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Selonians in the context of the other Baltic tribes, c. 1200. The Eastern Balts are shown in brown hues while the Western Balts are shown in green. The boundaries are approximate.
Selonians in the context of the other Baltic tribes, c. 1200. The Eastern Balts are shown in brown hues while the Western Balts are shown in green. The boundaries are approximate.
Part of a series on the
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MAGNI DVCATVS LITHVANIAE, et Regionum Adiacentium exacta Descriptio
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The Selonians (Latvian: sēļi; Lithuanian: sėliai, from Livonian: sälli – "highlanders") were a tribe of Baltic peoples. They lived until the 15th century in Selonia, located in southeastern Latvia and northeastern Lithuania. They eventually merged with neighbouring tribes, contributing to the ethnogenesis of modern Latvians and Lithuanians. They spoke the Eastern Baltic Selonian language.

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  • 3 "Meet Latvia" - Latvian Language


Who are you...? Yes, I understand you... How many are you there? Thissssssss is the native Latvian language which is spoken by 1,5 million people. Out of them 1,38 million live in Latvia, but the rest are spilled \u2013 in Ireland , United Kingdom, USA\240, Russia, Australia, Canada, Germany , as well as in Lithuania and Estonia. The Latvian language belong to the tree of Indo-European languages and together with the Lithuanian language make one language branch. Although the Latvian and Lithuanian languages are related, anyway we can not understand each other. From the 7th till the 9the century ancient Latvian tribes \u2013 the Kurshi, the Latgalls, the Semigallians and the Selonians spoke similar languages but not always they understood each other. The literary Latvian language started establishing only in the 16th century when the amount of the communication between the inhabitants enlarged. The language achieved the literary form 300 years later, when serfdom was cancelled and the migration of the inhabitants was allowed. The German language had big influence to the establishment of grammar and spelling of the Latvian language. There are many loanwords in the Latvian language from German, Russian and Swedish, for example brilles - latvian, german - Brille kruze \u2013 Latvian , german - Krug smuks - latvian, german - schmuck From Russian language, for example: bagats \u2013 latvian, bogati - russian zvans - latvian, zvanok \u2013 russian From the Swedish language the word skurstenis - latvian ,swedish - skorsten and "skola", that is pronounced by Swedes as \u201eskolan\u201c Latgal dialect is of special significance still today which is spoken by the eastern part of Latvia. The State tries to provide Latgal written language maintaining and protection. Although the Latvian language is the only state language there is the idea that it is endangered by the enormous amount of Russian speaking inhabitants. Only 60% of the inhabitants are Latvians , 27% are Russian , but the rest belong to other nations. This is extremely stressed by the local national parties. Anyway, according to UNESCO evaluation the Latvian language is not endangered. The inhabitants of the world speak more than 6700 different languages , but a half of the mankind speak 15 languages. Only about 200 languages speakers, including also the Latvian language, exceed one million. Thus, from the thousands of the world languages, the Latvian language is among those few favored that actually could keep itself in the further future. According to the data of population census, 91% inhabitants can get in contact in Latvian, but 94% - Russia Almost all the Latvians know Russian at least on the level of conversation. It is interesting that it is possible to learn the Latvian language even at 22 universities abroad . 70% of the pupils gain education in Latvian, and this proportion has the tendency to grow. The State university students study in the Latvian language as well as the most part of the scientific works are presented in the Latvian language. More than 200 newspapers and more than 300 magazines are issued in the Latvian language, and every year about 2500 books are being published with the total circulation of over 67 million copies. There is a special alphabet and the spelling for the Latvian language. The alphabet consists of 33 letters. It is interesting that there are special letters like -, \u201ca\u201d with lengthening mark \u201c - \u201d, that means that the letter \u201ca\u201d is pronounced longer "aaa" There is also the palatalization sign \u201d\u0161\u201d or \u201c\u0146\u201d, that means, that the letter \u201cs\u201d should be pronounced softly \u2013 \u201csh\u201d and \u201cn\u201d should be pronounced like \u201c\u0146\u201d It is essential that the spelling of the words in Latvian precisely correspond to their pronunciation that eases the learning of the writing. In this meaning the spelling of the Latvian language is more advanced than English or German spelling. For example, in order to spell the palatalization \u201e\u0161\u201c you need three letters \u201esch\u201c - Schule (school) but in many words in order to note the lengthened \u201e\u0101\u201c they write additional letter \u201eh\u201c, for example in the word \u201ehahn\u201c \u2013 cock Anyway because of the complexness of the grammar, Latvian is considered to be comparatively difficult to study. There are six declination in Latvian , only 4 in German, but still only 2 in English. The law states that foreign names are spelled by the letters of the alphabet of the Latvian language. Thus, do not wonder, if at some state establishment has been latvianized that you do not recognize it, for example: if your name is Aleksandr Ivanov, then in Latvian the ending \u201es\u201c is added and you can read - Aleksandrs Ivanovs. It is stated in the law that the only state language is the Latvian language. In order to find job, to make business, to communicate with the local inhabitants and to incorporate into the local society in Latvia, you need to learn the Latvian language. On the level of everyday speech, especially in Riga, you will be able to easily communicate also in Russian, anyway the correspondence with state establishments and the agreements are being concluded basically in the Latvian language. In order to work at certain jobs or professions or to receive the continuous residence permit, the knowledge of the state language on a certain level is compulsory. There are 3 levels state language skills: Basic or A level, average or B level, the highest or C level. Each level has two steps: 1. \u2013 lower step, 2. \u2013 higher step. In order to receive the continuous residence permit , one must learn the Latvian language at least on the 2nd step of the basic level (A2). For example, fireman needs the 2nd level B step, but the hairdresser needs the lower - the second level A step. You will learn more regarding the requirements here - The courses for money where to learn Latvian are offered at private education establishments. In the home page of the Latvian language agency you can get acquainted with the published learning aids to study the language. There you can find also a lower level course of learning the Latvian language for free, as well as the dictionaries, and other useful information.


Little is known about the Selonians. There is little archaeological evidence and in historic sources the region is often described as a "scarcely populated land". In written sources they are mentioned only few times.

Archeological data can trace the Selonians back to the beginning of 1st millennium AD when they lived on both sides of the Daugava River.[1] But since the 6th and 7th centuries their settlements can be traced only on the left bank of the river.

Selonian culture had a very strong Latgalian influence. Selonian and Latgalian burial traditions show little difference. Some scholars speculate that during the late Iron Age the Selonians had already partly merged with the Latgalians.[2]

The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia mentions the Selonians at the beginning of the 13th century, when they were conquered and christened. The author of the chronicle describes the Selonians as Lithuanian allies.[3] Their lands were subjects of the principalities of Jersika and Koknese, which were vassals of the principality of Polotsk. The Southern lands however were ruled by Lithuanian lords.

In 1207, the German Brothers of Sword together with their Livonian and Latgalian allies besieged the main Selonian centre at Sēlpils hillfort. Reason for the attack were German claims that Sēlpils hillfort was used as main Lithuanian support base for their attacks in Livonia. After a long siege the Selonians agreed to baptism and German rule and the stone Sēlpils Castle (German: Selburg) was built in place of the hillfort.[4] The Selonians were last mentioned in written sources in the 15th century.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2012-02-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Šnore E., Zariņa A. Senā Sēlpils. Rīga: Zinātne, 1980. 236 lpp.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2012-02-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Indriķa hronika. Ā. Feldhūna tulk., Ē. Mugurēviča priekšvārds un komentāri. Rīga: Zinātne, 1993. 453 lpp.

See also

This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 08:05
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