and the Latvian Voice, Ph. Diss., Edinburgh, 2008 (at Edinburgh Research Archive)
  • [Johann Gottfried Herder], Volkslieder [Nebst untermischten andern Stücken], 2 Bde., Weygand, Leipzig, 1778-9
    at ÖNB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Albertas Juška, Die Kirche in Klein-Litauen [1997], at Lietuvos Evangelikų Liuteronų Bažnyčia [Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania] 
  • Oskar Kallas, Die Wiederholungslieder der Estnischen Volkspoesie. I. Akademische Abhandlung, Finnische Literaturgesellschaft, Helsingfors, 1901 (see pp. 58-65, a very helpful bibliography)
    at the Internet Archive [= GB] 
  • Oskar Kallas, Übersicht über das Sammeln estnischer Runen, in: Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen. Zeitschrift für Finnisch-Ugrische Sprach- und Volkskunde 2, 1902, pp. 8-40,
    at the Internet Archive [= GB] 
  • Christian Kelch, Liefländische Historia, oder Kurtze Beschreibung der Denckwürdigsten Krieg- und Friedens-Geschichte Esth-, Lief- und Lettlandes, Wehner, Reval, 1695,
    at BSB, 4 Russ. 19 u-1 [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Daiva Kšanienė, Die Entwicklung der kleinlitauischen evangelischen Kirchenlieder, in: Annaberger Annalen 16, 2008, pp. 139-69, at Annaberger Annalen 
  • Heinrich Neus, Ehstnische Volkslieder. Urschrift und Übersetzung. Herausgegeben von der ehstländischen literarischen Gesellschaft, Kluge und Ströhm, Reval, 1850-52, 3 Vols., at University of Tartu Repository, also at the Internet Archive 
  • Adam Olearius, Offt begehrte Beschreibung der Newen Orientalischen Reyse, So durch Gelegenheit einer Holsteinischen Legation an den König von Persien geschehen. Worinnen Derer Orter und Länder, durch welche die Reise gangen, als fürnemblich Rußland, Tartarien und Persien, sampt ihrer Einwohner Natur, Leben und Wesen fleissig beschrieben und mit vielen Kupfferstücken, so nach dem Leben gestellet, gezieret, Glocken, Schleßwig, 1647
    at University of Tartu [pdf], also at the Internet Archive
    at at BSB/SSB Augsburg [= GB], also at the Internet Archive
    more copies at ENL, Tallinn, HAB Wolfenbüttel, Deutsches Textarchiv, UB Göttingen [not yet available], UB Düsseldorf 
  • Adam Olearius, Vermehrte Newe Beschreibung Der Muscowitischen und Persischen Reyse So durch gelegenheit einer Holsteinischen Gesandschaft an den Russischen Zaar und König in Persien geschehen. Worinnen die gelegenheit derer Orte und Länder durch welche die Reyse gangen, als Liffland, Rußland, Tartarien, Meden und Persien, sampt dero Einwohner Natur, Leben, Sitten, Hauß- Welt- und Geistlichen Stand mit fleiß auffgezeichnet, und mit vielen meist nach dem Leben gestelleten Figuren gezieret, zu befinden, Holwein, Schleßwig, 1656
    at BSB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive
    at ENL, Tallinn [pdf], now also at the Internet Archive
    more copies at Biblioteka Narodowa Polona, HAB Wolfenbüttel 
  • Samuel Pufendorf, De Rebus Gestis Friderici Wilhelmi Magni Electoris Brandenburgici Commentariorum Libri Novendecim, Schrey etc, Berlin, 1695, at BSB [= GB: 1 & 2], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Johann Friedrich von Recke & Carl Eduard Napiersky, Allgemeines Schriftsteller- und Gelehrten-Lexicon der Provinzen Livland. Erster Band: A - F, Steffenhagen, Mitau, 1827, at ÖNB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Heinrich Schaudinn, Deutsche Bildungsarbeit am lettischen Volkstum des 18. Jahrhunderts, München 1937 
  • Friedrich Scholz, Die Literaturen des Baltikums: Ihre Entstehung und Entwicklung, Opladen, 1990 (= Abhandlungen der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 80) 
  • Zaiga Sneibe, Latvian Folk Songs in the 18th-19th Centuries: Tradition and Change, in: Doris Stockmann & Jens Henrik Koudal (eds.), Historical Studies on Folk and Traditional Music, Copenhagen, 1997 (= Acta Ethnomusicologica Danica 8), pp. 59-68 
  • [Jan Janzson Struys], Jan. Jansz. Straußens Sehr schwere, wiederwertige, und Denckwürdige Reysen, Durch Italien, Griechenland, Lifland, Moskau, Tartarey, Meden, Persien, Türckey, Ost-Indien, Japan, und unterschiedliche andere Länder. Angefangen Anno 1647. und vollbracht 1673. begreiffende die zeit gantzer 26. Jahre. Neben zweyen beygefügten Brieffen, verhandelende den greulichen Mord, Verrähterey und Übergabe der Stadt Astracan, mit noch vielen Umständen; wie auch die mannigfaltige Gefahr und Elend, so Cap. David Butler erlitten, und zu Isphahan selbsten beschrieben hat. Verziehret mit vielen schönen Kupffer-Stücken, vom Authore sdelbst nach dem Leben gezeichnet. Aus dem Holländischen übersetzet von A. M., Jacob von Meurs und Johannes von Sommern, Amsterdam, 1678
    at Google Books [= NLN]
    at BSB/SB Regensburg [= GB], also at the Internet Archive
    more copies at University of Tartu, UB Marburg & BSB/SSB Augsburg [= GB]
  • Carl Ludwich Tetsch, Kurtze Geschichte der zum Dienst der Gemeine Jesu in den Hertzogthümern Kurland und Semgallen Gewidmeten Lettischen Kirchen-Lieder, und ihrer öffentlichen Samlungen, Glasing, Copenhagen, 1751,
    at University of Tartu Repository, also at the Internet Archive 
  • [Friedrich Christian Weber], Das veränderte Rußland, In welchem Die jetzige Verfassung des Geist- und Weltlichen Regiments, Der Kriegsstaat zu Lande und zu Wasser [...] In einem Biß 1720 gehenden Journal vorgestellet werden, Mit einer accuraten Land-Carte und Kupferstichen versehen, Nicolaus Förster, Franckfurth, 1721,
    at e-rara, also at the Internet Archive 
  • -. Neu-Verbesserte Auflag. Erster Theil, Nicolai Försters und Sohnes seel. Erben, Franckfurth und Leipzig, 1738,
    at ÖNB [= GB]; at BSB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive [foldouts missing] 
  • [Friedrich Christian Weber], The Present State of Russia. In Two Volumes. Being an Account of the Government of that Country, both Civil and Ecclesiastical [...], Taylor, London, 1723 [ESTC T105295], at LOC 
  • [Friedrich Christian Weber], Memoires Pour servir à l'Histoire De L'Empire Russien, Sous le Regne de Pierre le Grand, Johnson & van Duren, La Haye, 1725,
    at UB Göttingen; at Google Books [= NLN]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Jeru, Jeru, Mascolon" - The Remarks About a Livonian Lament in Löwenklau's Annales Sultanorum Othmanidarum, 1588


