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Ostroh Book Culture in the Context of the Life and Work of Prince Vasyl’-Kostiantyn Ostrozʹkyi: An Appraisal of a Paradigm – Острожская книжность в контексте жизнедеятельности князя Василия-Константина Острожского

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The article examines the role of Prince Vasyl’-Kostiantyn Ostrozʹkyi (Vasilii-Konstantin of Ostroh) as a sponsor of Ivan Fedorov and a patron of printing in the context of his other activities as a magnate. Prince Vasyl’-Kostiantyn Ostrozʹkyi actively supported book culture and sought to gather at his court in Ostroh intellectuals and artisans, including Ivan Fedorov. The fact that this otherwise frugal magnate spent considerable financial resources on these endeavors indicates that they were of particular importance to him. The prince’s library, which included printed and manuscript books, reveals his appreciation of book culture and his aspiration to transform his residence in Ostroh into a center of Ruthenian Orthodox culture. The peak of the prince’s publishing activities was in the period 1576–1580, when a complete version of the Bible was under preparation, a project that would be the focus of his literary and publishing work. The second important project that Prince Vasyl’-Kostiantyn Ostrozʹkyi undertook was educational – spreading a “pure form” of Christianity, untinged by erroneous teachings or superstitions. Despite these lofty goals, these publishing and educational objectives competed with other pressing challenges that Vasyl’-Kostiantyn Ostrozʹkyi faced as a magnate. His main priorities were the augmentation of wealth and lands under his rule, the growth and improvement of government administration, strengthening his military, and enhancing his political power, which served to increase the influence and prestige of his clan. Those more traditional, practical considerations enabled Vasyl’-Kostiantyn Ostrozʹkyi to make significant financial, political, and personal investments into book culture and publishing, including the famed Ostroh Bible printed by Ivan Fedorov.

Affiliations: 1: Київський національний університет імені Тараса Шевченка


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