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Education and Science of the 17th Century
July 28, 2014 20:37

The number of literate people increased in the 17th century. Thus, there were 40 percent of literate people among tradespeople, 96 percent among merchants and 65 percent among landowners.

Business writing expanded, with qualified office-work conducted not only in central major offices, but also in counties and estates.

Hand-written books were still largely distributed. From 1621 the hand-written newspaper Kuranty consisting mostly of translated foreign news was made for the tsar. Along with hand-written editions the printed materials produced on the Moscow Print Yard were becoming more and more usual. Already in the first half of the 17th century about 200 books under various titles were published. Private individuals started arranging libraries. The first book-store was opened in Moscow in 1672. 

Book-printing craft made it possible to publish numbers of textbooks on grammar and arithmetics. The ABC-book (aka Alphabet) by Vasily Burtsev published in 1634 was subsequently republished several times. Illustrated ABC-book by Karion Istomin was off the press in the late 17th century and the multiplication table was first published in 1882. Psalm Books and Horologions were also published “for educational purposes”.

Literacy was usually taught in families, or by sextons and scribes. However, the need for organized education was growing more and more. The first church school was organized in the Moscow Andreevsky Monastery at the initiative of the prominent statesman F. M. Rtishchev. A school for training scribes was opened in Zaikonospassky Monastery in 1665, and another school was founded at the Print Yard in 1680.
 
The first schools made the ground for the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy opened in 1687 and headed by Greeks brothers Ioannicius and Sophronios Lichouds. The academy was aimed at teaching people “of any rank, status and age” to subjects “from grammar, poetics, rhetoric, dialectics, philosophy... to theology”. Education was optimized for the clergy and public service officials.
 

As for scientific knowledge, mainly its practical side was developed, whereas its theoretical basis was not tackled upon. For example, mathematical knowledge was related to exposition of lands, trade and military schooling. Thus, Military Training Charter (1621) provided practical information on geometry, mechanics, physics, and chemistry.
 
Medical knowledge was based on old Russian healing traditions as well as translated foreign doctor books and herbals. The Pharmaceutical Board consisted of experts in pestle and mortar and educated druggists and doctors. 30 soldiers were trained in 1654 and sent to regiments for treating the military people.
 
Astronomical and geographical knowledge was accumulated and developed as well. In the mid 17th century studies based on Copernicus heliocentric system made their way to Russia.
 
In the first half of the century maps were constructed on a large scale, including the Big Drawing Book published in 1627 and the Map of Russian and Swedish Cities up to the Varangian Sea constructed in Novgorod.
 
Expansion of geographic vision was promoted by materials of pioneering expeditions by Stadukhin, Poyarkov, Dezhnev, Khabarov, Atlasov, and others in Siberia. Description of New Lands that is the Siberian Kingdom came out after 1683. Previous descriptions and map drawings along with this study made the foundation for S. U. Remizov's fundamental work Drawing Book of Siberia.
 

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Culture Russian History    

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