namejs

“Namej’s ring.

Namejs, The Chief of Zemgaļi (Zemgale – one of Latvian province) tribe, was one of the last one who resisted German crusaders (back in 13th century). After long and heavy battles he still had to retreat to Lithuania.

The Legend says, that before he left, he gave his son a ring to recognize him after return. The Crusaders found it out and started to search for Namej’s son to capture him and force Namejs to turn to Christianity. At that moment many of tribe’s men started to wear the same looking ring - to protect their Chief and his son.

Since then The Ring has become one of the most common Latvian jewelry. The Ring’s twine is the symbol of how united Latvians are. It also serves as recognition sign for Latvians all over the world.”

Namejs was a political and military leader in the late 13th century, but there is no historical basis to connect him with any ring. Archeologists found a plaited ring, but in a different part of the country and from about 100 years earlier. Writer Aleksandrs Grīns wrote a book in 1928 titled Namejs Ring, though the ring he describes is different. Grīns story was eventually performed on stage and later someone presented the President Ulmanis a ring they called a Namejs, and painter Liberts painted the archeological ring on the finger of his fantasy portrait of Namejs. Later Ulmanis’ connection to the ring was forgotten and it became a symbol of identity in the exile community and in Latvia, a symbol for supporters of Latvian independence.