Digitization offers amazing new possibilities for research. Numerous libraries have made parts of their collections available online and have already created a kind of "Universal Library". Even many of the most obscure sources are now easy to access and quick at hand. But in fact we are still in the pioneer stage of this development and there are - of course! - still many practical problems. One major problem is - and I have mentioned it several times before - that digital copies of historical books are scattered over many different repositories. There is often no way to find something in one easy step. There are several search-engines and catalogs and everyone of them offers different results. It takes some time to find all available scans of a particular book. 

But there is also another even more fundamental practical problem. A digital facsimile of a book is a source in its own right (see the excellent discussion in Werner 2015). In many cases - not in all, of course - it can be used instead of the original book. In this respect I have a very pragmatic attitude. But a digital copy should never be used uncritically. This medium is also prone to errors and has its own set of possible flaws. There is now an additional layer of source criticism that at times can be quite time-consuming. At first it is necessary to go back to the basics and simply ask: is a particular digital copy really complete - absurdly this is an important problem today - and does it represent the original publication in the best possible way?  The following should serve as practical demonstration of these kind of problems. 


I am at the moment trying to put together a little piece about the earliest printed Estonian and Latvian "folk"-tunes. This started with the three - mostly fragmentary - songs in Friedrich Menius' Syntagma de Origine Livonorum (1635) and in the following 200 years only very few more melodies were published. In this context I also wondered: what were the earliest reports about the music and songs of the Baltic peasants? In a previous text I have discussed Balthasar Rüssow's Chronica (1584) with its remarks about the Livonian bagpipe (see here in this blog). In that case it was not that difficult to find the best digital copies of the relevant publications. Nonetheless they also needed to be checked and sorted. But everything was available and mostly in good quality. 

About another early source I learned first from an interesting paper by Baltic-German scholar Georg von Rauch (1972, also Brambats 1982, p. 12; Donecker 2011, p. 224). In 1588 German Humanist Johannes Löwenklau quoted in his Annales Sultanorum Othmanidarum a phrase that he claimed was sung by Latvian peasants: "Jeru, jeru, Mascolon". This is not much, only a fragment and most likely mutilated. But it was the first original Baltic song quoted in Western literature. These words made Löwenklau also speculate - in the typical fashion of the time - that the Latvians were of Jewish origin, descendants of refugees from the Middle East. He regarded "Jeru" and "Mascolon" as relics of "Jerusalem" and "Damascus". 

This may sound absurd today but at that time it wasn’t. The origin of of a nation or a people was discussed by scholars and intellectuals with great enthusiasm, not only because it served a political purpose (good overview: Garber 1989). I will only mention here the Swedes who claimed to be descendants of the old Goths. Interested scholars also wondered about the origin of the indigenous inhabitants of Livonia, the part of the Baltic that was ruled by the Teutonic Order until 1561 and then - after some interludes with Swedes, Danes and Poles - became a part of the Russian Empire in 1721. Others proposed as possible forefathers of the Latvians, Livonians and Estonians were for example the Romans, the Wallachians or several Germanic tribes. Most of these theories - like Löwenklau's Jewish hypothesis - were based on fanciful "etymological associations" (see Donecker 2011, quote on p. 213). 

Besides that this particular "lament" had already been mentioned two times before Löwenklau and then appeared in different variants in some later publications. In fact it was discussed by scholars on and off for several hundred years (see Brambats 1982). Not at least we can see here one of the earliest debates about a song belonging to the genre that would later be called Volkslieder or national songs: "a symbolic anticipation of future possibilities" (von Rauch, p. 5), but in a different intellectual context. Therefore it is also of interest in a comparative perspective. 

At first it is necessary to learn a little bit about the author and the historical background. Today it is also much easier to get acquainted with a new topic. The secondary literature is quick at hand even though it is of course neither possible nor advisable to use only resources available online. But in this respect we are on a good way and much progress has been made. The major problem today - so it seems to me - are some academic publishers who prefer their journals to have as few readers as possible. Otherwise I can't explain the high walls they have built around their products. 

