First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

LITHUANIA is also an extensive region, with Poland on the east; and it has many lakes and forests; Vitoldus, a brother of Wladislaus, reigned there, and after giving up idolatry, he received the Sacrament of Christ, together with the kingdom of Poland. He attained to great fame. His subjects so greatly feared him that when he asked them to hang themselves, they preferred to appear obedient rather than incur his disfavor. Those who opposed him he caused to be sewed up in bear skins and to be thrown to the bears to be torn to pieces; and he persecuted them with other cruelties. Wherever he rode he carried a drawn bow, and when he encountered anyone who did not demean himself to his liking, he promptly shot him with an arrow; and by such sport this bloody tyrant slew many people. Sindrigal, his successor, maintained a she-bear that ate bread out of his hands. This bear often ran into the forest, but returned home; and when he was hungry, the bear would go to the prince’s chamber, scratching on every door, and knocking thereon with his paws. The prince opened to him and fed him. A number of young noblemen conspired against the prince; and having armed themselves, came to the door of his chamber, knocking thereon as the bear was accustomed to do. Thinking the bear was there, Sindrigal opened the door, and was promptly stabbed to death by the nobles. Thereupon the sovereignty devolved upon Casimir. In the summer Lithuania is not readily accessible because of the waters, but in the winter one may travel over the frozen lakes. The merchants travel over the ice and snow, and carry food supplies for many days. No roads have been laid out, and there are but few cities and villages. Among the Lithuanians most of the trade is in raw materials. The use of money is not known, and in its stead raw materials, sable, and the like are used. With the consent of their husbands the noble-women openly have paramours whom they call assistants in wedlock; however, it is unbecoming and disgraceful for the married men to have concubines; but they easily relieve themselves of wedlock and take another wife. Among the Lithuanians much wax and honey is available, which the bees gather in the forests. The Lithuanians seldom use wine, and their bread is very black. They obtain much milk from their animals. The language of these people is Wendic, a very extensive language, which is divided into many dialects. A number of Wends, for instance the Dalmatians, Croatians, Carniolians and Poles, adhere to the Roman Catholic Church; others to the Greek heresy, such as the Bulgarians, Russians and many from Lithuania. Some have invented certain heresies, such as the Bohemians, the Moravians, and the Bosnians, among whom the majority adhere to the Manichaean heresy. Some are still benighted by heathen blindness. This is true of many Lithuanians of whom a great number were converted to Christianity when Wladislaus, the Lithuanian, accepted the Polish sovereignty; for a number of Lithuanians before that time worshipped serpents, every household father having and maintaining a serpent in a niche. Some worshipped fire, some the sun, some an oversized hammer, and others the forests.