Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum – The 4th Awakening. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author,, or

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.
The 4th Awakening LL

This new series of blogs by Eso Anton Benjamins, aka Jaņdžs, introduces itself with three redacted blogs from a previous series, re “The Not-Voter”. One of the theses underlying “The Not-Voter” is that it is better for a voter who does not know the history of his-her nation to cast an empty ballot (not-vote) than presume to vote. The republication of these blogs with additional material  as an “Introduction” is to give the reader a quick overview of what is—despite a deliberate avoidance of the subject by the media and politicians—unique about Latvia.

2 The Intimidation of the Latvian Self

In blog 1 of this series, this writer mentions how the history of the Latvians was not only compromised and changed into a fairy tale by the Germanic Lutheran Church (in cooperation with other orthodox Christian churches of course), but how as a result the psyche of the Latvian people was repressed and suffered from a delayed growth syndrome.
Specifically, the inhibition of the Latvian psyche exercised by militant orthodox Christendom appears to have seriously affected the interest of the people in their past, i.e., their origins and history. Once the proto-Latvian Children of Johns had been renamed pa-Jāņi [with an effect on the psyche approximately the same if today Latvians were to be called pa-Latvians (palatvieši)], there began a process of self-alienation. The process may end with a loss of history as well as long-term memory.
It is probably but a coincidence, but following the analysis of the word “pagan”, certain material on this writer’s reading list suggested that the origin for the name “Latvia”, is different from what has been heretofore advertised.
At the link (click Latvia) the origin of the name is explained as “Derived from the regional name Latgale, originally Lettigalli. the ‘Let-’ part associated with several Baltic hydronyms; possibly common origin with the Liet- part of neighbouring Lithuania (Lietuva…); the -gale part meaning "land" or "boundary land", of Baltic origin”.
However, further reading and an open mind suggests that “Latvia” may originate from the name of the domain of Letowic in Poland *. The suggestion offered itself after reading “The Herrnhuter Pietism in the Baltic” by Valdis Mežezers, published by The Christopher Publishing House (North Quincy, MA), 1975. The author, a Lutheran minister, translates into English a letter written (1585) by Antonio Possevino. Possevino was a legate of the Pope and an intermediary between the Russians, the Poles, and Swedes during the signing of the peace treaty to “The 25 Years’ War” with Russia, 1570-1595. The letter appears in “Latvian History” (in Latvian) by the Latvian historian A. Spekke. Re: “All clergy (who labour here) have learned… [the] original tongues of the Livonians; they are called Estonian (estonica) and Latvian (lotavica as the Poles pronounce).”
[The name bears further investigation as another village known as Latowicz and others are known to exist. Unsurprisingly (at least to this writer), the name appears as a last name for many a Jewish family. More about it at another time.]
A search of the works of Antonio Possevino, leads to his “Moscovia” (in Latin, published 1586). In the book Possevino refers to Latvians as “Lotauos” or “Lotauis”.
The name brings to the surface some interesting associations.
A name so spelled is unknown to Latvians, however, the pronunciation of the name rings close to the word “lutausis”, a colloquialism for a floppy eared rabbit. This is not to suggest that Latvians have been named after rabbit’s ears. However, every Latvian once wore a winter hat with sheep’s wool lining the inside of the cap proper and the ear flaps that it came equipped with. The flaps were let drop over the ears in winter to keep them from freezing. The Latvian word for ears is “auss”, which suggests that “lotauos” is a word constructed by two words, lot + auos. The origin of “lot” stands open to suggestion; however, the name for a rag is “lupata”; and the word for leaf is “lapa”, the latter objects which suggests themselves as a possible flap. The consonant P might slide sideways and become a T, as the name of Lapland might become Latland. or Lettland, or Latous. It is also possible that an H (as in hat, German “hut”) came to be pronounced as L, thus Hut = Lut = Lut + auos.
In short, might not the name for Latvians, a people who live in the northern eastern part of Europe, have originated from others seeing them wear wool caps with large ear flaps?
Also, do not these interpretations regarding the origin of the name of Latvia suggest that the obvious may not be obvious because the linkage of the words is not desirable?
In other words, “paYan” (discussed in the previous blog) and “Latauos” are words insufficiently sanitized, and thusly may cause associations among Latvians that some Latvians would rather they not think of. Surely “paYan” suggests a snear directed at something that at another time had dignity; and “Latauos” may seem not dignified enough to those who buy their “champignons” at the market rather than gather mushrooms in the forest for themselves?
Perhaps through such epistemological innocence, we can come to discover other secrets. For example, does not the accentuation of so-called Latvian folk designs and symbols—though no doubt tasteful decorations—actually repress a profound truth about Latvians?
What are the Latvian people going to say when it is discovered that their “pagan” history is no older than a hundred and fifty years, and that the Latauos were the Children of Johns and were Christians long before their Dear God (Dieviņš) was made over into a God’s God? Indeed, the Latvian Dievins was never found in the sky, but was always walking the roads of the world as the stranger you meet when you are out walking?

Asterisks & Links of Interest

* The link opens to “map”. Please type “Letowice, Poland” in the Search window to bring up the location of this village—east of Czechoslovakia and some eighty miles east of Krakow and ten west of Tarnow.
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