Old Prussian

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Old Prussian


the language of the Baltic tribes of Prussians, who in times past inhabited the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. Old Prussian is related to the West Baltic subgroup of the Baltic group of the Indo-European language family (together with the Yotvingian language, extinct since the 17th century, which many linguists consider to be a dialect of Old Prussian).

As a result of the conquest of Prussian territory by the Teutonic Order in the 13th century and the subsequent germanization of the native population, the Old Prussian language had disappeared by the early 18th century. In addition to Prussian personal names and geographical designations, Old Prussian written records have been preserved, including the Elbing (German-Prussian) vocabulary, compiled in the 14th century (contains 802 words, primarily nouns); a list of 100 Prussian words contained in the chronicle of Simon Grunau (early 16th century); and translations from German of religious texts, including two catechisms (1545) and Luther’s Enchiridion (1561).


Gornung, B. V.Iz predystorii obrazovaniia obshcheslavianskogo iazykovogo edinstva. Moscow, 1963.
Voprosy slavianskogo iazykoznaniia, issue 3. Moscow, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The region that was the richest of all was that inhabited by the Old Prussians
Images of these gods were placed into the hollow of a huge, evergreen oak tree, which grew in the main holy place of the Old Prussians, Ramava or Rikoita in the region of Nadrava.
The Old Prussians were allowed to make sacrifices to the three high gods only in Ramava.
The origin of the engine was God--the creator of the world and the lesser gods--who was recognised by all the Baltic peoples, including the Old Prussians. They called God by the name of Deivs (in modern-day Latvian "Dievs" and in Lithuanian "Dievas") and Ukapirmis (the First of All) and they viewed the light of the day as his visible manifestation.
When the legendary rulers of the Old Prussians, Prutens and Vudevuts, had reached more than a hundred years of age, the Prussian lands were divided between the sons of Vudevuts; it is from them that each of the regions takes its name.
The Old Prussians believed that through fire people and sacrifices reached the world of the gods.
The Old Prussians worshipped their ancestors Prutens and Vudevutu as the gods Urskaits and Izsvambrats (translated--the Elder and his brother).
In the middle of the 1st century CE, a conflict began between the Old Prussians and their southern neighbours --the Eastern Slav tribe the Masurians or Mazovians.
After the Principality of Masuria joined the Kingdom of Poland, the Polish leader repeatedly tried to subjugate the Old Prussians as well.
Werner, the German Christian President of the Old Prussian Union Church.