Pradžia Kalba Tautosaka Etnologija Archeologija Istorija Paieška


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In today’s world the science of history is characterized by a surprising diversity of theories and areas of research. And although everything revolves around man, history’s tale about the processes of the past survives. Historical sources provide the raw material for creating narratives that help us understand the causes of today’s processes. The saying that history is the teacher of life is true only if we comprehend and create history ourselves. This is possible only through direct contact with historical sources, i.e. the most diverse forms of our written heritage.
Selecting sources for inclusion in Aruodai was not simple. In view of the goals of this project, we will attempt to present fragments of writings from the 13th-18th centuries that best show how Lithuanians lived in those days. We thought it would be interesting to know what kinds of speeches were delivered in the Seimas of those times and what pagan gods were still worshiped by the peasants, what foreign wines noblemen drank and how the children of noble families were brought up, what Lithuanian martial traditions were like and how the women of that period dressed.
There are plenty of sources that reveal the most diverse aspects of our ancestors’ lives. Unfortunately, when classifying our heritage from the 13th-18th century, we could not apply an established system simply because such a system does not yet exist in our historiography. Therefore, we conducted a preliminary classification of sources on the basis of accepted historiographical principles that best suited our needs.

We have divided written historical sources into narrative and documentary groups. This is the most general classification. On the next level each group of sources is further divided into various types. On the third level we intend to present specific texts, taking into consideration the nature and scope of each source. Long texts (e.g. chronicles, memoirs, diaries) will be excerpted; shorter documents (those taken from the Lithuanian Metrica, letters, map annotations) will be presented in full. In view of one of the main goals of the RaSa project – the preservation of national identity under the conditions of globalization – we will try to select, from numerous sources usually not written in Lithuanian (from the 13th to the late 18th century), those materials that represent Lithuanians and various areas of their life and culture.
Because of how written culture spread in Lithuania, the most valuable sources for early Lithuanian history were not written in Lithuanian and represent how another society viewed Lithuanians and Lithuania (in the narrow sense of this word). These accounts are often the only ray of light shining through the “dark” ages of Lithuanian history (the 13th-14th centuries); however, even in later centuries they retain their charm because they show how Lithuania and Lithuanians were perceived by their neighbours. Many of the narrative sources consist of precisely such descriptions of Lithuanians and Lithuania. This group will also contain sources that directly attest to the culture of Lithuanians and Lithuania. Such accounts, however, will form the greater part of the documentary sources. We hope they enable us to form a picture of the “quality of life” in Lithuania during the 16th-18th century.
Also, we hope to supplement the information contained in the historical sources and help the reader better understand them with a dictionary of historical terms that we are compiling and a biographical bank of Lithuanian historical figures.


© Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, The Institute of the Lithuanian Language, Lithuanian Institute of History, Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, 2003 - 2006