Where to start? I have only recently been told that Wikipedia is not that popular in academic circles. But I tend to think that everybody goes there first to get a quick overview. A critical reader should be able to judge the quality of an article and see if its usable. In this case it isn't very good. The text about Löwenklau in the German Wikipedia is much too short and those available in other languages aren't any better. But at least there is a helpful list of literature that can serve a starting-point. 

The articles in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie and in Neue Deutsche Biographie are a good introduction to Löwenklau's life and work, but the former - even though more detailed - may be a little bit outdated and the latter is excellent but much too short (Horawetz 1883, Metzler 1987, at Deutsche Biographie). There is still no complete biography about him. He surely would have earned it. The best biographical overview is Metzler's article in the series Westfälische Lebensbilder (1985). This work is not yet available online but there should be no problem to get a copy. It is at the moment still indispensable. 

Metzler also points to the article about Löwenklau in the Biographie Universelle (XXIV, 1819, pp. 355-6, at the Internet Archive). The short text may be outdated but there is a detailed and helpful list of his publications. Babinger's groundbreaking work about Löwenklau's youth is still worth reading (1949, at Westfälische Geschichte) and thankfully also available online. 

Otherwise there is an interesting article by an Hungarian scholar (Ács 2011, at and - recently published - a chapter in the Volume 7 of Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History that offers a short biography as well as a helpful introduction to his works about Ottoman history (Höfert 2015). This should be enough at the moment. I don't want to write a dissertation but only need a good biographical overview, an idea of what his main fields of work were and also some information about his connection to the Baltic. 

Johannes Löwenklau (1541-1593), Humanist scholar, jurist, writer, translator, editor and traveller, was born in the town of Coesfeld in Westphalia. At the age of 10 - around 1551/2 - he accompanied his uncle Albert von Löwenklau, vicar of the dome in Münster, on a trip, possibly a diplomatic mission, to Livonia (see Metzler, pp. 22-3). Since 1555 he studied at the universities of Wittenberg - with Melanchthon -, Heidelberg and Basel. He never became professor but instead spent his life as a highly respected and very busy free-lancing scholar, well-funded by wealthy patrons. "His contemporaries regarded him as one of the most learned men of his day" (von Rauch, p. 1). 

Löwenklau was a very versatile scholar. Among his major publications were translations of Greek literature, for example Xenophon's and and Zosimus' works. But apparently he was also later in life still interested in Baltic and Eastern European history and wrote a Commentarius de bellis Moscorum adversus finítimos Polonos, Lithuanos, Suedos, Livonios, a short piece about the Livonian wars, that was published first in one of the many editions of Herberstein's famous and popular Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii (Basel 1571, pp. 205-27, at the Internet Archive). He traveled much and in in 1584/5 even made it to Constantinople as a member of an Austrian delegation. He also learned Turkish and published several works about Ottoman history that are "still of priceless historical value" (Ács 2011, p. 2). 

His Annales Sultanorum Othmanidarum appeared first in 1588. Its major parts were a translated Turkish chronicle until the year 1550, a supplement until 1585 and Löwenklau's own Pandectes Historiae Turcicae, a very impressive and knowledgeable commentary with many interesting notes about Turkish history and culture, a "Liber Singularis, ad illustrandos Annales" (see also Höfert, 2015, pp. 484-6). An expanded German translation was published in 1590 with the title Neuwe Chronica Türckischer Nation. This must have been a successful and popular publication. New editions of both the German and Latin version came out in 1595 respectively 1596. 

There is good reason to assume that the different editions of this work have been digitized and are available online, but hopefully not behind a pay-wall. A good starting-point is often the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog (KVK) the allows to search the holdings of most European libraries and also offers the results of specialized search-engines like BASE and Eromm Web Search. At the moment it is still the most valuable tool for these purpose even though it be at times quite confusing and sometimes it doesn't work correctly. Not at least - from my experience - a considerable number of existing digital copies can't be found with it. Other search-engines like Europeana - which doesn't work with KVK - need to be consulted, too. 

In this respect I have also a very pragmatic approach. Usually it depends on what I am looking for. Here I started with the Internet Archive. They have great collections from several American and Canadian libraries - always with the necessary bibliographical data - that also include a lot of early modern European publications and their scans are nearly always of excellent quality. Additionally a great number of books digitized by Google are also available there even though though their bibliographical data often leaves a lot to be desired.. Not at least I think that the Internet Archive has at the moment the most user-friendly interface and the digital books are presented there in a way that allows effective work. 

