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The Patronage of Early Printing in Moscow

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This paper re-examines the view that printing and the distribution of printed books in Muscovy was a state monopoly. Like in many other pre-modern societies, the crown and the church were major patrons of printing. And, like in other patronage systems, there was no single approach to the press in Moscow. Ivan IV was interested in printing as a tool for enhancing prestige and securing salvation. The approaches of Orthodox hierarchs ranged from Metropolitan Makarii’s pragmatic aims to supply churches with liturgical books to reflective editing and the compilation of discursive colophons under Metropolitan Afanasii. Due to the declining quality of their printed output, Ivan Fedorov and Petr Mstislavets lost Afanasii’s patronage. The centralized pattern of patronage precluded them from finding alternative sources of printing jobs in Muscovy. It was not political persecutions or cultural prejudices against printing, but the centralization of printing in Muscovy that caused the printers to leave for Poland-Lithuania. In attempting to secure orders and find new patrons at the new location, Ivan Fedorov sought to utilize the model of patronage that he learned in Moscow.

Affiliations: 1: University College London


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