Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sigmund Herberstein's 'Notes on Muscovy' at

 internet free libraries are such wonderful places for all us, students of the past and present. This time proved itself to be again the best internet resource, for I found both volumes of the famous 'Notes upon Russia: being a translation of the earliest account of that country, entitled 'Rerum moscoviticarum commentari' in downloadable book form, scan of the 1851 English translation. 
This is a portrait of the author Sigmund von Herberstein, who was a keen observer and fine writer.

Von Herberstein went to Muscovy Russia when it just had won several important engagements (eg capturing the city of Smolensk by treachery) with Grand Duchy of Lithuania and had had the  great prince Vasili III (Василий III Иванович) , one astute ruler, since 1505 when his even more astute father Ivan III ( Иван III Васильевич) died. These two rulers will figure in my future posts as their armies fought the Polish-Lithuanian ones ( I intend to talk about the famous battle of Vedrosha/Wiedrosza/Ведрошская битва of 1500, or battle Orsha 1514), as wall as the Crimean Tatars and Kazan Tatars, Livonianas etc. Amongst interesting aspects of the Muscovy Russia, Herberstein notes horses and uses this  word 'argamak' - Turkish word (borrowed from old Persian and pretty soon a subject of this blog more than one time) for a fine stallion - for some Turkish horses amongst many of the great prince horses, thus interesting information for me, a student of horse history - :). I guess I should mention that Herberstein is a reliable source to the conflicts between Muscovy Russian and Poland-Lithuania.

Well, this is the link - Sigmund Herberstein mediatype:texts  - do enjoy reading it at your convenience:  on your ipad, computer, book reader, phone or by printing a copy of choicest pages.

Finally I added a small old pen & ink cum watercolor drawing of a Muscovite soldier from around the Orsha battle of 1514, based on a Northern Renaissance painting of the battle, now at the National Museum in Warsaw.

as Russian say - pa ka, fellow net travelers.

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