A quick search showed that Löwenklau's Annales were available there. When I looked first - this has changed by now - they had one copy of the first Latin edition, 1588. Here we can find the relevant remarks about this song on pages pp. 229-30. Then there were two copies of the second Latin edition (1596, here pp. 121) as well as one of the first German edition. In the latter the part that interests me appears on pp. 181-2
"Equidem ut obiter aliquam de meo velut symbolam his adijciam, adulescens in Liuoniam, necdum collegio Teutonicorum equitum dissipato, a Cunrado patre missus ad Albertum patruum, quum alia istic anim aduertere memini: tum etiam versus Lithuaniam, in vicinia metropolis Rigae [...] in huius ergo Rigae vicinia, nationem quamdam esse barbaram Lettorum, a ceteris Liuoniae barbaris incolis, Curonibus & Estonibus, lingua plane discrepantem: qui perpetuo in ore quasi lamentationem quamdam habent, quam vociferando per agros adsiduo repetunt. Ieru Ieru Masco Lon. quibus verbis Ierusalem & Damascum intelligere creduntur, ceterarum in antiqua patria rerum, tot a faeculis, & in remotissimis ab ea solitudinibus, obliti". 
"Damit ich nun seyne meynung zu bestetigen auch etwas ohngefähr hinzu setze: weiß ich mich zu erinnern, daß ich in meiner ersten Jugendt, ehe dann der Teutsch Orden in Lifland zerstört und abgegangen, von meinem lieben Vatter, Cunrat Löuwenklauw, zu seinem Bruder, meinem Vettern, Albrecht Löuwenklauw, auff dessen begehrn in gemeldtes Lifland abgefertigt unnd geschickt worden. Desselben Landes Hauptstatt ist Riga, gegen Litthauen am Wasser Duina gelegen [...] In dieser Statt Riga Gegnet herumb habe ich damals ein unteutsche Nation gespürt, die Letten genannt, so mit andern unteutschen Eynwohnern deß Lyfflands als Curen und Esten gantz und gar kein Gemeinschaft der Spraach haben und können auch nicht von inen vernommen werden. Diese Letten haben für und für was sie auch immer vorhaben und verrichten gleich als ein kläglichs Geschrey im Maul und widerholens bevorab im Feld ohn unterlaß. Jeru Jeru Mascolon. Unnd man halt dafür sie verstehen durch gemeldte Wort die Statt Jerusalem und Damasco deren Namen sie allein von so langer zeit hero behalten und anderer Sachen in irem alten Vatterland durchaus vergessen bevorab in so ferne davon abgelegenen Wildtnussen". 
Here Löwenklau recalls that in his youth he was sent to Livonia to his uncle. Apparently he stayed for some time in or near Riga. There he became acquainted with the Latvians and he also observed correctly that their language was different from those of the Estonians and "Curen" (i. e. Livonians). The former have a song that they are wailing all day and everywhere they go - he describes their singing as "kläglichs Geschrey", a typical case of cultural dissonance -, a lament consisting of he words "Ieru, Ieru, Mascolon". This he sees as their only remaining memento of Jerusalem and Damascus now that they are living in a far and distant wilderness.

The intellectual context is also interesting. This particular chapter offers a resumé of the equally fanciful theory of the possible Jewish origin of the Tatars and Turk that was proposed by French writer Philippe de Mornay in his De la Vérité de la Religion Chrétienne, a book only published several years earlier (1581, p. 640; also 1582, pp. 580-1; also English ed., p. 472). Therefore he felt encouraged to add his own theory about the Middle Eastern ancestry of the Latvians and that's the reason this short reference to a song from the Baltic can be found in a work dedicated to Turkish history. 

What Löwenklau reported wasn't entirely new. Already Sebastian Münster had noted in later editions of his Cosmographia that the inhabitants of Livonia used to sing the word "Jehu" (sic!): "Wann sie singen so heülen sie jämerlich wie die wölff, unnd das wort Jehu schreien sie on underlaß" (Basel 1550, p. 929; see Brambats, p. 11). One may assume that this was the same. But according to Münster they didn't know what this word was supposed to mean: "die weil ire voreltern also gesungen haben singen sie auch also". But he didn't specify if these were Latvians or the Finno-Ugric Livonians and Estonians. 

A possible Jewish origin of the Livonians had also been proposed before Löwenklau. Severin Goebel, German physician and scholar, was even familiar with this lament. In his book about amber, Histori und Eigendlicher bericht von herkommen, ursprung und vielfeltigen brauch des Börnsteins, he referred to it as a possible evidence for this theory (1566, p. [20], at SB Berlin; see Donecker, pp. 223-4, Brambats, pp. 11-2): "In Sonderheit weil sie noch in ihren alten Klagelied den Namen Jeru Jeru als Jerusalem oft widerholen und kleglich singen". But he wasn't sure about it. 

Löwenklau apparently was sure and he thought this a reasonable theory. During the next 250 years other scholars discussed this idea but they weren't really convinced (see von Rauch, pp. 2-4, Brambats, pp. 12-15) . Most interesting in this respect was Friedrich Menius, who even included in his Syntagma de Origine Livonorum (1635, in SRL II, p. 525) a fragmentary tune. In fact this was a very strange melody, only one note, but up and down an octave. Menius, at that time Professor in Dorpat, a very interesting and troublesome character (see Donecker 2012), even claimed to hear similarities to Jewish music. But he decided against this theory and proposed refugees from the Balkan as ancestors of the inhabitants of Livonia.

60 years later German pastor Christian Kelch referred to Löwenklau's theory in his Liefländische Historia (1695, pp. 14-5), printed a more complete text and showed that this was not a lament but a love song known among the Estonians: "Jörru! Jörru! jooks Ma Tullen [...]". He regarded "Jörru" as a girl's name. Herder included an edited version of Kelch's translation in his Volkslieder (II, 1779, pp. 83-4) and noted that this was a man's name. As late as 1825 L. J. Rhesa mentioned and ridiculed the theory of the Middle Eastern origin of the Latvians in his collection of Lithuanian Dainos (p. 316). But he claimed that "Jeru" was a Latvian name. 

In fact this seems to be a more complex problem and it is not clear if Kelch's "Jörru, Jörru" was really the same as Münster's "Jehu" and Löwenklau's "Jeru, Jeru, Mascolon". Latvian musicologist Kārlis Brambats (1982) has discussed this topic thoroughly and has even dug out some more references to possibly related songs. For example he found a report about a Lithuanian "Jehu" from the year 1666 (p. 13). But I will leave it at that. Most important here was Löwenklau's short note about "Jeru, Jeru, Mascolon", the earliest published fragment of an original song of the Baltic peasants. Of course it looks terribly mutilated and he seems to have mixed it all up a little bit. But when he heard that song in 1551/2 he was only a boy of 10 or 11 and then wrote about it 37 years later. Any misunderstandings and lapses of memory are understandable.

