Moscow: Pechatnyi dvor, 1704. Item #608
, 206, 189 leaves. 20,5x16 cm. Contemporary full leather. Spine is restored at the edges. A very good clean and complete copy.
The first language dictionary printed in Russia. The first book in Latin or Greek printed in Moscow. Extremely rare.
Three-lingual edition (Russian, Greek, Latin). The work of the editor Fyodor Polikarpov of the first state Russian typography Moskovskii Pechatnyi Dvor. Established in the 1550s, Pechatnyi Dvor had the monopoly of printing books in Moscow till the beginning of 18th century. Traditionally associated with the production of religious editions (until this book only 3-4 secular books were printed), this dictionary should be regarded as the beginning of a new period in Russian book-printing.
The purpose of it was described by Polikarpov in the preface (also threelingual), where he says that the ‘purity and beauty of Slavonic language has been recently polluted by the foreign words like with the ashes’. However he adds that Greek language is very important not only because all the religious texts are translated from it, but also because Greece is the motherland of the art and sciences (this looks like the reference to Ancient Greece). As for Latin, it’s important because ‘all around the world it seems that it’s the most common language for studies and for civil matters’. Technically printed during Peter the Great reign the dictionary is, however, the rare evidence of the pre-Peter the Great academic knowledge in Russia. The dictionary consists of 19712 entries and includes not only the translation of words but in some cases explanations of the meaning.
The dictionary was created mostly for the use of the first higher education establishment in Moscow The Slavic Greek Latin Academy (est. 1682): the head of the academy Raphail Krasnopolskii contributed to the text editing, and the text was created under the supervision of Stephan Yavorsky and the founders of the university Lihud brothers.
The dictionary is also important evidence of Russian language of the time. In the beginning of the 18th century the censorship was not yet organised into a system, because of that and other factors we can see a lot of words associated with the common language, that probably would not be printed later. For example, 19 words are given on the root ‘blya’ (obscene language in nowadays Russian) and the group of words with root ‘blud’ (fornication), gives us an interesting overview of Russian lexicon of that topic.