Item #421 [FIRST SLAVIC BIBLE] Bibliya [i.e. The Bible]

[FIRST SLAVIC BIBLE] Bibliya [i.e. The Bible]

Item #421

Ostrog: Ivan Fedorov, 1581. A fragment. Leaves 185-276, 1-53 (144 in total). 31x20 cm. 18th century European full leather binding. Few pieces of the spine are missing. Binding is a bit scuffed, but generally a good well-preserved copy. Our copy contains the following books of the Old Testament: 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.

The milestone of Slavonic printing, the first Bible printed in Russian. Prepared and printed by Ivan Fedorov (?-1583), the legendary printer from Moscow, who is responsible for first-printed books in Russia and Ukraine. This particular one could be considered his biggest achievement. With the support of
Ostrog academy, set by nobleman Konstantin Ostrozhskiy (1526-1608), the first full edition of the Bible in Russian was prepared. The academy was located in town of Ostrog (now Western Ukraine). It was the first university in Eastern Europe, so it was the concentration of bright academic minds from Western Russia. Its goal (and of the typography itself) was to confront spreading Catholic influence in Great Duchy of Lithuania in the land that was originally Orthodox. The Ostrog Bible was a proof of the abilities of Duchy of Lithuania’s Orthodox community to spread its knowledge and faith.

The Ostrog Bible is considered one of the greatest achievements of 16th century Slavic printing. It’s known that it was recognised as a book of significance very early on and was one of the first Russian books of collectable value.

The present copy was bound as such in the 17th century, probably in Germany (the leaves of 17th century German book was used for the endpapers. From
the short extracts we can tell that the book is about The Time of Troubles in Russia).

There’s no volume number on the spine so we can assume when bound this fragment already existed on its own. Examining our copy we can say that it was never in church service as it doesn’t have any wax stains or other attributes of that process.


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