This is only a short and abbreviated resumé of the scholarly discussion about particular - and rather obscure - topic, based on some notes and references in a couple of articles and then recapitulated with the help of online resources. All the major sources are freely available, not only the Latin and German editions of Löwenklau's Annales - that was my starting-point - but also all the others I needed, from Münster's Cosmographei to Herder's Volkslieder and Rhesa's Lithuanian collection. 

On one hand this allows much more effective work than was possible back in the stone-age, a time I remember very well. On the other hand there is also now much more transparency possible. In every case I was able to set a direct link to the relevant page in a digital copy of the original source and it is now easily possible to check them. Therefore it is also advisable to only use - as far as possible - digital books in open repositories, not in those that are not publicly accessible. The most fantastic collections are useless if the doors are closed. And even if a scholar has access: his readers may have not (see also Sarah Werner's remarks, 6.10.2015) . 


I have found what I was looking for. But of course there are also problems that need to be taken into account. It is necessary to check the quality of a digital book, that means at first to check its provenance. This particular copy of the first Latin edition of Löwenklau's Annales was produced by Google Books and is also available there. It is a scan of a book from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Rome (2014). In fact this is one of the countless digital books by Google that have also been uploaded to the Internet Archive - there is even a little program for that - and that's the reason it can be found there. 

I really appreciate the existence of Google Books and use it constantly. Notwithstanding all its problems - especially the often careless handling of bibliographical data - it is still an indispensable research tool. Their program of mass digitization made digital copies of so many historical books freely available and also inspired numerous other libraries to follow suit. Without them we surely wouldn't have come so far. But there is one major problem: the quality of their digital facsimiles often leaves a lot to be desired and in many cases it is plain awful. This has been discussed often enough (see f. ex. Roessler 2015 & 2016). 

Particularly troublesome is the fact that many of their scans are not complete. Everything that has a different format than the book itself has - in nearly all cases - not been scanned correctly: foldouts with maps, illustrations and music or other extras. This is not occasional sloppiness but a general problem (see also Roessler 2016, pp. 123-4). I have encountered this numerous times and it's extremely annoying. A typical example is for me Gervaise's Histoire Naturelle et Politique du Royaume de Siam (1688). This book includes a foldout page with the first Siamese song ever printed but Google's hand keeps it secret from our eyes (p. 130, at Google Books). In fact it is missing in all available digital copies produced by Google. I could also mention again what they did to the plates in Rousseau's Dictionnaire de Musique (1768, see f. ex. here; see also in this blog: "Exotic" Tunes in Rousseau's Dictionnaire (1768) & Laborde's Essai (1780)). 

Therefore every Google Book needs to be checked for completeness. In fact between pages 184 and 185 in the first edition of Löwenklau's Annales there is a foldout and - as expected - it has not been scanned correctly. This looks like a list of Sultans. In this case I don't need this particular page and otherwise this scan is generally of tolerable quality. But I really like to have my books complete. Some further research is necessary to find a better copy. A complete roundup of all available digital copies of this book - all that I am able to find - can be helpful to understand the quantitative aspect of this problem. 

First let's go to Google Books and see how many more versions of this book they have. I found there six additional copies and checked them one by one. First there is a scan of a book from the University Library of Gent produced in 2008. Here this particular page is also missing (pp. 184-5). We have the same problem with the copy from the Lyon Public Library (2012, pp. 184-5). In both cases the reader can't even see that there is a fold-out page in the original book. Then there are three copies from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in München. The BSB hosts an outstanding digital collection not only of their own books but also of the digital holdings of other Bavarian libraries. In one copy (2012, SB Regensburg, 999/4Hist.pol.1177, pp. 184-5 at Google Books) this page has also not been scanned correctly. In the second copy (2015, SSB Augsburg, 4 Gs 2240#Bbd., pp. 184-5 at Google Books) it is there, much to my surprise I must admit. It was also scanned completely for their own copy (2014, BSB, 4 Turc. 27, after p. 184 at Google Books, now also at the Internet Archive). Besides these there is also a scan of the copy from the Austrian National Library that looks as if it is complete (2015, ÖNB; before p. 185 at Google Books; now also at the Internet Archive).

In three out of the seven copies produced by Google Books this particular foldout page was included. This is a very good result, in fact much better than average. I know of books scanned half a dozen times but none of the digital copies were complete. For this reason we can also look what other libraries have to offer. In fact I know of no library that would knowingly publish incomplete scans. This is only a problem of Google Books. They rule the field because of the sheer mass of their products that make up a great part of what is available. These scans can be found not only on their own site but also at the Internet Archive, at Hathi Trust and in the repositories of the libraries that have provided the books, like the BSB and the ÖNB. If all of Google's copies were incomplete or of bad quality it would be necessary to find a better copy elsewhere. In fact in many cases there are better copies available. I must admit that I have become used to look at first in other open repositories and prefer to check Google Books only if I can't find what I need anywhere else. 

With the help of KVK and Europeana I managed to find three more copies. First there is apparently one from the National Library of Belarus, Minsk that should be available at But it seems it doesn't work at the moment and this particular site doesn't seem to be as user-friendly as I would wish. A digital copy offered by the National Library of Romania looks quite good and is of course complete. But their online reader has some serious problem: it is apparently not possible to download a pdf of this book, there is no way to set a link to ac particular page and it generally appears to be quite inflexible. 

One more copy can be found on the site of the Silesian Digital Library but they still use the outdated djvu-format. My browser warns me not switch on this plug-in. This means that it is not immediately accessible. But it is possible to download the images and convert them into a pdf and then perhaps upload it to the Internet Archive, a somewhat time-consuming task. But it would be necessary if there was no other complete digital copy of this book. Their scan is of course complete and in excellent quality. 

