Origin of the name Ariogala
Ariogala is one of the oldest settlements in Lithuania. It still remembers the voyages of the legendary Roman Duke Palemonas and his patricians along the Dubysa river's rapids. Did you know that Palemonas also created the name of Ariogala, quite by chance?
According to the legend, Duke Palemonas and his family, accompanied by some five hundred patricians, had left northern Italy in search of a new home on the rich soil of the shores of the "Northern Ocean."
Having reached Lithuanian lands at the mouth of the river Nemunas, the newcomers were quick to befriend the locals. The latter exchanged their amber into gold pieces and treated the newcomers to wisent roasts and honeyed mead. Two Lithuanians liked a lot Palemonas and his crew and volunteered to become their guides and help them look for a lovely, fecund shore where they would settle.
Led by these two Lithuanians, the Southerners traveled along the river Nemunas until they reached the Dubysa river and turned into its channel. Palemonas could not take his eyes off its luxuriant banks, but soon enough, he tired of the journey. It seemed to him that the river had no end.
"Does this river have no end?" he kept asking in his language, but his guides didn't understand a single word. The five hundred patricians mimicked and gestured, trying to explain their Duke's question until finally, when they were approaching what is now Ariogala, one guide said to himself:
"Seems they're asking 'AR YR GALAS' – is there an end – for Dubysa?!"
"Si, si, 'Ariogalas'!" cackled Palemonas in his southern speak.
And so, quite by chance, Duke Palemonas created the name for Ariogala, which is still used today.