Francis was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and studied Philosophy at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and Classics at University of Wales, Lampeter before receiving his doctorate in History from Cambridge University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was Volumes Editor for the Catholic Record Society between 2015 and 2017. He spent several years as Head of Sixth Form at an English cathedral school, teaches for Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education, and regularly appears on BBC radio and other media. Two of his books have previously been shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award.
The texts included in this volume were written between around 1450 and 1590 by eleven different authors in Latin, the universal language of scholarly communication in western Christendom. Together, the texts provide some of the most detailed records of any European pre-Christian religion. However, the texts must be read in context and cannot be used to reconstruct Baltic religious beliefs and practices without careful analysis. The authors were writing within established interpretative and literary traditions, some stretching back to the ancient world, and therefore disentangling literary features of accounts of paganism from factual detail can be a very challenging task.
Woodcut showing Lithuanian pagans worshipping trees, snakes and fire, from Olaus Magnus, On the Northern Peoples (The History Collection / Alamy Stock Photo).
This book provides the first English translations of the key early modern Latin texts on Baltic paganism, including extracts from works by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Jan Długosz, Filippo Buonaccorsi, Maciej z Miechowa, Johannes Stüler, Martynas Mažvydas, Michalo Lituanus, and Alessandro Guagnini, as well as the complete text of Jan and Hieronim Malecki’s ‘Little book on the sacrifices and idolatry of the Old Prussians’ and Jan Łasicki’s ‘On the gods of the Samogitians’. It is the first book to consider early modern ethnographic works on East-Central Europe in the context of recent scholarship on early modern ethnography as a whole. While the author is an established scholar of the history of religion and belief in medieval and early modern Europe, this will be his first published contribution to the field of Baltic studies.
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Call for Applications AABS 2023-2024 Grants and Fellowships Research Grants for Emerging Scholars The Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship in the Humanities for Latvia Mudīte I. Zīlīte Saltups Fellowships Jānis Grundmanis Fellowships for...
The AABS Board is pleased to announce that Peter Lang Publishers has been awarded the AABS Book Publication Subvention for publishing "Baltic Human-Animal Histories: Relations, Trading, and Representations from an Entangled Perspective." The volume, edited by Linda...
AABS is pleased to recognize Jānis Juzefovičs for his completion of the project "Making sense of the Covid-19 crisis: information-seeking and trust-making strategies of the Baltic media audiences at the times of the coronavirus pandemic," for which he received the...