All in all we can see that there are - at least - 10 copies of this particular edition available online. Seven of them are by Google Books. This surely reflects the general ratio of scans produced by Google to those produced by all the other libraries. Thankfully three of their seven copies are apparently complete and therefore usable. But if this wasn't the case - and that is not uncommon - I would have been left with copies from Poland and Romania.

I can play the same game with the available copies of the second Latin edition of the Annales that was published in 1596. The two at the Internet Archive are also scans by Google - again of books from the library in Rome - and in both cases the foldout has not been reproduced correctly (after p. 98 in copy 1, also at Google Books, 2014; after p. 98 in copy 2, also at Google Books, 2014). I found five more copies at Google Books that have again the same problem: 
Zero out of seven, that's really bad but not untypical. All these scans were published between 2009 and 2014 and the more recent ones are in no way more complete. This may look like as severe case of nitpicking. It is mostly only a very small part of this particular page that's missing. Otherwise all these scans are perfectly well usable and the general quality is mostly quite good. I have seen much worse. Perhaps nobody in the next hundred years will have a look at the genealogy of the sultans in the second edition of Löwenklau's Annales, perhaps nobody will ever need it. 

But I want to be nitpicking here. Either a digital copy of a book is complete or it is not. There is no middle-ground. This must be the standard. Even if there is only a little bit that has been left out, for whichever reason: this means that it is unreliable. Who knows what else is missing. I know of enough cases where it is nor even visible that something has not been scanned. Here the reader doesn't even see that something is missing. 

It is way beyond my understanding how anybody ever even can come up with this idea. Of course, in this program of mass digitization the sheer number of digital copies may be more important than their quality (see Roessler 2016, pp. 124-5). Nonetheless: the fact that such a large company in cooperation with some of the most renowned libraries in the world was and is not able to organize and secure the correct scanning of some foldouts and plates in historical books is simply mind-boggling. Every other library does it right. This is a problem that seriously undermines the credibility and reputation of the whole project. 

Often enough only incomplete copies can be found at Google Books. Anybody who tries to work with maps or musical supplements will make this experience. For example: I have quoted here from Rhesa's Dainos (1825), a collection of Lithuanian songs. A while ago I needed this book because of the supplement with the tunes. In Google's copy the plates with the music are terribly mutilated (see here). This is not helpful, to say at least. The equally mutilated plates in Rousseau's Dictionnaire have already been mentioned. Numerous more examples could be added here. 

But thankfully in many cases - not in all, alas - better copies are available elsewhere. Excellent scans of the Dictionnaire with all the plates can be found at the Internet Archive (see f. ex. here). I also managed to unearth a pdf of a more complete scan of Rhesa's book in a Lithuanian repository. Here the musical supplement had been scanned correctly (now at the Internet Archive). 

A really complete copy of the second edition of Löwenklau's book has been produced by the Lower Silesian Digital Library. The foldout is in place and the general quality is excellent. I wouldn't expect otherwise. But this repository also uses files in djvu. This makes it a little bit difficult to read it there. Now it has found its way into the Internet Archive where it is easier to work with.

The Internet Archive also offered - at the time I looked there first for this book - one copy of the first edition of the German translation (Neuwe Chronica Türckischer Nation, 1590). Here the source is not Google Books but the Getty Research Institute. This is one of the collections made up of the Internet Archive's own scans of books provided by American or Canadian libraries - see for example also the University of North Carolina, the University of Toronto (several, like the Robards Library), Boston Public Library, California Digital Library or John Carter Brown Library - and I know that these are always reliable and also of very good and often excellent quality, in fact usually much better than the average Google book. 

This German edition also includes the foldout with the genealogy of the Sultans and of course we can find it in this particular digital copy (see p. 151). A closer inspection shows that there is an additional foldout plate that was not in the Latin editions: an illustration with a view of Buda and Pest and in the foreground something that is described as "Turkish spectacle" (before p. 119). But unfortunately there is another - not uncommon - problem. It seems that the binding of this particular book was too tight. The inner margin has not always been scanned completely and is not always visible as much as it should be. On some pages there some loss of text, not much but occasionally the reader needs some fantasy to guess the last letter in a line (see f. ex. p. 136, p. 170). I am not sure if this could have been avoided but otherwise this copy is fine and complete. 

What else is available? I found three more copies at Google Books and in all of them there are problems with one or both foldout pages. In case of the ÖNB's copy and the BSB's own it is not even noticeable that there was an illustration between p. 118 and 119. Nonetheless it may be necessary to consult one of these incomplete digital exemplars if something is not readable in the one at the Internet Archive. I haven't found more in other repositories. 
  • ÖNB, 2012, here pp. 118-9, p. 151 
  • BSB, 2014, pp. 118-9, p. 151 
  • BSB (= SSB Augsburg), 2015, pp. 118-9, p. 151 
There was also a second edition of the German translation in 1595. A quick survey of the copies available at Google Books shows that two of them have the usual problems: the one from the ÖNB (2012, see pp. 118-9, pp. 151-2) as well as the one from the Czech National Library (2014, see pp. 118-9, pp. 151-2). But thankfully and surprisingly a third copy, a scan of a book in the BSB, is complete (2014, see after p. 120, pp. 151-2). I think this book looks better in the Internet Archive where it now also resides (see there after p. 120). Besides these there are also copies available at the Lower Silesian Digital Library and the Silesian Digital Library which are of course both complete and in excellent quality. If necessary they could also be downloaded and converted to pdf.


