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 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 Swedish scholars who claimed that the Swedes were descendants of the old Goths. Other 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 academia.edu) 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 Turks 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. 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, p. 46; also 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). 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 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 manuscriptorium.com. 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 problems: 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 [12.8.18: now it's better accessible]. 

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. 46 (now at NLR & the Internet Archive; 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) Research 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 academia.edu 
  • 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
  • [Stefan Donecker, Origines Livonorum. Frühneuzeitliche Hypothesen zur Herkunft der Esten und Letten, Köln, Weimar & Wien, 2017 (= Quellen und Studien zur Baltischen Geschichte 25) - see now here esp. pp. 292-305 (added 28.2.2019)]
  • 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 holeroessler.de 
  • Hole Rössler, Googles sichtbare Hände. Das Retrodigitalisat als Ware, in: Zeitschrift für Ideengeschichte 10.2, 2016, pp. 115-125, pdf at z-i-g.de 
  • Sarah Werner, When Is a Source Not a Source?, Conference Paper, at MLAC Commons, 2015 dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6PG6F
  • 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 
28.2.2019:  some links corrected or added; one book added to the bibliography