The name 'Soviius' was attested in 'Chronograph' in 1262. There are three etymologies of this name: (a) Jonas Basanavicius and Norbertas Velius derive it from the Lithuanian pronoun 'savas' (one's own); (b) Algirdas Julius Greimas relates it to the Lithuanian verb 'sáuti' (to shoot), and Bronislava Kerbelyte reinforces this interpretation by folklore evidence; and (c) Vladimir Toporov traces this name to Proto-Indo-European *saue- (*su-, *sue-) (the sun). A more thorough examination of the fifteenth-century Archival copy (kept in the Russian State Archive of Early Acts, Moscow) and of the sixteenth-century Vilnius copy (Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Vilnius) reveals a previously overlooked fragment of the text about Soviius. This paper presents a textological analysis of the Soviius legend. A more thorough research leads to the conclusion that the legend was most probably translated by a person of Baltic extraction. The text contains a number of dative constructions (dativus absolutus) peculiar to Old Lithuanian and rarely met with in Old Russian texts. Its analysis allows to conclude that the name Soviius comes ultimately from Lith. 'savojo' (of one's own).
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.