Now I have for every one of the four editions of this particular book at least one digital copy that is more or less complete and also at least in tolerable quality. Of course this still only a provisional selection. Others may find more defects. A bibliography with links to all the usable copies will look of course somewhat complicated. But it is necessary to identify all copies. Some of them are now available in three different repositories: 
  • [Johannes Löwenklau], Annales Sultanorum Othmanidarum A Turcis Sua Lingua Scripti: Hieronymi Beck a Leopoldtorf, Marci fil. studio & diligentia Constantinopoli aduecti M D L I, Diuo Ferdinando Caes. Opt. Max D. SD. iussuque Caes. a Ioanne Gaudier dicto Spiegel, interprete Turcico Germanice translati. Ioannes Levnclavis Nobilis [...], Francofurdi, Apud Andreae Wecheli heredes, Claudium Marnium & Ioannem Aubrium, 1588
    at BSB München, 4 Turc. 27 [=Google Books], now also at the Internet Archive, here pp. 229-30
    at ÖNB [= Google Books], now also at the Internet Archive, here pp. 229-30
    SSB Augsburg, 4 Gs 2240#Bbd. at BSB [= Google Books]
    at Silesian Digital Library [as djvu]
    dto., Editio Altera, 1596
    at Lower Silesian Digital Library [as djvu], now also at the Internet Archive, here p. 121
  • [Johannes Löwenklau], Neuwe Chronica Türckischer Nation, von Türcken selbs beschrieben: volgendes gemehrt unnd in vier Büchern abgetheilt: Das Erst, Gitabi Teuarichi, Chronic oder Zeitbuch der Fürsten Osmanischen stammens: von ihrem Ursprung [...] biß auff den Sultan Suleiman Chan und das 1550. jar Christi: Welches der Edel und Gestreng Herr Jeronymus Beck von Leopoldstorff etc. im nechst folgenden 1551. Jar von Constantinopel mit sich bracht. Das Ander, Von Türckischen geschichten die nach dem 1550. jar Christi biß auffs 1590. sich zugetragen. Das Dritt, Pandecktes Türckischer histori, Das ist vollkomner Bericht allerley Türckischer Sachen und Erklärung derselben. Das Viert, Etliche Particular Beschreibungen mercklicher und zur Türckischen histori gehörigen geschicht. Alles durch Hansen Lewenklaw von Amelbeurn unser Teutschen Nation zu sondern nutz und wolgefallen zusammen gefasst, gestellt, ubersetzt unnd in Truck verfertigt, Gedruckt zu Franckfurt am Mayn, bey Andres Wechels seligen Erben, nemlich, Claudide Marne und Johan Aubri, 1590
    at the Internet Archive [Getty Research Institute], here pp. 181-2 [tight binding, inner margin occasionally not completely visible], also available at Hathi Trust
    at BSB, 4 Turc. 109 l [= Google Books; foldout before p. 119 missing, but this copy is better readable]
    - dto., 1595
    at BSB, 4 Turc. 105 r [= Google Books], now also at the Internet Archive, here pp. 181-2
    at Lower Silesian Digital Library [djvu]
    at Silesian Digital Library [djvu]
I have discussed these problem here in detail because I also wanted to get some quantitative data: how many digital copies of the four editions of this book are available and how many of them are both complete and in tolerable quality? All in all I have found 26 different copies, 20 of them by Google Books and the rest by other libraries. The numbers speak for themselves. In the end 9 of them were more or less acceptable, four by Google Books and five others. This is certainly not a satisfactory result. 

As I have tried to show even the five copies produced by other libraries are not without problems. The one of the first German edition at the Internet Archive seems to have suffered a little bit from some practical limitations - the tight binding of the original book - , the three excellent scans by the Silesian Digital Library are only available in an outdated and impractical file format and the one copy offered by the National Library of Romania can be found in a repository that apparently does not even allow the most elementary operations like linking to a particular page or downloading the complete book. 

Now this all looks like a very tedious kind of work. But it is really important - and this should be obvious - not to use uncritically everything that is floating around. Elementary source criticism of digital facsimiles of historical books is necessary and especially the products of Google Books need an extra dose of it. To be true this is not always that time-consuming. Often it is a simple routine. After some time it will become clear where to look for what and what to expect. 

Most the other digital copies of historical books I have used here - like Münster, Goebel, de Mornay, Herberstein, Kelch and Herder - were much less problematic. Some I found at Google Books and these were all - as far as I could see - of tolerable or even better quality even if not always the most esthetically pleasing reproductions. If there is nothing special included - like foldout pages - then there is a good chance that they are complete. The rest I found in other repositories. Nearly everything was quick at hand and also of good and sometimes excellent quality. 

Of course it is also possible - and sometimes perhaps necessary - to work "quick and dirty" and simply use what's available on first sight. But in a wider perspective it is important to always distinguish between the complete and incomplete scans and between those of good and those of not so good quality. The latter will for years to come still make up a considerable part not only of Google Books itself but also of the repositories of those libraries that have provided them with the books to digitize - like the ÖNB and BSB - and of the holdings of the Internet Archive and Hathi Trust

Often enough there is still no good copy available at the moment and that can be somewhat frustrating. But it is definitely getting better. Numerous libraries are busy digitizing a part of their holdings and in many cases it is possible to find better and complete scans. They are often "hidden" in smaller repositories, are perhaps difficult to find or buried underneath impractical user interfaces. But it is time to look for quality, not only for quantity. That is the prerequisite for any serious work with digital copies of real books. 


a) Other Sources:
  • Severin Goebel, Histori und Eigendlicher bericht von herkommen, ursprung und vielfeltigen brauch des Börnsteins, neben andern saubern Berckharzen so der gattung etc. Aus guten grundt der Philosophi, Daubmann, Königsberg, 1566, at SB Berlin 
  • [Johann Gottfried Herder], Volkslieder [Nebst untermischten andern Stücken], 2 Bde., Weygand, Leipzig, 1778-9, at ÖNB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • Christian Kelch, Liefländische Historia, oder Kurtze Beschreibung der Denckwürdigsten Krieg- und Friedens-Geschichte Esth-, Lief- und Lettlandes, Wehner, Reval, 1695, at BSB, 4 Russ. 19 u-1 [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • [Johannes Löwenklau], Commentarius de bellis Moscorum adversus finítimos Polonos, Lithuanos, Suedos, Livonios et alios gestis ab annis iam LXX, quibus, antea per Europam obscuri, paulatim innotuerunt, in: Sigismund von Herberstein, Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii [...] Quibus Russiae ac Metropolis eius Moscouiae descriptio [...], Oporinus, Basel, 1571, pp. 205-27
    at ÖNB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive
    at BSB (SSB Augsburg), 2 Bio 22#(Beibd. [= GB], also at the Internet Archive
    at Lower Silesian Digital Library [djvu!; better quality, but pp. 111-2 missing]
  • Friedrich Menius, Syntagma de Origine Livonorum, Dorpat, 1632-35, p. 45 (not yet digitized; reprinted in: Scriptores Rerum Livonicarum II, Riga & Leipzig, 1848, pp. 511-42, at the Internet Archive) 
  • Philipp de Mornay, De la Vérité de la Religion Chrétienne. Contre les Athées, Epicuriens, Payens, Juifs, Mahumidistes, & autres Infideles, Plantin, Antwerpen, at ÖNB [= GB], also at the Internet Archive
    - . Seconde edition reueise par l'Autheur, Plantin, Antwerpen, 1582, at the Internet Archive [PTSL] (new ed., Paris 1585, also at the Internet Archive [TFRBL]) 
  • Philippe de Mornay, A Woorke concerning the trewnesse of the Christian Religion, written in French. Against Atheists, Epicures, Paynims, Iews, Mahumetists, and other Infidels. Begunne to be translated into English by Sir Philip Sidney Knight, and at his request finished by Arthur Golding, Thomas Cadman, London, 1587 [ESTC S112896], at the Internet Archive [PTSL] (also new ed., 1592 [ESTC S112897], at the Internet Archive [= BL via GB]) 
  • Sebastian Münster, Cosmographei oder beschreibung aller länder, herschafften, fürnemsten stetten, geschichten [...], Petri,Basel, 1550, at the BSB, Res/2 Geo.u. 48 a [= GB], also at the Internet Archive 
  • L. J. Rhesa, Dainos oder Litthauische Volkslieder gesammelt, übersetzt und mit gegenüberstehendem Urtext herausgegeben. Nebst einer Abhandlung über die litthauischen Volksgedichte, Hartung, Königsberg, 1825, at WLLAS, now also at the Internet Archive 

b) Secondary Literature 
  • Pál Ács, Pro Turcis and contra Turcos: Curiosity, Scholarship and Spiritualism in Turkish Histories by Johannes Löwenklau (1541-1594), in: Acta Comeniana 25, 2011, pp. 25-46, at 
  • Franz Babinger, Herkunft und Jugend Hans Lewenklaw's, in: Westfälische Zeitschrift 98/99, 1949, pp. 112-27, at Westfälische Geschichte 
  • Kārlis Brambats, Ein frühes Zeugnis livländischen Singens, in: Musik des Ostens 8, 1982, pp. 9-29 
  • Stefan Donecker, Alt-Livland zwischen römischen Kolonisten und jüdischen Exilanten. Genealogische Fiktionen in der Historiografie des 17. Jahrhunderts, in: Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 60, 2011, pp. 210-231, at zfo-online 
  • Stefan Donecker, An Itinerant Sheep, and the Origins of The Livonians: Friedrich Menius's Syntagma de Origine Livonorum (1635), in: Journal of Baltic Studies 43, 2012, pp. 1-21 
  • Jörn Garber, Trojaner - Römer - Franken - Deutsche. "Nationale Abstammungsmythen im Vorfeld der Nationalstaatsbildung, in: Klaus Garber (ed.), Nation und Literatur im Europa der Frühen Neuzeit, Tübingen, 1989 (= Frühe Neuzeit 1), pp. 108-63 
  • Adalbert Horawitz, Art.: Leunclavius, Johannes, in: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie 18, 1883, pp. 488-493, at Deutsche Biographie 
  • Dieter Metzler, Johannes Löwenklau (1541-1594), in: Robert Stupperich (ed.), Westfälische Lebensbilder, Bd. 13, Münster 1985, S. 19-44 
  • Dieter Metzler, Art.: Löwenklau, Johannes, in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 15, 1987, pp. 95-6, at Deutsche Biographie 
  • Georg von Rauch, Ein Estnisches Volkslied im Blickfeld des Späthumanismus, in: Nordost-Archiv 5, 1972, pp. 1-10 
  • Hole Roessler, Sichtbare Hände der unsichtbaren Hand. Zur Warenästhetik des Retrodigitalisats, 29.4.2015, at 
  • Hole Rössler, Googles sichtbare Hände. Das Retrodigitalisat als Ware, in: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte 10.2, 2016, pp. 115-125, pdf at 
  • Sarah Werner, When Is a Source Not a Source?, Conference Paper, at MLAC Commons, 2015
  • Sarah Werner, Questions to ask when you learn of digitization projects, in: Wynken de Worde. books, early modern culture, post-modern readers, 6.10.2015, accessed 14.6.2016